Archive for the ‘From the Founders’ Category

“Rise Superior to Every Obstacle”

George Washington and the Tea Party Movement–America’s Second Revolution

Words of encouragement by George Washington, compiled by Bill Norton

Since the victory of the American Revolution, there has never been a ground swell of everyday Americans rising up to restore their Liberties—until now. It is a remarkable time, but not dissimilar to the difficulties of 1776. We have an oppressive king—Washington elitists; a daunting army to fight—an overreaching federal government; and a ragtag, untrained, undisciplined army as our only defense—grassroots Tea Party movement. What words would General George Washington, the patriot sage, give today to advise and inspire us? His words of yesteryear, based on original principles, are as fitting today as they were in his—Listen!

“The cause we are engaged in is so just and righteous that we must try to rise superior to every obstacle in its support.”[1] We need patriots—Tea Party Patriots. “It appears as clear to me … that America never stood in more eminent need of the wise, patriotic, and spirited exertions of her [citizens] than at this period.”[2] “Clouds may hover over our political concerns, but a steady adherence to these principles will not only dispel them but render our prospects the brighter by such temporary obscurities.”[3] Some may want to shrink from the task with feelings of inadequate talents, but recall, Washington had “a consciousness of its being a trust too great for my capacity.”[4]

The patriot citizen was Washington’s secret resource. Historians have berated Washington as a general with no strategy as “not his forte” or “less than brilliant,” not unlike the critics of our day who berate the Tea Party. But like Washington, we have a secret. “We had a secret resource of a nature unknown to the enemy, it was in the unconquerable resolution of our citizens, the conscious rectitude of our cause, and a confident trust that we should not be forsaken by Heaven.”[5] Like the detractors of our day, the enemies of 1776 and modern historians had not considered that Washington’s strategy was to rely on the hearts of the American people. This strategy proved successful then as it will now.

Our fight is a daunting task but “we must not despair; the game is yet in our own hands; to play it well is all we have to do,… A cloud may yet pass over us; individuals may be ruined; and the country at large, or particular states, undergo temporary distress; but certain I am that it is in our power to bring the war to a happy conclusion.”[6] “Liberty, when it begins to take root, is a plant of rapid growth.”[7] “The disadvantageous circumstances … under which the war was undertaken, can never be forgotten. The singular interpositions of Providence in our feeble condition was little short of a standing miracle.”[8]

“The time is now near at hand which must probably determine whether Americans are to be freemen or slaves; whether they are to have any property they can call their own; whether their houses and farms are to be pillaged and destroyed… The fate of unborn millions will now depend, under God, on the courage and conduct of this army. Our cruel and unrelenting enemy leaves us no choice but a brave resistance or the most abject submission. This is all we can expect; we have therefore to resolve to conquer or die. Our own country’s honor…call[s] upon us for a vigorous… exertion. Let us therefore rely upon the goodness of the cause, and the aid of the Supreme Being in whose hands victory is, to animate and encourage us to great and noble actions. The eyes of all our countrymen are now upon us, and we shall have their blessings and praises if happily we are the instruments of saving them from the tyranny meditated against them. Let us therefore animate and encourage each other, and show the whole world that a freeman contending for liberty on his own ground is superior to any slavish mercenary on earth.”[9] “The honor and safety of our bleeding country, and every other motive that can influence the brave and heroic patriot, call loudly upon us to acquit ourselves with spirit. In short, we must now determine to be enslaved or free. If we make freedom our choice, we must obtain it by the blessings of Heaven on our united and vigorous efforts.”[10] “Remember… that you are freemen, fighting for the blessings of liberty—that slavery will be your portion, and that of your posterity, if you do not acquit yourselves like…”[11] Patriots!

[1] To Philip Schuyler 1775

[2] To Benjamin Harrison 1778

[3] To the citizens of Alexandria 1797

[4] To Martha Washington 1775

[5] Address intended for Congress 1789

[6] To John Mathews 1781

[7] To James Madison 1788

[8] Farewell Orders to the Army 1783

[9] General orders to the Army 1776

[10] Address to officers and soldiers of the Pennsylvania Associators 1776

[11] General Orders to the Army 1776

Read Full Post »

In the spirit of Valentine’s Day, Benjamin Franklin gives his usual witty insight about marriage. Modern historical revisionists often accuse Franklin being a lecherous womanizer with multiple illegitimate children. One source of “evidence” they use, and often quote, is a letter Franklin wrote to a friend on how to choose a mistress. What they fail to quote is the beginning of the letter in which Franklin clearly tells his friend that he is an idiot for wanting a mistress and that he should marry instead. After expounding on the virtues of marriage, he then tells his friend that if he insists on taking a mistress he may consider a few items to reduce his folly. Rather than relying on historical revisionism, one only has to go to the words of the Founders themselves to know who they were and what they truly believed. Here is Franklin’s advice to his friend:

“Marriage is the proper remedy. It is the most natural state of man, and therefore the state in which you are most likely to find solid happiness. Your reasons against entering into it at present appear to me not well founded. The circumstantial advantages you have in view by postponing it are not only uncertain, but they are small in comparison with that of the thing itself, the being married and settled. It is the man and woman united that make the complete human being. Separate, she wants his force of body and strength of reason; he, her softness, sensibility, and acute discernment. Together they are more likely to succeed in the world. A single man has not nearly the value he would have in that state of union. He is an incomplete animal. He resembles the odd half of a pair of scissors. If you get a prudent, healthy wife, your industry in your profession, with her good economy, will be a fortune sufficient ” -Benjamin Franklin

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: