Sunday, July 13, 2014

Tyrannical Actions

"To compel a man to furnish contributions of money for the propagation of opinions he disbelieves and abhors, is sinful and tyrannical."

~Thomas Jefferson

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Happy Indeed

"Happy indeed would it be, if the convention shall be able to recommend such a firm and permanent government for this Union, that all who live under it may be secure in their lives, liberty, and property; and thrice happy would it be, if such a recommendation should obtain. Every body wishes, every body expects something from the convention; but what will be the final result of its deliberation, the book of fate must disclose. Persuaded I am, that the primary cause of all our disorders lies in the different State governments, and in the tenacity of that power, which pervades the whole of their systems. Whilst independent sovereignty is so ardently contended for, whilst the local views of each State, and separate interests, by which they are too much governed, will not yield to a more enlarged scale of politics, incompatibility in the laws of different States, and disrespect to those of the general government, must render the situation of this great country weak, inefficient, and disgraceful. It has already done so, almost to the final dissolution of it. Weak at home and disregarded abroad is our present condition, and contemptible enough it is."

~George Washington, letter to David Stuart, Philadelphia, July 1, 1787

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Giving Your Best

"I cannot...avoid persuading myself, that it is essential to accomplish whatever I have undertaken (though reluctantly) to the best of my abilities."

~George Washington, letter to Marquis de Lafayette, New York, June 3, 1790

Friday, July 4, 2014

The Declaration of Independence

When, in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and of nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any form of government becomes destructive to these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shown that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security. --Such has been the patient sufferance of these colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former systems of government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute tyranny over these states. To prove this, let facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his assent to laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

He has forbidden his governors to pass laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

He has refused to pass other laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of representation in the legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

He has dissolved representative houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the legislative powers, incapable of annihilation, have returned to the people at large for their exercise; the state remaining in the meantime exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

He has endeavored to prevent the population of these states; for that purpose obstructing the laws for naturalization of foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migration hither, and raising the conditions of new appropriations of lands.

He has obstructed the administration of justice, by refusing his assent to laws for establishing judiciary powers.

He has made judges dependent on his will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of new offices, and sent hither swarms of officers to harass our people, and eat out their substance.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, standing armies without the consent of our legislature.

He has affected to render the military independent of and superior to civil power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his assent to their acts of pretended legislation:

For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

For protecting them, by mock trial, from punishment for any murders which they should commit on the inhabitants of these states:

For cutting off our trade with all parts of the world:

For imposing taxes on us without our consent:

For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of trial by jury:

For transporting us beyond seas to be tried for pretended offenses:

For abolishing the free system of English laws in a neighboring province, establishing therein an arbitrary government, and enlarging its boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule in these colonies:

For taking away our charters, abolishing our most valuable laws, and altering fundamentally the forms of our governments:

For suspending our own legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

He has abdicated government here, by declaring us out of his protection and waging war against us.

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burned our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

He is at this time transporting large armies of foreign mercenaries to complete the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of cruelty and perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the head of a civilized nation.

He has constrained our fellow citizens taken captive on the high seas to bear arms against their country, to become the executioners of their friends and brethren, or to fall themselves by their hands.

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavored to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian savages, whose known rule of warfare, is undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these oppressions we have petitioned for redress in the most humble terms: our repeated petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have we been wanting in attention to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. 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.

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 of our intentions, do, in the name, and by the 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; that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the state of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as free and independent states, they have full power to levy war, conclude peace, contract alliances, establish commerce, and to do all other acts and things which independent states may of right do. And for the 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.

New Hampshire: Josiah Bartlett, William Whipple, Matthew Thornton

Massachusetts: John Hancock, Samual Adams, John Adams, Robert Treat Paine, Elbridge Gerry

Rhode Island: Stephen Hopkins, William Ellery

Connecticut: Roger Sherman, Samuel Huntington, William Williams, Oliver Wolcott

New York: William Floyd, Philip Livingston, Francis Lewis, Lewis Morris

New Jersey: Richard Stockton, John Witherspoon, Francis Hopkinson, John Hart, Abraham Clark

Pennsylvania: Robert Morris, Benjamin Rush, Benjamin Franklin, John Morton, George Clymer, James Smith, George Taylor, James Wilson, George Ross

Delaware: Caesar Rodney, George Read, Thomas McKean

Maryland: Samuel Chase, William Paca, Thomas Stone, Charles Carroll of Carrollton

Virginia: George Wythe, Richard Henry Lee, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Harrison, Thomas Nelson, Jr., Francis Lightfoot Lee, Carter Braxton

North Carolina: William Hooper, Joseph Hewes, John Penn

South Carolina: Edward Rutledge, Thomas Heyward, Jr., Thomas Lynch, Jr., Arthur Middleton

Georgia: Button Gwinnett, Lyman Hall, George Walton

Thursday, July 3, 2014

The Source of Liberty

"Equality, liberty, popular sovereignty, the rights of man — these are not elements which we can see and touch. They are ideals. They have their source and their roots in the religious convictions. They belong to the unseen world. Unless the faith of the American people in these religious convictions is to endure, the principles of our Declaration will perish. We can not continue to enjoy the result if we neglect and abandon the cause."

Speech on the 150th Anniversary of the Declaration of Independence

Calvin Coolidge July 5, 1926

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Virtue and Knowledge

“If virtue and knowledge are diffused among the people, they will never be enslaved. This will be their great security.”

~Samuel Adams, Letter to James Warren, 1779

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Sovereign States

“In the next place, the state governments are, by the very theory of the constitution, essential constituent parts of the general government. They can exist without the latter, but the latter cannot exist without them.”

~Joseph Story Commentaries on the Constitution, 1833

Monday, June 30, 2014

Spirit of the Republic

"Virtue is the spirit of a republic; for where all power is derived from the people, all depends on their good disposition. If they are impious, factious and selfish; if they are abandoned to idleness, dissipation, luxury, and extravagance; if they are lost to the fear of God, and the love of their country, all is lost."

~Samuel Cooper, Oct. 25, 1780

A Sermon on the Commencement of the Constitution

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Requirement of Neutrality

“The rights of neutrality will only be respected when they are defended by an adequate power.

A nation, despicable by its weakness, forfeits even the privilege of being neutral.”

~Alexander Hamilton, Federalist No. 11, 1787

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Liberality of Thought

“It has been a source of great pain to me to have met with so many among [my] opponents who had not the liberality to distinguish between political and social opposition; who transferred at once to the person, the hatred they bore to his political opinions.”

~Thomas Jefferson

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Parental Duty

“It is the duty of parents to maintain their children decently, and according to their circumstances; to protect them according to the dictates of prudence; and to educate them according to the suggestions of a judicious and zealous regard for their usefulness, their respectability and happiness.”

~James Wilson, Lectures on Law, 1791

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Full Superintendence

“The state governments have a full superintendence and control over the immense mass of local interests of their respective states, which connect themselves with the feelings, the affections, the municipal institutions, and the internal arrangements of the whole population.

They possess, too, the immediate administration of justice in all cases, civil and criminal, which concern the property, personal rights, and peaceful pursuits of their own citizens.”

~Joseph Story, Commentaries on the Constitution, 1833

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Stale Artifices

“I am commonly opposed to those who modestly assume the rank of champions of liberty, and make a very patriotic noise about the people.

It is the stale artifice which has duped the world a thousand times, and yet, though detected, it is still successful.”

~Fisher Ames

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Virtue Promotes Happiness

“If there is a form of government, then, whose principle and foundation is virtue, will not every sober man acknowledge it better calculated to promote the general happiness than any other form?”

~John Adams, Thoughts on Government, 1776

Sunday, June 8, 2014

We Must Not Yield

“There is not a single instance in history in which civil liberty was lost, and religious liberty preserved entire.

If therefore we yield up our temporal property, we at the same time deliver the conscience into bondage.”

~John Witherspoon, The Dominion of Providence Over the Passions of Men, 1776

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

The Whole Truth

“It is natural to man to indulge in the illusions of hope. We are apt to shut our eyes against a painful truth – and listen to the song of that syren, till she transforms us into beasts.

Is this the part of wise men, engaged in a great and arduous struggle for liberty? Are we disposed to be of the number of those, who having eyes, see not, and having ears, hear not, the things which so nearly concern their temporal salvation?

For my part, whatever anguish of spirit it might cost, I am willing to know the whole truth; to know the worst, and to provide for it.”

~Patrick Henry

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Securing Liberty

"He that would make his own liberty secure, must guard even his enemy from oppression; for if he violates this duty, he establishes a precedent that will reach to himself."

~Thomas Paine

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Duty Owed

"That religion, or the duty which we owe to our Creator, and the manner of discharging it, can be directed only by reason and conviction, not by force or violence; and therefore all men are equally entitled to the free exercise of religion, according to the dictates of conscience; and that it is the mutual duty of all to practice Christian forbearance, love, and charity toward each other."

~James Madison (with George Mason); Virginia Declaration of Rights, Article XVI

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Seed of Revolution

"What do we mean by the American Revolution? Do we mean the American war? The Revolution was effected before the war commenced. The Revolution was in the minds and hearts of the people.

This radical change in the principles, opinions, sentiments, and affections of the people, was the real American Revolution."

~John Adams

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Liberty Without Virtue

"Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us."

~Benjamin Rush, Letter to John Adams (August 8, 1777)

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Serving Justice

"Justice will not be served, until those who are unaffected are as outraged as those who are."

~Benjamin Franklin

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Conducive to the Publik Weal

"That government is, or ought to be instituted for the common benefit, protection, and security of the people, nation or community...and that when any government shall be found inadequate or contrary to these purposes, a majority of the community hath an indubitable, unalienable, and indefeasible right to reform, alter or abolish it, in such a manner as shall be judged conducive to the publik weal."

~George Mason; Draft of Virginia Declaration of Rights; 1776

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Perfect Reliance

No man has a more perfect Reliance on the alwise and powerful dispensations of the Supreme Being than I have nor thinks his aid more necessary."

~George Washington; letter to William Gordon, May 1776

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Good Heads and Good Hearts

"I first saw the Constitution of the United States in a foreign country. Irritated by no literary altercation, animated by no public debate, heated by no party animosity, I read it with great satisfaction, as the result of good heads prompted by good hearts, as an experiment better adapted to the genius, character, situation, and relations of this nation and country than any which had ever been proposed or suggested."

John Adams

First Inaugural Address

March 04, 1797

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Pretenders

"Guard against the impostures of pretended patriotism."

~George Washington; Farewell Address, September 17, 1796

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Slow But Sure

"Delay is preferable to error."

~Thomas Jefferson; letter to George Washington, 1792

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Show the World

"Let us therefore animate and encourage each other, and show the whole world that a Freeman, contending for liberty on his own ground, is superior to any slavish mercenary on earth."

~George Washington; New York, 1776

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Just Powers

"Governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed."

~Thomas Jefferson; Declaration of Independence

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Fatigue

"Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom must, like men, undergo the fatigue of supporting it."

~Thomas Paine; The American Crisis No. 4; September 1777

Friday, April 18, 2014

Capital

"Books constitute capital. A library book lasts as long as a house, for hundreds of years. It is not, then, an article of mere consumption but fairly of capital, and often in the case of professional men, setting out in life, it is their only capital.

~Thomas Jefferson

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Circulating Library

"Nothing would do more extensive good at small expense than the establishment of a small circulating library."

~Thomas Jefferson

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Light Reading

"Light reading(by this I mean books of little importance) may amuse for the moment, but leaves nothing solid behind."

~George Washington

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Good Books

"Read good books because they will encourage as well as direct your feelings."

~Thomas Jefferson

Contributions

"To compel a man to furnish contributions of money for the propagation of opinions which he disbelieves and abhors is sinful and tyrannical."

~Thomas Jefferson

Monday, April 14, 2014

Learning Filial Duty

"A lively and lasting sense of filial duty is more effectually impressed on the mind of a son or daughter by reading King Lear, than by all the dry volumes of ethics, and divinity, than ever were written."

~Thomas Jefferson

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Knowledge

"A knowledge of books is the basis upon which other knowledge is to be built."

~George Washington

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Weakness and Imperfection

"No man is entirely free from weakness and imperfection in this life. Men of the most exalted genius and active minds are generally most perfect slaves to the love of fame. They sometimes descend to as mean tricks and artifices in pursuit of honor or reputation as the miser descends to in pursuit of gold."

~John Adams,diary entry; February 19th, 1756

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Leisure and Laziness

“Methinks I hear some of you say, must a man afford himself no leisure? I will tell thee, my friend, what Poor Richard says, employ thy time well if thou meanest to gain leisure; and, since thou art not sure of a minute, throw not away an hour. Leisure is time for doing something useful; this leisure the diligent man will obtain, but the lazy man never; so that, as Poor Richard says, a life of leisure and a life of laziness are two things."

Benjamin Franklin; 1757

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

On Liberty

"Liberty is to faction, what air is to fire, an aliment, without which it instantly expires. But it could not be a less folly to abolish liberty, which is essential to political life, because it nourishes faction, than it would be to wish the annihilation of air, which is essential to animal life, because it imparts to fire its destructive agency."

Federalist No. 10 Publius (James Madison)

November 22, 1787

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Knowledge is Essential

"Freedom can exist only in the society of Knowledge. Without learning, men are incapable of knowing their rights, and where learning is confined to a few people, liberty can be neither equal or universal."

Benjamin Rush

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

An Unjust Government

"That is not a just government, nor is property secure under it, where arbitrary restrictions, exemptions, and monopolies deny to part of its citizens that free use of their faculties, and free choice of their occupations."

“Property” James Madison March 29, 1792