How to Research: Identifying Revisionism & Bias

When delving into historical research about individuals or events, it’s crucial to identify factors that might lead to an inaccurate portrayal. Two major concerns in this realm are revisionism and bias.

Definitions and Goals

Revisionism involves advocating for a reevaluation of established views, theories, or historical events.1 It often seeks to reshape how people perceive history to encourage acceptance of, or to justify, new policies. Bias refers to an inclination towards certain perspectives without logical reasoning; assumptions rooted in a worldview are another factor of bias.2  Modern works often use either or both of these factors, thus requiring careful consideration to avoid adopting an incorrect historical standpoint.

Revisionists achieve their goal of rewriting history by:

  • Minimizing or overlooking aspects of American history they deem politically incorrect, while magnifying those they support.
  • Criticizing historical figures who held opinions they reject.
  • Crafting an illusion of widespread historical approval for the social policies they are attempting to promote.

Identifying Concerns

To identify signs of revisionism or bias in a text, pay attention to its tone, the documents referenced, and the featured individuals. For example, when assessing a book or article on American History, consider the following questions:

  • Is exploration and colonization portrayed solely as driven by greed for land or wealth?
  • Are proponents of religious and moral values depicted as harsh and unyielding?
  • Do the depictions favorably portray other religions while degrading Christianity?
  • Is a concept of traditional family ignored?
  • Does the portrayal overshadow individuals, families, and communities, positioning the government as the sole solution to societal needs?
  • Is there a consistent focus on victimhood, highlighting exploited groups rather than those who positively impacted their culture?
  • Do the books present original historical documents? If so, are they extensively edited or do they offer contextual content?
  • Who are the figures portrayed as heroes? Do they primarily express anger towards an unjust society or government? Are they exclusively modern and secular leaders?

By keeping these considerations in mind, you can better evaluate historical texts and discern potential issues in accuracy and perspective.3


Endnotes

1 “Revisionism,” The Free Dictionary.
2 “Bias,” Merriam-Webster.
3 For more information on this topic and examples of revisionism and bias, see these additional articles from WallBuilders: “Revisionism: How to Identify it in Your Children’s Textbooks;” “God: Missing in Action from American History;” “Confronting Civil War Revisionism: Why the South Went to War.”

To see additional articles about How to Research, check out the articles posted here, here, and here.

How to Research: Getting Started

Researching a topic, person, or even finding specific quotes might feel daunting, but don’t worry! We’ve put together some simple tips to guide you through the process.

  1. Give It Time: Remember, good research takes time. For straightforward tasks like checking a quote, set aside 1-2 hours. For more complex topics, expect to spend 1-2 days, or even longer.
  2. Focus Your Topic: Narrow down your topic. Instead of tackling something broad like “America’s Christian Heritage,” zoom in on a specific angle, such as “America’s Christian Heritage in Colonial Times.” This will help you find more relevant information.
  3. Diversify Your Sources: While sites like Wikipedia or other online encyclopedias are fine as starting points, don’t rely on them. Mix it up by using various sources such as online articles, newspapers, and books to cross-reference and verify information. (Please note: Wikipedia is editable by the public at large, so we recommend using it as a launchpad to help you trace back to primary sources instead of using it as an authority on any given topic.)
  4. Seek Primary Sources: For the most accurate historical info, turn to original sources or works written within about 50 years of the time you’re researching. If you’re reading a newer book with sources listed, it can sometimes help you trace back to more authentic materials. (Remember, your goal is to hear it from the horse’s mouth instead of through the grapevine.)
  5. Review the Pitfalls to Avoid: Understand how to look for book accuracy, and how to identify revisionism and bias before researching a topic. Check out the Just Facts Academy for more information on determining accurate information and other research tips.
  6. Tap into Online Libraries: Websites like Google Books, Hathi Trust, and Internet Archive offer free access to old books that are no longer under copyright. These are great places to find primary sources.

Additionally, here are some resources from WallBuilders that could be used as a great starting point for research… 

  • WallBuilders Online Resources: Discover historical sermons, documents, and articles from our collection that are available online.
  • Recommended Reading List: Dive into our curated list of helpful books that can provide you with historical overviews and a place to begin your research. (For writings of the Founders or other historical resources, see the Helpful Links page. The Recommended Reading List page contains more modern works.) 
  • FAQ: Check out our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) section, where our team addresses common historical queries.
  • Helpful Links: Utilize a compiled list of external sources and organizations that can aid your research.

Remember, research is a journey. Take your time to explore different sources and enjoy the process of uncovering hidden truths and fascinating stories. 

To see additional articles about How to Research, check out the articles posted here, here, here, here and here.

How to Research: Searching on the WallBuilders Website

The first step for any successful research project is to just get started. As you look up more people or events, or confirm quotes by Founding Fathers or others in history, you’ll figure out what works to get you results. To help you in these efforts, we’ve already compiled some resources on How to Research, including other websites to visit.

But what if you want to search on WallBuilders’ website and just can’t figure out how to start? Well, here are some tips to navigate our Resources search.

  1. Go to our Resources section: https://wallbuilders.com/resources/. You can use either the search bar on the top of that page, or scroll down a bit to the one on the left labeled “Search.”
  2. Enter your keywords. Generally, one or two keywords should get you started. However, you can put quotations around a phrase to see any results that exactly match that phrase (i.e., searching Washington might bring up references to Washington DC, or Booker T. Washington, but typing “George Washington” would produce references to the first president).
  3. Utilize the filters found in the Search section to narrow the types of results returned. You do not have to use all the filter options, select only those that fit your search. Filter options include:
    1. Categories: These are the types of resources on our website. They can include articles written by Tim or David Barton; documents such as sermons, proclamations, or letters; and artifacts from our collection. If you’re unsure, you can start off with the “Articles” category.
    2. Topics: These are very general groupings that our resources might fall under. Use this if your search obviously fits into one of the options. If you’re not sure, just skip this filter.
    3. State: This filter only applies to proclamations collected as part of our Christian Heritage Week resources. Many searches won’t require this filter.
    4. Era or Events: These are broad chronological periods that cover American history from Columbus through now. Use this to research a specific person or event. For example: if you were looking for artifacts related to Abraham Lincoln, you might filter to 1860s Civil War.
  4. If you get stuck or the search doesn’t seem to be working, hit the red “Reset” button under the search bar or simply refresh the page.
  5. If you don’t find what you’re looking for, don’t give up! It may just be time to check out our Helpful Links for other great resources to search.

Remember, researching is not always easy, but it is rewarding. We hope our Resources section is helpful in your investigation!

West Virginia 2023

Proclamation by Governor Jim Justice

Whereas, the Preamble to the Constitution of West Virginia declares, “Since through Divine Providence we enjoy the blessings of civil, political and religious liberty, we, the people o West Virginia reaffirm our faith in and constant reliance upon God”; and

Whereas, the Bill of Rights to the Constitution of West Virginia guarantees religious freedom; and the “Sundays expected” provision of Article 7, Chapter 14 historically recognizes Sunday as a day of rest and worship; and

Whereas, For many West Virginians, public school days began with a daily Pledge of Allegiance, prayer and bible reading; and

Whereas, the state songs, The West Virginia Hills and West Virginia my Home Sweet Home, contain the lyrics, “With their summits bathed in glory, like our Prince Immanuel’s land!” and “there I work, and I play, and I worship Sunday,” ; and

Whereas, the influence of Christianity in West Virginia is evident by her many churches and Christian charities, ministries, missions and schools; cherished Christmas, Easter and Thanksgiving holiday seasons; and a willingness of Mountaineers to love thy neighbor as thyself; and

Whereas, Thanksgiving week is an appropriate time to center attention on our thanks to Almighty God for His great and good Providence and for the Christian faith, which is part of West Virginia’s and America’s history.

Now, Therefore, Be it Resolved that I, Jim Justice, Governor of the Great State of West Virginia, do hereby proclaim November 19-25, 2023 as:

Christian Heritage Week

in the Mountain State and invite all citizens to join me in observance.

In Witness Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Great Seal of the State of West Virginia to be affixed.

Done at the Capitol, City of Charleston, State of West Virginia, this the Twentieth day of June, in the year of our Lord, Two Thousand Twenty-Three, and in the One Hundred Sixtieth year of the State.

Jim Justice , Governor
By the Governor:
Mac Warner, Secretary of State

If You Care About Black Lives—End Abortion

In the midst of all the passion, division, and activism, there should be at least one central premise that every American can agree on—that life matters. But increasingly the truth is becoming clear that only certain lives matter. Specifically speaking, leftist activist group “Black Lives Matter” says one thing but then works to destroy the lives of thousands of black people.

For example, on the BLM “What we Believe” page they claim to be:

Guided by the fact that all Black lives matter, regardless of actual or perceived sexual identity, gender identity, gender expression, economic status, ability, disability, religious beliefs or disbeliefs, immigration status, or location (emphasis added).[i]

In every location, that is, except the womb.

Since nearly the beginning of the organization, BLM has associated themselves with anti-life groups, while in the same breath ironically declaring that, “our lives are at stake.”[ii] One co-founders of BLM explained that, “we certainly understand that BLM and reproductive justice go hand in hand.”[iii]

Calling abortion “reproductive justice” cannot hide the fact that for every successful abortion there is a victim whose life apparently didn’t matter enough. Such double-speak only attempts to deflect the attention away from the ideological hypocrisy rampant in the organization.

Overall in America, there were 862,000 babies killed by abortion in 2017, which means an average of 2,362 a day.[iv] Statistically, in 2016 (the most recent year for which data exists), 38% of abortions were by black women.[v] Thus, an estimated 898 black babies die every single day, and as many as 327,560 per year.

To expand our inquiry even further, there have been over 60,000,000 abortions since Roe v. Wade in 1973.[vi] Just how many millions of black children didn’t matter? Certainly more than the total number of slaves ever brought from Africa. It should, therefore, come as no surprise that in New York a higher percentage of black babies are aborted than born.[vii] This is an odd kind of justice.

Paradoxically, the main group claiming to champion black lives supports those institutions that kill more black people daily than the police have killed—whether justified or not—in the last three years combined.[viii] Comparatively, a black person is 1,187 times more likely to never be born than they are to be killed by a police officer.[ix] Historically speaking, it takes abortion clinics less than four days to kill more black people than all of the Jim Crow lynchings combined.[x]

So, do black lives really matter? I believe they do, and that is why we must abolish abortion.


Endnotes

[i] “What We Believe,” Black Lives Matter (accessed June 19, 2020).

[ii] “Black Lives Matter Partners With Reproductive Justice Groups to Fight for Black Women,” Color Lines (February 9, 2016), accessed June 19, 2020, here.

[iii] “Black Lives Matter Partners With Reproductive Justice Groups to Fight for Black Women,” Color Lines (February 9, 2016), accessed June 19, 2020, here.

[iv] “The U.S. Abortion Rate Continues to Drop: Once Again, State Abortion Restrictions Are Not the Main Driver,” Guttmacher Institute (September 18, 2019), accessed June 19, 2020, here.

[v] “Abortion Surveillance — United States, 2016,” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (November 29, 2019), accessed June 19, 2020, here.

[vi] “The State of Abortion in the United States,” National Right to Life Committee (January 18, 2018), accessed June 19, 2020, here.

[vii] “Abortion Reporting: New York City (2016),” Charlotte Lozier Institute (December 19, 2018), accessed June 19, 2020, here.

[viii] “National Trends,” Mapping Police Violence (accessed June 19, 2020), here. More specifically there were 783 black Americans killed by police in both justified and unjustified situations in the years, 2017 (276), 2018 (248), and 2019 (259).

[ix] Comparing the numbers from 2017

[x] “History of Lynching,” NAACP (accessed June 19, 2020), here.

Biblical Truth: Society’s Abandonment of it and the Christian’s Duty to Grasp It and Never Let Go

This is a part of our Alumni Series of articles written by past participants of the WallBuilders/Mercury One Summer Institutes (formerly the Leadership Training Program).

By Erin Hogan – Class of 2016

Truth. The 1828 Webster definition of truth states that it is, “Conformity to fact or reality; exact accordance with that which is, or has been, or shall be.” The modern dictionary says, “the true or actual state of a matter: conformity with fact or reality; verity.”

John C.P. Smith in an article titled “What is Truth” (Smith, 2015) said biblical truth is “inextricably linked to the dependable, unchanging character of God. You can trust everything He says; He never lies; He always keeps His Word; He’s faithful to all His promises.” Biblical truth says that God is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8). The Bible also says that Jesus is the truth (John 14:6).

We see what the world did to the incarnate truth. They crucified Him. Is this not a picture of what we are seeing in our world today? The crucifixion of biblical truth? There are two ways that I see biblical truth being exploited today. Let’s take a look at these:1

Truth is being distorted.

Progressives are pushing for Christians and people of faith to accept liberal ideologies like the LGTBQ movement or else suffer the consequences. Many cry out for the Christian to love, and yet in their demand for Christians to follow love, they miss the biblical and godly definition of love. It is because of love that Christians and people of faith decry the dereliction from the Bible that is personified in the LGTBQ movement and the progressively liberal ideas of today.

A recent example of distorting the truth would be society’s embrace of Cultural Marxism. The outcry and demand for people to apologize amidst anarchy or the call to defund the police is really a call to pander to a rebellious generation of all ethnicities who want things handed to them while ignoring the real issues of justice, social reform and those who are hurting in our society.

In confronting Cultural Marxism, Dr. Voddie Baucham said:

“There’s no such thing as social justice, people. In fact, in the Bible, justice never has an adjective. There’s justice and there’s injustice, but there’s not different kinds of justice.”

Many modern churches and Christians have fallen for these mistruths, erroneously slipping away from the solid biblical truth that we are called to uphold.

We also see truth being mishandled in our government. This is nothing new, but with the recent SCOTUS decisions regarding “sexual orientation,” “gender identity” and abortion, we see a moving away from historic and constitutional truth as well as biblical truth. Originalism is hanging by a thread while most of our justices claim stare decisis (a Latin phrase meaning “to stand by the decided things) and precedent of past erroneous legal decisions in making their rulings today. We have seen examples of this in recent SCOTUS cases like: R.G. & G.R. Harris Funeral Homes v. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and June Medical Services v. Russo.

In both of these cases, the truth was extremely distorted—all to fit the current narrative of the progressive definition of truth. Justice Thomas was right in his dissent on June Medical Services v. Russo when he said, “Because we can reconcile neither Roe nor its progeny with the text of our Constitution, those decisions should be overruled.” (JUNE MEDICAL SERVICES L. L. C. ET AL. v. RUSSO,, 2020) The Constitution must be the guide, especially when the precedent is unconstitutional.
Dr. Voddie Baucham once said, “Culture doesn’t dictate truth; the gospel dictates truth.” That leads us to the second threat to biblical truth in our society.2

Truth, and those who profess it, are being attacked and exploited.

Cutting off Christian thought and opinion from the public sphere has been a prevalent issue for many years. We have seen that in our universities, government buildings, the military, and public schools. Sadly, our brothers and sisters in Christ around the world are facing opposition to the truth in a much harsher way, with many giving their lives or spending long jail sentences to uphold it.

LGBTQ progressives are pushing their agenda into our businesses, schools, and churches as they seek to shut the mouths of citizens living out their faith in the public sphere.

 

Our history is also being attacked. Winston Churchill knew, that in his day, not learning from history was a dangerous thing.  That is why he once said, “Those who fail to learn from history are condemned to repeat it” to the House of Commons in 1948 after having faced two great world wars. Unfortunately, his statue is one of many that has been vandalized in the recent riots. This, the statue of a man who helped to save the world.

If we destroy our history, whether that be tearing down statues because it offends us or distorting history textbooks because it doesn’t fit into our political narrative and agenda then we are destined to repeat it and will end up somewhere that is unrecognizable.

So, what do we do about this? What are Christians to do?

What Do We Do?

Something that I have learned is that truth is not a free for all. There aren’t numerous truths or truths for each person. There is only one truth.

Truth must be sought out and properly handled so that it is not distorted amongst the wide and varied array of voices and mistruths exhibited in our culture today. In Proverbs 23 it says to, “Buy the truth, and do not sell it; get wisdom and instruction and understanding.” Truth is not something to be toyed with. It is to be sought out, and then grounded in so that we can speak it out boldly.

When it comes to biblical truth, we are to ground ourselves in it by studying “to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15). We’re also commanded to pray for our leaders so we can live a peaceable and quiet life (1 Timothy 2:1-2). We are to pray for an environment where we can live peaceable and quiet lives in all godliness. The apostle Paul was telling this to the Christians who were facing heavy persecution in that day.

We should also look to our roots and the rich history that we have. Today, many are pointing only to the bad things of history of which this country and so many others are guilty of. America is not perfect and never has been. But it is still one of the only countries in the world that has sought to repair its wrongs and continue to wave the flag of freedom for ALL. We are a country that can fix itself because of the way that our system was set up by our founders. Our people can confront a wrong and deal with it. We can vote bad people out of office. We can peacefully protest. We can even run for office. This is why our nation is so great.

When we look into the good things about America, we see so many examples of people who had courage, self-sacrifice, compassion, and strength. Our nation has faced many foes inside and outside of this country and America has faced everyone, and with God’s help, we are still going to face the things that threaten to destroy this nation and its livelihood by standing firm on truth.

Working for a biblically conservative organization that focuses on changing public policy and educating citizens on current issues, we see a lot of activists either distorting or attacking the truth. That is why we seek to promote traditional family values and biblical thought in the halls of state government to help preserve the foundations of this nation. That is something we can all do. And it doesn’t have to be only through government policy; it needs to start in our communities.

Christians must get out to vote and call out their elected officials at the state and federal levels when they go a direction that hurts the nation. We must study our history so we can tell the next generation where we came from. That way they will know where to go in the future.

Most importantly, we must go back to the gospel and spread it like wildfire so that the heart condition of this country can be restored to God. The gospel of Jesus Christ is the only way to do that.

I pray that this nation is no longer “tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive” (Ephesians 4:14), but that it can once again be led by the truth in all its dealings.

“If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” (2 Chronicles 7:14)

Disclaimer: The viewpoints expressed by the authors do not necessarily reflect the opinions of WallBuilders. 


Endnotes

1June Medical Services L. L. C., Et Al. v. Russo, 18-1323 (Supreme Court June 29, 2020). Retrieved from Supreme Court of the Supreme Court of the United States: https://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/19pdf/18-1323_c07d.pdf.

2Smith, J. C. (2015, April 17). What is Truth. Retrieved from Answers In Genesis: https://answersingenesis.org/hermeneutics/what-is-truth/.

* This article concerns a historical issue and may not have updated information.

Leadership Training Program in Israel

This is a part of our Alumni Series of articles written by past participants of the WallBuilders/Mercury One Leadership Training Program (now called “AJE Summer Institute”). Click here to learn more about this program. 

By Devyn Gulickson – Class of 2017

In the fall of 2017, I finished the Leadership Training Program (LTP) put on by Mercury One and WallBuilders and entered a new semester at my local college, armed with my new knowledge. While I was certain the knowledge I gained during those two weeks would forever change how I thought of America and its founders, I did not imagine that two years later I would have my perspective once again flipped on its head, this time about Israel. Between the informative speakers and the incredible sights, I would leave Israel with my political and historical views of Israel forever changed.

When I first heard I had been accepted to go to Israel, I was met with images I had seen on the news: suicide bombers, missiles flying overhead, violent protests. People I talked to said they would pray for my safety; the US State Department foreign travel advisory suggested I make out a will, designate a point of contact in case I was abducted, and to leave behind DNA – to confirm remains, it was implied.  I was excited to go to see the place where Jesus walked, but I could not ignore what I thought at the time were obvious and likely dangers that came along with a visit to Israel.

For the ten days of the trip, our tour group comprised of 38 LTP members, two trip mentors who had been on previous trips to Israel, four representatives of WallBuilders and Mercury One, a tour guide, and a former IDF soldier acting as our guard and medic.

Scattered throughout the trip were different speakers talking on a variety of topics: Anti-Semitism, Israeli startup tech culture, the Palestinians’ view of Israel, Aramaic culture and language, and what life is like living within a mile of the Gaza Strip. Just as WallBuilders taught us to go back to original sources and read firsthand accounts, these speakers allowed us to bypass the filter the news media has on Israel and the issues surrounding it.

We were able to hear different sides of the Israel-Palestine conflict and really get a sense of the complexity of the issue. An idea I heard throughout the trip regarding the conflict is that fear makes people do bad things. Like the famous quote, “Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.” We were told multiple times that children on both sides grow up fearing (and in turn, hating) the other. An example of this was told by an Arab Christian, who supports the presence of Israeli security in the West Bank. He told us the story of how he was almost shot by a young IDF soldier a month before. He explained his car broke down in front of an IDF soldier in a place that, a week before, had been blown up by a suicide bomber in a car. The soldier looked about eighteen and was obviously extremely afraid that this was another suicide bomber. The boy was screaming at him to start his car, pointing his gun in his face. Fortunately, he was able to start the car and drive away. He finished the story by explaining he knew the boy probably did not want to shot him, but he was so afraid that he was going to die. This was just one example of how fear turns to violence.

If you had asked me before my visit to Israel if a one-state or two-state solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict was better, I would have said two-state. What I realized during the trip, though, is that I did not know why I thought that was true. After listening to the different speakers about what it is like to live with the constant threat of violence on both sides, it is hard to know if there will ever be peace, no matter if the final decision is one-state or two-state. There will definitely not be peace for a couple generations under a one-state solution because there has been too much blood shed between Palestinians and Israelis.  And a two-state solution keeps up the “us verses them” mentality that invites further division and hostility. Even if the government left in charge of Palestine is peaceful, it’s hard to know if an organization like Hamas won’t be elected into power again, with more power and land than before. I left Israel with a clearer understanding of the complex political situation, though less clear about a solution.

We also visited a multitude of Biblical sites ranging from the Garden of Gethsemane, to the Via Dolorosa, to Caesarea Philippi, to the Dead Sea and the Sea of Galilee. We explored the Jewish and Muslim quarters, shopped at the markets of Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, and walked in the ancient underground irrigation tunnels in the City of David. Each place we visited provided a greater understanding of the historical context of the biblical stories told in the Bible.

An example of this is the Garden of Gethsemane. When Jesus was praying in the garden on the Mount of Olives, He could have run if He had wanted to. The Mount of Olives in which the garden is on is between Jerusalem and the desert. He was not trapped and He did not surrender because He had no chance to escape from the guards; He did. This geographical knowledge maybe provides more context to Jesus’ pleading for His cup to pass over Him. He knew what was coming and saw an opportunity to run and avoid all the pain that would happen in the next hours. Who wouldn’t want to run? This just gives greater appreciation for the strength of Jesus’ will and how great His sacrifice was for us.

Looking back, this trip has certainly changed my perspective of Israel – both politically and historically. Because this trip has made me better understand the political situation in Israel, I have found myself more interested in learning about Israel and the Jewish people, and more willing to share my opinions of Israel with more confidence.

In a lot of ways this trip is very much a continuation of Mercury One and WallBuilders’ Leadership Training Program. We were able to visit “original source” biblical sites that we know existed and have evidence to support their location. We also received firsthand information by people living in hostile situations you only read about. I cannot thank Mercury One and WallBuilders enough for this opportunity and look forward to what’s in store for the future.

Disclaimer: The viewpoints expressed by the authors do not necessarily reflect the opinions of WallBuilders. 

People of Faith During COVID-19

Throughout both American and world history, the Church has arisen and become a much-needed leader in times of crisis. The COVID-19 pandemic provides us another such opportunity to be a shining light to people and communities. Gratefully, we have seen many churches across the nation rolling up their sleeves and taking the lead in extending God’s love to others and truly helping those in need during this difficult time.

We’ve compiled a list of actions that people of faith have taken to meet community needs in a practical way. Please use it to take action and serve others.

  1. Help those laid off from work.
    Some churches can financially bless workers who have been laid off by offering them jobs around the church, giving a one-time monetary gift, dropping off a load of groceries and paper-goods, bringing them a gas gift card, or helping them network within the church body to find and provide opportunities for those individuals to take on new jobs, even limited or part time opportunities, working from home. You can also provide them with lists of local resources like food pantries or places that offer free meals. Up to forty percent of all jobs are related to the service industry, and this area has been hit particularly hard in recent days, so this segment of the population may especially need help.
  2. Meet the needs of widows.
    Remember the widows, and especially elderly widows, within the community. Call them and ask how you can help meet their needs. Help limit the need for them to leave their homes and be exposed to the virus. Offer to drop off groceries, meals, medications, and so forth—or have groceries delivered. Have someone from the church mow their lawn or shovel snow from their driveway (weather dependent, of course). Have someone offer to drive them to any appointments they might have.
    If they have children, drop by a goodie bag for the kids that might have games or puzzles or things that they can do during this time off from school. If you have people in your church who are willing to babysit, consider asking if they would offer a day of babysitting services for these families for free.
  3.  Help the elderly.
    Consider setting up a hotline for the elderly to call if they need food or medications. Volunteers can deliver these essentials to their house or utilize grocery store delivery services. Check to see if assistance is needed in taking them to doctor appointments. Identify the needs of the elderly in your community and work together as a church body to meet them. While nursing homes are being extremely cautious, call your local nursing home and ask for the activity director and find out if you can bring them games or books or puzzle books.
  4. Sanitize and disinfect public spaces.
    If you have people with hazmat certifications, ask the city, governments, hospitals, schools, parks, if your church can assist cleaning a public space.
  5. Support small businesses.
    Due to the hysteria, countless businesses are suffering financially during this time – especially small businesses! Consider encouraging your congregation to buy gift cards to local restaurants or businesses right now that can be used later and help financially alleviate some of their current losses. If it’s a local restaurant, consider submitting a large order that can be delivered to families in need of help.
  6. Assist working parents.
    Many families have children who must now stay home from school while the parents are still working. Consider donating a day of babysitting or offering volunteers from the church to babysit for parents who cannot stay home with their children.
  7. Create Family Activity Kits.
    Consider putting together activities for families while they are home. Some ideas include boxes with Scripture readings, instructions for some fun games, worship songs, devotionals, snacks for the kids, and notecards to write encouraging notes to others that can be picked up from the church. Consider having the childrens’ pastor or leader create a special video lesson just for the kids that they can watch at some point during the week.
  8. Help the homeless.
    Consider purchasing food from restaurants and delivering it to homeless shelters or food banks, take them a bag of non-perishable food and toiletry items, or give them a gift card to a local grocery store.
  9. Donate blood!
    Many blood drives have been canceled because of the coronavirus and blood banks are in need of donation! Call your local blood bank and find out what they need and put the word out to your church members!
  10. Activate people to keep praying.
    Keep a running list of people and their specific needs and regularly distribute them to parishioners, encouraging your church to pray for them. People in your church could adopt a nursing home to pray for or those with weak immune systems, government officials who are making critical decisions, or someone suffering from COVID-19 in your community. While offering prayers are important, keeping them going is even more important.
  11. Serve healthcare workers.
    Many healthcare works will be very busy in the coming weeks, and many are placing themselves directly in harm’s way, giving tireless hours.  Consider how you could help healthcare workers you are already in relationship with while they work more during this time. You could offer to babysit their children, provide a meal, or simply send them a note of encouragement. Find out what their needs are and help meet them so they can in turn help those who are ill.
  12. Utilize the giftings in your church!
    Do you have someone who knows how to make homemade hand sanitizer? Ask them if they’d be willing to make some to pass out to those in need. Do you have people who babysit? Ask them if they’ll donate their services. Do you have mechanics? Ask if they can help with oil changes for those who have been laid off or for the widows/single parents/elderly. Do you have counselors? Ask if they’ll donate some sessions for those who need help or encouragement! Ask the youth group to write encouraging notes that can be passed out to first responders and medical workers, along with goodie baskets (with pre-packaged food or items like pens and highlighters and notepads so as not to cause concerns about germs!). This isn’t dependent on church leadership, but rather on the leadership involving those in their congregation who can and will help!

We will not fear during the time because we hold to the promises and truth found in the Word of God.

  • “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” – 2 Timothy 1:7
  • “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” – Joshua 1:9
  • “Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.” – Isaiah 41:10

We encourage you to read what CS Lewis and Martin Luther said about panic and pandemics in their day.

If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, one of you says to them, “Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,” but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. – James 2:15-17

Resources & Fun Activities For Staying In

WallBuilders does not necessarily endorse these websites and resources. We are sharing some educational and fun sites that have been shared with us that we thought might be beneficial. At the time we’re posting this list of resources (April 2020), all of these contain at least some free resources.

Activities/Games

Virtual Tours

Helpful Resources

All Ages Educational

Art

Computers

Faith Based

Foreign Language

Geography

Grammar/Spelling/Writing

History

Math

Music

Reading

Science

Various Subjects

Toddlers

Elementary Age Educational

Geography

Math

  • K-8 online math program that looks at how a student is solving problems to adjust accordingly and build a unique learning path for them. https://www.dreambox.com/at-home
  • K-5 curriculum that builds deep understanding and a love of learning math for all students. https://www.zearn.org/

Misc

Spelling

Reading

Science

Middle School Educational

Grammar

Math

Reading

  • Engaging reading game for grades 2-8 that combines strategy, engagement, and imaginative reading passages to create a fun, curriculum-aligned literacy game. https://www.squigglepark.com/dreamscape/
  • A safe research site for elementary-level readers. They are offering — free 24/7 access [USERNAME: read (case sensitive) PASSWORD: read (case sensitive)]. https://www.facts4me.com/

Science

  • Next Generation Science video game focused on middle school where students directly engage in science phenomena as they solve problems. https://www.tytoonline.com/
  • Science simulations, scientist profiles, and other digital resources for middle school science and high school biology. https://sepuplhs.org/

High School Educational

College Prep

Math

Science

Beyond High School

The State of Judicial Selections: The Missouri Plan and How it Fails

Introduction

Since much public policy is now created by the judiciary, the federal judicial system in America receives increasingly more attention from politicos, pundits, and reporters. Federal judicial appointments are often closely watched, as are cases at the US Supreme Court. Yet despite the attention, the original intent of the judiciary is not well understood today. And ironically, although 90 percent of all cases are heard at the state rather than the federal level,[i] the role and operation of the state judicial system is almost completely overlooked. With so much resting on state courts, how those judges are selected is undeniably important. Texas has recently become a center of attention for this issue.

Texas currently selects its judges by a vote of citizens through popular elections, but some want this to change. Due to the rise of Democratic voters in the larger urban areas of the state (such as Dallas and Houston), some Republican-leaning groups are urging a move away from allowing the people to choose their judges. Instead they urge the adoption of what has become known as the “Missouri Plan” (also known as “Merit Selection” or “Assisted Selection”), which eliminates contested judicial elections. However, as will be documented below, this so-called “Merit Selection” is based on subjective personal opinions rather than any objective standard of measurement. Instead of advancing well-prepared constitutional judges to seats, the “Missouri Plan” consolidates power into the hands of an unelected and unaccountable group of administrators, making the state judiciary more partisan and polarized.

Before examining the results of Merit Selection in other states, how does the plan work? While there is some difference in the way various states employ this system, the overarching details are similar. A small group of undemocratically appointed commissioners of supposed elite legal “experts” choose a tiny handful of nominees for a particular judgeship. The governor then picks one of those privately-selected nominees to become judge, and that largely ends the process.

But who are these “experts” that choose a state’s judges for the people of that state? In some states, the members of that small nominating commission are appointed by the governor, but usually the private state bar, legal associations, the legislature, the governor, and sometimes sitting judges split the choice of commissioners. Nearly 75% of the board members end up being lawyers,[ii] which has become such a problem that some states have passed laws limiting the number of attorneys that may be appointed. Texas is now being urged to accept this system as a replacement for having voters choose the judges who will rule over them.

Texas, The Nation, And Various Other Methods

A prominent group arguing for this shift is Texans for Lawsuit Reform (TLR), an organization that has achieved many good things in the past, including major substantive tort reform. On its website, TLR explains why Texans should no longer be allowed to choose their judges:

Texas is one of only a few states that elects its judges.[1] Because there are often so many judges on the ballot and because these are often lower-profile election contests, many Texans simply don’t have enough knowledge about the candidates for judicial office to make informed decisions. Many voters cast their votes for judges based on party affiliation or name recognition, since they have no knowledge of the relative merits of the candidates. Historically, this has led to groups of long-serving, competent, experienced judges being swept out of office based on nothing other than partisan affiliation.[iii] (emphasis added)

Their aim is to prevent larger blue cities from electing an increasing number of Democrat judges rather than Republican ones by moving Texas away from democratically contested elections. But before examining whether adopting the Missouri Plan (or any of its derivatives) would be good for Texas, it is worthwhile to review the six different types of state judicial selection systems currently in use.

Nonpartisan Elections:

Used by 15 states, this is the most popular method. These are contested races in which judicial candidates do not formally identify with any official party—Democrat, Republican, or otherwise. This is done in hopes of encouraging voters to look deeper into the candidates’ actual record on issues and past a simple party designation. (The first non-partisan judicial election took place in 1873.[iv])

The Missouri Plan (Assisted Appointment, Merit System)

The second most popular system is the Missouri Plan, with a total of 14 states employing it at the State Supreme Court level. Begun in Missouri in 1940, it expanded rapidly, but since 1994 states have stopped adopting it, opting instead to retain their older systems.[v]

Gubernatorial Appointment

Also known as the federal model, the governor makes judicial appointments that then go before the legislative branch for confirmation. This method is currently used by 10 states, especially in the New England area. Originally, every new state that entered the Union after 1789 adopted the federal model but by the mid-to-late-1800s, most had moved to popular elections. In fact, since 1847, Hawaii has been the only state to enter the Union and select the federal model; the rest have opted for some form of citizen elections.[vi]

Partisan Elections

In 1832, Mississippi first moved away from the federal model and adopted partisan elections. New York followed suit in 1846, and then most of the rest of the nation.[vii] By the time the Civil War was fully underway, 70 percent of the states used contested partisan judicial elections,[viii] but some have since chosen other elections.

Hybrid

California, Maryland, and New Mexico use a hybrid system that merges the Missouri Plan with elements of the federal model—notably legislative confirmation. This retains at least a portion of the original constitutional checks and balances, but like the full-blown Missouri Plan, it often utilizes methods that keep the process of choosing judges excluded from the public.

Legislative Appointment

Used only in Virginia and South Carolina, this is the least common system. The legislature selects judges in a manner similar to the way Senators were chosen for the US Senate prior to the addition of the 17th Amendment to the Constitution in 1913, and has the option of reappointing those judges once their initial term has been completed.[ix] 

The Philosophy Behind the Missouri Plan

With the push to adopt the Missouri Plan/Merit Selection in Texas, it is important to examine whether it justifies abandoning longstanding citizen voting traditions. Supporters offer two primary reasons for adopting a new system.

The first argument was presented above by Texans for Lawsuit Reform (TLR): “Texans simply don’t have enough knowledge” to make “informed decisions.”[x] This premise leads them to conclude that an unelected body of supposed experts (on whom TLR hopes to have substantial influence) is more likely to choose the type of judges TLR would prefer to have on the bench. 

In one regard, TLR is absolutely right that an educated citizenry is vital for a healthy and vigorous political life. As Thomas Jefferson affirmed, “If a nation expects to be ignorant and free in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be.”[xi]

Signer of the Declaration Samuel Huntington agreed, declaring:

While the great body of freeholders are acquainted with the duties which they owe to their God, to themselves, and to men, they will remain free. But if ignorance and depravity should prevail, they will inevitably lead to slavery and ruin.[xii]

But if the problem TLR is trying to solve is citizen ignorance, the solution is citizen education, not reducing their rights and increasing an already over-bloated and unaccountable government bureaucracy. Informing citizens may not be the shortest or easiest route to their objectives, but it is undoubtedly the best for preserving political freedom.

The second argument for the Missouri Plan is that Merit Selection will stop corruption. Supporters allege that judicial corruption occurs because elections not only invite special interest money but they make judges too accountable to the people. As one group explained, “justices should be freed from wondering if their rulings will affect their job security.”[xiii] Proponents believe that if both money and the people are removed from the process, there will be less corruption.

Of course, this argument ignores the fact that the appointing commissioners also have their own vested interests and personal opinions as to how things should go in the judiciary, and they will select candidates accordingly. And if the concern is that special interest groups are “buying off” judges through donations, giving more political power to an unelected body is not the solution. There is no direct accountability for that body, their biases are not transparent, and recourse is difficult if not impossible to achieve, which increases rather than reduces opportunities for political malfeasance.

At its base, the Missouri Plan violates three core constitutional principles originally set forth by the Framers of our documents.

Three Fundamental Constitutional Principles the Missouri Plan Violates

1. Accountability

The first question that should always be asked with any political decision is, “How does this measure affect our liberty? —does it increase or reduce the rights and power of the citizenry?” If any part of the government is made less accountable, that proposal will be destructive of constitutional integrity.

Revolutionary patriot and signer of the Declaration Elbridge Gerry affirmed, “The origin of all power is in the people, and they have an incontestable right to check the creatures of their own creation.”[xiv] Whenever the people lose their ability to hold governmental bodies accountable for the execution of their public trust, it is a fundamental infringement on the rights of the people.

Defenders of the Missouri Plan claim their system does provide methods of recourse for the people, but even a cursory glance shows that the committee selection process is perhaps the least accountable system of all. The logic is so backward that one of the groups actively promoting this plan strangely argues that it is good “because concentrating power in one decision maker promotes greater accountability”[xv]

The lessons of history are clear and its voices of experience unanimous: whenever power becomes more concentrated, it generates increased autonomy, decreased accountability, and diminished freedom.

2. Preserving Constitutional Checks and Balances

Proponents of the Missouri Plan claim that citizen accountability over the judiciary is retained through judicial retention elections. (A retention election is one in which only the name of the sitting judge is on the ballot. A citizen simply votes yes or no for that judge, and if enough citizens vote no, then that judge is removed and the commission will select someone else to be judge.)

Not surprisingly, under this system the incumbent is reelected more than 99 percent of the time.[xvi] The reason for this is simple: in a contested election there is an opponent to point out and publicize what the incumbent has done wrong; without this, citizens rarely know that a wrong has occurred. (By the way, if citizens are too uneducated to make the initial selection of a good judge, why do proponents believe they will make a wiser choice in a retention election?)

Despite claims to the contrary, Merit Selection is not a neutral system that chooses the best judges. To the contrary, it can be even more partisan and polarizing than popular elections. As an example, in Missouri from 1995 to 2008, Democrats received just over half of the general election vote, but of judges selected by the Merit System who made political contributions, 87 percent of them donated to the Democrat party.[xvii] Clearly, judges chosen by Merit Selection accurately reflects the beliefs of those who chose them, not the beliefs of the voters in the state they are to judge.

3. Maintaining Judicial Oversight

America’s concern with having judges not directly accountable to the people can be traced back to well before the American War for Independence. For example, in 1765, after years of living under British appointed judges, Founding Fathers like Samuel Adams began advocating for increased judicial accountability.[xviii] Consequently, when the Declaration of Independence was penned, four of its 27 grievances addressed judicial abuses, specifically lamenting that the King had “made judges dependent on his will alone for the tenure of their office and the amount and payment of their salaries.” This was Britain’s version of a “Merit Selection” system.

The Constitution sought to correct this by greatly limiting the power of the Judicial Branch. As Federalist 78 affirmed, the judiciary in America:

has no influence over either the sword or the purse—no direction either of the strength or of the wealth of the society—and can take no active resolution whatever. It may truly be said to have neither force nor will.… [T]he judiciary is, beyond comparison, the weakest of the three departments of power.…[and] the general liberty of the people can never be endangered from that quarter.[xix] (emphasis added)

Jefferson explained why the Judiciary should never be independent from the people:

It should be remembered as an axiom of eternal truth in politics that whatever power in any government is independent is absolute also…. Independence can be trusted nowhere but with the people in mass.[xx]

In fact, he specifically argued that if the people were to be left out of any branch, it definitely should not be the judiciary:

We think, in America, that it is necessary to introduce the people into every department of government….Were I called upon to decide whether the people had best be omitted in the legislative or judiciary department, I would say it is better to leave them out of the legislative. The execution of the laws is more important than the making them.[xxi]

Because the impact from an unaccountable judiciary can be so substantial, it was intentionally designed to be what the Federalist Papers had called “the weakest branch.” At the federal level, judges were to be kept in check by the threat of impeachment, and unlike today, that was not an empty threat during the Founding Era. A number of judges were impeached and removed due to improper judicial behavior, including offenses such as rudeness to witnesses, profanity in the courtroom, judicial high-handedness, and judicial activism.[xxii]

Joseph Hopper Nicholas (who served in the federal Congress under Presidents John Adams and Thomas Jefferson) led several of the judicial removal efforts. When some objected that the judiciary should be more independent, he warned:

Give them [judges] the powers and the independence now contended for and.…your government becomes a despotism and they become your rulers. They are to decide upon the lives, the liberties, and the property of your citizens; they have an absolute veto upon your laws by declaring them null and void at pleasure.…If all this be true—if this doctrine be established in the extent which is now contended for—the Constitution is not worth the time we are now spending on it. It is—as it has been called by its enemies—mere parchment, for these judges, thus rendered omnipotent, may overleap the Constitution and trample on your laws.[xxiii]

Massachusetts understood this, and its state constitution made the point that all three branches—including the judiciary—were to be accountable to the people. (Ratified in 1780, the Massachusetts constitution is still in use today, making it the only active constitution in the world older than the US Constitution.) Written by notables such as John Adams, John Hancock, Sam Adams, and others, it declared:

All power residing originally in the people and being derived from them, the several magistrates and officers of government vested with authority—whether Legislative, Executive, or Judicial—are their substitutes and agents and are at all times accountable to them. [xxiv] (emphasis added)

Today an “independent judiciary” (meaning one unaccountable to the people or any other branch) has become the standard advanced by anti-constitutional Progressive groups such as Open Society (Soros funded), the Brennan Center for Justice, and the Equal Justice Initiative. Groups like these join TLR in their claim that the American people can’t be trusted to choose the right judge through regular elections and therefore a Merit Selection system such as the Missouri Plan is needed. (These groups fully understand that it is easier for them to influence or take over a small appointing commission than the full electorate of a state.) 

Conclusion

In summary, the primary arguments for “Merit Selection” are: (1) the people lack the capacity to “appoint for themselves judges and officers” (Deuteronomy 16:18), and (2) elections, which make judges accountable, cause judges to become too political. The Founding Fathers believed the opposite on both points.

Concerning the first, Thomas Jefferson pointed out that if voters are ill-informed, the remedy certainly is not to reduce their involvement with the judiciary:

When the Legislative or Executive functionaries act unconstitutionally, they are responsible to the people in their elective capacity. The exemption of the judges from that is quite dangerous enough. I know no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves; and if we think them [the people] not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion by education. This is the true corrective of abuses of constitutional power.[xxv]

Concerning the second point (that judges should not be directly accountability to the people), signer of the Constitution John Dickinson queried “what innumerable acts of injustice may be committed—and how fatally may the principles of liberty be sapped—by a succession of judges utterly independent of the people?”[xxvi] Abraham Lincoln likewise affirmed that if judges are given the final word without accountability to the people, then “the people will have ceased to be their own rulers, having…resigned their government into the hands of that eminent tribunal.”[xxvii]

If America is to remain a strong constitutional republic, we must protect the safeguards established by our forefathers to disperse power and authority. The safest repository was and always will be the citizens—and if the citizens lack proper knowledge, the correct solution is citizen education, not a return to the same authoritarian practices the British once employed against our colonial ancestors.

Thomas Jefferson reminded us of the fundamental principle of American government that should guide our considerations in the question of whether a system such as the Missouri Plan is worthy:

[T]he will of the majority—the natural law of every society—is the only sure guardian of the rights of man. Perhaps even this may sometimes err, but its errors are honest, solitary and short-lived. Let us then, my dear friends, forever bow down to the general reason of the society. We are safe with that, even in its deviations, for it soon returns again to the right way.[xxviii]

The American experiment rests upon the basic premise that we would rather suffer from the ignorant errors of the people than the deliberate machinations of a political elite. To voluntarily surrender the rights of the people for fear they might vote for the wrong party is to betray both today’s citizens as well as the great historical sacrifices made in order for Americans to make their own political choices.

The creation of a body of unelected bureaucrats deciding who will be the people’s judges weakens liberty, politicizes courts, and reduces accountability. In Texas (as well as the rest of America), the Missouri Plan/Merit Selection should be rejected.


Endnotes

[1] To the contrary, 21 states use the direct election of judges (both partisan and non-partisan), far more states than use any of the other five systems.

[i] Anisha Singh, “State or Federal Court,” Center for American Progress (August 8, 2016), here.

[ii] Douglas Keith, Judicial Nominating Commissions (New York: Brennen Center for Justice, 2019), 1, here.

[iii] “Courts and Judges,” Texans for Lawsuit Reform (accessed December 9, 2019), here.

[iv] Larry Berkson, “Judicial Selection in the United States: A Special Report,” American Judicial Society (April 2010), here.

[v] John Kowal, “Judicial Selection for the 21st Century,” The Brennan Center for Justice (June 6, 2016), here.

[vi] “Nonpartisan Election of Judges,” Ballotpedia (accessed December 17, 2019), here

[vii] Laura Zaccari, “Judicial Elections: Recent Developments, Historical Perspective, and Continued Viability,” Richmond Journal of Law and the Public Interest (Summer 2004), 139, here.

[viii] “Nonpartisan Election of Judges,” Ballotpedia (accessed December 17, 2019), here

[ix] Laura Zaccari, “Judicial Elections: Recent Developments, Historical Perspective, and Continued Viability,” Richmond Journal of Law and the Public Interest (Summer 2004), 143, here.

[x] “Courts and Judges,” Texans for Lawsuit Reform (accessed December 9, 2019), here.

[xi] Thomas Jefferson, “To Charles Yancey, January 6, 1816,” Writings of Thomas Jefferson, Albert Bergh, editor (Washington, DC: Thomas Jefferson Memorial Assoc., 1904), 14.384.

[xii] Jonathan Elliot, editor. Debates in the Several State Conventions on the Adoption of the Federal Constitution (Washington, DC: Printed for the Editor, 1836), 2.200, see Samuel Huntington, January 9, 1788.

[xiii] Alicia Bannon, Choosing State Judges: A Plan for Reform (New York: Brennan Center for Justice, 2018), 1, here.

[xiv] Elbridge Gerry, “Observations On the New Constitution, and on the Federal and State Conventions, By a Columbian Patriot,” Pamphlets on the Constitution of the United States (Brooklyn: 1888), 6, here.

[xv] Alicia Bannon, Choosing State Judges: A Plan for Reform (New York: Brennan Center for Justice, 2018), 9, here.

[xvi] Deborah O’Malley, “Defense of the Elected Judiciary,” The Heritage Foundation (September 9, 2010), here.

[xvii] Brian Fitzpatrick, “Politics of Merit Selection,” Missouri Law Review Volume 74 Issue 3 (Summer 2009), 698, here.

[xviii] See, Samuel Adams, “Instructions of the Town of Boston to its Representatives in the General Court. September 1765,” The Writings of Samuel Adams (New York: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1904), 1.9; Samuel Adams, “The House of Representatives of Massachusetts to Dennys De Berdt. January 12, 1768,” The Writings of Samuel Adams (New York: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1904), 144; Samuel Adams, “The House of Representatives of Massachusetts to the Marquis of Rockingham. January 22, 1768,” The Writings of Samuel Adams (New York: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1904), 172; “Samuel Adams to Joseph Warren, Dec. 9, 1772,” The Warren-Adams Correspondence (Boston: The Massachusetts Historical Society, 1915), 1.14-15.

[xix]  James Madison, John Jay & Alexander Hamilton, The Federalist (Philadelphia: Benjamin Warner, 1818), pp. 419-420.

[xx] Thomas Jefferson, Writings of Thomas Jefferson, Albert Ellery Bergh, editor (Washington D.C.: The Thomas Jefferson Memorial Association, 1904), Vol. XV, pp. 213-214, to Judge Spencer Roane on September 6, 1819.

[xxi] Thomas Jefferson, Writings of Thomas Jefferson, Albert Ellery Bergh, editor (Washington D.C.: The Thomas Jefferson Memorial Association, 1904), Vol. VII, pp. 422-423, to M. L’Abbe Arnoud on July 19, 1789.

[xxii] Debates and Proceedings, Fifth Congress, First Session, July 8, 1797, 499-502; Debates and Proceedings, Seventh Congress, Second Session, March 3, 1803, 645 (Congress voted not to print the actual articles of impeachment against Pickering; See Debates and Proceedings, Eight Congress, First Session, March 24, 1804, 298); Register of the Debates in Congress, Twenty0First Congress, First Session, April 26, 1830, 383, and May 4, 1830, 411-413.

[xxiii] The Debates and Proceedings in the Congress of the United States (Washington: Gales & Seaton, 1851), Seventh Congress, 1st Session, pp. 823-824, February 27, 1802.

[xxiv] A Constitution or Frame of Government Agreed Upon by the Delegates of the People of the State of Massachusetts-Bay (Boston: Benjamin Edes & Sons, 1780), p. 9, Massachusetts, 1780, Part I, Article V.

[xxv] The Writings of Thomas Jefferson, Andrew A. Lipscomb, editor (Washington, DC: The Thomas Jefferson Memorial Association, 1904), Vol. XV, p. 278, to William Charles Jarvis, September 28, 1820.

[xxvi] John Dickinson, Letters from a Farmer in Pennsylvania, to the Inhabitants of the British Colonies (New York: The Outlook Company, 1903), p. 92, Letter IX.

[xxvii] The Works of Abraham Lincoln, John H. Clifford, editor (New York: The University Society Inc., 1908), Vol. V, pp. 142-143, “First Inaugural Address,” March 4, 1861.

[xxviii] Thomas Jefferson, “II. The Response, 12 February 1790,” Founders Online (accessed December 11, 2019), here.