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Monday, February 16, 2015

Hey America, your history counts!


u.s. flag

President’s Day is for sales: Mattresses, cars, televisions, clothes, games and more, right?

Get a good deal on a lawn mower, upgrade that big-screen entertainment center, lock up a great price on a vacation?

But is that really what the holiday really is about?

Several experts say no, what it should really be about is remembering the leaders who have led America to victory in so many tests over the centuries, how they made their decisions, what were their values, and what that has given the world.

In fact, when the U.S. was birthed, despotism was common around the world, and freedom? Not so much a presence.

Now, there are huge swaths of free countries on the maps, and elements of freedom across many nations in Africa, parts of Asia, and even in the Middle East.

Maybe it should be considered a gift of the Judeo-Christian morality on which the U.S. was founded?

Officials at the Ashbrook Center at Ashland University tell WND they are working hard to make sure the information about America’s past is well-known by as many people as they can reach. Their Teacher American History website offers information about programs, online exhibits, details of looming seminars and more.

Among their offerings are online postings of the Declaration of Independence, the Federalist Papers, the Constitution, the writings of George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, Thomas Paine and more.

Look closely and you’ll see links to Abraham Lincoln’s work, James Buchanan, Jefferson Davis, Daniel Webster, Henry Ward Beecher, Woodrow Wilson, Booker T. Washington.

“The founders knew that freedom was the exception in the history of the world while despotism was the rule,” said Jason Ross, Ph.D., the director of programs for the Ashbrook Center.

He was responding to the question about why it is important for Americans to study their past.

“They established America’s freedom on the strongest foundation they were able to build, and trusted future generations to make that union ‘more perfect’. Somehow, despite the flaws and shortcomings which often turn us away from the study of America’s past, we now live in a world where freedom is the rule, and despots must hide. This transformation is truly remarkable, and cannot be fully appreciated or sustained without the study of American history.”

William Federer, whose American Minute project is well-known and whose writings at WND reflect a perspective that to know history is to avoid repeating its mistakes, noted several of his favorite quotes from history.

They include John F. Kennedy’s statement in the Introduction to a 16-volume American Heritage New Illustrated History of the United States, published in 1960 by Dell Publishing Company:

“Knowledge of history is… responsibility to those who came before us and struggled and sacrificed to pass on to us our precious inheritance of freedom… and… responsibility to those who will come after us and to whom we must pass on that inheritance with what new strength and substance it is within our power to add,” he said.

Federer told WND that the U.S. is the most free, most prosperous nation of any in 6,000 years of recorded history. Also the nation with the most individual liberty.

He said that’s evident through its history, which is bound closely to the Judeo-Christian morality.

He said those who want to change the U.S. fundamentally have to first get rid of its history, making people think something else is as good.

Much like an advertiser trying to get you to change your choice of consumer products, he said. The old product has to be discounted and criticized before people are open to considering a new.

Ashbrook’s perspective is that U.S. schools need to get much more serious about teaching U.S. government and history and the ideas that have animated the American experience.

Ashbrook offers teachers an historical documents library, classroom lesson plans, books – including Christopher Burkett’s “50 Core American Documents: Required Reading for Students, Teachers and Citizens” – and more.

Ronald Reagan is credited with saying, “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same.”

Ashbrook’s executive director, Roger Beckett, would agree.

“For the American experiment in self-government to endure, America’s founding principles must be taught anew to each generation of citizens,” he has said.

Also one of Federer’s favorites is a quote from Pulitzer Prize winning historian Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., who wrote in an op-ed titled “Folly’s Antidote” (The New York Times, January 1, 2007):

“History is to the nation as memory is to the individual. As persons deprived of memory become disoriented and lost, not knowing where they have been and where they are going, so a nation denied a conception of the past will be disabled in dealing with its present and its future. ‘The longer you look back,’ said Winston Churchill, ‘the farther you can look forward’… I believe a consciousness of history is a moral necessity for a nation.”

And Patrick Henry, Federer reported, told the Second Virginia Convention at St. John’s Church in Richmond, Virginia, March 23, 1775:

“I have but one lamp by which my feet are guided, and that is the lamp of experience. I know of no way of judging the future but by the past.”

What happens when those foundation statements are forgotten, or worse, ignored.

It was CNN anchor Chris Cuomo who told a television audience just days ago that human rights “do not come from God.”

He was scolding Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore, who had agreed to come on Cuomo’s program to talk about the issue of same-sex “marriage” in the state, where a federal judge has ordered the state to recognize the status, but state officials say that’s in violation of court precedent, the state constitution and federal court rules of procedure.

Moore said “Our rights, contained in the Bill of Rights, do not come from the Constitution. They come from God. That’s clearly stated in the Declaration of Independence.”

Cuomo, a licensed attorney, sharply interrupted Judge Moore, arguing, “Our rights do not come from God, your honor, and you know that. They come from man. … That’s your faith. That’s my faith, but that’s not our country. Our laws come from collective agreement and compromise.”

But the Declaration of Independence does, in fact, state men are “created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights.”


Hey America, your history counts!
Bob Unruh
Mon, 16 Feb 2015 00:45:57 GMT


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