The Founding Fathers & Their Youthful Patriotic Exploits
Delivered to the San Antonio Tea Party at Predeotti Ranch, San Antonio TX, 14 July, 2012
©2012 Mike Church
Greetings and thank you for your invitation to speak here tonight, I would like to thank the San Antonio Tea Party for providing this venue. I would also like to thank Allan for that wonderful introduction.
On Tuesday Governor Rick Perry announced that he was not going to implement the exchanges needed to implement ObamaCare. When asked by a reporter “why?” Perry replied that he could name 5 good reasons. After stammering through 3 reasons, namely “the constitution, the constitution and then there’s the -what’s those other two?… Tell you what let me be candid I did it because Debra Medina told me to.”
A poll taken after Mitt Romney’s speech to the NAACP found that he now has double-digit support among African-Americans. The bad news for Mitt: both digits are zeroes.
In Mexico, the loser of their presidential election is now accusing the winner of election fraud. He says the winner bussed millions of illegal voters to the polls—and then back to Houston
It was this week in 1996 that MSNBC made its debut. The 24-hour all-news network began with a small audience, and it’s been getting smaller ever since.
The title of tonight's talk is 'What Would The Young Founders Do With ObamaCare? ' It is a sign of our times that the terms 'Founding Fathers' have almost become synonymous with acts of virtue, prudence and the highest moral character and while that is mostly true, there were times when the men we call 'founding fathers ' tried the patience of their elders, acted immaturely and even did radical things you may think only show-offs or wild men might do, in other words those young men acted in some ways like Justin Beiber does today... ok, I take it back, Patrick Henry's dad never had to say 'It's 10:00 O'clock, Sara, do we know where your son Is? '
Popular mythology has several examples of the Founders as young men, none of which have much truth to them such as George Washington chopping down cherry trees and swearing he could never tell a lie. Wouldn't it be nice if the current President would take the same oath?
Our first young hero of the American Revolution was Charles Carroll of Carrollton bron Sept 19, 1737 a bastard, when the term was still used and spent most of his youth trying to gain the favor of his father - Charles Carroll of Carrollton is one of those of the Founders generation who has been nearly entirely forgotten which is ironic since he was the oldest surviving signer of the Declaration of Independence. Carroll was a Catholic trained classically by the Jesuit monks of France, he was also one of the wealthiest Americans at the time of the revolution and in 1832 died the wealthiest man in the United States. In the runup to the Revolution in May 1773 Charles and other Maryland patriots held a council to decide whether to accept the Royal Governor Eden's decree that they break up their 'patriot assemblies ' and support the candidates of the Royal governor's choosing, they chose not to. Afterward the governor issued a proclamation decreeing that they must do so and then figuring he had the upper hand, ordered an election to make his will official. The result of the election was that the freemen of Maryland won every seat in every county including the Governor's home of Annapolis. To celebrate their victory and in an act of rebellion we can only dream of today, those Marylanders conducted the following ritual which was recorded by The Gazette of May 20th:
'First were carried two flags with the following labels, on one Liberty, on the other No Proclamation. Between the flags walked the two representatives: a clerk and sexton preceded the coffins ; on the left, the grave-digger carrying a spade on his shoulder. The Proclamation was cut out of of the Gazette's first paper and deposited in the coffin, near which moved slowly on two drummers with muffled drums, and two fifers playing a dead march: after them were drawn six pieces of small cannon, followed by a great concourse of citizens and gentlemen from the country who attended this funeral. In this order they proceeded to the gallows, to which the coffin was for a time suspended, then cut down and buried under a discharge of minute guns. On the coffin was the following inscription: The Proclamation. The child of Folly and Oppression born the 26th of November 1770 departed this life 14th of May 1773 and Buried on the same day by The Freemen of Annapolis.
"It is wished, that all similar attempts against the rights of a free people may meet with equal abhorrence: and that the court party convinced by experience of the impotency of their interest, may never hereafter disturb the peace of the city by their vain and feeble exertions to bear down the free and independent citizens.’
I have no doubt that Charles and his fellow Patriots would form councils independent of the federal Congress, convene a meeting and repeat the event we just heard by burying ObamaCare in a box after hanging it. I heard it remarked once that when the Founders acted like I am describing they had good reason to believe they would be victorious because they had seen tyranny snuffed out in their own lifetime. So if any of you want to lead by example, let’s find a copy of ObamaCare give it ceremony after tonight’s show.
At Burwell's Fairy, Williamsburg VA, young James Monroe, was commanded in the first armed VA resistance to the Crown, by none of then than Col Patrick Henry himself. At the age of 18 Monroe joined the Continental Army and made his way all the way to New York, from VA. Monroe was with Washington on the night of Christmas eve 1776 crossing the Delaware River. Thomas Paine wrote of the misery experienced by Washington's army at this time saying 'these are the times that try mens souls. ' and bemoaning "the sunshine patriot... ' while praising 'the winter soldier. ' James Monroe was indeed a inter soldier. He is pictured in Emmanuel Leutze's immortal painting of 'Washington's Crossing '.
The orator paused in stately defiance... rearing himself with a look and bearing of still prouder and fiercer determination, he so closed the sentence as to baffle his accusers, without in the least flinching from his own position, ‘and George the Third may profit by their example. If this be treason, make the most of it. '
Monroe was one of the if not THE first Continental to cross into Jersey after Washington's boats had landed (insert story of the other 2 parties that never made it across). Monroe was the only Continental listed as being wounded in the ensuing Battle of Trenton. Monroe was sjot in his left shoulder with a musket ball that did not exit and it is believed he was buried with it still in place when he died in 1832. Monroe did not stop his charge alongside Captain William Washington and put dow the only armed Hessian resistance offered that evening. All before his nineteenth birthday.
Patrick Henry - On 29 May, 1736 Sarah and John Henry welcomed their second son into the world and named him 'Patrick. ' Young Patrick grew up in HAnover County VA and completed his homeschooling when he was but 15, from there he became an apprentice at a country store that was run by his elder brother. At 18, Patrick married Sarah Shelton and took up the management of his in-laws country store. Now you might be thinking that young Patrick henry must be getting pretty good at minding the store but if it was possible to be worse at a trade, it was not apparent to those who saw young Henry 'feebly minding the store. '
At about the time Henry was deciding that shopkeeping wasn't for him a 16 year old named Thomas Jefferson who was on his way to the college of William & Mary stopped at a neighbor's house for the Christmas holiday. Late in his life Jefferson recalled young Patrick Henry:
'Mr. Henry had, a little before, broken up his store, or rather it had broken him up; but his misfortunes were not to be traced either in his countenance or conduct. ' 'During the festivity of the season I met him in society every day, and we became well acquainted, although I was much his junior.... His manners had something of coarseness in them. His passion was music, dancing, and pleasantry. He excelled in the last, and it attached every one to him. '
Soon after Jefferson's visit, Henry would decide that shopkeeping wasn't for him and would attempt to enter the College of William & Mary and 'study law ' as his new acquaintance Thomas Jefferson was. To get into the school Henry would have to convince the headmaster that he was smart enough to study law, this would be difficult seeing as how for most of his life Henry lived with the specter of being thought to be illiterate. Jefferson would go so far as to claim that Henry never owned a book and was baffled at how Henry could have such command of language seeing as how he could barely read. Thanks to the scholarship of Kevin Hayes we know none of this was true as Hayes writes in his book 'The Mind of Patrick Henry and the World of Ideas. '
So how could Henry possibly convince the great George Wythe, the Randolph Brothers and Edmund Pendleton that he was 'lawyerin' material seeing as how his reputation proceeded him? Well he did what comes natural to most smooth talkers: he talked his way into it. During his oral examination by John Randolph an argument ensued with Henry arguing one point and Randolph the legal point as he knew the law. After hours of debate, Randolph asked the young man to follow him to his study. This is how Henry recalled what happened next:
[Upon] opening the [law book in question], [Pendleton] said: Behold the force of natural reason! You have never seen these books, nor this principle of the law; yet you are right and I am wrong. And from the lesson which you have given me (you must excuse me for saying it) I will never trust to appearances again. Mr. Henry, if your industry be only half equal to your genius, I augur that you will do well, and become an ornament and an honor to your profession.' '
And so young Patrick Henry becomes a lawyer and through his famous oratory skills he earns a seat in VA's House of Burgesses. Just before his arrival for his first session, the Assembly had drafted and sent to the King a petition asking the King to rescind the soon to be assessed Stamp Act that It was 'an alarming violation of their ancient constitutional rights. ' The Burgesses being the English gentlemen they were, had thus made their disapproval known and when word returned in May 1765 that the King had rejected their appeal, little was said in the Assembly as the Burgesses thought they had done all they could. Then Patrick Henry rose and was about to help spark what we know today as the American Revolution. On 29 May, 1765, after formal debates of the day had ended Henry rose, walked to the center of the House and asked to be heard. After the shock, anger and disgust of the elderly, white powdered-wigged gentleman a silence settled and Henry produced an old law book and began to read 7 Resolves in response to the King's acts.
You have to now consider that Henry was the youngest member in attendance, was known to be illiterate, had no history of ever addressing the Assembly and if that weren't enough MOST of the men in attendance didn't even know his name! Yet Henry was not driven by formalities and obedience of old customs, not when his country's liberties were being trampled upon from a ruler no one in the room had ever seen much less met. If only we had some Patrick Henry's in the Congress or the NY Assembly today!
Thomas Jefferson wrote that the debates that ensued were 'most bloody. ' 'They were opposed by Randolph, Bland, Pendleton, Nicholas, Wythe, and all the old members, whose influence in the House had till then been unbroken. ' Henry would recall the acrimonious proceedings himself saying that 'Many threats were uttered, and much abuse cast on me. ' For nearly two days Henry held the floor and debated Burgess after Burgess, many of who insulted him, called him names, impugned his age and experience and of course his alleged illiteracy. Jefferson said of the debates that 'Torrents of sublime eloquence from Mr. Henry, backed by the solid reasoning of Johnston, prevailed. '
The debate carried on for two days into 30 May, 1765 and though nearly every argument conceivable had been thrown at young Patrick Henry, he had held the floor, moved the question nearly in his favor and had inspired many that he was indeed correct in his patriotic insistence. And then, the world would learn and follow the exploits of the young man from Louisa county named Patrick Henry. (explain how most only know 'liberty or death ') From the best biography ever written of Henry 'American Statesman-Patrick Henry by Moses Coit Tyler, we can relive that moment.
Reaching the climax of a passage of fearful invective, on the injustice and the impolicy of the Stamp Act, he said in tones of thrilling solemnity,'Caesar had his Brutus; Charles the First, his Cromwell; and George the Third ‘Treason,' shouted the speaker. ‘Treason,' ‘treason,' rose from all sides of the room. The orator paused in stately defiance till these rude exclamations were ended, and then, rearing himself with a look and bearing of still prouder and fiercer determination, he so closed the sentence as to baffle his accusers, without in the least flinching from his own position, ‘and George the Third may profit by their example. If this be treason, make the most of it. '
So what would young Mr. Henry say if the King of England ordered the colonists to purchase KingGeorgiaCare? Well we actually know the answer to that question because Mr. Henry was on the losing end of the VA vote to ratify the Constitution. Henry had led the charge against ratification, spoke the most and longest in the convention and even conjured up a severe thunderstorm to punctuate his final speech against ratification. After the vote, Henry, George Mason, James Monroe and Colonel William Grayson all sulked down the street to the Swann Tavern. There the men began a discussion of rallying their countrymen, that would have meant Virginians in the days before Lincoln’s nationalism possessed every fertile mind, to begin the process of withdrawing from the new Union.
There’s a modern word to describe that process, it comes from the Latin “secedere” meaning to withdraw, today we say “secede.” Well Mr. Henry would have none of this talk, telling his friends that they had lost in a fair and square vote and now had the duty to obey that majority decision. For the time being. You see Henry had foreseen the triumph of Madison & Co. in ratifying the Constitution, so much so that on 9 June, 1788, 19 das before the vote was taken, Henry wrote to General John lamb of New York, a fellow Republican or as they are derisively called these days “anti-federalists”. Henry informed Lamb that he and Mason had already drafted a set of Amendments and that if Lamb would agree to assist in promoting them, he could be assured of Henry’s fidelity to the cause. Henry was having none of this and instead poured his energy into securing the Amendments he and his friends had begged for before VA should ratify.
Henry’s vow to secure the Bill of Rights could lend us some guidance for a similar vow against ObamaCare. “[T]hat he should oppose every measure tending to the organization of the government, unless accompanied with measures for the amendment of the Constitution.” When the VA Assembly met 5 months later Henry would get his wish for an official demand by the government of VA that Congress take up the amendments we know as the “Bill of Rights” today. Recall now ladies and gentlemen, that Mr Henry was now operating UNDER the Constitution and therefore, anything the Virginians proposed to address their concerns in 1788 is still available to us today. Henry’s words were submitted as a formal application to the United States Congress for a convention to be called to propose Amendments. Today we’d call this an Article V convention.
Here is what Henry wrote. “We do, therefore, in behalf of our constituents , in the most earnest and solemn manner, make this application to Congress. That a convention be immediately called, of deputies from the several states, with full power to take into their consideration the defects of this constitution, that have been suggested by the state conventions, and report such amendments thereto, as they shall find best suited to promote our common interests; and secure to ourselves and our latest posterity; the great and unalienable rights of mankind.”
One can almost hear Mr. Henry speaking to this gathering today were he alive to witness the monumental act of tyranny that is Obamacare. “Are fleets of death panels and armies of IRS agents necessary to a work of love and conciliation? Where is the medical enemy in this quarter of the globe that requires this massive accumulation of armies and supplies. I have news for you Gentleman: we...are...that....... enemy!”
Exhortations like this are heard almost daily by people playing Xbox or doing press for the Obama campaign. The only challenges made to government power being abused are made by people who are nearly powerless to do anything about it. Or are they? To answer that question we must visit the Founding era and consult some of those oracles held in such high esteem these days. When the Adams administration grossly exceeded its constitutional authority by enforcing the treacherous Alien & Sedition Acts, the men of VA were asking the same questions of themselves we are asking today: what are we going to do about it?
Thomas Jefferson, James Madison and John Taylor of Caroline had the answer: the States of VA & KY would draft resolutions in their legislatures affirming the right of their states- scratch that-the DUTY of their states to nullify or interpose against the Act. They had to meet in secret to do this because the Sedition part of the Act would apply to them if their intentions were know. Recall that at this time of August 1798, Mr. jefferson was then Vice President of these United States. No matter. The men pressed on and by December 1798 the VA Legislature had approved its resolution, written by Jefferson with an assist from Taylor. Here is the operative part that we need to pay attention to today.
“Resolved, That the several States composing, the United States of America, are not united on the principle of unlimited submission to their general government; but that, by a compact under the style and title of a Constitution for the United States, and of amendments thereto, they constituted a general government for special purposes — delegated to that government certain definite powers, reserving, each State to itself, the residuary mass of right to their own self-government; and that whensoever the general government assumes undelegated powers, its acts are unauthoritative, void, and of no force.”
Of course in Jefferson’s day some people at least pretended like the Constitution mattered instead of folding it up to play paper football at White House SuperBowl parties. There is also a key difference between the statesmen of Jefferson’s era and the members of today’s Congress who have to watch YouTube reruns of Schoolhouse Rock to figure out how to file a repeal ObamaCare bill. In Jefferson’s time men read great works and didn’t question whether or not they were great works that were in need of some new characters with tattoos, nose rings and more extramarital affairs than Obama has had golf rounds.
Some of you may be thinking: that was then, this is now and the best we have now are Nancy Pelosi and John McCain. Well I’m here to tell you, Thomas Jefferson knew John McCain and he didn’t like him either. Seriously, the generation that came after Jefferson’s produced men like President Franklin Pierce who famously kept Henry Clay from getting the subsidies for his railroad buddies that became his life’s work. Robert E Lee, a Southern Gentleman and patriot who needs no introduction. Sam Houston who began life as a Virginian but ended it as the most famous Texan of all and Colonel William Barrett Travis who at the tender age of 26 stared down the hordes of Santa Anna and drew a line in the sand, asking his men to cross it and die for Texas or stay on the other side and die anyway.
The next generation gave us President Grover Cleveland, and Senator George Frisbe Hoar, a grandson of the only founding father who signed ALL four of the founding documents; Roger Sherman. Cleveland, a Democrat, in his second term set the world veto record and kept the Union on the gold standard. Hoar, refused to surrender the Senate floor when his colleagues attempted to pass a declaration of war against the Philippines and do them what the North had done to the south after Appomattox.
And now we arrive at this da and ages generational moment. Let’s hop in the KingDude’s WAYBAC machine and jet forward 500 years and witness s historian combing through the ruins of San Antonio looking for clues of what happened to the once great “American People”. This was a mighty civilization, an advanced people, they would declare, “what happened!?” And therein lies the challenge of our day, do we allow the Pelosi’s, Obama’s, Boehner’s and McConnell’s to cash their short term rewards in while causing irreversible long term damage? Or do we alk in Colonel Travis’s boots, look each other in the eye, knowing the Leviathan debt monster is more than less likely to claim our fortunes but we still have a chance to preserve our lives and sacred honor, and cross the line in the sand to the other side?
Before you answer that question, let me share some news with you. Yesterday we learned that the Obama Administration has heaped a whopping $64,000 debt on the head of each and every soul in this room,. $64,000. You should should all now turn to one another and ask “what kind of corrupt, criminal enterprise does such a thing... and gets away with it. Wel let’s go one further; what kind of a government has the framework that makes this kind of plunder and theft even possible. Here’s the all too sad answer, ladies and gentleman: THIS government, operating under THIS Constitution is the government that metes out such terror. How many of you in this room tonight would ratify a government that would have the power to be so destructive?
Now don’t misunderstand, I am fully aware that this document is not responsible for this mess, not as it was ratified but that’s the problem. The ratifiers intents have vanished and so has their warnings of what would transpire if those intents were abused. So, honest people must conclude that this tyranny has occurred under this Constitution. Now the optimist may stand and now say, yes, but just think of how bad it might of been and I would agree with him or her. But, let not the clouds of delusion cover your eyes. if Texas is to reclaim her sovereignty and every right and jurisdiction your people have reserved for themselves and kept from this government and the government of Texas, then she will have to rethink her relationship with an abusive agent.
Just how that rethinking occurs and what it produces is up to you but let me give a few things to gnaw on while thinking about it. The men that died at Bunker Hill and Yorktown did not die for politics, they died for love. The men who defended the Alamo did not die for the politics of Texas, they died for love. The men of Texas who fought at Gettysburg did not die for Jefferson Davis’s government, they died for the love of family they left here. And so today, as we are bombarded with a never ending roar of politics, bleating into our ears and searing so much confusion into our minds, take an inventory of who and what you love and when your chance comes to step on one side of a future line drawn in the sand, think of them before you decide.
Before I leave you tonight though, I would like to give you some serious political advice and hopefully in doing so, I will have earned my fee for this engagement and the Rolls Royce from the airport. As jefferson reflected on the young history of these United States in 181 he recalled with great fondness what he called “The Spirit of ‘76” and the political practices that were necessary to its effectiveness and longevity, this is what we call [r]republicanism witha lower case “r”. “Were I to assign to this term a precise and definite idea, I would say, purely and simply, it means a government by its citizens in mass, acting directly and personally, according to rules established by the majority; and that every other government is more or less republican, in proportion as it has in its composition more or less of this ingredient of the direct action of the citizens. Such a government is evidently restrained to very narrow limits of space and population. I doubt if it would be practicable beyond the extent of a New England township.”
So there’s a former President of these United States writing that he doesn’t believe that the nearest to perfection government men can attain can operate in a place larger than Luchenbach Texas. Now I may not know what Willie, Waylon and the boys would think about that but I do know that Jefferson is talking about scale and scale is something we are so totally and unimaginably out of that it may be THE problem that must be addressed for [r]epublicanism to go back into operation. And we honor and observe scale almost everywhere and in everything we touch in our lives except our politics. Let me explain: Texas currently has 25,674,681...scratch that, 682 since I started. Texas has 36 Congressional districts meaning each member of your Congress represents 713,185 citizens. All the way up until the 1930 Census, members of Congress represented around 40,000 citizens or less, this is a problem of scale.
Since the Egyptians began building multi roomed dwellings, we call them homes today, the average size of a bedroom has not changed from 200-225 square feet. A drinking glass has remained at between 8 and 20 ounces unless you’re in Mayor Bloomberg’s New York City and they are all 8 ounces. We can repeat this exercise from now until Debra Medina is elected governor and I won’t run out of material. The point is, all the things I mentioned remain in scale EXCEPT for the first thing on our list: Congress. Let’s look at Texas one more time, according to some freedom watch groups, the total count of countries on this planet is 223. Of these over half of them have populations of less than 5 million and 58% less than 7 million. If we look at countries when ranked by per capita GDP, 18 of the top 20 are under 5 million. And yes the US is in the top 20 coming in at number 10 but that misses the point of scale.
Texas could declare its Independence and then split into 5 countries and each of those countries would still be among the largest countries in the world. The point is that living under 1 government for 309 million people is proven to be a recipe for 900 Billion deficits as far as the eye can see. So when thinking about your upcoming elections and the issues that matter to you, think small. Think of winning your precinct, your county offices, your mayorship, your sheriff’s departments and then your state house and senate. That is where you are most likely to enjoy political success and my oh my what a coincidence-it just happens to be where you live.
Good night, and God Bless.