Our founders had a deep love for America’s roots, which is what they were planting. Our founders knew our nation could never be great without deep roots.
We all know the same names if we have studied American history. And we know of our founders’ love for our roots: George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, Samuel Adams, John Adams, John Hancock, Thomas Jefferson, Alexander Hamilton, James Madison and John Jay. These were certainly not all our founding fathers, but they are usually listed as the major ones.
THOMAS PAINE AND COMMON SENSE
Paine hoped to raise awareness among Americans that it was impossible to keep relationship with the king of England, and to placate or appease him, when the king’s sole intention was to destroy America, and keep us from becoming an independent nation. I have read that his short writing sold over 100,000 copies overnight. This was in a nation of only about 2 million free people at the time. Thus, the vast majority of families had a copy of his writing.
His main point was that the king would never give Americans any rights. The only way to have rights in this country was to fight for them. The only other alternative was to give up all desired rights.
SEVERING TIES TO ENGLAND
Rhode Island was the first to declare herself independent of England, on May 4, 1776, but other colonies quickly followed her lead in doing so. The king had outlawed any elected assemblies of people, so naturally any action by the states against England was illegal from the king’s standpoint. But it was during this time that the colonies totally separated any ties to England, which of course is what caused the Revolutionary War.
Even before this action by the colonies, there had been military action in the colonies in 1775. Most of us recall Lexington and Concord, and the Battle of Bunkers Hill. During this time, Americans were labeled traitors by England.
THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE
It was at this time that the Declaration of Independence was drafted. It reflected our founders’ love for our roots.
“When, in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.”
This was then followed by the self-evident truth that all men are created equal.
DECLARING FREEDOM OF RELIGION
The religion of England was largely controlled by the government, and Americans wanted no part of England’s religion. You must remember that most of our founders were religious men, all of them having a belief in God, and a great appreciation for The Holy Bible. They were not all Christians, but a great number of them did believe in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. Plus, they lived their lives accordingly – it wasn’t just lip service to him that they gave. They not only talked the talk, but they walked the walk.
They did not want any religion, especially Christianity, to be controlled by government. This was part of our founders deep love for our roots.
Christopher Columbus is given credit for the discovery of American, even though this is challenged in some historical circles. He was a very religious man, and his name even means ‘bearer of Christ.’ When he arrived on our shores, it wasn’t the flag of Spain that he planted in the ground, but the cross of Jesus Christ. For many years I had an old history book from grade school in the 1950’s, and on the cover was a picture of Columbus planting Christ’s cross in the sand. This is a reality that has long been lost in America.
THE ARTICLES VS. THE CONSTITUTION
The Articles of Confederation were established first, and it was viewed as a temporary governing document for the new United States of America. It was to last until our founders had the opportunity and time to sit down together and draft The Constitution of the United States, which was ratified in 1787. So the Articles governed until this time.
Our founders had a deep love for America, and knew equality in life was only created in three ways: (1) by God, (2) by law, or (3) by rights. And they wanted all three aspects of this to be incorporated into the equality of all Americans.
They listed out 26 offenses that the King and the Parliament of England had committed against the colonies, and our founders were not about to allow them to continue.
Our founders knew that doing these things, and participating in them personally, would get them all executed by England if they lost the Revolutionary War. What they did was considered by England to be out-and-out treason. But their right to a freedom of conscience drove them to risk their lives in the formation of this nation.
A TRULY FREE PEOPLE IN MODERN TIMES
Well, at least we were declared to be free. The Revolutionary War was born in a deep love for America’s roots. It was to establish that we were free politically and in fact, and not just in principle. If we won the war, we would be free. If we lost the war, we would not be free and all our founding fathers would lose their lives.
But this all occurred because our founders deep love for America, risking their lives in forming The Constitution of the United States – which had actually existed in theory written down by them in notes before the Constitution itself was ever drafted. They simply followed a set of principles they believed in, and a formula for seeing it accomplished, that resulted in the Constitution.
Our founders’ deep love for America’s roots was evident in all they did.
THE CONVENTION AT PHILADELPHIA
The Philadelphia Convention convened in May, 1787, at a time when things were falling apart emotionally and politically in our not-yet-formed nation. England was putting intense pressure on the colonies (including armed army intrusion). They were being threatened with treason and death. There was a lot of disagreement among the people, and a lot of conflict and hostility.
Some people wanted to pursue freedom, and others did not. They wanted to give in to England’s demands and simply be a colony of England.
This Convention has become the most important gathering of men in world history.
The colonies appointed 72 men to attend the convention, but because of disagreements, many of the colonies provided no funding for the men to attend. They had to pay their own way. So as a result, only 55 were actually involved in the convention. George Washington himself almost did not attend. Benjamin Franklin was an old man of 81 at the time, and he had difficulties attending, even though he lived in Philadelphia.
George Washington, who suffered from rheumatism with great difficulty sleeping, was unanimously elected President of the Convention. James Madison was the secretary and historian of the Convention. He actually became ill in his undying efforts to keep a precise, accurate record of everything that occurred in the Convention. They spent days in creating house-keeping rules for the Convention, including total secrecy of their meetings so that rumors would not flow to people outside.
DISAGREEMENT IN THE CONVENTION
General agreement between the delegates was reached in all areas debated, with the exception of the following. Slavery was to remain an issue for many years, and even Washington had slaves. They also had disagreement in deciding whether the slave population should be included in deciding number of votes in the states, or only the free population. They also could not really decide whether the states themselves should control Congress or elected officials by the population of the states. They also had trouble deciding the federal government’s role in interstate commerce.
Regardless, with all the issues involved, there were only a few undecided issues. The delegates were, by and large, in majority agreement as to what should be done and not done.
There were lots of issues to decide. How many presidents should there be? How should they be elected? How long should the president serve? Can he serve more than one term? Could the president be impeached? How should congress be elected? Who should be qualified to vote in elections? Who should decide if the Constitution was not being abided by? What about taxes? This is only a few of many issues.
The delegates knew that whatever they finally proposed would have to be approved by Congress, and ratified by the states. They knew they would have to argue their positions before Congress, and that the people of the various states would eventually decide the fate of their proposed Constitution.
A big question (which still exists today) was about how much control the federal government would have over the states. The Convention wound up delegating only 20 powers to the federal government, while reserving all other powers to the individual states. Their focus was definitely NOT federal government control, of which we have so much today.
And of course there were different state plans as to how the United States should be run. The two most debated plans were the New Jersey plan and the Virginia plan. Different people in different areas had different ideas as to what should be done and not done. There was not immediate agreement on everything, but in the end things were agreed upon by the vast majority.
There was however, what was considered to be a crisis period at the Convention, lasting about 30 days during June and July. It was at the beginning of this time that Benjamin Franklin spoke up and moved that all remaining sessions of the Convention be opened in submitted prayer to Almighty God, asking for his direction and guidance in helping the delegates decide these issues. He opened his motion with these words: “I have lived a long time, and the longer I live the more convincing proofs I see of this truth: that God governs in the affairs of men. . . We are assured in the sacred writings (the Bible) that except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it. . . I firmly believe that without his concurring aid, we shall succeed in this no better than the builders of Babel.”
It was after his motion that things began to turn around for the better.
When Benjamin Franklin signed the document, he openly wept before the delegates,
reflecting our founders’ love for America’s roots. The battle had been won by the delegates, but the newly formed Constitution still had to pass Congressional approval, and still had to be ratified by the states. In other words, it had to be ‘sold.’ But most of the great moral and intellectual battles had been won.