John Adams July 2nd

On this day in 1776, the Second Continental Congress adopts the resolution for independence from Great Britain. Of course, Congress adopts the Declaration of Independence on July 4th. Twelve of the thirteen colonial delegations vote unanimously, with New York abstaining.

Previously, in early June, Congress appointed a committee consisting of John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Roger Sherman, Robert R. Livingston, and Thomas Jefferson to draft that declaration of independence. Then, the committee presented it to Congress on June 28, 1776.

Our Lost Founding will ‘unfurl’ the Declaration in Our July 4th post.

Illuminations…

The eventual second president John Adams wrote this of July 2nd, to his beloved wife Abigail:

“The Second Day of July 1776, will be the most memorable Epocha, in the History of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated, by succeeding Generations, as the great anniversary Festival. It ought to be commemorated, as the Day of Deliverance by solemn Acts of Devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with Pomp and Parade, with Shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more.”

He continues:

“You will think me transported with Enthusiasm but I am not. — I am well aware of the Toil and Blood and Treasure, that it will cost Us to maintain this Declaration, and support and defend these States. — Yet through all the Gloom I can see the Rays of ravishing Light and Glory. I can see that the End is more than worth all the Means. And that Posterity will tryumph in that Days Transaction, even altho We should rue it, which I trust in God We shall not.” (emphasis added)

John Adams July 2nd

 

George Washington Invisible Hand main

On this day in 1775, following a debate lasting several days, the Continental Congress drafts the Articles of War. The Articles explained that an “armed force be raised… for the express purpose of securing and defending these Colonies” from the “unconstitutional and oppressive acts of the British.”

The sixty-nine Articles outlined the Rules and Regulations for governing the conduct of the Continental Army. The first Article stated that “every officer… and every soldier who shall serve in the Continental Army, shall… subscribe these rules and regulations.”

Diligent and Divine

So, here’s Article II, essentially the first rule to which to subscribe:

Art. II. It is earnestly recommended to all officers and soldiers, diligently to attend Divine Service; and all officers and soldiers who shall behave indecently or irreverently at any place of Divine Worship, shall, if commissioned officers, be brought before a court-martial, there to be publicly and severely reprimanded by the President;

So, the first rule for the Continental Army was basically to go to church.

A few weeks prior, George Washington was unanimously selected by the second Continental Congress as commander-in-chief of the Continental Army. The role of faith in the service and formation of Our country was not lost on Washington. This is evidenced by the quote from his first Inaugural Address that inspired Our t-shirt design:

“No people can be bound to acknowledge and adore the invisible hand which conducts the affairs of men more than the People of the United States.”

George Washington

The first Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army

 

President James Madison

On this day in 1836, James Madison, the two-term fourth president of the United States dies at age 85.

Madison, along with Alexander Hamilton, was a primary author of the Federalist Papers. In addition, he was a key drafter of the Constitution and Bill of Rights, the recorder of the Constitutional Convention. As a result, James Madison is known as the “Father of the Constitution.”

For all these towering achievements, Madison stood at just 5’4″ tall. That’s Our kind of guy.

Greater obligations

James Madison echoed the sentiment of the George Washington quote which inspired our George Washington shirt with this quote from his Proclamation 20 – Recommending a Day of Public Thanksgiving for Peace from March 4, 1815:

“No people ought to feel greater obligations to celebrate the goodness of the Great Disposer of Events and of the Destiny of Nations than the people of the United States.”

 

President James Madison

Matthew Thornton

On this day in 1803, Patriot, physician, surgeon, signer of the Declaration of Independence, Matthew Thornton dies at age 89. Thornton was also a New Hampshire delegate to the second Continental Congress. Additionally, he was the President of the five man committee that drafted the first New Hampshire constitution. In fact, New Hampshire was the first of the thirteen states to establish a constitution.

The Only Foundation

Back in 1775, as the newly elected President of the New Hampshire Provincial Congress,  Matthew Thornton wrote a letter To the Inhabitants of the Colony of New Hampshire. Here are a few excerpts:

Friends and Brethren: You must all be sensible that the affairs of America have at length come to a very affecting and alarming crisis.

Duty to God, to ourselves, to Posterity, enforced by the cries of slaughtered Innocents, have urged us to take up Arms in our Defense. … We would therefore recommend to the Colony at large to cultivate that Christian Union, Harmony and tender affection which is the only foundation upon which our invaluable privileges can rest with any security, or our public measures be pursued with the least prospect of success.

… In a word, we seriously and earnestly recommend the practice of that pure and undefiled religion which embalmed the memory of our pious ancestors, as that alone upon which we can build a solid hope and confidence in the Divine protection and favor, without whose blessing all the measures of safety we have or can propose will end in our shame and disappointment.”

Matthew Thornton

 

George Washington Invisible hand angle

On this day in 1775, the second Continental Congress unanimously selects George Washington as first Commander-in-chief of the Continental Army. Thankfully for all Americans then, and ever since, he accepted the appointment.

What follows is an excerpt of a letter he wrote to his wife, Martha, shortly thereafter; he wrote:
“[I]t was utterly out of my power to refuse this appointment without exposing my Character to such censures as would have reflected dishonour upon myself, and given pain to my friends – this, I am sure could not, and ought not be pleasing to you, & must have lessened me considerably in my own esteem. I shall rely therefore, confidently, on that Providence which has heretofore preservd, & been bountiful to me, not doubting but that I shall return safe to you in the fall…” (emphasis added)

Another acknowledgement

Of course, Washington eventually became the first president of the United States.

Finally, a sentiment similar to the letter above, from his first inaugural address, inspired Our “George Washington Invisible Hand” t-shirt design:
“No people can be bound to acknowledge and adore the invisible hand which conducts the affairs of men more than the People of the United States.

Though invisible, clearly he saw its guiding influence in his own life and in the birth of America.

Find your shirt, HERE.

George Washington t-shirt

John Adams on this house

On this day in 1800, President John Adams, the second president, becomes the first acting president to reside in Washington, D.C. However, President Adams lived at a temporary residence during construction on the President’s Mansion, also known as the President’s House. We now know that house as the White House.

Construction began in 1792, but it was not until November 1, 1800 that John Adams moved into the executive mansion. Then, the next day he wrote to his wife Abigail about their new home:

“I pray heaven to bestow the best of blessings on this house and on all that shall hereafter inhabit it. May none but honest and wise men ever rule under this roof!”

John Adams I pray

Button Gwinnett signature Declaration

On this day in 1777, signer of the Declaration of Independence Button Gwinnett receives a bullet wound in a duel with political rival Lachlan McIntosh. He would die three days later.

The Georgia Patriot served as a member of the Continental Congress in 1776. As such, he was one of three Georgians to sign the Declaration of Independence.

Gwinnett’s Georgia

Lastly, in 1777 Button Gwinnett helped draft Georgia’s first State Constitution. Here is a portion:

ART. LVII. The great seal of this State shall have the following device: on one side a scroll, whereon shall be engraved, ” The Constitution of the State of Georgia; ” and the motto, “Pro bono publico.” On the other side, an elegant house, and other buildings, fields of corn, and meadows covered with sheep and cattle; a river running through the same, with a ship under full sail, and the motto, “Deus nobis haec otia fecit.”

Translation: “God has bestowed these blessings on us.”

Button Gwinnett signature Declaration

Benjamin Franklin Join or Die

On this day in 1754, the first American newspaper political cartoon was published in the Benjamin Franklin owned Pennsylvania Gazette. The illustration showed a snake cut into sections, each representing an American colony with the caption, “JOIN, or DIE.”

Benjamin Franklin Join or Die

Franklin originally designed the cartoon and text to unite the colonies against the French in the French and Indian War.

In 1765, American colonists began to use it to unite the colonies against the British.

What meaning would you ascribe to it today?

At the Constitutional Convention of 1787 in Philadelphia, an 81 year old Benjamin Franklin united the Founders behind prayer, with this quote that inspired Our shirt below:

“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?”

Benjamin Franklin "See... God governs" t-shirt

On this day in 1758, the fifth President of the United States, James Monroe is born in Virginia. Monroe was the first United States Senator to be elected President.

He was a contemporary of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and James Madison. As such, he was the last American revolutionary to become president. What follows are a few remarks from both inaugural addresses of James Monroe, in 1817 and 1821 respectively.

Fervent Prayers

1817

“If we persevere in the career in which we have advanced so far and in the path already traced, we can not fail, under the favor of a gracious Providence, to attain the high destiny which seems to await us.”

“Relying on the aid to be derived from the other departments of the Government, I enter on the trust to which I have been called by the suffrages of my fellow-citizens with my fervent prayers to the Almighty that He will be graciously pleased to continue to us that protection which He has already so conspicuously displayed in our favor.”

1821

“it is obvious that other powerful causes, indicating the great strength and stability of our Union, have essentially contributed to draw you together. That these powerful causes exist, and that they are permanent, is my fixed opinion; that they may produce a like accord in all questions touching, however remotely, the liberty, prosperity, and happiness of our country will always be the object of my most fervent prayers to the Supreme Author of All Good.”

Firm Reliance

“With full confidence in the continuance of that candor and generous indulgence from my fellow-citizens at large which I have heretofore experienced, and with a firm reliance on the protection of Almighty God, I shall forthwith commence the duties of the high trust to which you have called me.”

James Monroe White House portrait 1819

 

Benjamin Franklin Epitaph

On this day in 1790, preeminent Founding Father, and “The First American,” Benjamin Franklin dies at age 84 in his adopted home of Philadelphia.

Franklin served as a legislator in Pennsylvania, as a diplomat in England and France, and this prolific patriot (who was also a printer, scientist, statesman, etc.) is the only person to have signed the Declaration of Independence (1776), the Treaty of Alliance with France (1778), the Treaty of Paris (1783) and the U.S. Constitution (1787).

Even in his early twenties, his wit and wisdom was on full display. For today’s post, it’s especially noteworthy that in 1728 he wrote his own epitaph, revising and sharing it with friends throughout his life. Here is one such version, with a copy below:

The Body of Ben Franklin Printer,
Like the Cover of an old Book
Its contents torn out
And stript of its Lettering & Gilding,
Lies here Food for the Worms,
yet the Work shall not be lost:
For it will, as he believed, appear once more
In a new & most beautiful Edition,
Corrected and amended by the Author.

Benjamin Franklin Epitaph

Benjamin Franklin “lived a long time…”

At age 81, as the elder statesman at the Constitution Convention in his adopted home, Franklin urged the Assembly toward morning “prayers imploring the assistance of Heaven, and its blessings on [their] deliberations.” In so doing, he made this famous quote, which inspired Our Benjamin Franklin shirt:

Jefferson Memorial with Cherry Blossoms

On this day in 1743, preeminent Founding Father Thomas Jefferson is born. That is, “created equal.”
Jefferson was the governor of Virginia, and drafter of the Declaration of Independence. He served as secretary of state under President George Washington, as U.S. minister to France, and as vice president under John Adams, He was the third president of the United States, founder the University of Virginia.

Read these compelling quotes found on the Thomas Jefferson Memorial in Washington, D.C.

“…I have sworn upon the altar of god eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man.”

“We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, that to secure these rights governments are instituted among men.”

God who gave us life gave us liberty. Can the liberties of a nation be secure when we have removed a conviction that these liberties are the gift of God? Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just, that his justice cannot sleep forever.”

Thomas Jefferson Memorial with Cherry Blossoms
Of note: In Jefferson’s time “establishment” meant mandatory membership, mandatory attendance, mandatory taxes to support it. Furthermore, no one could hold public office unless he was a member.
Also, “separation of church and state” does not appear in any of our founding documents.