The Federalist Papers

When the final agreement was reached with the 55 signers of the U.S. Constitution, it had to be submitted to the 13 new States for ratification. That road was still rough. Even though the document was signed unanimously as requested by Benjamin Franklin, there was still much uncertainty among the States.

Each State had its own ratification Convention. To explain the arguments in favor of adoption, three great men, Alexander Hamilton, John Jay, and James Madison, the “Father of the Constitution” wrote a series of articles explaining the meaning of this new intended Constitution. read more

Constitutional Amendments

As you know our U.S. Constitution has 27 Amendments. The process of Amending the Constitution is explained in Article V of the document itself.

The 27th , and last approved Amendment, was submitted by James Madison along with what became our Bill of Rights. It’s a good one and it finally received approval of Michigan, the last needed state, on May 7, 1992. It says that Congress can’t give itself a raise unless a national vote has intervened before one can be granted. Why didn’t that pass with the other 10 Amendments of the Bill of Rights? I dunno. read more

Founding Fathers and American Heroes

French Huguenots, Apollos Rivoire and Deborah Hitchborn, made their way to Boston, Massachusetts, after being determined to leave France. They may have been in some kind of trouble. In America, Apollos Rivoire changed his name to Paul Rivoire, and then later to Paul Revere. Deborah became Deborah Revere. They had a son and named him Paul Revere. You may have heard of him.

Yes he is the one who rode with the warning that the Redcoats are coming. But the real history is not quite like the famous poem “Paul Revere’s Ride” by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. Paul never even made it all the way to Concord. But the poem’s a beauty anyway, and we love the story. read more

Founding Fathers and War

As you know George Washington wasn’t bashful about going to war—even with an army of untrained, unschooled, and even unpaid farmers, merchants, and shopkeepers. And look what he did with the British!

Thomas Jefferson was not known for his willingness to fight. But when the Barbary Pirates continued their demands for payments of ransoms for ships captured in the Mediterranean, Jefferson refused to meet their demands. Instead he sent ships to fight the pirates (think Muslims). He had to request more men and ships to meet the test. read more

What About Benedict Arnold?

Benedict Arnold is widely held in disdain by most Americans for becoming the most famous traitor in our history. What most Americans don’t realize is that Arnold was a hero before he became a turncoat. His heroism is recognized by a monument in Saratoga National Historic Park in New York.

At that park a boot, yes a boot, monument is erected in honor of Benedict Arnold’s heroic acts in the Battles of Saratoga. The monument is in the form of a boot because of the injury Arnold sustained to his leg in that battle. The dedication of the monument reads: To the “most brilliant soldier of the Continental Army . . .winning for his countrymen the decisive battle of the American Revolution and for himself the rank of Major General.” read more

Books and Founding Fathers

I cannot live without books. — Thomas Jefferson

I make it a rule not to clutter my mind with simple information that I can find in a book in five minutes. –Albert Einstein

A house without books is like a home without windows. –Horace Mann

Books are readily available, and what good companions they are. A good book is the same today as yesterday. It is never displeased when we put it down; it is always inspiring when we pick it up. It never fails us in times of adversity. –Fulton J. Sheen read more

Patrick Henry and the Constitution

In addition to Thomas Jefferson, another Virginian, Patrick Henry was opposed to ratification of the newly proposed Constitution. As the Constitution went around to the various States for adoption, the States held their own conventions to approve or reject it.

In the Virginia Convention, which lasted 23 days, Patrick Henry spoke in opposition on 18 of those days. One day he made 8 different speeches. And he was quite an orator, as you know from his “Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death” speech. People listened to him. However the rational arguments were on the side of fellow Virginian, James Madison. read more

Thomas Jefferson and the Constitution

Not only was John Adams not present at the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia, neither was Thomas Jefferson. Although Jefferson had sent his good friend, James Madison, the Father of the Constitution, trunk-loads of books about government for use in preparing for the Constitution.

Why wasn’t Jefferson there? He was in France, from where he sent those books to Madison. Why was he in France? Because he was sent there by Congress to join Benjamin Franklin and John Adams in preparing the Treaty of Paris which ended the Revolutionary War. Adams went to England and Franklin returned home to Pennsylvania after that treaty was signed. read more

John Adams and The U.S. Constitution

History teaches us that John Adams was not at the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia. That’s right, he was not there. He was in Great Britain at the request of Congress to try to enter into a new treaty of commerce with the nation we had just defeated in the Revolutionary War.

As you can imagine, Adams was not very well received by the British! He was shunned, ignored, and given no attention to his requests for a treaty. John wanted very much to be at the Convention. After all he had created or written the new Constitution for the new State of Massachusetts. He was most interested in helping with a new Constitution for the new American nation. But no. Congress asked him to stay put in England. read more

“We The People”

Today I believe the Founding Fathers are looking at our government with surprise and disbelief. The leaders of our nation seem to have forgotten that the Constitution starts out with these Words:

“We, the People . . .”

It’s not we the politicians. It’s not we the elected. It’s not we the smarter among us. It’s “We the People . . .”

Get about the people’s business!

As Will Rogers declared: “There’s no trick to being a humorist when you have the whole government working for you.” read more