After the Constitutional Convention ended in 1787 and the delegates left Independence Hall, Mrs. Powel of Philadelphia asked Benjamin Franklin, "Well, Doctor, what have we got, a republic or a monarchy?" Benjamin Franklin did not hesitate in his reply, "A republic, madam, if you can keep it" (as recorded by Constitution signer James McHenry in a diary entry).
Our Constitution states: "The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government, and shall protect each of them against Invasion; .…" (Article IV, Section 4, paragraph 1)
Even though our Pledge of Allegiance went through a period of evolving [www.homeofheroes.com] and has changed four different times since it was first written for the 400th anniversary of the discovery of America on October 12, 1892, it has always referred to our system of government as a Republic. Francis Bellamy is often given credit for writing the original pledge, but no one seems to know for sure whether he or James Upham wrote it or whether it was a joint project.
The original Pledge, dated October 11, 1892, was "I pledge allegiance to my Flag, and to the Republic for which it stands: one Nation indivisible, With Liberty and Justice for all." This pledge was recited by school children as a "daily routine" for almost twenty-five years but received little additional attention. On Flag Day, June 14, 1923, the first National Flag Conference was held in Washington, D.C., and one of the agenda items was a careful look at the wording in the Pledge. The attendees were concerned that confusion may arise over the words "my Flag" and altered the pledge to read: "I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States, and to the Republic for which it stands: one Nation indivisible, With Liberty and Justice for all."
A year later on June 14, 1924, the Pledge was changed again: "I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands: one Nation indivisible, With Liberty and Justice for all."
"The Pledge of Allegiance continued to be recited daily by children in schools across America, and gained heightened popularity among adults during the patriotic fervor created by World War II. It still was an "unofficial" pledge until June 22, 1942 when the United States Congress included the Pledge to the Flag in the United States Flag Code (Title 36). This was the first Official sanction given to the words that had been recited each day by children for almost fifty years. One year after receiving this official sanction, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that school children could not be forced to recite the Pledge as part of their daily routine. In 1945 the Pledge to the Flag received its official title as: The Pledge of Allegiance."
The Pledge of Allegiance received its last change on Flag Day, June 14, 1954, when President Dwight D. Eisenhower gave his approval to add the words "under God" to the Pledge. In authorizing this change, he said, "In this way we are reaffirming the transcendence of religious faith in America's heritage and future; in this way we shall constantly strengthen those spiritual weapons which forever will be our country's most powerful resource in peace and war."
Each time we say the Pledge of Allegiance, we are committing ourselves to defend our Republic. The wording in our current Pledge states: "I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands: one Nation under God, indivisible, With Liberty and Justice for all."
When we say the Pledge of Allegiance, we commit ourselves to uphold both the Flag and the Republic. The words of the Pledge express the following thoughts: "I Promise to be faithful and true (Promise my loyalty) to the emblem that stands for and represents all 50 states, each of them individual, and individually represented on the flag yet formed into a UNION of one Nation. And I also pledge my loyalty to the Government that is itself a Republic, a form of government where the PEOPLE are sovereign, this government also being represented by the Flag to which I promise loyalty. These 50 individual states are united as a single Republic under the Divine providence of God, `our most powerful resource' (according to the words of President Eisenhower) and can not be separated. (This part of the original version of the pledge was written just 30 years after the beginning of the Civil War and demonstrates the unity sought in the years after that divisive period in our history.) The people of this Nation being afforded the freedom to pursue `life, liberty, and happiness,' and each person entitled to be treated justly, fairly, And according to proper law and principle, And these principles afforded to EVERY AMERICAN, regardless of race, religion, color, creed, or any other criteria. Just as the flag represents 50 individual states that can not be divided or separated, this Nation represents millions of people who can not be separated or divided." (www.homeofheroes.com)
When I was in school, students had the opportunity to recite the Pledge of Allegiance every day and to commit themselves to being loyal to the United States of America. Understanding the reasoning behind the words in it, I am not surprised that our Pledge is currently under attack from people within our own nation. There have been numerous court cases where people who do not believe in God want the words "under God" taken out of the Pledge. There are others who are trying to convince us that our Republic is really a "democracy." There are still others who are attempting to destroy the entire Pledge in an effort to cause Americans to forget our heritage. School districts in various parts of the nation have stopped having the Pledge recited daily. Apparently, Benjamin Franklin knew human nature very well when he questioned if we would be able to keep our Republic.
Yesterday America and her friends celebrated the 235th anniversary of the birth of the United States of America. We celebrate our independence on July 4 because the Declaration of Independence was signed on July 4, 1776. More than eleven years passed before the Constitution was signed on September 17, 1787, and even more years passed before the Constitution was ratified by nine states and adopted as the supreme law of the land. The U.S. Constitution has been described as the instructions on how to implement the Declaration of Independence. Both documents are precious and noble to true Americans!
We have been a Republic for more than 200 years and have been a source of strength and courage for many people worldwide. Our current President appears to be ashamed of the strength of America and has taken actions to lessen our power. Obama and his progressive friends are attempting to "fundamentally change" our nation; their statements and actions show that they apparently have not studied or understood history.
Our Founding Fathers did study history as well as different types of government; they understood which forms of government were lasting and which were not. They had the opportunity to establish a democracy and chose to give us a republic instead. The Founders understood that a democracy operates on the direct vote of the people and runs on the feelings of the majority. They knew that the most famous majority vote in history took place when the people cried, "Give us Barrabas." The Founders also understood that a republic differs from a democracy in the fact that the citizens elect representatives and then the representatives run the government based on the rule of law, knowing full well that the supreme power of the government rests in the People. Our Electoral College is just one example of how a republic works.
From their studies our Founders knew that ancient Greece was the first democracy and was destroyed by the situations ethics of democracy where each person voted for what he wanted rather than for what was best for the nation. The Founders also knew that the Roman Empire began as a republic and remained powerful until it became a democracy, then a dictatorship, and eventually ceased being a world power. The Founders wanted to establish a government that would be lasting.
Our Founders had the opportunity to establish a democracy and chose not to do so. From some of their statements, we know that they had strong feelings against forming a democracy. Benjamin Rush, signer of the Declaration of Independence, said, "A simple democracy … is one of the greatest of evils."
Fisher Ames, Author of the House Language for the First Amendment, stated, "A democracy is a volcano which conceals the fiery materials of its own destruction. These will produce an eruption and carry desolation in their way. The known propensity of a democracy is to licentiousness [excessive license] which the ambitious call, and the ignorant believe to be liberty."
John Adams said, "Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There never was a democracy yet that did not commit suicide." He explained,
"[D]emocracy will soon degenerate into an anarchy; such an anarchy that every man will do what is right in his own eyes and no man's life or property or reputation or liberty will be secure, and every one of these will soon mould itself into a system of subordination of all the moral virtues and intellectual abilities, all the powers of wealth, beauty, wit, and science, to the wanton pleasures, the capricious will, and the execrable [abominable] cruelty of one or a very few."
John Quincy Adams in later years taught, "[T]he experience of all former ages had shown that of all human governments, democracy was the most unstable, fluctuating and short-lived."
The views and understanding of our Founders came from their studies of the Bible, and they used the natural laws found in the Bible as the foundation of the new Republic. Founder Noah Webster stated, "[Our] citizens should early understand that the genuine source of correct republican principles is the Bible, particularly the New Testament, or the Christian religion."
President George Washington said, "It is impossible to rightly govern the world without God and the Bible."
President James Madison, also known as the Father of the Constitution, said, "We have staked the whole future of American civilization, not upon the power of government, far from it. We have staked the future of all our political institutions upon the capacity of mankind for self-government; upon the capacity of each and all of us to govern ourselves, to sustain ourselves according to the Ten Commandments of God."
I especially find the following words of President James A. Garfield to be appropriate for our day: "If a Republican government fails to secure public prosperity and happiness, it must be because the citizens neglect their divine commands and elect bad men to make and administer laws."
The laws of our Republic are based on the laws given by God to Moses and handed down to generation upon generation. Is it any wonder that godless people in our nation claim that our Republic is a democracy? Is it any wonder that they want to take the Pledge of Allegiance out of our schools? Is it any wonder that they want to take God out of our government and public affairs?
The words of Benjamin Franklin ring loudly in my ears: "A republic, madam, if you can keep it."
Ideas and quotes are from www.homeofheroes.com [http://www.homeofheroes.com/hallofheroes/1st_floor/flag/1bfc_pledge.htmal],
www.timetracts.com [http://www.timetracts.com/republic_vs.htm], and www.wallbuilders.com [http:www.wallbuilders.com/LIBissuesArticles.asp?id=111].
Tuesday, July 5, 2011
Keeping Our Republic
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