George Washington: Freemen or Slaves

“The time is now near at hand which must probably determine, whether Americans are to be, Freemen, or Slaves; whether they are to have any property they can call their own; whether their Houses, and Farms, are to be pillaged and destroyed, and they consigned to a State of Wretchedness from which no human efforts will probably deliver them. The fate of unborn Millions will now depend, under God, on the Courage and Conduct of this army—Our cruel and unrelenting Enemy leaves us no choice but a brave resistance, or the most abject submission; this is all we can expect—We have therefore to resolve to conquer or die: Our own Country’s Honor, all call upon us for a vigorous and manly exertion, and if we now shamefully fail, we shall become infamous to the whole world. Let us therefore rely upon the goodness of the Cause, and the aid of the supreme Being, in whose hands Victory is, to animate and encourage us to great and noble Actions—The Eyes of all our Countrymen are now upon us, and we shall have their blessings, and praises, if happily we are the instruments of saving them from the Tyranny meditated against them. Let us therefore animate and encourage each other, and shew the whole world, that a Freeman contending for Liberty on his own ground is superior to any slavish mercenary on earth.”

George Washington, First President of the United States of America.  From “General Orders”, July 2, 1776.

Jack Miller Center: Teaching Founding Principles

I stumbled across the website for the Jack Miller Center on Thanksgiving day.  I am impressed with the Center’s statement of objectives:

The Jack Miller Center for Teaching America’s Founding Principles and History, a nonprofit, nonsectarian, nonpartisan, educational organization, works with educators in response to requests for resources to strengthen the teaching of America’s founding principles and history. …

The goal of the Miller Center is to ensure that students receive the best possible education and are prepared to be good stewards of our nation’s freedoms and the free institutions that protect all Americans’ liberties.

I am convinced that to the extent our children really understand the founding principles of our great country, they will be valiant champions of liberty.

John Taylor: The Genius of our Constitution

“A great destiny lies before the United States. The question is, is she competent for the task? She has out ridden the fiery test of revolution, hurled defiance at a despot’s power, and grasped the sceptre of liberty with a nervous, powerful grip. She has, out of the chaotic, confused mass of material associated with corrupt governments, organized a system of government and framed a constitution that while it is honorable to its founders, guarantees to all to the fullest extent, "Liberte, Egalite, Fraternite." … Liberty here is more than a name. Here man is free to speak, free to think, free to write, free to act, free to do good. The very genius of our Constitution and institutions is freedom.”

John Taylor, Third President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The Mormon, Oct 6, 1855, 1:33; quoted in The Gospel Kingdom, p.312. Tags: , ,

John Locke: Law Preserves Freedom

"The end of the law is not to abolish or restrain but to preserve and enlarge freedom.  For in all the states of created beings capable of laws, where there is  no law, there is no freedom.  For liberty is to be free from restraint and violence from others; which cannot be where there is no law."

John Locke, English physician and philosopher.  Quoted by John Harmer in A War We Must Win, Bookcraft 1999, pp. 124-125. Tags: , ,

John Adams: Constitution and Virtue

"Statesmen, my dear Sir, may plan and speculate for liberty, but it is Religion and Morality alone, which can establish the Principles upon which Freedom can securely stand. The only foundation of a free Constitution is pure Virtue, and if this cannot be inspired into our People in a greater Measure, than they have it now, they may change their Rulers and the forms of Government, but they will not obtain a lasting liberty."

John Adams, Second President of the United States.

Samuel Adams: Animating Contest of Freedom

"If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, go home from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or arms.  Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen."

Samuel Adams, One of the Founding Fathers of the United States. From speech at the Philadelphia State House, August 1, 1776. Tags: , ,

Love Freedom? Wear a Red Hat

Early this morning, I stumbled across a delightful post by Jed Sundall about the significance of the red cap atop the pole in Argentina’s coat of arms pictured to the right of Papa Smurf.

Jed had learned from a tour guide at the Argentine National Congress that:

“the coat’s rising sun represents the birth of a new nation, the blue and white background reminds us of the clear sky and the Río de la Plata, the laurels symbolize Argentina’s successful struggle for freedom, the joining hands represent the solidarity of the Argentine people, and the staff represents the power of the people’s union.”

The tour guide didn’t know the significance of the hat, but Jed subsequently learned,

“The hat is a liberty, or Phrygian, cap. Its inclusion on the coat of arms completes a graceful visualization of Argentina’s motto, En Unión y Libertad (In Union and Liberty).”

Jed further explained:

“Phrygia was an ancient kingdom in what is now Turkey. Its inhabitants would wear soft, red caps with the top pointed forward to distinguish themselves from their neighbors. Over time, the Greeks came to dominate the region, and the Phrygian caps eventually came to represent anything eastern or non-Greek. The caps became a symbol of freedom much later when freed Roman slaves started wearing them to represent their new status as Roman citizens. Freedom lovers worldwide have been wearing them ever since.”

Even in the years before the US Revolutionary War,  “liberty poles” topped with an ensign or a red Phrygian cap were often erected in town squares or on private land, to symbolize the colonist’s struggle for freedom.

Intrigued by Jed’s article, I subsequently learned from Wikipedia that a Phrygian cap is an integral symbol in the Seal of the United States Senate and was also included atop a pole held by the seated Liberty on a silver dollar minted in 1868.

So, while patriots today may favor flying the flag as a symbol of their love of liberty, it has been interesting to learn that early patriots wore red caps and courageously hoisted them high for all to see in defiant defense of the liberty they held dear.

I think I’ll go out and buy myself a red hat!  And perhaps I’ll ask Santa Claus if he loves freedom, too!

Thomas Jefferson: God Gave Us Liberty

"God who gave us life gave us liberty. And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are of the Gift of God? That they are not to be violated but with His wrath? Indeed, I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that His justice cannot sleep forever."

Thomas Jefferson, Third President of the United States Tags: , ,

George Washington: Future Guardians of Liberty

“A primary object should be the education of our youth in the science of government.  In a republic, what species of knowledge can be equally important?  And what duty more pressing … than … communicating it to those who are to be the future guardians of the liberties of the country.”

George Washington, First President of the United States.  Quoted on National Center for Constitutional Studies website. Tags: , , ,

Thomas Jefferson: Liberty is a Gift of God

Thomas Jefferson“God who gave us life gave us liberty. And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are of the Gift of God? That they are not to be violated but with His wrath? Indeed, I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that His justice cannot sleep forever.”

Thomas Jefferson, Third President of the United States, Principal Author of the Declaration of Independence