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Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Thank You and Stay Tuned

To my wonderful readers:

Lately, I have not posted as much on my BLOG because I am working on my book. Writing requires time and attention; this is even truer when working on non-fiction because it entails a thorough research of the subject matter.  I am reading primary sources (and a few secondary sources) from the 18th century many of which also require physical excursions to various locations throughout the country.  In my spare time (if there is such a thing), I am also working on my art.  All of this has made it more difficult to keep up with my BLOG as of late but I hope to return to it more regularly upon the completion of my book...that is until I begin my research for the next book.


I just wanted to say a quick thank you to everyone who has supported me by sticking with me.  I hope you will come back to discover what I am writing about.





Thursday, August 14, 2014

Jefferson’s Advice for Good Living

                                                     *Miniature of Thomas Jefferson by John Trumbull. Image courtesy Monticello.org collections.

On February 21, 1825, Thomas Jefferson gave “Counsel to a Namesake.”  Written to Thomas Jefferson Smith, the letter noted A Decalogue of Canons for Observation in Practical Life.  The following is an excerpt:

1.  Never put off till to-morrow what you can do to-day.
2.  Never trouble another for what you can do yourself.
3.  Never spend your money before you have it.
4.  Never buy what you do not want, because it is cheap; it will be dear to you.
5.  Pride costs us more than hunger, thirst and cold.
6.  We never repent of having eaten too little.
7.  Nothing is troublesome that we do willingly.
8.  How much pain have cost us the evils which have never happened.
9.  Take things always by their smooth handle.

10.  When angry, count ten, before you speak; if very angry, an hundred.



Monday, July 14, 2014

A Government of Force or A Government of Laws? by Alexander Hamilton

On August 28, 1794, Alexander Hamilton wrote Tully No. III asking the American People what secured America:

“If it were to be asked, What is the most sacred duty and the greatest source of security in a Republic?  The answer would be, An inviolable respect for the Constitution and Laws-the first growing out of the last.”

He indicates that by honoring the Constitution We the People keep “caballers, intriguers, and demagogues…from climbing on the shoulders of faction to the tempting seats of usurpation and tyranny.”

Hamilton then addresses the two forms of government:

“Government is frequently and aptly classed under two descriptions, a government of FORCE and a government of LAWS; the first is the definition of despotism-the last, of liberty.”

Hamilton notes that “those, therefore, who preach doctrines, or set examples, which undermine or subvert the authority of the laws, lead us from freedom to slavery; they incapacitate us for a GOVERNMENT OF LAWS, and consequently prepare the way for one of FORCE, for mankind MUST HAVE GOVERNMENT OF ONE SORT OR ANOTHER.”

Finally, Hamilton agrees that when the Constitution is in jeopardy, the People must act to defend its principles:


“There are indeed great and urgent cases where the bounds of the constitution are manifestly transgressed, or its constitutional authorities are so exercised as to produce unequivocal oppression on the community, and to render resistance justifiable.”



Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Laws of Nature by Alexander Hamilton



The Revolutionary Era produced many great writers, among them, a brilliant man named Alexander Hamilton.  In 1774, Hamilton wrote A Full Vindication of the Measures of Congress defending the Congress against attacks led by loyalists.  In this excerpt, Hamilton discusses laws of nature and obligations one society may (or may not) have towards another:

“There is no law, either of nature, or of the civil society in which we live, that obliges us to purchase, and make use of the products and manufactures of a different land, or people.  It is indeed a dictate of humanity to contribute to the support and happiness of our fellow creatures and more especially those who are allied to us by the ties of blood, interest, and mutual protection; but humanity does not require us to sacrifice our own security and welfare to the convenience, or advantage of others.*  Self preservation is the first principle of nature.  When our lives and properties are at stake, it would be foolish and natural to refrain from such measures as might preserve them, because they would be detrimental to others.”

*My emphasis added.



Tuesday, June 24, 2014

America's Crisis by Thomas Paine

Thomas Paine, much in favor of America’s break from Great Britain, published his pamphlet Common Sense in January 1776.  A year later, he wrote The Crisis a pamphlet published to boost public morale and re-affirm the necessity for America’s independence from Britain.  In Crisis Number III, published on April 19, 1777, Paine notes:

“ America, till now, could never be called a free country, because her legislation depended on the will of a man three thousand miles distant, whose interest was in opposition to ours, and who, by a single ‘no,’ could forbid what law he pleased.”

What of America today?  Is America’s legislation now depended on the will of a man, perhaps not “three thousand miles distant” but a lot closer to home?  Are his interests in opposition to the interest of the People?  Is he saying “no” to whichever law he pleases?  Is America still the land of the free?