Declaration of Independence

On July 4th 1776, in Philadelphia, the Continental Congress adopts the Declaration of Independence. This document for the age proclaimed the independence of the United States of America from Great Britain and its king.

First, Our Declaration contains several references to Almighty God, active in Our affairs. They are as follows: “Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God,” “Creator,” “Supreme Judge of the world,” and “divine Providence.”

Self-evidently

Here they are in their context:

“When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.”

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

“We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.”

Declaration of Independence
The American Revolution lasts for five more years. Finally, upon signing the Treaty of Paris with Britain in 1783, the United States formally becomes a free, independent nation. This was seven years after the ratification of the Declaration of Independence.

Clearly, the acknowledgement of and dependence on Almighty God were essential to the Founding of Our nation, and its future. These are critical to the enjoyment of our “unalienable Rights.”
After all, freedom, virtue, and faith are all interdependent.

 

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

 

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

 

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 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

Patrick Henry Give me Liberty

On this day in 1736, Patrick Henry is born in Studley, Virginia. As the defense lawyer in the Parsons’ Cause trial in 1763, he crafted an eloquent defense based on the doctrine of natural rights, predating the Declaration of Independence by over a decade.  In addition, Patrick Henry was the first elected governor of Virginia, and a delegate to both the First and Second Continental Congress.

However, he is most well-known for saying: “GIVE ME LIBERTY, OR GIVE ME DEATH!”

Is life so dear…?

Here are selected excerpts of that same speech from March 23, 1775 at St. John’s Church in Richmond, Viriginia:

“Should I keep back my opinions at such a time, through fear of giving offense, I should consider myself as guilty of treason towards my country, and of an act of disloyalty toward the Majesty of Heaven, which I revere above all earthly kings… .”

“If we wish to be free…we must fight! An appeal to arms and to the God of hosts is all that is left us!”

“Besides, sir, we shall not fight our battles alone. There is a just God who presides over the destinies of nations.”

“Our brethren are already in the field! Why stand we here idle? What is it that gentlemen wish? What would they have? Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!”

 

Patrick Henry Give me Liberty

Benjamin Franklin t-shirt

On this day in 1787, delegates from every state except Rhode Island convened (appropriately) in Philadelphia for the Constitutional Convention.

The delegates met at what we now know as Independence Hall in order to compose the U.S. Constitution. That very building had earlier seen the drafting of the Declaration of Independence and the signing of the Articles of Confederation.

Virginia delegate and Revolutionary War hero George Washington was elected convention president.  In 1789, the U.S. Constitution became the law of the land.

The Affairs of Men

At the Convention, an 81 year old Benjamin Franklin, a delegate of Pennsylvania, appealed for prayers:

“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?”

So, that quote, and his own sketch of the bifocals he invented, inspired the artwork for Our Benjamin Franklin “See… God Governs” t-shirt:

Benjamin Franklin “See… God Governs” a quote from the Constitutional Convention

Get yours in Our Shop, HERE.

 

John Hancock Proclamation
Josiah Bartlett

On this day in 1795, Josiah Bartlett dies. Bartlett was a New Hampshire Patriot, and most notably a signatory of the Declaration of Independence. He was also Governor of New Hampshire and New Hampshire Supreme Court chief justice.

“That He would inspire…”

Below is an excerpt from A PROCLAMATION, For A Public THANKSGIVING Josiah Bartlett gave on October 5, 1793. That proclamation declared November 21, 1793 to be a day of Public Thanksgiving:

“That it would please Him still to have these United States under His Holy protection and guidance – that He would inspire those who have the management of all our public affairs with all that wisdom, prudence and integrity that is necessary to the faithful discharge of their important trusts, that all their determinations may tend to promote the real happiness and prosperity of this great and rising Republic, and that all people may be disposed to afflict in carrying such determinations into effect.”

Josiah Bartlett

 

 

 

Josiah Bartlett signature

Nathanael Greene

On this day in 1776, General George Washington gives friend and comrade-in-arms Brigadier General Nathanael Greene command of Long Island. General Greene is to set up defensive positions against a British attack on New York City.

Greene arranged his troops to defend against a frontal attack. However, in late August the British surprised them with an attack from their left flank. Thus, the British took most of Long Island, but allowed American survivors to flee to Manhattan. Had they not, the American Revolution may well have been over.

God’s Hand

Washington and Greene shared a belief in a great God who governs our world, as evidenced by their quotes below:

Permit me, then, to recommend from the sincerity of my heart, ready at all times to bleed in my country’s cause, a Declaration of Independence; and call upon the world, and the great God who governs it, to witness the necessity, propriety and rectitude thereof. … Let us, therefore, act like men inspired with a resolution that nothing but the frowns of Heaven shall conquer us.”
excerpt of a letter from Nathanael Greene to Samuel Ward of the Continental Congress, January 4, 1776

Washington’s quote of similar sentiment inspired one of Our t-shirts:

“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.”

Find yours HERE.

Nathanael Greene

President James Madison

On this day in 1711 (by the old style Julian calendar) David Hume is born in Edinburgh, Scotland.

So what does that have to do with Our Lost Founding?

David Hume died on August 25, 1776, early on in the American Revolution. Still, his essay, “Idea of a Perfect Commonwealth,” impacted Founding Father James Madison as he wrote “Federalist No. 10.” Several notable Founders wrote the Federalist Papers in favor of ratifying the Constitution. In essence, Madison argued that creating a large republic would mitigate tyranny of the majority.

James Madison is known as the Father of the Constitution and the Father of the Bill of Rights. He was also the fourth President of the United States.

Rage?

Madison instructs:
“A rage for paper money, for an abolition of debts, for an equal division of property, or for any other improper or wicked project, will be less apt to pervade the whole body of the Union than a particular member of it; in the same proportion as such a malady is more likely to taint a particular county or district, than an entire State.”

Render?

On June 20, 1785, James Madison wrote “To the Honorable the General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Virginia A Memorial and Remonstrance”:

“It is the duty of every man to render to the Creator such homage and such only as he believes to be acceptable to him. This duty is precedent, both in order of time and in degree of obligation, to the claims of Civil Society. Before any man can be considered as a member of Civil Society, he must be considered as a subject of the Governour of the Universe: And if a member of Civil Society, who enters into any subordinate Association, must always do it with a reservation of his duty to the General Authority; much more must every man who becomes a member of any particular Civil Society, do it with a saving of his allegiance to the Universal Sovereign.”

James Madison

Also, on this day in 1865, John Wilkes Booth is killed 12 days after he assassinated President Abraham Lincoln.

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