"Suggested Presidential Speech" by Jack Kamrath
In Support of the Pledge of Allegiance by Jack Kamrath, President of AHEF
Historic Quotes on American Freedom and Civic Education
Current Quotes on American Freedom and Civic Education
"Suggested Presidential Speech"
by Jack Kamrath,
President of the American Heritage Education
"Suggested Presidential Speech" (PDF Format)
On September 11, 2001 our nation experienced the greatest single foreign attack on our homeland in history. Two thousand seven hundred and ninety-two unsuspecting, innocent men, women and children were brutally murdered on that day three years ago.
We are here today to remember and memorialize those brave brothers and sisters who were taken from us in order that they will never be forgotten.
What words, what memorials, what monuments can adequately express our grief and sense of loss of these family members of our total American Family?
Certainly there should be special memorials to remember each and every one of these heroes. Yet at the same time, we all have a sense that mere physical monuments are not enough to honor those
that were killed on that awful day of September 11, 2001. Abraham Lincoln said it best at Gettysburg in 1863 after 7,000 brave soldiers died in three days of
war between brothers who fought and died for what they believed. President Lincoln stated the following
and I ask each of you to very carefully listen to his great challenge: "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 gave the last full measure of devotion--that we here highly resolve
that these dead shall not have died in vain--that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom
, and that government of the people, by the people, for the people shall not perish from the earth."
Lincoln's words reverberate today through our great nation louder and stronger than ever before. America
was attacked on September 11th not for our land, industry, ports or airfields. We were attacked simply
because of our beliefs, values and ideals as Americans that all men are created equal and endowed by
their Creator with life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. When I became your President, I took an
Oath of Office to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States of America to the
best of my ability. The President of the United States is also sworn to protect the country from all
enemies, foreign and domestic. When our country was attacked for our beliefs, values and ideals, it
placed on the Office of the President a challenge to lead our nation in this war of ideas and ideals. For
this reason, it is my emphatic responsibility to alert and inform our citizens that our nation is now under
a relentless, cunning and devious attack upon the very foundations of our democratic republic. This
enemy will surely destroy our nation if it is not defeated. This enemy will undermine our economy and
lead directly to the corruption and destruction of our society if it is not defeated. This enemy will
destroy our homes and families with more certainty than any physical weapon of mass destruction if it
is not defeated. This enemy is the ultimate weapon of mass destruction and, tragically, is instigated by
our own hand against ourselves. The scourge and plague of IGNORANCE is the lethal disease from which no self-governing people can possibly survive.
The Congress and I stand together today to begin anew the fight against IGNORANCE. This fight is in
honor and memory of those that perished three years ago on September 11, 2001. One may fairly ask,
"How can IGNORANCE lead to the destruction of the freest society and greatest economy ever achieved
by the mind of man"? As your President, I respectfully ask you to please listen closely to the following lessons of history and to the heritage of our nation, the United States of America.
The concepts and ideas underlying the notion of self-government based on our Declaration of
Independence and United States Constitution are very advanced intellectual concepts that were never
attempted until July 4, 1776. For thousands of years, man did not know how to understand, express
and implement the meaning of individual freedom for every man, woman and child. Modern man's recorded history is 5,000 years old on a planet that is many millions years old. What types of
governments or societies existed on earth by man prior to 1776? With virtually no exception, all nations
were organized in one form or another under 'Ruler's Law" in which all power and decision-making rested
in one central, authoritarian person, family or group. Ruler's Law still exists today in many forms
including monarchy, autocracy, plutocracy, aristocracy, oligarchy, empires and military dictatorship.
Ruler's Law possesses very definite characteristics—all power is concentrated in the Ruler and
government power is exercised by compulsion, force or decree. The people are treated as subjects of
the Ruler with no freedom or rights except those handed out by the Ruler. The people are generally
structured into social and economic classes with the thrust of the government being from the Ruler
down, not from the people up. Under Ruler's Law, freedom is not considered a solution to anything
because problems are solved by issuing new edicts, taking more in taxes from the people or simply
destroying any opposition to the Ruler. The land is treated as the realm of the Ruler. Finally, the
transfer of power from one Ruler to another under Ruler's Law is often by violence resulting in such countries having a strong history of blood and terror in both ancient and modern times.
Through very enlightened education and overcoming centuries of ignorance and the tradition of Ruler's
Law, the American colonists came to realize that the King of England and the English Parliament would
never voluntarily release their control over their American colonies. These early Americans were neither
brash nor impatient. They knew their classics and their history—Biblical, Greek, Roman, European and
English. They were familiar with the writings and philosophies of Plato, Aristotle, Polybius, Cicero,
Francis Bacon, Richard Hooker, John Locke, David Hume, Sir William Blackstone, Sir Edward Coke and Adam Smith. None of the Founders could have brought a more profound or comprehensive training
in history and political philosophy than the great Virginian, Thomas Jefferson. The depth and breadth of
his education are astonishing. At the age of sixteen he had entered the college of William and Mary in
Williamsburg as an advanced student. At the age of nineteen he had graduated and immediately
commenced five years of intensive study with George Wythe, the first professor of law in America. He
often studied fourteen or more hours per day and often knew more than his professors. He gained
proficiency in five languages and studied the Greek and Roman classics as well as European, English and Biblical history.
In studying the origins of freedom and self-government before writing the Declaration of Independence,
Jefferson made a significant discovery. He saw that at one time, the Israelites, after coming out of
Egypt between 1490 and 1290 B.C. practiced the earliest and most efficient form of representative
government in an otherwise tyrannical world. The Israelites were led by Moses who organized the 600
,000 Israelites into groups of a thousand families with one leader per group. Further in his studies,
Jefferson also learned that the Anglo-Saxons, who came from around the Black Sea in the first century
B.C. and spread across Northern Europe copied Moses early form of representative government. The
Anglo-Saxons became an extremely well organized and efficient people in their day. Jefferson greatly admired these laws of representative government and called these laws 'Ancient Principles'.
For seventeen days, Jefferson composed and revised his rough draft of the Declaration of Independence.
The major portion of the Declaration is taken up with a long series of charges against King George III of
England. Most of these abuses were nearly all copied from Jefferson's draft of the Virginia Constitution
and his summarized view of the Rights of British America. To copy these charges into the Declaration
would not have taken him more than a day or two at most. What was Jefferson doing the rest of the
thirteen or fourteen days? It is clear that he spent this remaining time trying to structure into the first
two paragraphs of the Declaration at least eight of the 'Ancient Principles' in which he had come to
believe in strongly. His views and writings are well documented. We are able to identify the following
fundamental principles as the foundational ideas of the Declaration of Independence and therefore the
basic foundational structural philosophy of the United States of America and it's creation. It is essential that all Americans know and understand these eight great principles:
1. Sound government should be based on self-evident truths. These truths should be so obvious,
rational and morally sound that their authenticity is beyond reasonable dispute
2. The equal station of mankind here on earth is an obvious and inherent aspect of the Law of nature
and of nature's God.
3. This equality of man as a self-evident truth presupposes that man's Creator made human beings
equal in their rights, equal before the bar of justice and equal in the eye of the Creator.
4. Because these rights and equality have been bestowed by the Creator on each individual, they
cannot be violated and/or removed by a Ruler. They are therefore unalienable. A person may have other
rights in written law which are 'vested' by statute, but vested rights are not unalienable and can be changed or removed at any time by other human beings.
5. Among the most important of the unalienable rights are the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of
happiness, so long at this pursuit does not invade the inherent rights of others.
6. The most basic reason for a community or a nation to establish a system of Government is to
assure its people that the unalienable rights of the people shall be protected and preserved.
7. And because of this, it follows that no office or agency of government has any right to exist except
with the consent of the people or their representatives.
8. It also follows that if a government, either by malfeasance or neglect, fails to protect those rights or
, even worse, begins to violate those rights, then it is the duty of the people to regain control of their affairs and change or remove the government in order to serve the people better.
These eight 'ancient principles' that Jefferson crafted into the Declaration of Independence are as
timeless and relevant today as when they formed the nation's foundational structure in 1776. These
principles are not Republican or Democratic Party principles. These are American principles. They
unleashed a pioneering, innovating and trailblazing experience of freedom, education, creativity and
ingenuity that for over 200 years has been the marvel of the world in our advancing social progress based on the freedom of the individual.
At the same time, it is clear from numerous studies, tests and research in recent years that our nation
is beginning to forget, has forgotten, or even worse for our younger generation has never learned not only
Jefferson's eight ancient principles, but the other key fundamentals of America's 'playbook'. We all
understand that if a team does not know the plays or the strategy of a game plan, then the team will fail
and collapse in achieving its goals. The great philosopher, Will Durant, said, "Civilization is not inherited:
it has to be learned and earned by each generation anew. If the transmission should be interrupted by one century, civilization would die, and we should be savages again."
The outstanding professor of history, Roger Wilkins, said, "I believe that somehow every student in every
college of the United States ought to be taught fundamental lessons that say democracy is precious, democracy is perishable, democracy requires active attention and that democracy requires hard work."
Our greatest American philosopher and statesman on the concept of freedom itself, Thomas Jefferson,
said, "If a nation expects to remain ignorant and free in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be."
As your President, it is my duty to not only defend the ideas and ideals of the United States, it is also
my duty to promote their study and understanding by our people. The learned professor of classics and
history, Donald Kagan, stated it very clearly when he said, "the unity of our country and the defense of
freedom require that its citizens understand the ideas, history and traditions that created them." Kagan
said further, "The institutions and ideas that provide for freedom and improvement in material conditions
cannot flourish without an understanding of how they came about." It is clear that when a free nation
based on self-government and an informed citizenry forgets its history and its heritage it is in serious trouble by its own negligence and ignorance.
For this reason, the Congress and your President approved a new K-12 history program entitled
'Teaching American History' which is now in effect throughout the country. And for this reason, I want
to ask each of you within earshot of my voice to ask yourself, what are the key fundamental, timeless
and enduring ideas and ideals underlying our national philosophy? If someone from another country
asked me as President what America's key philosophical foundations were, I would answer him or her
by saying that I believe that there are four fundamental and vital characteristics of the United States of America.
I believe that the first and most important characteristic of our country is FREEDOM. The founders of
our nation were not royalty—they were all common people without class distinctions or nobility. This
fact is extremely important. Through their intense study and hard work in educating themselves the colonists came to understand that they were not free because the King of England declared them so or
because they were nobleman of some sort. Their intense and thorough studies taught them that they
were free because they believed that a Creator endowed all men, including 'commoners', with the right
to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. With the strength of their philosophical belief that their
freedom was a gift from God and not a privilege granted by a monarch, the founders committed to each
other their lives, fortunes and sacred honor toward achieving ultimate freedom from England. Freedom
in the United States has always been viewed as a gift from God because it affirms the idea, whether one
is a believer and non-believer, that freedom for us all is unalienable and cannot be taken from us by
another human being. In this sense, our nation is and always has been a God-loving nation. We have a
very deep sense that if there were no God, then there could never be any lasting freedom for any of us.
This heritage in America of God's gift to us of freedom is by far our nation's most fundamental and most
important characteristic. If you are a non-believer of a God or a Creator, you are still a vitally important
part of the American family and your beliefs and ideas are respected. And, equally, believers hope that
you will understand and respect their ideas in the fundamental connection between God and freedom as a historical fact of the United States.
I believe that the second most important
characteristic of our nation is UNITY. After our founders and forefathers gained their freedom through a long, demanding and difficult war with
England, they found that it was very difficult for so many diverse and different colonies and peoples to agree on how to govern themselves. There were so many different nationalities,
personalities, strengths, weaknesses, interests and characteristics among the colonies and colonists. I think that the best analogy in describing our young nation in these early days
is to think of it as a new family with thirteen new members, all born on the same day as full-grown adults. Imagine trying to have these family members agree on anything much less
on how to organize and govern themselves! Whatever differences they had, and there were many, the
original thirteen colonies somehow knew, above all else and in spite of their great differences, that they
must unite together for their own survival or surely they would perish separately. In looking back over
the last 228 years, I believe that we can all see and understand that a unified American family is one of
the strongest national families ever created and an enormously important national characteristic. The
first words of our Constitution, We The People…help to express our national unity. One of our first
national mottos adopted in 1776, E Pluribus Unum, is Latin for the phrase, 'From Many, One'. The
recent focus on diversity for merely the sake of diversity without the corresponding understanding that
diversity has always been and will always be only one characteristic of the American Family clearly
tends to divide and separate us. This is completely uncharacteristic of our people. We are not and
have never been the Diverse States of America. We are and always have been the United States of
America. As Americans we have the right and the duty to express our individual beliefs. We also have
the duty and responsibility to listen to our fellow Americans. If all sides of an issue are discussed,
heard and understood by everyone, then the great common sense of the American people and the great
American spirit of understanding and unity will then hold us together as a nation as it has done for 228 years.
I believe that the third most important characteristic of America is PROGRESS. Our nation's incredible
social, economic, transportation, communication, health and living advances since 1776 as a result of
our FREEDOM and our UNITY are unequalled in history. Let me give you just a very few examples of this progress just since 1902, a little over 100 years ago:
- In 1902, the average life expectancy was 47 years.
- Only 14% of US homes had a bathtub. Most of us washed their hair with borax or egg yolks.
- Only 8% of homes had a telephone.
- There were only 8,000 cars and 144 miles of paved roads in the country. The maximum speed
limit in most cities was 10 mph.
- Alabama, Mississippi, Iowa and Tennessee were each more heavily populated than California
which was only the 21st most populous state.
- The average wage in the US was 22 cents an hour, and the average worker earned between $200
and $400 per year.
The following inventions had yet to be discovered: the airplane, helicopter, insulin, penicillin, antibiotics,
radio, television, computers, copy machines, word processors, washing machines, windshield wipers, vacuum cleaners, air-conditioning, frozen packaged food, the microwave, pop-top cans, ATM machines,
the compact disc, the rocket engine, cyclotrons, or the space shuttle all of which were invented by Americans.
In understanding our nation's great progress, there are four key factors that determine the rate of
economic progress that the people of a country can achieve. These four factors are freedom, capital
investment, energy and education. These are the vital ingredients to increased output of goods and
services necessary for each generation to do as much as possible in raising living standards through
increased productivity. At any time, for any reason, a deficiency in any of these four factors will
adversely impact our economic progress. Freedom must be maintained through minimal intrusion of our
lives by government. Capital investment must be maintained through a modest and reasonable tax
structure. Energy in efficient and creative levels must be maintained to provide the fuel for better health,
better living conditions and increasing opportunity. Education must be maintained, increased and expanded in order that our economy and quality of life is sustainable.
In building a stronger America, we directly contribute to building a stronger and better world because of
increased production of goods and services to all countries with whom we trade. The road to economic
progress for the United States and all countries is the creation of more goods, services and jobs for all,
not in dividing existing wealth that ceases to grow. We must always strive to grow the economic pie so
that more people can eat well, survive and prosper as opposed to all trying to eat merely the same size
pie that never gets bigger. A pie that does not grow will surely result in the starvation of all.
I firmly believe that the fourth most important characteristic of the United States is RESPONSIBILITY.
In addition to our incredibly generous people who literally give away billions of dollars every year to
important charitable causes, an astonishing 48% of our adult population contributes nearly five volunteer hours per week across the country in the fields of education, health, human services, youth
development, religion, foreign aid and other similar areas of need. This level of voluntary gifts,
contributions, donations and time far exceeds that of any country in the history of mankind. So while
we are far from perfect and need to keep striving to do better in every way that we can, our free market
economy based on free political institutions has proven itself to be enormously successful both in improving our own standard of living and then in providing extra wealth to help those that are less
fortunate or unable to help themselves. Americans contribute enormous amounts of time and resources
to try and help their fellow man both at home and throughout the world. This characteristic of
RESPONSIBILITY in helping our fellow man comes from, as we all know, the best Biblical tradition of doing unto others as we would have them do unto us.
In conclusion, I firmly believe that the four greatest fundamental characteristics of our country are
FREEDOM, UNITY, PROGRESS and RESPONSIBILITY. I would add further that, while we can do more and must never be satisfied or complacent, we can take a moment to acknowledge that this
ingenious system of self-government so ably designed by our Forefathers, has worked incredibly well to help millions upon millions of our citizens live and work with dignity, peace and happiness.
Yet in spite of our great achievements, it is common knowledge today that a large number of our
schools, colleges and universities that teach and train our young people routinely criticize the American
system and way of life as being irredeemably flawed. It is almost as if many of our nation's school
teachers, administrators and professors hold in contempt the fact that our system of freedom and free
-enterprise is working well and steadily moving forward for the benefit and improvement of as many of our
citizens as possible. Certainly it is important that students and citizens understand and improve on our
flaws and imperfections. Yet our students and citizens must also appreciate the degree to which the
basic ideals of freedom, unity, progress and responsibility under our democratic republic have helped the most people in history find a better way of life. These unique American characteristics, when
combined with our great love for our fellow man is in the best tradition of our Judaeo-Christian heritage in the United States of being our brother's keeper.
It is critical that our nation's history, heritage, advancement and goodness not only be constantly
remembered and celebrated, it must be studied and relearned anew by each generation. If this is not
accomplished, then our young generation today and future generations will not understand, appreciate
and maintain our fundamental national characteristics that it received from the previous generation. I
stated at the beginning that we were attacked on September 11, 2001 simply because of our beliefs,
values and ideals as a nation and as Americans. As your President, I have joined with the Congress to begin our national rebirth in honor the 2,792 that perished on September 11th for no other reason than
that they were Americans. In their honor, this September and every September hereafter is hereby proclaimed NATIONAL AMERICAN HERITAGE MONTH for the purpose of relearning, expressing and
promoting across our land the great ideas of freedom, unity, progress and responsibility, and our many other great national ideals, that are the structural foundations of the United States of America.
It has been said that, "IDEALS ARE LIKE STARS, YOU WILL NOT SUCCEED IN TOUCHING THEM
WITH YOUR HANDS. BUT LIKE THE SEAFARING MAN ON THE OCEAN'S WATERS, YOU CHOOSE THEM AS YOUR GUIDES, AND FOLLOWING THEM YOU WILL REACH YOUR DESTINY."
The destiny of the United States of America is still to come. In seeking this destiny, we must always
be guided by our proven ideals and our proven heritage. The heritage and history of America, while not
perfect, is based on truth, love of our fellow man and a beautifully designed system of self-government.
As your President and as your Representatives in Congress, we want the American people to know that
we choose America and its foundational ideals and ideas as our guides. We must all preserve and
strengthen them in order that our children and grandchildren, and their children and grandchildren can preserve and strengthen the United States of America.
Thank you for allowing us into your homes tonight to honor and memorialize our fellow Americans that
were lost on September 11, 2001 with the establishment of this NATIONAL AMERICAN HERITAGE MONTH. And thank you for all that you do as Americans for yourselves, your family, neighbors, friends
and your fellow man. May God always bless the United States of America.
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IN SUPPORT OF OUR PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE:
Attorney General's Defense of the Pledge Does Not Go Far Enough September 16, 2005
The source of our unalienable rights cannot be removed by the stroke of a pen from a King or from a Congress
By Jack Kamrath
Co-Founder and President
American Heritage Education Foundation
In Support of Our Pledge of Allegiance (PDF Format)
Texas' Attorney General Greg Abbott wrote an excellent op/ed piece in your September 16, 2005, issue
of the Houston Chronicle newspaper. Mr. Abbott discussed some of the cultural and legal history of
reciting the Pledge of Allegiance in the public square. However, I felt that he did not go far enough to
explain the basic, structural nature between Freedom and God in America. I respectfully submit the
following additional arguments in support of our Pledge of Allegiance and its including the phrase, "One Nation Under God."
The hullabaloo and confusion over reciting the Pledge of Allegiance in schools or exhibiting the Ten
Commandments in 'the public square' is an important reflection of our nation's increasing case of 'civics
amnesia' over the last thirty or forty years. Our citizens and students, in large part, have not been
taught the first and most fundamental philosophical concept of America. This educational deficiency is a very well-documented fact (for example, see E Pluribus Unum at www.bradleyproject.org). As a result, we Americans squabble among ourselves over the key founding philosophy of America - a philosophy
that should unquestionably unite us.
This first and most fundamental idea of America is understanding the philosophical concept of Freedom.
The Founders of our nation were not royalty. They were all common people without class distinctions,
royal titles, or nobility. This fact is extremely important. Americans then and now were and are all
'equally common' people. Through their intense study and hard work in educating themselves, the colonists came to understand that they were not free because King George declared them so or
because Freedom was a birthright due to being a nobleman. Their intense studies taught them that
they were free because they believed that a Creator endowed all men, including commoners, with the
right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. With the strength of their philosophical belief that their
Freedom was a timeless, permanent gift from God and not a privilege granted by a monarch, the founders gathered enormous internal strength to make a most radical decision to break away from their
Motherland after concluding that the king would never voluntarily release his grip over his subjects. This
decision was terribly controversial at the time because the entire populace in the colonies was not fully
educated or cognizant of the philosophical arguments and reasonings related to the widening western civilization concept of Freedom and the rights of the individual.
From those calamitous days in the late 18th century, Freedom in America has always been viewed as a
gift from God because it affirms the critical philosophical ideas that, whether one is a believer or non
-believer, Freedom for us all is an eternal or essentially "spiritual" state of the human existence that
cannot be removed by another human being. If one believes that one human has no right to impose or
coerce another human, then it follows that the most important word in the Declaration of Independence
is, arguably, 'unalienable.' That is to say that without the understanding of the idea that the gift of life,
liberty, and the pursuit of happiness are permanent and unchanging rights for all, man is at the mercy of
other men and any man-made law that can be given or taken away at any time by the stroke of a pen.
All true, thoughtful Americans have a very deep sense that all Americans, regardless of their belief of
non-belief in a God, accept the philosophical Founding of America as, for the first time in history, a
nation conceived on this new and unique idea of the equality of all men in the eye of a Creator or a spiritual force that looks upon all human beings as totally equal.
Both believers and non-belivers of a God or Creator are historically respected as equally important
members of the American family. Both have also always been ready and willing to defend the philosophical concept of Freedom because they seem to know and understand the fundamental
connection between God and Freedom as a historical fact of the United States' founding, regardless of their personal beliefs.
The inclusion of God "in the public square" through our Pledge of Allegiance, a public display of the Ten
Commandments, or some other similar symbols should be a comforting and unifying tradition to all true
Americans. Those public displays are not forcing any form of religion on any other citizen. These
displays are simple reminders that America was designed and conceived on the fundamental concept that every person's freedom was a natural, God-given right emanating from a higher power than mortal
If the outward words "Under God" were removed from the Pledge and other similar national symbols,
words that the majority of Americans understand and appreciate, you can be sure that America would more quickly slide backwards toward tyranny and oppression of men dominating other men. Thomas
Jefferson said it best: "If a nation expects to remain ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be."
America is not perfect. It took many more decades for our black brothers and sisters, for example, to
achieve Freedom. But Jefferson and Washington, for example, two of the Founders who owned slaves because they were born into a pre-existing system of slavery, designed and put in place a system
based on unalienable rights that would remain a permanent philosophical fact of America and eventually
result in permanent Freedom for all slaves and their descendants. Did this take longer than it should
have? Certainly. But lest any of us forget, it took 1776 years from Jesus' birth (and thousands of years
before that) for the common white man to light the first flicker of Freedom's flame for himself and to
define it for all others in America's Declaration of Independence. Can Americans today preserve and
strengthen this comforting and unifying idea? We can only hope so--and work to overcome the kind of
ignorance in our schools and in our society that our Founders knew was capable of destroying what they had signed.
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HISTORIC QUOTES ON AMERICAN FREEDOM AND CIVIC EDUCATION
"If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never
will be." --Thomas Jefferson
"The God who gave us life gave us liberty at the same time." --Thomas Jefferson
"I have sworn upon the alter of God eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man."
--Thomas Jefferson, inscribed on Jefferson Memorial
"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their
creator with certain inalienable rights. Among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. That
to secure these rights governments are instituted among men. We solemnly publish and declare that
these colonies are and of right ought to be free and independent states and for the support of this
declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine providence, we mutually pledge our lives, our
fortunes, and our sacred honour." --Declaration of Independence, inscribed on Jefferson Memorial
"I have lived, Sir, a long time and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth -- that God
governs in the affairs of men. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without his notice, is it
probable that an empire can rise without his aid? We have been assured, Sir, in the sacred writings that
'except the Lord build they labor in vain that build it.' I firmly believe this; and I also believe that without
his concurring aid we shall succeed in this political building no better than the Builders of Babel." --Benjamin Franklin, Constitutional Convention Address on Prayer
"The Foundation of every government is some principle or passion in the minds of the people." --John Adams
"It is scarcely possible to reduce an enlightened people to civil or ecclesiastical tyranny.... Deprive
them of knowledge, and they sink almost insensibly in vassalage. Ignorance cramps the powers of the mind, at the same time that it blinds them to their natural rights." --Noah Webster
"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.... That this nation, under God,
shall have a new birth of freedom--and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth." --Abraham Lincoln, Gettysburg Address
"Under this Constitution the boundaries of freedom have been enlarged, the foundations of order and
peace have been strengthened, and the growth of our people in all the better elements of national life
has indicated the wisdom of the founders and given a new hope to their descendants." --James Garfield
"A representative democracy, where the right of election is well secured and regulated, and the exercise
of the legislative, executive, and judiciary authorities is vested in selected persons, chosen really and
not nominally by the people, will, in my opinion, be most likely to be happy, regular, and durable." --Alexander Hamilton
"As the happiness of the people is the sole end of government, so the consent of the people is the only
foundation of it, in reason, morality, and the natural fitness of things." --John Adams
"A union depending not upon the constraint of force, but upon the loving devotion of a free people; and
that all things may be so ordered and settled upon the best and surest foundations that peace and
happiness, truth and justice, religion and piety, may be established among us for all generations." --Rutherford B. Hayes
"The great essential to our happiness and prosperity is that we adhere to the principles upon which the
Government was established and insist upon their faithful observance." --William McKinley
"The philosophy of the schoolhouse in one generation will be the philosophy of the government in the
next." --Abraham Lincoln
"I should like to think that America should stand as a land of opportunity and enthusiasm and riches.
By riches I mean not only raw materials, armies, navies, railroads, ships, and cities, but a whole people
full of good will toward the world, loyal to its own flag and beautiful continent, ready to work to educate its whole people." --Mrs. J. Borden Harriman
"Knowing as we do that the foundation of national greatness can be laid only in the industry, the
integrity and the spiritual elevation of the people, are we equally sure that schools are forming the
character of the rising generation upon the everlasting principles of duty and humanity? Are children so
educated that when they grow up they will make better leaders or only grander savages? However loftily
the intellect of man may have been gifted, however skillfully it may have been trained, if it be not guided
by a sense of justice, a love of mankind and a devotion to duty, its possessor is only a more dangerous barbarian." --Horace Mann
"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 gave the last full measure of devotion--that
we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain--that this nation, under God, shall have
a new birth of freedom, and that government of the people, by the people, for the people shall not perish from the earth." --Abraham Lincoln, Gettysburg Address, 1863
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CURRENT QUOTES ON AMERICAN FREEDOM AND CIVIC EDUCATION
"...If relentless cries for relevance and diversity should ever lead to dismantling the program of common
studies of Western civilization, then all students--including minority students--will be left ill-prepared for
the role we all face as participants in a democratic society. Our system of government under law--itself
a triumph of the Western tradition--will inevitably suffer." --Jose A. Cabranes, "Our Common Ground," Wall Street Journal, June 9, 1995.
"The U. S. escaped the divisiveness of a multiethnic society by a brilliant solution: the creation of a
brand-new national identity. The point of America was not to preserve old cultures but to forge a new, American culture." --Arthur Schlesinger Jr., "The Cult of Ethnicity, Good and Bad."
"People need as much information as possible to make good decisions, Jefferson knew, especially
when it came to government. 'Every government degenerates when trusted to the rules of the people
alone. The people themselves, therefore, are its only safe depositors,' he wrote. 'And to render even
them safe, their minds must be improved to a certain degree.' Jefferson understood that firsthand
knowledge is the most accurate, and he strove to gather his own information." --Michael Mink, "Founding Father's Right Touch," Investor's Business Daily, July 7, 2003
"Civilization is not inherited; it has to be learned and earned by each generation anew; if the
transmission should be interrupted for one century, civilization would die, and we should be savages again." --Will & Ariel Durant, The Lessons of History
"I believe that somehow every student in every college of the United States ought to be taught
fundamental lessons that say democracy is precious, democracy is perishable, democracy requires
active attention and that democracy requires hard work." --Roger Wilkins, Professor of History and American Culture, George Mason University
"Freedom and responsibility are equally yoked. Only when they are in tandem can we cultivate the vast
field of opportunity and have an orderly society. Freedom requires about as much courage to live with,
as it does to get." --Clarence Thomas, "It's a Dirty Little Secret: Freedom Necessarily Entails Responsibility," Americans for an Informed Public, July 1996.
"I have in mind the Founding Fathers' idea of an informed citizenry. This is the basic principle that
underlies our national system of education in the first place--that people in a democracy can be entrusted to decide all important matters for themselves because they can deliberate and communicate
with one another." --E. D. Hirsch, Cultural Literacy: What Every American Needs to Know
"History has taught us that freedom cannot long survive unless it is based on moral foundations. The
American founding bears ample witness to this fact. America has become the most powerful nation in
history, yet she uses her power not for territorial expansion but to perpetuate freedom and justice throughout the world." --Margaret Thatcher, "The Moral Foundations of Society,' The Bottom Line
Quarterly, Bellevue University, Spring 1995.
"It is even more important to pass stories of American courage and character to the next generation. To
capture their imaginations. To raise a monument in their hearts. It is the way our democracy renews
its promise, by celebrating American heroes and American values, without hesitation and without
apology. Let us resolve to teach America's story to America's children." --Austin Bay, "A Creaking Pulley and An Honored Flag," Houston Chronicle, June 13, 1999.
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