Tag Archives: Abraham Lincoln

Lost and Found – October 3rd Edition

What to remember about October 3rd…

  • 1789  President Washington issues the 1st Presidential proclamation; declares a national day of Thanksgiving be held on November 26th, 1789
  • 1863  President Lincoln proclaims that the 4th Thursday in November the nation would observe a Thanksgiving holiday; in 1939 FDR would move it to 3rd Thursday to encourage shoppers
  • 1895  Stephen Crane’s novel depicting the life of a civil war soldier The Red Badge of Courage is published
  • 1922  Rebecca L. Felton is appointed to the United States Senate, she is the 1st woman to ever hold that office
  • 1942  German scientists launch a V-2 rocket at Peenemünde, Germany; it is the 1st man-made object to reach space
  • 1974 Frank Robinson is named as new manager for Cleveland Indians.; 1st African-American baseball manager in major leagues
  • 1985  Space shuttle Atlantis makes her maiden voyage into space
  • 1990  Less than a year after the destruction of the Berlin Wall, East and West Germany unite as a single nation
  • 1995  Orenthal James “O.J.” Simpson is acquitted of the murders of his wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ron Goldman
  • 2008  “O.J.” Simpson is convicted of armed robbery and kidnapping in the attack on sports memorabilia dealer Bruce Fromong

Lost and Found – September 22nd Edition

What to remember about September 22nd…

  • 1776  Connecticut schoolteacher and captain in the Continental Army, Nathan Hale is executed in New York City by the British for spying
  • 1862  President Lincoln announces he will issue an Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863
  • 1961  President Kennedy signs legislation making the Peace Corps a permanent government agency
  • 1975  President Gerald Ford survives 2nd assassination attempt in 17 days; his life saved this time by a former Marine and Vietnam veteran
  • 1985  1st “Farm Aid” concert is held in Champaign, Illinois to help save family farms in America
  • 1991  The Dead Sea Scrolls are made available to the public for the 1st time at the Huntington Library
  • 1994  1st episode of Friends airs on NBC
  • 1999  American actor George C. Scott dies; famously portrayed General George Patton in the award-winning movie

execution of Nathan_Hale

Lost and Found – September 2nd Edition

What to remember about September 2nd…

  • 1666  London’s Great Fire breaks out; three-quarters of the city destroyed and 100,000 left homeless
  • 1775  George Washington hires the schooner Hannah to be the 1st armed American warship, founding vessel of the U.S. Navy
  • 1789  Congress establishes the United States Treasury Department to restore the economy post-war
  • 1862  After disaster at second Battle of Bull Run, Lincoln reluctantly puts McClellan in charge of Union forces
  • 1864  Union forces Atlanta after yesterday’s withdrawal of Confederate forces
  • 1885  In Rock Springs, Wyoming, striking miners attempting to unionize riot and kill 28 Chinese laborers and chase away hundreds more
  • 1901  “Speak softly and carry a big stick”; Theodore Roosevelt used the slogan for the 1st time at the Minnesota State Fair
  • 1945  V-J Day; Japan formally surrenders to the Allies at ceremony aboard battleship USS Missouri
  • 1969  Worlds 1st ATM debuts at Chemical Bank in New York
  • 1973  J.R.R. Tolkien dies in Bournemouth, England; author of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings trilogy
  • 2011  UN issues report finding Israel acted legitimately when it enforced its blockade of Gaza against flotilla of activists

Time Magazine cover VJ Day

Lost and Found – August 22nd Edition

What to remember about August 22nd…

  • 1776  Thousands of British troops under General Howe arrive with the intent to capture New York and divide the colonies
  • 1851  U.S. built schooner America wins the Royal Yacht Squadron’s 100 Guinea Cup; trophy becomes the America’s Cup
  • 1862  President Lincoln writes his response to letter from Tribune editor and abolitionist Horace Greeley
  • 1941  German troops reach Leningrad; siege begins
  • 1950  Athena Gibson becomes 1st African-American woman to compete in U.S. national tennis competition; will also be 1st African-American woman to win at Wimbledon
  • 1989  Co-founder of the Black Panthers, Huey P. Newton is shot on Oakland, California during a drug deal
  • 1989  Nolan Ryan becomes the 1st major league baseball pitcher to register 5000 career strike outs
  • 1992  Day 2 of the Siege at Ruby Ridge; Vicky Weaved is killed by an FBI sniper while she holds her infant daughter

america,s cup trophy sunset

Lost and Found – August 21st Edition

What to remember about August 21st…

  • 1858  The first of seven debates between Stephen Douglas and Abraham Lincoln is held
  • 1863  Rebel guerillas raid Lawrence Kansas; Quantrill’s men murder 192 and burn almost 200 buildings and homes
  • 1912  Arthur Aldred becomes 1st American boy to earn the rank of Eagle Scout; award presentation is delayed to September 2nd as medal design was not yet  finished
  • 1959  President Eisenhower signs proclamation admitting Hawaii to the Union as the 50th state
  • 1968  Private James Anderson, Jr. is the 1st African-American Marine to be awarded the Medal of Honor
  • 1992  U.S. Marshalls are caught scouting Randy Weaver’s farm in Idaho; ambush fails and 10-day siege at Ruby ridge begins
  • 1995  Hamas suicide bomber targets bus in Ramat Eshkol area of Jerusalem; 4 killed and over 100 wounded

Eagle Scout Medal

Lost and Found – July 23rd Edition

What to remember about July 23rd…

  • 1793  American patriot Roger Sherman dies; only signer of  – the Declaration of Independence, the Articles of Confederation and the Constitution
  • 1862  Abraham Lincoln appoints Henry W. Halleck as General-in-Chief of all Union armies
  • 1885  President Ulysses S. Grant dies in New York
  • 1952  King Farouk I of Egypt overthrown in military coup led by Gamal Abdel Nasser
  • 1958  USS Nautilus sets sail from Pearl Harbor for historic first submerged voyage under the North Pole
  • 1967  Beginning with raid on illegal bar, 12th Street Riots begin in Detroit; 43 die and 2000 buildings destroyed by time the Army arrives
  • 1984  Miss America Vanessa Williams resigns title after Penthouse Magazine plans to print nude photos of her
  • 2005  Islamic Muslim Brotherhood terrorists kill 88 and wound over 200 in multiple bombings in resort town of Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt
  • 2012  Astronaut and physicist Dr. Sally Kristen Ride dies of cancer (b. 1951); 1st American woman in space

Sally Ride (Season 15, 1983)

Lost and Found – July 12th Edition

What to remember about July 12th…

  • 1804  Alexander Hamilton dies a day after being shot in a duel by Vice President Aaron Burr
  • 1812  American forces invade near Ontario, Canada in War of 1812
  • 1817  American author, abolitionist, and philosopher Henry David Thoreau is born in Concord, Massachusetts
  • 1862  President Abraham Lincoln signs law establishing the Medal of Honor
  • 1864  Attack on Washington, D.C by Confederate forces is repelled
  • 1895  American inventor, engineer, and futurist Richard Buckminster “Bucky” Fuller is born in Milton, Massachusetts (d. 1983)
  • 1909  16th Amendment to the United States Constitution is proposed, allows the federal government to collect income tax
  • 1937  American actor and comedian William Henry Bill Cosby is born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • 1962  Rolling Stones play their first gig, Marquee Club in London
  • 1984  Walter Mondale chooses Geraldine Ferraro as his running-mate , 1st women to become candidate for Vice President
  • 2006  Hezbollah forces launch missiles as a diversion to allow kidnapping of Israeli soldiers; incident sparks 2006 Lebanon War

Lost and Found – July 11th Edition

What to remember about July 11th…

  • 1765  Future 6th President John Quincy Adams born in Massachusetts
  • 1782  British officers surrender Savannah, effectively ending Georgia’s involvement in the American Revolution (H/T David)
  • 1798  United States Marine Corps is reestablished in preparation for Quasi-War with France; USMC originally formed November 10, 1775
  • 1804  Alexander Hamilton mortally wounded in duel with Vice President Aaron Burr at Weehawken, New Jersey
  • 1864  Confederate forces begin 2-day assault on Fort Stevens; President Lincoln attends as defenders repel invaders from Capitol
  • 1914  “Babe” Ruth plays his first game in the Major Leagues; pitches for the Boston Red Sox in victory over Cleveland Indians 4-3
  • 1921  Former 27th President William Howard Taft is sworn in as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court; only person to hold both offices
  • 1945  Soviet Union announces that it will turn over civilian and military control of West Berlin to the Allies
  • 1947  Exodus 1947, former U.S. transport ship, departs France with 4515 Jewish passengers in attempt to run blockade and reach Palestine
  • 1955  1st class of cadets sworn is in at temporary site of the United States Air Force Academy, Lowery Air Force Base in Colorado
  • 1977  President Jimmy Carter presents posthumous award of Presidential Medal of Freedom to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
  • 1979  Skylab, the first successful U.S. space station, re-enters the atmosphere; debris falls in Australia and Indian Ocean
  • 2007  Former First Lady Claudia Alta “Lady Bird” Taylor Johnson dies (b. 1912)

NASA Skylab One

Lost and Found – July 7th Edition

What to remember about July 7th…

  • 1798  Congress rescinds treaties with France in response to raids on American shipping; “Quasi-War” begins between France and U.S.
  • 1846  U.S. forces occupy Monterey, California unopposed during Mexican-American War; begins annexation of California
  • 1863  America’s first military draft begins; exemption costs $300
  • 1865  Marry Surrat is 1st woman executed in the United States; convicted as conspirator in assassination of President Lincoln
  • 1907  Science fiction author Robert Heinlein born; Stranger in a Strange Land, Starship Troopers, The Moon is a Harsh Mistress
  • 1942  Heinrich Himmler orders that medical experiments be performed on Jews at Auschwitz; Hitler approves
  • 1946  Future President James Earl “Jimmy” Carter marries Eleanor Rosalynn Smith in Plains, Georgia
  • 1981  Sandra Day O’Connor is nominated as an associate Justice to the Supreme Court of the United States by Ronald Reagan
  • 1981  Solar Challenger piloted by Stephen Ptacek makes first solar-powered flight over the English Channel
  • 2003  NASA Opportunity rover launched towards Mars aboard a Delta II rocket
  • 2005  In London 3 subway trains and 1 bus are attacked by Muslim suicide bombers; the 4 attacks kill 56 and injure another 700

Calvin Coolidge on the 150th Anniversary of the Declaration of Independence

Several Presidents have died on July 4th but Calvin Coolidge was the only to actually be born on that day.  No one knew on that day in 1872 that he would grow up to become the 30th President of the United States.  You cannot attribute the strong, silent, and conservative nature of his person and presidency on the date of his birth.  But perhaps he took some inspiration from that auspicious date and informed his character and philosophy with its import.

On July 5, 1926, President Coolidge delivered an address celebrating the 150th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence.  He speaks not only on the ideas of individual freedom that are expressed in the document, but also on the spiritual elements that brought these ideas and movement that led to independence being considered at all.  In addition, he explains that to stay prosperous and free we must as a nation return and cling to the spirituality and morality that led to the founding in the first place.

Take a moment to read this.  His observations at the 150th anniversary are just as valid as they are today on the 236th.

(I first found an excerpt of this speech at Breitbart.com and then researched until I could find the entire document and its background.)


Calvin Coolidge’s Speech on the Occasion of the 150th Anniversary of the Declaration of Independence – July 5th, 1926, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

We meet to celebrate the birthday of America. The coming of a new life always excites our interest. Although we know in the case of the individual that it has been an infinite repetition reaching back beyond our vision, that only makes it the more wonderful. But how our interest and wonder increase when we behold the miracle of the birth of a new nation. It is to pay our tribute of reverence and respect to those who participated in such a mighty event that we annually observe the fourth day of July. Whatever may have been the impression created by the news which went out from this city on that summer day in 1776, there can be no doubt as to the estimate which is now placed upon it. At the end of 150 years the four corners of the earth unite in coming to Philadelphia as to a holy shrine in grateful acknowledgement of a service so great, which a few inspired men here rendered to humanity, that it is still the preeminent support of free government throughout the world.

Although a century and a half measured in comparison with the length of human experience is but a short time, yet measured in the life of governments and nations it ranks as a very respectable period. Certainly enough time has elapsed to demonstrate with a great deal of thoroughness the value of our institutions and their dependability as rules for the regulation of human conduct and the advancement of civilization. They have been in existence long enough to become very well seasoned. They have met, and met successfully, the test of experience.

It is not so much then for the purpose of undertaking to proclaim new theories and principles that this annual celebration is maintained, but rather to reaffirm and reestablish those old theories and principles which time and the unerring logic of events have demonstrated to be sound. Amid all the clash of conflicting interests, amid all the welter of partisan politics, every American can turn for solace and consolation to the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States with the assurance and confidence that those two great charters of freedom and justice remain firm and unshaken. Whatever perils appear, whatever dangers threaten, the Nation remains secure in the knowledge that the ultimate application of the law of the land will provide an adequate defense and protection.

It is little wonder that people at home and abroad consider Independence Hall as hallowed ground and revere the Liberty Bell as a sacred relic. That pile of bricks and mortar, that mass of metal, might appear to the uninstructed as only the outgrown meeting place and the shattered bell of a former time, useless now because of more modern conveniences, but to those who know they have become consecrated by the use which men have made of them. They have long been identified with a great cause. They are the framework of a spiritual event. The world looks upon them, because of their associations of one hundred and fifty years ago, as it looks upon the Holy Land because of what took place there nineteen hundred years ago. Through use for a righteous purpose they have become sanctified.

It is not here necessary to examine in detail the causes which led to the American Revolution. In their immediate occasion they were largely economic. The colonists objected to the navigation laws which interfered with their trade, they denied the power of Parliament to impose taxes which they were obliged to pay, and they therefore resisted the royal governors and the royal forces which were sent to secure obedience to these laws. But the conviction is inescapable that a new civilization had come, a new spirit had arisen on this side of the Atlantic more advanced and more developed in its regard for the rights of the individual than that which characterized the Old World. Life in a new and open country had aspirations which could not be realized in any subordinate position. A separate establishment was ultimately inevitable. It had been decreed by the very laws of human nature. Man everywhere has an unconquerable desire to be the master of his own destiny.

We are obliged to conclude that the Declaration of Independence represented the movement of a people. It was not, of course, a movement from the top. Revolutions do not come from that direction. It was not without the support of many of the most respectable people in the Colonies, who were entitled to all the consideration that is given to breeding, education, and possessions. It had the support of another element of great significance and importance to which I shall later refer. But the preponderance of all those who occupied a position which took on the aspect of aristocracy did not approve of the Revolution and held toward it an attitude either of neutrality or open hostility. It was in no sense a rising of the oppressed and downtrodden. It brought no scum to the surface, for the reason that colonial society had developed no scum. The great body of the people were accustomed to privations, but they were free from depravity. If they had poverty, it was not of the hopeless kind that afflicts great cities, but the inspiring kind that marks the spirit of the pioneer. The American Revolution represented the informed and mature convictions of a great mass of independent, liberty-loving, God-fearing people who knew their rights, and possessed the courage to dare to maintain them.

The Continental Congress was not only composed of great men, but it represented a great people. While its members did not fail to exercise a remarkable leadership, they were equally observant of their representative capacity. They were industrious in encouraging their constituents to instruct them to support independence. But until such instructions were given they were inclined to withhold action.

While North Carolina has the honor of first authorizing its delegates to concur with other Colonies in declaring independence, it was quickly followed by South Carolina and Georgia, which also gave general instructions broad enough to include such action. But the first instructions which unconditionally directed its delegates to declare for independence came from the great Commonwealth of Virginia. These were immediately followed by Rhode Island and Massachusetts, while the other Colonies, with the exception of New York, soon adopted a like course.

This obedience of the delegates to the wishes of their constituents, which in some cases caused them to modify their previous positions, is a matter of great significance. It reveals an orderly process of government in the first place; but more than that, it demonstrates that the Declaration of Independence was the result of the seasoned and deliberate thought of the dominant portion of the people of the Colonies. Adopted after long discussion and as the result of the duly authorized expression of the preponderance of public opinion, it did not partake of dark intrigue or hidden conspiracy. It was well advised. It had about it nothing of the lawless and disordered nature of a riotous insurrection. It was maintained on a plane which rises above the ordinary conception of rebellion. It was in no sense a radical movement but took on the dignity of a resistance to illegal usurpations. It was conservative and represented the action of the colonists to maintain their constitutional rights which from time immemorial had been guaranteed to them under the law of the land.

When we come to examine the action of the Continental Congress in adopting the Declaration of Independence in the light of what was set out in that great document and in the light of succeeding events, we can not escape the conclusion that it had a much broader and deeper significance than a mere secession of territory and the establishment of a new nation. Events of that nature have been taking place since the dawn of history. One empire after another has arisen, only to crumble away as its constituent parts separated from each other and set up independent governments of their own. Such actions long ago became commonplace. They have occurred too often to hold the attention of the world and command the admiration and reverence of humanity. There is something beyond the establishment of a new nation, great as that event would be, in the Declaration of Independence which has ever since caused it to be regarded as one of the great charters that not only was to liberate America but was everywhere to ennoble humanity.

It was not because it was proposed to establish a new nation, but because it was proposed to establish a nation on new principles, that July 4, 1776, has come to be regarded as one of the greatest days in history. Great ideas do not burst upon the world unannounced. They are reached by a gradual development over a length of time usually proportionate to their importance. This is especially true of the principles laid down in the Declaration of Independence. Three very definite propositions were set out in its preamble regarding the nature of mankind and therefore of government. These were the doctrine that all men are created equal, that they are endowed with certain inalienable rights, and that therefore the source of the just powers of government must be derived from the consent of the governed.

If no one is to be accounted as born into a superior station, if there is to be no ruling class, and if all possess rights which can neither be bartered away nor taken from them by any earthly power, it follows as a matter of course that the practical authority of the Government has to rest on the consent of the governed. While these principles were not altogether new in political action, and were very far from new in political speculation, they had never been assembled before and declared in such a combination. But remarkable as this may be, it is not the chief distinction of the Declaration of Independence. The importance of political speculation is not to be under-estimated, as I shall presently disclose. Until the idea is developed and the plan made there can be no action.

It was the fact that our Declaration of Independence containing these immortal truths was the political action of a duly authorized and constituted representative public body in its sovereign capacity, supported by the force of general opinion and by the armies of Washington already in the field, which makes it the most important civil document in the world. It was not only the principles declared, but the fact that therewith a new nation was born which was to be founded upon those principles and which from that time forth in its development has actually maintained those principles, that makes this pronouncement an incomparable event in the history of government. It was an assertion that a people had arisen determined to make every necessary sacrifice for the support of these truths and by their practical application bring the War of Independence to a successful conclusion and adopt the Constitution of the United States with all that it has meant to civilization.

The idea that the people have a right to choose their own rulers was not new in political history. It was the foundation of every popular attempt to depose an undesirable king. This right was set out with a good deal of detail by the Dutch when as early as July 26, 1581, they declared their independence of Philip of Spain. In their long struggle with the Stuarts the British people asserted the same principles, which finally culminated in the Bill of Rights deposing the last of that house and placing William and Mary on the throne. In each of these cases sovereignty through divine right was displaced by sovereignty through the consent of the people. Running through the same documents, though expressed in different terms, is the clear inference of inalienable rights. But we should search these charters in vain for an assertion of the doctrine of equality. This principle had not before appeared as an official political declaration of any nation. It was profoundly revolutionary. It is one of the corner stones of American institutions.

But if these truths to which the declaration refers have not before been adopted in their combined entirety by national authority, it is a fact that they had been long pondered and often expressed in political speculation. It is generally assumed that French thought had some effect upon our public mind during Revolutionary days. This may have been true. But the principles of our declaration had been under discussion in the Colonies for nearly two generations before the advent of the French political philosophy that characterized the middle of the eighteenth century. In fact, they come from an earlier date. A very positive echo of what the Dutch had done in 1581, and what the English were preparing to do, appears in the assertion of the Reverend Thomas Hooker of Connecticut as early as 1638, when he said in a sermon before the General Court that:

“The foundation of authority is laid in the free consent of the people.”

“The choice of public magistrates belongs unto the people by God’s own allowance.”

This doctrine found wide acceptance among the nonconformist clergy who later made up the Congregational Church. The great apostle of this movement was the Reverend John Wise, of Massachusetts. He was one of the leaders of the revolt against the royal governor Andros in 1687, for which he suffered imprisonment. He was a liberal in ecclesiastical controversies. He appears to have been familiar with the writings of the political scientist, Samuel Pufendorf, who was born in Saxony in 1632. Wise published a treatise, entitled “The Church’s Quarrel Espoused”, in 1710, which was amplified in another publication in 1717. In it he dealt with the principles of civil government. His works were reprinted in 1772 and have been declared to have been nothing less than a textbook of liberty for our Revolutionary fathers.

While the written word was the foundation, it is apparent that the spoken word was the vehicle for convincing the people. This came with great force and wide range from the successors of Hooker and Wise, It was carried on with a missionary spirit which did not fail to reach the Scotch-Irish of North Carolina, showing its influence by significantly making that Colony the first to give instructions to its delegates looking to independence. This preaching reached the neighborhood of Thomas Jefferson, who acknowledged that his “best ideas of democracy” had been secured at church meetings.

That these ideas were prevalent in Virginia is further revealed by the Declaration of Rights, which was prepared by George Mason and presented to the general assembly on May 27, 1776. This document asserted popular sovereignty and inherent natural rights, but confined the doctrine of equality to the assertion that “All men are created equally free and independent.” It can scarcely be imagined that Jefferson was unacquainted with what had been done in his own Commonwealth of Virginia when he took up the task of drafting the Declaration of Independence. But these thoughts can very largely be traced back to what John Wise was writing in 1710. He said, “Every man must be acknowledged equal to every man.” Again, “The end of all good government is to cultivate humanity and promote the happiness of all and the good of every man in all his rights, his life, liberty, estate, honor, and so forth…”. And again, “For as they have a power every man in his natural state, so upon combination they can and do bequeath this power to others and settle it according as their united discretion shall determine.” And still again, “Democracy is Christ’s government in church and state.” Here was the doctrine of equality, popular sovereignty, and the substance of the theory of inalienable rights clearly asserted by Wise at the opening of the eighteenth century, just as we have the principle of the consent of the governed stated by Hooker as early as 1638.

When we take all these circumstances into consideration, it is but natural that the first paragraph of the Declaration of Independence should open with a reference to Nature’s God and should close in the final paragraphs with an appeal to the Supreme Judge of the world and an assertion of a firm reliance on Divine Providence. Coming from these sources, having as it did this background, it is no wonder that Samuel Adams could say “The people seem to recognize this resolution as though it were a decree promulgated from heaven.”

No one can examine this record and escape the conclusion that in the great outline of its principles the Declaration was the result of the religious teachings of the preceding period. The profound philosophy which Jonathan Edwards applied to theology, the popular preaching of George Whitefield, had aroused the thought and stirred the people of the Colonies in preparation for this great event. No doubt the speculations which had been going on in England, and especially on the Continent, lent their influence to the general sentiment of the times. Of course, the world is always influenced by all the experience and all the thought of the past. But when we come to a contemplation of the immediate conception of the principles of human relationship which went into the Declaration of Independence we are not required to extend our search beyond our own shores. They are found in the texts, the sermons, and the writings of the early colonial clergy who were earnestly undertaking to instruct their congregations in the great mystery of how to live. They preached equality because they believed in the fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man. They justified freedom by the text that we are all created in the divine image, all partakers of the divine spirit.

Placing every man on a plane where he acknowledged no superiors, where no one possessed any right to rule over him, he must inevitably choose his own rulers through a system of self-government. This was their theory of democracy. In those days such doctrines would scarcely have been permitted to flourish and spread in any other country. This was the purpose which the fathers cherished. In order that they might have freedom to express these thoughts and opportunity to put them into action, whole congregations with their pastors had migrated to the colonies. These great truths were in the air that our people breathed. Whatever else we may say of it, the Declaration of Independence was profoundly American.

If this apprehension of the facts be correct, and the documentary evidence would appear to verify it, then certain conclusions are bound to follow. A spring will cease to flow if its source be dried up; a tree will wither if its roots be destroyed. In its main features the Declaration of Independence is a great spiritual document. It is a declaration not of material but of spiritual conceptions. Equality, liberty, popular sovereignty, the rights of man — these are not elements which we can see and touch. They are ideals. They have their source and their roots in the religious convictions. They belong to the unseen world. Unless the faith of the American people in these religious convictions is to endure, the principles of our Declaration will perish. We can not continue to enjoy the result if we neglect and abandon the cause.

We are too prone to overlook another conclusion. Governments do not make ideals, but ideals make governments. This is both historically and logically true. Of course the government can help to sustain ideals and can create institutions through which they can be the better observed, but their source by their very nature is in the people. The people have to bear their own responsibilities. There is no method by which that burden can be shifted to the government. It is not the enactment, but the observance of laws, that creates the character of a nation.

About the Declaration there is a finality that is exceedingly restful. It is often asserted that the world has made a great deal of progress since 1776, that we have had new thoughts and new experiences which have given us a great advance over the people of that day, and that we may therefore very well discard their conclusions for something more modern. But that reasoning can not be applied to this great charter. If all men are created equal, that is final. If they are endowed with inalienable rights, that is final. If governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed, that is final. No advance, no progress can be made beyond these propositions. If anyone wishes to deny their truth or their soundness, the only direction in which he can proceed historically is not forward, but backward toward the time when there was no equality, no rights of the individual, no rule of the people. Those who wish to proceed in that direction can not lay claim to progress. They are reactionary. Their ideas are not more modern, but more ancient, than those of the Revolutionary fathers.

In the development of its institutions America can fairly claim that it has remained true to the principles which were declared 150 years ago. In all the essentials we have achieved an equality which was never possessed by any other people. Even in the less important matter of material possessions we have secured a wider and wider distribution of wealth. The rights of the individual are held sacred and protected by constitutional guaranties, which even the Government itself is bound not to violate. If there is any one thing among us that is established beyond question, it is self-government — the right of the people to rule. If there is any failure in respect to any of these principles, it is because there is a failure on the part of individuals to observe them. We hold that the duly authorized expression of the will of the people has a divine sanction. But even in that we come back to the theory of John Wise that “Democracy is Christ’s government.” The ultimate sanction of law rests on the righteous authority of the Almighty.

On an occasion like this a great temptation exists to present evidence of the practical success of our form of democratic republic at home and the ever-broadening acceptance it is securing abroad. Although these things are well known, their frequent consideration is an encouragement and an inspiration. But it is not results and effects so much as sources and causes that I believe it is even more necessary constantly to contemplate. Ours is a government of the people. It represents their will. Its officers may sometimes go astray, but that is not a reason for criticizing the principles of our institutions. The real heart of the American Government depends upon the heart of the people. It is from that source that we must look for all genuine reform. It is to that cause that we must ascribe all our results.

It was in the contemplation of these truths that the fathers made their declaration and adopted their Constitution. It was to establish a free government, which must not be permitted to degenerate into the unrestrained authority of a mere majority or the unbridled weight of a mere influential few. They undertook the balance these interests against each other and provide the three separate independent branches, the executive, the legislative, and the judicial departments of the Government, with checks against each other in order that neither one might encroach upon the other. These are our guaranties of liberty. As a result of these methods enterprise has been duly protected from confiscation, the people have been free from oppression, and there has been an ever-broadening and deepening of the humanities of life.

Under a system of popular government there will always be those who will seek for political preferment by clamoring for reform. While there is very little of this which is not sincere, there is a large portion that is not well informed. In my opinion very little of just criticism can attach to the theories and principles of our institutions. There is far more danger of harm than there is hope of good in any radical changes. We do need a better understanding and comprehension of them and a better knowledge of the foundations of government in general. Our forefathers came to certain conclusions and decided upon certain courses of action which have been a great blessing to the world. Before we can understand their conclusions we must go back and review the course which they followed. We must think the thoughts which they thought. Their intellectual life centered around the meeting-house. They were intent upon religious worship. While there were always among them men of deep learning, and later those who had comparatively large possessions, the mind of the people was not so much engrossed in how much they knew, or how much they had, as in how they were going to live. While scantily provided with other literature, there was a wide acquaintance with the Scriptures. Over a period as great as that which measures the existence of our independence they were subject to this discipline not only in their religious life and educational training, but also in their political thought. They were a people who came under the influence of a great spiritual development and acquired a great moral power.

No other theory is adequate to explain or comprehend the Declaration of Independence. It is the product of the spiritual insight of the people. We live in an age of science and of abounding accumulation of material things. These did not create our Declaration. Our Declaration created them. The things of the spirit come first. Unless we cling to that, all our material prosperity, overwhelming though it may appear, will turn to a barren sceptre in our grasp. If we are to maintain the great heritage which has been bequeathed to us, we must be like-minded as the fathers who created it. We must not sink into a pagan materialism. We must cultivate the reverence which they had for the things that are holy. We must follow the spiritual and moral leadership which they showed. We must keep replenished, that they may glow with a more compelling flame, the altar fires before which they worshiped.