Ulysses S. Grant

On this day in 1822, the first ever General of the U.S. Army and the 18th President of the United States Ulysses S. Grant is born in Point Pleasant, Ohio.

President Abraham Lincoln promoted Grant to the second Lieutenant General in American history. The first was George Washington.

“The influence of this book”

Later in life, just nine years before he died of cancer in 1885, Grant wrote this in regard to education:

“Hold fast to the Bible as the sheet anchor of your liberties; write its precepts on your hearts and practice them in your lives. To the influence of this book we are indebted for all the progress made in true civilization, and to this we must look as our guide in the future.”

Ulysses S. Grant

The Great Seal of the State of New York

On this day in 1777, during the American Revolutionary War, the first New York state constitution is formally adopted. The Convention of Representatives of the State of New York met upstate in Kingston.

That first state constitution contains a good amount of the language found the Declaration of Independence. For example:

“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 the 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.”

Our…

It goes on: “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.

Finally, here is the current Preamble:
“We The People of the State of New York, grateful to Almighty God for our Freedom, in order to secure its blessings, DO ESTABLISH THIS CONSTITUTION.” 

Seal of the State of New York

 

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

On this day in 1775, the American Revolution begins.

Incredibly, also on this day in 1861, the first blood of the American Civil War is shed.

Our Cause

Instructive for both is Thomas Jefferson’s Declaration on Taking Up Arms, written in July 1775:

Our cause is just. Our union is perfect. Our internal Resources are great, and, if necessary, foreign Assistance is undoubtedly attainable. We gratefully acknowledge, as signal Instances of the Divine Favour towards us, that his Providence would not permit us to be called into this severe Controversy, until we were grown up to our present strength, had been previously exercised in warlike Operation, and possessed of the means of defending ourselves. With hearts fortified with these animating Reflections, we most solemnly, before God and the World, declare, that, exerting the utmost Energy of those Powers, which our beneficent Creator hath graciously bestowed upon us, the Arms we have been compelled by our Enemies to assume, we will, in defiance of every Hazard, with unabating Firmness and Perseverence, employ for the preservation of our Liberties; being with one Mind resolved to die Freemen rather than to live Slaves.”

We find similar sentiment in the fourth verse of the “Star-Spangled Banner” by Francis Scott Key. In fact, it gives way to an early iteration of Our National Motto, and inspired Our shirt design, below:

“Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto – “In God is our trust,” ”

Find your Men’s Star-Spangled Motto t-shirt HERE, or Women’s HERE.

FS Key Star Spangled Motto Our Cause it is Just

 

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.

 

Lincoln Bible t-shirt collage

On this day in 1861, the Civil War begins when Confederates fire on Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor in South Carolina.

One or the other

Prior to that, on June 16, 1858, then U.S. Senate candidate Abraham Lincoln uttered these famous words:

“A house divided against itself cannot stand.”
I believe this government cannot endure, permanently half slave and half free.
I do not expect the Union to be dissolved — I do not expect the house to fall — but I do expect it will cease to be divided.
It will become all one thing or all the other.”

In 1860, the majority of the slave states were threatening secession. Then, when Lincoln was elected President, South Carolina immediately initiated secession proceedings.

Prior to Lincoln’s inauguration, March 4, 1861, South Carolina, Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Texas had seceded from the Union.

Finally, four years after the attack on Fort Sumter, the Union defeated the Confederacy with the staggering total of 620,000 Union and Confederate soldiers dead.

The concept of “a house divided against itself” is widely known as a statement from Jesus in reference to casting out evil. Matthew, Mark, and Luke recorded it in their gospels. That Abraham Lincoln saw fit to use it regarding slavery makes it that much more powerful.

Abraham Lincoln’s clearly appreciated the Bible, and his about “this great book” inspired one of our first t-shirts:

Lincoln Bible t-shirt collage

 

Frederick Augustus Muhlenberg

On this day in 1789, Frederick Augustus Conrad Muhlenberg is elected as the first Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, from 1789-1791.

Two years later, he was also the third Speaker of the House (1793-1795). In total, he served in the House from 1789 to 1797.

Then, he was a member of the Continental Congress in 1779 and 1780. He followed that by serving in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives from 1780 to 1783.

Later, he presided over the Pennsylvania ratifying convention of 1787 for the U.S. Constitution.

Finally, he was the first signer of the Bill of Rights. The second was John Adams.

Before all of that, Frederick Muhlenberg was a Lutheran pastor.

Frederick Augustus Muhlenberg First Speaker of the House

 

Abigail Adams "Remember the Ladies"

Abigail Adams and John Adams are renowned for their prolific correspondence. In fact, they wrote each other thousands of letters.

So, to write something along the lines of “On this day in 1776, Abigail Adams writes to her husband, John Adams…” is almost a given.

However, in this particularly noteworthy letter, Abigail urges Mr. Adams and the Continental Congress to “Remember the Ladies” in the battle for independence:

“I long to hear that you have declared an independancy—and by the way in the new Code of Laws which I suppose it will be necessary for you to make I desire you would Remember the Ladies, and be more generous and favourable to them than your ancestors. Do not put such unlimited power into the hands of the Husbands. Remember all Men would be tyrants if they could. If perticuliar care and attention is not paid to the Laidies we are determined to foment a Rebelion, and will not hold ourselves bound by any Laws in which we have no voice, or Representation.”

Beings

She goes on writing:

“Men of Sense in all Ages abhor those customs which treat us only as the vassals of your Sex. Regard us then as Beings placed by providence under your protection and in immitation of the Supreem [sic] Being make use of that power only for our happiness.”

Abigail Adams is one of only two women to have been both wives and mothers of American presidents.

Can you name the other?

Abigail Adams "Remember the Ladies"

Ronald Reagan shot

On this day in 1981, in an assassination attempt, John Hinckley Jr. shoots President Ronald Reagan in the left lung as the President left the Washington Hilton hotel. The bullet narrowly misses his heart. Still, the President walks in to George Washington University Hospital under his own power.

Less than two weeks later on April 11, the resilient Reagan returned to the White House. He concluded his diary entry for that day with this powerful statement:

“Whatever happens now I owe my life to God and will try to serve him in every way I can.”

Equally Beloved

Here’s an earlier, similarly powerful portion of that same diary entry:

“Getting shot hurts. Still my fear was growing because no matter how hard I tried to breathe it seemed I was getting less & less air. I focused on that tiled ceiling and prayed. But I realized I couldn’t ask for God’s help while at the same time I felt hatred for the mixed up young man who had shot me. Isn’t that the meaning of the lost sheep? We are all God’s children & therefore equally beloved by him. I began to pray for his soul and that he would find his way back to the fold.”

President Ronald Reagan shot

 

Patton prayer

On this day in 1945, General George S. Patton’s 3rd Army captures Frankfurt.

In December 1944, prior to the famed Battle of the Bulge, Patton asked his chaplain Colonel James O’Neill to write a prayer asking God for good weather for battle. 250,000 prayer cards were distributed to every soldier in his Third Army.

“Chaplain, I am a strong believer in prayer. There are three ways that men get what they want; by planning, by working, and by praying.”

3,200 training letters went out to officers and chaplains to, for, as Chaplain O’Neill said: “we must urge, instruct, and indoctrinate every fighting man to pray as well as fight. In Gideon’s day, and in our own, spiritually alert minorities carry the burdens and bring the victories.”

Patton was victorious. First, his army broke through the German lines at Christmastime. Then, they crossed the Rhine river in the week leading up to the capture of Frankfurt.

Victory to Victory

Here’s the aforementioned prayer:

“Almighty and most merciful Father, we humbly beseech Thee, of Thy great goodness, to restrain these immoderate rains with which we have had to contend. Grant us fair weather for Battle. Graciously hearken to us as soldiers who call upon Thee that, armed with Thy power, we may advance from victory to victory, and crush the oppression and wickedness of our enemies and establish Thy justice among men and nations.”

General George S. Patton prayer

Ike American flag Dwight D. Eisenhower

On this day in 1969, Dwight D. Eisenhower , a highly regarded general of World War II and the 34th president of the United States dies at the age of 78, in Washington, D.C.

First, here are two excerpts from his remarks for the American Legion “Back-to-God” program:

“The Founding Fathers… produced the timeless documents upon which the Nation is founded and has grown great. They, recognizing God as the author of individual rights, declared that the purpose of Government is to secure those rights.”

“Without God there could be no American form of government, nor an American way of life. Recognition of the Supreme Being is the first—and most basic—expression of Americanism. Thus, the Founding Fathers of America saw it, and thus with God’s help, it will continue to be.”

Eisenhower made “In God We Trust” our nation’s official motto. One can find an early iteration of this phrase in Francis Scott Key’s “Star-Spangled Banner,” which became Our national anthem.

Under God

Eisenhower had the words “under God” inserted in to the pledge of allegiance. On Flag Day, June 14, 1954 when he signed the bill to include the words “under God” in the pledge, he said:

“In this way we are reaffirming the transcendence of religious faith in America’s heritage and future; in this way we shall constantly strengthen those spiritual weapons which forever will be our country’s most powerful resource in peace and war.”

Then and now, that’s why we like Ike.

Like Ike Dwight D. Eisenhower