Note- this is the first article of a series on America's Founders and the values and beliefs which America was founded on.
Liberty cannot be established without morality, nor morality without faith.
Alexis de Tocqueville
The Americans combine the notions of religion and liberty so intimately in their minds, that it is impossible to make them conceive of one without the other.
Alexis de Tocqueville
Those of you who know me, know I immigrated here from Canada nearly 20 years ago. My husband and I were talking one day not too long ago about the state of things now. I said, I don't know who it's harder for, to see America being trashed. Those who were born here and having to see it, or those of us who came here to freedom, only to have it slipping away. Many millions have come to America to escape tyranny, oppression and poverty, have built families, lives and lively hoods. They had begun to see what freedom was- and now they are afraid because it is resembling too closely to what they thought they'd left behind.
I have for the past few years been interested in the history of America, and more so now. I have realized that too many people who have lived their entire lives here have no idea what the Country founding was all about. Many people love their country, but have no idea of the importance of History, and how if one does not know their history- they will not understand their liberties and freedoms. If they don't know where their liberties come from, and wrongly assume they are given by the government, they will lose them before they know it. I worry for the generations after mine who, if they are not taught the real History of America, they will never know how damaging the present state of our politics are to their own freedoms. It is for them that I am attempting to bring it out into the light for all to see and learn.
To know America's history, one must know before the beginning. Many people were taught about the Mayflower and the pilgrims and Thanksgiving Turkey. Mayflower Compact – What is it?The Mayflower Compact was a document written by a group of the new settlers arriving at New Plymouth in November of 1620. They had traveled across the ocean on the ship Mayflower which anchored near Cape Cod, Massachusetts. All of the adult male members on the Mayflower signed the Compact. Being the first written laws for the new land, the Compact set the authority within the settlement and established that the colony was to be free of English law. It was shaped to form a government of themselves and was written by those to be governed.
The Mayflower Compact reads:
"In the name of God, Amen. We, whose names are underwritten, the Loyal Subjects of our dread Sovereign Lord, King James, by the Grace of God, of England, France and Ireland, King, Defender of the Faith, e&. Having undertaken for the Glory of God, and Advancement of the Christian Faith, and the Honour of our King and Country, a voyage to plant the first colony in the northern parts of Virginia; do by these presents, solemnly and mutually in the Presence of God and one of another, covenant and combine ourselves together into a civil Body Politick, for our better Ordering and Preservation, and Furtherance of the Ends aforesaid; And by Virtue hereof to enact, constitute, and frame, such just and equal Laws, Ordinances, Acts, Constitutions and Offices, from time to time, as shall be thought most meet and convenient for the General good of the Colony; unto which we promise all due submission and obedience. In Witness whereof we have hereunto subscribed our names at Cape Cod the eleventh of November, in the Reign of our Sovereign Lord, King James of England, France and Ireland, the eighteenth, and of Scotland the fifty-fourth. Anno Domini, 1620."
I don't start this article with the Mayflower Compact just to show that America was in fact based on the Christian belief and for the purpose of spreading the Gospel, but to show a springboard onto the later documents which became the basis of the government and laws of America- The Declaration of Independence and The Constitution. It is a fact that many of America's earlier historians referred to the Mayflower Compact as the foundation of the U.S. Constitution which was written more than 150 later.
The first Charter of Virginia was written on the solid basis which made up that of the Mayflower Compact. It was granted by King James I, on April 10, 1606, and states:
We, greatly commending, and graciously accepting of, their Desires for the Furtherance of so noble a Work, which may, by the Providence of Almighty God, hereafter tend to the Glory of his Divine Majesty, in propagating of Christian Religion to such People, as yet live in Darkness and miserable Ignorance of the true Knowledge and Worship of God…Instructions for the Virginia Colony (1606)
John Adams, one of the Founders more than a century later understood the ideals of the earliest settlers when he said, “ The general principles upon which the Fathers achieved independence were the general principals of Christianity… I will avow that I believed and now believe that those general principles of Christianity are as eternal and immutable as the existence and attributes of God.”
The foundation for the land which was to become the United States of America was the Gospel of the Bible. The founding fathers knew this, and learned from it. How they also understood that freedom and liberties are given by God and not the government is a large part of why a new government, separated from the Crown of England came about.
When after numerous grievances against the Crown brought nothing but contempt and misery, the founders felt it was time to declare a separation. They turned not only to their strong moral and religious beliefs in God, but also to the legal writings by a man named William Blackstone.
I aim for once, to keep these articles shorter, so I will end here. We will look more closely next time at William Blackstone, and why his legal writings were so important to the founders that much of what he wrote was woven into American history. Until next time- I invite you to read the Declaration of Independence again, as to understand what the early colonies were facing in a tyranny of the English Monarchy, and try and see if any could be compared with what we are facing these days.