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

 

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.

 

Thomas Jefferson Summary View

On this day in 1775, Thomas Jefferson is elected to the second Continental Congress.

Jefferson originally established himself in the first Continental Congress with a tract entitled “Summary View of the Rights of British America.”

Inkling of Independence

Here are two excerpts from his “Summary”:

“[P]ropose to the said congress that an humble and dutiful address be presented to his majesty, begging leave to lay before him, as chief magistrate of the British empire, the united complaints of his majesty’s subjects in America; complaints which are excited by many unwarrantable encroachments and usurpations, attempted to be made by the legislature of one part of the empire, upon those rights which God and the laws have given equally and independently to all.”

“The God who gave us life gave us liberty at the same time; the hand of force may destroy, but cannot disjoin them. This, sire, is our last, our determined resolution; and that you will be pleased to interpose with that efficacy which your earnest endeavours may ensure to procure redress of these our great grievances, to quiet the minds of your subjects in British America, against any apprehensions of future encroachment, to establish fraternal love and harmony through the whole empire, and that these may continue to the latest ages of time, is the fervent prayer of all British America!”

Rights Reverberate

Of course, in early June 1776, Congress appointed a committee consisting of John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Roger Sherman, Robert R. Livingston, and Thomas Jefferson to draft what would become the Declaration of Independence. This esteemed committee chose Jefferson to compose the most important document in the history self-government. He drafted it in just a few days, at the age of 33.

As we (should) know, this is the basis of Our Declaration:

“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.”

Jefferson seemed to suggest as much in his “Summary” two years prior. As seen above, he acknowledged “The God who gave us life gave us liberty at the same time.”

 

Thomas Jefferson Summary View

On this day in 1801, Vice President Thomas Jefferson is elected the third president of the United States. His running mate and eventual opponent was the infamous Aaron Burr. A tie vote in the Electoral College and 35 indecisive ballot votes in the House of Representatives preceded Jefferson’s election.

“With all these blessings”

Thus, Thomas Jefferson shared this at his first inaugural address on March 4, 1801

“Let us, then, with courage and confidence pursue our own Federal and Republican principles, our attachment to union and representative government. Kindly separated by nature and a wide ocean from the exterminating havoc of one quarter of the globe; too high-minded to endure the degradations of the others; possessing a chosen country, with room enough for our descendants to the thousandth and thousandth generation; entertaining a due sense of our equal right to the use of our own faculties, to the acquisitions of our own industry, to honor and confidence from our fellow-citizens, resulting not from birth, but from our actions and their sense of them; enlightened by a benign religion, professed, indeed, and practiced in various forms, yet all of them inculcating honesty, truth, temperance, gratitude, and the love of man; acknowledging and adoring an overruling Providence, which by all its dispensations proves that it delights in the happiness of man here and his greater happiness hereafter — with all these blessings, what more is necessary to make us a happy and a prosperous people? Still one thing more, fellow-citizens — a wise and frugal Government, which shall restrain men from injuring one another, shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned. This is the sum of good government, and this is necessary to close the circle of our felicities.”

 

Thomas Jefferson first Inaugural AddressThomas Jefferson inaugural address 2

Bill of Rights

On this day in 1791, the United States ratifies the Bill of Rights, the first ten amendments to the U.S. Constitution. The purpose of the Bill is “to prevent misconstruction or abuse of [Constitutional] powers,” thereby protecting individual liberties.

The Virginia Declaration of Rights, written by George Mason, formed the basis of the amendments in the Bill of Rights.

In fact, at the Constitutional Convention in 1787, Mason would not sign the Constitution without concurrent passage of these protections.

Ultimately, Virginia was the last state to ratify the Bill of Rights.

Sect, Society, and Separation

Let us now scale that oft-misinterpreted “wall of separation between Church and State.”
First, with George Mason’s proposed wording for the First Amendment:

“All men have and equal, natural and unalienable right to the free exercise of religion, according to the dictates of conscience; and that no particular sect or society of Christians ought to be favored or established by law in preference to others.”

Furthermore, Thomas Jefferson borrowed his subsequently famous phrase from a well-known Baptist minister of the time. In a letter to the Danbury Baptist Association of Connecticut, Jefferson assured them that Congress would not violate the first amendment by placing one denomination, or sect, above the others.

Clearly, then, the intent of the First Amendment was not to harm religion, or even to isolate it from the state. Nor was it intended to appease atheists or please pluralists. Clearly, quite the opposite.

Bill of Rights

Declaration of Independence signatures

On this day in 1776, fifty-six delegates of the Second Continental Congress add their signatures to the Declaration of Independence.

Eight of these 56 signers were born in Britain.

Declaration of Independence signatures


Exactly one month prior, on July 2nd, the Congress accepted this resolution put forth by Richard Henry Lee:

“Resolved: 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.”

Then, two days later, on July 4th, Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence, put forth by the “Committee of Five.” The Committee consisted of Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Roger Sherman and Robert R. Livingston, although Jefferson wrote most of the Declaration with the others suggesting edits.

Finally, Timothy Matlack, a brewer known for his exceptional penmanship, likely engrossed Declaration on parchment. Parchment is animal skin that has been treated with lime and stretched.

Most importantly, the Declaration contains no less than four references to Almighty God, active in Our affairs: “Laws of Nature and Nature’s God,” “Creator,” “Supreme Judge of the world,” and “divine Providence.”

Sealed

Currently, this copy is on display at the National Archives in Washington, D.C., with the Constitution and Bill of Rights. Interestingly, these “Charters of Freedom” are in gold plated frames encased in ballistically resistant titanium and aluminum. Additionally, the encasement contain inert gas argon and a controlled level of humidity.

Also, for more on the Declaration of Independence, please revisit Our July 2nd and July 4th posts:

https://ourlostfounding.com/illuminations-one-end-continent/

Olive Branch Petition

On this day in 1775, the Second Continental Congress adopts the Olive Branch Petition. So, they send a letter directly to King George III, expressing hope for reconciliation with Great Britain. This was the final attempt to avoid a war of independence.

Among those who signed the Olive Branch letter were John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, and Thomas Jefferson. In the image below, you will almost certainly recognize the famous signature of another signer.

Congress shipped the letter by boat on July 8, 1775. King George III received it six weeks later.

…[W]e therefore pray, that your Majesty’s royal magnanimity and benevolence may make the most favourable constructions of our expressions on so uncommon an occasion.”

 He summarily dismissed the petition, and the rebellion soon became a world war.

Indispensable obligations…

Here’s a longer excerpt:

“Knowing to what violent resentments and incurable animosities civil discords are apt to exasperate and inflame the contending parties, we think ourselves required by indispensable obligations to Almighty God, to your Majesty, to our fellow-subjects, and to ourselves, immediately to use all the means in our power, not incompatible with our safety, for stopping the further effusion of blood, and for averting the impending calamities that threaten the British Empire.”

Olive Branch Petition

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

 

On this day in 1927, the work of carving and sculpting the Mount Rushmore National Memorial begins. The project was declared complete on October 31, 1941.

The iconic granite sculpture, attracts millions annually to the Black Hills of South Dakota.

According to sculptor Gutzon Borglum, “The purpose of the memorial is to communicate the founding, expansion, preservation, and unification of the United States with colossal statues of Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, and Theodore Roosevelt.”

With that stated purpose in mind, what follows is a ‘Mount Rushmore’ of quotes from the aforementioned presidents. Two of these quotes adorn Our Lost Founding shirts:

George Washington
“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.”

Thomas Jefferson
“I shall need, too, the favor of that Being in whose hands we are, who led our forefathers, as Israel of old, from their native land and planted them in a country flowing with all the necessities and comforts of life, who has covered our infancy with His Providence and our riper years with His wisdom and power

Abraham Lincoln
“In regard to this Great book, I have but to say, it is the best gift God has given to man. All the good the Savior gave to the world was communicated through this book. But for it we could not know right from wrong. All things most desirable for man’s welfare, here and hereafter, are to be found portrayed in it.”

Theodore Roosevelt
“Every thinking man, when he thinks, realizes that the teachings of the Bible are so interwoven and entwined with our whole civic and social life that it would be literally impossible for us to figure ourselves what life would be if these standards were removed.”

 

Finally, here is your humble Our Lost Founding Founder at our National Memorial:

 

Me at Mount Rushmore, Summer 2019

Benjamin Franklin United States seal

Let’s explore a couple Exodus examples from Our Lost Founding…

Command

First, below you’ll see Benjamin Franklin’s handwritten description (and transcription) of his Great Seal design suggestion from 1776. It describes the climactic events from the book of Exodus in the Bible; following the departure of Moses and the Israelites from slavery in Egypt, the once-parted Red Sea swallows up Pharaoh and his army.

This scene clearly speaks the motto “Rebellion to Tyrants is Obedience to God” which Thomas Jefferson adopted for use in his own personal seal. That motto and his seal inspired Our TJ t-shirt.

Benjamin Frankin Seal design description

Benjamin Franklin seal design Exodus

Commandments

Later in Exodus, Moses receives the Ten Commandments from the finger of God on two stone tablet atop Mount Sinai. Those tablets are represented on the chamber doors of the Supreme Court as well as on the floor of the National Archives, as seen below.

 

Ten commandments supreme court chamber