Thomas McKean and son

On this day in 1734, Patriot and politician Thomas McKean is born in Chester County, Pennsylvania.

McKean was a delegate of Delaware to the Continental Congress. Thus, he signed the United States Declaration of Independence and the Articles of Confederation. He was also President of the Continental Congress in 1781. McKean also served President (Governor) of Delaware, Governor of Pennsylvania, and Chief Justice of Pennsylvania.

Be received

For all that, perhaps his greatest accomplishment was sharing this redemptive advice as Chief Justice of Pennsylvania, which he did with a condemned man:

“You will probably have but a short time to live. Before you launch into eternity, it behooves you to improve the time that may be allowed you in this world. It behooves you most seriously to reflect upon your conduct, to repent of your evil deeds, to be incessant in prayers to the great and merciful God to forgive your manifold transgressions and sins, to teach you to rely upon the merit and passion of a dear Redeemer and thereby to avoid those regions of sorrow, those doleful shades where peace and rest can never dwell, where even hope cannot enter. It behooves you to seek the fellowship, advice and prayers of pious and good men, to be persistent at the throne of grace and to learn the way that leadeth to happiness. May you reflecting upon these things and pursuing the will of the great Father of Light and Life, be received into the company and society of angels and archangels and the spirits of just men made perfect and may you be qualified to enter into the joys of heaven, joys unspeakable and full of glory.”

Thomas McKean died in Philadelphia at the age of 83 in the year 1817. That seems fitting, given that the root words of Philadelphia are phileo meaning “to love” and adelphos meaning “brother.”

 

Thomas McKean and son

 

 

US Constitution

On this day in 1770, protesting colonists and occupying British soldiers clash in what we know as the Boston Massacre. This event is widely seen as the start of the American Revolution. It is also why we learn the name of African-American sailor Crispus Attucks, likely the first man to fall.

The British soldiers go on trial, though John Adams (born near Boston) and Josiah Quincy, Jr. (born in Boston) agree to defend them, demonstrating support for the colonial justice system. Then, upon conclusion of the trial in December 1770, the jury found just two of the eight British soldiers guilty of manslaughter.

In fact, the Algeron Sidney quote Adams used in closing his defense speech at the trial seems foundational to the Adams quote in second half of this post:
“The law, (says he,) no passion can disturb. Tis void of desire and fear, lust and anger. ‘Tis mens sine affectu; written reason; retaining some measure of the divine perfection.”

By Design

On March 4, 1789 government under the U.S. Constitution begins with the first session of Congress, held, at that time, in New York City.

Almost emblematic of the purpose Our Lost Founding, there is a connection here, despite the number of years between these events, but due to the consecutive dates:

John Adams, one of the aforementioned defense lawyers, Founding Father, the second president, etc., said this of Our Constitution in October of 1789 :

“We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. Avarice, ambition, revenge or gallantry would break the strongest cords of our Constitution as a whale goes through a net. Our Constitution is designed only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” (emphasis added)

So, the answer to the question in the title of this post is, frankly, quite a bit. Furthermore, that might explain a lot of the problems we experience in Our country today. Finally, it underscores the critical importance of rediscovering our lost founding.

Our Constitution

 

Articles of Confederation

On this day in 1781 (or perhaps February 2nd), Maryland becomes the 13th and final state to ratify the Articles of Confederation. However, Maryland’s delegates did not sign until March 1st.

The Articles were essentially the first constitution of the United States. What they created was a loose confederation of sovereign states and a weak central government.

Great Governor

Here is portion of the conclusion of the Articles:

“And Whereas it hath pleased the Great Governor of the World to incline the hearts of the legislatures we respectively represent in congress, to approve of, and to authorize us to ratify the said articles of confederation and perpetual union, Know Ye, that we, the undersigned delegates, by virtue of the power and authority to us given for that purpose, do, by these presents, in the name and in behalf of our respective constituents, fully and entirely ratify and confirm each and every of the said articles of confederation and perpetual union, and all and singular the matters and things therein contained… .”

Soon, the need for a stronger federal government became apparent which led to the Constitutional Convention in 1787. The eventual result was the ratification of the United States Constitution in 1789.

Lastly, a couple noteworthy “undersigned delegates” were John Hancock and Samuel Adams, both from Massachusetts Bay.

Articles of Confederation

Benjamin Franklin See... God governs

On this day in 1776, London’s St. James Chronicle announces that “The very identical Dr. Franklyn [Benjamin Franklin], whom Lord Chatham so much caressed, and used to say he was proud in calling his friend, is now at the head of the rebellion in North America.”

This confirmed Franklin’s position as an American leader, and he was instrumental in securing an the crucial alliance with France.

Cleverly crafting an argument for ratification of the newly written Constitution, Franklin wrote “A Comparison of the Conduct of the ancient JEWS, and of the ANTIFEDERALISTS in the United States of AMERICA.”  He concluded it with this paragraph:

“I beg I may not be understood to infer, that our general convention was divinely inspired when it formed the new federal constitution, merely because that constitution has been unreasonably and vehemently opposed: yet, I must own, I have so much faith in the general government of the world by Providence, that I can hardly conceive a transaction of such momentous importance to the welfare of millions now existing, and to exist in the posterity of a great nation, should be suffered to pass without being in some degree influenced, guided, and governed by that omnipotent, omnipresent and beneficent Ruler, in whom all inferior spirits live, and move, and have their being.”

“Convincing Proofs”

He did “own” it. After all, it was Franklin who, in 1787, urged the Assembly at the Constitutional Convention toward morning “prayers imploring the assistance of Heaven, and its blessings on [their] deliberations.” In so doing, he made this famous quote:

“I have lived a long time, Sir, a long time, and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth—that 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?”

Might we suggest that you “own” Our shirt commemorating that quote:

Benjamin Franklin See

On this day in 1954, Chief Justice Earl Warren delivers the Supreme Court decision abolishing “separate but equal” public schools. He wrote:

“Today, education is perhaps the most important function of state and local governments. Compulsory school attendance laws and the great expenditures for education both demonstrate our recognition of the importance of education to our democratic society. It is required in the performance of our most basic public responsibilities, even service in the armed forces. It is the very foundation of good citizenship. Today it is a principal instrument in awakening the child to cultural values, in preparing him for later professional training, and in helping him to adjust normally to his environment. In these days, it is doubtful that any child may reasonably be expected to succeed in life if he is denied the opportunity of an education. Such an opportunity, where the state has undertaken to provide it, is a right which must be made available to all on equal terms.

We come then to the question presented: Does segregation of children in public schools solely on the basis of race, even though the physical facilities and other “tangible” factors may be equal, deprive the children of the minority group of equal educational opportunities? We believe that it does.”

“The knowledge our forefathers had…”

On February 4 of that same year, Warren spoke at a prayer breakfast at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, D.C. Here’s is an excerpt of his remarks:

“I believe no one can read the history of our country without realizing that the Good Book and the spirit of the Savior have from the beginning been our guiding geniuses. Whether we look to the first Charter of Virginia, or to the Charter of New England, or to the Charter of Massachusetts Bay, or to the Fundamental Orders of Connecticut, the same objective is present: a Christian land governed by Christian principles. I believe the entire Bill of Rights came into being because of the knowledge our forefathers had of the Bible and their belief in it: freedom of belief, of expression, of assembly, of petition, the dignity of the individual, the sanctity of the home, equal justice under law, and the reservation of powers to the people. I like to believe we are living today in the spirit of the Christian religion. I like also to believe that as long as we do so, no great harm can come to our country.

Earl Warren Chief Justice

Francis Bacon The Father of Science

Sir Francis Bacon (1561-1626) is known as the Father of the Scientific Method. After all, he developed it.

That’s great, but what does Francis Bacon have to do with Our Lost Founding?

In fact, Bacon played a leading role in creating the British Colonies of Virginia and the Carolinas. Furthermore, he is believed to have drafted two Virginia Colony charters. As such, he is arguably among the Founding Fathers of the United States of America.

Nature

In a confession of faith he wrote:
“I Believe that nothing is without beginning, but God; no nature, no matter, no spirit, but one, only, and the same God. That God, as he is eternally almighty, only wise, only good, in his nature; so he is eternally Father, Son, and Spirit, in persons.”

He added:
“[He] created heaven and earth, and all their armies and generations; and gave unto them constant and everlasting laws, which we call nature.”

Francis Bacon The Father of Science