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February 2017 Policy Study, Number 17-2

   

A Commentary on the American Founding

   

Part 8

   

 

We have come full cycle.  “We the people” have pleaded with our central government to abide by the “Law of Nature and Nature’s God” and by the precepts of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, to no avail.  It is my sincere and fervent hope that enough people would come to know, understand, and appreciate the work of our Founders, that we might have the necessary numbers to elect statesmen capable and willing to peaceably rectify this nation’s problems.  World history, our own history, and even current events tell us this is not the normal course of events.  We are complacent in the belief we are immune from that history; but it’s unlikely.

 

They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and consanguinity [blood relationship].  We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold Them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.  (Declaration of Independence).

 

At this point, our Founding Fathers were ready to go to war with Great Britain, then the greatest military power in existence.  In our youth, we were taught this momentous decision on the part of our Founders was precipitated by a tax on tea.  As you can see from a very cursory examination of this document, it was not based on so paltry a matter as that.  These men were not irrational fools.  They fully understood that affixing their signature to this instrument, the Declaration of Independence, was tantamount to signing their own death warrants, as well as those of their families.  Do you really believe any sane man would do this over a three percent tax on tea?  That is inconceivable.  No, the matter that drove them to this action was the preservation of their liberty:

 

We, therefore, the Representatives of the United States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude [righteousness] of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States.  (Emphasis added).  (Declaration of Independence).

 

Our Founders clearly stated their vision for the new government they were about to form.  Even though the several separate colonies were uniting to derive a benefit from a union, you will notice that they had absolutely no intention of being anything other than “Independent States.”  That is, they fully intended to retain their own individual sovereignty and not to become one big, monolithic sovereignty.  This is a very important concept to comprehend.  Today, for all practical purposes, we have become (de facto) that one big, monolithic union, and it is a very different form of government than our Founders bequeathed to us.  Indeed, it is a very fundamental change.

 

And for support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the Protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.  (Declaration of Independence).

 

Our Founding Fathers were completely serious about the defense of their liberty.  There is no length to which they would not go in that defense, including the sacrifice of their lives.  It is said, “The price of freedom is eternal vigilance.”  I regret to inform you this is not enough.  Vigilance is only a necessary first step, for to be aware but unwilling to act will gain you nothing.  The reiteration of the following excerpts from Patrick Henry will remind you of the circumstances of the times and intensity of feeling of our Founders:

 

They tell us, sir, that we are weak; unable to cope with so formidable an adversary.  But when shall we be stronger?  Will it be next week, or the next year?  Will it be when we are totally disarmed, and when a British guard shall be stationed in every house?  Shall we gather strength by irresolution and inaction?  Shall we acquire the means of effectual resistance by lying supinely on our backs and hugging the delusive phantom of hope, until our enemies shall have us bound hand and foot?

 

Sir, we are not weak, if we make a proper use of those means which the God of nature hath placed in our power.  Three millions of people, armed in the holy cause of liberty, and in such a country as that which we possess, are invincible by any force which our enemy can send against us.

 

Besides sir, we shall not fight our battles alone.  There is a just God who presides over destines of nations, and who will raise up friends to fight our battles for us.  The battle, sir, is not to the strong alone; it is to the vigilant, the active, the brave.  Besides, sir, we have no election.   If we were base enough to desire it, it is now too late to retire from the contest.

 

There is no retreat but in submission and slavery!  Our chains are forged!  Their clanking may be heard on the plains of Boston.  The war is inevitable — and let it come!  I repeat it, sir, let it come.  It is in vain, sir, to extenuate the matter.  Gentlemen may cry, Peace, Peace — but there is no peace.  The war is actually begun!  The next gale that sweeps from the north will bring to our ears the clash of resounding arms!  Our brethren are already in the field!

 

Why stand we here idle?  What is it that gentlemen wish?  What would they have?  Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery?  Forbid it, Almighty God!  I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!

 

Some may condemn this tract as advocating revolution, and so it is; but if you will review this tract dispassionately, you will find its advocacy to be one of education and understanding of our Founders’ vision for this nation — not a revolution of arms, but a call to return to the vision they laid out before us, a call to follow the example of their actions in the implementation of our government.  But we cannot follow what we do not know.  John Adams, in the year 1818, wrote a newspaper article for the Weekly Register of Baltimore, entitled, “What Do We Mean by the American Revolution,” in which he said, “The Revolution was effected before the War commenced.  The Revolution was in the Minds and Hearts of the People.”

 

It is the fire of this revolution that it is my ambition to stoke.  That once again the people of this nation will become intimately familiar with the principles of liberty and sovereignty.  That they will embrace these concepts with a love as great as our Founders who, willingly and without reservation, pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor to acquire, and to give as an inheritance to their posterity, these gifts of inestimable value.  The Constitution, as great a document as it is, is the set of rules that our Founders promulgated to ensure that we would adhere to the course they had set.  It is the Declaration of Independence that is the lodestone — the guiding star by which they set that course.  And the most important aspect of the course they set is that it was to be governed by “the Laws of Nature and Nature’s God.”  Without this as the cornerstone, the new government would be like all other governments before it that I am aware of, except one — the Jewish people during the time of Judges.  That is, it would be a government administered through brute force, not the “experiment in self-government” that they envisioned.

 

Today, I fear the fire our Founders kindled in the mind and hearts of the people is only smoldering.  It falls to us to stoke that fire so we might not be the generation who squandered the inheritance, which rightfully belongs to our posterity.  We must come to understand and fully appreciate that it is this document, the Declaration of Independence, that is the foundation of this nation; and we must abide by it.

 

   

 

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