Foundational Study

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FOUNDATIONAL STUDY

PREFACE

The gift of Liberty was purchased for us with great sacrifice.  The men and women at our founding understood that Liberty is a gift from God and that all God’s gifts are worth our effort.  John Adams, in a letter to his wife Abigail in 1777, reminds us of the charge we have to ensure that the gift of Liberty is not squandered.

“Posterity you will never know how much it cost the present generation to preserve your freedom!  I hope you will make a good use of it.  If you do not, I shall repent in Heaven that I ever took half the pains to preserve it.”

We must heed the warnings of history and make every effort to pass on the gift of Liberty to future generations.  We cannot do that if we lose our history.  Too often history is revised in ways that demean America’s founders and undermine America’s foundation.  By allowing lies to be taught to our sons and daughters, we dishonor those who gave so much, and Liberty is put in peril.

We are not trying to give the founders some divine status or even attribute to them a level of perfection that they did not have.  John Adams himself had some serious lapses in judgment when it came to honoring his oath.  We must understand that our nation was not founded upon people, but upon principles. The people that gave us our exceptional American principles were flawed vessels just like you and us. However, the amazing part of this history is that those flawed men understood that the foundation of an enduring nation must be Liberty and that Liberty is only maintained by a society founded in a shared morality. As Thomas Jefferson stated, “The politician who loves Liberty sees them with regret as a gulf that may swallow up the liberty to which he is devoted.  He knows that morality overthrown; the terror of despotism can alone curb the impetuous passions of man and confine him within the bounds of social duty.”

Our founders knew that Liberty is a combination of two equally important parts – it is FREEDOM under the constraints of a SHARED MORALITY.  Liberty cannot survive where there is pure freedom.  Pure freedom is man doing whatever is right in his own mind regardless of what it does to others: cheat, lie, steal, murder.  Pure freedom is chaos.  At the same time, Liberty cannot survive with moral law alone.  Moral law not mingled with freedom is theocracy.  Theocracy in the hands of men is tyranny in the name of religion.  Our founders attempted to give us the balance and secure the blessings of Liberty for us in our founding documents.  When we abandon our founding documents and disregard our moral foundations as we are doing today, Liberty is put in peril.

Thomas Jefferson warned, “Can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of people that these liberties are a gift from God?

Ben Franklin cautioned America’s founders during the Constitutional Convention:

In the beginning of the Contest with Great Britain, when we were sensible of danger, we had daily prayer in this room for Divine protection…All of us who were engaged in the struggle must have observed frequent instances of Superintending Providence in our favor…have we forgotten the powerful Friend?  or do we imagine we no longer need His assistance...God Governs in the affairs of men.  And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without His notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without His aid?”

Patrick Henry said “Three million 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 the destinies of nations, and who will raise up friends to fight our battles for us.”

Our founders had a strong sense of something greater that themselves.  Thomas Jefferson reminds us of that, “We are not in a world ungoverned by the laws and the power of a Superior Agent.  Our efforts are in His hand and directed by it; and He will give them their effect in His own time.

Yet when man begins to amass almost god-like, unchecked power all sense of moral restraint is tossed aside.  When such men have control over the mechanisms that shape society, namely government and its institutions, tyranny is the natural result.  Our nation has been in a constant struggle to evermore expand the boundaries of Liberty while pushing back the tyranny of the power-hungry and the amoral.  The battle rages still.  Today the rising tides of apathy, corruption, greed, deceit, and gross immorality threaten to overwhelm the bulwarks erected by our founders.  It will take courageous and tireless effort to return this nation to balance. 

It has been because of the principles of freedom and morality that America with all of its imperfections has been the haven of rest when tyrants oppress their own.  She has been the vineyard of innovation and opportunity.  This is the nation that opens its arms to the tired, to the poor, to the oppressed, to the huddled masses yearning to breathe free.  No other nation can claim this legacy; no other people have this birthright.  This is the shining city upon a hill, and if we let the light go out, there will be darkness for generations around the world.  We must revive the knowledge of our nation’s history and of its foundations.  We need a REVOLUTION OF THE MIND.

We need to learn anew that we have an exceptional nation where “all men are created equal and endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights;” a nation birthed by the principle that the power of the government is to be held BY the people and not where the government holds power OVER the people; a nation that believes the principle that says all are free to worship according to the dictates of their own conscience, and all are equally free.  A nation that has prospered based on the principle that ideas and hard work open the door to prosperity regardless of bloodline, skin color, or social status; a nation that has remained free because the citizens maintain the right to defend self, property, and Liberty.  This is the nation we are fighting for, and exceptional nation founded on exceptional principles.  Those principles have been enshrined in our founding documents.  If those documents are destroyed, the foundation is lost.  If the foundation is lost, the whole structure crumbles under the weight of unbridled tyranny.

In the words of Daniel Webster, “Is our Constitution worth preserving?  Guard it as you would guard the seat of your life, guard it not only against the open blows of violence, but also against the spirit of change…Miracles do not cluster.  That which has happened but once in six thousand years, cannot be expected to happen often.  Such a government, once destroyed, would have a void to be filled, perhaps for centuries, with evolution and tumult, riot, and despotism.

So, in these difficult times, let us keep a “laser focus” on what is important.  In this day it is popular to denigrate America for every little flaw.  Why not take back a bit of American Exceptionalism?  Why not embrace what makes us different from every other nation on the planet?  America is an exceptional nation because we are built on exceptional principles that were enshrined in our founding documents – principles of Liberty, freedom, morality, and equality as derived from our Creator.  And these principles are STILL WORTH FIGHTING FOR.

The United States of America is the greatest free country to ever exist!  It is the only nation to ever be established as a Christian nation.  It is the only nation which inculcated the precepts of the Bible and Christianity into one great political experiment.  Speaking of this, the famed French philosopher Alexis De Tocqueville wrote, “On my arrival in the United States, the religious aspect of the country was the first thing that struck my attention; and the longer I stayed there, the more I perceived the great political consequences resulting from this new state of things.  In France I had almost always seen the spirit of religion and the spirit of freedom marching in opposite directions.  But in America I found they were intimately united and that they reigned in common over the same country.”  He also said, “The Americans combine the notions of Christianity and of liberty so intimately in their minds that it is impossible to make them conceive the one without the other.”

Our American heritage is a rich one.  It is incumbent upon every American to read and know our history if we are to appreciate and preserve the Liberty which was so dearly purchased by our founding fathers.

Unfortunately, our public educational institutions, which are dominated by liberals and leftists, do not want our posterity to know their history.  Much of the material contained in this study in the past was readily available in even the elementary grades of our nation’s schools. The “Farewell Address” of President George Washington, for, example, was a required reading in most schools until about four decades ago.  Alas, it is no more!  Our great heritage is hidden from young and old alike.  Multiculturalism and liberalism have completely rewritten and unwritten the great deeds and documents of our forefathers.  If there is any mention or our heritage, it is usually clouded in negativity and skepticism.  Noticeably absent is the Godly faith of the patriots.  Yes, their written and spoken words are filled with references to God and the Scriptures and their reverence for them. 

In compiling the material contained in this study we searched “high and low”.  We searched computer-based bulletin boards on university campuses and private online services.  We scanned libraries and private collections.  We cannot guarantee that every document is perfectly copied.  We can assure the reader that every effort was made to be completely accurate.  We apologize for any discrepancies or errors you may discover.

This study is offered with the hope and prayer that you will once again discover your Rights, and our country’s great history and heritage.  You now have in this study, the great documents that testify to our faith and freedom.  But, as Benjamin Franklin said, “Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty.”  We must do more than read our history, we must preserve our future!  If America is to remain strong and free, we must demonstrate those same attributes of courage and conviction which gripped our forefathers.  To that end this study is dedicated.

 

We're committed to showing you the truth in a World consumed by lies...

 In 1620, two hundred and twenty-eight years before the Marx/Engels Communist Manifesto, the Pilgrim leadership set up a system of communal living and harvesting of crops as they shared their living quarters, farming and hunting practices with their neighbors. That flawed system led them almost to the brink of starvation.  

Socialism is, and always will be, a colossal failure. This is for the simple reason even the best of men eventually grow tired of getting ripped off. An entire economy based on theft – even legalized theft – cannot possibly work.

We are told the only reason socialism has never worked is the right people haven't been in charge. Well, if there were ever a group of men who were the right people to put in charge of an experiment in socialism, it was our Pilgrim forebearers.

They were godly, steeped in Scripture, and pure in motive. As Governor Bradford said, these were "good and honest men." In fact, the entire purpose of their relocation to the New World was for "the glory of God and the advancement of the Christian faith." (Yes, America was founded as a Christian nation.)

Michael Franc, former Distinguished Fellow at the Heritage Foundation:
“Writing in his diary of the dire economic straits and self-destructive behavior that consumed his fellow Puritans shortly after their arrival, Governor William Bradford painted a picture of destitute settlers selling their clothes and bed coverings for food while others "became servants to the Indians," cutting wood and fetching water in exchange for "a capful of corn." The most desperate among them starved, with Bradford recounting how one settler, in gathering shellfish along the shore, "was so weak … he stuck fast in the mud and was found dead in the place."

The colony's leaders identified the source of their problem as a particularly vile form of what Bradford called "communism." Property in Plymouth Colony, he observed, was communally owned and cultivated. This system ("taking away of property and bringing [it] into a commonwealth") bred "confusion and discontent" and "retarded much employment that would have been to [the settlers'] benefit and comfort."

Brink of Extermination

The most able and fit young men in Plymouth thought it an "injustice" that they were paid the same as those "not able to do a quarter the other could." Women, meanwhile, viewed the communal chores they were required to perform for others as a form of "slavery."

On the brink of extermination, the Colony's leaders changed course and allotted a parcel of land to each settler, hoping the private ownership of farmland would encourage self-sufficiency and lead to the cultivation of more corn and other foodstuffs.

As Adam Smith would have predicted, this new system worked famously. "This had very good success," Bradford reported, "for it made all hands very industrious." In fact, "much more corn was planted than otherwise would have been" and productivity increased. "Women," for example, "went willingly into the field, and took their little ones with them to set corn."

The famine that nearly wiped out the Pilgrims in 1623 gave way to a period of agricultural abundance that enabled the Massachusetts settlers to set down permanent roots in the New World, prosper, and play an indispensable role in the ultimate success of the American experiment.

A profoundly religious man, Bradford saw the hand of God in the Pilgrims' economic recovery. Their success, he observed, "may well evince the vanity of that conceit...that the taking away of property... would make [men] happy and flourishing; as if they were wiser than God." Bradford surmised, "God in his wisdom saw another course fitter for them."”

Their salvation stemmed not so much from the charitable gestures of local Indians, but from their courageous decision to embrace the free-market principle of private property ownership a century and a half before Adam Smith wrote The Wealth of Nations.

How Many Progressives (Communists) Know This Today?

The Pilgrims set up the Plymouth Colony to operate according to the classic Marxist dictum of "from each according to his ability, to each according to his need." A "common stock" was created into which all capital and profit – from trade, working, fishing, etc. – was to be deposited for seven years, at which point the spoils would be divided equally. Along the way, the colonists would be able to dip into the common stock as necessary for food and clothing.

It was nice in hypothesis but abysmal in practice. Governor William Bradford described the whole experiment as a "failure" because it was predicated on "the taking away of private property," a violation of at least two of the ten commandments (the ones against stealing and coveting). They only tried this, he rued, because they thought they were "wiser than God."

The result, as is always the case with socialism and communism, was "much confusion and discontent" and a catastrophic reduction in productivity. The able and hardworking single men began to resent spending their time and labor working for other men's families with nothing to show for it.

The older men got the same share as the younger, which they thought was fundamentally unfair and a display of "disrespect" for their wisdom and maturity. The wives who wound up doing cooking and laundry for other men began to chafe under the arrangement as "a kind of slavery," and their husbands naturally wanted their energy to be focused on their own homes and families.

The whole experiment was a disaster, a breeding ground for resentment, bitterness, and a profound sense of injustice. Bradford makes it clear the failure was due "to this communistic plan of life in itself" and not because the right people weren't running things.

The solution to the Pilgrims' dilemma was good, old-fashioned capitalism and free enterprise. Each man was allowed "to plant corn for his own household" on a "parcel of land" that was his own.

"This," said Bradford, "was very successful. It made all hands very industrious, so much more corn was planted than otherwise would have been by any means the Governor or any other could devise, and saved him a great deal of trouble, and gave far better satisfaction.”

"The women now went willing into the fields and took their little ones with them to plant corn, while before they would allege weakness and inability, and to have compelled them would have been thought great tyranny and oppression."

Each was given his own property to work and develop as he chose. Each man was responsible to work with his own hands to provide for himself and for his family. Each man was able to keep the fruit of his own labor.

Everyone had the same opportunity, and what they did with opportunity was up to them. Their unalienable Right to "the pursuit of happiness" was at last protected.

The Plymouth Colony flourished and became both a cautionary tale and a shining example for subsequent generations. Its story must be taught to every young American in every home and every school as an antidote to the mindless big-government utopianism that has seeped into so many young minds.

As the philosopher George Santayana once said, "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." God preserves history for us so we do not have to learn every lesson the hard way. Let's save ourselves, our children, and their children after them a boatload of trouble by applying the lessons the Plymouth Colony teaches us. Generations yet unborn will thank us.

Watch the Video

VIDEO: Pathway to Liberty:  The Forefathers Monument