Zachary Taylor

On this day in 1850, President Zachary Taylor dies after four days of suffering from what his personal physicians concluded was cholera morbus. He was president for just 16 months.

He received an Army commission in 1808, became captain in 1810, major during the War of 1812. Later, he was a colonel in the Black Hawk War, earning the nickname “Old Rough and Ready.”
Eventually, he became a national hero during the Mexican-American War in 1846.

Taylor supported the Wilmot Proviso that “neither slavery nor involuntary servitude shall ever exist in any part of…” the territory ceded by Mexico. 

His predecessor James K. Polk’s presidency ended on Sunday, March 4th, 1849. However, Taylor refused to be sworn in on the Sabbath, instead taking the oath of office on Monday, March 5th.

“Let us invoke… let us seek”

Zachary Taylor concluded his inaugural address with these still pertinent remarks:

“I congratulate you, my fellow-citizens, upon the high state of prosperity to which the goodness of Divine Providence has conducted our common country. Let us invoke a continuance of the same protecting care which has led us from small beginnings to the eminence we this day occupy, and let us seek to deserve that continuance by prudence and moderation in our councils, by well-directed attempts to assuage the bitterness which too often marks unavoidable differences of opinion, by the promulgation and practice of just and liberal principles, and by an enlarged patriotism, which shall acknowledge no limits but those of our own widespread Republic.”

Zachary Taylor White House portrait

 

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

Harry Truman Korea

On this day in 1950, President Harry Truman “[orders] United States air and sea forces to give the Korean Government troops cover and support.”

He stated that “The attack upon Korea makes it plain beyond all doubt that communism has passed beyond the use of subversion to conquer independent nations and will now use armed invasion and war.

In October of that same year, he remarked: “We hate war, but we love our liberties. We will not see them destroyed.”

Precepts and Problems

Below are some excerpts from his speech at a Conference of the Federal Council of Churches on March 6th, 1946. From those words, it is clear that he would authorize armed forces in the face of invasion.

“Dictatorship, by whatever name, is rounded on the doctrine that the individual amounts to nothing; that the State is the only thing that counts; and that men and women and children were put on earth solely for the purpose of serving the State.
The right of every human being to live in dignity and freedom, the right to worship his God in his own way, the right to fix his own relationship to his fellow men and to his Creator–these again have been saved for mankind.
… Now that we have preserved our freedom of conscience and religion, our right to live by a decent moral and spiritual code of our own choosing, let us make full use of that freedom. Let us make use of it to save a world which is beset by so many threats of new conflicts, new terror, and new destruction.”

He added: “If men and nations would but live by the precepts of the ancient prophets and the teachings of the Sermon on the Mount, problems which now seem so difficult would soon disappear.

That is timeless teaching.

 

Harry Truman Korea

 

Rebellion to Tyrants is Obedience to God

On this day in 1788, Virginia becomes the tenth state to ratify the Constitution. Thus, Virginia becomes the tenth state in the union.

The Virginia state seal was created in 1776. The motto on the obverse of the Virginia seal is Sic semper tyrannis, which translates to Thus always to tyrants. This is clear reference to the declaration of independence from Great Britain.

The motto is similar a motto that was likely suggested by Benjamin Franklin (but not used) for the Great Seal of the United States: Rebellion to tyrants is obedience to God. This motto was however used by Thomas Jefferson, a Virginian, as one of his own personal seals (not pictured), as well as for a medal (pictured below) commissioned by Jefferson as governor of Virginia.

Virginia State seal

Rebellion to Tyrants is Obedience to God

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Next, from the Constitution of Virginia:
Section 16. Free exercise of religion; no establishment of religion.
That religion or the duty which we owe to our Creator, and the manner of discharging it, can be directed only by reason and conviction, not by force or violence; and, therefore, all men are equally entitled to the free exercise of religion, according to the dictates of conscience; and that it is the mutual duty of all to practice Christian forbearance, love, and charity towards each other.

Eight Presidents

Virginia is the birthplace of eight U.S. presidents. This lofty list includes George Washington, James Madison, James Monroe, Zachary Taylor, Woodrow Wilson, John Tyler, William Henry Harrison. Finally, of course, the third president, Thomas Jefferson, whose personal seal and the cemetery gate at his beloved home Monticello are the inspiration for Our “Rebellion/Obedience: t-shirt.

Thomas Jefferson TJ

 

F. Scott Key Star Spangled Motto Our Cause it is Just War of 1812

On this day in 1812, the aptly-named War of 1812 begins when President James Madison requests a declaration of war. In his Special Message to Congress he pointed to “a series of acts hostile to the United States as an independent and neutral nation” by Great Britain.

Given the “crying enormity” of these acts and the “solemn alternative,” Madison made clear the source of his trust:
“Whether the United States shall continue passive under these progressive usurpations and these accumulating wrongs, or, opposing force to force in defense of their national rights, shall commit a just cause into the hands of the Almighty Disposer of Events…” (emphasis added)

Our cause

Then, on September 13, 1814, toward the end of this war, the sight of our “broad stripes and bright stars” “by the dawn’s early light,” despite the blistering British Bombardment of Fort McHenry in Baltimore harbor, inspired Francis Scott Key to pen the poem the “Star-Spangled Banner.”
The first verse of his poem became Our national anthem in 1931.

That same flag, and a key couplet from the fourth verse (did you know there was a fourth verse?) of Key’s poem inspired the design for Our “Star Spangled Motto” t-shirt:

“Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto: ‘In God is our trust.’ 

Today, our National Motto is, of course, “In God We Trust.”

Find your shirt in time for the Fourth of July, HERE!

FS Key Star Spangled Motto Our Cause it is Just War of 1812

On this day in 2004, Ronald Reagan, the 40th U.S. President, dies after a lengthy battle with Alzheimer’s disease.

Without God…

Despite the withering disease, Reagan’s legacy as “The Great Communicator” endures. His ability is exemplified by the following ever-pertinent remarks from a prayer breakfast in Dallas, TX in August 1984:

“Without God, there is no virtue, because there’s no prompting of the conscience. Without God, we’re mired in the material, that flat world that tells us only what the senses perceive. Without God, there is a coarsening of the society. And without God, democracy will not and cannot long endure.
If we ever forget that we’re one nation under God, then we will be a nation gone under.” (emphasis added)

It’s fitting that as a young man Ronald Reagan was a lifeguard, so he knew a thing or two about what it takes to stay afloat.

Ronald Reagan Dallas Prayer Breakfast

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

Calvin Coolidge and Osage

On this day in 1924, President Calvin Coolidge grants citizenship to Native Americans born in the United States by signing the Indian Citizenship Act.

Despite persistent friction between assimilation and tribal tradition, a quote from a speech Coolidge delivered a few months later gives us an idea how his faith influenced his effort to repair the federal government’s relationship with Native Americans:

“Our government rests upon religion. It is from that source that we derive our reverence for truth and justice, for equality and liberty, and for the rights of mankind. Unless the people believe in these principles they cannot believe in our government. There are only two main theories of government in the world. One rests on righteousness, the other rests on force. One appeals to reason, the other appeals to the sword. One is exemplified in a republic, the other is represented by a despotism.”

The affairs of our country…

In that same speech, he remarked: “in the direction of the affairs of our country there has been an influence that had a broader vision, a greater wisdom and a wider purpose, than that of mortal man, which we can only ascribe to a Divine Providence.

A few years later, Sioux Chief Henry Standing Bear granted President Coolidge honorary tribal membership.

After signing the Act, Coolidge posed for this photo with four Osage tribal leaders. 

Calvin Coolidge and Osage

Lincoln Bible

In honor of all of Our mothers for Mother’s Day, here are two well-known quotes from Abraham Lincoln about his (step-) mother:

“All that I am, or hope to be, I owe to my angel mother.”

“I remember my mother’s prayers and they have always followed me. They have clung to me all my life.”

A well-deserved (top) hats off to all of the mother’s out there. Thankfully, many of us can relate to the quotes above. So, birth and step-mothers, we hope you enjoy your day.

“But for it…”

Clearly, Lincoln admired his mother and his step-mother. Similarly, his quote that inspired Our Lincoln Bible shirt demonstrates his admiration for God’s Word:

Lincoln Bible t-shirt collage

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

 

Harry Truman Korea

On this day in 1948, President Harry S. Truman signs the Foreign Assistance Act of 1948, more popularly known as the Marshall Plan.

Back in June 1947, Secretary of State George C. Marshall called for an enormous economic recovery program to aid the ailing economies of the war-ravaged countries in Western Europe.

Secretary Marshall’s statement on the signing described the decision as a “historic step in the foreign policy of this country.”

He went on:
“The leaders in the Congress and the membership generally have faced a great crisis with courage and wisdom, and with legislative skill, richly deserving of the approval and the determined support of the people.”

Renewed Hope

Upon signing the Act, President Truman labeled it “an outstanding example of cooperative endeavor for the common good.”

Then, Truman closed his statement, echoing his predecessor, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, by using the commonly accepted paraphrasing of Luke 2:14:

“I believe that the determination of the American people to work for conditions of enduring peace throughout the world, as demonstrated by this act, will encourage free men and women everywhere, and will give renewed hope to all mankind that there will one day be peace on earth, good will among men.”

 

Harry S. Truman signs