No, George Washington DIDN’T Say America Should Stay Out Of Foreign Affairs

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George Washington, first President of the United States

Hat/Tip to Warner Todd Huston at Publius’ Forum.

A great piece on the Father of our Country.

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With the talk of how bad Islam is for civilization and the question of just what to do about it, we are seeing those lightly informed about American history claiming that our founders–in particular George Washington–warned us to stay out of “foreign entanglements.” In fact, however, Washington neither said this, nor meant for such a policy to be enacted.

Many on the left and the isolationist right try to use the father of our country to support their ideas against the GOP and to justify their hope that the USA will pull out of the Middle East. Specifically they cite Washington’s farewell address where a retiring president supposedly warned Americans against getting involved with foreign nations and getting caught up in those evil “foreign entanglements.”

On one hand, it is quite amusing to see lefties in love with a founding father or American history and principles for the first time in their lives, certainly, but it isn’t just the left revealing a sudden respect for a founding father with citation of Washington’s address. On the other hand those Ron Paulites and his isolationist wing on the right have for years been bandying about Washington’s farewell address as some sort of “proof” that one of our “first principles” was to stay away from foreign nations.

So, what was Washington really saying? Did he warn us against “foreign entanglements”? Did he think the U.S. should steer clear of all outside political situations and relegate ourselves only to trade with foreigners?

We have to point out, that Washington never used the exact words “foreign entanglements” in his farewell address. That has been a decades-long misconstruction of his last letter to the nation. He did ask why we should “entangle our peace and prosperity in the toils of European ambition,” but he never used the exact words “foreign entanglements.”

That dispensed with, we move on to the assumed isolationism of George Washington’s address. What did he mean and did he mean it to be a permanent principle from which the U.S. should never stray?

First of all we must realize that the U.S. had been up to its neck in “foreign entanglements” before it had even become a nation. With wars against the French decades earlier, then the rebellion against Britain with help from the French, pleas to the Dutch for loans, not to mention intrigues in Canada and clashes with Spanish holdings in the new world, the progenitors to the United States, with all that our nascent nation was already a key player on the international stage.

Further the United States had envoys in most of the major European nations long before Washington’s farewell address. So, to say that the U.S. was isolated from the rest of the world and that Washington’s entreaty meant for us to stay that way, to say that this was some axiomatic delineation of American foreign policy is a wrong headed claim. The U.S. was already so “entangled” that it couldn’t be untangled.

One of the important goals of Washington’s letter was to shore up his own foreign policy decisions. Washington had angered the Jefferson/Madison wing of the federal government when he decided not to side with France against England after our revolution ended. In fact, while leaning toward being an anglophile, Washington tried to tread a fine line of “neutrality” between France and England. His farewell address was in part meant to justify a policy choice he had made as president. It was less a doctrine for the ages and more an immediate act of politics.

There was also an important bit of reality that caused Washington and Alexander Hamilton to eschew full support of France and lean toward England. We didn’t have the naval power to back up any major involvement in Europe. In fact, if we had decided to jump in with France, there was no way at all we could have escaped major damage from the extensive and powerful British Navy if we sided too directly with France.

Washington’s idea of neutrality was based in part on the complete inability of the U.S. to back up its foreign policy. But even in that case he did not say in his address that we should forever stay away from any foreign involvement.

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Here is the key section of his address:

It is our true policy to steer clear of permanent alliances with any portion of the foreign world; so far, I mean, as we are now at liberty to do it; for let me not be understood as capable of patronizing infidelity to existing engagements. I hold the maxim no less applicable to public than to private affairs, that honesty is always the best policy. I repeat it, therefore, let those engagements be observed in their genuine sense. But, in my opinion, it is unnecessary and would be unwise to extend them.

To warn Americans against “permanent alliances” really should go without saying. Decades later a fast friend of the United States basically said the same thing when he, Winston Churchill, said there are “no eternal allies” and “no perpetual enemies” for any nation.

Washington went on to say, though, that sometimes we must form alliances. “Taking care always to keep ourselves by suitable establishments on a respectable defensive posture,” he wrote, “we may safely trust to temporary alliances for extraordinary emergencies.”

Obviously he understood that always staying neutral–as Paulites and liberals maintain–is not possible.

It should also be realized that this was Washington’s (and Hamilton’s) vision. The farewell address was not an explication of standard practice even when it was written, but Washington’s ideals. Many founders disagreed with this vision. So to act as if an isolationist policy was a singular founding principle is a horrible misread of history.

In To the Farewell Address, the seminal book about Washington’s document and the era in which it was given, Felix Gilbert warned us all not to accept these flawed misconstructions we are discussing here as an explanation what was going on with Washington’s farewell address.

In the conclusion to his essay, Gilbert wrote:

Because the Farewell Address comprises various aspects of American political thinking, it reaches beyond any period limited in time and reveals the basic issue of the American attitude toward foreign policy: the tension between Idealism and Realism. Settled by men who looked for gain and by men who sought freedom, born into independence in a century of enlightened thinking and of power politics, America has wavered in her foreign policy between Idealism and Realism, and her great historical moments have occurred when both were combined.

In other words, today’s neo-isolationist view of America’s “real” foreign policy ideals is woefully incorrect. The U.S. was never isolationist as a first principle. Ron Paul and his isolationists are wrong and so are the liberals who have a sudden and uncharacteristic respect for a founding father.

Finally, it must be noted that this article of mine is discussing only one thing and that is the purpose of Washington’s farewell address when it was delivered in 1796 and what it means to American first principles. I have no interest in using this piece to excuse or justify anything that happened after Washington left the scene. This article is not meant to ascertain what amount of foreign policy is optimal, only that isolationism is not an American first principle.

If WWI or WWII were wrong or our Middle East policy is misguided, those are discussions for other articles, not this one.

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Navy Bans Bibles then Kicks Atheist Group to the Curb – Puts Bibles Back in Hotels

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Hat/Tip to Tim Brown at the Freedom Outpost.

Those tolerant lefties are at it again. This time, they tried to intimidate the Navy into removing Gideon Bibles from hotel rooms.

Atheists from the Freedom from Religion Foundation had complained back in March to the US Navy that the Navy was unconstitutionally showing preference to Christianity. As a result, the Navy sent out a memo in June informing all lodge managers that any religious materials, including Bibles, would be removed from the rooms under “established procedures for the lost-and-found property.” However, upon a review of its policies, the Navy ordered that the Bibles, largely furnished by Gideons International, be returned to the rooms.

Sam Grover, the attorney for the atheist group, complained that the Bible had been the only religious book seen in the lodges for the past 20 years.

“That demonstrates the Navy‘s preference for Christianity over all other religions and nonreligious sects,” he told Stars and Stripes.

“That decision and our religious accommodation policies with regard to the placement of religious materials are under review,” Navy spokesman Cmdr. Ryan Perry wrote in an email to Stars and Stripes. “While that review is under way, religious materials removed from Navy Lodge rooms will be returned.”

And get this, the Atheist group, Freedom from Religion Foundation not only wants their materials put in the hotels, but they want the Navy to PAY them for those materials.

The bibles placed by the Gideons? They’re free of charge. The Gideons cover all the expenses of the bibles and materials they place.

So, the atheists want the Navy to pay for their rags to be placed into hotels, but the Gideons want to provide Bibles, free of charge, to any hotel they can put them in, whether they are associated with the military or not.

I wonder if Mr. Gordan and the Freedom from Religion Foundation are even aware of our country’s Christian beginnings. I wonder if they are aware of the Mayflower Compact, the Declaration of Independence, the State constitutions of the original thirteen colonies or the historical claims of some of America’s leaders, including these by our founding fathers:

“While we are zealously performing the duties of good citizens and soldiers, we certainly ought not to be inattentive to the higher duties of religion. To the distinguished character of Patriot, it should be our highest glory to add the more distinguished character of Christian.” George Washington, The Writings of Washington, pp. 342-343

“Suppose a nation in some distant Region should take the Bible for their only law Book, and every member should regulate his conduct by the precepts there exhibited! Every member would be obliged in conscience, to temperance, frugality, and industry; to justice, kindness, and charity towards his fellow men; and to piety, love, and reverence toward Almighty God … What a Eutopia, what a Paradise would this region be.” John Adams, Diary and Autobiography of John Adams, Vol. III, p. 9

John Quincy Adams said:

The hope of a Christian is inseparable from his faith. Whoever believes in the Divine inspiration of the Holy Scriptures must hope that the religion of Jesus shall prevail throughout the earth. Never since the foundation of the world have the prospects of mankind been more encouraging to that hope than they appear to be at the present time. And may the associated distribution of the Bible proceed and prosper till the Lord shall have made “bare His holy arm in the eyes of all the nations, and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God” [Isaiah 52:10]. –Life of John Quincy Adams, W. H. Seward, editor (Auburn, NY: Derby, Miller & Company, 1849), p. 248.

Noah Webster wrote:

Our citizens should early understand that the genuine source of correct republican principles is the Bible, particularly the New Testament, or the Christian religion. –Noah Webster, History of the United States (New Haven: Durrie and Peck, 1832), p. 6. 

And he added:

The Bible is the chief moral cause of all that is good and the best corrector of all that is evil in human society – the best book for regulating the temporal concerns of men. –Noah Webster, The Holy Bible. .. With Amendments of the Language (New Haven: Durrie & Peck, 1833), p. v.

Okay so the author of this piece, Tim Brown did a great job of showing that our country’s founding and Christianity go hand in hand.

These are just a sampling of many of the writings of the founders. I am not one to sit here and proclaim every founder to be a Christian, but I think it is clear that they believed that law and morality were derived from the Scriptures.

These atheists, such as those in the Freedom from Religion Foundation are not patriots to America, as George Washington so aptly said. They are domestic enemies to America, the people of America and God.

Looks like this is the second whipping the Freedom from Religion Foundation has taken this week from those who are not afraid to stand up and rebuke them publicly and not be bullied by their rhetoric. While I wish the Navy had told them to take a hike in the first place, I’m glad they did the review and re-instituted the Bible in their hotels. Well done!

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Warnings from George Washington

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I noticed the other day while scouring liberal web sites that one liberal in typical liberal fashion asked, “What happened to the ‘small arms treaty’ conservatives have been so paranoid about? You know, BIG government wants to take your guns! It appears it’s just like all the other paranoia right-wings are attracted to … nothing to it!” Now, that’s paraphrasing, but here is the actual post:

Via: American Liberal Times

Whatever Happened To The So-Called “U.N. Small Arms Treaty?”

Not so long ago . . . in a land far far away . . . (The land where some “Righties” spend their days in a kind of smug self-satisfied fog of fantasy and delusion) . . . there was a lot of talk about how a proposed United Nations “Small Arms” treaty was going to be used as a mechanism to attack the Second Amendment Rights of American Citizens and which would also lead to confiscation of all privately-owned guns in These United States.
I am still waiting to see any of that paranoia come to pass.  What about you?
Anybody from the “Gubmint” come to collect YOUR guns yet?

To me it’s fascinating the way folks, especially liberals have the propensity to think that because something doesn’t happen right away … it isn’t going to.

In response to the above it appears the Small Arms Treaty is alive and well. I suggest folks read what Mr. John Kerry has been up to. Anyone who believes this guy deserves what they get.

READ RIGHT HERE

The wonderful thing about America is that our founding fathers made it very difficult for anyone to destroy this nation rapidly. They built checks and balances into the Constitution so that no one person could rule. To take away our Constitutional rights is something that would have to be done incrementally:  Change the attitude of the people. Make them more afraid of “terrorists” than the government. Convince them to give up liberties so the government will make them feel safe. Convince law abiding people to allow the government to monitor their every move under the guise of “national security”.  Allow mass shootings to outrage the public so as to make gun control seem like “common sense”.

Just because something unsavory hasn’t actually happened yet does not mean it isn’t being worked on.

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sfra

The president is supposed to be a natural born citizen so there would be no possibility of dual affinity. George Washington warned of foreign influence corrupting our republic. In his Farewell Address 1796 he said:

As avenues to foreign influence in innumerable ways, such attachments are particularly alarming to the truly enlightened and independent patriot. How many opportunities do they afford to tamper with domestic factions, to practice the arts of seduction, to mislead public opinion, to influence or awe the public councils. Such an attachment of a small or weak towards a great and powerful nation dooms the former to be the satellite of the latter.

Against the insidious wiles of foreign influence (I conjure you to believe me, fellow-citizens) the jealousy of a free people ought to be constantly awake, since history and experience prove that foreign influence is one of the most baneful foes of republican government.  (emphasis mine)

Liberalism has been chipping away in contrast to everything that President Washington warned about in his Farewell Address. I read all the time where liberals mock any politician, actually anyone who adheres to their religious beliefs. Especially those of the Christian faith. You know the “holier than thou” kind of mockery if a politician quotes the Bible.  I’ve also read many times where folks mock those who claim that morality is important in the character of one who would be president. Morality in a president has given way to having one who’s considered “cool” because he smoked crack and marijuana.

We’ve been inundated with the “separation of church and state” crap for decades now, until it’s reached the point where a child cannot even pass out candy canes to his school friends without some teacher stopping him, saying “Jesus isn’t allowed in this school!”

This is a small example of the decline in America’s greatness, a greatness that George Washington cautioned could be lost when national morality excludes religious principle.

Let it simply be asked: Where is the security for property, for reputation, for life, if the sense of religious obligation desert the oaths which are the instruments of investigation in courts of justice ? And let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion. Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.

To those who blindly follow those who speak of patriotism and love for America, but in deed weaken the moral values, economic structure and the might of our military, be not deceived. We were warned, now centuries ago that insidious forces from without and from within will attempt to weaken this nation to the point of surrendering the sovereignty of the United States:

The unity of government which constitutes you one people is also now dear to you. It is justly so, for it is a main pillar in the edifice of your real independence, the support of your tranquility at home, your peace abroad; of your safety; of your prosperity; of that very liberty which you so highly prize. But as it is easy to foresee that, from different causes and from different quarters, much pains will be taken, many artifices employed to weaken in your minds the conviction of this truth; as this is the point in your political fortress against which the batteries of internal and external enemies will be most constantly and actively (though often covertly and insidiously) directed … (emphasis mine)

And finally folks, we see every day the Constitution being ignored and usurped by the president and the members of Congress do nothing. Yea, they are complicit, and many partakers in the destruction of this nation. We citizens have allowed the government far too much power over us. I think Washington informs us who really should be in charge …

The basis of our political systems is the right of the people to make and to alter their constitutions of government. But the Constitution which at any time exists, till changed by an explicit and authentic act of the whole people, is sacredly obligatory upon all. The very idea of the power and the right of the people to establish government presupposes the duty of every individual to obey the established government.

Our established government does not have the power to keep us from establishing another, and we have the right to expel those who violate the Constitution.

Original Post:  Cry and Howl

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Founding Fathers’ Quotes on the People’s Right to Bear Arms

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Just three days after the horrible shooting in Newtown Connecticut, progressive forces are in full “never let a crisis go to waste” mode to advance their anti-gun agenda.  They have allowed no time for mourning and are striking while the iron is hot.  It’s a selfish and shameful act that is driving the national debate towards gun control and the away from the root cause of our problem; the devaluing of human life.  I decided that the best people to help make the case for those of us who cherish America and our second amendment rights are our founding fathers.  Below are some quotes from the founders on the people’s right to bear arms.  Take a few minutes to read them.

“I ask, Sir, what is the militia? It is the whole people. To disarm the people is the best and most effectual way to enslave them.”
George Mason
Co-author of the Second Amendment
during Virginia’s Convention to Ratify the Constitution, 1788

“A militia, when properly formed, are in fact the people themselves …”
Richard Henry Lee
writing in Letters from the Federal Farmer to the Republic, Letter XVIII, May, 1788.

“The people are not to be disarmed of their weapons. They are left in full posession of them.”
Zachariah Johnson
Elliot’s Debates, vol. 3 “The Debates in the Several State Conventions on the Adoption of the Federal Constitution.”

“… the people are confirmed by the next article in their right to keep and bear their private arms”
Philadelphia Federal Gazette
June 18, 1789, Pg. 2, Col. 2
Article on the Bill of Rights

“And that the said Constitution be never construed to authorize Congress to infringe the just liberty of the Press, or the rights of Conscience; or to prevent the people of the United States, who are peaceable citizens, from keeping their own arms; …”
Samuel Adams
quoted in the Philadelphia Independent Gazetteer, August 20, 1789, “Propositions submitted to the Convention of this State”

“Firearms stand next in importance to the constitution itself. They are the American people’s liberty teeth and keystone under independence … from the hour the Pilgrims landed to the present day, events, occurrences and tendencies prove that to ensure peace security and happiness, the rifle and pistol are equally indispensable … the very atmosphere of firearms anywhere restrains evil interference — they deserve a place of honor with all that’s good.”
George Washington
First President of the United States

“The supposed quietude of a good man allures the ruffian; while on the other hand arms, like laws, discourage and keep the invader and plunderer in awe, and preserve order in the world as property. The same balance would be preserved were all the world destitute of arms, for all would be alike; but since some will not, others dare not lay them aside … Horrid mischief would ensue were the law-abiding deprived of the use of them.”
Thomas Paine

“To preserve liberty, it is essential that the whole body of the people always possess arms and be taught alike, especially when young, how to use them.”
Richard Henry Lee
American Statesman, 1788

“The great object is that every man be armed.” and “Everyone who is able may have a gun.”
Patrick Henry
American Patriot

“Are we at last brought to such humiliating and debasing degradation, that we cannot be trusted with arms for our defense? Where is the difference between having our arms in possession and under our direction and having them under the management of Congress? If our defense be the real object of having those arms, in whose hands can they be trusted with more propriety, or equal safety to us, as in our own hands?”
Patrick Henry
American Patriot

“Those who hammer their guns into plowshares will plow for those who do not.”
Thomas Jefferson
Third President of the United States

“The constitutions of most of our States assert that all power is inherent in the people; that … it is their right and duty to be at all times armed; … “
Thomas Jefferson
letter to Justice John Cartwright, June 5, 1824. ME 16:45.

“The best we can help for concerning the people at large is that they be properly armed.”
Alexander Hamilton
The Federalist Papers at 184-8

H/T cap-n-ball.com

The federal government should not be injecting itself in this issue.  First off they have no constitutional authority to restrict gun ownership no matter what President Obama believes.  Secondly this is a states issue and should be addressed at the local level.  A cookie cutter approach will not work because of the uniqueness of each community across America.  My question is where was all the progressive outrage over Fast and Furious?  Something to think about.

Liberty forever, freedom for all!  .

Original Post:  The Sentry Journal

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George Washington’s First State of the Union Address

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In a few weeks on January 25th President Obama will deliver his address to congress on the State of the Union.  I thought I would use today to take the opportunity to post the first State of the Union address delivered to congress by George Washington on this day 221 years ago.  At the time of the first address, 12 of the 13 colonies original colonies had already ratified the new constitution with Rhode Island the only hold out.  The debt from the war for independence was crippling the States and stifling economic growth.   The young nation faced serious threats to its security both at home and abroad and there was a large segment of society that vehemently opposed the constitution feeling it created too powerful of a central government that threatened the sovereignty of the individual States.  These were times of great angst and hope as George Washington stepped up and delivered his first address to the congress.  His words would set the tone for a nation embarking on a great journey; one of self-governance.  Below is a transcript of that first address.

The State of the Union Address of President George Washington

January 8, 1790

Fellow-Citizens of the Senate and House of Representatives:

I embrace with great satisfaction the opportunity which now presents itself of congratulating you on the present favorable prospects of our public affairs. The recent accession of the important state of North Carolina to the Constitution of the United States (of which official information has been received), the rising credit and respectability of our country, the general and increasing good will toward the government of the Union, and the concord, peace, and plenty with which we are blessed are circumstances auspicious in an eminent degree to our national prosperity.

In resuming your consultations for the general good you can not but derive encouragement from the reflection that the measures of the last session have been as satisfactory to your constituents as the novelty and difficulty of the work allowed you to hope. Still further to realize their expectations and to secure the blessings which a gracious Providence has placed within our reach will in the course of the present important session call for the cool and deliberate exertion of your patriotism, firmness, and wisdom.

Among the many interesting objects which will engage your attention that of providing for the common defense will merit particular regard. To be prepared for war is on e of the most effectual means of preserving peace.

A free people ought not only to be armed, but disciplined; to which end a uniform and well-digested plan is requisite; and their safety and interest require that they should promote such manufactories as tend to render them independent of others for essential, particularly military, supplies.

The proper establishment of the troops which may be deemed indispensable will be entitled to mature consideration. In the arrangements which may be made respecting it it will be of importance to conciliate the comfortable support of the officers and soldiers with a due regard to economy.

There was reason to hope that the pacific measures adopted with regard to certain hostile tribes of Indians would have relieved the inhabitants of our southern and western frontiers from their depredations, but you will perceive from the information contained in the papers which I shall direct to be laid before you (comprehending a communication from the Commonwealth of Virginia) that we ought to be prepared to afford protection to those parts of the Union, and, if necessary, to punish aggressors.

The interests of the United States require that our intercourse with other nations should be facilitated by such provisions as will enable me to fulfill my duty in that respect in the manner which circumstances may render most conducive to the public good, and to this end that the compensation to be made to the persons who may be employed should, according to the nature of their appointments, be defined by law, and a competent fund designated for defraying the expenses incident to the conduct of foreign affairs.

Various considerations also render it expedient that the terms on which foreigners may be admitted to the rights of citizens should be speedily ascertained by a uniform rule of naturalization.

Uniformity in the currency, weights, and measures of the United States is an object of great importance, and will, I am persuaded, be duly attended to.

The advancement of agriculture, commerce, and manufactures by all proper means will not, I trust, need recommendation; but I can not forbear intimating to you the expediency of giving effectual encouragement as well to the introduction of new and useful inventions from abroad as to the exertions of skill and genius in producing them at home, and of facilitating the intercourse between the distant parts of our country by a due attention to the post-office and post-roads.

Nor am I less persuaded that you will agree with me in opinion that there is nothing which can better deserve your patronage than the promotion of science and literature. Knowledge is in every country the surest basis of public happiness. In one in which the measures of government receive their impressions so immediately from the sense of the community as in ours it is proportionably essential.

To the security of a free constitution it contributes in various ways – by convincing those who are intrusted with the public administration that every valuable end of government is best answered by the enlightened confidence of the people, and by teaching the people themselves to know and to value their own rights; to discern and provide against invasions of them; to distinguish between oppression and the necessary exercise of lawful authority; between burthens proceeding from a disregard to their convenience and those resulting from the inevitable exigencies of society; to discriminate the spirit of liberty from that of licentiousness – cherishing the first, avoiding the last – and uniting a speedy but temperate vigilance against encroachments, with an inviolable respect to the laws.

Whether this desirable object will be best promoted by affording aids to seminaries of learning already established, by the institution of a national university, or by any other expedients will be well worthy of a place in the deliberations of the legislature.

Gentlemen of the House of Representatives:

I saw with peculiar pleasure at the close of the last session the resolution entered into by you expressive of your opinion that an adequate provision for the support of the public credit is a matter of high importance to the national honor and prosperity. In this sentiment I entirely concur; and to a perfect confidence in your best endeavors to devise such a provision as will be truly with the end I add an equal reliance on the cheerful cooperation of the other branch of the legislature.

It would be superfluous to specify inducements to a measure in which the character and interests of the United States are so obviously so deeply concerned, and which has received so explicit a sanction from your declaration.

Gentlemen of the Senate and House of Representatives:

I have directed the proper officers to lay before you, respectively, such papers and estimates as regard the affairs particularly recommended to your consideration, and necessary to convey to you that information of the state of the Union which it is my duty to afford.

The welfare of our country is the great object to which our cares and efforts ought to be directed, and I shall derive great satisfaction from a cooperation with you in the pleasing though arduous task of insuring to our fellow citizens the blessings which they have a right to expect from a free, efficient, and equal government.

GEORGE WASHINGTON

Source: University of Oklahoma, College of Law

Note the paragraph I bolded; it says it all.  We must look to the past to understand where we came from and what truly matters; liberty and freedom my friends.

Liberty forever, freedom for all!

Original Post: Sentry Journal

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The American Crisis

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From 1776 to 1783 Thomas Paine published sixteen pamphlets known as The American Crisis.  These pamphlets were crafted to inspire the colonists during the turbulent times of the American Revolution.  The first was released on December 23, 1776.  What makes this pamphlet so vital in our country’s history is that Thomas Paine crafted the right words for the right time during the early days of our struggle for independence.  Those words inspired General Washington into action.  The pamphlet, was read aloud to the Continental army on December 23, 1776, two days before the Battle of Trenton.  The first paragraph from it was a call for courage and perseverance.

These are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives everything its value. Heaven knows how to put a proper price upon its goods; and it would be strange indeed if so celestial an article as freedom should not be highly rated. Britain, with an army to enforce her tyranny, has declared that she has a right (not only to tax) but “to bind us in all cases whatsoever,” and if being bound in that manner, is not slavery, then is there not such a thing as slavery upon earth. Even the expression is impious; for so unlimited a power can belong only to God.

It was December 1776 and all appeared lost after the Continental Army met with defeat after defeat against a better trained and more organized enemy.  The British felt the rebellion was crushed and George Washington was nothing more than an annoyance.  Below is an excerpt from the New World Encyclopedia

“General Washington was faced with overwhelming military odds and the certain destruction of the American colonies’ quest for independence. Twelve thousand British troops were slowed only by weather in their unopposed advance across New Jersey. Facing separate army groups under the seasoned commands of British Generals Howe, and Cornwallis, Washington knew his options were limited. A keen student of history and a former officer of the Virginia Regiment in the British Army, George Washington was well aware this enemy had not lost a war in centuries.”

“His remaining 2,400 men on the western bank of the Delaware River huddled nine miles north of the Hessian encampment at Trenton had few choices. They were surrounded by unfriendly locals who believed the revolution all but lost, and tradesmen unwilling to extend credit. They were cold and hungry and for many their enlistments were up in less than one week. In the face of certain and permanent defeat, Washington chose Christmas Day, 1776, to sling his stone at the goliath’s forehead.”

I have chosen this precise moment in our nation’s history because the events and actions of patriots in the past can still inspire the American spirit.  George Washington and his 2,400 men on that cold December day decided that liberty, freedom, and self governance were worth fighting for.  With scarce provisions, little food, and inadequate winter clothes, they attacked and defeated a better trained Hessian force against all the odds.  We are all blessed that such men lived.

Today an oppressive wind is blowing from the East and Americans are standing at a crossroads and must again decide if liberty, freedom, and self governance are worth fighting for.  Our economy is a mess.  Our politicians are corrupt.  And many feel that we have lost our way.  Has the great experiment failed us or have we failed it?  I can’t help but return to the words of Thomas Paine; “These are the times that try men’s souls.”  Do you have the courage and perseverance to see this through?  Are you willing to stand up for the Republic and the Constitution?  Or do you shrink from the service of your country?

These are questions you must ask yourself, because America is indeed in crisis again.

Liberty forever, freedom for all!

Original Post: The Current

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