Abe Lincoln and Donald Trump

There’s been a overwhelming amount of vitriol in the voice of the people and the media these days. Who would have thought it could ever be this bad about a man who just wants to make America great. Even if Donald Trump just makes it better, wouldn’t that be great?

Abraham Lincoln had a similar problem in his presidency. The Civil War was fought on the battlefields and in the press. At that time the newspapers were also full of descriptions of the feats of a well-known tight rope walker named Blondin. read more

Thomas Jefferson and the Crime Commission

After reviewing some things I have in common with John Adams, I had to remember why I started studying the Founding Fathers anyway. As a young lawyer I was appointed by the mayor of Phoenix, Arizona, to be a member of his “Citizens Crime Commission,” a group of volunteers who met monthly and discussed methods the Mayor could use to alleviate crime in the City.

In those days, every major city in America had such a commission. There was a National Citizens Crime Commission. It was 1976, the Bicentennial of the Declaration of Independence. The National Commission was holding its national convention in Philadelphia that year. I was elected to represent the Arizona Crime Commission at the national convention. What an honor. read more

Speaking Of Our Founding Fathers

Founding Fathers coverFor years I have presented classes, speeches, and presentations about the Founding Fathers of our United States of America. I love to do it. I suppose during one of my speeches, I had become a little too enthusiastic and bombastic. One attendee came up to me afterwards to tell me as much!

I was a little like Dr. Seuss described:
“You did it! Hooray!
You ought to be proud!
You ought to get boisterous,
Noisterous, and loud!”
(Yes, he made up the word “noisterous.” But it sounds good in context! read more

George Washington’s Birthday

I just read a short story around the idea that if something needs to be done, perhaps you should do something. In part it said: “If you see a need, don’t ask ‘Why doesn’t somebody do something?’ Ask instead ‘Why don’t I do something?’

One day, entering into my office I said it was a shame that according to the newspaper this morning, there are many ‘white sales’, automobile sales, and furniture sales in honor of George Washington’s birthday, but there is no George Washington Birthday Celebration. read more

Franklin’s Project for Moral Perfection

Ben FranklinBenjamin Franklin wrote the book “The Art of Virtue” to help others understand that being true to oneself is being virtuous. Of course he also wrote this Autobiography, “Poor Richard’s Almanac”, and his book about Electricity. Several times he describes his “project for moral perfection, which he worked on all his life to improve his own character.

He gave us much sage advice, some of which we still quote today (early to bed . . .). He showed us how important it is to have character, or moral excellence and firmness. Not only by his writings, but by the life he lived. read more

More About the Founding Fathers

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAGroan. I just read this:

“When the man who wrote the song “Hokey Pokey” died the undertakers had trouble keeping the body in the casket. They’d put his left leg in and . . . .well, you know the rest.”

It did make me laugh! How about you?

Sometimes I wonder if anybody is paying any attention. Like the Peanuts cartoon I submitted once before. Lucy is at her table with the sign over her head that reads: “Psychiatric Help 5 cents”. Charlie Brown comes by and says to her: “And also when I talk to people I find that they don’t really listen to me . . .” read more

Patrick Henry and the Virginia Constitutional Convention

PatrickHenryAfter the Constitution was ratified by the U. S. Constitutional Convention, it went to the States for their own State Conventions. Would the States accept it and approve of it? No one knew for sure.

Alexander Hamilton, John Jay and James Madison (the Father of the Constitution) wrote a manual to explain the arguments for and against this document. They wrote it to allay some of the State’s fears. That later became the book “The Federalist Papers”. You’ve read it, of course.

In Virginia Patrick Henry, the most influential patriot, opposed the Constitution, and said so in the convention. The Virginia Convention lasted 23 days. Patrick Henry spoke on 18 of those days, explaining his reasons for objecting to approval. One of those speeches lasted 7 hours! read more

Benjamin Franklin and Orson Welles

Ben FranklinBenjamin Franklin captured so many roles during his lifetime, and it’s amazing how much he was able to accomplish. How did he have time to live a life? He was a scientist, inventor, statesman, printer, humorist, diplomat, public servant, philosopher, economist, franchisor, writer, musician, and Founding Father.

He lived up to one of his famous sayings: “If you would not be forgotten, as soon as you are dead and rotten, either write things worth reading or do things worth the writing.”

This came to mind today as I read a story about Orson Welles. He is possibly most famous for his grand award winning movie “Citizen Kane.” He was once invited to speak to a group in a small Midwestern town. When he showed up, the audience was actually quite sparse. He went ahead with his speech and began with a brief summary of his career. read more

Benjamin Franklin and Coonskin Cap

Franklin_in_his_fur_capWhen Ben Franklin was sent to France to try to obtain an agreement from the French King for support in the Revolutionary War, he knew he would have to get himself noticed. Ben knew he had to make a great first impression! The French expected him to dress like their image of the Colonials. So he dressed that way.

The way the French expected an American to dress: He wore a coonskin cap, a beaver coat, and shoes made in America. He did get noticed. It worked for him. He eventually even got to see the King and he did obtain a Treaty. As a result, America eventually won the war. read more

Benjamin Franklin– Man of Honor

Ben Franklin thumb pictureOne of my heroes is Benjamin Franklin. I have found that he is likewise the hero to many Americans. As I have spoken to many different groups over the past 25 or 30 years about our Founding Fathers, I have found that the people’s favorite is hands down Benjamin Franklin.

My presentations based on his life are better attended and more eagerly and readily accepted that those of any other Founding Father about which I speak. Hands down. It’s not even very close. People of all ages and backgrounds love Ben Franklin! read more