What Makes America Great: Our History

The very foundation of our nation is at stake.  We’re losing our heritage.  Our history is being targeted, sabotaged, and re-written.  We’ve all seen this – from the re-writing of school textbooks to the recent tearing down of historic statues and monuments – there are those who wish to see our history erased, re-written, and forgotten.  If this continues, the knowledge of our heritage will die with us.  We can’t afford to let this happen.  We must reignite the flames of freedom, passion, and patriotism.  We must remind this generation of our history – and not just remind them – but help them to see what a truly great history it is.

A History of Shame?

Let’s start by getting something out in the open.  Perhaps you’re aware of the argument being made that America should be ashamed of her past – that it is filled with all sorts of evil such as conquest, corruption, and slavery.  In reality, this couldn’t be farther from the truth.  Now, let me clarify.  I’m not saying that we in America have never done anything wrong.  This also couldn’t be farther from the truth.  However, it’s important that we maintain the proper perspective.

We’ve all done things in our lives as individuals that we’re ashamed of or wish could be erased.  The answer to our mistakes is not to erase them or to reframe how we look at them – or worse yet to retell them with an incorrect focus upon the negative in an attempt to pay some sort of penance through self flagellation.  It’s the same with our country.  Good comes when we learn from our mistakes and, through God’s strength, overcome.  It’s looking back on the lives of individuals (and nations!) – both the failures and the victories – that should inspire the current and future generations.  Think about it – if all we learned about history was a bunch of perfect people who did perfect things – or the opposite extreme of how evil those who came before us were – what would inspire us to act today?  On the one hand we might feel that we could never measure up or on the other we might feel that it isn’t worth measuring up.  Without the proper reflection on history, there’s no sense of purpose, no true understanding of why we’re here, and no direction for the future.  If history’s not important, than what we do doesn’t really matter and ultimately, action is in vain.

George Orwell said, “The most effective way to destroy people is to deny and obliterate their own understanding of their history.”

Take a moment to let that sink in.

I want us to briefly look at a couple of the areas that have drawn much attention today.

1)The relationship between Indians and settlers.

This was not what it is often made out to be today.  The treaty between the Pilgrims and Indians, for instance, is the longest settler/Indian treaty on record and when it was broken, it was the Indians, not the Pilgrims, who violated it.  

In an article on WallBuilders.com, historian David Barton writers, 

“State historians affirm that the official peace between the Pilgrims and the Indians was the longest on record—they have found no record of any treaty that lasted longer than the 54 years of the Pilgrim treaty (1621–1675).  Furthermore, when the treaty was eventually broken in 1675 during King Philip’s War, it was the Indians and not the Pilgrims who violated it.”

In addition, the accusation that the early settlers stole Indian lands is also false.  Once again, David Barton writes,

“…This information about King Philip’s War is not to suggest that the amount of land owned by Indians was not decreasing; it was.  But the diminishing land holdings in this region during this time was definitely not for the reason we are often told today.  Indian land was fairly purchased by settlers, not stolen.  Early historian George Bancroft (1800-1891), known as ‘The Father of American History ‘ for his systematic approach to documenting the story of America, confirmed that Indian lands were indeed shrinking because the Indians’ own ‘repeated sales of land has narrowed their domains’ to the point where ‘they found themselves deprived of their broad acres, and by their own legal contracts driven, as it were, into the sea’ (emphasis added)…

“This is not to say that land was never stolen from Indians.  Some definitely was.  For instance, during the heyday of westward expansion that began in the early nineteenth century, the Indian removal policies of Andrew Jackson certainly violated private property rights, and such policies became the rule rather than the exception, forcibly driving Indians from their lands in Georgia, Mississippi, Louisiana, and elsewhere across the Southeast.  By 1845, the term ‘Manifest Destiny’ was coined to describe the growing notion that it was America’s ‘destiny’ to spread westward, and that nothing—including Indians—should be allowed to stand in the way.  As a result, the Biblical view of purchasing private property from its owner was replaced with the anti-Biblical notion that ‘possession was nine-tenths of the law’ and therefore whoever could take and hold the land was its ‘rightful’ owner.

“The 19th century deterioration in relations between Americans and Indians over unjust land seizures occurred most commonly two centuries after the Pilgrims.  The original treaty the Pilgrims negotiated with the Indians lasted for 54 years until the Indians broke it; and in general, the Pilgrim and Puritan killings of Indians occurred in their own self-defense primarily against the perfidious unprovoked attacks from Metacom’s Indians, and then in ending the war he had started.”

2)I want to briefly touch on the topic of the founding fathers and slavery.  This is another area that is often over-exaggerated today.  Now let me clarify, the horrors of slavery cannot be over-exaggerated, but the extent of slavery can be and often is.  Once again, WallBuilders.com gives a helpful perspective,

“Some Founding Fathers did own slaves, most notably George Washington and Thomas Jefferson.  However, these were a minority among the Founders; most did not own slaves and openly opposed slavery or led anti-slavery societies.  The Founders often acknowledged that slavery had been fastened upon them by the British, and after America finally separated from Great Britain in the American Revolution, many of the Founders freed their slaves.  Unfortunately, when this issue is covered today, critics often point to Jefferson and Washington and then suggest that all the Founders were racist, bigoted slave-owners, regularly failing to mention Benjamin Rush, Benjamin Franklin, James Wilson, Samuel Adams, John Adams, and the majority of the other Founders who strongly and actively opposed slavery.”

Do Not Remove the Ancient Landmarks

The Bible is very clear about the importance of remembering.  Proverbs 22:28 says, “Do not remove the ancient landmark which your fathers have set.”

We’ve moved from figuratively “removing the ancient landmarks” through things such as the Education system and written works to removing them in actuality. 

According to a summary from Ballotpedia, in the short time since Charlottesville alone:

-“protesters in Durham, [North Carolina] pulled down a Confederate soldier statue at the Durham County Courthouse.”

-“Birmingham Mayor William Bell ordered the erection of a plywood structure around the base of the Confederate Soldiers and Sailors Monument in downtown Linn Park.  Bell presented the plywood structure as a temporary measure that would decrease the monument’s visibility while the city explored its legal options in seeking its removal.”

-“…four Confederate monuments were removed in Baltimore after city officials approved their removal earlier in the week.  The monuments to former Supreme Court Justice Roger Taney (erected in 1871), General Stonewall Jackson and General Robert E. Lee (1948), Confederate soldiers (1902), and Confederate women (1917) attracted scrutiny from protesters following the events in Charlottesville, Virginia.”

-“a 1956 plaque commemorating a highway named for Confederate President Jefferson Davis was removed by San Diego city officials in California…Daughters of the Confederacy member Donna Derrick told local media, ‘I don’t see any point in removing all of our Southern culture and the war between the states as if it did not ever happen.'”

The list could go on.

Bill Boillot, Co-founder and Chairman of Founders Keep, and a good friend of Young Patriots for Liberty said, “The Charlottesville disaster is not about statues or monuments.  It’s about Natural Rights.” 

KrisAnne Hall writes on this,

“Guilt by association is a Marxist principle.  America was formed upon natural law, which establishes that all people have a natural right to life, liberty, and property.  Frederic Bastiat makes this point very clear in his book, The Law:

“‘Each of us has a natural right — from God — to defend his life, his liberty, and his property.  These are the three basic requirements of life and preservation of any of them is the preservation of the other two.’”

Bryan Fischer, a writer for the American Family Association sums all of this up well,

“The one thing that almost everybody is getting wrong about the riot in Charlottesville is that the confrontation was not a matter of left versus right, but left versus left.  Both sides in this tragic showdown grew in the soil of regressive American liberalism. 

“As Dinesh D’Souza has pointed out, white nationalism is a left-wing creation.  The KKK is the creation of the Democrat Party, which was also the party of Jim Crow legislation.  It was the party that used sheriffs, police dogs, and firehoses to block school house doors to black children and to prevent marchers from crossing the bridge in Selma. 

“The media is relentlessly pounding the phrase ‘white nationalism’ because it has the word ‘nationalism’ in it.  Donald Trump does not stand for white nationalism, but for American nationalism, but the media is conditioning the American people to think ‘racism’ every time they hear the word ‘nationalism,’ which is why 76% of Democrats, according to a Suffolk poll, believe, with absolutely zero evidence, that the president is a racist. 

“It was the Democrat Party whose white senators filibustered the 1964 Civil Rights Act and fought against the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Both of those bills only became law because they had more Republican than Democrat support. …

“Racism is likewise fundamentally anti-American.  Every time we recite the Pledge of Allegiance, we declare that the United States is ‘one nation under God, indivisible.’  The American ideal is of a unified nation, united by our common trust in the God of the Bible and [H]is abiding moral standards for life as expressed in the Ten Commandments.  This unity around these transcendent standards is what will make it impossible for us to be divided.  We had better embrace that standard again before it’s too late.”

Let’s Get Some Perspective 

It’s time we refocus.  What is it about our history that makes America Great?

-Many of the early settlers came to America, not with the purpose of conquest, but of evangelism.  John Winthrop, Governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony stated their purpose very clearly: “We shall be as a city upon a hill, the eyes of all people are upon us.”  The gospel of Matthew talks about how we shouldn’t put our light under a bushel and many of the early setters purposefully lived this out.

-The Founding Fathers gave us the best governing documents in the history of mankind (besides the Bible!).  They risked (and many gave) their lives, fortunes, and sacred honor, so that we could enjoy the freedoms we enjoy today.  President Calvin Coolidge said, “The more I study the Constitution, the more I realize that no other document devised by the hand of man has brought so much progress and happiness to humanity.  To live under the American Constitution is the greatest political privilege that was ever accorded to the human race.”

-The United States ranks #1 in the world for immigration.  Since the beginning of our nation, immigrants have come here to make a better life for themselves and their children – because in America they can.

-America has been more free than any other nation ever founded.  Freedom to think, act, speak, build, move, travel, work, and invent (the list could go on), without government intervention, has helped America advance since our country’s inception.

-The United States has more Nobel Prize winners than any other country in the world.  According to an article by The Telegraph, 

“The top five countries with the most Nobel laureates are all western nations – with the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, France and Sweden topping the rankings for the best minds in peace, literature, science and economics….

“…The United States has had the most Nobel Prize winners, with 336 winners overall.  It has been most successful in the area of Physiology or Medicine, with 94 laureates since 1901…

“…The United States tops the rankings for all prizes except Literature – where France, Germany and the United Kingdom perform better.”

In a recent video about Capitalism (something else that has made America great) from Prager University, Arthur Brooks, President of the American Enterprise Institute, stated, 

“Billions of souls around the world have been able to pull themselves out of poverty thanks to five incredible innovations.  Globalization (“The ever-increasing ability to move goods, people, and ideas from one distant location to another.”), Free Trade (“Open access to markets and people all over the world with few, if any, barriers.”), Property Rights (“Ensuring that what belongs to you can’t be taken away on a whim by the State.”), The Rule of Law (Safeguards contracts assuring they will be respected and lived up to [no matter where it’s made].”), and Entrepreneurship (“The creativity of free people to dream up new products that we never knew we wanted or needed.”).

“It’s worth noting that in places like East Asia, these five things were all made possible by the historic peace after WWII that resulted from America’s global diplomatic and military presence…The ideals of free enterprise and global leadership central to Capitalism and American Conservatism are responsible for the greatest reduction in human misery…Global progress has been America’s gift to the world…

“…[Yet sadly], according to a Harvard study, only 42% of young Americans ages 18-29 have a favorable view of capitalism…According to a 2013 survey, 84% of Americans are unaware of the progress made against poverty worldwide.  Indeed, more than two thirds think that global hunger has actually gotten worse.  This ignorance has consequences because there’s no substitute for Capitalism in the five innovations that make it work.  Years of economic research tells us no other system comes close.  Certainly not Communism.  Not even Socialism…” 

Conclusion 

This article has only scratched the surface of the rich history we have here in the United States, but I hope it has helped you to see things in a new light and that it has also given you the desire to study our history more.  When you study, be careful what sources you use.  Look for reliable sources and read with a discerning eye.  There are many helpful websites that can help you with this – one of which is wallbuilders.com.

In closing, coincidentally, one of my favorite quotes on history is by Confederate General Robert E. Lee,

“The march of Providence is so slow, and our desires so impatient; the work of progress is so immense and our means of aiding it so feeble; the life of humanity is so long, that of the individual so brief, that we often see only the ebb of the advancing wave and are thus discouraged.  It is history that teaches us to hope.”

We as Americans have a great heritage.  Let’s remember, preserve, and be thankful for it.  And remember, it is our true history that teaches us to hope! 

Savannah

Sources:

-Founders Keep (www.founderskeep.org)

https://ballotpedia.org/The_State_and_Local_Tap:_Mixed_reactions_from_city_officials,_public_on_attention_to_public_monuments

http://www.afa.net/the-stand/culture/2017/08/charlottesville-battle-between-left-and-left-not-left-and-right/

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/northamerica/usa/11926364/Nobel-Prize-winners-Which-country-has-the-most-Nobel-laureates.html

https://wallbuilders.com/no-revisionists-thanksgiving-not-day-mourning/

https://wallbuilderslive.com/mistreatment-of-indians/

https://www.prageru.com/courses/economics/if-you-hate-poverty-you-should-love-capitalism

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