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.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Inhabitant of State

Provision 15 of the United States Constitution is found in Article I.2.2: "A person cannot be elected to the House of Representatives unless he is an inhabitant of that state which he will be representing." This provision says that people had the Right to be represented by someone who lives in the same state. When Robert Kennedy of Massachusetts and later Hilary Clinton of Arkansas wanted to run for office in New York, they each had to become an "inhabitant" of New York to be qualified. Apparently, the original word was resident, and it was changed to "inhabitant" in order to cause less "misconstruction." In the beginning, Representatives from each state were to be elected by a state-wide vote. In 1842 the state legislatures were required by Congress to divide their states into congressional districts. They anticipated that this requirement would bring better and fairer representation because people would have a greater voice as to who should represent them. The thought was that the Representatives should be as much like the people they represent as possible. I think that a simple explanation would suffice to teach this principle to your family. It is fairly easy to understand that a Texas would understand better the needs of Texans than someone from Alaska or Virginia would.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Holy Ghost

When Adam and Eve left the Garden of Eden, they began to till the soil and perform other work to provide for their daily needs. They had many sons and daughters. Soon the sons and daughters were marrying and having children of their own. In this way, they were providing bodies for Heavenly Father's spirit children. As the spirit children left Heavenly Father's presence, the memories of living with God left them - but hey were not left alone. Heavenly Father sent the Holy Ghost to comfort, help and guide His children. Adam and Eve prayed and taught their children to pray. Heavenly Father spoke to them and gave them commandments. They were obedient. An angel came to tech them about the plan of salvation, and the Holy Ghost came to testify of the Father and the Son and to teach them the gospel. (See Moses 5:4-9.) Our needs for guidance from God are no different than those of Adam and Eve. Only our circumstances are different. This is the reason why the Holy Ghost visits men, women and children today. The Holy Ghost is a "personage of Spirit" (Doctrine and Covenants 130:22) and is a member of the Godhead. (See 1 John 5:7; Doctrine and Covenants 20:28.) He can be in only one place at a time, but His influence can be everywhere at the same time. The Godhead is composed of Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost. They are one in purpose although they each have an important assignment in the plan of salvation. Heavenly Father is our Father and ruler. Jesus Christ is our Savior and Redeemer. The Holy Ghost is the comforter, revealer, and testifier of all truth. The Holy Ghost is the messenger for our Heavenly Father and is a special gift from Him to us. The mission of the Holy Ghost is to bear witness of Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ and of the truth of all things. We are promised, "By the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things" (Moroni 10:5). The Savior taught, "And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent" (John 17:3). It is by the power of the Holy Ghost that we can know that Jesus is the Christ and that we can understand and live the gospel of Jesus Christ. When the Holy Ghost bears testimony, He does it with such power that there can be no doubt that He is revealing truth. President Joseph Field Smith said, "When a man has the manifestation from the Holy Ghost, it leaves an indelible impression on his soul, one that is not easily erased. It is Spirit speaking to spirit, and it comes with convincing force. A manifestation of an angel, or even the Son of God himself, would impress the eye and mind, and eventually become dimmed, but the impressions of the Holy Ghost sink deeper into the soul and are more difficult to erase" (Answers to Gospel Questions, comp. Joseph Fielding Smith, Jr., 5 Vol. [1957-66], 2:151). President Smith also said, "Through the Holy Ghost the truth is woven into the very fiber and sinews of the body so that it cannot be forgotten" (Doctrine of Salvation, comp. Bruce R. McConkie, 3 Vol. [1954-56], 1:48). I have felt the presence of the Holy Ghost many times during my life. He has comforted me many times. He has revealed information and confirmed much knowledge. I know that He is real, and I am grateful each and every time He comes to me.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Sincere Prayer

Sincere prayer has the power to strengthen individuals, families, communities, and nations. Think of the combined strength our nation would have if every person had sincere prayer every morning and every night. We would be even stronger if everyone prayed unceasingly. Think of the added strength if every family had daily family prayer. Elder Bruce R. McConkie (1915-85) of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles taught, "Prayer changes our lives. Through it we draw near to the Lord, and he reaches out his finger and touches us, so we never again are the same. Prayer is a great tower of strength, a pillar of unending righteousness, a mighty force that moves mountains and saves souls" ("Patterns of Prayer," Ensign, May 1984, 32). Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles said, "Every honest and sincere prayer adds another piece to chain-mail armor…. One of the most important ways to clothe yourselves in the armor of God is to make sure that prayer - earnest, sincere, consistent prayer - is part of your daily lives" ("Be Strong in the Lord," Ensign, July 2004, 10). Prayer is humbly acknowledging that God is our Father and that Jesus Christ is our Savior and Redeemer. Prayer is sincerely and humbly confessing our sins and transgressions and requesting forgiveness. Prayer shows our recognition of our need for help. Prayer is showing our appreciation and gratitude to our Creator. Prayer is asking for specific blessings from God. President James E. Faust (1920-2007), Second Counselor in the First Presidency, taught, "… Sincere prayers come from the heart…." ("The Lifeline of Prayer," Ensign, May 2002, 59-60). When we want blessings from God we must be willing to exert some effort to receive those blessings. Prayer is a type of work and should take some effort. After our "amen," we must e willing to continue acting upon those things we requested from God. We must also put our faith and trust in God as well as believe in God, believe that He is there and will help us. President Thomas S. Monson said, "If any of us has been slow to hearken to the counsel to pray always, there is no finer hour to begin than now" ("A Royal Priesthood," Ensign, Nov. 2007, 61). We live in troubled times - times when good is called evil and evil is called good. We live in perilous times when we need to know the right thing to do for our own safety and the safety of our families. Now more than ever, we need enlightenment from God. Sincere prayer is a means given by God that we can call down the powers of heaven to help us survive these last days. I am truly grateful for the opportunity to ask God for help and the knowledge that I can do so. Go here for a beautiful prayer.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Missile Defense

The question has been asked: Are President Obama's policies putting America in harm's way? According to the United States Constitution, one of the federal government's most important roles is to "provide for the common defense." I believe that President Obama and the liberal congressional leadership are failing to provide proper defense for our nation. President Obama and the leaders in Congress are apparently not taking the threats of our enemies seriously. They were apparently not listening when Mahmoud Ahmadinejad led his fanatics in chanting "Death to America." Maybe they didn't think he was serious when he swore, "The wave of the Islamist revolution will soon reach the entire world." I, for one, believe that America should be listening to our enemies - the leaders of rogue states and the stateless terrorists they are arming - when they threaten us and our allies. President Obama has said that he will not fund an anti-missile system capable of defending us against long-range missile attacks - even though it would cost just two percent of the annual defense budget. He said this in spite of a present and growing danger as indicated by the following knowledge: 1) The proliferation of nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles to rogue states poses a grave danger to the lives of all Americans; 2) The anti-American president of Venezuela is buying ballistic missiles from the Russians; 3) North Korea is currently developing a long-range missile that could soon carry a nuclear warhead all the way to Alaska or California; 4) Iran already has missiles that can reach Europe and could soon acquire nuclear weapons; 5) These countries could share their potentially devastating technologies with terrorists, who would in turn be able to directly threaten American cities. According to experts, it takes just 33 minutes for a nuclear missile to reach America from anywhere in the world. Here are some comments from some of those experts. "The threat of a ballistic missile attack is real" (Robert Joseph, Undersecretary of State, 2005-2007). "I'm standing in front of Ground Zero. Imagine if, instead of planes, this had been a nuclear weapon on a ballistic missile" (Dr. James Jay Carafano, Deputy Direction, The Heritage Foundation's Kathryn and Shelby Cullom Davis Institute for International Studies). "We've gotten beyond being able to `hit a bullet with a bullet.' We now are able to hit a spot on a bullet with a bullet" (Lt. Gen. Henry A. Obering III (USAF, Ret., Former director, Missile Defense Agency, Office of the Secretary of Defense). Top military commanders and experts from Heritage Foundation testify before Congress that the threat of nuclear missile attack is real, growing, and even more dangerous now than during the Cold War. Right now terrorist groups that have sworn to destroy us may already have missiles with sufficient range to strike America from ships off our coasts. America is vulnerable to missiles carrying nuclear, biological, chemical, or conventional weapons - even though missile-destroying technology works reliably and is available. Life in the United States will never be the same if Washington liberals continue to leave this gaping hole in our national defense and our enemies fire a missile through it. The information for this post came in a briefing from The Heritage Foundation, which has developed "an eye-opening, myth-busting" documentary, 33 Minutes: Protecting America in the New Missile Age. A trailer for the documentary can be seen. here.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Progressivism is a Disease

Progressivism is a deadly disease, which is killing America. It was incubated, protected, and strengthened behind the backs of Americans for the past century. The progressive movement comes out in the open occasionally and then goes underground when it is discovered. This movement never goes away; it just stays hidden until progressives believe it is safe to operate in the open again. It does damage whether hidden or exposed Woodrow Wilson was a Democrat, and Teddy Roosevelt was a Republican. They both endorsed progressive ways. Other Presidents like Franklin D. Roosevelt and Lyndon B. Johnson gave us more progressive programs, which are currently threatening to bankrupt our nation and overcome our constitutional way of life. Barack Obama is a progressive who is trying to outperform all previous progressive Presidents combined. On September 9, 2009, he said, "to my progressive friends, I would remind you that for decades, the driving idea behind reform has been to end insurance company abuses and make coverage available for those without it. The public option - the public option is only a means to that end. And we should remain open to other ideas that accomplish our ultimate goal. And to my Republican friends, I say that rather than making wild claims about a government takeover of healthcare, we should work together to address any legitimate concerns you may have." Did you notice that he addressed "progressive friends" and "Republican friends" - not Democrats and Republicans? Other statements from this progressive president are: "You will carry on the best progressive forward-looking values of this proud commonwealth" (Jan. 17). "Change has always come from places like Wisconsin, the state where the progressive movement was born" (Sept. 22, 2008). Where better to affirm our ideals than here in Wisconsin, where a century ago, the progressive movement was born" (Feb 12, 2008). The progressive movement has been using members of both parties to destroy our Republic. Some of the progressive programs, which are now so hard to overthrow are: 1) Federal Reserve System, created in the early 1900s as a response to repeated bank runs; 2) "Progressive" income tax, which is simply a means to redistribute wealth. Woodrow Wilson led the way to pass the Revenue Act in 1913. It was supposed to lower tariffs and be a tax on the wealthy only. Within four years, all Americans were being taxed. The bottom tax bracket hasn't been lower than 10 percent in over 60 years. 3) Prohibition was a progressive plan to ban drinking - because the government always knows what is best for its people! 4) The League of Nations (now United Nations) was a progressive idea to end world conflict. Since we are currently involved in two different wars, how is that working now? 5) Social Security was simply a progressive idea to retire older workers in order that younger people could have jobs back in the Great Depression. It redistributes wealth by taking money from the young and working people to pay for the old and sick people; 6) Medicare, Medicaid, and Obamacare are all progressive programs that take money from those who have it and give it to those who don't - while returning very little to the victims. We now have a Progressive Caucus in our Congress with more than 80 members. Members of the Progressive Caucus currently chair 11 of the 20 standing committees in Congress. How can we expect this Congress to have anything but progressive ideas? If our Republic is going to throw off the great disease of progressivism, Americans must wake up and realize what is happening in our nation. There are secret combinations working inside our government and trying to overthrow our Constitution. We must identify the progressives among our leadership and vote them out of office as soon as possible!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010


I had an interesting experience recently that I would like to share with you. It reminded me of a dream I've nurtured for more than thirty years. I enjoy studying and learning new information. I did well in school and graduated from high school with honors, but I didn't go to college. I received no counseling or encouragement to go on to college nor did I know where I would get the money to pay for it. I didn't think too much about it at the time because I had enough skills to work as a secretary until I married and had children. I wasn't planning for a career outside the home and therefore didn't think that I needed a degree. I took a few evening classes to enhance my secretarial skills but felt that I needed to work full time. I married and worked while my husband went to college, with the plan to start our family after his graduation. It was only after I had several children that I realized how much I needed and wanted a college degree. I set a goal to start college when my children were all in school and take a few classes at a time. I thought that I would start school when my youngest son started kindergarten, but I postponed my plans when my youngest daughter was born just a month before my son started school. This new baby slowed me down, but she didn't derail my plans, only postponed them again. From the time of her birth I became very busy with time-consuming positions in our Church as well as my large family. I simply did not have time to even think about going to school so I buried my dream until my daughter was graduating from high school. I took a class at the local university that summer and really enjoyed the experience. My husband could not understand my desire to have a degree because he knew that I would not be going into the work force, but he was accepting of the idea. Even though my daughter's first year at college was also the first year of my husband's retirement, I thought that I could still work in a couple of classes at a time so I signed up for two correspondence classes. Because of our travel schedule, I was struggling to keep up with my classes. When other problems arose, I realized that I needed to drop my classes again in order to devote all of my time and energy to my family. I willingly made the sacrifice of something good for something better. Now all of my children have college degrees and most of them either have advanced degrees or are working towards obtaining them - and most of their spouses also have advanced degrees. I am the only one in my immediate family without a college degree, but I have never stopped learning and continue to study all kinds of subjects on my own time. In spite of all the knowledge I gain, I sometimes feel like a second-class citizen among all the college-educated people that I know. One recent evening I was working a puzzle that had lots of "education" words in it, and I felt my dream coming to the surface once again. I commented to my husband, "I wonder if I will ever have the opportunity to get a college degree." I think that he was actually shocked that I still carry that dream. Although I didn't know how I would fit college into my current schedule, I began to wonder if I should be pursuing my dream and simply wondered if the time had come for me to go to school. At that point I wasn't emotionally involved one way or the other. I simply wanted to know if I were pursuing what I should be doing. Because I try to pray about all major decisions, I decided to ask the Lord if I should get serious about going to school. The answer came quickly and clearly, "no." I wondered if I should just take a class now and then, specifically an American Heritage class that my son suggested to me. Again the answer came quickly and clearly, "no." This time the answer seemed to be tempered with a "not now" and an understanding that I am currently involved in something much more important than taking classes. I wasn't particularly surprised by the "no," but I was very surprised about my reaction to it. I didn't expect to feel the great disappointment that came. I immediately started to cry - and I cried like a disappointed little girl. Why, I have no idea because I am willing to live my life doing the things that God thinks are best for me. I am grateful that my children understood the importance of going to college. I am grateful that they were willing to make the sacrifices and put forth the efforts necessary to earn their degrees while they were young. The experience of going to school and the knowledge gained there have prepared them well for their responsibilities as parents. I am also grateful that I can look back and see that I gave them all of the encouragement and financial support that I could possibly give to them. I am sharing this experience with you because I feel prompted to do so. Apparently, someone out there needs to know of my dream. I want any and all young people to understand that education is critical for success. People with college degrees usually make much more money than those with only a high school diploma, but money is only a small part of the richness that comes from a college education. The experience of living away from home and making your own decisions helps you become mature. The experience of living with roommates prepares you for living with a spouse. The friendships made in college last a lifetime. The knowledge gained in the classroom prepares you for more than simply a career. Earning a college degree brings many riches into your life - riches that have nothing to do with money! My advice to all young people: Go to college and earn a degree while you are young. It is much easier and more fun to go to school before marriage and family responsibilities come into your life. You will never be sorry that you have that degree. If you don't take the opportunity for schooling while you are young, you may end up like me - always wanting the experience and never having it.

Monday, February 22, 2010

William H. Harrison

William Henry Harrison (1773-1841) served as President of the United States for the shortest period of time. He caught cold on the day he was inaugurated and died 30 days later, becoming the first President to die in office. Harrison is best remembered for a catchy political campaign slogan: "Tippecanoe and Tyler too." He gained the nickname of "Tippecanoe" in 1811 after defeating the Shawnee Indians at the Battle of Tippecanoe in 1811. Harrison was the first President from the Whig Party, and the only President whose grandson (Benjamin Harrison) also became President. Harrison was born on February 9, 1773, on his father's plantation, Berkeley, in Charles City County, Virginia, the youngest of seven children. His parents were from prominent Virginia families. His father, Benjamin Harrison, served in both Continental Congresses, signed the Declaration of Independence, and was a friend of George Washington. Harrison was educated at home, studied at Hampden-Sydney College in 1787 and later went to the University of Pennsylvania to study medicine. After his father died in 1791, he dropped his study of medicine and joined the Army. As a captain, he commanded Fort Washington Ohio. There he met and married Anna Symmes, the daughter of a judge and wealthy land investor. The Harrisons had ten children, six of whom died before Harrison became President. Harrison resign from the Army and was appointed secretary of the Northwest Territory by president John Adams. Later he was elected the first delegate to Congress from the Northwest Territory. In Congress he convinced the lawmakers to pass a bill dividing western lands into sections small enough for a poor person to buy. Harrison was named by Adams to be governor of the Indiana Territory and served in that position for twelve years. He negotiated a treaty with Indian leaders to transfer 2,900,000 acres of land to settlers. Many Indians did not like the treaty, and a war started. Harrison commanded the territorial militia that defeated the Indian forces at the Battle of Tippecanoe. Harrison was appointed a brigadier general by President James Madison when the War of 1812 began and was promoted to major general in 1813. He commanded the Army of the Northwest and won a brilliant victory in the Battle of the Thames in southern Ontario. Harrison was elected to the United States House of Representatives fro Ohio. He later served as a state senator and then elected to the United States Senate. President John Quincy Adams appointed him as the United States Ambassador to Columbia but was recalled by President Andrew Jackson after only one year. Harrison was elected as President of the United States in 1840. His became very ill just before he left for Washington so his widowed daughter-in-aw served as White House hostess during his term. The weather was cold and rainy as he gave his inauguration speech. He caught a cold that day and was still fighting it a month later when he got a bad chill. His cold developed into pneumonia. He died on April 4, 1841, 12 1/2 hours short of 31 full days in office. He was buried in North Bend, Ohio. (As a note of interest, his wife who was too sick to travel to Washington lived until February 25, 1864.) Facts and information for this post came from an article by Steven Mintz, World Book Encyclopedia, Vol. 9, pp 74-76.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

The Fall of Adam and Eve

God created or organized this earth as a home for His sons and daughters. He selected Adam and Eve to be the first people on the earth and placed them in the Garden of Eden. Their part of God's plan for His children was to bring mortality into the world. They were given the job to be the first parents on earth, and they were foreordained to this responsibility. Adam and Eve were among the most noble of our Father's children. Adam was known as Michael the archangel in the spirit world (Jude 1:9). Heavenly Father selected Adam to lead the righteous forces in the battle against Satan (see Revelation 12:7-9). God brought Adam and Eve together in marriage in order that neither should be alone. Eve was "the mother of all living" (Moses 4:26) and shared Adam's responsibility and his accomplishments. When Adam and Eve were put in the Garden of Eden, they were not yet mortal. They could not have children or die. They did not know good from evil. God commanded them to have children and said, "Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it, and have dominion over … every living thing that moveth upon the earth" (Moses 2:28). God told them to take care of the Garden of Eden and to eat of every tree in the garden except the tree of knowledge of good and evil. He told them that they would die if they partook of the fruit of that tree (Moses 3:17). Satan did not know what was in God's mind; his only desire was to destroy God's plan for His children. He tempted Eve to eat of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. He told her a half truth when he said that she and Adam would not die but would "be as the gods, knowing good and evil" (Moses 4:11). Eve listened to Satan and ate the fruit. When Adam understood what she had done, he chose to eat of the fruit also in order that they could remain together. Because they ate of the fruit, changes came upon their bodies. This change is known as the Fall. Adam and Eve were changed both physically and spiritually. Because they ate of the fruit, God sent them out of the Garden of Eden into the world where they would need to work to provide for their own needs. Their bodies changed and became mortal. They could have children. They and their children would experience sickness and pain and would eventually die just as God had promised. Because Adam and Eve disobeyed and transgressed Heavenly Father's law, they suffered spiritual death. This meant that they could no longer walk and talk with God face to face. They and their posterity were separated from God both physically and spiritually. Many people believe that Adam and Eve committed a serious sin when they ate of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. I believe that they took a noble and necessary step in God's plan. I believe that their Fall was a great blessing to themselves and to their posterity. Because of the Fall, we have many blessings, opportunities and privileges that we would not have received if Adam and Eve had remained in the Garden of Eden. We are blessed with physical bodies, the right to choose between good and evil, and the opportunity to gain eternal life. After the Fall, Eve realized the importance of the step taken. She said, "Were it not for our transgression we never should have had seed [children], and never should have known good and evil, and the joy of our redemption, and the eternal life which God giveth unto all the obedient" (Moses 5:11). A prophet named Lehi saw the "big picture" and explained it to his children. He said, "And now, behold, if Adam had not transgressed he would not have fallen [been cut off from God's presence], but he would have remained in the Garden of Eden. And all things which were created must have remained in the same state in which they were after they were created…. And they would have had no children; wherefore they would have remained in a state of innocence, having no joy, for they knew no misery; doing no good, for they knew no sin. But behold, all things have been done in the wisdom of him who knoweth all things. Adam fell that men might be; and men are, that they might have joy" (2 Nephi 2:22-25). I believe that it is very important for us to know about the Fall and to understand how it influences us. It is good for us to know of the greatness and nobility of our first parents. It is important that we understand why Adam and Eve needed to become mortal and then honor them for their courage and willingness to do so. We must always remember that Adam and Eve were among the most noble of Heavenly Father's children and that He chose them to perform a very important part of His plan for His children. They helped to prepare the way for the rest of us.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Diligent Scripture Search

The following quotes are from four separate prophets, and all four tell us why we need to search the scriptures diligently. President Howard W. Hunter (1907-95) said, "I commend to you the revelations of God as the standard by which we must live our lives and by which we must measure every decision and every deed. Accordingly, when you have worries and challenges, face them by turning to the scriptures and the prophets" ("Fear Not, little Flock," in 1988-89 Devotional and Fireside Speeches [1989], 112). President Ezra Taft Benson (1899-1994) said, "Success in righteousness, the power to avoid deception and resist temptation, guidance in our daily lives, healing of the soul - these are but a few of the promises the Lord has given to those who will come to His word. … Certain blessings are to be found only in the scriptures, only in coming to the word of the Lord and holding fast to it…. Recommit yourselves to a study of the scriptures. Immerse yourselves in them daily so you will have the power of the Spirit to attend you in your callings. Read them in your families and teach your children to love and treasure them" ("The Power of the Word," Ensign, May 1986, 82). President Spencer W. Kimball (1895-1985) said, "As you become more and more familiar with the truths of the scriptures, you will be more and more effective in keeping the second great commandment, to love your neighbor as yourself. Become scholars of the scriptures - not to put others down but to lift them up! After all, who has any greater need to `treasure up' the truths of the gospel (on which they may call in their moments of need) than do women and mothers who do so much nurturing and teaching?" ("The Role of Righteous Women," Ensign, Nov. 1997, 95) President Thomas S. Monson said, "The holy scriptures adorn our bookshelves. Make certain they provide nourishment to our minds and guidance for our lives" ("The Mighty Strength of the Relief Society," Ensign, Nov. 1997, 95). There are many ways to study the scriptures. My particular type of scripture study is to look for information in the scriptures that might help my grandchildren. A suggested way to study the scriptures is to follow the counsel given by Nephi (1 Nephi 19:23) and "liken" them to ourselves. Another way is to search for knowledge about a specific principle. I recently gained much knowledge about faith simply because I focused on one principle. The important thing is to start studying the scriptures and make them a daily part of life. Reading from the scriptures daily helps us to learn about Heavenly Father and His Son Jesus Christ as well as what we need to do to be like them. Scripture study accompanied by prayer helps us to gain the knowledge that brings peace and keeps our focus on eternal principles. The scriptures are a source for discovering rich treasures of truth. In order to gain the most truth, we must go often to the source of truth.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Revolutionary War

The Revolutionary War in America brought independence and the birth of a new nation - the United States of America. The war was fought between the 13 American colonies and their mother nation, Great Britain. The war began on April 19, 1775, between the Minutemen and the Redcoats at Lexington, Massachusetts, and at nearby Concord. Eight years later on September 3, 1783, Britain signed the Treaty of Paris, signaling to the world that it recognized the independence of the United States. Tension between Great Britain and its American colonies had been building since the mid-1760s, a period of more than 10 years. The colonials didn't really want to break with their mother nation, but they wanted to be free of the unbearable laws and heavy taxes being levied by England. They felt capable of self-government and resisted the attempted enforcement of the new laws. England felt that her children were being disobedient and rebellious and decided to take more control of the situation. The Revolutionary War broke open because the colonials wanted to be treated as adults, not children. The colonies did not want war and were not prepared to wage war. They did not even have a central government or an army or a navy. Delegates from the colonies met together in a Continental Congress. The Congress acted as a central government and directed the war efforts. Two months after the Battles of Lexington and Concord, George Washington was named as commander in chief on June 15, 1775. Two days later on June 17, the British drove the Americans from Breed's Hill in the Battle of Bunker Hill. Great Britain had a much larger and better-trained army than that of the Americans, but they had to bring supplies and reinforcements from England. Britain won many battles but didn't gain much because the Americans kept getting new troops and kept fighting. The year 1776 brought a win for the Americans at Moore's Creek Bridge (Feb. 27), the evacuation of the British from Boston (Mar. 17), the adoption of the Declaration of Independence (July 4), and a surprise attack by Washington on Hessian troops at Trenton (Dec. 26). That year also the British defeated the patriots on Long Island (Aug. 27) and occupied New York City (Sept. 15). The year 1777 started with a victory for Washington on January 3 at Princeton. There were other wins for the patriots as well as some losses. The big wins for the patriots were two battles at Freeman's Farm (Sep.) and General Burgoyne's surrender at Saratoga (Oct. 17), marking a turning point in the war and showing Frances that America could win the war. The British won the Battles of Brandywine (Sep. 11) and Germantown (Oct. 4) and occupied Philadelphia (Sep. 26) while Washington's army retired to Valley Forge (Dec. 19) to spend the winter with too little food and inadequate clothing and shelter. On February 6, 1778, France signed an alliance to help the Americans, forcing Britain to defend the rest of its empire, but the Battle of Monmouth (June 28) ended in a draw, and the British took Savannah (Dec 29). The year 1779 went a little better for the Americans. British defenders at Vincennes surrendered to Americans (Feb. 25). Spain declared war on Great Britain (June 21). John Paul Jones' ship, the Bonhomme Richard captured the British ship Serapis (Sep. 23). In 1780 Charleston fell to the British after a siege (May 12), and the British won at Camden. The patriots fought back for a win at King's Mountain. In 1781 the patriots won at Cowpens (Jan 17), a French fleet inflicted great damage at Chesapeake Bay on British ships (Sep. 5), and the British surrendered at Yorktown (Oct. 19). Yorktown was the last major battle of the war, but fighting continued elsewhere. On November 30, 1782, Americans and British representatives signed a preliminary peaces treaty in Paris. On April 15, 1783, Congress ratified the preliminary peace treaty. The final peace was signed in Paris by the United States and Great Britain on September 3, 1783 - nearly two years after Yorktown. The Treaty of Paris recognized the independence of the United States and established the new nation's borders - from Canada to Florida (Spain owned Florida) and from the Atlantic Ocean to the Mississippi River. The most important result of the Revolutionary War was the independence of the 13 colonies and the establishment of the United States government - ruled by law and dedicated to guarantee certain basic rights, including life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Another result of the American war was that people in other nations admired the principles that governed the American Revolution and started demanding political reforms. American military deaths from all causes numbered about 25,700. British military deaths were about 10,000. America went deeply into debt to finance the Revolutionary War. Through taxes authorized by the Constitution, the war debt was paid off by the early 1800s. Great Britain nearly went bankrupt with the financial strain of the war. Their economy was saved by expanded trade with the United States after the war. Taxes on the trade reduced Britain's dept. France suffered even more as it nearly went bankrupt from its expenditures in the war. The French Revolution in 1789 was a direct result of France's financial problems. Facts and information for this post came from an article by James Kirby Martin, World Book Encyclopedia, Vol. 16, pp. 270-287.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010


For about six months I have subscribed to a newsletter, IMPRIMIS, that is published by Hillsdale College. I recommend that you register for this free newsletter because its contents are usually remarks given by speakers at the college who are supportive of the Constitution. (Of course, if you subscribe to the newsletter, you will occasionally receive requests for financial support for the college.) Hillsdale College, "pursuing truth and defending liberty," does not accept any federal or state taxpayer funds; therefore, it is free to choose its own curriculum. In its independence, it chooses to teach traditional values. The college president has a deep concern about the future of liberty in the United States. One of the reasons for his concern is the type of people who are teaching in the educational institutions nationwide. I am impressed by colleges and universities that do not accept money from governments, and it is good to know that we have one that is supportive of the Constitution. One of its outreach programs is the Center for Constitutional Studies and Citizenship in Washington, DC.

Monday, February 15, 2010

George Washington

I believe that George Washington (1732-1799) should be considered as the greatest American ever. At the very least, he is one of a very small group of the greatest Americans. I believe that he was raised up and prepared by God to lead our nation through our war for independence and to establish our government. Knowing of my beliefs, you can imagine my horror recently when I heard a mother tell about taking her kindergarten student to school. There were all kinds of pictures and information about Martin Luther King, Jr., but not a single word or picture about George Washington. She asked her son if he knew who George Washington was, and he didn't have any idea who she was talking about! She contacted the principal's office about the lack of teaching such an important part of our history and never even received a return telephone call. Please make sure that your children know the greatness of George Washington!

Washington is known as the "Father of the Country." He guided our country for almost 20 years. He helped shape the beginning of the United States in three important ways. First, he was the commanding general of the Continental Army that won the Revolutionary War and brought American independence. Second, he served as the president of the Constitutional Convention where the United States Constitution was written. Third, he was the first President of the United States.

George Washington was loved by Americans during his life time. The officers in his army would have made him king if he had consented. He was unanimously elected to head the Virginia delegates to the Constitutional Convention. His arrival in Philadelphia was announced by the ringing of the bells in the city. He was elected president of the convention where he helped the delegates stay together long enough to write the Constitution. Washington's name was linked with the Constitution and people took it for granted that he would be the first President. He received 69 out of 69 electoral votes.

Washington was described by one of his officers, Henry "Light Horse Harry" Lee, as "First in war, first in peace, and first in the hearts of his countrymen." He looked like a man to be admired and respected. He was tall, strong and broad-shouldered.

Washington's friend, George Mercer, described him in 1760 as follows: "He may be described as being straight as an Indian, measuring 6 feet 2 inches in his stockings, and weighing 175 pounds… [He was about the size of my oldest son.] A large and straight rather than a prominent nose; blue-gray penetrating eyes… He has a clear though rather colorless pale skin which burns with the sun… dark brown hair which he wears in a queue [a plait of hair hanging from the back of the head; pigtail] … His mouth is large and generally firmly closed, but which from time to time discloses some defective teeth… His movements and gestures are graceful, his walk majestic, and he is a splendid horseman."

Washington's character was described as follows after his death by Thomas Jefferson: "His mind was great and powerful … as far as he saw, no judgment was ever sounder. It was slow in operation, being little aided by invention or imagination, but sure in conclusion….
"Perhaps the strongest feature of his character was prudence, never acting until every circumstance, every consideration, was maturely weighed; refraining if he saw a doubt, but, when once decided, going through with his purpose, whatever obstacles opposed.
"His integrity was most pure, his justice the most inflexible I have ever known…
"He was, indeed, in every sense of the words, a wise, a good and a great man… On the whole, his character was in its mass, perfect … it may truly be said, that never did nature and fortune combine more perfectly to make a man great…."

Washington's family name has been traced back to the year 1260 in England where the name was de Wessington but later spelled Washington. His ancestral home in England is thought to be Sulgrave Manor. John Washington (1632-1677), George's great-grandfather, became American by accident when his small English ship went aground in the Potomac River in 1656 or 1657. While the ship was being repaired, he made the decision to marry and live in Virginia. He didn't have much money when he started, but he owned 5,000 acres of land within 20 years, including the land that became Mount Vernon.

John's oldest son Lawrence was George's grandfather, and Lawrence's youngest son Augustine was his father. Augustine discovered iron ore on some of his land and developed an iron works there. He had four children by his first wife, Jane Butler. After her death, he married Mary Ball who became George's mother. They had five other children.

George was born on February 22, 1732, on Pope's Creek Plantation in Westmoreland County, Virginia. When he was 3 years old, his family moved to a large, undeveloped plantation later known as Mount Vernon, which was about 50 miles up the Potomac River in Virginia. There were no close neighbors. Augustine traveled often to his iron works, about 30 miles away.

When George was about 7, his father bought Ferry Farm, a 260-acre farm on the Rappahannock River across from Fredericksburg and moved his family closer to the iron works. George attended school for only 7 or 8 years. His best subject was arithmetic. He studied enough history and geography to know about the outside world, but did not learn much about literature, foreign languages or history - especially compared to Thomas Jefferson or James Madison who received more formal education. He finished his formal schooling at about 14 or 15. He could keep business accounts, write clear letters and do simple figuring. He kept diaries and careful accounts of his expenses for the rest of his life. 

George was observant and hard working. He helped manage Ferry Farm, which he would inherit at age 21. He learned how to plant and produce tobacco, fruit, grains, and vegetables. He enjoyed living the life of a young Virginia country gentlemen. He loved horses, became a good dancer, and enjoyed hunting, fishing, and boating. He had boyhood romances and wrote love poems. As a youth, he was sober, quiet, attentive, dignified, dependable, and respectful of his elders.

George loved and respected his older half-brother Lawrence and eventually inherited Mount Vernon from Lawrence's heirs in 1761. Through Lawrence, George became interested in the military and wanted to join the navy, but his mother would not permit it because she wanted to keep him close to her.

Through Lawrence, George also became acquainted with Lord Fairfax, the largest property owner in Virginia. He owned 5 million acres of land in northern Virginia; his land included much of Shenandoah Valley and extended to the Allegheny Mountains. Lord Fairfax invited 16-year-old George to go with him on a surveying trip in March 1748.

In July 1749, George became the official surveyor for Culpepper County. He was paid in cash, which he carefully saved until he found some good land. By 1752 he owned about 2,300 acres of land. George applied to the governor for a commission in the militia, and he was commissioned as a major in 1752 and put in charge of training militia in southern Virginia. He spent several years in military actions.

At age 20, George proposed twice to a 16-year-old young woman who turned him down both times. On January 6, 1759, he married Mrs. Martha Dandridge Custis, a widow with two children. The wedding probably took place at the bride's plantation home, which was called the White House. Her first husband left a fortune of 18,000 acres of land and 30,000 English pounds, equally divided between the widow and her two children. George and Martha had no children together, but he was a loving stepfather to her two children.

Washington was a surveyor, farmer, landowner, businessman, and legislator. He attended the First continental Congress and helped to boycott trade with Britain. He heard Patrick Henry's famous speech, "Give me liberty or give me death." He was elected to the Second Continental Congress. By the time he left to attend it, the Battles of Lexington and Concord had already been fought, and Congress opened on May 10, 1775. Even though the majority of the delegates wanted to avoid war, they feared that they would not be able to do so.

Congress appointed Washington to one military committee after another and gave him several assignments to prepare for war. On June 14, 1775, Congress called on Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Virginia to send troops to help Boston, which was under British military rule. John Adams led a discussion about the need to elect a commander in chief. Adams praised Washington highly and noted that his popularity would help to unite the colonies. Even though many delegates from New England thought the commander in chief should be a northerner, Washington was elected unanimously. He had not sought the position but humbly accepted it, refusing the $500 monthly salary but indicating that he would accept reimbursement for his expenses.

Washington led the Continental Army throughout the Revolutionary War. Thomas Paine wrote of the period, "These are the times that try men's souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot, will in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country." Washington was tried many times by "summer soldiers," who would not fight in winter, and "sunshine patriots," who were loyal to the cause only when things were going well.

Washington had a strong will to win, which made it possible for him to overcome his many discouragements. Washington, to many Americans, represented what they were fighting for. They came to believe in Washington even when they didn't recognize the need for independence or trust Congress.

After eight long and difficult years, the war ended when Washington's army and the French navy surrounded the British army at Yorktown and forced them to surrender on October 19, 1781. Washington's officers suggested that the military set up a monarchy with Washington as king, but when Washington heard the idea, he ordered them to abandon the idea. He told his officers goodbye on December 4, 1783, in New York City and headed home to Virginia. On his way, he stopped at Annapolis, Maryland, to return his commission as commander in chief to Congress. He was 51 years old and made it home in time to spend Christmas with Martha.

George spent the next five years as a Virginia planter, buying more land, promoting businesses, breeding mules, developing a rotation system for his farm crops, using waste products from his fishing industry as fertilizer, and trying to prevent soil erosion. Although he longed to stay home, he was unanimously elected to head the Virginia delegation to the Constitutional Convention in 1787 and was later elected president of the convention. He spent the hot summer months, May through September, in Philadelphia at the convention. His presence there made the convention and the Constitution more acceptable to the people.

Washington was elected President of the United States in February 1789 and inaugurated as the first President on April 30, 1789, at Federal Hall in New York City, at the age of 57. (By the time of his second inauguration, the government had moved to Philadelphia, where he was inaugurated in Congress Hall.) When Washington became President, there were only 11 states. Four other states soon accepted the Constitution or joined the Union: North Carolina (Nov. 1789), Rhode Island (1790), Vermont (1791), and Kentucky (1792).

Washington signed his first important bill passed by the new Congress on July 4, 1789. It set taxes on imports and provided income to run the government. His first veto came in April 1892 on a bill that he thought was unconstitutional in that it favored Northern States over Southern States in the number of Representatives allowed from each state.

George was very much aware that everything he did would set a precedent.  He believed strongly that the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of the government should operate as separately as possible and as outlined in the Constitution. He oversaw many important items of business for the new nation. He spent much time on the plans for a new capital, which would eventually be named after him. He appointed Alexander Hamilton as secretary of the treasury as well as other members of a small cabinet. Hamilton was instrumental in developing a plan to pay off the debts from the Revolutionary War and in setting up The First Bank of the United States.

By the end of his second term as President, Washington grew tired of public office and happily went home to Mount Vernon at the age of 65 (1797). There he spent the last years of his life, and there he died about 10:00 P.M. on December 14, 1799, from an infection in his throat. Washington was given a military funeral on December 18 and buried in the family tomb at Mount Vernon.

Washington held the title of lieutenant general at the time of his death, which was the highest military rank in the United States at that time. Because he was later outranked by many other Army officers, in 1975 Congress granted him the nation's highest military title, General of the Armies of the United States. This made him the senior general officer on the Army rolls. George Washington was "first in war, first in peace and first in the hearts of his countrymen" (Henry Lee). He was a great man and should be remembered with love, respect and honor.

Facts and information for this post came from an article by Philander D. Chase, World Book Encyclopedia, Vol. 21, pp. 90-108.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Age of Representatives

First of all, Happy Presidents Day to all of you! One of my nephews sent me an email, reminding that I have a family connection with Abraham Lincoln. If you want to know what that connection is, please return to my post on Lincoln. Thanks, Larry, for the reminder! The thirteenth provision of the United States Constitution is found in Article I.2.2: "In order to be a member of the House of Representatives, a person must have reached twenty-five years of age by the time he is sworn into office." This means that Americans have the Right to be represented by a person who is at least twenty-five years old. The age of twenty-five was selected arbitrarily. Most of those men attending the Constitutional Convention were younger men who apparently thought that twenty-five was an adequate age. This provision means to me that the Founders thought it was important to clearly define who could run for the office and who could not. Parents could teach this provision by mentioning other activities that take place at a certain age, such as the age to start school, the age to be baptized, the age to obtain a driver's license, and the age to vote. It is obvious that we need to reach a certain age in order to be physically, mentally, emotionally or spiritually mature to do certain tasks.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Love of God

Happy Valentine’s Day to all of you. I wanted to write something about love but still keep the Sabbath Day as a day to honor God. So I chose to write about God’s love for us and our love for Him. "If ye love me, keep my commandments" (John 14:5). With these words, Jesus Christ taught His followers how to be true disciples of the Savior. Some people think that love does away with the need to be obedient, but they are mistaken. Elder Dallin H. Oaks said, "The love of God does not supersede His laws and His commandments, and the effect of God's laws and commandments does not diminish the purpose and effect of His love. … those who understand God's plan for His children know that God's laws are invariable, which is another great evidence of His love for His children…. God's love is so perfect that He lovingly requires us to obey His commandments because He knows that only through obedience to His laws can we become perfect as He is" (Ensign, Nov. 2009, 26-29). Jesus was asked, "Master, which is the great commandment in the law?" His answer was, "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself" (Matthew 22:36-39). Christ taught that to truly love God, we must also love His children. A true disciple of Christ shows his or her love of God by keeping the commandments and showing love to everyone. Love should be at the center of everything we do. "Love is the healing balm that repairs rifts in personal and family relationships. It is the bond that unites families, communities, and nations. Love is the power that initiates friendship, tolerance, civility, and respect. It is the source that overcomes divisiveness and hate. Love is the fire that warms our lives with unparalleled joy and divine hope. Love should be our walk and talk. "When we truly understands what it means to love as Jesus Christ loves us, the confusion clears and our priorities align. Our walk as disciples of Christ becomes more joyful. Our lives take on new meaning. Our relationship with our Heavenly Father becomes more profound. Obedience becomes a joy rather than a burden" (President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, Ensign, November 2009, 21). Heavenly Father wants us to love Him because He knows that "love determines what we seek. What we seek determines what we think and do. What we think and do determines who we are - and who we will become" (Uchtdorf, p 22). God loves us and wants us to return to His presence to live with Him and Jesus Christ for all eternity. The commandments as well as the principles and ordinances of the Gospel of Jesus Christ are part of the ladder by which we make our way back to heaven. Our obedience shows God how much we love Him. We can increase our love for God by "aligning our thoughts and actions with God's word" (Uchtdorf, 23). As we reach our to God through prayer, scripture study, and attendance at Church and temple, He reaches out for us and leads us in the way we need to go. "Love is the guiding light that illuminates the disciple's path and fills our daily walk with life, meaning, and wonder. "Love is the measure of our faith, the inspiration for our obedience, and the3 altitude of our discipleship. "Love is the way of the disciple" (Uchtdorf, 24). I know that God lives and loves His children - every one of us. I love Him. I want to be known as one who loves God with all my heart, soul and mind and one who loves my neighbor as myself.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Scottish Heritage

I recently attended a book club meeting with some friends where we learned about Robert Burns, the Scottish poet. We enjoyed a nice evening where we read and discussed several of his poems, sang a few of his songs, and dined on authentic Scottish food. We came to the conclusion that Burns' most famous work is "Auld Lang Syne." "Should auld acquaintance be forgot, And never brought to min'? Should auld acquaintance be forgot, And days of o' lang syne? For auld lang syne, my dear, For auld lang syne, We'll tak' a cup of kindness yet, For auld lang syne." One of my dearest friends of more than thirty years lived in the area around Edinburgh, Scotland, until she was nearly fifteen years old. After coming to the United States, she tried to lose her Scottish accent, but she still has more than a touch of it. Her accent really came out when she was reading some of Burns' poetry. The Scottish food was interesting and sort of bland. My friend made some dishes that she learned from her mother. I found a recipe on the Internet for Scotch Eggs (boiled eggs, shelled, incased in ground pork or ground turkey with spices, and baked. Other dishes were clapshot (a dish made by boiling and mashing together potatoes and turnips - probably my favorite of the evening), individual meat pies (ground beef enclosed and baked inside a shell, and shortbread. The evening was very enjoyable with good friends, good food, and Robert Burns. I'm not too much into poetry, but I am one-quarter Scottish. This evening gave me a desire to know a little more about Scotland and my Scottish grandfather who died before I was born. As soon as I returned home, I turned to my encyclopedia and read about Scotland. Then I pulled out my family history books to read again about my grandfather. I learned that he attended public schools in Scotland until he passed the sixth grade at age 12. My great-grandparents joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints before my grandfather was born. They wanted to gather with other members of the Church in America and left their native Scotland in 1883 when my grandfather was 13 years old. On the day they sailed from Cowdenbeath, Fife, Scotland, the schools and the mines were closed so that the people could tell them goodbye. They sailed with 1700 other members of the Church and took 13 days to reach America. In America, my grandfather cut wood, worked in a copper mine, and worked for the United States government with the Indians. He loved to tell stories, had a hearty laugh, and was "a prince of a man" according to my father. I haven't spent much time thinking about my grandfather and what his childhood in Scotland was like, but now I have questions. How did he feel about moving to America? Did he speak with a Scottish accent? What foods did he eat as a boy? What did he do for fun? Why did my mother not include more Scottish food in our diets? Maybe she fixed other Scottish food, but her shortbread is the only one I recognize as being Scottish. I am also wondering if I got my love for plaids from my Scottish ancestry. Maybe this evening with Robert Burns will propel me into family history! At the very least, I need to ask my older siblings to tell me about our Scottish grandfather.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Gettysburg Address

There are few people in America who have not heard the words that began, "Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal ….." and end "… and that governments of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth." The Battle of Gettysburg began on July 1 and ended on July 3, 1863. It marked a turning point in the Civil War in favor of the North. The Northern army of about 90,000 men was led to victory by General George G. Meade against the Southern army of 75,000 men led by General Robert E. Lee. The battle began when the two armies accidentally met in the little town of Gettysburg. In the battle, the Confederate army took the town, but the Union army took a better and stronger position on high ground south of town. About 3,000 Union soldiers and 4,000 Confederate soldiers were killed in the battle. The total number of casualties - those killed, wounded, missing, or captured - was about 23,000 for the Northern army and 25,000-28,000 for the Southern army. The Gettysburg Address was a short speech given by President Abraham Lincoln on November 19, 1863. This speech was delivered at the place of the Battle of Gettysburg in Pennsylvania at ceremonies to dedicate part of the battleground as a cemetery for those who died there. Lincoln wrote the speech because he wanted to define the purposes for the Civil War for those people who lived in the North. His simple and inspired words are among the most remembered in American history. Lincoln wrote five versions of the speech and signed the fifth version. The version given below is based on shorthand notes of a reporter who heard Lincoln deliver the speech. In a comparison of the two speeches, I found a few minor differences but nothing major. Some examples of the differences are "We are met…" instead of "We have come…" and "carried on" instead of "advanced." Historians are reasonably sure of what he actually said because several reporters attended the ceremonies and wrote his words as he spoke. The nobility of Lincoln's brief remarks were recognized by many people and newspapers of the time. "Four score and seven year ago our fathers brought forth upon this continent a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. "Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation or any nation so conceived and so dedicated can long endure. We are met on a great battlefield of that war. We are met to dedicate a portion of it as the final resting place of those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this. "But in a larger sense we cannot dedicate - we cannot consecrate - we cannot hallow this ground. The brave men living and dead who struggled here have consecrated it far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us, the living, rather to be dedicated here to the unfinished work that they have thus far so nobly carried on. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us - that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they here gave the last full measure of devotion - that we here highly resolve that the dead shall not have died in vain - that the nation shall, under God, have a new birth of freedom - and that governments of the people, by the people, and for the people, shall not perish from the earth." Facts for this blog post are from articles by Gabor S. Boritt, World Book Encyclopedia, Vol. 8, 176-177.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The Civil War

I questioned the name of this war because I connected the word "civil" with "civility," which means polite behavior or courtesy. I discovered that "civil" means having to do with citizens, such as civil service or civil rights. This definition means that the name of the war makes sense: it was a war between the citizens of the nation.

The Civil War was the greatest crisis and bloodiest war that the United States has ever experienced. It took more American lives than any other war in history and divided families and communities as well as the nation. It was basically between people in the Southern States who wanted to preserve slavery and an agricultural way of life and people in the Northern States who wanted a more modern way of life and to end slavery.

The Civil War started on April 12, 1861, when Southern troops fired on Fort Sumter in South Carolina. It ended four years later on April 9, 1865, when Confederate General Robert E. Lee surrendered to Union General Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox Court House in Virginia. The United States in 1861 had 19 free states and 15 slave states.

Abraham Lincoln said that the country was "a house divided." There were many basic differences between free and slave states besides slavery; therefore, there were numerous reasons for the war. The root cause was slavery but there were differences in economies, ideals, and ways of living.

The conflict over slavery began in colonial times when most Americans considered slavery to be evil. Numerous of our Founding Fathers wanted to end slavery, but they had to compromise over it to get the Constitution written and ratified. Many Northerners in the early 1800s thought slavery was wrong, and Abolitionists there started a movement to end slavery. Most Southerners believed slavery was good even though only 25-35 percent of them were members of slave-owning families.  

The Compromise of 1850 was made in Congress in an attempt to settle the slavery question. It allowed new territories to decide for themselves whether to permit slavery. It also admitted California as a free state. This compromise included a fugitive slave law that required Northerners to return runaway slaves to their owners. Northerners resisted this law by operating the underground railroad, a system of safe houses and escape routes for runaway slaves. Uncle Tom's Cabin, written by Harriet Beecher Stowe, was one of the most effective attacks on slavery and the fugitive slave law. If you have not read this book, I highly recommend that you read it.

In 1854 Congress passed the Kansas-Nebraska Act. The act created Kansas and Nebraska as territories and allowed slavery in them. It also said that when the people in the territory organized as a state, the people could decide whether to continue slavery. Kansas voted against slavery and joined the Union in 1861 as a free state.

In 1857 the United States Supreme Court tried to settle the slavery issue with its Dred Scott Decision. Dred Scott was a slave who claimed freedom because he lived in a free state and territory for a time. The Court ruled that no black could be a United States citizen and that Congress could not prohibit slavery in the territories. This ruling aroused anger in the North and showed that the courts didn't have the answer.

In 1859 John Brown and his followers tried to start a slave rebellion by seizing the federal arsenal in Harpers Ferry, VA (now West Virginia). Brown was captured by Colonel Robert E. Lee the next day. He was soon convicted of treason and hanged. Many Southerners blamed the North for plotting to force an end to slavery.

Abraham Lincoln joined a new political party called Republicans and was elected President in 1860. He won all the electoral votes from every freed state except New Jersey, which gave him four of seven votes. He won the electoral vote but gained only 40 per cent of the popular vote. Almost none of the popular vote came from Southerners because they were afraid he would end slavery or at least restrict it. By the time he was inaugurated, seven Southern states - South Carolina, Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, and Texas - had seceded and established the Confederate States of America. Virginia, Arkansas, North Carolina, and Tennessee joined the Confederacy after Fort Sumter, for a total of eleven Confederate states.

Staying loyal to the Union were California, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Wisconsin.

The territories of Colorado, Dakota, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, and Washington were also on the Union side. Each side included slave states located on the border where some citizens supported the North and some supported the South. Border states on the Southern side were Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Arkansas. The western part of Virginia remained loyal to the Union and formed the new state of West Virginia in 1863. Border states that stayed in the Union were Delaware, Maryland, Kentucky, and Missouri, but groups in both Kentucky and Missouri seceded, set up state governments and sent representatives to the Confederate Congress.

When the Civil War first started, neither the North nor the South planned to draft soldiers, but as the war continued both sides started drafting men. The Confederate army reached its peak in 1863 and then started declining in numbers. The Union army continued to grow. After the Emancipation Proclamation, Lincoln announced his decision to use black troops. About 180,000 blacks served in the Union army, two-thirds were Southerners who had escaped to the North. About 20,000 blacks were in the Union navy.

Most of the Civil War was fought from Pennsylvania to Georgia and from Virginia to Memphis and New Orleans. By 1864 the Confederate army was declining due to battle losses, war weariness, and Northern occupation of large areas of the Confederacy. Southern railroads had almost stopped running, and supplies were short. The war finally ended when Union armies crushed Confederates enough to force surrender.

The Union won the war and THEN started showing their humanity by helping to rebuild the South. The Civil War took a great toll on our nation. About 620,000 soldiers died, almost as many as the combined American dead of all other wars from the Revolutionary War (1775-1783) through the Vietnam War (1957-1975). Both North and South suffered economically, but direct damages were most severe in the South. Towns, farms, industry, and trade as well as lives of men, women and children were ruined in the South. The entire way of life in the South was destroyed.

The Declaration of Independence states "all men are created equal," but America remained the largest slave-owning nation in the world until the Civil War. Soon after the end of the Civil War, Americans ratified the Thirteen Amendment to the Constitution, which officially abolished slavery throughout the United States. Even though Congress passed the Civil Rights Amendment in the 1960s, there are still problems in our nation about a real or at least perceived inequality for blacks.

The Civil War did establish two facts: 1) Every human being has the right to be free and 2) No state has the right or power to end the Union. Many of the facts and information for this blog post are from an article written by Gabor S. Boritt, World Book Encyclopedia, Vol. 4, 614-635.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

God versus Progressives

Isn't it interesting how a snowstorm can do so much to show the real agenda of the progressive movement? If you remember, the big conference on weather change was shortened for many American representatives by a big snowstorm because they had to get back to Washington before a storm hit. Now another big storm is hitting Washington that has basically shut down the federal government. One of the reasons why people can't get to work is because 25 percent of the snowplows in the city are not working; therefore, the streets are not being cleared as quickly as they need to be to keep the traffic flowing. Specifically, it is keeping Congress out of session where they would shove the Jobs bill down our throats. This example shows how well government works! If the snowplows belonged to a private business whose income depended on being ready for storms, that company would be out of business! When the government runs the business, it just keeps collecting taxes even though it doesn't do the job. Another example is Social Security, which is now paying out more than it is taking in because so many people are out of work. Medicare and Medicaid are forcing doctors to turn patients away. How can we believe that Obamacare would work any better? We keep hearing about all the money that goes to pay for the wars we are fighting. Apparently, these people do not know that "providing common defense" is a basic duty of the government. The bigger our government grows, the more "cogs" there are to turn. A smaller government would cost less in taxes and would work better if it were doing only those jobs that it is supposed to be doing. The best thing this country can do is to get the government out of every area of our lives except those areas that are specifically noted in the Constitution.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Abraham Lincoln

Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865) was one of the greatest men who ever lived. He was the first Republican to become President of the United States. He was President of our nation during the Civil War, the bloodiest war and greatest crisis our country has known. Lincoln ended slavery and kept the Union from splitting apart. Lincoln was born to Thomas and Nancy Lincoln on February 12, 1809, in Hardin (now Larue), Kentucky, on a farm located on the South Fork of the Nolin River, about five miles south of Elizabethtown. His ancestry has been traced to a weaver named Samuel Lincoln who emigrated from Hingham, England, to Hingham, Massachusetts, in 1637. The Lincoln's lived on the farm where Abraham was born for two years and then moved to another farm about ten miles away. Abraham and his older sister Sarah went to a long schoolhouse where they learned reading, writing and arithmetic. The Lincolns were apparently as well off as any of their neighbors. Sarah and Abraham were well fed and well clothed for the times. A third child, Thomas, died in infancy. In 1816 when Abraham was about seven, the family moved to Indiana where they could buy land directly from the government. Thomas did not believe in slavery, and Indiana had no slavery. They arrived in early winter. Abraham helped his father clear trees from the 160 acres of land and build a three-sided shelter of logs. A fire on the fourth side burned continually. The family lived in the shelter until they finished a cabin and moved into it in February 1817. By that time Abraham was eight years old and was large enough to swing an ax. He carried an ax with him most of the time that he lived in Indiana and considered it to be "the most useful instrument." Maybe he carried it for protection because bears and other wild animals roamed the remote area. Life improved and became happier until Nancy died in October 1818, apparently from "milk sickness," an illness probably caused by poison that the cows ingested when eating snakeroot. She was buried on a hill by the cabin. Sarah, age 12, kept the house for more than a year before Thomas returned to Kentucky and married Sarah Bush Johnston, a widow, on December 2, 1819. Thomas had known the widow before her first marriage. She brought her three children, aged 12, 8, and 5, with her. The blended family apparently lived together in harmony. Abraham lived on the Indiana frontier until he was 21, but long before he was 20, he was 6 feet 4 inches tall. He was thin, awkward, big-boned and str5ong, with his strength in his chest, legs and especially in his arms. He had coarse black hair that stood on end, dark skin and a homely face. Abraham had less than one year of formal schooling. Because books and paper were scarce, he made his own arithmetic textbook - and several pages still exist. He worked his arithmetic problems on a wooden board which he "erased" by shaving the board clean so he could use it again and again. He walked long distances to borrow books. Some of the books he borrowed were Robinson Crusoe, Pilgrim's Progress, Aesop's Fables, a history of the United States and a schoolbook or two. When Abraham was 14 (1823), his parents joined a Baptist church, but Abraham never joined a church and never attended church regularly. The bitter rivalry among the denominations might be the explanation for his lifetime avoidance of church. He was very religious and knew the Bible thoroughly. His later writings and speeches had many Biblical quotes. He kept a Bible on his desk in the White House and read it often for comfort and guidance. Abraham read another book while young that really impressed him. He spoke about it in later years before the New Jersey Senate: "May I be pardoned if, on this occasion, I mention that away back in my childhood, the earliest days of my being able to read, I got hold of a small book, such a one as few of the younger members have ever seen, Weem's Life of Washington. I remember all the accounts there given of the battle fields and struggles for the liberties of the country…. And you all know, for you have all been boys, how these early impressions last longer than any others. I recollect thinking then, boy even though I was, that there must have been something more than common that those men struggled for." Abraham was a good speaker and story teller and was a favorite in his neighborhood. He also was a hard worker. He made his first money rowing passengers out to a steamboat waiting mid-stream in the Ohio River. He later (1828) helped take a flatboat loaded with farm produce to New Orleans. This trip was his first view of life beyond his community. His sister died in childbirth this same year. In 1830 Thomas moved his family to a farm ten miles west of Decatur, Illinois. Lincoln moved with his family and stayed a year to help plant the first crops and split rails for a cabin and fences. In the spring of 1831 he was hired by a trader to take a flatboat to New Orleans and later to clerk in his new store in New Salem, Illinois. In New Salem, Abraham read the writings of the English dramatist William Shakespeare and the Scottish poet Robert Burns. These works and the Bible were his favorite things to read. The clerking job did not last long so Abraham joined the militia during the Black Hawk War and served for 90 days. After the war he had a chance to buy a New Salem store on credit in partnership with another man. The partnership got deeper and deeper in debt and eventually failed. Abraham was appointed post master of New Salem and worked with the county surveyor. He earned his living from odd jobs and the fees from his two public offices. His partner died, leaving Abraham with the debts of the partnership . It took Lincoln several years to pay off the debts, but his integrity in doing so helped earn him the name of "Honest Abe." Abraham studied law and became a lawyer in New Salem. He moved to Springfield with everything he owned in his saddlebags. In Springfield, Lincoln met a visitor from Kentucky by the name of Mary Todd. After a stormy courtship, they married on November 4, 1842. Lincoln was 33, and Mary was 23. They had contrasting personalities but a loving marriage. The couple had four sons: Robert Todd, Edward Baker (died at age 4), William Wallace (died at age 11 in the White House, and Thomas, usually called Tad, died at age 18 in 1871). Lincoln became a successful lawyer and politician. The family lived comfortably and usually employed a servant to help with the housework although Lincoln often milked the family cow and cared for his horse. He served four terms in the Illinois legislature. While in Springfield, Lincoln made a connection with my family. One of my great-great-grandfathers moved to Springfield, Sangamon County, Illinois, about 1838 and lived there about two years before moving to Nauvoo, Illinois. While living in Sangamon County, my ancestor drove a carriage for Abraham Lincoln while Lincoln was a member of the State Legislature. Lincoln served a term in the United States House of Representatives and campaigned for various presidential candidates. He always opposed slavery but never became an abolitionist. He considered slavery to be evil (morally, socially, and politically) and something to be eliminated. Lincoln revered the Founding Fathers and believed they had promised freedom and equality in the Declaration of Independence. He looked to Thomas Jefferson for his democratic principles and Alexander Hamilton for his economic principles. Lincoln was elected to the Illinois legislature again but resigned to run for United States Senator. He lost the first election, joined the two-year-old Republican Party and campaigned for Republican candidates. In another campaign for United States Senate against Senator Steven A. Douglas, Lincoln said, "A house divided against itself cannot stand. I believe this government cannot endure, permanently half slave and half free. I do not expect the Union to be dissolved - I do not expect the house to fall - but I do expect it will cease to be divided. It will become all one thing, or all the other…." Lincoln challenged Douglas to a series of debates, and seven were scheduled. Douglas won the election, but their debates made Lincoln a national figure. Lincoln received the Republican nomination for President and easily won the election. By the time he became the 16th President on March 4, 1861, seven Southern states had withdrawn from the Union and four more states followed later. These eleven states became the Confederate States of America. The Civil War began on April 12, 1861, when Confederate troops fired on Fort Sumter, South Carolina. Lincoln did everything he could to keep the Union together. He felt that the breakup of the American nation would be a tragedy for all Americans and cause all people to suffer. He believed that the United States was an experiment to see if people could govern themselves. He considered the central issue of the Civil War to be the fate of world democracy. The Civil War probably destroyed any hope Lincoln had for happiness in the White House. Besides dealing with the Civil War, he wrote most of his own letters and all of his speeches. He spent hours each week visiting with anyone who chose to call. In all his years as President, he spent less than a month away from Washington. He found carriage rides relaxing and enjoyed the theater. White House dinners and receptions were simply duties to be performed, and his frequent visits to army hospitals brought great pain to his gentle soul. He read Shakespeare or the Bible for solace late at night. Mrs. Lincoln was suspected by many as being disloyal because she had close family members fighting in the Confederate army. Lincoln grieved deeply at the death of their son "Willie" on February 20, 1962, but Mrs. Lincoln could not be comforted. Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863. He named the states and parts of states that were in rebellion and said that slaves there "are, and hence forward shall be, free." In reality, the proclamation freed no slaves. It applied only to territory controlled by the Confederates and could not be enforced by federal officers. Lincoln encouraged slave owners in Union states to free their slaves in exchange for government financial help, but his advice was not followed. The Emancipation Proclamation did however have long range effects. It showed other nations that the war had a high purpose. It also prepared the way for the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution. This amendment was adopted in December 1965 and ended slavery throughout the United States. Lincoln gave his Gettysburg Address on November 19, 1863, at dedicatory services for a cemetery on the Gettysburg battle field. He prepared his address carefully and made final changes at Gettysburg. People who heard him speak knew that his declaration that "government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth" would last as long as democracy lived. With a few Union victories behind him, Lincoln won reelection. His second inauguration took place on March 4, 1865. In his address, he explained that the Civil War was being fought to abolish slavery. He said that the Civil War was the result of the nation allowing slavery and urged the people to keep their faith in God strong. The war wore on Lincoln. He didn't sleep well during crises, his eyes were ringed with black, his face was gaunt and deeply lined. He had no time for relaxation and ate irregularly. He continued to receive widows and soldiers who came to the White House. He was very humble but had confidence in his own judgments. He used persuasion to lead the people. General Robert E. Lee surrendered to General Ulysses S. Grant on April 9, 1865, at the Appomattox Court House in Virginia. Lincoln gave his last public address on April 11, 1865. On the evening of April 14, 1865, Lincoln attended a performance at Ford's Theatre in Washington. Just after 10:00 P.M., John Wilkes Booth shot the President in the head from the rear of the presidential box. Booth was a well-known actor and broke his leg leaping to the stage to escape. Lincoln was carried unconscious to a nearby house. He was surrounded by his family and governmental officials when he died at 7:22 A.M. on April 15, 1865. Even enemies praised his selflessness and kindness. Millions lined the railroad tracks to watch his burial train go past. He was buried May 4 in Oak Ridge Cemetery in Springfield, Illinois. Booth fled to Maryland on horseback but was later trapped in a barn in Virginia where he was killed. Eight people were accused of conspiring to kill Lincoln and other governmental leaders. After being tried, four were hanged on July 7, and four were sent to prison. One of those four died in prison, and the other three were pardoned by President Andrew Johnson in 1869. Facts and information for this blog post are from an article by Gabor S. Boritt, World Book Encyclopedia, Vol. 12, pp 310-327.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Elected Every Two Years

Provision 12 of the United States Constitution is located in Article I.2.1: "Elections for the members of the House of Representatives shall take place every two years." This means that we haves the Right to confirm or replace our representatives every two years. The Constitution does not limit the number of terms a representative can serve. The reason that this provision was put in the Constitution was to insure that the representatives had to return home and face the voters at regular times. "The fact that the representatives were to be chosen `by the people' of the several states created a `national' Congress of the people instead of a Congress representing the federated states (as was the case under the Articles of Confederation). The people thereby acquired a dual citizenship, being citizens of a `national' government and also citizens of their respective states (to which they likewise elected representatives)" (W. Cleon Skousen, The Making of America - The Substance and Meaning of the Constitution, 269). The Founders wanted the term of office to be long enough that the representative could know what he was doing and yet limited enough that he would remain faithful to the people who elected him. They thought that two years was the right length of time. Parents can talk about how students are elected each year to serve as class officers. This is to insure that the students have the leaders they desire.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

The Creation

There are people who believe that our beautiful world was created by a "Big Bang." If this theory really worked, I should be able to put all my cookie ingredients on the table, shake the table, and have cookie dough! Another comparison would be to put the parts to a watch, etc. on the table and have them become a functioning item. I personally believe that our loving Heavenly Father planned and organized this earth for us. We lived in heaven as spirit children of heavenly parents. Heavenly Father called all of His spirit children together and presented His plan of how we could become like Him. We like His plan so much that we shouted for joy (Job 38:7). We wanted the new experiences even though we knew we would have to leave heaven. We knew that we needed mortal bodies and a new home in order to prepare ourselves. Under the direction of Heavenly Father and using the power of the priesthood, Jesus Christ created or organized this earth out of available materials. God the Father told Moses, "Worlds without number have I created; … and by the Son I created them, which is mine Only Begotten" (Moses 1:33). The earth and everything on it were planned and created spiritually before they were created physically (see Moses 3:5). Christ, as directed by the Father, formed the earth and divided the light from the darkness. He formed the sun, moon and stars and hung them in the heavens. He divided the water from the earth. He made the earth beautiful and planted all kinds of plants, such as trees, grass, flowers, and shrubs. He planned that all these plants would reproduce themselves from seeds contained within each plant. He created fish, insects, birds, and animals, all capable of reproducing their own kind. God's greatest creation - mankind - came after the earth was completed and prepared. Man and woman were created in the image of God (Genesis 1:26-27). Adam, the first man, and Eve, the first woman, were formed and given bodies that looked like those of our heavenly parents. After Adam and Eve were created, God announced that He was pleased and knew His work was good. Then He rested for a time. We can know of God and His love for us as we look at the world around us. We have this beautiful world to live in. We have the sun to keep us warm and give us light. We receive rain to make plants grow and to clean and refresh our air. We have our bodies, which are true miracles and which allow us to work, play and rest. All of the creations of Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ show us that They love us.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Divine Role of Women

Our Father in Heaven has a plan that we might be happy. That plan has roles for His daughters as well as for His sons. Today I will write of the role of the daughters. "We have the female half to take care of, and if we don't do our part, no one else is going to do it for us. The half of our Father's plan that creates life, that nurtures souls, that promotes growth, that influences everything else was given to us. We can't delegate it. We can't pass it off to anyone. It's ours. We can refuse it, we can deny it, but it's still our part, and we're accountable for it. There will come a day when we will all remember what we knew before we were born. We will remember that we fought in a great conflict for this privilege. How do we meet this responsibility? We daily put our energies into the work that is uniquely ours to do" (Julie B. Beck, Relief Society general president, Ensign, Feb. 2009, 67). The basic purpose for the Creation of the earth was to provide bodies for God's spirit children. Mothers and fathers are very important to the work of God as they rear and teach their children, but all men and all women have roles to perform. Heavenly Father intended that men and women progress together to fulfill His plan. Males and females have distinctive temperaments and capacities and each brings unique perspectives and experiences to the relationship. Women have been blessed with divine attributes of love, compassion, kindness, and charity. Whether we are married, widowed, or single, we are required to use these attributes to bless Heavenly Father's children. No matter what our personal circumstances are, we all have opportunities to help and nurture others. The following quote is one of my favorites about women and the good that we have the capacity to perform. "To be a righteous woman during the winding up scenes on this earth, before the second coming of our Savior, is an especially noble calling. The righteous woman's strength and influence today can be tenfold what it might be in more tranquil times" (President Spencer W. Kimball, "Privileges and Responsibilities of Sisters," Ensign, Nov. 1978, 103).

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Financial Fast

I found an article with a good idea to gain financial freedom. The article that I am referring to was written by Michelle Singlelary and suggests a way to curb the need to consume. She suggests that this habit can be broken by completing a 21-day fast. I used a similar idea in January because I spent a lot of money making reservations for next Christmas and buying some expensive airline tickets. I simply stopped buying anything that I didn't absolutely need to buy. I did not carry it as far as she encourages, but I know it works! This financial fast means that for "three weeks you must refrain from buying anything that is not a necessity. And by necessity, I mean the bare essentials, such as food and medicine." She suggests: no mall, no retail stores, no window shopping, no restaurants or fast food, no stopping for coffee, breakfast or lunch, no buying gifts or cards, no credit cards or debit cards, no on-line or catalog shopping, no movies, plays or other entertainment that costs money. Essential items include food, medication, personal hygiene products, clothing needed for the job (pantyhose, work shirts, or uniforms), school supplies, cleaning products. Birthday or wedding gifts and cards are not considered as necessities. She suggests that you find a way to bless them without purchasing something. This would be a good time to use "regiftables," gifts of knowledge or service, or homemade gifts or cards. She used an example of a mother giving her child a birthday party and requesting that guests bring books to exchange. Oh, you might also know that you would not be permitted to explain that you cannot buy gifts right now but will bring it later! The idea is to stop using shopping and spending money as a means of entertainment (window shopping, looking at catalogs) as well as using a budge and living within your means. You can check out the article here.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Black History

February is black history month so I will give a little black history. One of my daughters had the opportunity to be taught by two different black teachers, one for first grade and one for second grade. We learned a lot about black history during those two years. I considered both women to be good teachers and had a lot of respect for them. I was grateful for the knowledge they shared with my daughter. I remember reading a book while I was in grade school many years ago. The book was about George Washington Carver, a black American scientist who won international fame for his agriculture research. I remember that he did a lot of work with peanuts. I also remember being very impressed with his accomplishments, not realizing that being black was supposed to make him different from other men. Let me tell you a little about George Washington Carver (1864-1943). He was born a slave on a farm in Missouri. Soon after he was born, his father was killed and his mother was kidnapped. He was reared by Moses and Susan Carver, his owners until slavery was abolished in 1865. He had a great desire to learn and was taught to read and write by the Carvers. At age 11 he moved to another town in Missouri to attend a school for black children. He spent the next twenty years working to support himself and to pay for school. In 1890 he started at Simpson College in Iowa. He decided that he wanted a degree in agriculture and transferred to Iowa State Agricultural College (now Iowa State University) in Ames. He received a bachelor's degree in agriculture in 1894 and a master's in 1896. In 1896 he moved to Alabama and joined the faculty of Tuskegee Institute (now Tuskegee University), an industrial and agricultural school for blacks. There he became head of the agricultural department and director of a state agricultural station. In 1910 he became head of a newly created Department of Research at Tuskegee. Sometime after 1914 he began to focus his research on peanuts. He made more than 300 products from peanuts, including a milk substitute, face powder, printer's ink, and soap. He received national attention in 1921 when he went before a committee of Congress to talk about the many uses of peanuts. He traveled through much of the country lecturing to promote peanuts. Carver spent much time and effort trying to improve race relations. He never married. In 1940 he gave $33,000, his life's savings, to establish the George Washington Carver Research Foundation for agricultural research at Tuskegee Institute. I still believe that George Washington Carver was an exceptional man who accomplished much by commitment, hard work, and education. Facts for this post came from an article by John W. Kitchens in World Book Encyclopedia, Vol. 3, pp 268-269.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Officer Down II

Anchorage Police Officer Jason Allen, age 47, was shot five times while sitting in his police car on January 9. He had responded to a domestic dispute just before 2:00 a.m. and had returned to his car to do paperwork when a dark-colored sedan pulled alongside him. There were at least two people in the vehicle, and the shooter opened fire without any warning. Allen was hit five times, but his bulletproof vest stopped some of the shots. He stayed alert enough to call for help and to give information to his fellow officers before going in for surgery. In the weeks since the shooting, Allen has been through multiple surgeries for wounds to his arm and torso. His left arm is in a full cast from his fingers to his shoulder. He expects to leave the hospital soon and recognizes that recovery will take much longer. Police believe that Allen was targeted in the drive-by shooting simply because he is a police officer. They believe that the shooter was looking to execute a cop. The police call the shooting an "ambush attack." Police have not named any suspects in the attack, nor have they released descriptions of the suspect car and/or its occupants. Allen is anxious to get back to work to help find the shooter. Meanwhile, he is grateful for his fellow officers who have guarded him around the clock at the hospital. He is appreciative of all the support he has gotten from the police and the community. A reward fund was started by the Anchorage Police Department Employees Association, the city and other public safety unions. The original reward amount of $10,000 has now grown to $25,000 with additional donations. In addition, a second fund has been started to support Allen's family. Our community is outraged that such an attack took place here. We want the creeps caught as soon as possible. Meanwhile, we continue to pray for Allen's quick recovery.