Declaration of Independence

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. - That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

Friday, April 30, 2010


To support families in achieving freedom this week, I chose to write about the principle of becoming self-reliant. Self-reliance means taking care of ourselves and our families, learning to overcome challenges before they happen, and solving our own problems. "We become self-reliant through obtaining sufficient knowledge, education, and literacy; by managing money and resources wisely, being spiritually strong, preparing for emergencies and eventualities; and by having physical health and social and emotional well-being" (Julie B. Beck, Basic Principles of Welfare and Self-Reliance [2009], pp 4-5). The person who is ultimately responsible for each one of us is ourselves. In times of emergency, we should rely on family, friends, and neighbors, but emergencies should not be happening every day. We should each work diligently to develop and maintain social, emotional, spiritual, physical and economic well being. Then when a true emergency happens, we have reserves to sustain us. We become self-reliant by living providently and increasing our abilities. We must work for what we need in order to become self-reliant and independent. Work is an eternal principle and is the means by which we break indebtedness to others. I am pleased when I see my children insisting that their children learn to work. I do not know anyone who admires laziness and slothfulness, but I know many people who appreciate a person who knows how to work and works hard at being independent. We live in a time when our federal government is doing all that it can to make the citizens dependent on the government. One of the biggest problems with this plan is that the government doesn't have anything except what it takes from the citizens. If the citizens have nothing to take, there is nothing to redistribute to others. It is important that we all become self-reliant and capable to care for ourselves and our families. By being self-reliant and independent, we can be free from worry and help bring stability to our nation, community and family.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Divine Law

It's Freedom Friday! Are you wearing blue in support of our men and women in the Armed Forces? The topic for today is unalienable rights of man. The unalienable rights of man come from God and were given to mankind by direct revelation. These divine principles are found in the Holy Scriptures and are preserved and protected by divine law. Most people recognize these laws as the Ten Commandments, which are basically as follow: 1) Thou shalt have no other gods before me. 2) Thou shalt not make unto thee any gravel image or any likeness of anything. 3) Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain. 4) Remember the Sabbath Day, to keep it holy. 5) Honour thy father and thy mother. 6) Thou shalt not kill. 7) Thou shalt not commit adultery. 8) Thou shalt not steal. 9) Thou shalt not bear false witness. 10) Thou shalt not covet. (See Exodus 20:3-17.) Whenever God gives blessings to His children, He makes those blessings dependent on obedience to His commandments. When God bestowed divine rights on His children, He also bestowed duties. Our Founders understood the connection between divine or natural rights and unalienable duties. Thomas Jefferson stated that man "has no natural right in opposition to his social duties." (Bergh, Writings of Thomas Jefferson, 16:282, as quoted by W. Cleon Skousen in The Five Thousand Year Leap, p 100.) Skousen indicated that "our unalienable duties, both public and private are an inherent part of Natural Law. They constitute a responsibility imposed on each individual to respect the absolute rights or unalienable rights of others" (Five Thousand Year Leap, p 101). Skousen proceeded to list twenty of what he considered the "more important responsibilities which the Creator has imposed on every human being of normal mental capacity." Several of those duties correspond directly with the Ten Commandments. Here are some others: The duty to be law-abiding. The duty to care for the poor, sick, injured, etc. The duty to work hard enough to provide for your own needs and the needs of your family. The duty to vote and be part of the community. The duty to protect the institution of the family. Skousen quoted Sir William Blackstone who was a contemporary of the Founders: "Man, considered as a creature, must necessarily be subject to the laws of his Creator…. This will of his Maker is called the Law of Nature…. This law of nature, being coeval with mankind, and dictated by God, Himself, is of course superior in obligation to any other. It is binding over all the glove in all countries, and at all times: no human laws are of any validity, if contrary to this." (Commentaries on the Laws of England, 1:54, 56, 63, as quoted in Five Thousand Year Leap, p 104). God's laws are sacred and are not subject to legislation. Our Founders understood the sacredness of the laws of God, and they wrote the Constitution to support the natural laws, not to oppose them.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Transcontinental Railroad

The decision to build a railroad across the United States was made by officials of the United States government in the 1860's. The route that was proposed ran close to the 42nd parallel from Omaha, Nebraska, to Sacrament, California. Railroad lines from the east were to be extended west from Chicago to connect with the new railroad at Omaha. The Pacific Railroad Act was passed by Congress in 1862. This act gave the responsibility to build the railroad to two companies. The Union Pacific Railroad had the responsibility to start near Omaha and lay track westward. The Central Pacific Railroad had the responsibility to start at Sacramento and lay tracks eastward. Through this railroad act, Congress granted large tracts of land and millions of dollars in government loans to the two railroads. The Central Pacific Railroad started laying track in 1863, and the Union Pacific started in 1865. The biggest challenge of the project was to cross the rugged Rocky Mountains and the towering Sierra Nevada range. The Central Pacific hired thousands of Chinese unskilled laborers known as coolies to lay track for them. The Union Pacific hired thousands of European immigrants. The two railroads finally met on May 10, 1869, at Promontory, Utah. This achievement made America the first continent to have a coast to coast rail line. When the 1880's came to a close, the United States had five transcontinental railroads. Canada's first transcontinental line was finished in 1885 and extended from Montreal, Que. To Vancouver, B.C. These transcontinental railroads opened large areas of North America to settlement and trade. There are approximately 500 railroads in the United States today. All except one of the major rail lines are owned by private investors or corporations. The one exception is the Alaska Railroad, which is owned by the people of Alaska and operated under the direction of the State of Alaska. Facts for this post came from an article by Gus Welty in World Book Encyclopedia, Vol. 16, pp 113, 117.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

National Day of Prayer

This land was discovered by Christopher Columbus and founded by many other great men, all or at least most of whom were Christians who prayed. Since the days of George Washington, Presidents have encouraged the citizens of the United States of America to pray. Abraham Lincoln asked for a "day of humiliation, fasting, and prayer" during the Civil War. Franklin D. Roosevelt led a prayer on radio on the evening of D-Day, 1944. He asked all Americans to join him in asking God to help the Allied troops to succeed. Lyndon B. Johnson requested that the nation pray following the death of John F. Kennedy. Gerald R. Ford asked Americans to "confirm me as your president with your prayers" when he assumed the office of President after Richard M. Nixon resigned. It is a natural thing for Americans to pray. Congress established a national day of prayer in 1952. In 1988 Congress designated the first Thursday in May as the official day to hold a national day of prayer as proclaimed by the President. Many cities and states also commemorated this day as a day for prayer. Two years ago the Madison-based Freedom From Religion Foundation filed a lawsuit against the federal government with the charge that the day violated the separation of church and state. United States District Judge Barbara Crabb ruled in Madison, Wisconsin, on Thursday, April 15, 2010, that a National Day of Prayer is unconstitutional because it would be like a call for religious action and violates the First Amendment. Judge Crabb, a Jimmy Carter appointee, ruled that the government cannot enact laws supporting a day of prayer because it would be the same thing as encouraging Americans to fast during Ramadan or attending a synagogue or practicing magic. This case is apparently on its way to another court for appeal. It is apparent that neither the Freedom From Religion Foundation nor Judge Crabb understands the meaning of the First Amendment, which states, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; …" The writings of the Founders witness that this amendment was written to stop the federal government from forcing citizens to belong to a particular church and to keep the federal government from favoring any one church. How can a simple request to pray together as a nation be such a bad thing? I fail to see how it would violate anyone's rights or hurt anyone. Christian, Jew, Muslim, atheist or agnostic could still choose whether or not to pray and to which god to direct their prayers. The National Day of Prayer carries no mandates or penalties and includes all religions. Anyone not believing in God or a higher power could simply observe a moment of silence or just ignore the designation. I do not understand how Congress can mandate that we buy health insurances and encourage us to stop smoking, exercise more, eat healthier foods, get immunizations, etc. if a simple day of prayer violates rights. I believe that we should hold our national day of prayer on May 6, whether or not it is officially designated as a National Day of Prayer. I believe that we should include prayers for Judge Crabb and the members of the Freedom From Religion Foundation as well as the leaders of our nation. The United States of America is a great nation, but there is only one way that it can stay great. For this nation to prosper and to stay powerful, the citizens and leaders of this country must turn to the Lord Jesus Christ. There is no better way to turn to the Lord than to join in an official or unofficial day of prayer on May 6. Please join me in praying for the United States of America everyday but especially on May 6, 2010.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Ulysses S. Grant

Ulysses S. Grant (1822-1885) was born on April 27, 1822, in Point Pleasant, Ohio, which was located on the Ohio River southeast of Cincinnati. His family later moved to Georgetown. He was the first child in a family of three sons and three daughters. He was officially named Hiram Ulysses Grant but was usually called Ulysses or 'Lyss. Ulysses' father owned a prosperous tannery as well as farmland. Ulysses did not like working in the tannery. He much preferred working on the farm with horses, and he became an excellent horseman. Ulysses attended local schools in Georgetown until age 14. he attended an academy in Maysville, Kentucky, for one year and then entered an academy in Ripley, Ohio, in 1838. When a neighbor's son was dismissed from the U.S. Military Academy in 1839, Ulysses' father requested his congressman to name Ulysses as his replacement. The congressman made out the appointment to Ulysses S. Grant, and Ulysses never corrected the mistake. Ulysses was an average student at West Point because he read novels instead of studying. He did well in mathematics and horsemanship. He didn't like military life and didn't plan on an Army career, considering instead a job teaching college mathematics. When Grant graduated from West Point in 1843, he was commissioned a second lieutenant and stationed near St. Louis. He was introduced to Julia Dent, a classmate's sister. They became engaged but delayed their marriage because of the Mexican War. Grant's company went to Louisiana in 1844 and then to Texas in 1845. There he was in an area claimed by both the United States and Mexico. He was active in the capture of Mexico City where he was recognized for skill and bravery. By the end of that war he was a first lieutenant and had learned lessons that would help him in the Civil War. He returned to St. Louis as soon as possible after the war and married Julia Dent on August 22, 1848. The Grants had a happy marriage and were blessed with four children. Grant continued to serve in the Army and was stationed in Detroit and Sacketts Harbor, New York, before being sent to Fort Vancouver. He couldn't afford to take his wife and new son so she went to live with his parents in Ohio. He was made a captain and was transferred to Fort Humboldt, California, where he still couldn't afford to bring his family. He became depressed and started drinking heavily according to gossip. He resigned from the Army and settled his family in St. Louis. Grant spent six years working at several jobs and not succeeding ate any of them. He was 39 years old when the Civil War started in 1861. He strongly opposed secession and had freed his only slave two years earlier. He felt a duty to fight for the Union. He helped with military drills and worked for an adjutant general before the governor made him colonel of a regiment of volunteers. He spent two months campaigning and refreshing his leadership skills before his congressman recommended to President Lincoln to appoint him a brigadier general in August 1861. Through several battles Grant revealed that he had the qualities of a great military commander. After one battle the opposing commander asked for terms of surrender. Grant replied, "No terms except an unconditional and immediate surrender can be accepted." The Confederate commander realized he had no choice but to surrender. Northerners claimed that Grant's initials, U.S., stood for "unconditional Surrender." He was promoted to major general. Grant lost a lot of men by a surprise Confederate attack at Shiloh on April 6, 1862, but Union troops held on until reinforcements arrived. This was the last time that Grant was surprised in battle. Many congressmen pressured Lincoln to replace Grant because of the heavy Union losses at Shiloh. Lincoln answered them, "I can't spare this man - he fights!" Grant and his army defeated a Confederate army at Vicksburg, Mississippi, after advancing all winter until they laid a siege against the city in May 1863. The Confederates surrendered on July 4, 1863. After receiving command of all Union forces in the West in October 1863, Grant went to Chattanooga, Tennessee. There his ability to make decisions saved Union forces under siege and won a great victory on November 25, 1863. While Grant's army was succeeding in the West, the army in the East was failing. Lincoln promoted Grant to lieutenant general early in 1864 and made him commander of all the Union armies. Grant went to Virginia and started pressuring General Robert E. Lee. Lee began retreating, but Grant's troops suffered severe losses in the battles. Grant was called "butcher" because of the many losses. The fierce pressure from Union troops forced Lee to abandon Richmond early in 1865 and to surrender On April 9, 1865, at Appomattox Court House, Virginia. Lee and his soldiers were released on their honor by Grant and allowed to keep their horses to help with the spring planting. Grant became very popular in the North because of the victory and appreciated in the South because of his generous terms to Lee. Grant was nominated for President b y the Republican Party and won the election of 1868 by a decisive majority of electoral votes. He was the first West Point graduate to become President of the United States. In his first inauguration speech, Grant admitted that he had no political experience and promised that he would not be ruled by professional politicians. He showed his independence by his appointments to his Cabinet and other offices. Grant worked hard at bringing North and South closer together by persuading Congress to pardon many former Confederate leaders, limiting the use of federal troops in the South. He used federal troops to protect blacks from the Klu Klux Klan and other white groups determined to keep blacks from voting. Political corruption was rampant. Carpetbaggers controlled some state governments in the South. There were political machines in Northern cities making huge profits from dishonesty. Grant was honest, but some of the men he appointed were not. There was much need for civil service reform because of the many scandals. The president of the Dominican Republic offered to sell his country to the United States in 1869 and a treaty of annexation was signed. The Senate rejected the treaty on the argument that a black republic was losing its independence. Grant took little part in the social life in Washington except for official appearances. His daughter Nellie married an Englishman in the White House and attracted international attention. Grant's second administration was also plagued with scandals, but many Republican leaders urged him to run for a third term. He refused to run again. Grant was honest and tried to protect the rights of blacks to vote, own property, and other privileges. He also sought to correct injustices to American Indians. He lacked the political skills to achieve his goals of justice and reform. Historians generally consider Grant to be a poor President even though he remained very popular. When Grant left the White House after the election of Rutherford B. Hayes, he and his family spent two years traveling in Europe and the Far East, returning home in 1879 still highly popular. He received some votes for President in 1880, but James A. Garfield won the Republican nomination. Grant's response was, "I feel a great responsibility lifted from my shoulders." Grant retired from public life with $100,000 but became almost penniless after making a bad investment. He began writing magazine articles about his war experiences. When he wrote his memoirs, Mark Twain, the famous American author, became his publisher. The memoirs were so successful that Grant's family earned about $500,000 from them. Grant knew he was dying of cancer as he wrote his memoirs. He died on July 23, 1885, soon after he completed his memoirs. He is buried in a tomb in New York, City, which is called the General Grant National Memorial. Mrs. Grant died in 1902 and was buried beside him. World events during the time of President Grant include: 1) The first transcontinental railroad was completed at Promontory, Utah, in 1869. 2) The Suez Canal opened in 1869, joining the Mediterranean and the Red seas. 3) Susan B. Anthony founded the National Woman Suffrage Association in 1869. Wyoming Territory gave women the right to vote in the same year. 4) Amendment 15 to the Constitution was adopted in 1870, stating that citizens cannot be denied the right to vote because of race. 5) The great Chicago fire killed 300 people and left 90,000 people homeless in October 1871. 6) Yellowstone National Park, our nation's first national park, was established by Congress in 1872. 7) Barbed wire, designed by Joseph Glidden in 1873, made it possible for small farmers to settle the frontier. 8) The Battle of the Big Horn or "Custer's Last Stand" took place in 1876 when Indians massacred Custer and all his troops. 9) The telephone was patented by Alexander Graham Bell in 1876. 10) The electric light was developed by Thomas Edison in 1879. Facts for this post came from an article by John Y. Simon in World Book Encyclopedia, Vol. 8, pp 312-318.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Choose Own Speaker

The United States Constitution, Article I.2.5, provides, "The House of Representatives shall choose its own Speaker to preside over its proceedings." This provision gives the House of Representatives the Right to direct its own affairs. The Speaker of the House is chosen by the majority party. Once a Speaker is chosen, that person holds that position as long as he or she remains in the House of Representatives and as long as his or her party holds the majority of seats in the House. The Speaker of the House holds considerable political power: 1) Supervises the daily business of the House. 2) Decides which members will be chosen to speak. 3) Appoints the members of the various conference committees. 4) Can vacate the chair when desiring to debate an issue or cast a vote. 5) Follows the Vice President in line of succession to be President. This last item of political power almost guarantees that no one will attempt to assassinate President Obama. Surely no one wants Vice President Biden to become President - and definitely not Speaker of the House Pelosi!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Former Day Church of Christ

Jesus established His church while he was upon the earth. He called His church the Church of Jesus Christ. The members of His church were called Saints (Ephesians 2:19-20). He received His instructions from His Father in Heaven. He then personally instructed and directed the leaders of His church. His church was directed by God and not by men. The Savior taught his followers that He would build His church on the "rock" of revelation (Matthew 16:16-18). Jesus continued to guide His church after He ascended into heaven. He sent the Holy Ghost to the members of His church to comfort them and to reveal information to them (Luke 1:12; John 14:26). He visited Saul in a vision (Acts 9:3-6). He taught Peter that the gospel was for the world and not just the Jews. The New Testament shows many ways that Jesus revealed His will for guidance to His Church and enlightenment of its members. The book of Revelation is a record of many glorious truths that were revealed to John Jesus received authority to organize His church from His Father (Hebrews 5:4-6). Then He ordained His Apostles and gave them the power and authority of the priesthood to direct the work of the ministry. Jesus organized His church very carefully. He compared the church to a properly constructed building. He said that He was the chief cornerstone (Ephesians 2:20) and that the Apostles and prophets were the foundation. Seventies were called to assist the Twelve Apostles and to do missionary work. Other people were called to the work of the ministry. The Church of Jesus Christ had two basic principles: faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and repentance. After converts had faith that Jesus was the Son of God and the Savior of the world and repented of their sins, they received two ordinances - baptism by immersion and the laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost (Acts 19:1-6). Jesus taught that both the living and the dead needed the gospel ordinances in order to enter into the kingdom of God (John 3:5) and that the living could perform the ordinances for those who had died (1 Peter 3:18-20; 4:6; 1 Corinthians 15:29). The New Testament shows that the church organization was intended to continue as Christ had established it. When Judas died, Matthias was chosen to be the twelfth Apostle, thus continuing the pattern of the church being led by twelve Apostles. Evil people have always tried to destroy the work of God. Even while the Apostles were living, false ideas and beliefs crept into the church. Some people openly rebelled at the teachings. Church members were persecuted, tortured and killed for their beliefs. The Apostles were killed one by one or otherwise taken away. The authority and priesthood keys given to the Apostles were taken from the earth because of wickedness, and the church organized by Jesus Christ ceased to exist on the earth. Pagan beliefs replaced the teachings of Christ, and the predicted Great Apostasy (2 Thessalonians 2:3-4) came into being. God had foreseen the Apostasy and made preparations to restore His gospel to the earth again at a later day (Revelation 14:6).

Friday, April 23, 2010

Doctrine of the Family

It is important that we all understand and defend the doctrine of the family because the family is the basic unit of society and is under attack on every front. In "The Family: A Proclamation to the World," the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints stated, "The family is ordained of God. Marriage between man and woman is essential to His eternal plan. Children are entitled to birth within the bonds of matrimony, and to be reared by a father and a mother who honor marital vows with complete fidelity" (Ensign, No. 1995, p 102).

This is not a time to sit back comfortably in our homes. We must all raise our voices in defense of the doctrine of the family. We can give strength to families all over the world by simply letting them know that there is a doctrine on the family. We must do all that we can to strengthen our own families and to lend strength to other families.

There are many things that we can do in defense of families. The first thing we can do is to strengthen our own immediate family. Our homes need to be havens "against the storms and struggles of life. Spirituality is born and nurtured by daily prayer, scripture study, home gospel discussions and related activities, home evenings, family councils, working and playing together, serving each other, and sharing the gospel with those around us. Spirituality is also nurtured in our actions of patience, kindness, and forgiveness toward each other and in applying gospel principles in the family circle" (Spencer W. Kimball, "Therefore I Was Taught," Ensign, January 1982, p 3).

Parents, grandparents, and extended family members must commit to defending the family. We must be like Captain Moroni who tore his coat and wrote upon it, "In memory of our God, our religion, and freedom, and our peace, our wives and our children." He fastened his title of liberty on the end of a pole and prepared to do battle to preserve all that was important to him. (See Alma 46:12-13.)

The need to defend the family is as important for us as it was for Captain Moroni. We live in a world where families are under direct attack. It is a world "where Satan's aggression against the family is so prevalent, parents must do all they can to fortify and defend their families…. Our most basic institution of family desperately needs help and support from the extended family and the public institutions around us" (M. Russell Ballard, "What Matters Most Is What Lasts Longest," Ensign, November 2005, pp 42-43).

Besides doing all that we can to strengthen our immediate and extended families, there is much that we can do in the world around us simply by being active members of our communities. "If our schools are inadequate or destructive of moral values, we must work with fellow members of the community to bring about change. If our neighborhoods are unsafe or unhealthy, we must join with the civic-minded to devise solutions. If our cities and towns are polluted, not only with noxious gases but soul-destroying addictions and smut, we must labor to find legitimate ways to eliminate such filth…. We have the responsibility to be a blessing to others, to our nation, to the world" (Robert S. Wood, "On the Responsible Self," Ensign, March 2002, pp 30-31).

There are people all around us and in our government that are trying to destroy families. They are trying to redefine marriage as well as family. They operate under the idea that if the principle can be destroyed, then the institution can be destroyed. Because marriage is ordained of God and because the family is the basic unit of society, we must defend the very doctrine of the family.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Unalienable Rights

For this Freedom Friday, let's discuss the principle of liberty that all men "are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness." We know from this statement in the Declaration of Independence that the Founders understood that the basic rights of mankind come directly from God and not from any government authority. These unalienable rights are also called natural rights. No one has the authority to take these rights from us without answering to God, but we can use our agency unwisely and forfeit them. It is important that we understand that our basic rights come from God and not from the government. Rights that come from God can be taken away only by God. Rights that come from the government are often taken away by the government. If we believe our unalienable rights come from the government, then there is a good chance that government will start to take those rights away from us. The rights created by governments are called vested rights. They include such rights as the opportunity to hunt in a certain area or season and the opportunity to use a certain highway. These are the kinds of rights that the government has authority to change or take from us. The Founders did not include all of mankind's unalienable or natural rights in the Declaration of Independence. Some other natural rights are enumerated in the Constitution and the Bill of Rights: the right to self-government, the right to bear arms, the right to worship as we choose, the right to a fair trial, the right of free press, the right to petition our government, the right to speak freely, and the right to assemble. There are still other natural rights such as the right to choose our own mate, profession, and to have children. The phrase "pursuit of happiness" was well understood at the time it was written, but some people in our day question what it means. John Adams clearly explained it when he stated, "All men are born free and independent, and have certain natural, essential, and unalienable rights, among which may be reckoned the right of enjoying and defending their lives and liberties; that of acquiring, possessing, and protecting property; in fine, that of seeking and obtaining their safety and happiness." (George A. Peek, Jr., ed., The Political Writings of John Adams, Liberal Arts press, New York, 1954, p 96, as quoted by W. Cleon Skousen in The 5000 Year Leap, p 96).

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Confederate States of America

The government for the Confederate States of America was organized and named in Montgomery, Alabama, on February 4, 1861. Six southern states seceded or left the government of the United States in 1860 and 1861 after Abraham Lincoln was elected President but before he was in office. They feared that his election might cause problems with their right to own slaves. South Carolina was the first state to withdraw from the Union on December 20, 1860. Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, and Louisiana followed in January 1861. Texas seceded in March 1861 and was followed later in the year by Virginia, Arkansas, North Carolina, and Tennessee. This made eleven states in the Confederacy. The South did not invent the idea of a state withdrawing from the Union. It was a common belief throughout the United States that individual states had formed the Union and therefore had the right to dissolve. In fact, there were states in New England who wanted to secede during the War of 1812 because they did not want the war. When the first six states organized the Confederate States of America, they chose Jefferson Davis of Mississippi as President and Alexander H. Stephens of Georgia as Vice President. Their term of office was one year. After the permanent constitution was adopted, they were elected to six-year terms. Six distinguished Southerners were selected for the Cabinet. The temporary capital was Montgomery. After Virginia joined in the secession movement, Richmond became the capital in May. "The Constitution of the Confederacy adopted in March 1861, was modeled after the United States Constitution. But it contained six important differences. 1) The president's and vice president's terms were six years. The president could not serve successive terms. 2) Cabinet members received seats in Congress and had the privilege of debate. But they could not vote. 3) Foreign slave trade was ended but not slavery. 4) Congress was forbidden to make appropriations for internal improvements, to levy a protective tariff, or to give bounties. 5) A two-thirds vote of both houses of Congress was necessary to admit a new state into the Confederacy or to make appropriations not requested by the heads of departments through the president. 6) The president could veto single items in appropriation bills" (Thomas L. Connelly). The states that seceded hoped to leave the Union peaceably, and there were people on both sides of the issue who worked hard to prevent war. All their efforts failed when Fort Sumter was fired upon on April 12, 1861, to start the Civil War. There were slave states, known as the border states, that did not leave the Union. They were located between the North and the Deep South. Both the North and the South tried to gain their support. North Carolina, Virginia, Arkansas, and Tennessee joined the Confederacy while Delaware, Maryland, Kentucky, and Missouri stayed in the Union. Later in the war West Virginia was formed when the western counties of Virginia seceded from the South. The states of Kentucky and Missouri were both divided. Even though both states stayed in the Union, each had secessionist groups that set up separate state governments. These groups sent representatives to the Confederate Congress, which is the reason why the Confederate flag has thirteen stars on it when only eleven states seceded. Confederate ships were granted the same privileges as United States ships in foreign ports and on the open seas even though they were not recognized as a separate nation. Before the division, the wealth of the United States was mainly in the North, and the South did not have sufficient resources to be taxed. This caused the Confederacy to be at a financial disadvantage in the war. It began printing money early in the war, but the paper was soon worthless. Southerners bought government bonds and gave liberally to the Confederacy, but even their loyal financial support could not create resources that didn't exist. During the early part of the war, the Confederates were winning. Union forces lost at Fredericksburg in December 1862. Northern armies had better access to materials and supplies and gradually turned the tide, starting in 1863. Union forces had ammunition, food and clothing supplied while Confederates often went without vital supplies. Richmond fell to Union troops on April 3, 1865, and the Confederate capital moved to Danville, Virginia. The Army of Northern Virginia, which was the main Confederate army, surrendered on April 9, 1865. Confederates believed that the way of life that they were defending was good, and they made great sacrifices in life, health, and property in the war. They finally had to yield to a greater force. The Civil War left a spiritual wound in the Union, which took many years to heal. The spirit of the nation was mostly healed by the early 1900's even though problems concerning race continue to plague this country. I hope and pray that the day soon comes when all Americans will understand that we are all brothers and sisters, spiritual children of one God who are all created equal. Facts for this post came from an article by Thomas L. Connelly in World Book Encyclopedia, Vol. 4, pp 931-933.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Dred Scott Decision

The United States Supreme Court ruling known as the Dred Scott Decision was made in 1857 and was morally wrong. It is important for all mankind to understand what happened in this case and why it was a bad decision. The ruling declared that no black person - free or slave - could claim citizenship in the United States. The decision also declared that slavery could not be prohibited in the United States Territories. This ruling moved the United States one step closer to civil war because it caused angry resentment among Northerners. This decision also had great influence on the introduction and passage of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. This amendment was adopted in 1868, extended citizenship to former slaves, and gave them full civil rights. A little background information on the case may be helpful to you. Dred Scott was a slave who belonged to John Emerson of Missouri, a state where slavery was legal. Emerson, a United States Army surgeon moved in 1834 to Illinois, a state where slavery was illegal. They later moved to the Wisconsin Territory where the Missouri Compromise prohibited slavery. Emerson returned to Missouri in 1838 and died there in 1843. Scott sued three years later to obtain his freedom from Emerson's widow. The Dred Scott case was based on the argument that he was a free man because he had lived in a free state (Illinois) and a free territory (Wisconsin). A decision by the state circuit court was for Scott. This decision was later reversed by the Missouri Supreme Court. In the meantime, John F. A. Sanford became Scott's legal owner. The case was moved into a federal court because Sanford did not live in Missouri. This court ruled against Scott, but the case went to the United States Supreme Court. The Supreme Court ruled with a majority of 7 to 2 that Scott could not bring a suit to federal courts because he was black and blacks were not citizens of the United States. The Missouri Compromise was discussed as part of the Dred Scott case because there was a growing desire in the nation to know if it was constitutional even though it had been repealed in 1854. The Supreme Court decided by a smaller majority that the Missouri Compromise was unconstitutional. Chief Justice Roger B. Taney spoke for the majority in explaining that blacks could not claim United States citizenship. He also argued that slaves were property and that Congress would violate a slave owner's constitutional right to own property by forbidding slavery in the territories. Shortly after his case was heard by the Supreme Court, Dred Scott was sold. His new owner set him free two months after the decision. Slavery is morally wrong. It is an evil practice that deprives human beings of the divine right of agency. The Dred Scott decision was especially evil because it used the rule of law to keep a human being in slavery. I am grateful that there was a majority of morally correct people in our nation who forced an end to the practice of slavery. Facts for this post came from an article by Stanley I. Kutler in World Book Encyclopedia, Vol. 5, p 345.

Monday, April 19, 2010

James Buchanan

James Buchanan (byooKANuhn) (1791-1868), the fifteenth President of the United States, may go down in history as our worst President because he was in the White House when our nation started to break apart and did nothing to stop the secession. There were many issues that divided the North and the South, but slavery was the main argument. Buchanan was personally against slavery. While he was President he insisted that slavery was protected by the Constitution and that the law must be obeyed. In 1860-61, seven of the fifteen slave states seceded from the Union. Buchanan refused to use force to keep them in the Union, hoping they would return on their own. He worried that all the slave states would leave if force was attempted. His policy delayed the Civil War until he was out of office. His reason for the delay of war was to allow Abraham Lincoln the opportunity to try a peaceful settlement. James Buchanan was born in a log cabin in Stony Batter, near Mercersburg, Pennsylvania, on April 23, 1791. His father, James Buchanan, Sr., came from Ireland in 1783 after being invited to come by an uncle living near Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. He married Elizabeth Speer, his uncle's neighbor, and opened a country store. James and Elizabeth had eleven children with young James being second oldest. He learned arithmetic and bookkeeping while working in his father's store. He studied Greek and Latin with the village pastor and then attended Dickenson College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. He was expelled for breaking rules but returned to earn scholastic honors. Buchanan, a supporter of the Federalist Party, favored a strong central government and opposed a second war with Great Britain. When the War of 1812 started he volunteered as a private to help in the defense of Baltimore. He served two terms in the Pennsylvania legislature from 1814 to 1816. He then retired from politics and went back to practicing law in Lancaster. He fell in love and became engaged to Ann Coleman in 1819. After a misunderstanding with James, Ann went to Philadelphia to stay with a married sister - and died there. There was never any proof of it, but rumors were that she killed herself. James never married due to his grief. He was the only President who never married. Buchanan was described by his nephew as being "tall - over six feet, broad shouldered, with a portly, dignified bearing…; his eyes were blue, intelligent and kindly, the peculiarity that one was far and the other near sighted which resulted in a slight habitual inclination of the head to one side…." Buchanan served in the United States House of Representatives for ten years, being elected in 1820. He supported the unsuccessful campaign of Andrew Jackson, a Democrat, in 1824. After Jackson was elected President in 1828, he appointed Buchanan minister to Russia in 1831. While minister Buchanan negotiated the first trade treaty of the United States and Russia in 1832. He returned home in 1833 and was elected by the Pennsylvania legislature to fill a vacancy in the United States Senate in 1834. He served there until 1845 when he resigned to accept the position of secretary of state under James K. Polk. As secretary of state, Buchanan completed the steps to bring Texas into the Union as a state. Mexico didn't recognize Texan independence and wouldn't accept peaceful negotiations. After the Mexican War, the United States acquired the entire Southwest. At this time the United States and Great Britain both occupied the Oregon area. The United States claimed the entire region. Buchanan was in charge of negotiations and eventually agreed to compromise on the line that forms the current border with Canada. The Democrats lost the Presidency in 1849, and Buchanan retired to Wheatland, his estate in Lancaster, Pennsylvania . He ran for President in 1852, but Franklin Pierce won the Democratic nomination and the election. Buchanan was appointed minister to Great Britain. While there he was instrumental in an attempt to purchase Cuba from Spain. He was nominated for President in 1856 and won the Presidency with a large electoral majority. His administration was a continuing struggle over slavery. Abolitionist authors stirred up New England. The debates between Lincoln and Douglas in Illinois focused on the immorality of slavery. Buchanan's support of the Dred Scott Decision hinted at Southern favoritism as did the number of Southerners invited to White House social functions. In the fight to determine statehood for Kansas, he favored the idea of letting the people decide if they wanted to be a free state or a slave state. This stand angered Northerners. Northern candidates who opposed the President won a majority in both houses of Congress in 1858. In addition, there was wild speculation in western land and railroads, which caused an economic panic. Many banks, factories, and railroads went broke, and thousands of unemployed workers stood in line for free food. At the same time, women's outfits included hoop skirts and beaver hats trimmed with ostrich feathers. Mail was delivered in the expanding West by Pony Express riders. Buchanan received greetings from Queen Victoria over the first Atlantic cable. Americans enjoyed horse-drawn sleighs and a new song entitled "Jingle Bells" in the winter. There were brilliant social activities in the White House during the Buchanan years. Harriet Lane, Buchanan's niece and ward, served as White House hostess and hosted almost continuous receptions and balls. To provide flowers for the numerous galas, Buchanan added a conservatory to the White House. Buchanan was not nominated to run for a second term in 1860 and did not even want to run. The period between Lincoln's election and his inauguration was a difficult time for Buchanan. South Carolina seceded from the Union on December 20, 1860, and then became one of the six states that formed the Confederate States of America on February 4, 1861. Buchanan said that there was no "right of secession" but admitted that the Constitution gave no legal way to stop it. Buchanan refused to surrender Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor, South Carolina, when a commission from the state made the request. Several members of his Cabinet resigned, some thinking that he was too hard on the South and others thinking he was not hard enough on them. When Buchanan agreed to allow a steamer to take supplies to the fort, troops from South Carolina opened fire on the vessel on January 9, 1861, and forced it to turn back. Buchanan would not regard the attack as an act of war, and he had several reasons for his action: 1) No blood had been spilled; 2) he did not have an army big enough to fight a war; 3) he wanted to hand the government to Lincoln with an opportunity to settle the problem peaceably. Lincoln continued the Buchanan policy until April 12, 1861, when Confederate troops fired on Fort Sumter. The South instigated the war, and Lincoln had no alternative than to fight to preserve the Union. Buchanan retired to his estate at Wheatland where he followed the events of the war and wrote a book defending his policies. Harriet Lane and James Buchanan, a nephew, lived with him at Wheatland. Buchanan died on June 1, 1868, and was buried in Woodward Hill Cemetery in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Wheatland has been restored and furnished in the Buchanan style. World events in the time of President Buchanan included: 1) In its Dred Scott Decision, the Supreme Court on March 6, 1857, said that Congress could not prohibit slavery and denied United States citizenship rights to all blacks; 2) The first passenger elevator was installed in 1857; 3) The first transatlantic telegraph cable was laid in 1858; 4) The Lincoln-Douglas took place; 5) Thousands of prospectors flocked to Nevada in 1859 because of the discovery of silver and gold in the Comstock Lode; 6) The first oil well in the United States started pumping oil in Titusville, Pennsylvania, in 1859; 7) The Origin of Species appeared in 1859. Facts for this post came from an article by Phillip S. Klein in World Book Encyclopedia, Vol. 2, pp 668-672.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Filling Vacancies

The writers of the United States Constitution provided in Article I.2.4, "If the seat of a Representative becomes vacant because of death, resignation, or some other cause, the governor of that state shall call for a new election to fill the vacancy." This provision insures that the states have the Right to fill vacancies as soon as possible. In comparison, a vacancy in the Senate gave the governor the authorization to appoint an interim Senator to serve until the next election. (See Article I.3.2.)

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Covenant People

God has made covenants with His children from the time of Adam and Eve. When people make covenants with God, they know exactly what God requires of them as well as the blessings they can expect from Him. Individuals and groups who make and keep covenants with God are known as His covenant people. Within the gospel of Jesus Christ, a covenant is a promise or a sacred agreement between God and a person or a group of people. The terms of any covenant with God are set by God and revealed to his prophets. God sets forth the commandment and names the blessing that is promised for obedience to that commandment. We either decide to obey the terms of the covenant and receive the blessing or to reject the covenant with its blessing and sometimes to receive a penalty for disobedience. Abraham was a very righteous man who became a great Old Testament prophet. He recognized that worshipping idols as his father did was wrong. He refused to follow his father's example and kept the commandments of God. Then God made a covenant with Abraham and his descendants because Abraham was so righteous. The covenant that God made with Abraham is known as the Abrahamic covenant. God promised to give Abraham numberless descendants. He promised that all these descendants would be entitled to receive the gospel, the priesthood blessings and all the ordinances necessary for exaltation. The descendants would in turn use the power of the priesthood to take the gospel to all nations. In this way, God would bless all the families of the earth through the descendants of Abraham. God promised that He would renew His covenant with all the generations of Abraham's posterity if they were righteous. There are two different groups of people who are included in the covenant between God and Abraham. The first group includes all of Abraham's righteous blood descendants. The second group includes all those who are adopted into Abraham's family by accepting and living the gospel of Jesus Christ. God told Abraham, "As many as receive this Gospel shall be called after thy name, and shall be accounted thy seed [lineage], and shall rise up and bless thee, as their father" (Abraham 2:10). (See also 2 Nephi 30:2.) People who are baptized into The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints enter into the covenant that God made with Abraham and renewed with Isaac and Jacob (see Galatians 3:26-29). If they are obedient, they inherit all the blessings of that covenant. Being part of the covenant people of the Lord brings many blessings as well as responsibilities. The blessings include the right to be guided by the Holy Ghost, the right for males to hold the priesthood, and the right for families to receive the blessings of the priesthood. The greatest blessing of all is to gain eternal life in the celestial kingdom. The Lord's covenant people have the great responsibility to take the gospel of Jesus Christ to all the inhabitants of the earth. The Church is fulfilling this responsibility by sending full-time missionaries out into the world as well as by the missionary work done by members. Taking the gospel to the world is an opportunity which belongs only to the Lord's Church and His covenant people. The Lord requires His covenant people to keep the covenant by keeping His commandments. He said, "I, the Lord, am bound when ye do as I say; but when ye do not what I say, ye have no promise" (Doctrine and Covenants 82:10). Without righteousness, the covenant becomes void. The fulness of the gospel of Jesus Christ is called the new and everlasting covenant and includes covenants made at baptism, during the sacrament, in the temple, and at any other time. This covenant is everlasting because God is everlasting and because the covenant will never change. God made the same covenant with Adam, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, and other prophets. It isn't a new covenant, but each time the gospel is restored to the earth, it is new to the people who receive it. (See Jeremiah 31:31-34; Ezekiel 37:26.) Any person who accepts the new and everlasting covenant also agrees to repent, be baptized, receive the Holy Ghost, receive temple endowments, receive the covenant of temple marriage, obey the commandments, and follow Christ to the end of their life. In return for a righteous life, Heavenly Father promises exaltation in the celestial kingdom. (See Doctrine and Covenants 132:20-24.) Heavenly Father loves all of His children and desires to bless all of them. He gave commandments for the benefit of His children. His faithful sons and daughters will forever share the blessings and beauties of both earth and heaven.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Responsible Citizenship

To the person or persons leaving comments to my blog in Japanese: I do not read any language besides English and will not approve any comments unless I understand what they say. Please put your comments in English so that I can give them a fair chance of being added to the discussion. Last week I exercised my right to vote when the Municipality of Anchorage held elections. Several positions on the Anchorage Assembly as well as two on the Anchorage School Board were being decided. In recent months I came to the realization that there are many progressives in our local government. I was absolutely stunned to hear one of our assembly members say at an assembly meeting that it was their responsibility to take the wealth from one area of town and redistribute it to the poor areas of town. Those are not her exact words, but they are very close. I was greatly relieved when I understood that she was not seeking re-election! She and five other members of the assembly are known on a local radio show as the "socialist six." One other member of this group was voted out of office this week so there is more hope for our community becoming more stable. Along with getting rid of two progressive members of the assembly, we were able to elect a strong conservative to the school board. Our school system is apparently the most expensive mediocre one in the western states. Half of all the taxes paid to the municipality goes to the school district while the students still suffer from a bloated bureaucracy and large classes. Hopefully, this new conservative voice can help guide our school district to better use of our money. I want to encourage everyone to become registered to vote, become informed in your local issues as well as state and national issues, and then go vote. Remember, elections have consequences! Samuel Adams, one of our Founders, said, "Let each citizen remember at the moment he is offering his vote that he is not making a present or a compliment to please an individual - or at least that he ought not so to do; but that he is executing one of the most solemn trusts in human society for which he is accountable to God and his country" (The Writings of Samuel Adams, Harry Alonzo Cushing, editor [New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1907], Vol. III, PP 236-237, to James Warren on November 4, 1775). Daniel Webster, another Founder, said, "Impress upon the children the truth that the exercise of the elective franchise is a social duty of as solemn a nature as man can be called to perform; that a man may not innocently trifle with his vote; that every elector is a trustee as well for others as himself and that every measure he supports has an important bearing on the interests of others as well as on his own" (The Works of Daniel Webster [Boston: Little, Brown & Co, 1853], Vol. II, p 108, from remarks made at a public reception by the ladies of Richmond, Virginia, on October 5, 1840). These two quotes demonstrate the importance of being informed voters. There were only 16 percent of registered voters who actually voted in our recent election. Many people in town were apparently unaware that an election was being held. We must understand and remember that our local elections for school boards and city leaders are every bit as important as when a mayor, governor, Senator, or President are on the ballet! Our local leaders are the ones who make our local laws and spend our local funds. We must be responsible citizens and insure that they are working for the good of our communities and not working for special interests.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Equal Rights

The principle of liberty for this Freedom Friday is that governments are to provide equal rights but not equal possessions. This principle of freedom tells us that "the people cannot delegate to the government the power to do anything except that which they have the lawful right to do themselves. "For example, every person is entitled to protection of his life and property. Therefore it is perfectly legitimate to delegate to the government the task of setting up a police force to protect the lives and property of all the people" (W. Cleon Skousen, The 5000 Year Leap, p 87). Skousen further explained that no one has the right to take an extra car from one neighbor who has several vehicles and give it to another neighbor who has no car. We all recognize that this is theft if an individual does it; however, there are many people who consider it to be okay for the government to take wealth from one group of people and redistribute it to another group. There is much talk in the world today about the "haves" and the "have nots." Our current President and Congress seem to be intent on redistributing wealth from the "haves" to the "have nots" - regardless of the fact that this is unconstitutional. This is a principle of Marxism, socialism and communism. The Founders were well aware of ideas being practiced in Europe - and they rejected those ideas. The policy of our Founders was to guarantee equal protection of rights for all the people. Using those rights, the people could use their agency to succeed or to fail, but the government would not penalize anyone for succeeding. The Constitution guaranteed that all people had the freedom to become prosperous; it also guaranteed that no one would be forced to remain in poverty. The Founders understood that some people would become rich and some would be poor, but they hoped that the nation as a whole would prosper by maximizing prosperity and minimizing poverty. Using this principle of freedom, Americans soon became the most prosperous, best educated, and most compassionate nation in the world. This happened because the Founders established a government that protected equal rights and didn't provide equal things. Samuel Adams stated, "The utopian schemes of leveling [redistribution of the wealth], and a community of goods [central ownership of all the means of production and distribution], are as visionary and impracticable as those which vest all property in the Crown. [These ideas] are arbitrary, despotic, and, in our government, unconstitutional." (Wells, Life of Samuel Adams, 1:154, as quoted in The 5000 Year Leap.) The fact that the Founders guaranteed the freedom to prosper does not mean that they didn't care about the poor. The Founders understood that helping the poor to help themselves was much better than simply giving handouts. They understood that people gain satisfaction by doing what they can for themselves. There is no authority in the Constitution for the federal government to be involved in charity or welfare. From this omission, we can assume that the Founders expected individuals to accept responsibility for their own needs. When help is needed, the next level of responsibility is the family, followed by the church and the local government. Our federal government has gone far beyond the responsibilities delegated to it in the Constitution. Some examples of unconstitutional programs are Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, Obamacare, and taking over private companies. A breaking news item is that about 50 percent of the people in this nation pay no income tax. In fact, there are examples of people who have received "income tax refunds" larger than the amount of taxes paid. Why would anyone vote to give up free goodies from the government? By usurping authority, the government is turning our country from a nation with the freedom to prosper to one that is dependent on the government. Under federal programs, people no longer feel the responsibility to take care of themselves or the desire to prosper. No one wants to work to achieve and become better when they can obtain money without working. No one wants to achieve just to get slapped down and forced to share their hard-earned wealth. Under the programs of our current President and Congress, all Americans will become poor because there will be no wealth to redistribute. We must stop them from establishing more entitlement programs and insist that they trim or eliminate the ones we already have. The only way that we can achieve this goal is to vote the free-loading progressives out of office and elect people who will legislate and govern according to the Constitution.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Monroe Doctrine

The Monroe Doctrine was proclaimed by President James Monroe on December 2, 1823 when he delivered a message to Congress. This doctrine supported the independent nations of the Western Hemisphere against any interference from Europe "for the purpose of oppressing them, or controlling in any other manner their destiny." According to this doctrine, the American Continents were "henceforth not to be considered as subjects for future colonization by any European powers." This statement made clear the United States would not allow new colonies to be created in the Americas nor would it permit existing colonies to enlarge their borders. The countries of Russia, Austria and Prussia were the three leading absolute monarchies in Europe and had pledged themselves to "put an end to the system of representative government, in whatever country it may exist in Europe." The United States feared that these three powers might try to do the same in the Americas. Most of the Spanish colonies in America declared independence while Spain was involved in the Napoleonic Wars in Europe. As they became independent, they formed themselves into republics with constitutions resembling that of the United States. Brazil chose to keep its monarchy when it became independent from Portugal. There was a rumor that France might join the Holy Alliance (Russia, Austria and Prussia) in an attempt to restore the Spanish colonies. This rumor bothered both Great Britain and the United States. There was some discussion about issuing a joint warning against aggression by European nations in the Americas. Thomas Jefferson and James Madison favored the joint warning. Jefferson said, "With Great Britain on our side, we need not fear the whole world." John Quincy Adams argued that the United States should make an individual warning because Great Britain would prevent European interference whether or not they had an agreement with the United States. The United States would thus have the advantage of a joint agreement without actually having an agreement. An American declaration would apply to Great Britain as well as other European countries. Monroe decided to have America make a declaration by itself. Britain wanted to protect its right to trade with all the American colonies and feared that their trade would be limited or eliminated if Spain and/or France took over the colonies. Fear of the British Navy protected the rights of the smaller American nations more than the Monroe Doctrine did until the late 1800's except right after the Civil War when the United States Army and Navy were still strong. The United States began in the 1880's to enlarge its new Navy of modern steel ships and had enough power to enforce the Monroe Doctrine. Great Britain and other countries ignored the doctrine until the 1890's. In some ways the Monroe Doctrine weakened the relationships between the United States and Latin American countries. The very nations that were being protected resented the United States for assuming superiority over them. The United States used the Monroe Doctrine only a few times during the 1800's: in 1845 in a dispute with Great Britain over Oregon; in the 1860's when France intervened in Mexico; a threat in 1895 against Great Britain if the British would not arbitrate their dispute with Venezuela. President Theodore Roosevelt claimed that the Monroe Doctrine required the United States to stop European nations from interfering. Using this policy the United States sent troops to the Dominican Republic in 1905, into Nicaragua in 1912, and into Haiti in 1915. President Woodrow Wilson continued Roosevelt's policy when he interfered in a Mexican revolution. President Herbert Hoover made a tour of South America before taking office in 1929, and the Hoover Administration moved away from the policy of United States intervention in Latin America. President Franklin D. Roosevelt abandoned the practice of intervening and sought to expand trade with Latin America countries as well as to gain their cooperation in defending North and South America from countries outside the Western Hemisphere. Armed Forces from the United States were gradually withdrawn from the smaller American countries during the Hoover and Roosevelt years. The American republics became closer during World War II from fear of Nazi aggression. The Organization of American States was set up in 1948 in Bogotá, Columbia. The Monroe Doctrine is not the same as isolationism (staying out of international political and economic affairs). It was George Washington who suggested in his Farewell Address that the United States should stay out of European affairs. The Monroe Doctrine states that the United States will play an active role in what happens in the Western Hemisphere. Facts and quotes for this post came from an article by Mark T. Gilderhus in the World Book Encyclopedia, Vol. 13, pp 739-740.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Obamacare Nightmare

Our nation endured a year-long debate about health care. It would be nice if the debate were over when Congress passed Obamacare, but it isn't over and won't be over for a long time. The nightmare continues! According to Politico the fight is just beginning. Polls show that 50 percent of Americans are against the new law. Most Americans believe the new law will cause our health care system to get worse as well as the quality of health care and health insurance coverage to get worse. Polls also show that most Americans think the law will weaken Medicare and increase health care cost as well as the federal deficit. Leftist groups plan to spend millions of dollars trying to sell the health care plan to Americans. Barack Obama plans to spend even more time - if that is possible - explaining the benefits to Americans. Meanwhile Fortune 500 firms are announcing that Obamacare will cost them millions of dollars: Caterpillar $100 million, Deere & Co $150 million; AK steel $31 million; 3M $90 million; Valero Energy $20 million and AT&T $1 billion. The leftists in Congress became angry at the employers for warning investors about the costs of Obamacare. The timing of their announcements was especially bad for leftists because they are just beginning their hard sell to Americans. Does it surprise anyone that Henry Waxman, Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee sent letters to the companies demanding proof? The hearings in Congress are probably more than what the CEO's should have to endure, but it will get more information about Obamacare out to the American public. This is a good thing because the more we understand about Obamacare, the more we don't like it! Obamacare is a national nightmare that goes on and on. Hopefully, the American citizens will see it for what it is and elect new members of Congress who will repeal the law, repair all its damages, and end the nightmare forever. Thanks to Conn Carroll for the ideas and information for this post.

Monday, April 12, 2010

James Monroe

James Monroe (1758-1831) was born in Westmoreland County, Virginia, on April 28, 1758. His father's family was Scottish and settled in Virginia in the mid-1600s. His mother's family came from Wales and had lived in Virginia for many years. James was the eldest of our sons and one daughter. James was tutored at home until age 12 and went to a school taught by a parson until he entered the College of William and Mary at age 16. He did not stay at the college long before he entered the army during the Revolutionary War. He was commissioned as a lieutenant at age 18 and fought at Harlem Heights and White Plains in 1776. He was wounded in the shoulder in the Battle of Trenton but praised by his superiors for his gallantry. He fought at Brandywine, Germantown and Monmouth during the next couple of years. He was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel in 1778 and sent to raise troops in Virginia where he met Thomas Jefferson, the governor of the state. Monroe studied law under Jefferson and became one of his political followers as well as becoming a friend for life. Monroe served in the Virginia Assembly (1782) and the Congress of the Confederation (1783-85). He practiced law in Fredericksburg, Virginia, in 1786 but went back to politics when he was elected to the Virginia Assembly where he served for another four years. He served in the Virginia convention to ratify the United States Constitution in 1788. He distrusted a strong federal government but accepted ratification. Monroe married 17-year-old Elizabeth Kortright, daughter of a New York City merchant, in 1786. They were blessed with two daughters and one son, but the son died at age 2. Monroe admired Thomas Jefferson so much that he moved to Charlottesville, Virginia, in 1789 where he built Ash Lawn not far from Jefferson's Monticello. Monroe lost a campaign for the first United States House of Representatives against James Madison. In 1790 he was elected to fill a vacancy in the United States Senate. Along with Madison in the House and Jefferson as secretary of state, Monroe was vigorous in opposing the Federalist program of Alexander Hamilton. The three Virginians were among the group who founded the Democratic-Republican Party, which is believed to have developed into the modern-day Democratic Party. Monroe was appointed by George Washington in 1794 as minister to France with the belief that he could improve relations with France. He was recalled by Washington after expressing criticism about the Jay Treaty between America and Britain. Soon after returning from France, he was nearly in a duel with Hamilton because of a personal problem between them. Monroe was elected governor of Virginia in 1799 and played an important role in preserving the democratic process during a series of problems in the nation at that time. President Thomas Jefferson sent Monroe to Paris in early 1803 to assist in the purchase of New Orleans. Before Monroe arrived in France, Napoleon offered the entire Louisiana Territory to Robert R. Livingston. Monroe urged Livingston to accept without waiting for approval from Jefferson. The President was so pleased with Monroe's willingness to make that decision that he sent him to Madrid to help with the purchase of Florida from Spain. The purchase of Florida failed, but the President sent Monroe to Great Britain as minister. Monroe was a reluctant candidate to succeed Jefferson as President. After Madison was elected, Monroe served in the Virginia Assembly until being elected governor in 1811. He served there only three months before resigning to become Madison's secretary of state. He tried to solve the problem of Great Britain impressing American sailors but concluded that war could not be avoided. Monroe wanted to be in control of the Army when the War of 1812 started, but Madison convinced him to stay in the Cabinet. Madison asked Monroe to be both secretary of state and secretary of war after the previous secretary of war was forced to resign during the burning of Washington, D.C. He remained in both offices for the remainder of the war and gained in popularity after the American armies won several victories. While still serving as secretary of state, he was elected President in 1816. Monroe's Administration is known as "the era of good feeling." After the election of 1816, the Federalist Party nearly disappeared as most people joined the Democratic-Republican Party. The country prospered except for a temporary setback caused by a depression in 1818-1819. The major issue for Monroe was the "American System," which Monroe distrusted. He doubted that the federal government had the power to build new roads and canals to open the West and/or to enact a protective tariff to encourage manufacturers and develop home sales. The White House was burned by the British during the War of 1812 and was not ready for occupancy until nine months after Monroe became President. He and Mrs. Monroe held a public open house to officially celebrate the reopening of the White House on New Year's Day, 1818. Congress agreed on the Missouri Compromise, which permitted slavery in Missouri but banned it in the rest of the Louisiana Territory. Monroe refused to sign the bill because it placed special restraints on Missouri becoming a state. Bands of Indians in Spanish Florida harassed Americans in Georgia after the War of 1812. Monroe sent Major General Andrew Jackson to put down the rebellion. Jackson and his militia chased the Indians into the Everglades of Florida and captured Pensacola, the Spanish capital of Florida. The Spanish were convinced by this action that they could not defend Florida and agreed to sell it to the United States in 1819 in return for canceling $5 million in American claims against Spain. Monroe was unopposed for the presidency in 1820 and received every vote in the electoral college except one for John Quincy Adams. While the Spaniards were involved in affairs in Europe during the Napoleonic Wars, their colonies in the Western Hemisphere declared independence from Spain, which aroused great sympathy in the United States. Monroe recommended they be recognized in March 1822. He proclaimed the Monroe Doctrine in a message to Congress in December 1823. This doctrine is still a basic American policy. At the time that Monroe finished his two terms in office, there was no outstanding person to replace him. Four men vied for the office, but none won a majority of votes. The House of Representatives chose John Quincy Adams. Monroe retired to Oak Hill, his estate near Leesburg, Virginia. He was a regent for the University of Virginia for five years and became presiding officer at the Virginia Constitutional Convention in 1829. Mrs. Monroe died in 1830 and was buried at Oak Hill. Monroe was a poor man by then and too old to resume his law practice. He was forced to move to New York City to live with his daughter in late 1830. He died there on July 4, 1831. In 1858 his remains were moved to Hollywood Cemetery in Richmond. His law office in Fredericksburg was preserved as a memorial. Facts for this post came from an article by Ralph Ketcham in the World Book Encyclopedia, Vol. 13, pp 734-738.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Temporary Representatives

The writers of the United States Constitution provided in Article I.2.3, "As a temporary expedient until the first census is taken, each state is entitled to a specified number of Representatives." This provision was merely a temporary procedure to insure that each state had at least one Representative in Congress. The Founders took a calculated guess as to what the population was in each state and assigned a certain number of Representatives. Virginia (10), Massachusetts (8), and Pennsylvania (8) had the most Representatives while Rhode Island (1), Delaware (1), New Hampshire (3), and Georgia (3) had the least.

Saturday, April 10, 2010


Priesthood is the eternal power and authority of God. He uses His power to perform His work. The earth, the heavens and the entire universe and beyond were created through the power of the priesthood, and they are kept in perfect order by the same power. Heavenly Father delegates His priesthood power to worthy men on earth. With the power and authority of the priesthood, these men are enabled to act in God's name to bless the human family. With the priesthood, men are authorized to preach the gospel, administer the ordinances of salvation and govern God's kingdom on earth. Priesthood authority is necessary to act in the name of God in performing baptisms, confirmations, and temple marriages and in administering the sacrament. Even though a man may be sincere, the Lord will not recognize ordinances he performs if he does not have priesthood authority. Priesthood ordinances must be performed on earth by men holding proper priesthood authority. Priesthood power and authority are also required for presiding in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and to direct the work of the Church. Jesus Christ chose His Apostles and ordained them while He lived on earth. He gave them the power and authority to act in His name and to lead His Church. Priesthood is also needed on the earth so that we can understand God's will and do His work. God reveals His will to His prophets. The current prophet serves as President of the Church and also as God's spokesman for all people in the world. The order for receiving the priesthood was given in the days of Moses. Hebrew 5:4 says, "And no man taketh this honour unto himself, but he that is called of God, as was Aaron." Moses was Aaron's priesthood leader and ordained him in the priesthood. In the same way, a worthy male of the Church receives the priesthood "by the laying on of hands by those who are in authority, to preach the Gospel and administer in the ordinances thereof" (Article of Faith 1:5). Men cannot take priesthood authority on themselves nor can they buy and sell this power and authority. The priesthood is here upon the earth to bless the lives of God's children and should be exercised in love, kindness and righteousness. Righteous priesthood holders who use the priesthood to bless others are promised great blessings. Every man who righteously exercises the priesthood "will find his life sweetened, his discernment sharpened to decide quickly between right and wrong, his feelings tender and compassionate, yet his spirit strong and valiant in defense of right; he will find the priesthood a never failing source of happiness - a well of living water springing up unto eternal life" (David O. McKay, Teachings of Presidents of the Church: David O. McKay, [2003], 116). There are two divisions in the priesthood: the Melchizedek Priesthood and the Aaronic Priesthood. The Melchizedek Priesthood was named for Melchizedek, a great high priest, to avoid using the name of Christ too frequently. The lesser priesthood, known as the Aaronic Priesthood, is an appendage to the Melchizedek Priesthood. It was conferred on Aaron and his sons throughout all their generations and thus bears his name. Melchizedek Priesthood holders have the power and authority to lead the Church, direct missionary work worldwide, and administer all the spiritual work of the Church. The President of the Church is the presiding high priest over the Melchizedek priesthood. Holders of the Aaronic Priesthood have authority to administer the outward ordinances of baptism and the sacrament.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Breast Feeding

I remember a time when the act of breast feeding a baby was considered old fashioned. At the time that my own children were infants, breast feeding was not common although I knew a number of women who did breast feed their babies. I do not remember the reason or reasons why I chose to nurse my babies, but I have many reasons to feel good about my choice. The latest reason came from an Associated Press article written by Lindsey Tanner and printed in the Anchorage Times on April 5, 2010. In her article, Tanner wrote: "The lives of nearly 900 babies would be saved each year, along with billions of dollars, if 90 percent of U.S. women breast-fed their babies for the first six months of life, a cost analysis says." Those results came from the on-line journal Pediatrics and are only an estimate of the savings possible. The article suggests that breast feeding may help prevent stomach viruses, ear infections, asthma, juvenile diabetes, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome and even childhood leukemia. It is apparent from this article that breast feeding has progressed from a life style choice of my time to a public health issue now. Some of the benefits provided by breast milk are: "… contains antibodies that help babies fight infections; can affect insulin levels in the blood, which may make breast-fed babies less likely to develop diabetes and obesity." About 12 percent of mothers follow the governmental guidelines for breast feeding, which recommend that "babies receive only breast milk for six months." About 43 percent of all mothers breast feed, wholly or partially, for six months. Mothers who do not breast feed at all or for shorter periods of time should not be blamed or feel guilty. Motherhood is not only the most important career, but it is also the most challenging career. Mothers who must work outside the home have an even more difficult road to travel. If you are doing the best that you know how to do for your baby, you are doing well! I simply want you to remember that this information is good to have for future babies or to share with other expectant mothers. All mothers need all the help possible! I nursed my babies for about four months, but I don't feel guilty about stopping. I was doing the best I could at the time with the knowledge I had. I would have nursed all of them longer if I had known then what I know now. I am very pleased that all of my grandchildren have been nursed and most of them for longer than six months! Mothers can expect more assistance in the future to insure that additional babies are breast fed. The federal government in their "new health care overhaul requires large employers to provide private places for working mothers to pump milk." In addition, a hospital accrediting agency may evaluate hospitals "on their efforts to ensure that newborns are fed only breast milk before they're sent home." As with everything that is important, new mothers may still have to insist on support from hospitals and/or employers for their quest to breast feed.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Created Equal

The liberty principle for this Freedom Friday is "all men are created equal." As you know, this statement was just one of the "self-evident truths" included in the Declaration of Independence. The fact that we are created equal does not mean that we were created the same. No two humans are created exactly alike. We are individuals with our own talents and abilities, our own likes and dislikes, and our own strengths and weaknesses. W. Cleon Skousen explained that all men are created in three different ways: "They can only be treated as equals in the sight of God, in the sight of the law, and in the protection of their rights. In these three ways all men are created equal. It is the task of society, as it is with God, to accept people in all their vast array of individual differences, but treat them as equals when it comes to their role as human beings" (The 5000 Year Leap, p 79). Skousen later explained that the "goal of society is to provide 'equal justice,' which means protecting the rights of the people equally" (p 80). He continued by explaining that Americans have the equal right to vote for whom we choose, to obtain education, to compete for a job, to enjoy freedom of religion, speech, press, etc., to pay our fair share of the taxes and to save, prosper and pass on our possessions to our heirs, and many other Rights. Being created equal and receiving equal justice does not insure that we remain equal. Those people who work harder and smarter usually move ahead of those who are lazy and do dumb things. Some people have a natural ability to recognize a great opportunity, and some of those people have the smarts to seize the opportunities that come their way. Some people are willing to make the necessary sacrifices to gain education, and some are not. People with education usually are further ahead than people without education. The fact that there are rich and famous people from every ethnic group shows that there is equal justice in our nation. I know that some of you will say something like, "What about the minorities?" Skousen explained, "… there is not a single ethnic group in the United States but what has been treated at one time or another as a minority, or less than first-class citizens. "The story of minorities in the United States is a fascinating tale. Beginning with the French in the 1500s and the English in the 1600s (and the Dutch, Germans, Swedes, Scots, and Irish in between), it was one grand conglomerate of tension, discrimination, malice, and sometimes outright persecution. But the miracle of it all is the fact that they fought side by side for freedom in the Revolutionary War, and all of them could boast of descendants in the White House or the Congress as the years passed by. So all of this became America - a nation of minorities" (p 82). The Founders tried to establish equality with the Constitution and established the procedures to amend the Constitution as needed. The Thirteenth Amendment established freedom for everyone by abolishing slavery. The Fourteenth Amendment established that all citizens had the rights of citizens including all former slaves. The Fifteenth Amendment established that the right to vote could not be denied from citizens because of their race, color, or previous condition of slavery. The Nineteenth Amendment established that the right to vote could not be denied anyone because of sex. There have been many times in the history of the United States when evil people in powerful positions denied constitutional rights and freedoms from various groups of people. My own great-grandparents moved from Kirtland, Ohio, to Far West, Missouri, to Nauvoo, Illinois, to the Great Salt Lake Valley in order to escape persecution and threats from residents of those areas. Some members of their church were killed; others left homes that had been set on fire; still others walked away from comfortable homes for the sake of safety. Their freedom to worship as they chose was not protected by either the state or the federal government. This persecution took place simply because they were members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, commonly called Mormons. Finally, they reached a place where they could truly enjoy their freedoms. Believe me when I say that I am very aware of persecution and troubles in our nation. It is important to remember that these injustices happened because rights and freedoms were denied by evil people and NOT because our nation is evil. Our Founders created a government for people who are moral and lawful. This means that it is our responsibility to be good and upright citizens of our nation. We must understand that the Founders knew the difference between equal rights and equality in other areas. They knew that our nation could provide equal opportunity, equal rights, equal protection, and equal freedoms. This does not mean that they expected equal results, equal possessions, equal status, or equal grades. They understood that people would be materially equal only if, when and as long as the government forced equality. God gave us agency, and He inspired the Founders who recognized that all men are created equal.. Our Founders wrote our Constitution to protect our rights and freedoms. We all have the freedom to prosper or to fail. The choice is ours!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

White House

The White House is the official residence of the President of the United States who lives and works in the world-famous mansion. In addition to being the living quarters of the President and the President's family, the White House contains offices where the President and staff members conduct official business. The White House with its 132 rooms is located on a beautifully landscaped 18-acre plot of land at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. The south lawn, sometimes referred to as the President's Park, has many trees and shrubs planted by former Presidents. The White House, sometimes referred to as the Executive Mansion or the President's House, is a popular tourist attraction and draws more than 1 million visitors each year. Tours are available to the public Tuesday through Saturday between 10:00 a.m. and noon. Tourists desiring to take the special tours should contact members of Congress for tickets. The main part of the White House is 175 feet long and 85 feet high. The main entrance, a square portico (porch) faces north. An entrance on the south side is a wide curved portico with columns two stories high. There are two long, low galleries on each side of the main building. These galleries are each covered with a terraced roof, which forms a promenade on the first floor. At the ends of the terraces are the east and west wings. The west wing or executive wing holds the offices of the President and staff and the Cabinet room. The east wing has offices for military aides to the President. Public tours of the White House enter through the east wing and usually include only five rooms on the first floor: 1) The State Dining Room is located on the west end of the main building. It can accommodate about 140 guests. It was remodeled in 1902. 2) The Red Room walls are covered with red silk. This room is furnished in the style of the 1810-1830 period of time. 3) The Blue Room is the main reception room for the President's guests. The style in this oval room represents the 1817-1825 time period. Much of the furniture in this room was ordered by President James Monroe who lived in the White House during that period of time. 4) The Green Room walls are covered with light green silk moiré. Its décor is in the 1800-1814 style. 5) The East Room is the largest room in the White House, measuring 79 feet long and nearly 37 feet wide. This is the room where guests are entertained following formal dinners. It was remodeled in 1902 and is located at the end of the first floor. Other rooms on the ground floor include the Diplomatic Reception Room (used as the entrance for formal functions), kitchen, library, and offices of the White House physician and curator. Many of the other rooms in the mansion are used every day by the President, the President's family, their guests, and their staff. The living quarters for the President and family are located on the second floor. This floor also contains the Lincoln Bedroom, Treaty Room, and Queen's Room. The third floor has rooms for guests and staff quarters. The White House also has a private bowling alley, swimming pool, and movie theater. The original White House was begun in 1792. President and Mrs. John Adams moved into the White House in 1800 before it was completed. The Adams had many inconveniences, including hanging the family laundry in the East Room. During the Administration of Thomas Jefferson, the White House became more beautiful and comfortable. It was during his occupancy that the terraces were added at the east and west ends. President James Madison and his wife Dolley were forced to flee when British forces burned the White House on August 24, 1814, during the War of 1812. The White House was later rebuilt, and President and Mrs. James Monroe moved into it in 1817. The north and south porticos were added in the 1820's. The White House was repaired during the Administration of President Theodore Roosevelt. The east terrace was rebuilt and the executive wing was added to the west terrace. During the occupancy of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, the west wing was enlarged and an indoor swimming pool was built. The east wing was enlarged also. During the Administration of Harry S. Truman (1948-1952), there were extensive repairs made to the White House, and the dangerously weakened building was strengthened with concrete and steel. The third floor became a full third story, and a second-story balcony was added to the south portico for a private area for the President. The basement was also enlarged. These changes brought the total number of rooms from 125 to 132. During the Administration of John F. Kennedy, Mrs. Jacqueline Kennedy endured much criticism in 1961 when she appointed a Fine Arts Committee to restore the White House interior to its original appearance. This included the historical rooms visited by the public, which were basically unchanged until this time. Other major historical changes took place during the Administration of Richard M. Nixon when Mrs. Patricia Nixon continued Mrs. Kennedy's efforts to restore the White House interior to an early 1800's theme. Facts for this post came from an article by Clement Ellis Conger in the World Book Encyclopedia, Vol. 21, pp. 288-292.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Obama's Big Energy Lie

Barack Obama recently announced "an expansion of offshore oil and gas exploration" in some areas off the coasts of the United States to "sustain economic growth and produce jobs" . I do not trust the man; neither do I believe what he says. It appears that I am joined by many other people who don't believe what he says. Here are some quotes from newspapers across the nation. 1) The Los Angeles Times : "President Obama … unveiled a controversial offshore drilling plan Wednesday that was driven largely by the politics of his agenda on energy and climate change - not by hopes of changing the nation's energy supply." 2) The Washington Post : "President Obama's decision … reflects a high-stakes calculation by the White House: splitting the difference on the most contentious energy issues could help secure a bipartisan climate deal this year." 3) The New York Times : "The proposal is also intended to … help win political support for comprehensive energy and climate legislation." In a report posted on April 1, 2010, Conn Carroll wrote, "In fact, if anything, the policies announced by President Obama yesterday will actually decrease and delay future U.S. oil production. The President actually canceled four lease sales off the Alaska coast that were planned to begin producing oil within the next two years, delayed a planned lease off Virginia until at least 2012, and placed some areas off limits for at least seven years. Go back and look at President Obama's actual announcement again: he only promised new exploration off the Atlantic coast. There is absolutely no guarantee that any new drilling will ever occur…." Carroll explained that President Obama must have a different agenda than actually developing new energy sources that would create more private sector jobs as well as needed revenues for both the states and the nation. He pointed out that we only need to listen to other members of the Obama Administration in order to understand what their true goals are. He quoted Energy Secretary Steven Chu as stating, "Somehow we have to figure out how to boost the price of gasoline to the levels in Europe." Carroll wrote that "Europeans were paying $8 a gallon for gas at the pump" at the time that Chu made that statement. Carroll also pointed out that the Obama Administration has taken actions in other parts of the nation to curtail energy production and to increase regulation of carbon emissions. He suggested that all these actions being taken by the Obama Administration are all part of the plan to get a cap and trade bill passed. After fighting Obama and the Congress for a year to keep Obamacare from being forced on us, we must recognize that they do not have the good of America at heart. The progressives who are now in control of our nation are continuing with their evil plan to enslave Americans. They told us that they wanted to "fundamentally transform America" - and they are in the process of doing it!

Monday, April 5, 2010

John Adams

John Adams (1735-1826) played a leading role in the early years of our nation. He was a leader in opposing British colonial policies in America, starting when the British Parliament passed the Stamp Act in 1765. He called the Boston Tea Party "the most magnificent movement of all" (December 16, 1773). He was a delegate from Massachusetts to the First Continental Congress (1774). He was active in the adoption of the Declaration of Independence and signed the historic document (1776). He was elected as commissioner to France to negotiate a treaty of alliance (1777). He obtained recognition of American independence from the Netherlands (1780-1782). He served on the commission that negotiated peace with Great Britain (1782-1783). He was appointed minister to Great Britain (1785). He returned to the United States just prior to being elected to serve as Vice President of the United States (1789) and was re-elected Vice President in 1792. He was elected President of the United States in 1796. John Adams was born October 30, 1735, in Braintree (now Quincy), Massachusetts. His father, also named John Adams, was a farmer, a deacon in his church, and a militia officer. His mother, Susanna, was from a leading family of merchants and physicians. The family farm was at the foot of Penn's Hill. The house where John was born is now a memorial and is close to the place where his great-great-grandfather, Henry Adams, settled before 1640. Henry came to America from Somersetshire, England, as one of the thousands of Puritans escaping religious persecution in their homeland. John helped with chores on the farm and studied hard in the village school. He graduated from Harvard College in 1755, with the social - not academic - rank of 14 out of 24 students. He apparently was one of the best scholars in the group. John taught school for a short time before studying law. He started practicing law in Braintree in 1758 and moved to Boston ten years later where he became a leading attorney. John was short and stout with a ruddy complexion. He tended to be blunt, impatient, and vane and made more enemies than friends, but those who knew him well loved him for his genial, affectionate, and playful nature. He married Abigail Smith in 1764. She was the daughter of a minister. She did snot receive much public schooling but read widely and became one of the most informed women of her day. Abigail and John apparently had a very happy marriage and wrote many letters to each other during their many separations. Abigail's letters to John were published in 1840 and provide colorful pictures of life in colonial times. The Adams' oldest son, John Quincy Adams, was elected as the sixth President of the United States the year before his father died. They had a total of five children: Abigail, John Quincy, Susanna (died in infancy), Charles (died while his father was President), and Thomas. Just prior to the end of the Administration of President Adams, his family moved into the unfinished White House, which stood alone in a swampy landscape. In a letter from Abigail Adams to her sister, she wrote, "As I expected to find it a new country, with houses scattered over a space of 10 miles, and trees and stumps in plenty with a castle of a house - so I found it." There were about six rooms in the White House which were finished. Abigail used the East Room to dry her laundry because there was no other place yet provided for it. Because the White House was unfinished, the Adams struggled to hold social functions. They felt a great responsibility as the first occupants of the White House to set a proper social tone for in the home of the President of the United States. Because she admired social engagements of Martha Washington, Abigail tried to follow her example. During the Administration of Adams, the government faced many domestic problems as well as an unsettled situation in Europe. Adams could not count on support from his own party or his Cabinet because there was great disagreement over foreign policy. Adams was part of the more moderate members of the Federalist Party, and Alexander Hamilton led the other group. Most of the problems faced by President Adams were caused by the French Revolution. Adams insisted that the United States remain neutral in case of war in Europe, but this position was difficult to maintain due to the fact that European warships attacked ships from America. Both England and France claimed the right to seize American ships, and the United States was forced to defend itself. The United States launched several new warships, including the Constitution ("Old Ironsides"). Thomas Jefferson and his party sympathized with the French people because they likened the French Revolution to the Revolutionary War in America. They wanted to give support to the French people, but the group of Federalists headed by Hamilton demanded a war against France. The Federalist Party split over the issue of war or neutrality - an irreparable split which later cost Adams a second term as President. Adams was determined to maintain peace and send commissions to France. Even though this bold act cost him the support of his party, he believed that avoiding war was his most important achievement. Hamilton criticized Adams for not fighting France, and his arguments convinced many Federalist voters. The Democratic-Republicans criticized Adams for his hostility toward France. In the 1800 election, Thomas Jefferson and Aaron Burr each received 73 electoral votes while Adams received only 65. The election was decided by the House of Representation. The seat of government moved from Philadelphia to Washington, D.C. in June 1800, and Congress began meeting there in November 1800. Adams was still making appointments on his last day in office. The appointment of John Marshall as chief justice of the United States Supreme Court was one of his most important. History has shown that Adams was right in the great decisions of his political life. Adams left the White House just before he turned 66 years old. He grieved over his defeat and left Washington, D.C., prior to Jefferson's inauguration. He returned to his home in Quincy where he studied history, philosophy, and religion. Some the historical events that happened during the time of Adams are as follows: 1) The first woolen mills began operating in Massachusetts. 2) Congress established the Department of the Navy and the Marine Corps. 3) Johnny Appleseed wandered through Ohio and Indiana, planting apple seeds and preaching the Bible. 4) A group of shoemakers in Philadelphia organized the first labor strike in 1799 when they refused to work for nine days until they received higher wages. 5) Napoleon became the First Consul of France in 1799 to begin his reign as dictator. 6) The Library of Congress was established in 1800 when Congress appropriated $5,000 to buy books and to furnish a room in the Capitol to house the library. 7) In 1800 France secretly reacquired Louisiana from Spain, but the United States learn of the transaction until the following year. John Adams and Thomas Jefferson met in congress in 1775 and became good friends. Their friendship cooled after 1790 because of their different ideas about the French Revolution. After they both retired from political life, they forgot their quarrels and renewed their friendship. These two great Americans, one of the North and one from the South, both signed the Declaration of Independence. They both died on July 4, 1826. Not knowing that Jefferson had already died, Adams' last words were: "Thomas Jefferson still survives." Adams died four months prior to his 91st birthday and was buried in Quincy, Mass. Facts for this post came from an article by James H. Hutson in World Book Encyclopedia, Vol. 1, pp 34-39.