Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Republic v. Democracy

David Barton
We have grown accustomed to hearing that we are a democracy; such was never the intent. The form of government entrusted to us by our Founders was a republic, not a democracy.1 Our Founders had an opportunity to establish a democracy in America and chose not to. In fact, the Founders made clear that we were not, and were never to become, a democracy:
[D]emocracies have ever been spectacles of turbulence and contention; have ever been found incompatible with personal security, or the rights of property; and have, in general, been as short in their lives as they have been violent in their deaths.2 James Madison

Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There never was a democracy yet that did not commit suicide.3 John Adams

A democracy is a volcano which conceals the fiery materials of its own destruction. These will produce an eruption and carry desolation in their way.4 The known propensity of a democracy is to licentiousness [excessive license] which the ambitious call, and ignorant believe to be liberty.5 Fisher Ames, Author of the House Language for the First Amendment

We have seen the tumult of democracy terminate . . . as [it has] everywhere terminated, in despotism. . . . Democracy! savage and wild. Thou who wouldst bring down the virtuous and wise to thy level of folly and guilt.6 Gouverneur Morris, Signer and Penman of the Constitution

[T]he experience of all former ages had shown that of all human governments, democracy was the most unstable, fluctuating and short-lived.7 John Quincy Adams

A simple democracy . . . is one of the greatest of evils.8 Benjamin Rush, Signer of the Declaration

In democracy . . . there are commonly tumults and disorders. . . . Therefore a pure democracy is generally a very bad government. It is often the most tyrannical government on earth.9 Noah Webster

Pure democracy cannot subsist long nor be carried far into the departments of state, it is very subject to caprice and the madness of popular rage.10 John Witherspoon, Signer of the Declaration

It may generally be remarked that the more a government resembles a pure democracy the more they abound with disorder and confusion.11 Zephaniah Swift, Author of America's First Legal Text
Many Americans today seem to be unable to define the difference between the two, but there is a difference, a big difference. That difference rests in the source of authority.

A pure democracy operates by direct majority vote of the people. When an issue is to be decided, the entire population votes on it; the majority wins and rules. A republic differs in that the general population elects representatives who then pass laws to govern the nation. A democracy is the rule by majority feeling (what the Founders described as a "mobocracy" 12); a republic is rule by law. If the source of law for a democracy is the popular feeling of the people, then what is the source of law for the American republic? According to Founder Noah Webster:
[O]ur citizens should early understand that the genuine source of correct republican principles is the Bible, particularly the New Testament, or the Christian religion.13
The transcendent values of Biblical natural law were the foundation of the American republic. Consider the stability this provides: in our republic, murder will always be a crime, for it is always a crime according to the Word of God. however, in a democracy, if majority of the people decide that murder is no longer a crime, murder will no longer be a crime.

America's immutable principles of right and wrong were not based on the rapidly fluctuating feelings and emotions of the people but rather on what Montesquieu identified as the "principles that do not change."14 Benjamin Rush similarly observed:
[W]here there is no law, there is no liberty; and nothing deserves the name of law but that which is certain and universal in its operation upon all the members of the community.15
In the American republic, the "principles which did not change" and which were "certain and universal in their operation upon all the members of the community" were the principles of Biblical natural law. In fact, so firmly were these principles ensconced in the American republic that early law books taught that government was free to set its own policy only if God had not ruled in an area. For example, Blackstone's Commentaries explained:
To instance in the case of murder: this is expressly forbidden by the Divine. . . . If any human law should allow or enjoin us to commit it we are bound to transgress that human law. . . . But, with regard to matters that are . . . not commanded or forbidden by those superior laws such, for instance, as exporting of wool into foreign countries; here the . . . legislature has scope and opportunity to interpose.16
The Founders echoed that theme:
All [laws], however, may be arranged in two different classes. 1) Divine. 2) Human. . . . But it should always be remembered that this law, natural or revealed, made for men or for nations, flows from the same Divine source: it is the law of God. . . . Human law must rest its authority ultimately upon the authority of that law which is Divine.17 James Wilson, Signer of the Constitution; U. S. Supreme Court Justice
[T]he law . . . dictated by God Himself is, of course, superior in obligation to any other. It is binding over all the globe, in all countries, and at all times. No human laws are of any validity if contrary to this.18 Alexander Hamilton, Signer of the Constitution
[T]he . . . law established by the Creator . . . extends over the whole globe, is everywhere and at all times binding upon mankind. . . . [This] is the law of God by which he makes his way known to man and is paramount to all human control.19 Rufus King, Signer of the Constitution
The Founders understood that Biblical values formed the basis of the republic and that the republic would be destroyed if the people's knowledge of those values should ever be lost.

A republic is the highest form of government devised by man, but it also requires the greatest amount of human care and maintenance. If neglected, it can deteriorate into a variety of lesser forms, including a democracy (a government conducted by popular feeling); anarchy (a system in which each person determines his own rules and standards); oligarchy (a government run by a small council or a group of elite individuals): or dictatorship (a government run by a single individual). As John Adams explained:
[D]emocracy will soon degenerate into an anarchy; such an anarchy that every man will do what is right in his own eyes and no man's life or property or reputation or liberty will be secure, and every one of these will soon mould itself into a system of subordination of all the moral virtues and intellectual abilities, all the powers of wealth, beauty, wit, and science, to the wanton pleasures, the capricious will, and the execrable [abominable] cruelty of one or a very few.20
Understanding the foundation of the American republic is a vital key toward protecting it.

1. An example of this is demonstrated in the anecdote where, having concluded their work on the Constitution, Benjamin Franklin walked outside and seated himself on a public bench. A woman approached him and inquired, "Well, Dr. Franklin, what have you done for us?" Franklin quickly responded, "My dear lady, we have given to you a republic--if you can keep it." Taken from "America's Bill of Rights at 200 Years," by former Chief Justice Warren E. Burger, printed in Presidential Studies Quarterly, Vol. XXI, No. 3, Summer 1991, p. 457. This anecdote appears in numerous other works as well.
2. Alexander Hamilton, John Jay, James Madison, The Federalist on the New Constitution (Philadelphia: Benjamin Warner, 1818), p. 53, #10, James Madison.
3. John Adams, The Works of John Adams, Second President of the United States, Charles Francis Adams, editor (Boston: Charles C. Little and James Brown, 1850), Vol. VI, p. 484, to John Taylor on April 15, 1814.
4. Fisher Ames, Works of Fisher Ames (Boston: T. B. Wait & Co., 1809), p. 24, Speech on Biennial Elections, delivered January, 1788.
5. Ames, Works, p. 384, "The Dangers of American Liberty," February 1805.
6. Gouverneur Morris, An Oration Delivered on Wednesday, June 29, 1814, at the Request of a Number of Citizens of New-York, in Celebration of the Recent Deliverance of Europe from the Yoke of Military Despotism (New York: Van Winkle and Wiley, 1814), pp. 10, 22.
7. John Quincy Adams, The Jubilee of the Constitution. A Discourse Delivered at the Request of the New York Historical Society, in the City of New York on Tuesday, the 30th of April 1839; Being the Fiftieth Anniversary of the Inauguration of George Washington as President of the United States, on Thursday, the 30th of April, 1789 (New York: Samuel Colman, 1839), p. 53.
8. Benjamin Rush, The Letters of Benjamin Rush, L. H. Butterfield, editor (Princeton: Princeton University Press for the American Philosophical Society, 1951), Vol. I, p. 523, to John Adams on July 21, 1789.
9. Noah Webster, The American Spelling Book: Containing an Easy Standard of Pronunciation: Being the First Part of a Grammatical Institute of the English Language, To Which is Added, an Appendix, Containing a Moral Catechism and a Federal Catechism (Boston: Isaiah Thomas and Ebenezer T. Andrews, 1801), pp. 103-104.
10. John Witherspoon, The Works of John Witherspoon (Edinburgh: J. Ogle, 1815), Vol. VII, p. 101, Lecture 12 on Civil Society.
11. Zephaniah Swift, A System of the Laws of the State of Connecticut (Windham: John Byrne, 1795), Vol. I, p. 19.
12. See, for example, Benjamin Rush, Letters, Vol. I, p. 498, to John Adams on January 22, 1789.
13. Noah Webster, History of the United States (New Haven: Durrie & Peck, 1832), p. 6.
14. George Bancroft, History of the United States from the Discovery of the American Continent (Boston: Little, Brown & Co., 1859), Vol. V, p. 24; see Baron Charles Secondat de Montesquieu, Spirit of the Laws (Philadelphia: Isaiah Thomas, 1802), Vol. I, pp. 17-23, and ad passim.
15. Rush, Letters, Vol. I, p. 454, to David Ramsay, March or April 1788.
16. William Blackstone, Commentaries on the Laws of England (Philadelphia: Robert Bell, 1771), Vol. I, pp. 42-43.
17. James Wilson, The Works of the Honorable James Wilson, Bird Wilson, editor (Philadelphia: Lorenzo Press, 1804), Vol. I, pp. 103-105, "Of the General Principles of Law and Obligation."
18. Alexander Hamilton, The Papers of Alexander Hamilton, Harold C. Syrett, editor (New York: Columbia University Press, 1961), Vol. I, p. 87, February 23, 1775, quoting William Blackstone, Commentaries on the Laws of England (Philadelphia: Robert Bell, 1771), Vol. I, p. 41.
19. Rufus King, The Life and Correspondence of Rufus King, Charles R. King, editor (New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1900), Vol. VI, p. 276, to C. Gore on February 17, 1820.
20. John Adams, The Papers of John Adams, Robert J. Taylor, editor (Cambridge: Belknap Press, 1977), Vol. I, p. 83, from "An Essay on Man's Lust for Power, with the Author's Comment in 1807," written on August 29, 1763, but first published by John Adams in 1807.

VA Spends Millions to Maintain Vacant and Hazardous Buildings

EXCLUSIVE: VA Spends Millions to Maintain Vacant and Hazardous Buildings
By Jana Winter

Published August 31, 2010

The Veterans Affairs Administration is spending tens of millions of taxpayer dollars every year to maintain hundreds of buildings – most of them vacant – that have fallen into such a state of disrepair that many of them are considered health hazards, an investigation by FoxNews.com reveals.

Exactly how much it costs to maintain the run-down and abandoned buildings is a matter of dispute. The General Accountability Office estimates that the VA has spent $175 million every year since 2007. But the VA disputes that figure, saying it spent $85 million on the buildings in 2007 and only $37 million last year.

Whatever the figure, the timing couldn't be worse for the VA, as tens of thousands of American troops, many of whom have served multiple tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, prepare to return to the U.S. and will require the expensive medical, psychological and support services it provides.

From Augusta, Ga., to Menlo Park, Calif., from Milwaukee, Wis., to Perry Point, Md., the VA maintains 5,507 buildings across the country. But as many as 314 of them are currently vacant — and they require huge outlays of money just to remain standing.

Some veterans' advocates have called for the structures to be renovated or razed and rebuilt to provide housing for homeless veterans — but demolishing them or making them habitable could cost even more money, because many of the buildings contain hazardous materials.

Others say the government should sell these buildings to developers or non-profits that can make use of the facilities. But the VA is restricted by complex federal property and historical building guidelines and sanctioned share lease agreement programs that require outside organizations to come up with big bucks — no small feat for cash-strapped municipalities and non-profits in the midst of a recession.

And some of these buildings are just too old or too bizarre — anyone looking for a 325-square-foot pink, octagonal monkey house in Dayton, Ohio? — to drum up interest.

A FoxNews.com investigation has uncovered scores of these decrepit or abandoned buildings across the country that are home to rats, vermin, bird's nests, septic rainwater, exposed asbestos, lead paint, wall-to-wall fungal growth, mold, radon, fiberglass insulation, old clothes, spare tires, barrels of unidentified chemicals and even abandoned children’s dolls, according to documents and first-hand observations.

The VA owns a total of 145.6 million gross square feet, of which 6.6 million gross square feet are vacant. Add another 4 million gross square feet of underutilized space — areas that are occupied but not utilized most effectively — and 7 percent of VA property is wasting both space and money.

In 2007, according to a GAO report the following year, the VA spent $175 million annually to maintain vacant or underutilized buildings. The report noted that 5 percent of VA buildings were vacant — the same percentage of vacancy reported this year.

GAO officials told FoxNews.com that they believe the VA is still spending that same amount — $175 million a year — on vacant or underutilized buildings.

But the VA disputes the GAO's calculations, saying it spent only $85 million in 2007 and spent only $37 million last year. (The VA's current calculations are based on a national average of $2 per square foot of vacant space; GAO's calculations take into account the specific costs associated with particular buildings and uses regional averages. GAO also says the VA underreported costs and excluded property, maintenance and operational expenses.)

Meanwhile, advocates for homeless veterans are urging the VA to find some way to utilize these structures to provide health and psychological services to veterans across the country — and to prepare for the thousands more who will return home from Iraq and Afghanistan.

"You got dormant buildings? You want to give them away? Refurbish them! Use them!" said Larry Van Kurant, spokesman for Veterans of Foreign Wars who is against VA’s divestment of property.

Bob Young, who served on President Bush’s advisory council for historic preservation and has testified before VA committees on adaptive reuse of historic properties, acknowledged that the “VA does not have enough housing for the veterans it treats.”

But, he said, “VA has limited funds and it must weigh the balance between spending money on patient care and infrastructure. If constructing a new building or leasing a building is less expensive than rehabilitating a historic structure, it’s easy to see why the historic building option would not be the choice to make.”

“It’s all about the money,” he said.

VA spokesman Drew Brookie gave FoxNews.com this statement:

“VA places its highest priority on the delivery of quality services and benefits to veterans and their families — first and foremost. Demolishing unneeded buildings is often costly and requires the careful balancing of priorities for resources, especially since our department’s mission is to care — often 24 hours a day, 7 days a week — for our nation’s veterans.”

“VA understands the importance and implications associated with an inventory of vacant and underutilized buildings. VA has been and continues to actively work on reducing its inventory of unneeded facilities.”

Many of the vacant VA buildings FoxNews.com visited have been declared health hazards, documents show.

— An environmental site report prepared by Brilliant Lewis Environmental Services at the VA campus in Montrose, N.Y. found a risk of lead and radon contamination in the local drinking water supply; contamination also was suspected from lead-based pipes lining the water towers. Reports from VA sites elsewhere in the country suggest radon and lead seepage may have contaminated potable water supplies at health care facilities or in surrounding areas.

— Outside Chicago, at the Edward Hines Jr. VA Medical Center, the basement of a 58,000-square-foot former nurses' residence is flooded with chemical-laden water. The VA spends an estimated $20,000 a year to maintain this building, which has been empty for at least 15 years. Demolition must be approved by the state historic agency and will cost $500,000; hazmat removal costs $426,000.

— In Menlo Park, Calif., FoxNews.com found Building 301, a 15,200-square-foot structure built in 1929, formerly outleased to Stanford University. It was slated for demolition in 2001 but is still standing, albeit barely, and is filled with garbage and old clothes. The state historic agency must approve demolition.

— At the Sepulveda branch of the West Los Angeles VA Medical Center, two former treatment buildings not used for patients since 1999 have been leased to a nonprofit with plans to build 147 temporary homeless residences. The 2010 taxpayer cost, records show, is $48 million. But construction is on hold while funding is sought.

— In Augusta, Ga., FoxNews.com found two boarded-up buildings at the Charlie Norwood VA Medical Center, where property surveyors found 300 gallons of hazardous materials and antiseptic cleaners — some dangerously close to active electrical fuses, records say. The VA spends about $12,000 a year on both buildings.

But the Augusta buildings are success stories. A nonprofit has plans to turn them into housing facilities. At the end of 2009, the VA says, similar projects provided 1,015 beds for homeless veterans by leasing vacant VA buildings across the country to outside groups who turned the buildings into housing.

The VA concedes it has mismanaged historical properties and just awarded a $2.5 million contract to companies who will help it stop wasting millions on vacant buildings—and use that money elsewhere.

Mark Walker, deputy director of the American Legion's economic division and an advocate for facilities to house homeless vets, has a few ideas on what to do with the money the VA will save. “We could really do a lot with that $175 million,” he said.

Additional reporting by Katie Landan, Lauren Miller, R. Byrne Reilly, Kelli Morgan and Katherine Meduski.

Monday, August 30, 2010

William Lloyd Garrison - December 2, 1859

John Brown of Kansas was a militant abolitionist who attempted to use force to free the slaves in the South.

On the night of October 16, 1859, Brown and a small band of followers seized the Federal arsenal at Harpers Ferry. The weapons were to be used by his "army of emancipation." They took 60 hostages and held out against the local militia, but were then attacked by U.S. Marines under the command of Col. Robert E. Lee (who would later command the Confederate Armies).

Two of Brown's sons and ten others were killed in the fighting. Brown was wounded and taken prisoner. He was tried by the Commonwealth of Virginia and convicted of treason, murder and inciting slaves to rebellion. He was sentenced to death and hanged on December 2, 1859. On that day in Boston, America's best known Abolitionist, William Lloyd Garrison, delivered this highly charged tribute honoring Brown by advocating that the North should secede from the South to end slavery.

"God forbid that we should any longer continue the accomplices of thieves and robbers, of men-stealers and women-whippers! We must join together in the name of freedom.

As for the Union--where is it and what is it?

In one-half of it no man can exercise freedom of speech or the press--no man can utter the words of Washington, of Jefferson, of Patrick Henry--except at the peril of his life; and Northern men are everywhere hunted and driven from the South if they are supposed to cherish the sentiment of freedom in their bosoms.

We are living under an awful despotism--that of a brutal slave oligarchy. And they threaten to leave us if we do not continue to do their evil work, as we have hitherto done it, and go down in the dust before them!

Would to heaven they would go! It would only be the paupers clearing out from the town, would it not? But, no, they do not mean to go; they mean to cling to you, and they mean to subdue you. But will you be subdued?

I tell you our work is the dissolution of this slavery-cursed Union, if we would have a fragment of our liberties left to us! Surely between freemen, who believe in exact justice and impartial liberty, and slaveholders, who are for cleaning down all human rights at a blow, it is not possible there should be any Union whatever. "How can two walk together except they be agreed?"

The slaveholder with his hands dripping in blood--will I make a compact with him? The man who plunders cradles--will I say to him, "Brother, let us walk together in unity?" The man who, to gratify his lust or his anger, scourges woman with the lash till the soil is red with her blood--will I say to him: "Give me your hand; let us form a glorious Union?" No, never--never! There can be no union between us: "What concord hath Christ with Belial?" What union has freedom with slavery? Let us tell the inexorable and remorseless tyrants of the South that their conditions hitherto imposed upon us, whereby we are morally responsible for the existence of slavery, are horribly inhuman and wicked, and we cannot carry them out for the sake of their evil company.

By the dissolution of the Union we shall give the finishing blow to the slave system; and then God will make it possible for us to form a true, vital, enduring, all-embracing Union, from the Atlantic to the Pacific--one God to be worshipped, one Saviour to be revered, one policy to be carried out--freedom everywhere to all the people, without regard to complexion or race--and the blessing of God resting upon us all! I want to see that glorious day!

Now the South is full of tribulation and terror and despair, going down to irretrievable bankruptcy, and fearing each bush an officer! Would to God it might all pass away like a hideous dream! And how easily it might be!

What is it that God requires of the South to remove every root of bitterness, to allay every fear, to fill her borders with prosperity? But one simple act of justice, without violence and convulsion, without danger and hazard. It is this: "Undo the heavy burdens, break every yoke, and let the oppressed go free!" Then shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thy darkness shall be as the noonday. Then shalt thou call and the Lord shall answer; thou shalt cry, and he shall say: "Here I am."

"And they that shall be of thee shall build the old waste places; thou shalt raise up the foundations of many generations; and thou shalt be called the repairer of the breach, the restorer of paths to dwell in."

How simple and how glorious! It is the complete solution of all the difficulties in the case. Oh, that the South may be wise before it is too late, and give heed to the word of the Lord! But, whether she will hear or forbear, let us renew our pledges to the cause of bleeding humanity, and spare no effort to make this truly the land of the free and the refuge of the oppressed!"

"Onward, then, ye fearless band,
Heart to heart, and hand to hand;
Yours shall be the Christian's stand,
Or the martyr's grave."

William Lloyd Garrison - December 2, 1859

Sunday, August 29, 2010

You can't fix stupid, but you can vote him out of office. #2

Today's Sermon

A Sermon Preached On the Day of the Continental Fast, Philadelphia, 1775
David Jones

...The reason why a defensive war seems so awful to good people is, they esteem it to
be some kind of murder: but this is a very great mistake; for it is no more murder
than a legal process against a criminal....

Suppose, a villain was to rob you of a valuable sum of money, and thereby expose you
and your family to distress and poverty, would you not think it your duty to prosecute
such a public offender? yes, without doubt, or else you could not be a friend to the
innocent part of mankind.

But suppose, he not only robs you, but in a daring manner, in your presence, murders
your only son, will you not think that blood calls aloud for punishment? Surely both
reason and revelation will justify you in seeking for justice in that mode by which it
can be obtained.

The present case is only too similar:-- by an arbitrary act all the families that
depended on the Newfoundland fishery are abandoned to distress and poverty, and the
blood of numbers spilt already without a cause. Surely it is consistent with the
purest religion to seek for justice.

Consider the case in this point of view, and he that is not clear in conscience to
gird his sword, if he would act consistently, must never sit on a jury to condemn a

This brings me...to present a few particulars to your consideration, which will
demonstrate the alarming call, which we now have, to take up arms, and fight in our
own defence.--

We have no choice left to us, but to submit to absolute slavery and despotism, or as
free-men to stand in our own defence, and endeavor a noble resistance. Matters are at
last brought to this deplorable extremity;-- every reasonable method of reconciliation
has been tried in vain;-- our addresses to our king have been treated with neglect or

It is true that a plan of accommodation has been proposed by the administration; but
they are men of more sense than to think it could be accepted. It could be proposed
for no other purpose than to deceive England into an opinion, that we did not desire
reconciliation. What was the substance of this pretended plan? In short, this, that we
should give them as much money as they were pleased to ask, and we might raise it in
our own mode. Slaves therefore we must be, only we shall be indulged to put on our
fetters, to suit ourselves.

This plan is no better than that clause, which says, "That the parliament have a right
to make laws to bind us in all cases whatsoever." For if they may fix the sum, and we
must raise it, the case is the same, we have nothing left, but what they have no use
for: all is at their disposal, and we shall have no voice in the application of our
own money. They may apply it to raise forces in Canada, to cut our throats. The call
therefore is alarming -we cannot submit to be slaves - we were born free, and we can
die free....

Even our religion is not excepted - they assume a right to bind us in all cases.
Agreeable to this proposition, they may oblige us to support popish priest, on pain of
death: they have already given us a specimen of the good effects of their assumed
power, in establishing popery in near one half of North-America. Is not this the
loudest call to arms?

All is at stake - we can appeal to GOD, that we believe our cause is just and good....
[Our] brethren in the Massachusetts are already declared rebels; they are treated as
such, and we abettors are involved in the same circumstances; nothing can be more
unjust than such a proclamation. Rebels are men disaffected with their sovereign in
favour of some other person. This is not the case of America....

We very well know what follows this proclamation, all our estates are confiscated, and
were we even to submit, we should be hanged as dogs. Now therefore let us join, and
fight for our brethren.

Remember our Congress is in eminent danger. It is composed of men of equal characters
and fortunes of most, if not superior to any in North-America. These worthy gentlemen
have ventured all in the cause of liberty for our sakes; if we were to forsake them,
they must be abandoned to the rage of a relentless ministry. Some of them are already
proscribed, and no doubt his would be the fate of the rest:

How could we bear to see these worthy patriots hanged as criminals of the deepest dye?
their families plundered of all they possess, and abandoned to distress and poverty?
This, my countrymen, must be the case, if you will not now as men fight for your
brethren: Therefore if we do not stand by them, even unto death, we should be guilty
of the basest ingratitude, and entail on ourselves everlasting infamy.

But if the case of our brethren is not so near as suitably to effect us, let us
consider the condition of our sons and daughters. Your sons are engaged in the present
dispute, and therefor subject to all the consequences:

Oh! remember if you submit to arbitrary measures, you will entail on your sons
despotic power. Your sons and daughters must be strangers to the comforts of liberty;
they will be considered like beasts of burden, only made for their masters use. If the
groans and cries of posterity in oppression can be any argument, come now, my noble
countrymen, fight for your sons and daughters.

But if this will not alarm you, consider what will be the case of your wives, if a
noble resistance is not made: all your estates confiscated, and distributed to the
favourites of arbitrary power, your wives must be left to distress and poverty. This
might be the better endured, only the most worthy and flower of all the land shall be
hanged, and widowhood and poverty both come in one day.

The call to arms is therefore alarming, especially when we consider the tender mercies
of the wicked are cruel, we can expect no favour from the administration. They seem to
be callous, so as to have no feeling of human distress. What can be a greater
demonstration than to excite the barbarous savages against us? These, instead of
coming against our armed men, will beset our defenceless frontiers, and barbarously
murder with savage cruelty poor helpless women and children. Oh, did ever mortal hear
of such inhuman barbarity!

Come then, my countrymen, we have no other remedy, but, under GOD, to fight for our
brethren, our sons, and daughters, our wives and our houses.

It is probable that most will acknowledge, that the call to arms is alarming, but we
are comparatively weak to Great Britain; an answer to this will bring us...to advance
a few arguments to excite fortitude in martial engagement.... If God be with us, who
can be against us? We have great reason to bewail the sins of the land, yet the LORD
had a people in it reserved for himself, and if this had been the case with Sodom it
would have been saved.

Our present dispute is just, our cause is good. We have been loyal subjects as any on
earth; at all times, when occasion called, we have contributed towards the expence of
war, with liberal hands, beyond our power, even in their estimation. When we have been
called to venture our lives in defence of our king and country, have we refused? No,
verily; we have been willing to spill our precious blood.

We have been charged with designs of independency: This possibly may be the event, but
surely against our wills; the decent addresses to his Majesty, as well as all other
prudential measures, are arguments in our favour. But all our measures are

To the Most High we can appeal, and submit the event to his pleasure. It is more than
probable that we may meet some defeats, and have much blood shed; but even if this
should be the case; let us not be discouraged; for so it was with Israel in their
first battles with Benjamin,but in the third battle the whole tribe of Benjamin is cut
off, save six hundred men.

There is only one consideration that is very discouraging, and that is the great and
many sins that prevail in our land. "Unfeignedly to confess and deplore our many
sins," is recommended by our Congress as one duty of this day. And, alas! we have many
great sins abounding in our land, for which we may justly bewail our case before

And if we are successful in our present struggle for liberty, we cannot expect to
enjoy any lasting happiness without a reformation, and a life worthy of the glorious
gospel. Was the fear of God suitably in our hearts, we should be invincible....But,
alas! there seems but little concern about forsaking sin and a saving acquaintance
with GOD, though our present state is so alarming....

...We have considered the alarming call, which we have to take up arms; let us unite
as men possessed of a true sense of liberty....If ever there was one time that called
for more religion than another, this is the very time....

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Glenn Beck on FDR's New Deal Agencies ane Obama's new agencies

You can't fix stupid, but you can vote him out of office!

Residents question health care bill, call for additional doctor at clinic
Libby Residents Relate Gains, Drawbacks of Asbestos Aid
By Dan Testa, 8-24-10

LIBBY – Though the visit by Health Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to this Lincoln County community was brief, it is possible she gained some insights Monday afternoon into what residents here want and need – and how those forces are opposed in some ways.

Libby residents at the public meeting, held by Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., expressed a need for more help to deal with the asbestos-related diseases many community members are suffering from, yet they also wish to transcend the town’s reputation as site of the worst public health disaster in the U.S. to encourage jobs and growth.

They touted the increasing number of patients receiving care through the Center for Asbestos Related Disease in Libby, yet one patient told Baucus and Sebelius the clinic’s services were being stretched such that he no longer received the attention he used to.

Red Busby stands to voice his concern over the lack of doctors in Libby to help screen and treat asbestos victims during a town hall meeting with Sen. Max Baucus and Health Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.

And while some Libby residents thanked Sebelius and Baucus for the health care reform law that passed last year and extended Medicare coverage to those sickened by asbestos, others questioned whether the changes to America’s health care system were Constitutional.

The visit by Sebelius, following a town hall-style meeting earlier that day in Missoula, was part of an effort by Baucus to show the health secretary some of the needs of rural states, and to defend and explain the controversial health care reform effort Democrats recently passed.

“We’ve got a long way to go, but we’ve made great progress here,” Baucus told the crowd of about 40 gathered at Libby City Hall.

The new law contains a provision allowing sick Libby residents to be extended Medicare coverage as the only community in the country currently declared a public health emergency by the Environmental Protection Agency. That declaration stems from the thousands of Libby residents sickened, and the hundreds killed by tremolite asbestos released from the vermiculite mines operated by W.R. Grace and Co. Over the last decade, cleanup of the asbestos has cost hundreds of millions of dollars.

About 400 residents have signed up for the extended coverage, Sebelius said as she praised Baucus’ work on behalf of Libby.

“He does not let anybody lose sight of the fact that this is a town where there needs to be a measure of justice,” she said. “Our resources are really in touch with you folks on a regular basis.”

Gayla Benefield underscored the guarded optimism of some in Libby when she mentioned how, at a classic car rally that summer, someone was selling T-shirts, reading, “We put the ‘fun’ back in Superfund – come play in Libby.” Then she asked Baucus if the extended Medicare coverage could be repealed when a new presidential administration takes over, since she feared her grandchildren could suffer from asbestos sickness, making them the fourth generation in her family stricken with contamination.

A staff member for Baucus told her the health care law has the power of statute, and would need to be repealed for the coverage to go away.

Judy Matott asked Baucus if he would work to improve Libby’s image, and then asked him and Sebelius, “if either of you read the health care bill before it was passed and if not, that is the most despicable, irresponsible thing.”

Baucus replied that if Libby residents assembled an economic development plan, he would do what he could to help, and he took credit for “essentially” writing the health care bill that passed the Senate.

“I don’t think you want me to waste my time to read every page of the health care bill. You know why? It’s statutory language,” Baucus said. “We hire experts.”

In response to Matott’s question and another from a woman asking if the health care law was Constitutional, Baucus gave a broad defense of the changes, comparing them to programs like Social Security and Medicare that were unpopular when passed but have proven beneficial to Americans over the long term.

Health Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, left, is greeted by Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Regional Administrator Jeff Hinson, right, after a town hall meeting with Sen. Max Baucus in Libby.

“It’s not perfect, nothing’s perfect, but I’m telling you, ma’am, it’s a good start,” Baucus said. “Mark my words, several years from now you’re going to look back and say, ‘eh, maybe it isn’t so bad.’”

“Don’t think so,” Matott replied.

As the meeting drew to a close, Red Busby identified himself as an asbestos victim, and described recent difficulties he has had scheduling an appointment for even a yearly check-up at the CARD clinic due to all the new patients seeking treatment, saying he was worried he could develop mesothelioma or cancer in his lungs and not receive a timely diagnosis.

“If I could have caught it early enough, maybe I could’ve gotten rid of it,” Busby said. “We need help here for Dr. Brad Black.”

“Something needs to be done here because we’re getting new victims every month and yet there’s one doctor,” he added.

Sebelius replied that she was aware the CARD clinic has had an opening for an additional doctor for a year, and said she believed new incentives and scholarships available, as part of the health care bill, could encourage a physician and researcher to come to Libby.

“We’ve got some tools now as part of the overall bill that was passed to help the situation,” Sebelius said.

After the meeting, Busby said he found the situation, “very frustrating.”

“If I had a chance within a year’s time to find that spot on my lungs, I would like to hurry up and get something done,” Busby said. “How big is that thing going to grow in that time?”

In a later interview, Black, the lone physician at the CARD clinic, said he has been trying to find an additional doctor who could both treat patients and conduct research on the type of asbestos contamination unique to Libby.

“It’s too much for one physician to follow everybody over time,” Black said. “We’ve been trying for a considerable period of time to recruit somebody that would have the skills.”

Black believes moving the clinic into a better facility, its affiliations with prestigious medical institutions and new incentives encouraging doctors to practice in rural areas will help bring another doctor to Libby.

We’ve been pushing it and they’ve been hearing it,” Black said, “so that’s good.”

This article was printed from flatheadbeacon.com at the following URL: http://www.flatheadbeacon.com/articles/article/libby_residents_relate_gains_drawbacks_of_asbestos_aid/19253/
© 2010 Flathead Beacon. All Rights Reserved

Martin Luther King, Jr. "I Have a Dream"

I am happy to join with you today in what will go down in history as the greatest demonstration for freedom in the history of our nation.

Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand today, signed the Emancipation Proclamation. This momentous decree came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of Negro slaves who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of their captivity.

But one hundred years later, the Negro still is not free. One hundred years later, the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination. One hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. One hundred years later, the Negro is still languished in the corners of American society and finds himself an exile in his own land. And so we've come here today to dramatize a shameful condition.

In a sense we've come to our nation's capital to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men, yes, black men as well as white men, would be guaranteed the "unalienable Rights" of "Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness." It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note, insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check, a check which has come back marked "insufficient funds."

But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation. And so, we've come to cash this check, a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and the security of justice.

We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of Now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood. Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God's children.

It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment. This sweltering summer of the Negro's legitimate discontent will not pass until there is an invigorating autumn of freedom and equality. Nineteen sixty-three is not an end, but a beginning. And those who hope that the Negro needed to blow off steam and will now be content will have a rude awakening if the nation returns to business as usual. And there will be neither rest nor tranquility in America until the Negro is granted his citizenship rights. The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges.

But there is something that I must say to my people, who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the palace of justice: In the process of gaining our rightful place, we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred. We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again, we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force.

The marvelous new militancy which has engulfed the Negro community must not lead us to a distrust of all white people, for many of our white brothers, as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny. And they have come to realize that their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom.

We cannot walk alone.

And as we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall always march ahead.

We cannot turn back.

There are those who are asking the devotees of civil rights, "When will you be satisfied?" We can never be satisfied as long as the Negro is the victim of the unspeakable horrors of police brutality. We can never be satisfied as long as our bodies, heavy with the fatigue of travel, cannot gain lodging in the motels of the highways and the hotels of the cities. We cannot be satisfied as long as the negro's basic mobility is from a smaller ghetto to a larger one. We can never be satisfied as long as our children are stripped of their self-hood and robbed of their dignity by signs stating: "For Whites Only." We cannot be satisfied as long as a Negro in Mississippi cannot vote and a Negro in New York believes he has nothing for which to vote. No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until "justice rolls down like waters, and righteousness like a mighty stream."¹

I am not unmindful that some of you have come here out of great trials and tribulations. Some of you have come fresh from narrow jail cells. And some of you have come from areas where your quest -- quest for freedom left you battered by the storms of persecution and staggered by the winds of police brutality. You have been the veterans of creative suffering. Continue to work with the faith that unearned suffering is redemptive. Go back to Mississippi, go back to Alabama, go back to South Carolina, go back to Georgia, go back to Louisiana, go back to the slums and ghettos of our northern cities, knowing that somehow this situation can and will be changed.

Let us not wallow in the valley of despair, I say to you today, my friends.

And so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal."

I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia, the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.

I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

I have a dream today!

I have a dream that one day, down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of "interposition" and "nullification" -- one day right there in Alabama little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.

I have a dream today!

I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, and every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight; "and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together."2

This is our hope, and this is the faith that I go back to the South with.

With this faith, we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith, we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith, we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.

And this will be the day -- this will be the day when all of God's children will be able to sing with new meaning:

My country 'tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing.

Land where my fathers died, land of the Pilgrim's pride,

From every mountainside, let freedom ring!

And if America is to be a great nation, this must become true.

And so let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire.

Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York.

Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania.

Let freedom ring from the snow-capped Rockies of Colorado.

Let freedom ring from the curvaceous slopes of California.

But not only that:

Let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia.

Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee.

Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill of Mississippi.

From every mountainside, let freedom ring.

And when this happens, when we allow freedom ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual:

Free at last! Free at last!

Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!3

Friday, August 27, 2010

EPA Surrenders to NRA on Gun Control Issue - US News and World Report

EPA Surrenders to NRA on Gun Control Issue - US News and World Report

EPA Considering Ban on Traditional Ammunition — Take Action Now

EPA Considering Ban on Traditional Ammunition — Take Action Now

August 25, 2010 By Larry Keane

All Gun Owners, Hunters and Shooters:
With the fall hunting season fast approaching, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) under Lisa Jackson, who was responsible for banning bear hunting in New Jersey, is now considering a petition by the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) – a leading anti-hunting organization – to ban all traditional ammunition under the Toxic Substance Control Act of 1976, a law in which Congress expressly exempted ammunition. If the EPA approves the petition, the result will be a total ban on all ammunition containing lead-core components, including hunting and target-shooting rounds. The EPA must decide to accept or reject this petition by November 1, 2010, the day before the midterm elections.
Today, the EPA has opened to public comment the CBD petition. The comment period ends on October 31, 2010.
The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) — the trade association for the firearms, ammunition, hunting and shooting sports industry — urges you to submit comment to the EPA opposing any ban on traditional ammunition. Remember, your right to choose the ammunition you hunt and shoot with is at stake.
The EPA has published the petition and relevant supplemental information as Docket ID: EPA-HQ-OPPT-2010-0681. If you would like to read the original petition and see the contents of this docket folder, please click here. In order to go directly to the ‘submit a comment’ page for this docket number, please click here.
NSSF urges you to stress the following in your opposition:
* There is no scientific evidence that the use of traditional ammunition is having an adverse impact on wildlife populations.
* Wildlife management is the proper jurisdiction of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the 50 state wildlife agencies.
* A 2008 study by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on blood lead levels of North Dakota hunters confirmed that consuming game harvested with traditional ammunition does not pose a human health risk.
* A ban on traditional ammunition would have a negative impact on wildlife conservation. The federal excise tax that manufacturers pay on the sale of the ammunition (11 percent) is a primary source of wildlife conservation funding. The bald eagle’s recovery, considered to be a great conservation success story, was made possible and funded by hunters using traditional ammunition – the very ammunition organizations like the CBD are now demonizing.
* Recent statistics from the United States Fish and Wildlife Service show that from 1981 to 2006 the number of breeding pairs of bald eagles in the United States increased 724 percent. And much like the bald eagle, raptor populations throughout the United States are soaring.
Steps to take:
1. Submit comment online to the EPA.
2. Contact Lisa Jackson directly to voice your opposition to the ban:
Lisa P. Jackson
Administrator, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
1200 Pennsylvania Ave., NW
Washington, DC 20460
(202) 564-4700
Fax: (202) 501-1450
Email: jackson.lisa@epa.gov
3. Contact your congressman and senators and urge them to stop the EPA from banning ammunition.

Sample Letter
Dear Congressman / Senator:

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is considering banning all traditional ammunition -- ammunition containing lead-core components. This is something that would affect all hunters, target shooters and law enforcement.

A petition filed with the EPA by several agenda-driven groups including the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD), erroneously claims that the use of traditional ammunition poses a danger to (1) wildlife, in particular raptors such as bald eagles, that may feed on entrails or unrecovered game left in the field and (2) that there is a human health risk from consuming game harvested using traditional ammunition. Also falsely alleged in the petition is that the use of traditional ammunition by hunters is inconsistent with the Toxic Substance Control Act of 1976, Congress expressly exempted ammunition from being regulated as a "toxic substance."

As your constituent, I am urging you to do whatever you can to stop the EPA, which has no jurisdiction over such matters, from banning our ammunition. Please consider the following points:

•There is no scientific evidence that the use of traditional ammunition is having an adverse impact on wildlife populations.

•Wildlife management is the proper jurisdiction of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services and the 50 state wildlife agencies.

•A 2008 study by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on blood lead levels of North Dakota hunters confirmed that consuming game harvested with traditional ammunition does not pose a human health risk.

•A ban on traditional ammunition would have a negative impact on wildlife conservation. The federal excise tax that manufacturers pay on the sale of the ammunition (11 percent) is a primary source of wildlife conservation funding. The bald eagle's recovery, considered to be a great conservation success story, was made possible and funded by hunters using traditional ammunition - the very ammunition organizations like the CBD are now demonizing.

•Recent statistics from the United States Fish and Wildlife Service show that from 1981 to 2006 the number of breeding pairs of bald eagles in the United States increased 724 percent. And much like the bald eagle, raptor populations throughout the United States are soaring.

Thank you for your time. I will be watching your actions on this matter closely.

More on the lead bullet ban

August 27, 2010
More regulatory overreach at the EPA
Joesph Smith

In yet another case of regulatory overreach, perfectly timed to further annoy the electorate, the EPA is considering a petition to completely ban lead hunting and target-shooting ammunition, under the Toxic Substances Control Act.

Congress "explicitly excluded" ammunition from the 1976 Act, but the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) - a leading anti-hunting organization - has filed a petition which, if approved by the EPA, would result in the total ban of all lead ammunition, as well as lead fishing sinkers.

A ban on lead ammunition, driven by CBD and others, is already in effect in parts of California and Arizona, based on possible lead poisoning of condors due to their scavenging habits. Copper ammunition, the alternative to lead, is much more expensive and is less available and less effective.

Studies in several other states of the "health effects of lead-shot game" have been inconclusive, and hunting groups contend that "efforts to ban lead ammunition are veiled attempts to take guns away from hunters."

The EPA's Lisa Jackson, who in her previous job as New Jersey's DEP chief was a party to New Jersey's ban on bear hunting, and who is currently on a path to regulate carbon dioxide by executive edict, will make the final ruling on the proposed lead ammunition ban.

The petition must be accepted or rejected by the EPA within 90 days, by November 1, the day before the mid-term election, with a public comment period running through October 31.

The NRA has sent a letter to the EPA pointing out that:

Petitioners attempt to evade the clear import of this exemption with the Solomonic suggestion that while ammunition itself is exempt from regulation under the Act, EPA should in effect divide shells and cartridges into their constituent parts and find that each separate component of a shell or cartridge falls under its jurisdiction.

The letter goes on to note that:

Nevertheless, the exemption is not based on the availability of nontoxic alternatives, it is manifestly based on congressional intent that TSCA not be a vehicle to implement gun control.

A shell does not exist as ammunition without shot, any more than a cartridge exists as ammunition without a bullet. Shot and bullets are inseparably linked to the item that Congress meant to exempt in TSCA. To interpret the exemption any other way would defeat a purpose well understood since 1976 and impute an absurd intention to Congress. [emphasis added]

You can submit comments on the petition at this link, contact your Representative and Senators to urge them to stop the EPA from banning lead ammunition, or you can contact the EPA Administrator directly to voice your opposition to the petition.

As the Washington Examiner notes,

After health care and immigration, apparently the White House doesn't feel it has sufficiently irked voters enough. Bringing the NRA and upset gun owners into the mix should really do wonders for Democrats at the ballot box.

A moose-hunting trip to Alaska might be in order for the Obama regulatory cadre.

Page from: http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2010/08/more_regulatory_overreach_at_t.html at August 27, 2010 - 09:53:08 AM CDT

Environmental Protection Agency Reviewing Petition to Ban Lead Bullets

Environmental Protection Agency Reviewing Petition to Ban Lead Bullets
BY John McCormack
August 27, 2010 9:57 AM

Will Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson make a back door move to ban lead bullets the day before the November 2 elections?

Several environmentalist groups led by the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) are petitioning the EPA to ban lead bullets and shot (as well as lead sinkers for fishing) under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). Although EPA is barred by statute from controlling ammunition, CBD is seeking to work farther back along the manufacturing chain and have EPA ban the use of lead in bullets and shot because non-lead alternatives are available. But here's the catch: the alternatives to lead bullets are more expensive. A ban on the sale of lead ammunition would force hunters and sport shooters to buy non-lead ammunition that is often double the cost of traditional lead ammunition. A box of deer hunting bullets in a popular caliber could be upwards of $55.

Although the EPA could have dismissed the request due to a lack of jurisdiction, it is obliging CBD. The EPA has asked for public comment on banning lead in ammunition, and an EPA notice was published seeking public comment that closes on October 31. Jackson would then make a decision to accept or reject the petition on November 1. You might say that even considering enacting what is effectively a new tax on hunters and gun owners--seemingly the only non-liberal group the Obama administration hasn't yet intentionally provoked--is less-than-perfect timing for the already beleagured Democrats as the midterm elections approach.

The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), a trade association for the firearm and ammunition industry, has hit back against the petition sending Jackson a letter documenting why EPA has no jurisdiction and outlining the damage that banning lead ammunition would do to U.S. industry and jobs, conservation, and law enforcement. The NSSF estimates that more than 90 percent of hunters and sport shooters use traditional lead ammunition. If all hunters were forced to buy non-lead bullets that are made out of metals like tungsten, bismuth, and copper alloys, demand could easily begin to outstrip the supply and prices would go even higher.

Bill Clinton famously blamed the NRA and gun owners for sweeping Democrats from control of the House in 1994 after he pushed them to pass the Assault Weapons Ban. For Democrats, especially those in rural and conservative districts that are already facing voters’ wrath, gun control could once again be an issue that helps defeat them and swings control of the House and perhaps even the Senate to the GOP.


The Weekly Standard!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

The American Civil War in 4 minutes

Barney Fife and the Preamble to the Constitution

Preamble to the United States Constitution

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

George Washington's Farewell Address

George Washington - 1796
(There is an outline and a select dictionary at the end of this Address.)

Friends and Fellow-Citizens:

The period for a new election of a citizen, to administer the Executive Government of the United States being not far distant, and the time actually arrived, when your thoughts must be employed in designating the person, who is to be clothed with that important trust, it appears to me proper, especially as it may conduce to a more distinct expression of the public voice, that I should now apprise you of the resolution I have formed to decline being considered among the number of those out of whom a choice is to be made.

I beg you at the same time to do me the justice to be assured, that this resolution has not been taken, without a strict regard to all the considerations appertaining to the relation which binds a dutiful citizen to his country; and that in withdrawing the tender of service, which silence in my situation might imply, I am influenced by no diminution of zeal for your future interest, no deficiency of grateful respect for your past kindness, but am supported by a full conviction that the step is compatible with both.

The acceptance of, and continuance hitherto in the office to which your suffrages have twice called me have been a uniform sacrifice of inclination to the opinion of duty and to a deference for what appeared to be your desire. I constantly hoped that it would have been much earlier in my power, consistently with motives which I was not at liberty to disregard, to return to that retirement from which I had been reluctantly drawn. The strength of my inclination to do this previous to the last election had even led to the preparation of an address to declare it to you; but mature reflection on the then perplexed and critical posture of our affairs with foreign nations, and the unanimous advice of persons entitled to my confidence impelled me to abandon the idea. I rejoice, that the state of your concerns, external as well as internal, no longer renders the pursuit of inclination incompatible with the sentiment of duty, or propriety, and am persuaded, whatever partiality may be retained for my services, that in the present circumstances of our country, you will not disapprove my determination to retire.

The impressions with which I first undertook the arduous trust were explained on the proper occasion. In the discharge of this trust, I will only say that I have, with good intentions, contributed towards the organization and administration of the government the best exertions of which a very fallible judgment was capable. Not unconscious in the outset of the inferiority of my qualifications, experience in my own eyes, perhaps still more in the eyes of others, has strengthened the motives to diffidence of myself; and every day the increasing weight of years admonishes me more and more that the shade of retirement is as necessary to me as it will be welcome. Satisfied that if any circumstances have given peculiar value to my services they were temporary, I have the consolation to believe that, while choice and prudence invite me to quit the political scene, patriotism does not forbid it.

In looking forward to the moment which is intended to terminate the career of my public life my feelings do not permit me to suspend the deep acknowledgment of that debt of gratitude, which I owe to my beloved country for the many honors it has conferred upon me; still more for the steadfast confidence with which it has supported me, and for the opportunities I have thence enjoyed of manifesting my inviolable attachment by services faithful and persevering, though in usefulness unequal to my zeal. If benefits have resulted to our country from these services, let it always be remembered to your praise and as an instructive example in our annals, that under circumstances in which the passions, agitated in every direction, were liable to mislead; amidst appearances sometimes dubious; vicissitudes of fortune often discouraging; in situations in which not unfrequently want of success has countenanced the spirit of criticism, the constancy of your support was the essential prop of the efforts and a guarantee of the plans by which they were effected. Profoundly penetrated with this idea, I shall carry it with me to my grave as a strong incitement to unceasing vows that Heaven may continue to you the choicest tokens of its beneficence that your union and brotherly affection may be perpetual; that the free Constitution which is the work of your hands may be sacredly maintained; that its administration in every department may be stamped with wisdom and virtue; that, in fine, the happiness of the people of these States, under the auspices of liberty, may be made complete by so careful a preservation and so prudent a use of this blessing as will acquire to them the glory of recommending it to the applause, the affection, and adoption of every nation which is yet a stranger to it.

Here, perhaps, I ought to stop. But a solicitude for your welfare which cannot end but with my life, and the apprehension of danger natural to that solicitude, urge me on an occasion like the present to offer to your solemn contemplation and to recommend to your frequent review some sentiments which are the result of much reflection, of no inconsiderable observation, and which appear to me all important to the permanency of your felicity as a people. These will be offered to you with the more freedom as you can only see in them the disinterested warnings of a parting friend, who can possibly have no personal motive to bias his counsel. Nor can I forget as an encouragement to it your indulgent reception of my sentiments on a former and not dissimilar occasion.

Interwoven as is the love of liberty with every ligament of your hearts, no recommendation of mine is necessary to fortify or confirm the attachment.

The unity of government which constitutes you one people is also now dear to you. It is justly so, for it is a main pillar in the edifice of your real independence, the support of your tranquillity at home, your peace abroad, of your safety, of your prosperity, of that very liberty which you so highly prize. But as it is easy to foresee that from different causes and from different quarters much pains will be taken, many artifices employed, to weaken in your minds the conviction of this truth, as this is the point in your political fortress against which the batteries of internal and external enemies will be most constantly and actively (though often covertly and insidiously) directed, it is of infinite moment, that you should properly estimate the immense value of your national union to your collective and individual happiness; that you should cherish a cordial, habitual, and immovable attachment to it; accustoming yourselves to think and speak of it as of the palladium of your political safety and prosperity; watching for its preservation with jealous anxiety; discountenancing whatever may suggest even a suspicion that it can in any event be abandoned, and indignantly frowning upon the first dawning of every attempt to alienate any portion of our country from the rest, or to enfeeble the sacred ties which now link together the various parts.

For this you have every inducement of sympathy and interest. Citizens by birth or choice of a common country, that country has a right to concentrate your affections. The name of American, which belongs to you in your national capacity, must always exalt the just pride of patriotism more than any appellation derived from local discriminations. With slight shades of difference, you have the same religion, manners, habits, and political principles. You have in a common cause fought and triumphed together. The independence and liberty you possess are the work of joint counsels, and joint efforts, of common dangers, sufferings, and successes.

But these considerations, however powerfully they address themselves to your sensibility, are greatly outweighed by those which apply more immediately to your interest. Here every portion of our country finds the most commanding motives for carefully guarding and preserving the union of the whole.

The North, in an unrestrained intercourse with the South, protected by the equal laws of a common government, finds in the productions of the latter great additional resources of maritime and commercial enterprise and precious materials of manufacturing industry. The South, in the same intercourse, benefiting by the same agency of the North, sees its agriculture grow and its commerce expand. Turning partly into its own channels the seamen of the North, it finds its particular navigation invigorated; and while it contributes in different ways to nourish and increase the general mass of the national navigation, it looks forward to the protection of a maritime strength to which itself is unequally adapted. The East, in a like intercourse with the West, already finds, and in the progressive improvement of interior communications by land and water will more and more find, a valuable vent for the commodities which it brings from abroad or manufactures at home. The West derives from the East supplies requisite to its growth and comfort, and what is perhaps of still greater consequence, it must of necessity owe the secure enjoyment of indispensable outlets for its own productions to the weight, influence, and the future maritime strength of the Atlantic side of the Union, directed by an indissoluble community of interest as one nation. Any other tenure by which the West can hold this essential advantage, whether derived from its own separate strength, or from an apostate and unnatural connection with any foreign power, must be intrinsically precarious.

While, then, every part of our country thus feels an immediate and particular interest in union, all the parts combined in the united mass of means and efforts cannot fail to find greater strength, greater resource, proportionately greater security from external danger, a less frequent interruption of their peace by foreign nations, and what is of inestimable value, they must derive from Union an exemption from those broils and wars between themselves which so frequently afflict neighboring countries not tied together by the same governments, which their own rivalries alone would be sufficient to produce, but which opposite foreign alliances, attachments, and intrigues would stimulate and embitter. Hence, likewise, they will avoid the necessity of those overgrown military establishments which, under any form of government, are inauspicious to liberty, and which are to be regarded as particularly hostile to republican liberty. In this sense it is, that your union ought to be considered as a main prop of your liberty, and that the love of the one ought to endear to you the preservation of the other.

These considerations speak a persuasive language to every reflecting and virtuous mind, and exhibit the continuance of the union as a primary object of patriotic desire. Is there a doubt whether a common government can embrace so large a sphere? Let experience solve it. To listen to mere speculation in such a case were criminal. We are authorized to hope that a proper organization of the whole, with the auxiliary agency of governments for the respective subdivisions, will afford a happy issue to the experiment. It is well worth a fair and full experiment. With such powerful and obvious motives to union affecting all parts of our country, while experience shall not have demonstrated its impracticability, there will always be reason to distrust the patriotism of those who in any quarter may endeavour to weaken its bands.

In contemplating the causes which may disturb our union it occurs as matter of serious concern that any ground should have been furnished for characterizing parties by geographical discriminationsÑNorthern and Southern, Atlantic and WesternÑwhence designing men may endeavor to excite a belief that there is a real difference of local interests and views. One of the expedients of party to acquire influence within particular districts is to misrepresent the opinions and aims of other districts. You cannot shield yourselves too much against the jealousies and heart burnings which spring from these misrepresentations; they tend to render alien to each other those who ought to be bound together by fraternal affection. The inhabitants of our Western country have lately had a useful lesson on this head. They have seen in the negotiation by the Executive and in the unanimous ratification by the Senate of the treaty with Spain, and in the universal satisfaction at that event throughout the United States, a decisive proof how unfounded were the suspicions propagated among them of a policy in the General Government and in the Atlantic States unfriendly to their interests in regard to the Mississippi. They have been witnesses to the formation of two treaties – that with Great Britain and that with Spain – which secure to them everything they could desire in respect to our foreign relations towards confirming their prosperity. Will it not be their wisdom to rely for the preservation of these advantages on the union by which they were procured? Will they not henceforth be deaf to those advisers, if such there are, who would sever them from their brethren and connect them with aliens?

To the efficacy and permanency of your union a government for the whole is indispensable. No alliances, however strict, between the parts can be an adequate substitute. They must inevitably experience the infractions and interruptions which all alliances in all times have experienced. Sensible of this momentous truth, you have improved upon your first essay by the adoption of a Constitution of Government better calculated than your former for an intimate union and for the efficacious management of your common concerns. This Government, the offspring of our own choice, uninfluenced and unawed, adopted upon full investigation and mature deliberation, completely free in its principles, in the distribution of its powers, uniting security with energy, and containing within itself a provision for its own amendment, has a just claim to your confidence and your support. Respect for its authority, compliance with its laws, acquiescence in its measures, are duties enjoined by the fundamental maxims of true liberty. The basis of our political systems is the right of the people to make and to alter their constitutions of government. But the constitution which at any time exists till changed by an explicit and authentic act of the whole people is sacredly obligatory upon all. The very idea of the power and the right of the people to establish government presupposes the duty of every individual to obey the established government.

All obstructions to the execution of the laws, all combinations and associations, under whatever plausible character, with the real design to direct, control, counteract, or awe the regular deliberation and action of the constituted authorities, are destructive of this fundamental principle and of fatal tendency. They serve to organize faction; to give it an artificial and extraordinary force; to put in the place of the delegated will of the nation the will of a party, often a small but artful and enterprising minority of the community, and, according to the alternate triumphs of different parties, to make the public administration the mirror of the ill-concerted and incongruous projects of faction rather than the organ of consistent and wholesome plans, digested by common councils and modified by mutual interests.

However combinations or associations of the above description may now and then answer popular ends, they are likely in the course of time and things to become potent engines by which cunning, ambitious, and unprincipled men will be enabled to subvert the power of the people, and to usurp for themselves the reins of government, destroying afterwards the very engines which have lifted them to unjust dominion.

Toward the preservation of your Government and the permanency of your present happy state, it is requisite not only that you steadily discountenance irregular oppositions to its acknowledged authority, but also that you resist with care the spirit of innovation upon its principles, however specious the pretexts. One method of assault may be to effect in the forms of the Constitution alterations which will impair the energy of the system, and thus to undermine what cannot be directly overthrown. In all the changes to which you may be invited remember that time and habit are at least as necessary to fix the true character of governments as of other human institutions; that experience is the surest standard by which to test the real tendency of the existing constitution of a country; that facility in changes upon the credit of mere hypothesis and opinion exposes to perpetual change, from the endless variety of hypothesis and opinion; and remember especially that for the efficient management of your common interests in a country so extensive as ours a Government of as much vigor as is consistent with the perfect security of liberty is indispensable. Liberty itself will find in such a government, with powers properly distributed and adjusted, its surest Guardian. It is, indeed, little else than a name where the Government is too feeble to withstand the enterprises of faction, to confine each member of the society within the limits prescribed by the laws, and to maintain all in the secure and tranquil enjoyment of the rights of person and property.

I have already intimated to you the danger of parties in the State, with particular reference to the founding of them on geographical discriminations. Let me now take a more comprehensive view, and warn you in the most solemn manner against the baneful effects of the spirit of party generally.

This Spirit, unfortunately, is inseparable from our nature, having its root in the strongest passions of the human mind. It exists under different shapes in all governments, more or less stifled, controlled, or repressed; but in those of the popular form it is seen in its greatest rankness and is truly their worst enemy.

The alternate domination of one faction over another, sharpened by the spirit of revenge natural to party dissension, which in different ages and countries has perpetrated the most horrid enormities, is itself a frightful despotism. But this leads at length to a more formal and permanent despotism. The disorders and miseries which result gradually incline the minds of men to seek security and repose in the absolute power of an individual, and sooner or later the chief of some prevailing faction, more able or more fortunate than his competitors, turns this disposition to the purposes of his own elevation on the ruins of public liberty.

Without looking forward to an extremity of this kind (which nevertheless ought not to be entirely out of sight), the common and continual mischiefs of the spirit of party are sufficient to make it the interest and duty of a wise people to discourage and restrain it.

It serves always to distract the public councils, and enfeeble the public administration. It agitates the community with ill-founded jealousies and false alarms; kindles the animosity of one part against another; foments occasionally riot and insurrection. It opens the door to foreign influence and corruption, which find a facilitated access to the government itself through the channels of party passion. Thus the policy and the will of one country are subjected to the policy and will of another.

There is an opinion that parties in free countries are useful checks upon the administration of the government, and serve to keep alive the spirit of liberty. This within certain limits is probably true and in governments of a monarchical cast patriotism may look with indulgence, if not with favor, upon the spirit of party. But in those of the popular character, in governments purely elective, it is a spirit not to be encouraged. From their natural tendency it is certain there will always be enough of that spirit for every salutary purpose; and there being constant danger of excess, the effort ought to be by force of public opinion to mitigate and assuage it. A fire not to be quenched, it demands a uniform vigilance to prevent its bursting into a flame, lest, instead of warming, it should consume.

It is important, likewise, that the habits of thinking in a free country should inspire caution in those entrusted with its administration to confine themselves within their respective constitutional spheres, avoiding in the exercise of the powers of one department to encroach upon another. The spirit of encroachment tends to consolidate the powers of all the departments in one, and thus to create, whatever the form of government, a real despotism. A just estimate of that love of power and proneness to abuse it which predominates in the human heart is sufficient to satisfy us of the truth of this position. The necessity of reciprocal checks in the exercise of political power, by dividing and distributing it into different depositories, and constituting each the guardian of the public weal against invasions by the others, has been evinced by experiments ancient and modern, some of them in our country and under our own eyes. To preserve them must be as necessary as to institute them. If, in the opinion of the people, the distribution or modification of the constitutional powers be in any particular wrong, let it be corrected by an amendment in the way which the Constitution designates. But let there be no change by usurpation; for though this in one instance may be the instrument of good, it is the customary weapon by which free governments are destroyed. The precedent must always greatly overbalance in permanent evil any partial or transient benefit which the use can at any time yield.

Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of patriotism who should labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness – these firmest props of the duties of men and citizens. The mere politician, equally with the pious man, ought to respect and to cherish them. A volume could not trace all their connections with private and public felicity. Let it simply be asked, "where is the security for property, for reputation, for life, if the sense of religious obligation desert the oaths which are the instruments of investigation in courts of justice?" And let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion. Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.

It is substantially true that virtue or morality is a necessary spring of popular government. The rule indeed extends with more or less force to every species of free government. Who that is a sincere friend to it can look with indifference upon attempts to shake the foundation of the fabric?

Promote, then, as an object of primary importance, institutions for the general diffusion of knowledge. In proportion as the structure of a government gives force to public opinion, it is essential that public opinion should be enlightened.

As a very important source of strength and security, cherish public credit. One method of preserving it is to use it as sparingly as possible, avoiding occasions of expense by cultivating peace, but remembering also that timely disbursements to prepare for danger frequently prevent much greater disbursements to repel it; avoiding likewise the accumulation of debt, not only by shunning occasions of expense, but by vigorous exertions in times of peace to discharge the debts which unavoidable wars have occasioned, not ungenerously throwing upon posterity the burden which we ourselves ought to bear. The execution of these maxims belongs to your representatives; but it is necessary that public opinion should cooperate. To facilitate to them the performance of their duty it is essential that you should practically bear in mind that towards the payment of debts there must be revenue; that to have revenue there must be taxes; that no taxes can be devised which are not more or less inconvenient and unpleasant; that the intrinsic embarrassment inseparable from the selection of the proper objects (which is always a choice of difficulties), ought to be a decisive motive for a candid construction of the conduct of the Government in making it, and for a spirit of acquiescence in the measures for obtaining revenue which the public exigencies may at any time dictate.

Observe good faith and justice towards all nations. Cultivate peace and harmony with all. Religion and morality enjoin this conduct. And can it be that good policy does not equally enjoin it? It will be worthy of a free, enlightened, and at no distant period a great nation to give to mankind the magnanimous and too novel example of a people always guided by an exalted justice and benevolence. Who can doubt that in the course of time and things the fruits of such a plan would richly repay any temporary advantages which might be lost by a steady adherence to it? Can it be that Providence has not connected the permanent felicity of a nation with its virtue? The experiment, at least, is recommended by every sentiment which ennobles human nature. Alas! is it rendered impossible by its vices?

In the execution of such a plan nothing is more essential than that permanent, inveterate antipathies against particular nations and passionate attachments for others should be excluded, and that in place of them just and amicable feelings towards all should be cultivated. The nation which indulges towards another an habitual hatred or an habitual fondness is in some degree a slave. It is a slave to its animosity or to its affection, either of which is sufficient to lead it astray from its duty and its interest. Antipathy in one nation against another disposes each more readily to offer insult and injury, to lay hold of slight causes of umbrage, and to be haughty and intractable when accidental or trifling occasions of dispute occur. Hence frequent collisions, obstinate, envenomed, and bloody contests. The nation prompted by ill-will and resentment sometimes impels to war the government contrary to the best calculations of policy. The government sometimes participates in the national propensity, and adopts through passion what reason would reject. At other times it makes the animosity of the nation subservient to projects of hostility, instigated by pride, ambition, and other sinister and pernicious motives. The peace often, sometimes perhaps the liberty, of nations has been the victim.

So, likewise, a passionate attachment of one nation for another produces a variety of evils. Sympathy for the favorite nation, facilitating the illusion of an imaginary common interest in cases where no real common interest exists, and infusing into one the enmities of the other, betrays the former into a participation in the quarrels and wars of the latter without adequate inducement or justification. It leads also to concessions to the favorite nation of privileges denied to others, which is apt doubly to injure the nation making the concessions by unnecessarily parting with what ought to have been retained, and by exciting jealousy, ill-will, and a disposition to retaliate in the parties from whom equal privileges are withheld; and it gives to ambitious, corrupted, or deluded citizens (who devote themselves to the favorite nation) facility to betray or sacrifice the interests of their own country without odium, sometimes even with popularity, gilding with the appearances of a virtuous sense of obligation, a commendable deference for public opinion, or a laudable zeal for public good the base or foolish compliances of ambition, corruption, or infatuation.

As avenues to foreign influence in innumerable ways, such attachments are particularly alarming to the truly enlightened and independent patriot. How many opportunities do they afford to tamper with domestic factions, to practise the arts of seduction, to mislead public opinion, to influence or awe the public councils! Such an attachment of a small or weak toward a great and powerful nation dooms the former to be the satellite of the latter. Against the insidious wiles of foreign influence (I conjure you to believe me, fellow-citizens), the jealousy of a free people ought to be constantly awake, since history and experience prove that foreign influence is one of the most baneful foes of republican government. But that jealousy, to be useful, must be impartial, else it becomes the instrument of the very influence to be avoided, instead of a defense against it. Excessive partiality for one foreign nation and excessive dislike of another cause those whom they actuate to see danger only on one side, and serve to veil and even second the arts of influence on the other. Real patriots who may resist the intrigues of the favorite are liable to become suspected and odious, while its tools and dupes usurp the applause and confidence of the people to surrender their interests.

The great rule of conduct for us, in regard to foreign nations, is, in extending our commercial relations to have with them as little political connection as possible. So far as we have already formed engagements, let them be fulfilled with perfect good faith. Here let us stop.

Europe has a set of primary interests which to us have none or a very remote relation. Hence she must be engaged in frequent controversies, the causes of which are essentially foreign to our concerns. Hence, therefore, it must be unwise in us to implicate ourselves by artificial ties in the ordinary vicissitudes of her politics or the ordinary combinations and collisions of her friendships or enmities.

Our detached and distant situation invites and enables us to pursue a different course. If we remain one people, under an efficient government, the period is not far off when we may defy material injury from external annoyance; when we may take such an attitude as will cause the neutrality we may at any time resolve upon to be scrupulously respected; when belligerent nations, under the impossibility of making acquisitions upon us, will not lightly hazard the giving us provocation; when we may choose peace or war, as our interest, guided by our justice, shall counsel.

Why forgo the advantages of so peculiar a situation? Why quit our own to stand upon foreign ground? Why, by interweaving our destiny with that of any part of Europe, entangle our peace and prosperity in the toils of European ambition, rivalship, interest, humor, or caprice?

It is our true policy to steer clear of permanent alliances with any portion of the foreign world, so far, I mean, as we are now at liberty to do it; for let me not be understood as capable of patronizing infidelity to existing engagements. I hold the maxim no less applicable to public than to private affairs that honesty is always the best policy. I repeat, therefore, let those engagements be observed in their genuine sense. But in my opinion it is unnecessary and would be unwise to extend them.

Taking care always to keep ourselves by suitable establishments on a respectable defensive posture, we may safely trust to temporary alliances for extraordinary emergencies.

Harmony, liberal intercourse with all nations are recommended by policy, humanity, and interest. But even our commercial policy should hold an equal and impartial hand, neither seeking nor granting exclusive favors or preferences; consulting the natural course of things; diffusing and diversifying by gentle means the streams of commerce, but forcing nothing; establishing with powers so disposed, in order to give trade a stable course, to define the rights of our merchants, and to enable the Government to support them, conventional rules of intercourse, the best that present circumstances and mutual opinion will permit, but temporary and liable to be from time to time abandoned or varied as experience and circumstances shall dictate; constantly keeping in view that it is folly in one nation to look for disinterested favors from another; that it must pay with a portion of its independence for whatever it may accept under that character; that by such acceptance it may place itself in the condition of having given equivalents for nominal favors, and yet of being reproached with ingratitude for not giving more. There can be no greater error than to expect or calculate upon real favors from nation to nation. It is an illusion which experience must cure, which a just pride ought to discard.

In offering to you, my countrymen, these counsels of an old and affectionate friend I dare not hope they will make the strong and lasting impression I could wish – that they will control the usual current of the passions or prevent our nation from running the course which has hitherto marked the destiny of nations. But if I may even flatter myself that they may be productive of some partial benefit, some occasional good – that they may now and then recur to moderate the fury of party spirit, to warn against the mischiefs of foreign intrigue, to guard against the impostures of pretended patriotism – this hope will be a full recompense for the solicitude for your welfare by which they have been dictated.

How far in the discharge of my official duties I have been guided by the principles which have been delineated the public records and other evidences of my conduct must witness to you and to the world. To myself, the assurance of my own conscience is that I have at least believed myself to be guided by them.

In relation to the still subsisting war in Europe my proclamation of the 22d of April, 1793, is the index to my plan. Sanctioned by your approving voice and by that of your representatives in both Houses of Congress, the spirit of that measure has continually governed me, uninfluenced by any attempts to deter or divert me from it.

After deliberate examination, with the aid of the best lights I could obtain, I was well satisfied that our country, under all the circumstances of the case, had a right to take, and was bound in duty and interest to take, a neutral position. Having taken it, I determined as far as should depend upon me to maintain it with moderation, perseverance, and firmness.

The considerations which respect the right to hold this conduct it is not necessary on this occasion to detail. I will only observe, that, according to my understanding of the matter, that right, so far from being denied by any of the belligerent powers, has been virtually admitted by all.

The duty of holding a neutral conduct may be inferred, without any thing more, from the obligation which justice and humanity impose on every nation, in cases in which it is free to act, to maintain inviolate the relations of peace and amity towards other nations.

The inducements of interest for observing that conduct will best be referred to your own reflections and experience. With me a predominant motive has been to endeavor to gain time to our country to settle and mature its yet recent institutions, and to progress without interruption to that degree of strength and consistency which is necessary to give it, humanly speaking, the command of its own fortunes.

Though, in reviewing the incidents of my Administration, I am unconscious of intentional error, I am nevertheless too sensible of my defects not to think it probable that I may have committed many errors. Whatever they may be, I fervently beseech the Almighty to avert or mitigate the evils to which they may tend. I shall also carry with me the hope that my country will never cease to view them with indulgence, and that, after forty-five years of my life dedicated to its service with an upright zeal, the faults of incompetent abilities will be consigned to oblivion, as myself must soon be to the mansions of rest.

Relying on its kindness in this as in other things, and actuated by that fervent love toward it which is so natural to a man who views in it the native soil of himself and his progenitors for several generations, I anticipate with pleasing expectation that retreat in which I promise myself to realize without alloy the sweet enjoyment of partaking in the midst of my fellow citizens the benign influence of good laws under a free government – the ever-favorite object of my heart, and the happy reward, as I trust, of our mutual cares, labors, and dangers.

George Washington

Retirement from office.
He realizes people must be thinking about his replacement, therefore he declines re-election.
He has thought it through, and feels like it is in everyone's best interest.
He wanted to retire earlier, but foreign affairs and advice from those he respected caused him to "abandon the idea."
Now that everything is calm, he is persuaded that the people will not disapprove of this "determination to retire."
He is convinced his age forces retirement, and he welcomes the opportunity.
He offers gratitude for the people's support.
He offers a blessing "that Heaven may continue to you the choicest tokens of its beneficence. . ."
Scope of the Address.
His sentiments are for the people's "frequent review," he wanted us to read and re-read the Address.
His only motive was as a friend.
He felt no need to recommend a love of liberty – it was already there.
Unity of Government.
Unity is a "main pillar" of "real independence":
for the support of "tranquility at home"
for "your peace abroad"
for "your safety”
for "your prosperity”
for "that very liberty which you so highly prize."
Common attributes of unity:
same religion
political principles.
The most commanding motive is to preserve the "union of the whole."
The North, South, East, and West all depend on each other.
Unity leads to greater strength, resources, and security.
Unity will help "avoid the necessity of . . . overgrown military establishments" and will be the main "prop of your liberty."
He questions the patriotism of anyone who tries to "weaken its bands."
It was unity that brought two valuable treaties:
with Great Britain
with Spain.
Government for the whole – via the Constitution – is indispensable; not just alliances between sections.
the adoption of the Constitution was an improvement on the former "essay."
respect for its authority, compliance with its laws, and acquiescence in its measures are fundamental maxims of true liberty.
the people's right to alter constitutions is the basis of our political system.
Spirit of Party.
Parties are "potent engines" that men will use to take over the "reins of government."
Washington warns against parties' "baneful effects":
leads to the absolute power of an individual
"discourage and restrain" the spirit of party
leads to "jealousies and false alarms"
"animosity of one part against another"
can lead to "riot and insurrection"
opens "door to foreign influence and corruption"
"it is a spirit not to be encouraged."
Spirit of Encroachment.
Leads to "a real despotism."
There is a necessity of "reciprocal checks in the exercise of political power."
If a problem arises, correct it by an amendment, not by "usurpation."
Religion and Morality.
Are "indispensable supports" for "political prosperity."
Are the "firmest props of the duties of Men and Country."
The oaths in our courts would be useless without "the sense of religious obligation."
"And let us with caution indulge the supposition, that morality can be maintained without religion."
"Reason and experience both forbid us to expect, that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle."
"Promote, then, as an object of primary importance, institutions for the general diffusion of knowledge."
"Avoid occasions of expense by cultivating peace . . . ."
"Timely disbursements to prepare for danger" are better than "greater disbursements to repel it."
Avoid debt: in time of peace, pay off debts..
Public opinion should "cooperate" with their representatives to pay off debt.
Some taxes are necessary even though "inconvenient and unpleasant."
Foreign Policy.
We should exercise "good faith and justice towards all nations."
"religion and morality enjoin this conduct"
we should be guided by "an exalted justice and benevolence."
Replace "inveterate antipathies" (hatred) and passionate attachments with "just and amicable feelings."
"passionate attachments" produce a variety of evils
these attachments will lead you into "quarrels and wars"
they will also lead to favoritism, conceding "privileges denied to others."
Foreign "attachments" are "alarming" because they open the door to foreigners who might:
"tamper with domestic factions"
"practise the arts of seduction"
"mislead public opinion"
influence "Public Councils."
"Foreign influence is one of the most baneful foes of Republican Government."
"The great rule of conduct for us": "as little political connection as possible."
we should fulfill obligations, then stop
we should not get involved in Europe's affairs.
Our "detached and distant situation . . . enables . . . a different course."
"Steer clear of permanent alliances with any portion of the foreign world."
However, we may have "temporary alliances, for extraordinary emergencies."
Maintain "a liberal intercourse with all nations.”
Washington hopes his counsel will:
"help moderate the fury of party spirit"
"warn against the mischiefs of foreign intrigue"
"guard against the impostures of pretended patriotism."
He believes himself to be guided by the "principles which have been delineated" above.
A "neutral position" is the best course to take regarding the "subsisting war in Europe."
that neutrality is the right course has been "admitted by all."
our "motive has been to endeavor to gain time for our country to settle and mature" until America has "command of its own fortunes."
Washington asks "the Almighty" to correct any unintentional errors or defects from his administration.
He looks forward to retiring and enjoying "good laws under a free government."
Closing words.

acquiescence – agreement without protest. Consent.

actuate – put into motion. Motivate.

admonish – to counsel against. Caution.

alienate – to cause to become unfriendly. Exclude.

alliance – a formal pact between nations. Partnership.

animosity – bitter hostility. Hatred.

antipathies – strong feelings of hatred or opposition. Aversions.

apostate – abandoning one's principles. Defective or Traitorous.

appellation – a name or title.

appertaining – relating to.

apprise – to give notice; to inform. Notify.

arduous – demanding great care, effort, or labor. Difficult.

artifices – subtle but base deceptions. Tricks.

assuage – make less burdensome or painful. Relieve.

auspice – protection or support. Authority.

auxiliary – giving assistance or support. Supplementary.

avert – to turn away. Prevent.

baneful – causing death, destruction, or ruin. Harmful.

belligerent – inclined or eager to fight. Hostile.

beneficence – a charitable act or gift. Kindness.

benevolence – an inclination to do kind or charitable acts. Goodness.

benign – tending to promote well-being. Beneficial.

beseech – to call upon earnestly. Request.

bias – to cause to have a prejudice view. Distort.

conceded – acknowledged as true, just, or proper. Given.

conjure – to call upon or entreat solemnly. Call upon.

consigned – turned over to another's charge. Delivered.

consolation – the comforting in time of grief, defeat, or trouble. Comfort.

contemplation – thoughtful observation. Meditation.

countenanced – to give or express approval to. Approved.

covertly – concealed, hidden, or secret.

cultivate – promote the growth of. Develop.

deference – yielding to the wishes of another. Consideration.

deliberate – planned in advance. Intentional.

delineated – depicted in words or gestures. Outlined.

despotisms – political system with one man in absolute power. Oppression.

diffidence – the quality of lacking self-confidence. Humility.

diffusing – causing to spread freely. Spreading.

diffusion – the process of diffusing. Spreading.

diminution – reduction. Decrease.

disbursements – money paid out. Expenditures.

discriminations – acts based on prejudice. Prejudices.

dispositions – an habitual tendency or inclination. Tendencies.

diversifying – giving variety to. Varying.

dubious – causing doubt or uncertainty. Uncertain.

edifice – a building of imposing appearance or size. Structure.

efficacy – power to produce a desired effect. Effectiveness.

encroach – to advance beyond proper limits. Intrude.

enmities – deep-seated mutual hatred. Hostilities.

ennobles – raises in rank. Elevates.

envenomed – poisoned or embittered. Poisoned.

evinced – to show clearly or convincingly. Demonstrated.

exemption – a freedom from obligation or duty. Freedom.

exigencies – situations needing immediate attention. Necessities.

expedients – something adopted to meet an urgent need. Schemes.

facilitating – making something easier. Assisting.

fallible – capable of making an error. Imperfect.

felicity – great happiness or bliss. Happiness.

fervently – having great emotion or warmth. Earnestly.

hypothesis – something considered to be true. Assumption.

impostures – deceptions through false identities. Deceptions.

inauspicious – unfavorable.

incongruous – not consistent with what is logical, customary, or correct. Disagreeable.

indispensable – not able to be done away with. Essential.

indissoluble – impossible to break or undo. Indestructible.

inducement – something that leads to action. Influence.

indulgent – granted as a favor or privilege. Agreeable.

inferred – figured out from evidence. Understood.

infidelity – lack of loyalty. disloyalty.

insidiously – spreading harm in a subtle way. Dishonestly.

instigated – stirred up or urged on. Aroused.

intercourse – communication between persons or groups. Business.

intimated – to announce or proclaim. Spoken.

intractable – hard to manage or govern. Stubborn.

intrigue – secret schemes or plots. Affairs.

intrinsic – having to do with the very nature of a thing. Natural.

inveterate – firmly established and deeply rooted. Established.

inviolate – not violated or changed. Unchanged.

invigorated – given strength and vitality. Energized.

inviolable – not able to be violated. Unchanging.

laudable – deserving approval. Praiseworthy.

magnanimous – noble of mind and heart. Idealistic.

maxim – fundamental principle or rule of conduct. Principle.

mitigate – to make less severe or intense. Weaken.

monarchy – a state ruled by an absolute ruler, such as a king or emperor.

obligatory – legally or morally binding. Required.

oblivion – the condition of being completely forgotten. Nonexistence.

obstinate – hard to manage, control, or subdue. Uncontrollable.

odium – a strong dislike for something. Disfavor.

pernicious – causing great harm and destruction. Destructive.

perpetrated – to be guilty of bringing something about. Committed.

perpetual – lasting for eternity. Unending.

plausible – appearing to be valid, likely, or acceptable. Believable.

posterity – future generations.

precarious – lacking in security and stability. Uncertain.

precedent – an act used as an example in future situations.

predominant – having great importance, influence, or authority. Important.

procured – obtained or acquired.

progenitors – a direct ancestor. Ancestors.

propensity – a tendency to do something. Tendency.

propagated – cause to multiply. Spread.

provocation – a reason to take action.

prudence – good judgment and common sense. Wisdom.

recompense – payment for something done. Repayment.

requisite – essential or required.

scrupulously – to do something with ethical considerations. Conscientiously.

seduction – the act of leading away from proper conduct. Misleading.

solicitude – the state of being concerned or eager. Concern.

specious – appearing to be true, but being false. Deceptive.

subservient – under the control of something. Subject.

subvert – to undermine the character, morals, or allegiance of. Overthrow.

suffrages – votes.

supposition – the idea that something is true. Idea.

tenure – the terms under which something is held. Terms.

tranquility – the state of being free from disturbance. Peace.

transient – passing away with time. Temporary.

umbrage – offense. Resentment.

usurpation – the seizing of power by force and without legal right. Overthrow.

vicissitudes – changes or variations. Changes.

vigilance – alert watchfulness. Watchfulness.

virtuous – morally excellent and righteous. Pure.

weal – the welfare of the community. Welfare.