Finding principles is America's history

"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

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Hope. Can be kept indefinitely.

"Every measure of prudence, therefore, ought to be assumed for the
eventual total extirpation of slavery from the United States.... I have, throughout my
whole life, held the practice of slavery in... abhorrence."
                                                           ~ John Adams, letter to Evans, June 8, 1819


Founding Father John Adams was avidly against slavery, believed every man was created equal, and that applied to EVERYONE, not just white, but all ethnicity's, including black slaves. When the Second Continental Congress worked up the Declaration of Independence in the summer of 1776, Mr. Adams, along with some of his friends, wanted to put into the Declaration, and later in the Constitution, an article that abolished slavery. But because abolishing slavery would jeopardize the southern states inclusion in the creation of a union independent from Britain, the antislavery supporters conceded to the idea of slavery in order to keep the colonies united in their fight against England.

Mr. Adams maintained the hope that one day, all men would be free.  He instilled into his children his moral convictions concerning slavery.  Saving his hope until one day it would be the reality, probably knowing he would not see the end of slavery in his lifetime.

His son, John Quincy Adams, followed in his fathers foot steps, becoming involved in the early United States congress, and later became the 6th president.

"The conflict between the principle of liberty and the fact of slavery is coming gradually to an issue. Slavery has now the power, and falls into convulsions at the approach of freedom. That the fall of slavery is predetermined in the counsels of Omnipotence I cannot doubt; it is a part of the great moral improvement in the condition of man, attested by all the records of history. But the conflict will be terrible, and the progress of improvement perhaps retrograde before its final progress to consummation." 
                                                          ~ Journal of John Quincy Adams, 11 December 1838.

While still not abolishing slavery himself, he kept that hope alive in another person.  During his service to our country as president, a young congressman came under Mr. Quincy Adam's influential wing, and gleaned much knowledge and hope from the Founder's son.

That young congressman?

Abraham Lincoln. Who's known for abolishing slavery.

"I am naturally anti-slavery.  If slavery is not wrong, nothing is wrong.
I cannot remember when I did not so think, and feel"

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Honesty. How would you measure up?

“I hope that I shall always possess firmness and virtue enough to maintain what I consider to be the most enviable of all titles, the character of an honest man.”
                        ~ Gen. George Washington

Honesty.  Perhaps the most difficult of the 12 values.  It is definitely the simplest.  And maybe that’s what makes it hard.  Isn’t the simplest task always the hardest?  Is it because we over think it?  Or maybe we try to make ourselves look more important, more intellectual.  The simple fact of the matter is, everyone can be more honest.  Not just honest to each other, but honest to yourself.

In the middle of the Revolutionary War, Benedict Arnold unexpectedly switched sides.  After asking for, and receiving, an appointment to West Point from Gen. Washington himself, Arnold was free to pursue his secret plans.  He slipped away early in the morning September 25th 1780 to surrender West Point to the British.  His British informant, John André, was sent as a spy with Arnold's hand written notes of West Point in his shoe.  (John André was captured and tried, then hung on October 2, 1780 as a spy.  André was 29 years old.)  Arnold’s pride lead him to discontent with America.  He was involved in the early years of the war, lending his talent to several key victories and battles.  However, subordinates in his division got credit for his work, and others received promotions while Arnold was ignored.  I am reminded of something Ronald Reagan said, “There is no limit to what you can accomplish if you don't care who gets the credit.”  Arnold cared if he got the credit, and that planted the seeds of discontent that later caused Arnold’s dishonesty and betrayal of our beloved General, and country.

Gen. Washington was shocked to learn of Arnold’s betrayal.  A man of good character, an honest man, would endure trials not for the benefit of themselves, but for the cause of freedom.  (Two words; Valley Forge.)  He sent his faithful aid, Alexander Hamilton to intercept Arnold.  Arnold predicted this and escaped to a British ship.  He was given a generous salary, a command post in the British army, and a lump sum of 6,315 pounds sterling silver by the British for his actions.

During Benedict Arnold’s campaign in Virginia, Gen. Washington’s Mt. Vernon Estate was in danger of being destroyed by a vengeful Arnold.  The caretaker of the estate, kinsman Lund Washington, feeling the pressure to protect the estate, took goods from Mt. Vernon onto a British ship.  Gen. Washington wrote to Lund in a letter;

“...but that which gives me most concern is, that you should go on board the enemy's vessels, and furnish them with refreshments. It would have been a less painful circumstance to me to have heard, that in consequence of your noncompliance with their request, they had burnt my house and laid the plantation in ruins.”  – 30 April 1781 to Lund Washington (found on the website)

George Washington left his beloved estate, his loving wife, and the life of a gentleman farmer several times for the service of America.  His dedication to this country was so great that he would rather see his Mt. Vernon destroyed than in the hands of the enemy.  And even when the battles were over, the war won, and a new country emerging, Gen. Washington’s dedication to the country remained strong.  When asked to return to public life as the President, Washington replied, “Have I not yet done enough for my country?”  Washington had a heavy discussion to make - remain in the comforts and warm embrace of his home, or sacrifice his desires once again for our country. 

My question for you is, how far would you go for your country?  Does your love of America compel you to give up your life, your fortune and your sacred honor?
Honesty.  A value found throughout the pages of history.  A value that needs to saturate itself throughout our society.  It starts with you.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Finding principles in historic figures, don't worry, we'll pretend like this isn't a history lesson!

The 9/12 Project

The 9/12 project.  Launched by Glenn Beck to bring America back to the unity we put ourselves in on 9/12/01.  The day after the towers fell.  No one cared what you looked like, how much was in your bank account, or where you were from.  We came together and supported one another.  I watched as people all over this country remembered 9/11 with banners, flags, tears, songs and posts on Facebook this year.  Then a post came across my wall that changed my perception.

Remember 9/11, but never forget one very important thing;


 How true.  A tragedy without a response is really just that.  A tragedy.  Maybe that's why I like the idea of the 9/12 project so much.  Take what you've learned about yourself from that day, and apply it to the world, if I may use a cliche here, "to make the world a better place."  I'm not trying to take away from 9/11, I'm humbly suggesting we make ourselves better because of it.

I am in no way connected with the 9/12 Project, I don't endorse them on their behalf.  I am an advocate of Principles and Values.  An advocate of being a better person.

Throughout this blog, I intend to take moments in history - people you know, people you don't know - to illustrate one or more of the 9 principles and/or 12 values.  All while hopefully learning some of our amazing history!

Take Glenn Beck's 40 Day & 40 Night Challenge today and live these Principles!