Looking Back might Help…

In today’s very troubled world, as threats & turmoil seem to increase almost daily, concerned citizens of the United States would want to be able to choose hope. But faced with such constant danger & unrest around the globe, when ‘around the globe’ can be as close as your television screen, or iPad, it is often hard to maintain optimism, isn’t it?

Fortifying me in this regard are periodic visits back to our Revolutionary beginnings. A wealth of understanding and vision abides in the words of our Founders. Renewed faith, hope and joy are so often the treasures I bring back with me, after time spent in a meeting of the minds with such as George Washington, or Thomas Jefferson. These men, and their compatriots, lived in a time of boundless possibilities. We’ve ‘been there, done that’ and may be sadly jaded, or deadened, but not so those stellar patriots that gave us, and in fact ARE our heritage. Like the blood of Abel, these men “still speak”.

To renew your hope for America, it might be helpful to catch a glimpse of how our Founders saw her…and us. We are not separate from them. Though over two centuries have passed, and technology, industry and corporations have transformed our lifestyles – there yet remain those voices from the times when quill & ink on parchment, and horse & carriage were the order of the day. There yet remains in many of us the blood & spirit of the patriot. Some may not realize it – but they will, with God’s help.

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Today, we know that America prevailed in her war for independence. Now, it seems obvious that it should have been our victory, and those who deliberated, decided & fought that Revolutionary War knew they would triumph. We sit assured that we were meant to win. But back then, they were not assured. The Founders did not know. No militia fighter, nor soldier in the Continental Army, knew. A victorious outcome was not a foregone conclusion in their minds.

Afterwards, Washington speaks of “…the magnitude of the prize we contended for…. (We today, who by inheritance daily partake of this glorious prize, possibly do not view it that way. We need to be reminded.)  Washington had seen the coming battle as being not only for the liberation of the thirteen colonies from English tyranny, but for the rights of all mankind. He believed that ‘the destiny of unborn millions’ would be impacted by whether America stood, or fell, during and after her Revolution. Before 56 other valiant patriots counted this struggle to the death as being worthy of their lives & fortunes, and so declared it in writing, George Washington did the same: “It is my full intention, to devote my life and fortune, in the cause we are engaged in, if needful.”  

He knew the outcome was doubtful, and spent “many anxious days and watchful nights” in the pursuit of that outcome.  The Founding Fathers in general were intensely aware of ‘the improbability of their undertaking’, according toArthur M. Schlesinger informs us that author of The Cycles of American History.  The mighty Roman Empire, which Alexander Hamilton considered to be ‘the utmost height of human greatness’ (The Federalist) - and to which the fathers of our republic turned for instruction in achieving their own aspirations of free men governing themselves – fell nonetheless.  Why would one presume the thirteen colonies could do any better?   

And yet, as it came to pass“…the glorious events which Heaven has been pleased to produce in our favor”  Washington considered to be “the parent of future happiness”. How many of us believe that ‘Heaven was pleased’ to grant us this prize? Such an advantageous outcome Washington called “the greatest possible reason for gratitude and rejoicing.”

This Founder, about to retire (he thought) after leading the thirteen colonies through an eight-year-long war, must have known a depth of satisfaction few ever will. He saw this land as being a “theatre…designated by Providence for the display of human greatness and felicity” and as being given “a fairer opportunity for political happiness than any other nation.”

How can we today read such words so full of import, almost bursting from General Washington’s heart, and not be even just slightly encouraged? Going forward, maybe some of us might know a renewed spark of excitement.

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Note:  Unless otherwise specified, quotes referenced above are taken from “George Washington: In His Own Words” (Maureen Harrison & Steve Gilbert, eds.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

More than just a Signature

Have you ever heard of Francis Lewis?  Does the name Abraham Clark ring a bell?  How about John Hart?

Some of you may have guessed that these are the names of three of the men who, along with 53 others, signed that most historic of all documents, the Declaration of Independence.  But do you know their stories?  In fact, do you know anything about any of those men who pledged their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor for the cause of freedom?  We all know about Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin, but the majority of these forefathers of ours remain in obscurity for most of us, I imagine.

This shouldn’t be.

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I believe with all my heart that those Founding Fathers with whom we are all familiar were destined by God Himself to be our Founding Fathers.  I also believe that each of the 56 men who signed our Declaration of Independence were brought forth for that ultimate purpose.  America was not a coincidence, not just the result of a sequence of events.

A man who became known as “one of New York City’s leading radicals” in the Revolutionary cause began his life as a preacher’s son in Wales.  How did the young Welshman Francis Lewis, born across the ocean and educated in Scotland & London, become a founding member of the Sons of Liberty and a signatory of the Declaration of Independence of the United States of America?

 “…for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me…calling…the man that executes my counsel from a far country…” (Isaiah 46: 9, 11)

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A man who involves himself in the forging of a nation, whose heart and passion compel him to break away from safety and ‘security’ to answer the call of liberty, must be a man of a certain character. Certain circumstances in a person’s life can build such

Francis Lewis, Signer of the Declaration of Independence

a character.  It is significant to me that both George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, men extraordinaire, lost their fathers at an early age.  They grew up without the supporting structure of a fully-orbed family, and I would surmise developed leadership qualities that may not have otherwise become a part of their personalities. The willingness to risk and to assume responsibility would be indispensable elements in a founding father.  The loss of one’s earthly father early in life could surely contribute to the development of those characteristics.

Francis Lewis was an orphan by the age of 5.  Records do not appear to indicate just how he lost both parents so young, but he did, and thus entered the ranks of those stellar Founding Fathers who possibly led the way because they had lost their own father early in life.

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Lewis was brought up by an unmarried aunt, who “saw to it that he studied in Scotland…and later attended the prestigious Westminster School in London.”  Lewis’ interests led him into the field of mercantile pursuits, and eventually he established himself as an independent businessman.  A property inheritance from his deceased father,  converted to merchandise, made it possible for Francis to travel to New York & Philadelphia, where he set up shop around 1735.

(I cannot help but think that, tragic as it would’ve been for a 5-year-old boy to become fatherless, because of that, Francis inherited the means that brought him from Wales to American shores.  Because he was here, events continued to transpire in his life that brought him to that point where, quill poised above parchment, he pledged life, fortune and honor to the Revolutionary cause.)

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Over time, Lewis expanded his business to include foreign trade endeavors, making several trans-Atlantic trading voyages to ports in Europe & Africa.  Though not without setbacks, Lewis’ business prospered to the extent that he retired at age 52, in 1761.  By the time he signed the Declaration of Independence, his estimated wealth ranked him fifth among its signers  (Encyclopedia of American Wealth). Again, because he was brought here, events continued to transpire in his life that brought him to that point where “…the wealth that he had acquired was freely expended in the service of his country.”  (Descendants of the Signers of the Declaration of Independence)  Lewis’ success in his prior business dealings served the American Revolution well.

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“…in the procurement field, the supply chiefs relied upon the experience and the knowledge of the colonial merchants.”

When those first shots were fired at Lexington & Concord in April, 1775, the colonies did not have in place the systems, organization nor personnel to wage a victorious war.  Initially, those colonists who fought for our freedom from Great Britain were militia men, not actual army recruits. In a military endeavor of such impending magnitude, it was imperative that the various New England  states begin raising armies.  They did, evolving them from their respective militias.  By June, the volunteer army that resulted was reinforced by ten rifle companies (from Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware & Virginia), provided by the Continental Congress, which assumed leadership.  The Continental Army was born.

The importance of both men and supplies in military operations is a given; any leader worthy of that title would certainly know this.  But it is suggested that few envisioned such protracted Revolutionary battles, and as a result colonial leaders did not appreciate{d} the scope of the support required by an army.”  And because militia usually provided their own food, clothing & weapons where possible, there existed a lack of practical experience with supply agencies among this new army’s leadership.

“Of particular importance to supply were two committees established in the fall of 1775…Congress created a Secret Committee of nine members.”  This committee was concerned with procuring supplies abroad and obtaining foreign aid.

Francis Lewis was a member of that Secret Committee.

As a member of the Secret Committee, he worked to procure clothing for uniforms, arms & ammunition, and food supplies for the colonists.  “…most, if not all, of their purchasing deputies were merchants. The merchant alone had the knowledge, the trade connections, and the necessary credit to handle procurement. For the most part, his business was a personal venture in which he utilized his personal connections and took advantage of the mutual patronage they afforded him.”  The U.S Army Center of Military History reports that merchants such as Francis Lewis “…utilized their own credit to obtain supplies and incurred debts for which they were personally liable”, serving as shipper, banker, wholesaler, retailer, warehouseman, and insurer.  Records found on the Library of Congress’ website show even the casual reader how involved Francis Lewis was, and what meticulous detail he employed in his commitment to the Revolutionary cause.

(Quotes from the above & below section taken from The U.S Army Center of Military History ) 

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I go into the details that I have, concerning the issues of supplying the Continental Army and Francis Lewis’ involvement in it, because:

“Without the foreign aid secured by these committees, however, the supply services could not have provided enough support to keep the Continental Army in the field, nor could the Revolutionary War have been brought to a successful conclusion.”

Without patriots such as Francis Lewis, the colonies wouldn’t have made it.  You & I sit here reading this article today because a Francis Lewis pledged his talents and fortune, and indeed risked being hanged as a traitor, to wrestle our liberty from the jaws of the lion.

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But Mr. Lewis’ story doesn’t stop here…I’m not quite done with him yet, there’s a bit more to tell…

I mentioned earlier that I believe the signers of the Declaration of Independence were destined by God to be the signers.  It is my contention that if you are destined for something, no force in heaven or on earth, nor under the earth! can stop you from achieving it.

But that doesn’t mean certain forces won’t try!  They may attempt to wreak their havoc through various means, from just plain nuisances to life-threatening plots, but they won’t succeed.  In Mr. Lewis’ case, there were several attempts made:  a) during the course of his trans-Atlantic business trips prior to his Revolutionary War involvement, Lewis “…twice suffered shipwreck off the Irish coast.” (ColonialHall.com)   b) prior to his joining the Revolutionary cause, Lewis (as a Welshman & a merchant in the colonies) served the British forces during the French & Indian War by functioning as a supply agent. He was at Fort Oswego in the summer of 1756, conducting business, when the fort was attacked by the French.  During the battle, the British commander Colonel Mersey was killed.  Lewis was standing right next to him.*  And c) to add fuel to the fire, when the fort was surrendered to the French, though humane treatment was promised, its commander General de Montcalm allowed the Indians to take 30 prisoners.  Guess who was one of them…

Things were not looking good for Francis Lewis, were they?  It wasn’t until 1763 – seven years later – that Lewis  was finally returned home to America.

* (George Washington had a similar experience.)  

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In this world, the devil certainly seems to have power.  Up to a point.  But in the final outcome, God trumps all.  Though Lewis was held prisoner by the Indians and later the French, when he was released, the British government awarded him 5000 acres of land in New York as compensation for those lost years.  As a result of this property acquirement, Lewis was able to re-establish his businesses, making “a large fortune” – which, as earlier stated, served the American Revolution well.

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Though a Welshman when he arrived in New York City in 1734, Francis Lewis’ loyalties were eventually turned to the American cause of  independence from Great Britain by the issue of taxation without representation.  His retirement in 1761 left him free to become active in public life.  He was present at the Stamp Act Congress in 1765, a founding member of the Sons of Liberty, and a member of the Committee of Fifty-One in New York.  He served in establishing New York’s new government, and was elected their delegate in both the First & Second Continental Congresses.

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Though Lewis himself did not physically fight in the war nor suffer loss of limb, in a sense, he lost his wife to the Revolutionary War.

In late summer,1776, after brutally pillaging his home, British forces took her captive.  It is said that she was already in poor health at that time (Snopes),  and records indicate she was abused and ill-treated in prison.  Though General Washington intervened and effected her release after several months, Elizabeth Lewis never fully recovered.  In June, 1779, she passed from this earth.

Lewis lived another 24 years as a widower.  He died in 1803.

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Constitutional Sovereignty…Yay or Nay?

 “The American response should be that we recognize no higher earthly authority than the Constitution, which no valid treaty can supersede or diminish.”  

 (John R. Bolton, Senior Fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, concerning ‘international law’ versus Constitutional authority)

    

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In the Hillsdale College lecture series “Introduction to the Constitution”,  Part 4,  Dr. Larry Arnn, president of the College, distinguishes between Constitutional rule and bureaucratic, centralized government rule.  Both, he points out, are at work in our nation today.  He believes the time is coming when Americans will have to make a choice.  He uses the analogy of a house divided, stating that it cannot remain so indefinitely.  I wish he were wrong, but I fear he is not.  I wonder if the majority of Americans realize that such a crisis situation is and has been developing in our country, and that a day of reckoning may be appearing on our national horizon in our lifetimes.  If many American citizens are not even aware that liberty-threatening danger exists, how will they know what path & course to choose to avert that danger, when they are asked to do so?  Or when they must do so?

I cannot emphasize enough the importance of upholding the Constitution of the United States of America.  As I am not  a student of Constitutional law, I can only assume that interpreting it must often prove to be complicated, depending on circumstances – not so black and white.  Yet, in seeking this ultimate goal of upholding the Constitution, there are no shades of gray.  To the very best of our ability, abiding by this powerful founding document is the only wise choice for those who love liberty.

Our Constitution was not something created to be pushed aside or dismissed.  According to Dr. Arnn, the very word ‘constitution’ embodies the idea of something very big being set firmly in place.  In comparison to its predecessor, the Articles of Confederation, the Constitution waxed triumphant. Whereas the Articles allowed for no executive, judicial, taxing or enforcement powers to be given the central government of the new young nation, the Constitution authorized, arranged, and yet restrained these things for the common good.  Whereas the Articles rendered the government of those days so impotent that George Washington attributed the near-disaster at Valley Forge to it, and Thomas Jefferson, in a still Revolutionary 1781, lamented the future of the United States to be “going down hill” because of this weakness, the Constitution granted the government, through Congress, the right & duty to remedy such potential catastrophes. Congress was given the right to prepare for & declare war. (Article I, Sections 8.11 – 8.16)  The Articles of Confederation merely bonded the states in a “firm league of friendship with each other.”  Without some centralized authority, States could and often did disregard requests from a government that had no power.  Bickering & animosities, boundary quarrels, commerce and money issues developed between states.  Civil officials and American representatives overseas went unpaid, as well as our soldiers, who then mutinied.  State sovereignty was operating on overkill, resulting in riots, mobs, revolts, exorbitant taxation & business closures. Talk of monarchy was beginning to be heard, even among its opponents.  George Washington saw conditions “…fast verging to anarchy and confusion.”  He wrote, “I do not conceive we can exist long as a nation without having lodged somewhere a power, which will pervade the whole Union…”   (Robert G. Athearn, The American Heritage Illustrated History of the United States, Vol. 4,  p.282,283 )   Radical government restructuring was critical to the survival of the United States of America. A convention called for the purpose of revising the Articles of Confederation produced instead the supreme law of the land, the Constitution of the United States of America.

And that has made all the difference.

Scene at the Signing of the Constitution of the United States, by Howard Chandler Christy

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With the exception of the Internet and technological advancement in every area, I would submit that any kind of situation or crisis that may develop today existed back in the days of America’s founding.  Essentially, people are the same. We still want and need the same things today as our forefathers and their families did back then.  Sure, travel & communications time is greatly reduced and weapons have much greater destructive capabilities, but the people who produced these commodities & inventions…still people like those who sat in the Constitutional Convention, like those who signed the Declaration of Independence.  Saints & sinners alike.  Perhaps impatient, wanting freedom and/or power, needing to eat, wanting to socialize & marry…with the potential for both good & evil…able to think and speak and act.

We, and they, can go or could’ve gone either way, towards liberty, towards love…or over to the dark side.  (Sometimes within the same hour!)  So my question is, if this Constitution of the United States of America pulled a struggling, near desperate nation out of the jaws of the lion back then, and lifted her to heights only dreamed of  & debated about by other societies in other times, why would abiding by its principles not prove just as effective and beneficial today?

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“…the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God…”

These terms – ‘the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God’ – made their first appearance in The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America – our Declaration of Independence – in its opening words.  “When in the course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them to another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal stations to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them…”  Accordingly, it would follow that all else contained within this document, and any other document based on or springing from this Declaration, would be built upon & around these foundational realities.

So a problem arises if one doesn’t really believe that such a concept as ‘Laws of Nature’ is in fact a reality. Or if it is a reality, but not such a priority that an entire new nation & system of government should revolve around it!

When I first embarked upon my journey into the Founding of America, those words troubled me. Only vaguely, and not enough to search out further answers, but…my knowledge of the Scriptures, and spiritual reality, seemed to contradict what the greatest document in American history, and possibly the history of the world, clearly espoused, without question. Because other strong evidences pointed to the hand of God in America’s founding, just as clearly, I disregarded these troubling apparent contradictions. For me, the one outweighed the other. But it would be so much better if I could find a resolution to this dilemma.

My previous understanding of the ‘laws of nature’ was determined by the Biblical concept of natural versus spiritual. Scripture speaks of the natural man in terms that are not exactly glowing, and clearly juxtapositions him against that far more desirable state, the spiritual man. The very unlovely  ‘works of the flesh’ (Galatians 5:19) fall into this ‘natural man’ category listing, and they only get worse, spiraling downward. So you can see why my impression of the ‘laws of nature’ left me wary. And if the Declaration of Independence was founded on such, then…could I truly be in agreement with it? Were some parts of it antithetical to my Christian faith?

Well…Scripture shares with us the concepts of the ‘letter of the law’ as opposed to the ‘spirit of the law’. We are informed that the letter kills, but the spirit gives life. One trumps the other. I have wondered if perhaps this ‘laws of nature’ idea somehow could be resolved within such a framework. But my musings are just that, my musings, and I’ve needed weightier, far more authoritative & definitive answers.

Enter Marcus Tullius Cicero.

Although I knew in a general way that our Founders drew from the theories of ancient Roman & Greek philosophers, orators, and statesmen, etc., in forming our republic, that was all I knew. I may have been reluctant to delve into such historical background, viewing such times & cultures as heathen, and not knowing how to ‘come to terms’ with such facts. Regardless, Marcus Tullius Cicero was considered to be our Founding Fathers’ favorite expositor of Natural Law. And as I’ve begun to learn from Cicero’s perspective about this Natural Law, I’ve found that I need to do a complete 180, as the saying goes. Natural Law turns out to be the exact opposite of what I thought it was!

Cicero was born and died before Christ appeared on the earth. He did not sit at the feet of Jesus, nor learn of such things as were taught or performed by Him. Born in a small town about 60 miles southeast of Rome, Cicero was brought up in a society that has been considered ‘pagan’. Yet even so, during the course of his life, Cicero’s contemplations & observations led him beyond the veil of visible phenomena to see “the brilliant intelligence of a supreme Designer with an ongoing interest in both human and cosmic affairs.” (W. Cleon Skousen, The 5000 Year Leap). The heavens declare the glory of God…day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge. (Psalm 19, v.1-2) Marcus Tullius Cicero was given to see and hear these things. God causes the light to shine out of darkness.

Having established in his own thinking the reality of a Creator, Cicero also established a belief in a system of laws set in place by that Creator. In Book Two of his landmark work de Legibus (Latin: On the laws) Cicero writes that law does not, and cannot, begin with men. Men are rather the instruments of a higher wisdom which governs the entire earth. That wisdom, inherent within the Creator, dwells within His laws, laws that would produce & insure the best quality of life possible on earth, in every area, from individual relationships to national government. According to W. Cleon Skousen (mentioned above), Cicero concluded “The Creator’s order of things is called Natural Law”.

Our Founders concurred.

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“As all the ages of the world have not produced a greater statesman and philosopher united than Cicero, his authority should have great weight.”- John Adams ( Mortimer N. S. Sellers, American republicanism: Roman Ideology in the United States )

Thomas Jefferson, in an 1825 letter to Henry Lee, named Cicero as a major figure shaping American understanding of “the common sense” basis for the right of revolution, and as a contributor to the tradition “of public right” that informed his draft of the Declaration of Independence. (Morton Frisch and Richard Stevens,eds., The Political Thought of American Statesmen)

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“…to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal stations to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them…”

Knowing now the sure foundation upon which our Declaration of Independence was framed, and the entire American experiment, way of life & government has been built, has stunned me. Somehow, everything has become more real. If ever I believed that the hand of God has always been at work in the birthing & existence of America, I believe it even more so now. I believe it with complete abandon.

Marcus Tullius Cicero, way before our time and yet, a powerful voice from that past which has had more influence on your life & my life today then we ever knew. Perhaps just as Cyrus, heathen king of ancient Persia, was stirred up by God to build Him a house (2 Chronicles 22, 23), so Cicero was stirred to be a mouthpiece for the Lord, declaring His existence & laws to a foreign land, and pointing to the glory of a  society yet to come, based on those laws.

…1776 yet Continues in my Heart…

“…those who study…the American Revolution and the years immediately  following it cannot escape the conclusion that this was…one of the great periods of history in which to be alive.”   (Robert G. Athearn, A New Nation, American Heritage Illustrated History of the United States, Volume 4)

We live our lives day-to-day, so many similar details & routines swallowing up those days.  This is the nature of things.  Pretty much unavoidable for many of us.  For me, these details & routines play out in the United States of America, the land first set aside for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Considering this, it seems that my experiences here should be much more vividly colored!  They should be pulsing, thrilling, and rivetingly focused.

Well, much of the time, they are not.

Splotched  on top of what they are not,  frequently enough to weigh me down, are  forays into things Islamic and Middle Eastern.  I am led down the paths of the knowledge of jihad, sharia law, homeland security, and counter-terrorism.  Because of these things, I have also felt the weight of the glory of profound honor for our troops.  Because of these things, every day, more & more I deeply respect and highly value all those who serve in our covert operations, our surveillance and our intelligence missions.  

I can live the life that I do, the way that I do it, because these men & women, these soldiers & patriots, serve, defend & protect the American homeland and the American way.  They make it possible.  Because they make it possible, the environment necessary for freedom to flourish and be maintained yet continues.  In that environment may yet continue debates over Constitutionality, national and political challenges, government scandals…protests, strikes & sit-ins…the good, the bad & the ugly can continue to come and go in these United  States of America.  And if you have the eyes and heart to see it, amidst & throughout it all, is the spirit of the men & women who started this ball rolling over 235 years ago.

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Let’s take Congress, for instance…

If you’ve heard it once, you’ve heard it a million times – the American people complaining about their elected representatives in the House & Senate.  I am not saying the complaints are without good reason – I’m just saying, complaints frequently abound!

Well, so it was in 1783.

Of course, the scenario at that time was quite different from today’s.  The United States of America was barely just born.  Can you even imagine it?!!  On the verge of a final peace treaty with her former monarch, a fully free and independent new nation, burgeoning with magnificence, her potential boundless.  Where, oh where to begin?  Most fortunately for America, “Never has a young nation been so richly endowed with vigorous leaders” because  she “…had need of all the brilliance that the Founding Fathers could bring to bear…” (Athearn)   That potential, boundless though it was, was fraught with risk.  How does one harness freedom?  Yet without some sort of guiding rein…some form of structure…anarchy, chaos and destruction could be lying in wait in a rocky, uncharted future. 

At this time, the United States had the least government of any country in the civilized world.  A far cry from Washington, D.C today, isn’t it?  All over the Internet, I see cries for less government.  People hate Washington.  Many are the times I’ve read/heard the general sentiment, ‘Let’s fire ‘em all, elect a whole new Congress’.  Turns out the Congress of post-Revolution days wasn’t all that popular either.  For different reasons, perhaps, but  I think it bears pointing out that Congress was “abused, laughed at, and cursed in every company”. (Athearn)  Congress was so abused, in fact, that in the summer of 1783, they literally fled for their very safety, from Philadelphia to Princeton, New Jersey. They had to escape  across the river!

Elias Boudinot

Aggravated to the point of mutinous revolt, Philadelphia & Lancaster troops surrounded Congress Assembled at Independence Hall, demanding back pay for their military service. Both the Congress and its President, Elias Boudinot, were held hostage there until they somehow managed to slip away and seek the protection of the New Jersey militia. 

…sooo…irate, disgruntled citizens of the United States of America, thronging the streets of Philadelphia, protesting economic conditions & demanding satisfaction…bearing arms, no less!…sounds like America to me!  The way it is, the way it was and the way it was intended to be. 

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Sadly – yet almost with a twist of wry humor – not only were citizens disgusted with Congress, it sounds like even Congress was disgusted with itself.  There was a six month period, through 1785 into 1786, during which there were only three days “when enough members were present to conduct business.”  This kind of discontent & frustration reminds me of  the mood often prevalent at my place of employment – many of us, if we did not need the money, would just throw in the towel.  One scenario government, the other civilian, centuries apart yet with a familiar ring  -  America then, America now. 

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Independence Hall

…lest I should be remiss and overlook an opportunity to encourage, let me point out here that because of the conditions & circumstances producing the above events, and others soon to follow, a Philadelphia convention was eventually called, seeking remedies.  That convention resulted in the unparalleled Constitution of the United States of America.
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