History

A Time in History That is Largely Misunderstood


Jefferson Davis

Stogie over at Saberpoint has started up a new blog that I thought you might be interested in. It is a blog that is going to focus on the Confederacy and of those times in our history. It is my understanding that he will be focusing on the many fallacies that has been taught of that time especially in regards to the South. For all of you interested in the history of this nation especially at the time of the war between the States I believe this will prove to be a very interesting blog. It can be reached by the following link.

Confederate Gray

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May We Remember and Regain Our Independence We Have Cherished For So Very Long


HAVE A GREAT “INDEPENDENCE DAY” EVERYONE

MAY WE NEVER BECOME SO INSECURE IN OURSELVES

AS TO BECOME DEPENDENT UPON THE GOOD WILL OF GOVERNMENT AS SO MANY HAVE ALREADY.

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Ideology and Its Effect on Morality


Boy, all government is absolute.  Once we realize this then the only thing left to discuss is the division of the power of government.  The authority of government can be declared as irrelevant for authority only ascertains from where that power is derived from.  In other words authority only gives moral credibility or legitimacy to the idea of government.

When speaking of the authority of government we must allow the possibility of three sources.  The first source we must accept as a possibility is from God.  And to accept God as being the source requires a belief in the existence of a God. And this requires that God does, in fact, exist.  And if he does exist then we must declare that all laws enacted by the people of government must be consistent with the Will of God regardless of of how any form of government is structured.

The second source of authority we must consider is from the people.  And this, from a deterministic point of view, would require that God does not exist.  It would also imply that the people of government abide by the will of the people.  And this also would apply regardless of how any form of government is structured.

The third source of authority is from the government itself.  This would declare that the people of government need not answer to no one.  It would be any form of government where all abide by the will of the people of government. In the best of lights it would be a government where the people of government believe that they know what is best for everybody thus have the right to mandate it of them.

Once authority has been established sovereignty can be declared.  Sovereignty can be defined as the quality of having supreme, independent authority over a geographic area, such as a territory.  It can be found in a power to rule and make law that rests on a political fact for which no purely legal explanation can be provided. In theoretical terms, the idea of “sovereignty”, historically, from Socrates to Thomas Hobbes, has always necessitated a moral imperative on the entity exercising it.

 Once sovereignty is declared we have the foundational basis of government.  And as we have seen through history all governments have the same basic structure.  It is in the recognition of sovereignty that a territory can be defined as a State.  Now, before we go any further we must clarify a few terms.

 A State is not a nation nor is it a country even though they are usually used in a synonymous manner.     And those who use them in a synonymous manner can only result in misleading conclusions.  The word country refers strictly to the territory within a certain set of boundries.  The word nation refers strictly to the people that live in that territory.  In other words, a State rules over a nation that live in the country where sovereignty has been declared.

 Ideally a State serves but one purpose, to serve the domestic well-being of a nation.  Ideally, it serves to protect the individual from the abuse of the collective within its realm of authority.  Ideally, it also serves to protect the nation from other States outside of its realm of authority.  The fallacy of this principle lies in the fact that we do not live in an ideal existence thus the ideal of the State can never be achieved.

The problem lies in the political ideology that continues to promote this principle.  For this ideology will always see the existing form of government as a failure and seek to change it.  This failure would be seen in all forms of governments of the past.  Thus any form of government they promote must be a government of theoretical construct, one that does not nor ever has existed in the history of mankind.

 Perfection is the goal and the ideology declares that perfection can be achieved. The ideology will accept no argument that states differently. And given the belief of the achievability of this goal it is an ideology that declares that the end justifies the means. Would not the achievement of perfection justify any means that was used to attain it? And it is from this we can see why those who adhere to this ideology consider themselves as being morally superior to others.

 And since they are morally superior then a different standard of behavior for themselves than the standards they hold others to is not only acceptable but expected.  It is from this sense of moral superiority that hypocricy does not exist in the eyes of those who adhere to this ideology.

 

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The Constitution, a Living Document?


Grandma just blushed and giggled a bit as she heard my compliment of her food and grandpa just tussled my head as he said,

“Now, boy, no truer words can be said, I agree. Grandma’s chicken is the best in the county and there can be no doubt about that.” and with those words silence was our company for awhile as we continued home from church services.

After a bit grandpa picked up the Bible and said,

“Boy, this book has gone through a lot over the centuries since it was put together. It has been the center of many a argument in just about every phase of life. Many a man has tried to read it in such a manner so as to affirm his own beliefs of the meaning of life. There are even those who would say that the words within it are meaningless just to affirm his personal viewpoint on life.

The same can be said of the Constitution of this nation. Many an argument has been over its value and meaning to this nation. There are some who would say it is meaningless and use the excuse that it was written for a time past and is no longer applicable in today’s complex world.

There are others who would say that it was written in a manner so as to be applicable to the changes of every generation. This viewpoint sees the Constitution as being a dynamic document as opposed to being a static document. And these persons will describe the Constitution as being a “living document”. And they will describe the words in the constitution as being so generalized as to justify the understanding.

Being the extremist that I am, doubt be my first response to this claim. And with this doubt the first question in my mind be if this was the intent behind its ratification? Would anyone vote for its ratification knowing that its meaning could be changed within his life time? I, myself, have the biggest of doubts about this. I can only speak for myself but there is one thing I am certain of.

I would never vote to ratify a Constitution under these circumstances and I don’t believe anyone with an ounce of intelligence would either. To ratify a constitution under these conditions would be asking someone to agree to something that he has no idea of what that agreement was. In fact I’d even go so far as to declare that if anyone would, it would be someone with the intent of changing its meaning so as to install an entirely new form of government at a later date when he had the power to do so. Even the idea of this possibility sends a streak of fear up my spine as it should anyone.

I will go even farther by saying that those who advocate this viewpoint don’t really believe in it. They are the ones who do seek to change government and how they seek to change it proves this disbelief. For the changes they seek are absolute changes, changes that they expect to be changes of perpetuity once accomplished. And they have no qualms about the use of force to bring about these changes. And can anyone doubt if a person is willing to use force to bring about change then he will be just as willing to use even greater force, if needed, in order to prevent any further changes once he has accomplished the changes he seeks? We have already seen their reaction when changes were proposed to their policies already in place.

Another reason I have my doubts in regards to this idea is the fact that it would require an extreme change of attitude on the part of the founding fathers. And this is something that I cannot fathom considering that these are the same men who came into an unanimous agreement of government under the Articles of Confederation. It is beyond my comprehension that they would go from a government that emphasized the absoluteness of State sovereignty to a government that would recognize State subordination to a central government.

There were too many anti-federalists to have allowed this to happen in a voluntarily and consensual manner. We need to remember that it was the federalists who caved in in regards to the important issues brought up not the anti-federalists, two of which concerned the additional house of Congress and the other being the addition of the Bill of Rights. The compromise in regards to apportionment was another concession that favored the anti-federalists.

But none of this answers the question of whether or not it was the intent to describe the Constitution in terms of being a “living document”. And if we were to abide by Ben Franklin’s instructional about the state of this union his generation created then the answer must be no. the reason being is that the consensus understanding of the constitutions by his instruction would not fit the description for the constitution being a living document as we are asked to understand it by those who advocate it being seen as.

There is a way though to view the Constitution as being a living document and still be in accordance to Mr. Franklin. But for one to understand this one must be open-minded in regards to its application. One must also be a student of the history of Religions as well as the history of Politics.

There is another document of historical note that has also been described in terms of being a living document. A document, I might add, that is hundreds of years older than the constitutions. The principles as described within that document has been described as principles of perpetuity.

And the principles of that document have been described as being just as relevant today as they were relevant in the times they were espoused for the first time. And they are said to have just as much relevance in the future as they do today. In fact that document has been divided in such a manner just to emphasize this continuity and consistency of thought.

And what is that document, boy? The answer is sitting here right in my hand. It is called the Bible. The Bible has often been referred to as the “Living Word of God”. And once we see the intent of the founding fathers along this line of thought it gives even greater meaning to the idea that we are a nation under the Providence of God as Geo. Washington described this nation.”

Grandpa just sighed as he ended these words before saying “ But, boy, who am I, an extremist, gun totin’, Bible thumper who is nothing but a politically incorrect bigot and racist redneck, to promote such a simple principle of government such as this? For anyone to accept this would have to also accept that the founding fathers did see a place in government for organized religions and that is unacceptable in today’s world regardless of how consistent it is to historical fact.

That is your grandpa for you, boy. And whether I like it or not this description of me will be passed down to you also for no more reason than the fact that you are my grandson. I can only hope that I can instill in you the strength that will be needed to carry this inherited burden.”

and with these words said grandpa turned into the driveway of the one place that a man can feel secure, home.

I looked over at grandma and though she kept quiet throughout I saw the painful look in her eyes as though she knew that the last words of grandpa was true and that there was nothing she could do to prevent it. A silent tear began to roll down my cheek as I saw that pain in her eyes.

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A Secular Nation or A Nation under the Providence of God?


On our way home from church services one Sunday afternoon grandpa had this to say in regards to the sermon of the pastor that day.

“Boy, There are those who would teach us that the founding fathers intended to create a secular nation rather than a nation under God and apparently that includes our fine pastor. And this teaching is not the exclusive teaching of the left even though it is the left that is the biggest promoters of this idea. There are plenty of those on the right that will ally themselves with the left in this regard.

They would argue that organized religion has no place in government. They would argue that the 1st amendment placed a wall of separation between government and organized religion and that this wall extended to every tier of government. And i’ll admit that this idea enjoys popular support among the people thus making me appear to be an extremist on this issue because I question its validity.

On the right are those who are the biggest proponents of Ayn Rand, persons such as Les over at “Rational Nation” who considers himself as being a conservative arguing this point. He will promote this idea as being a rational argument based upon the selective quotations of one of the founding fathers, Thomas Jefferson, as seen in this post, Thoughts from the Past…Relevant Today And I’d agree that if you took these quotations as being representative of the viewpoint of all of the founding fathers then the argument for a secular nation would be a credible claim.

Then you have those who possess a modern day liberal point of view such as Shaw over at “Progressive Eruptions” who acknowledge that the founding fathers such as Geo. Washington attribute the founding of this nation to providence but will not define it as the providence of God. They will define it in the secular sense of the providence of fate or destiny as she expresses in this post,
Rick Santorum Wants to Throw up on the Founding Fathers

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Both parties will recognize that the founding fathers were God-fearing men but reveal their animosity towards organized religions by defining them as Deists as if being a Deist is a rejection of organized religions. They will even go as far as presenting episodes of their lives in a manner as to make it appear that the founding fathers saw organized religion as a cause of the problems of the world when there is a State/religion relationship. Demonizing the Christian faith is a popular past time for some in today’s society. The problem lies in the fact that when a person does his own research instead of relying on their research the facts and history does not back them up.

Geo. Washington who is called the “Father” of this nation was a member of an organized religion not just a Deist. He was also a leader in the congregation of the church he attended services at. This organized religion that he was a member of was also a State supported religion. So, when we read that he believed that our nation can only be attributed to providence then how can we doubt that he meant the providence of God? And if we are to believe that this union of States was intended to be an union of perpetuity then it can only be declared so because of the providence of God.

Ben Franklin was baptized into the membership of an organized religion. He himself came to the conclusion that if a man was to lead a virtuous life a simple belief in a Deity wasn’t enough. He came to the conclusion that if one sought to lead a virtuous life membership of an organized religion was a necessity.

And if we followed Mr. Franklin’s advice in ascertaining the state of government by studying the constitutions of the States we’d see that many of the States recognize their existence through the providence of God in their constitutions. In fact nearly every one of the States honor God in some manner or another in their constitutions. So, how can we declare ourselves a secular nation when the States that make up this great nation declare themselves as being constitutionally under God?

And if you study these State constitutions a person will find another amazing element of this issue. Many of the 13 States had a requirement that in order to be a member of their government one had to be a member of a protestant religion. No catholic or atheist was allowed in some States. In fact an atheist wasn’t allowed to run for political office in one State until after 1929. So, while there are some who will preach the idea of a secular nation, an in depth study of history will reveal a whole different story.

The use of history is a necessity in the study of government. It is when one needs to revise history in order to promote their political ideology that one should question the goals of that ideology in regards to their righteousness. And, unfortunately, it is the ones willing to question that righteousness who are called extremists because they are unwilling to go along with the mainstream of thought. Mainstream thought, I might add, that can only be attributed to 20th century misinterpretation of 18th century thought in order to promote a ideology.

And, boy, this is one person who bares the label of being an extremist with a humble pride. There are many who seek certainty in life but doubt can be a very powerful ally when one is seeking truth. So, boy, whenever you find yourself in a state of certainty you’ll know that is the time when doubt is most needed.”

I just nodded as I grabbed a leg of chicken from the picnc basket that grandma prepared and as I took a bite out of it I responded to grandpa with a big grin on my face;
“Well. grandpa there is one certainty that I have and need not doubt. I am certain and can say without doubt that grandma makes the best fried chicken in the whole county.”

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The Wisdom of a Few Words by a Founding Father, Can We Still Ignore Them?


“Grandpa, you posted a quote from Mr. Franklin but you never added any commentary to it. This seems like a strange way to make a post deserving of being read by our loyal visitors can you explain the reason why you did that?”

Grandpa just looked across the table at me and quietly responded,

“ Boy, that quote was the most significant find for me and in that short quote was so much to understand that I thought each of our visitors ought to have the opportunity to think about it on their own without any influence from us. Let’s take a close look at that quote and see if we can find out why it be so significant. I’ll repeat the quote here for clarification.

“Those, who desire to understand the state of government in America, would do well to read the constitutions of the several States, and the articles of confederation that bind the whole together for general purposes, under the direction of one assembly, called the Congress. These constitutions have been printed, by order of Congress, in America; two editions of them have also been printed in London; and a good translation of them into French has lately been published at Paris.”
Benjamin Franklin-1794

First of all it is the first time I have seen anything that looked like an instructional as to the mindset of the founding fathers as this. Ol’ Ben was telling everyone just how to go about understanding the government that the fathers had set up. And if you read closely no one follows that formula when discussing the purpose of the government they had set up. Nor do they follow that formula when trying to ascertain the intent of the founding fathers and they should. And if we look deeply at it it is meant to be a timeless instructional.

Look at when Ben Franklin expressed these words. It was 17 years after the Articles of Confederation was ratified by all thirteen States. It was also 6 years after the Articles of confederation were de-ratified and the new constitution was ratified. Doesn’t it seem strange that he would refer people to a document no longer in force instead of the one in force at the time he expressed this? This would imply to me that the state of government did not change with the new constitution but that they only changed it in a structural level by adding the executive branch as well as the judicial branch to the federal government. This had the effect of making the federal government stronger but not more powerful.

And what can be found in the Articles of Confederation that would not be apparent in the new federal constitution? Well, for one thing we can ascertain that once ratified all of the States agreed that this union would be a union of perpetuity. This would lead us to the conclusion that the principles that bound the States were meant to be perpetual also and not changed at the whim of a few people of a new generation as some would have us believe.

We can also learn from the Articles of Confederation that each State was intended to retain their sovereignty in perpetuity thus subordinating the federal government unto the State governments for the same period of time, a relationship that no longer exists.

In viewing the intent from this point of view we can better understand Lincoln’s mindset and the mindset of the people at the time leading up to the War between the States. For it was from the viewpoint of perpetuity of the union that was behind all of Lincoln’s thoughts at the time as well as Andrew Johnson’s. And it was from the viewpoint of the perpetuity of State sovereignty that led the thinking of those from the southern States thus their decision to secede from the union.

But most important is how this quote effects us today. This quote when given the understanding it must have can only result in one conclusion. It belies the whole ideology of the left and much of the ideology of the right as they are espoused now days.

My only question that would be is why would anyone want to take the Constitution out of its intended context so as to create a misleading ideology when taken in the context intended would lead us to a very simple understanding by just the reading of it? And in the reading of it bring us back to being a people united under one constitution instead of a people divided by two interpretations of that constitution. What is the goal of those who wish that the people be divided? If their goal is to form a new type of government then what form would necessitate that the federal government be the sovereign government and the State governments subordinate?”

What say you, my friends?

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I Am Your Fellow Man but I Am Not Your Slave


I am a Man not a Slave

TO MY OLD MASTER.

Thomas Auld,

Sir:

The long and intimate, though by no means friendly, relation which unhappily subsisted between you and myself, leads me to hope that you will easily account for the great liberty which I now take in addressing you in this open and public manner. The same fact may possibly remove any disagreeable surprise which you may experience on again finding your name coupled with mine, in any other way than in an advertisement, accurately describing my person, and offering a large sum for my arrest. In thus dragging you again before the public, I am aware that I shall subject myself to no inconsiderable amount of censure. I shall probably be charged with an unwarrantable if not a wanton and reckless disregard of the rights and proprieties of private life. There are those North as well as South, who entertain a much higher respect for rights which are merely conventional, than they do for rights which are personal and essential. Not a few there are in our country who, while they have no scruples against robbing the laborer of the hard earned results of his patient industry, will be shocked by the extremely indelicate manner of bringing your name before the public. Believing this to be the case, and wishing to meet every reasonable or plausible objection to my conduct, I will frankly state the ground upon which I justify myself in this instance, as well as on former occasions when I have thought proper to mention your name in public. All will agree that a man guilty of theft, robbery, or murder, has forfeited the right to concealment and private life; that the community have a right to subject such persons to the most complete exposure. However much they may desire retirement, and aim to conceal themselves and their movements from the popular gaze, the public have a right to ferret them out, and bring their conduct before the proper tribunals of the country for investigation. Sir, you will undoubtedly make the proper application of these generally admitted principles, and will easily see the light in which you are regarded by me. I will not therefore manifest ill temper, by calling you hard names. I know you to be a man of some intelligence, and can readily determine the precise estimate which I entertain of your character. I may therefore indulge in language which may seem to others indirect and ambiguous, and yet be quite well understood by yourself.

I have selected this day on which to address you, because it is the anniversary of my emancipation; and knowing of no better way, I am led to this as the best mode of celebrating that truly important event. Just ten years ago this beautiful September morning, yon bright sun beheld me a slave—a poor degraded chattel—trembling at the sound of your voice, lamenting that I was a man, and wishing myself a brute. The hopes which I had treasured up for weeks of a safe and successful escape from your grasp, were powerfully confronted at this last hour by dark clouds of doubt and fear, making my person shake and my bosom to heave with the heavy contest between hope and fear. I have no words to describe to you the deep agony of soul which I experienced on that never to be forgotten morning—(for I left by daylight). I was making a leap in the dark. The probabilities, so far as I could by reason determine them, were stoutly against the undertaking. The preliminaries and precautions I had adopted previously, all worked badly. I was like one going to war without weapons—ten chances of defeat to one of victory. One in whom I had confided, and one who had promised me assistance, appalled by fear at the trial hour, deserted me, thus leaving the responsibility of success or failure solely with myself. You, sir, can never know my feelings. As I look back to them, I can scarcely realize that I have passed through a scene so trying. Trying however as they were, and gloomy as was the prospect, thanks be to the Most High, who is ever the God of the oppressed, at the moment which was to determine my whole earthly career. His grace was sufficient, my mind was made up. I embraced the golden opportunity, took the morning tide at the flood, and a free man, young, active and strong, is the result.

I have often thought I should like to explain to you the grounds upon which I have justified myself in running away from you. I am almost ashamed to do so now, for by this time you may have discovered them yourself. I will, however, glance at them. When yet but a child about six years old, I imbibed the determination to run away. The very first mental effort that I now remember on my part, was an attempt to solve the mystery, Why am I a slave? and with this question my youthful mind was troubled for many days, pressing upon me more heavily at times than others. When I saw the slave-driver whip a slave woman, cut the blood out of her neck, and heard her piteous cries, I went away into the corner of the fence, wept and pondered over the mystery. I had, through some medium, I know not what, got some idea of God, the Creator of all mankind, the black and the white, and that he had made the blacks to serve the whites as slaves. How he could do this and be good, I could not tell. I was not satisfied with this theory, which made God responsible for slavery, for it pained me greatly, and I have wept over it long and often. At one time, your first wife, Mrs. Lucretia, heard me singing and saw me shedding tears, and asked of me the matter, but I was afraid to tell her. I was puzzled with this question, till one night, while sitting in the kitchen, I heard some of the old slaves talking of their parents having been stolen from Africa by white men, and were sold here as slaves. The whole mystery was solved at once. Very soon after this my aunt Jinny and uncle Noah ran away, and the great noise made about it by your father-in-law, made me for the first time acquainted with the fact, that there were free States as well as slave States. From that time, I resolved that I would some day run away. The morality of the act, I dispose as follows: I am myself; you are yourself; we are two distinct persons, equal persons. What you are, I am. You are a man, and so am I. God created both, and made us separate beings. I am not by nature bound to you, or you to me. Nature does not make your existence depend upon me, or mine to depend upon yours. I cannot walk upon your legs, or you upon mine. I cannot breathe for you, or you for me; I must breathe for myself, and you for yourself. We are distinct persons, and are each equally provided with faculties necessary to our individual existence. In leaving you, I took nothing but what belonged to me, and in no way lessened your means for obtaining an honest living. Your faculties remained yours, and mine became useful to their rightful owner. I therefore see no wrong in any part of the transaction. It is true, I went off secretly, but that was more your fault than mine. Had I let you into the secret, you would have defeated the enterprise entirely; but for this, I should have been really glad to have made you acquainted with my intentions to leave.

You may perhaps want to know how I like my present condition. I am free to say, I greatly prefer it to that which I occupied in Maryland. I am, however, by no means prejudiced against the State as such. Its geography, climate, fertility and products, are such as to make it a very desirable abode for any man; and but for the existence of slavery there, it is not impossible that I might again take up my abode in that State. It is not that I love Maryland less, but freedom more. You will be surprised to learn that people at the North labor under the strange delusion that if the slaves were emancipated at the South, they would flock to the North. So far from this being the case, in that event, you would see many old and familiar faces back again to the South. The fact is, there are few here who would not return to the South in the event of emancipation. We want to live in the land of our birth, and to lay our bones by the side of our fathers’; and nothing short of an intense love of personal freedom keeps us from the South. For the sake of this, most of us would live on a crust of bread and a cup of cold water.
Since I left you, I have had a rich experience. I have occupied stations which I never dreamed of when a slave. Three out of the ten years since I left you, I spent as a common laborer on the wharves of New Bedford, Massachusetts. It was there I earned my first free dollar. It was mine. I could spend it as I pleased. I could buy hams or herring with it, without asking any odds of any body. That was a precious dollar to me. You remember when I used to make seven or eight, or even nine dollars a week in Baltimore, you would take every cent of it from me every Saturday night, saying that I belonged to you, and my earnings also. I never liked this conduct on your part—to say the best, I thought it a little mean. I would not have served you so. But let that pass. I was a little awkward about counting money in New England fashion when I first landed in New Bedford. I like to have betrayed myself several times. I caught myself saying phip, for fourpence; and at one time a man actually charged me with being a runaway, whereupon I was silly enough to become one by running away from him, for I was greatly afraid he might adopt measures to get me again into slavery, a condition I then dreaded more than death.

I soon, however, learned to count money, as well as to make it, and got on swimmingly. I married soon after leaving you: in fact, I was engaged to be married before I left you; and instead of finding my companion a burden, she was truly a helpmeet. She went to live at service, and I to work on the wharf, and though we toiled hard the first winter, we never lived more happily. After remaining in New Bedford for three years, I met with Wm. Lloyd Garrison, a person of whom you have possibly heard, as he is pretty generally known among slaveholders. He put it into my head that I might make myself serviceable to the cause of the slave by devoting a portion of my time to telling my own sorrows, and those of other slaves which had come under my observation. This was the commencement of a higher state of existence than any to which I had ever aspired. I was thrown into society the most pure, enlightened and benevolent that the country affords. Among these I have never forgotten you, but have invariably made you the topic of conversation—thus giving you all the notoriety I could do. I need not tell you that the opinion formed of you in these circles, is far from being favorable. They have little respect for your honesty, and less for your religion.

But I was going on to relate to you something of my interesting experience. I had not long enjoyed the excellent society to which I have referred, before the light of its excellence exerted a beneficial influence on my mind and heart. Much of my early dislike of white persons was removed, and their manners, habits and customs, so entirely unlike what I had been used to in the kitchen-quarters on the plantations of the South, fairly charmed me, and gave me a strong disrelish for the coarse and degrading customs of my former condition. I therefore made an effort so to improve my mind and deportment, as to be somewhat fitted to the station to which I seemed almost providentially called. The transition from degradation to respectability was indeed great, and to get from one to the other without carrying some marks of one’s former condition, is truly a difficult matter. I would not have you think that I am now entirely clear of all plantation peculiarities, but my friends here, while they entertain the strongest dislike to them, regard me with that charity to which my past life somewhat entitles me, so that my condition in this respect is exceedingly pleasant. So far as my domestic affairs are concerned, I can boast of as comfortable a dwelling as your own. I have an industrious and neat companion, and four dear children—the oldest a girl of nine years, and three fine boys, the oldest eight, the next six, and the youngest four years old. The three oldest are now going regularly to school—two can read and write, and the other can spell with tolerable correctness words of two syllables: Dear fellows! they are all in comfortable beds, and are sound asleep, perfectly secure under my own roof. There are no slaveholders here to rend my heart by snatching them from my arms, or blast a mother’s dearest hopes by tearing them from her bosom. These dear children are ours—not to work up into rice, sugar and tobacco, but to watch over, regard, and protect, and to rear them up in the nurture and admonition of the gospel—to train them up in the paths of wisdom and virtue, and, as far as we can to make them useful to the world and to themselves. Oh! sir, a slaveholder never appears to me so completely an agent of hell, as when I think of and look upon my dear children. It is then that my feelings rise above my control. I meant to have said more with respect to my own prosperity and happiness, but thoughts and feelings which this recital has quickened unfits me to proceed further in that direction. The grim horrors of slavery rise in all their ghastly terror before me, the wails of millions pierce my heart, and chill my blood. I remember the chain, the gag, the bloody whip, the deathlike gloom overshadowing the broken spirit of the fettered bondman, the appalling liability of his being torn away from wife and children, and sold like a beast in the market. Say not that this is a picture of fancy. You well know that I wear stripes on my back inflicted by your direction; and that you, while we were brothers in the same church, caused this right hand, with which I am now penning this letter, to be closely tied to my left, and my person dragged at the pistol’s mouth, fifteen miles, from the Bay side to Easton to be sold like a beast in the market, for the alleged crime of intending to escape from your possession. All this and more you remember, and know to be perfectly true, not only of yourself, but of nearly all of the slaveholders around you.

At this moment, you are probably the guilty holder of at least three of my own dear sisters, and my only brother in bondage. These you regard as your property. They are recorded on your ledger, or perhaps have been sold to human flesh mongers, with a view to filling your own ever-hungry purse. Sir, I desire to know how and where these dear sisters are. Have you sold them? or are they still in your possession? What has become of them? are they living or dead? And my dear old grandmother, whom you turned out like an old horse, to die in the woods—is she still alive? Write and let me know all about them. If my grandmother be still alive, she is of no service to you, for by this time she must be nearly eighty years old—too old to be cared for by one to whom she has ceased to be of service, send her to me at Rochester, or bring her to Philadelphia, and it shall be the crowning happiness of my life to take care of her in her old age. Oh! she was to me a mother, and a father, so far as hard toil for my comfort could make her such. Send me my grandmother! that I may watch over and take care of her in her old age. And my sisters, let me know all about them. I would write to them, and learn all I want to know of them, without disturbing you in any way, but that, through your unrighteous conduct, they have been entirely deprived of the power to read and write. You have kept them in utter ignorance, and have therefore robbed them of the sweet enjoyments of writing or receiving letters from absent friends and relatives. Your wickedness and cruelty committed in this respect on your fellow-creatures, are greater than all the stripes you have laid upon my back, or theirs. It is an outrage upon the soul—a war upon the immortal spirit, and one for which you must give account at the bar of our common Father and Creator.

The responsibility which you have assumed in this regard is truly awful—and how you could stagger under it these many years is marvellous. Your mind must have become darkened, your heart hardened, your conscience seared and petrified, or you would have long since thrown off the accursed load and sought relief at the hands of a sin-forgiving God. How, let me ask, would you look upon me, were I some dark night in company with a band of hardened villains, to enter the precincts of your elegant dwelling and seize the person of your own lovely daughter Amanda, and carry her off from your family, friends and all the loved ones of her youth—make her my slave—compel her to work, and I take her wages—place her name on my ledger as property—disregard her personal rights—fetter the powers of her immortal soul by denying her the right and privilege of learning to read and write—feed her coarsely—clothe her scantily, and whip her on the naked back occasionally; more and still more horrible, leave her unprotected—a degraded victim to the brutal lust of fiendish overseers, who would pollute, blight, and blast her fair soul—rob her of all dignity—destroy her virtue, and annihilate all in her person the graces that adorn the character of virtuous womanhood? I ask how would you regard me, if such were my conduct? Oh! the vocabulary of the damned would not afford a word sufficiently infernal, to express your idea of my God-provoking wickedness. Yet sir, your treatment of my beloved sisters is in all essential points, precisely like the case I have now supposed. Damning as would be such a deed on my part, it would be no more so than that which you have committed against me and my sisters.

I will now bring this letter to a close, you shall hear from me again unless you let me hear from you. I intend to make use of you as a weapon with which to assail the system of slavery—as a means of concentrating public attention on the system, and deepening their horror of trafficking in the souls and bodies of men. I shall make use of you as a means of exposing the character of the American church and clergy—and as a means of bringing this guilty nation with yourself to repentance. In doing this I entertain no malice towards you personally. There is no roof under which you would be more safe than mine, and there is nothing in my house which you might need for your comfort, which I would not readily grant. Indeed, I should esteem it a privilege, to set you an example as to how mankind ought to treat each other.

I am your fellow man, but not your slave,

FREDERICK DOUGLASS.

P. S. I send a copy of the paper containing this letter, to save postage. F. D.

I wish to thank “Letters of Note” for the reprint of this letter

Categories: Ethics and Morality, History, My Personal Philosophy of Life, Politics | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

A Way to Understand Your Government


“Those, who desire to understand the state of government in America, would do well to read the constitutions of the several States, and the articles of confederation that bind the whole together for general purposes, under the direction of one assembly, called the Congress. These constitutions have been printed, by order of Congress, in America; two editions of them have also been printed in London; and a good translation of them into French has lately been published at Paris.”
Benjamin Franklin-1794

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Do You Know Your Family Health History?


How many times have you been asked about your family health history? Seems like every time a person sees a doctor for the first time a family health history is asked for. Can you be certain that the information you give is correct?

Well here is a government site that might be of help to any family. Any personal experience with this application would be appreciated.

My Family Health Portrait

Categories: Education, History | Tags: , , | 4 Comments

An American Magna Carta!!!!!


The Magna Carta

Seems like there always is something to learn everyday. Here is something I learned today. The United States has a 715 year old copy of the “Magna Carta”.
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“WASHINGTON (AP) — A 715-year old copy of Magna Carta will soon return to public view at the National Archives after a conservation effort removed old patches and repaired weak spots in the English declaration of human rights that inspired the United States’ founding documents.

The National Archives unveiled the medieval document Thursday in a specially humidified glass and metal case. It is the only original Magna Carta in the United States and will return to public display Feb. 17.”

Read more about it here

Categories: History, Politics | Tags: , , | 2 Comments

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