Enumerated Powers

“The powers not delegated [i.e., enumerated] to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.” Tenth Amendment of the Constitution

Enumerated powers are the particular powers granted to Congress (those which are specifically listed) in the US Constitution. There are seventeen such enumerated powers.

Article I, Section 8 lists the first fifteen powers enumerated to, or permissible for the federal government. Articles II-VII add no additional powers but define how to apply the powers enumerated in Article I.

For example, Article II identifies the president as Commander-in-Chief over the military, but this is not a new power since the Preamble already authorized the federal government “to provide for the common defense.” Likewise, the president’s Article II authority to “make treaties” and “appoint ambassadors” is part of the Article I provision “to regulate commerce with foreign nations.”

The Thirteenth and the Fourteenth Amendments to the Constitution added two additional federal powers. (But the other twenty-five Amendments to the Constitution added no federal powers.) With these two additional federal powers, the total number of constitutionally-authorized federal jurisdictions, or enumerated powers, is seventeen.

The Enumerated Powers Listed in the Constitution

The enumerated powers permissible to the federal government are:

  1. To raise revenue to pay off debt, protect the nation, and fulfill the specific obligations established in the enumerated powers. (“To lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts and excises, to pay the debts and provide for the common defense and general welfare of the United States”)
  2. “Borrow money on the credit of the United States.”
  3. Protect the free-enterprise system and ensure free flow of commerce. (“To regulate commerce with foreign nations, and among the several states, and with the Indian tribes”)
  4. Establish immigration laws and processes. (“To establish an uniform rule of naturalization”)
  5. Establish the bankruptcy laws and processes. (“and uniform laws on the subject of bankruptcies throughout the United States”)
  6. Establish national currency, monitor its supply and value, and punish counterfeiters of that currency. (“To coin money, regulate the value thereof, and of foreign coin, and fix the standard of weights and measures” and “provide for the punishment of counterfeiting the securities and current coin of the United States”)
  7. “Establish post offices and post roads.”
  8. Protect the private property (including the ideas, and the product of those ideas) of inventors, authors, and artists. (“To promote the progress of science and useful arts by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries”)
  9. If Congress so wishes, create and regulate federal courts. (“To constitute tribunals inferior to the Supreme Court”)
  10. To enforce international laws and prosecute offenses against it: “Define and punish piracies and felonies committed on the high seas, and offences against the law of nations.”
  11. “Declare war, grant letters of marque and reprisal, and make rules concerning captures on land and water.”
  12. To provide funding for and establish the size and operation of a national military. (“To raise and support armies, but no appropriation of money to that use shall be for a longer term than two years; to provide and maintain a navy; to make rules for the government and regulation of the land and naval forces”)
  13. To call forth and train state militias for national needs. (“To provide for calling forth the militia to execute the laws of the union, suppress insurrections, and repel invasions; to provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining the militia, and for governing such part of them as may be employed in the service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively the appointment of the officers and the authority of training the militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress”)
  14. Oversee and manage all federal property, including Washington, DC, as well as bases, federal buildings, and so forth. (“To exercise exclusive legislation in all cases whatsoever over such District (not exceeding ten miles square) as may by cession of particular States and the acceptance of Congress become the seat of the government of the United States, and to exercise like authority over all places purchased by the consent of the legislature of the State in which the same shall be, for the erection of forts, magazines, arsenals, dock-yards, and other needful buildings”)
  15. “To make all laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into execution the foregoing powers, and all other owners vested by this Constitution in the government of the United States, or in any department or officer thereof.”
  16. To prevent slavery. (a power added by the Thirteenth Amendment)
  17. To prevent states from violating individual constitutional freedoms and inalienable rights secured to every individual in the federal Constitution. (a power added by the Fourteenth Amendment)

Some Founding Fathers on Enumerated Powers

“The powers delegated [that is, enumerated] by the proposed Constitution to the federal government are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the state governments are numerous and indefinite. The former [i.e., federal powers] will be exercised principally on external objects, as war, peace, negotiation, and foreign commerce; with which last the power of taxation will, for the most part, be connected. The powers reserved to the several states will extend to all the objects which in the ordinary course of affairs concern the lives, liberties, and properties of the people, and the internal order, improvement, and prosperity of the state. The operations of the federal government will be most extensive and important in times of war and danger; those of the state governments in times of peace and security.” James Madison1

“The state governments may be regarded as constituent and essential parts of the federal government; whilst the latter [i.e., the federal] is no wise essential to the operation or organization of the former [i.e., the states].” James Madison2

(Warning what would eventually occur if Congress used the General Welfare Clause of the Constitution to become involved in more than its specifically enumerated powers):

“If Congress can apply money indefinitely to the ‘general welfare,’ and are the sole and supreme judges of the ‘general welfare,’ they may take the care of religion into their own hands; they may establish teachers in every state, county, and parish, and pay them out of the public treasury; they may take into their own hands the education of children, establishing in like manner schools throughout the Union; they may undertake the regulation of all roads other than post roads. In short, everything, from the highest object of state legislation down to the most minute object of police would be thrown under the power of Congress, for every object I have mentioned would admit the application of money, and might be called, if Congress pleased, provisions for the ‘general welfare’.” James Madison3

“I consider the foundation of the Constitution as laid on this ground that ‘all powers not delegated to the United States, by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states or to the people’ [quoting the Tenth Amendment]. To take a single step beyond the boundaries thus specially drawn around the powers of Congress is to take possession of a boundless field of power, no longer susceptible of any definition.” Thomas Jefferson4

“I am not a friend to a very energetic [activist] government. It is always oppressive.” Thomas Jefferson5

“What an augmentation [growth] of the field for jobbing, speculating, plundering, office-building, and office-hunting would be produced by an assumption of all the state powers into the hands of the [federal] government. The true theory of our Constitution is surely the wisest and best: that the States are independent as to everything within themselves, and united as to everything respecting foreign nations. Let the [federal] government be reduced to foreign concerns only.” Thomas Jefferson6

(The Founders did not list all the powers the state possessed, but rather listed the few that the federal government was allowed to perform; all other powers belonged to the states.)

“In forming a federal constitution, which ex vi termine, supposes state governments existing, and which is only to manage a few great national concerns, we often find it easier to enumerate particularly the powers to be delegated to the federal head than to enumerate particularly the individual rights to be reserved.” Richard Henry Lee7

“[The Tenth A]mendment is a mere affirmation of what, upon any just reasoning, is a necessary rule of interpreting the Constitution. Being an instrument of limited and enumerated powers, it follows irresistibly that what is not conferred, is withheld, and belongs to the state authorities.” Supreme Court Justice Joseph Story8

“What is to become of constitutions of government if they are to rest not upon the plain [meaning] of their words but upon conjectural enlargements and restrictions to suit the temporary passions and interests of the day? Let us never forget that our constitutions of government are solemn instruments, addressed to the common sense of the people and designed to fix and perpetuate their rights and their liberties. They are not to be frittered away to please the demagogues of the day. They are not to be violated to gratify the ambition of political leaders. They are to speak in the same voice now and forever. They are of no man’s private interpretation. They are ordained by the will of the people and can be changed only by the sovereign command of the people.” Supreme Court Justice Joseph Story9


1 James Madison, No. XLV, The Federalist on the New Constitution Written in the Year 1788 (Washington, DC: Jacob Gideon, 1818), 292.

2 Madison, No. XLV, The Federalist (1818), 290.

3 Madison, February 6, 1792, The Debates and Proceedings in the Congress of the United States (Washington, DC: Gales and Seaton, 1849), 2nd Cong., 1st Sess., 388.

4 Thomas Jefferson, “Opinion against the constitutionality of a National Bank,” February 15, 1791, The Writings of Thomas Jefferson, ed. H. A. Washington (Washington, DC: Taylor & Maury, 1854), VII:556.

5 Jefferson to Madison, December 20, 1787, Memoir, Correspondence, and Miscellanies from the Papers of Thomas Jefferson, ed. Thomas Jefferson Randolph (Charlottesville: F. Carr & Co., 1829), II:276.

6 Jefferson to Gideon Granger, August 13, 1800, Memoir, Correspondence, and Miscellanies, ed. Randolph (1829) III:437.

7 [Richard Henry Lee], “Letter XVI,” January 20, 1788, An Additional Number of Letters from the Federal Farmer to the Republican (1788), 143.

8 Joseph Story, Commentaries on the Constitution of the United States (Boston: Hilliard, Gray, and Company, 1833), III:752.

9 Story, Commentaries on the Constitution (1833), III:754.

FAQ: Inalienable Rights

Claimed in the Declaration of Independence as “unalienable rights,” inalienable rights are those that are not under the purview of the government – those rights that are inherent to each person.1 They are also sometimes referred to as natural rights, because they could only be granted by God. America’s Founding Fathers emphasized inalienable rights throughout their writings since they were considered most valuable and to be closely guarded.

Liberties dearer to you than your lives, “which God gave to you and which no inferior power has a right to take away.” JOHN DICKINSON “Penman of the Revolution”2

The sacred rights of mankind are not to be rummaged for among old parchments or musty records. They are written, as with a sunbeam, in the whole volume of human nature by the hand of the Divinity itself; and can never be erased or obscured by mortal power. ALEXANDER HAMILTON3

That all men are by nature equally free and independent, and have certain inherent rights, of which, when they enter into a state of society, they cannot, by any compact, deprive or divest their posterity; namely, the enjoyment of life and liberty, with the means of acquiring and possessing property, and pursuing and obtaining happiness and safety. VIRGINIA DECLARATION OF RIGHTS (1776)4

Some of the inalienable rights the Founders specifically mentioned included:5

  • Life
  • Liberty
  • Private Property
  • Conscience (specifically relating to worshipping God)
  • Self-Preservation or “Personal Security”
  • Happiness
  • Private Judgment or “Self-Direction”
  • Association
  • Right to Necessary Things (air, water, earth)

Additional Resources

Biblical Christianity: The Origin of the Right of Conscience

A God-Given Inalienable Right

The Founders on the Second Amendment

The Founders Bible

The Second Amendment


1 Noah Webster, “inalienable,” An American Dictionary of the English Language (New York: S. Converse, 1828). Today there is a question of whether the correct term is “inalienable” (as now used in contemporary English) or “unalienable” (as it originally appeared in the Declaration). As seen in this definition by Noah Webster (a soldier in the American War for Independence, and a judge and legislator afterwards), “unalienable” is a synonym for “inalienable.”

2 John Dickinson, letter to the Society of Fort St. David’s, 1768, Letters from a Farmer in Pennsylvania, ed. R. T. H. Halsey (New York: The Outlook Company, 1903), xlii.

3Alexander Hamilton, “The Farmer Refuted,” February 5, 1775,” The Works of Alexander Hamilton, ed. John C. Hamilton (New York: John F. Trow, 1850), II:80.

4 The Virginia Declaration of Rights, adopted unanimously June 12, 1776, Virginia Convention of Delegates, drafted by George Mason, The Avalon Project, Yale Law School, accessed December 4, 2023, https://avalon.law.yale.edu/18th_century/virginia.asp.

5. See, for example: Samuel Adams, “The Rights of The Colonists, A List of Violations of Rights and a Letter of Correspondence, Adopted by the Town of Boston, November 20, 1772,” The Life and Public Service of Samuel Adams, ed. William V. Wells (Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1865), I:502. Samuel Adams, An Oration Delivered at the State House, in Philadelphia, to a Very Numerous Audience; on Thursday the 1st of August, 1776 (London: J. Johnson, 1776), 4. The Massachusetts Constitution 1780, drafted by John Adams, “A Declaration of the Rights of the Inhabitants of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.” James Madison, “Property,” from the National Gazette, March 29, 1792, The Writings of James Madison, ed. Gaillard Hunt (New York: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1906), VI:101-102. James Wilson, “Of Crimes Against the Right of Individuals to Personal Safety,” The Works of the Honourable James Wilson, ed. Bird Wilson (Philadelphia: Lorenzo Press, 1804), III:84-85. John Witherspoon, Lectures on Moral Philosophy; Lecture X, “Of Politics,” The Works of John Witherspoon (Edinburgh: Ogle & Aikman, 1805), VII:77-78.

Uniform Commercial Code

WallBuilders’ Pro-Family Legislative Network was recently alerted by legislators in multiple states to a very troubling section introduced into the newly proposed Uniform Commercial Code (UCC) now working its way through 22+ states this legislative session and likely to be introduced in all 50 states.

The UCC (first released in 1952) generally helps standardize existing commercial and business transactions across the nation. It traditionally smooths out what is already in practice, but in the new version of the UCC, the Commission has gone on the offensive in one particular area, introducing new untested practices for where the government apparently intends businesses should go in the future.

The troubling change relates to the definition of money and what constitutes electronic currency. Currently, electronic currency does not exist. The disturbing portion of the new Code anticipates a new digital currency, one can only assume it is referencing the Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) now under development by the Federal Reserve. The push for a CBDC comes from President Biden’s Executive Order 14067 issued in March of 2022. Members of Congress are concerned over the role and function of a CBDC, for there are far too many unknowns about how electronic money will look and act.

The Uniform Commercial Code has traditionally been viewed by most legislatures as something perfunctory, so it typically receives little scrutiny. As a result, the new version containing the troubling provisions on digital currency has been introduced in two dozen states and has already passed the legislature chamber in states such as North Dakota, Colorado, Hawaii and South Dakota. Gov. Kristi Noem took bold leadership to do what was in the best interest of the citizens of her state and she vetoed the bill in South Dakota due to many of the reasons outlined in the letter below. You can read her veto here.

We encourage you to contact your state legislators and share this coalition letter with them. (You can also download the PDF version here.) Urge them not to pass your state’s Uniform Commercial Code and your governor not to sign this legislation into law if it makes it to his or her desk.

If you are an organization that would like to be included on this coalition letter, please contact us at the Pro-Family Legislative Network for consideration.

Sermon – Thanksgiving – 1815

John Lathrop (1740-1816) Biography:

John Lathrop, also spelled Lothrop, was born in Norwich, Connecticut. He graduated from Princeton in 1763 and began working as an assistant teacher with the Rev. Dr. Eleazar Wheelock of Lebanon, Connecticut, at Moor’s Indian Charity School. He studied theology under Dr. Wheelock (who later founded Dartmouth College) and became licensed to preach in 1767, ministering among the Indians. In 1768, he became the preacher of the Second Church of Boston, but as Boston was central in the rising tensions and violence with the British leading up to the American War for Independence, he relocated to Providence, Rhode Island. When the Founding Fathers declared independence from Britain in 1776, Lathrop returned to Boston. When Dr. Pemberton of New Brick Church was taken ill, Lathrop was asked to become the assistant to the pastor. When Pemberton passed away a year later, Lathrop became pastor of New Brick Church but also retained the pastorate of Second Church, merging it into New Brick in 1779. Lathrop remained pastor until his death from lung fever in 1816. He had served as President of the Massachusetts Bible Society and the Society of Propagating the Gospel in North America, and he was also a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Antiquarian Society. Numerous of his sermons were published.












“Give thanks unto the Lord, call upon his name make known his deeds among the people. Sing unto him, sing psalms unto him, talk you of all his wondrous works.”

NEVER, my friends, did we assemble with more cheerful hearts to offer praise and thanksgiving to Almighty God, than we do on the present occasion. Never have we witnessed joy more universal than the joy expressed by the American people at the return of peace. This event, like the sun breaking from a cloud, hath scattered the darkness which hung over our afflicted country, and given new spirits and new life to many who were “bowed down to the dust,” and “covered with the shadow of death.”

On such an occasion, it is highly proper, that people professing the Christian religion, do assemble in places of worship, and offer praise and thanksgiving to Him who ruleth over the nations, and turneth the hearts of the kings, and of the mighty men of the earth, as the waters are turned.

Not only the people of our country but the greatest part of the Christian world, have been in deep affliction. Modern history presents no period to our recollection, in which the miseries of war have been more generally felt, than during the last few years; and it is with great pleasure that we hear, peace was no sooner restored to the bleeding nations of Europe, than the temples of the Most High were filled with praises and thanksgivings.

As the American people were the last to take the cup of affliction, which the Sovereign of the world hath caused to pass from one nation to another, so are they the last, but we trust, not the least, in sincere and humble gratitude, to the giver of all mercies for granting salvation to many millions of people, by a general peace.

The text points out to us a course of exercises, proper on the present occasion. We are called upon by a sense of gratitude; by a recollection of the benefits which a merciful God hath bestowed upon us, – we are called upon to give thanks, – to worship Him, – to talk of all his wondrous works.

It would be pleasant, and it would be useful, to talk of those wondrous works which proclaim the Eternal Power and Godhead; and which have called forth the reverence and love of the wise and good, in all parts of the world. By the things which our eyes behold, we have convincing evidence, that a Being of infinite perfection, presides over the universe and guides all the movements of it, according to his pleasure. But on the present occasion, we feel disposed to talk more particularly of the loving kindness and of the mercy, which God was pleased to show to the Fathers of our Country; of the protection grated to them and their children, in seasons of weakness and danger, and when they were exposed to the savages of the wilderness, and to other powerful enemies; – of the wars in which our country has been engaged; – of the late war, and of the peace which God hath now given to us. From a review of the wondrous works of mercy and goodness, “which were done in the times of old,” and which have been done in later years, we will endeavour to excite those grateful and pious feelings, which alone can render our public expressions of thanksgiving acceptable to a gracious Benefactor.

When we speak of the Fathers of our Country, we have respect to those Europeans, who early adventured to this quarter of the world, and made settlements in various parts of the extensive region now called The United States of America : but when we speak of the Fathers of New England, we have respect to those protestant Christians, who, having been oppressed and persecuted by a race of despotic sovereigns, and by an intolerant hierarchy, left “the places of their fathers sepulchers,” and made the first permanent settlements, in the region which we inhabit, and which still bears the name of the country from whence they emigrated.

The views of the early adventurers to North America, even from Columbus in 1492, to the time when the pilgrims landed at Plymouth, in 1620, where extremely various. The object of some of them was, discovery. — Men best acquainted, in those times with the principles of geography, expected to find a passage to India, by the Western Ocean. Others were excited to the hazardous undertaking, and made voyages to this quarter of the world, with the expectation of wealth: reports were spread abroad, that on the islands and on the continent there was plenty of silver and gold. But it was for the express purpose of securing for themselves and for their children the rights of freemen, and more particularly the rights of conscience, that the Fathers of New England exchanged their dwelling places, in a country abounding with the means of subsistence, for a wilderness, where wants and sufferings were to be expected.

The first Christian pilgrims approached these northern shores at an inclement season of the year. At their landing they found no shelter from the cold and from the tempest. They were in want of those refreshments which would have been peculiarly grateful after the fatigues and dangers of a long voyage. By reason of the privations and the sufferings, which were unavoidable in their miserable habitations, they soon became sickly; and before the opening of the spring, forty-five of the one hundred and one, who landed on the last of the preceding December, were dead.

Although the first Christian pilgrims had been brought to this northern region, contrary to the contract which they had been careful to make before they left their native country, divine providence seems to have prepared a place for them, in which they might plant themselves without any immediate opposition. The Indians, who had before inhabited the ground on which they landed, and the wilderness bordering on them were nearly extinct. The had some time before been beaten in bloody wars with other savage nations; and, to complete their destruction, an awful pestilence had raged among them, sweeping away both the old and the young, until it might be said, “The land was left without inhabitants.” With great propriety we quote and apply a part of the XLIV. Psalm. — “We have heard with our ears, O God, our fathers have told us, what thou didst in their days, in the times of old. How thou didst drive out the heathen with thy hand, and plantedst them : how thou didst afflict the people and cast them out. For they got not the land in possession by their own sword, neither did their own arm save them; but thy right hand, and thine arm, and the light of thy countenance, because thou hadst a favour unto them.”

The feeble pilgrims, at the first, had indeed no enemy to oppose them. None of the original lords of the soil came to protest against their landing. The first visit made them by an Indian, was in the month of March. One of the chiefs of a tribe, living a considerable distance, appeared, unexpectedly; and in their own language which he had imperfectly learned from Europeans, who had visited the country, he addressed them saying, “Welcome, Englishmen; Welcome, Englishmen!”1

The fathers of New England were not, however, permitted to continue many years unmolested. The tribes of Indians, who inhabited the vast wilderness, observing the increase of English settlements, and hearing of the arrival of new adventurers, indulged suspicions, that the strangers, who were not only spreading along on the sea shore, but were extending into the country, would, ere long, compel them to relinquish the possessions which their fathers had enjoyed, from time immemorial.

Jealousies and apprehensions, such as we have no mentioned, were greatly strengthened by the intercourse which the natives of the wilderness had afterwards with the French, whose settlements were progressing in Nova Scotia and in Canada. The most dangerous wars in which the fathers of New England were engaged, are traced to the sources which we have now mentioned. Philip, son and successor of Massasciet, the historian observes, “could not bear to see the English of New Plymouth, extending their settlements over the dominions of his ancestors; and although his father had, at one time or another conveyed to them all that they were possessed of, yet he had sense enough, to distinguish a free voluntary covenant, from one he made under a sort of duress; and he could never rest until he brought on the war, which ended in his destruction.” The same historian adds; “The eastern wars have been caused by the attachment of those Indians to the French, who have taken all opportunities of exciting them to hostilities against the English.”2

During the wars with Philip, and with various tribes of Indians, after the death of Philip, assisted by the French from Canada and Nova Scotia, the New England Colonies, more especially Massachusetts and New Hampshire, were exposed to great sufferings. Such was the influence which Phillip had over his own tribe, and over many other tribes of the savages that he was able to send the calamities of war to almost every town in New England. Many innocent people were killed while laboring in their fields; many women and children were killed in their houses; many were taken and carried away into captivity. Between the month of June 1675, when this noted warrior began his work of murder and depredation, and the month of August, 1676, when he fell in battle, many of the towns in this then colony, which are now beautiful and opulent, were visited by the savage invaders, and either in whole, or in part were destroyed. I will mention some of them. — Brookfield was among the first, seven days after was laid in ashes. Springfield, partly destroyed. Groton, wholly destroyed. Lancaster, and Medfield, and Warwick, and Sudbury, and Marlborough, and Chelmsford, and Weymouth, and Bridgewater, and Scituate, and Middleborough, and Plymouth, and several other towns, were attacked, and in most cases some of the inhabitants were killed, and some carried into captivity; and many of the buildings left in flames.

Nor did the work of devastation and murder end with the death of Phillip.3 Expeditions were made from Canada and from Nova Scotia. Saco, and Wells, and York, and Dover, and Berwick, and other places, were invaded by French and Indians from the east. Many people were killed, and many houses were destroyed. Several towns, which were destroyed in the time of Philip’s war were again visited and destroyed by parties of French from Canada, and the Indians who united with them. So late as 1704, Deerfield was again invaded and burnt; many of the people were killed, and their minister, Rev. Mr. Williams was carried into captivity. And four years after, Haverhill was attacked, and in part burnt; Rev. Mr. Rolfe the minister of the town, and thirty or forty of the people were killed.

During the long reign of Lewis XIV king of France, great exertions were made by that monarch to gain an ascendency over the powerful kingdoms of Europe, and, in the end, make all of the nations of the world bow to his authority. He found the English were making settlements on the atlantick coasts, and rapidly extending their borders into a country capable of high cultivation, and promising a lucrative commerce. He, too, had colonies in North America; but he had an impression, that his colonies would be of but little advantage to him, unless he could prevent the growth of the English colonies, but eventually, would have extirpated them. We find a plan for the purpose now mentioned, adopted by the court of France, as early as 1687.4

The French project to obtain, and to hold the dominion of all North America, was simple, while it was deep. It was to secure the great rivers at the north east, and at the south west, viz. the St. Lawrence, and the Mississippi, as well as the inland seas, which complete the line of water communication, and which give facility to an immense commerce. They very well knew, that the power, which shall be able to command on those waters, will be able to command and to direct the numerous tribes of savages who inhabit the vast wilderness between the English colonies and the French settlements. To carry this plan in to effect, we find the French exploring the waters of the Mississippi, in the year 1687. Some years after, we hear of them making settlements on the borders of that river. We hear of them erecting forts, at the most commanding places, near the lakes, and other navigable waters at the west; and at the same time, making unreasonable demands of territory at the east.5

Having thus prepared, the French lost no time in attempting to carry their plan into execution. They availed themselves of the jealousies which already existed in the minds of many of the native Indians, that the English would take from them their hunting grounds, and destroy them. In this state of jealousy and irritation, they were excited to deeds of savage cruelty. They not only invaded the frontier settlements, and penetrated the country, laying waste and destroying, as has been already related; but formidable fleets were sent to attack the whole extent of sea coast. In 1697, the historian informs us, “an invasion was every day expected for several weeks together; and news was brought to Boston, that a formidable French fleet had been seen upon the coast.”

The reality of a plan to destroy English colonies, and particularly New England, is stated by Charlevoix, in the account given him, of the above mentioned expedition. A powerful army from Canada, was to meet a fleet from France early in the season at Penobscot; and, “as soon as the junction was made, and the troops embarked, the fleet, without loss of time, was to go to Boston, and that town being taken, it was to range the coast, — destroying settlements as far into the country as they could.”6 — This projected expedition, had it been executed, might have been fatal to our country; but, by reason of contrary winds, the fleet did not arrive in season, and the plan was frustrated.

Another projected invasion is within the recollection of some of us. The elderly people have not yet forgotten their fears and apprehensions, when the strong force under the Duke D’Anville, was expected in this harbour; nor have they lost a remembrance of the joy they felt, when that fleet was scattered and many ships were destroyed by the winds and the waves.

Such of us, as are advanced in life, remember our fears during a course of years, while the French surrounded us, except on the Atlantic; and on that side also, they were threatening to invade us : — when our armies were defeated, which were sent to protect the frontiers; when the young Washington found it necessary to capitulate.7 Washington, who about fourteen months after, by skill and bravery, saved the broken remains of an army, late commanded by General Braddock; and who, by the providence of God, was preserved to be the Saviour of his Country.

But I will weary you no longer with the sad detail of wars, in which the Fathers of New England suffered from the French and the savages of the wilderness. In short, they had but little rest from the time of Philip’s war, until Quebec was taken by the immortal Wolfe, and the whole country was ceded to Great Britain in 1763.

Having talked as long perhaps as may be proper, of the mercy which God was pleased to show to the Fathers of our Country; and of the protection granted to them and to their children in seasons of weakness and danger, and when exposed to the savages of the wilderness, and to other powerful enemies; we are prepared to talk of like protection and favours granted to the American people in later times : — of their dangers and sufferings during a severe conflict for the security of their most important interests; a conflict which terminated in the establishment of a new state of things in this quarter of the world, — a new empire, which, in process of time will probably be equal in extent, in power, and in wealth, to any nation in the world. But should we talk of the revolutionary war, — of the causes which produced it, — of its progress and important events; and of the honourable terms of peace, obtained by the plenipotentiaries of the United States at Paris in 1783, our discourse would not only be unreasonably long, but we should have no time left, to talk of the late war, in which our country has been engaged, — of the peace which is again restored to us; and to indulge in pleasing anticipation, the comforts and blessings which, not only the American people, but, we hope, the world may enjoy, in a state of tranquility.

As the events of that war which procured the independence and the sovereignty of the United States of America are within the recollection of such of you have passed a little over the middle of life; and the history of it is in almost every family, I shall omit any farther conversation with respect to it, and go on to talk of the late war, and of the peace, which we on this day celebrate.

It would certainly be attended with very little pleasure and probably with very little profit now that the war is ended, to talk much about the reason assigned for it when it was proclaimed, or of the important objects which were to be secured by it. We remember the many unpleasant feelings occasioned by the contentions of men of different opinions, concerning the origin, and the manner in which the late war was conducted. We hope such uncomfortable feelings may now wholly subside, and that no restless people among us, may hereafter, by rash speeches, or inflammatory publications, again revive them. Although we have not yet learned that the objects for which the late war was declared, have been obtained or secured, we rejoice that the conflict is at an end. We do sincerely rejoice at the return of peace. We will therefore talk of the wondrous goodness of God, both in conducting the American people through the war, and in giving the rulers of the late contending nations pacifick dispositions.

Should the peace continue, which is now established among the Christian nations of the earth, opportunities will offer for the execution of the most benevolent purposes of the human heart. A state of peace is favourable to the propagation of the gospel, — to the advancement of science and all the useful arts, — to commerce, — to every thing which gives true dignity to man, and tends to qualify him for the rank which he is designed to hold in creation.

Divine Providence seems to have been preparing the way for the spread of truth, and the farther establishment of the kingdom of Christ. That Being who superintends the changes and revolutions which take place among the nations of the world, will always bring good out of apparent evil; and therefore while we mourn over the late sufferings of a great portion of our fellow men on the continent of Europe, we find consolation in the belief, that good will result from those sufferings.

In the dark ages of ignorance and superstition, when the religion of Jesus was awfully corrupted, and civil liberty was poorly understood, combinations were formed by the rulers of the church, and by the princes of this world, to support each other in the most shameful acts of tyranny and oppression. Although much had been done at the time of the reformation, and at succeeding periods, to lessen the power, which kings and priests had usurped over the worldly estates, and over the spiritual concerns of the people, much remained to be done. Bigotry and superstition may still bluster and threaten, but they can no longer hold the minds of a great part of mankind in bondage; they can no longer prevent free inquiry such is the power of truth, that it will prevail. “Many shall run to and fro; and knowledge shall increase.”

At no period since the great opposition to popery by Luther, and the reformers who followed after him, have Christians of all denominations been so well united, as they are at the present time in laudable endeavours to extent the knowledge of salvation. Within a few years, societies have been formed in England and in various parts of Europe, consisting of members of great respectability having for their object “the distribution of the Bible.” Societies for the same purpose have been recently formed in the principal cities and towns in North America. The wonderful union of Christians of all denominations, and of all orders of people, from the highest to the lowest, in this noble work of charity, affords the highest encouragement to the friends of Zion, and is, we trust, a presage of that happy condition of the world, which we are taught to expect, when “All shall know the Lord.”

As the most benevolent purposes of God are brought to pass, by means adapted to the ends which are to be accomplished, wise observers may perceive a fitness in the means, and in working of providence, to accomplish such purposes. If there is to be a time, when “the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord,” we shall have reason to think, God is preparing the way for a condition so desirable, when kings and mighty men, — when high and low, — when Christians of every creed, and of every mode of worship, unite their labours and good wishes to extend the only effectual means of religious knowledge to all countries, and to all regions.

There are other circumstances in the present state of the civilized nations of the earth, favourable to the propagation of truth, which have not heretofore existed to the extent in which they now exist. Civil liberty, and the rights of conscience, are better understood, and will no doubt, be more respected, than heretofore. Well informed Christians have more moderation, more candor, more charity for one another, although still differing in opinions, and in modes of worship, than have been exercised at any former period, since the church and the world were united, for the support of each other.

Under circumstances such as we have now mentioned, and on which we might enlarge with great pleasure would the time admit, under such circumstances, aided by peace, and by the intercourse now opened, and more widely opening among the different nations of the world, we indulge a pleasing hope, that the gospel shall be carried to every part of the globe; that the light of the sun; and “people of all kindreds and tongues, and nations, shall walk in the light.”

The peace which we this day celebrate has opened the American ports, not only to the nation with which we have been at war, but to a great part of the nations of the world. The commerce of our country, which had been languishing until there was scarcely an appearance of life, hath sprung up at the voice of peace, and is beginning to assume its wonted cheerful appearance. We again hear the noise of the axe and the hammer. “Zebulon is beginning to rejoice in his going out, and Issachar in his tents.”

Peace is highly favourable to science, to the useful arts, to agriculture, and to all the social connexions of life. In a time of war the mind is disturbed; the thoughts are divided; it is impossible to give that application to study, which is necessary to the acquirement of extensive knowledge.

In a time of war, multitudes are called from their usual occupations, and from domestic enjoyments, exposed to privations, to dangers, and to death. Ware is an evil; a judgment which God inflicts on the sinful nations of the earth. During the late war, our nation has suffered a variety of evils. Many lives have been lost. Vast property has been taken and carried away, or destroyed on the seas : vast sums have been expended, and vast debt hath been contracted. Towns have been invaded, — villages have been burnt, — the capitol has been laid in ashes. We are glad to set down in peace, under circumstances, no doubt, less eligible, than the friends and supporters of the war expected. We have reason to be thankful that our sufferings have not been greater : — that the conflict was no longer continued.

Truly we may say, “If it had not been that the Lord was on our side,” when a powerful enemy invaded our coasts, — “if it had not been that the Lord was on our side,” when men of renown, of uncommon strength and skilled in war, and men accustomed to conquer by sea and by land, — “if it had not been that the Lord was on our side,” when such men with powerful fleets and powerful armies came against us, — “then they had swallowed us up quick, when their wrath was kindled against us! Then the waters had overwhelmed us, the stream had gone over our soul. Then the proud waters had gone over our soul. Blessed be the Lord who hath not given us as a prey to their teeth. Our soul is escaped as a bird out of the snare of the fowlers: the snare is broke and we are escaped.”

In a review of the wondrous works of God, as they relate to the fathers of our country, and to their children, and their children’s children, to the fifth and the sixth generation, we see many things which call for our gratitude, and many things which call for sober reflection and humiliation. Towards the American people, while they were under the government of Great Britain, and since they have been free and independent states, the dispensations of Providence have been merciful, and they have been afflictive. As the children of Israel were marvelously protected when they went out of the land of Egypt, but were afterwards corrected for their faults, and grievously afflicted; so were our fathers protected; but the first generation had not passed away, before the heathen brake in upon them, and they were afflicted.

The history of our country, is a history of its prosperities, and of its adversities; fo its happiness in times of peace, and of its sufferings in seasons of war.

On this day, we are invited by the supreme Magistrate of the United States, to assemble in our place of worship, and to unite our hearts and our voices, “in a free will offering,” of thanksgiving and praise to our Heavenly Benefactor for his great goodness manifested in restoring to us “the blessings of peace.” “No people,” the president observes in his proclamation, “No people ought to feel greater obligations to celebrate the goodness of the Great Disposer of all events, and of the destiny of nations, than the people of the United States. His kind Providence originally conducted them to one of the best portions of the dwelling place allowed for the great family of the human race. He protected and cherished them, under all the difficulties and trials to which they were exposed in their early days. Under his fostering care, their habits, their sentiments, and their pursuits, prepared them for a transition, in due time, to a state of independence and self-government. In the arduous struggle by which it was attained they were distinguished by multiplied tokens of his benign interposition. And to the same Divine Author of every good and perfect gift, we are indebted for all the privileges and advantages, religious as well as civil, which are so richly enjoyed in this favoured land.”

While making our offering of thanksgiving and praise to Almighty God, for the peace which he hath been pleased to ordain for us, many circumstances occur to our minds, which render the event which we now celebrate, peculiarly grateful, and which call for the exercise of our best affections.

Had the war continued another season, it would have become more fierce and cruel. A disposition to plunder, and retaliate injuries, on both sides, had been for some time increasing, and we have reason to fear, that a continuance of the war would not only have afforded opportunities, but excitements to still more shocking deeds’ in which, not only men in arms, but un offending citizens in the peaceful walks of life, would have been subjected to inexpressible sufferings.

Had the war continued another season, the forces of the enemy in the Canada’s, on the lakes, and on our sea coasts, would have been greatly increased: much greater exertions therefore would have been required on the part of the United States. What ways and means should have been devised for the support of such armies as must have been called out to defend an extensive sea coast, and an equally extensive frontier, those public men may, perhaps be able to say, who had the management of the finances during the two last seasons.

Had the war continued, multitudes must have been called from the fields of husbandry, from manufacturing establishments, and other useful and necessary employments, and hurried away to exposed parts of the country, to suffer in camps and to die in battle.

Had the war continued, the spring would have opened upon us with gloomy forebodings. In the winter season, the ice and the snow were our best defense. With the returning sun, our fears would have increased our apprehensions. But with the peace, which God in mercy hath granted us, the whole scene of things is changed. We hail each lengthening day with the smile of cheerfulness. We behold the vernal skies, and we receive the vernal showers, with unmingled pleasure. “We will now give thanks unto the Lord; we will call upon his name; we will make known his deeds among the people; we will sing unto him; we will sing psalms unto him; we will talk of all his wondrous works.”

That our offering of thanksgiving and praise, may be acceptable to God, let it be accompanied with kind affection towards all our fellow citizens, and towards the people whom we lately considered as our enemies.

“Whatever differences of opinion may have existed,” with respect to the origin of the late war, or any of the measures in which it hath been conducted, all now rejoice, in that the conflict is at an end. “All good citizens will unite in providing still farther for our external security, as well as internal prosperity and happiness, by fidelity to the union, by reverence for the laws, by discountenancing all local and other prejudices, and by promoting everywhere the concord and brotherly affection becoming members of one great political family.”8

As we are again at peace with the government and people of Great Britain, let us suppress, as much as possible, the feelings of resentment which are apt to rise from a recollection of sufferings and injuries,. The brave are always generous: they are the first to forgive and forget. If we have suffered, our enemy too has suffered. Let the balm of peace now heal every wound. If the scar remain, lest us be careful, lest by fretting, the blood be made again to appear.

As the brave are always generous, the brave will never exult, when a powerful enemy has been beaten. We are to remember, the race is not always swift, nor is the battle always to the strong. While the American arms have, without question, secured immortal fame, it must be confessed that little else has been secured, for the United States, by a vast expense in blood and treasure.9

It is now devoutly to be wished, that all ill will, and all party spirit may be put away. Why should party spirit and party feelings continue, when, it is presumed, there can now be no foreign influence to support a party? Whatever there may have been in times past, at present there can be no particular attachments to foreign nations, to influence American citizens. If any internal contentions be kept alive, they must be such as are found to a certain degree, in all elective governments : a contention for power, for places, — for “the loaves and fishes.” A man surely can have very little modesty, who seeks for honours and preferments which the public is not willing to give him. In an uncorrupted state of society, men will not be seen making interest for places of honour and profit. Men well known to be qualified men of approved integrity and uprightness, will be sought for, and solicited, to accept offices of high responsibility. God grant that we may live to see a return of something like that golden age of purity and simplicity, which our country once enjoyed!

My beloved people, although I have now talked with you a long time, I feel unwilling to close my discourse, without offering my very particular and most affectionate congratulations on the present joyous occasion. On a like occasion I once addressed some of you. The peace of 1783, after a sever contest for independence and sovereignty, was a glorious peace. It is to the highest degree improbable, that I shall again, at any future time, address you on a similar occasion: or on any political subject. Four seasons of distressing warfare are within my recollection. The war of 1745, the war of 1755, the war of 1775, and the late war declared on the part of the United States June 18, 1812. I have seen important changes and revolutions in my own country, and among the nations of the world I have seen one generation pass away, and another generation come forward. I have seen a nation rise up in this quarter of the world, powerful in men and in arms, and taking rank among the other nations of the earth. Such changes I have seen; but my days of vision on earth are drawing to an end. My country, now at peace, I hope will continue in peace long. Very long, after it shall please God to take me to that “better country,” where wars are unknown.

My heart’s desire and prayer has been for the prosperity and peace of our Jerusalem. May those always prosper who seek her peace!

It was for the love which I had for my country; — the country in which I was born —in which my friends live — in which the people live with whom I am connected by ties which have made, and which still make my abode pleasant to me; for the love which I had, and which I still have for this country, I have discoursed to you several times on its rights and its liberties — on its dangers and its sufferings. I have rejoiced with my country when in prosperity; and mourned when in adversity. As the Comforts which we enjoy in the peace and prosperity of our country, are as truly the gifts of God, as the comforts which we hope to enjoy a future life, we should be unjust to ourselves, and ungrateful to our heavenly Benefactor, did we not endeavour to defend and secure them, when men of violence attempt to take them away from us: I therefore thought, and still think, it was my duty to give warning when the important interests of my country appeared to be in danger. When those important interests were actually invaded, I thought, and still think, it was my duty to say and to do what I was able, to support them. In this I thought, and still think, I had great and good examples, in the prophets and apostles. Jesus Christ also, with the perfect feelings of a perfect man, loved his country, and wept over its capital, when he knew its destruction was approaching. In my youth I was taught to regard civil and religious liberty, with a kind of reverential respect. That sort of devotion I strengthened afterwards, by reading and meditation; nor do I perceive that my attachment to those objects of my early affection, has in any measure abated now I am old.

For the full enjoyment of civil and religious liberty, together with the inestimable blessings connected with them, the fathers of New England exchanged the wealth and the accommodations of their native country, for the poverty and the sufferings of a wilderness. I pray God, the offspring of those excellent men, may never suffer their birth-rights to be taken from them.

I rejoice that my country is again at peace with the government and people of Great Britain; a people of high spirits and somewhat vindictive; but a people possessing many strong virtues. A people, who, with all their faults, have done more to encourage useful institution and to send the true knowledge of salvation to the dark parts of the earth than any other nation, and I may say, than all the other nations in the world. It would be unjust, and base, and wicked, to impute to the present inhabitants of Great Britain, the bigotry and the persecuting spirit of their great grandfathers.

I rejoice that the world is again at peace. The temple of Janus is again shut. The earth is at rest. God grant that henceforth the only contest may be, who shall do most to enlighten the ignorant; who shall do most to reform the guilty; and to use the words of the great Washington, the beloved father of our country, with whose words I conclude, — who shall do most “to make our neighbours and fellow men as happy, as their frail conditions and perishing natures will permit them to be.”10


Note A. Some persons who heard the discourse expressed their surprise that this Indian warrior should be known by an English name. We have an explanation in Hutchinson’s History of Massachusetts. Vol. 1st. p276.After the Indians became acquainted with the Europeans who had settled among them, “they were fond of having names given to them.” In 1662 when Massasoiet’s two sons were at Plymouth the governor gave them their English names.” To Wamsutta the eldest son of Massasoiet, governor Prince gave the English name Alexander: to the second son, whose Indian name was Metacom, the governor gave the English name, Philip.

In Neal’s History of New England, Philip is said to be “grandson of old Massasoiet.” “He was a bold and daring prince, having all the pride, fierceness, and cruelty of a savage.” Neal’s Hist. Vol. II. p. 23. The wonderful destruction of the Indians by wars and sickness, before the arrival of the fathers of New England, is related by Mr. Gookin. See Historical Collections, Vol 1st, p. 148. Morton’s New England’s Memorial. P 37, 38. Prince’s Chronology, p.69.

Note B. The quotation to which this note has relation is made from the president’s excellent Answer to the “Tribute of Respect,” or “Congratulatory Address of the Republican member of both branches of the Legislature of Massachusetts, and other citizens.” Which “was voted to be communicated to the President, on the restoration of peace.” Feb. 23, 1815.

Note C. Hon. William Gaston, member of congress from North Carolina, in his circular letter dated at Washington, March 1, 1815, writes thus : “Some time must yet elapse before we ascertain with certainty the addition the war has made to our publick debt. Claims are even now brought before congress which had their origin in the war of the revolution; and this which has just past, short as was its continuance has given rise to many more than our revolutionary struggle.”
Hon. Cyrus King, member of congress from Massachusetts, in a speech delivered Feb. 27, 1815, states the loss of men, “brave Americans,” 30,000. And the amount of treasures sacrificed, “150,000,000.”

Note D. As the words of Washington are words of wisdom, the reader will be gratified by having a few more from the letter quoted at the end of the discourse.

—“I observe with singular satisfaction, the cases in which your benevolent institution,” (the Massachusetts Humane Society,) “has been instrumental in recalling some of our fellow creatures, as it were, from beyond the gates of eternity, and has given occasion for the hearts of parents and friends to leap for joy. The provisions made for shipwrecked mariners is also highly estimable in the view of every philanthropic mind, and greatly consolatory to that suffering part of the community. These things will draw upon you the blessings of those who were ready to perish. These works of charity and goodwill towards men, reflect, in my estimation, great lustre upon the authors, and presage an era of still farther improvements. How pitiful, in the eye of reason and religion, is that false ambition which desolates the world with fire and sword for the purposes of conquest and fame; when compared to the milder virtues of making our neighbours and our fellow men, as happy, as their frail conditions and perishable natures permit them to be!”

Now the writer of the above almost divine sentences is no more among the living, may we exclaim, “How pitiful in the eye of reason and religion” are the heroes of antiquity, — the Alexanders and the Caesars, the Pompies, the Charleses, the Edwards, the Henries, and all who have “desolated the world with fire and sword for the purposes of conquest and fame, when compared” with Washington, who fought only for the liberties and the safety of his country’ and having accomplished the great objects for which he drew his sword, returned to private life!


1 Holmes’s Annals, I:207.
Samoset, it may be supposed, obtained some knowledge of the English language from Capt. John Smith and others, who visited this country and began a commerce with the Indians in the years 1614 and 1615.
2 Hutchinson’s Hist. I:176 and 283.
3 See Note A.
4 Holmes’s Annals I:472.
5 As far as the river Kennebeck. Hutchinson’s History of Massachusetts, II:111.
6 Hutchinson’s Hist. V:ii:102.
7 Holmes’s Annuals, V:ii:199.
8 See Note B.
9 See Note C.
10 A letter, dated at Mount Vernon June 22, 1788. See Note D.

First US Congress Meets

On March 4, 1789, the first United States Congress under the Constitution met in New York City! It wasn’t until April 1st, when a quorum was reached that Congress began. (Pictured here is Federal Hall, their meeting place.) This Congress was very important in our nation’s history!

First, it passed the necessary legislation to implement the governing system established under the Constitution. This included: establishing federal courts; starting the Departments of State, War, Treasury; setting compensation for government officials (which was only about $6 a day); and more.

Original Bill of Rights

Second, this Congress passed what would become the Bill of Rights. James Madison, determined to address the shortcomings in the Constitution, presented 19 potential amendments drawn from mainly the various state constitutions. The House of Representatives passed 17 and the Senate 12; ten of these amendments would finally be ratified by the states to become the Bill of Rights.

Members of the first Congress were well-known individuals at the time. Many were signers of the Declaration and others had signed the Constitution. Some of the members who signed these founding documents include: Abraham Baldwin, Charles Carroll, William Floyd, Elbridge Gerry, William Samuel Johnson, Rufus King, John Langdon, James Madison, Robert Morris, George Read, and Roger Sherman.

One of the lesser known members of this Congress is Frederick Augustus Muhlenberg who was the first Speaker of the House. He was an ordained minister from New York City who had left the city when the British invaded it during the War for Independence. Muhlenberg began his political career in the Continental Congress, served in the Pennsylvania state house, and was president of the state’s ratification convention in 1787 (four dozen ministers were involved in their state’s Constitution ratification debates). His signature appears on the original Bill of Rights document as passed by Congress.

Take time to study some of the events and people involved with this historic first US Congress!

A Fraud-ian Slip: The Reality of Voter Fraud in the Election of 2020

As of the writing of this article, America is in the midst of perhaps the most contentious and contested presidential election in recent history. The 2020 election between Donald Trump and Joe Biden remains undecided as vote counts continue and legal battles begin. Quickly earning a position among the elections of 1800, 1825, 1876, and 2000 as one for the books, this election’s big question surrounds the novel insertion of wide spread mail-in-ballots and the increased potential for voter fraud. Last minute changes in election laws set the stage for lengthy litigation concerning whether or not such alterations were constitutional, and widespread reports of errors, irregularities, and criminal activity has rocked many people’s faith in the legitimacy of the vote.

1880s Cartoon Criticizing Democrats for Stuffing Ballot Boxes

The unfortunate reality is that from the beginning of elections there have been people who attempted, and in many cases succeeded, at buying, cheating, and stealing their way into political office. America, for all her virtues, has been no different than other places throughout history. Wherever there is a system there are those who will seek to game it through illegitimate practices. As the Scriptures explain, and the Founding Fathers repeatedly affirmed throughout their writings, “the heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9).

Even back in in the colonial period of American history, election fraud was such a problem that some of the earliest laws on the books were anti-fraud legislation attempting to ensure free and fair elections. Massachusetts had passed laws as early as 1643, and by the mid-1700s at Rhode Island, New Jersey, Virginia, and other colonies had followed suit.[i] However, wherever there are rules there will be people to break them, and some early American elections were decided based on which candidate provided more “incentives,” whether it be financial or otherwise.[ii] During the Revolutionary War and shortly thereafter, the Founders attempted to secure elections by establishing many state level injunctions against illegal voting practices. The 1776 Pennsylvania constitution, for example, explicitly punished bribery while North Carolina passed anti-fraud laws in 1777.[iii] By 1784 New Hampshire barred anyone convicted of fraud ineligible for holding office.[iv]

After the ratification of the Constitution, voter fraud continued in both tried and true ways as well as new various methods. In 1816, a printed letter warns voters of “spurious and captive tickets and circulars” which struck the Federal Republican candidate for Senate off of the ticket and replacing him with the Democrat running for office.[v] The deception was discovered the day before the election and the Republican letter bemoans that “it is the object of a few who would sacrifice their party for their private interest.”[vi]

“How Copperheads Get Their Votes”

During the contentious years of the Civil War, when brother killed brother, the evils of voter fraud paled in comparison to the greater wickedness afflicting the nation. Those who were content to hold their fellow man in slavery could not be bothered by the lesser immorality of illegal voting. The 1864 election cycle witnessed fraud which parallels the modern-day issues in a surprisingly close manner. Pro-slavery Northern Democrats—nicknamed Copperheads after the venomous snake—went to great lengths attempting to unseat Abraham Lincoln. Harpers Weekly, one of the major newspapers of the day, highlighted how the Copperheads would use the names of recently deceased soldiers to vote illegally.[vii]

On top of that, the Copperheads also schemed to use the mail-in-ballots sent out to the troops as a way of illegally siphoning votes away from Lincoln. After a sting operation revealed that the pro-slavery Democrats had been forging the signatures of soldiers on blank ballots the plot was uncovered and the perpetrators thrown in prison. Despite the seriousness of the voter corruption, the Copperhead agents nevertheless joked saying, “dead or alive they would all had cast a good vote.”[viii]

After the Civil War and the enfranchisement of African Americans, Southern Democrats continued to engage in illegal voting activity such as ballot manipulation and intimidation. The end of Reconstruction as a political compromise following the contested 1876 presidential election opened the door for unchecked voter fraud and illegal election interference throughout southern states. Groups like the KKK (Ku Klux Klan) and the racist Democrats who started that group erected barriers and obstacles to prevent voting rights and transparency.[ix] Complicit in these schemes was an activist Supreme Court which in 1883 struck down all the civil rights passed by the Republican Congress during and in the years following the Civil War.[x]

“Of Course He Wants to Vote the Democrat Ticket”

With the pathway cleared for Jim Crow, poll taxes, voter intimidation, and ballot-box stuffing, the Southern political machines ensured that no one supporting racial equality would be elected under their watch. The influential Harpers Weekly once again stepped in to illustrate the coercive tactics with the political cartoon pictured which was titled “Of Course He Wants to Vote the Democrat Ticket.”[xi]

While such illegitimate elections continued apace in the South, by the early 1900s voter fraud was pervasive in rural counties with people selling their votes and politicians more than willing to buy them. For instance, in poverty-stricken Adams County, Ohio, in 1911 a judge convicted some 1,700 people for selling their votes to the highest political bidder—nearly 25% of total electorate.[xii] One of the citizens confessed to the judge, “I know it isn’t right, but this has been going on for so long that we no longer looked upon it as a crime.”[xiii] It was just the way things were.

A review of American elections in 1918 explained that during the late 19th and early 20th century, “the most common electoral fraud is bribery,” but said further that the “false counting of ballots has been an easy and common way to vitiate [invalidate] election results.”[xiv] After the rampant and unchecked fraud of the late 1800s there was a, “gradual awakening of the American people to corrupt conditions existing in their government,” and the widespread “defilement of the ballot-box.”[xv]

This certainly led to attempts to pass laws preventing politicians from stealing elections, but how can one expect the people who cheated their way into office to stop themselves from doing it again? Therefore, although certainly legislation was passed, by-in-large the political bosses continued to buy, sell, and trade elections. A notorious example happened in 1932 when long-time political boss, Senator Huey “Kingfish” Long of Louisiana, was exposed rigging votes which led to the indictment of 513 election officials in New Orleans.[xvi]

Lyndon B. Jonhson

More famously, in 1948 future president Lyndon Baines Johnson beat out his opponent in the Democrat Party primary for Senate by just 87 votes out of a total 988,295. Where did these votes come from? A specific voting location called “Ballot Box 13” which just so happened to show up and have just the number of votes he needed.[xvii] Although rumors and winks circulated for decades concerning Johnson’s unique method of “campaigning,” the suspicions were confirmed in 1977 when one of Johnson’s operatives confessed to stuffing the votes himself. “Johnson didn’t win that day. We stole it for him.”[xviii]

But certainly, this doesn’t happen today, does it? While technology has changed, regrettably human nature and fallibility hasn’t. Over the past few decades there have been many instances of clearly documented illegal activity surrounding elections—and often the technology has only made it easier than ever to rig an election.

For example, during the transition from paper ballot to electronic machines in the late 1990s and early 2000s, the number of last minute “glitches” which changed the course of an election are astonishing. The machines used by Election Systems and Software (ES&S)—one of the largest voting machine companies—stole governors’ races, flipped ballot initiatives, and caused thousands of votes to be left on the cutting room floor. Investigative journalists identified no less that fifty-six instances of these miraculous glitches occurring wherever these machines were.[xix]

Nebraska’s 1996 race for Senate witnessed the Republican candidate, Chuck Hagel, beat the Democrat governor who had led in the polls throughout the race by fifteen points.[xx] This was the first time in decades that Nebraska had sent a Republican senator to Congress. It was an upset for the ages. Who was this up-and-coming political star? Well, up until fourteen days before announcing his run for office Hagel had been the CEO of ES&S—the company whose machines would be the ones tallying the votes. And later, he managed to mask and hide his continued ownership of substantial investments in the company.[xxi] When rumors of a presidential run floated around Hagel, his old company was responsible for counting some 56% of the nation’s vote.[xxii] Unfortunately any opportunity to concretely verify fraud have long since passed as all investigations and complaints to the Senate Ethics Committee were squashed before getting off the ground.

Political Cartoon Showing the Glass Ballot Box Being the Best Way to Secure Freedom

Election Systems and Software has had to reshuffled the deck and sell off certain parts of the business, some of which were siphoned off into a new company called Dominion—but the danger remains the same. In fact, as of 2017, together ES&S and Dominion control some 81% of the national voting machines which were responsible for counting the ballots of 154,387,532 registered voters.[xxiii] Dominion has continued to expand its influence in American elections and replaced all of Georgia’s voting systems immediately prior to the 2020 presidential cycle.[xxiv]

On top of the red flags surrounding the machines themselves, comprehensive studies of the voter rolls in the 2016 and 2018 election cycles revealed troubling data which made the stage ripe for fraud.  Heading into the 2020 election cycle there were 349,773 dead people on voter rolls across the country, with over half of them being in New York, Texas, Michigan, Florida, and California.[xxv] In 2016 and 2018 there were over 14,000 proven cases of voting after death, with North Carolina leading the nation by a 4-to-1 ratio.[xxvi] Such practices still continue, and just weeks before Election Day 2020, a man was arrested in Pennsylvania for applying for a mail-in-ballot for his dead mother.[xxvii]

Audits of the previous two elections revealed at least 81,649 cases of people voting twice—something completely illegal.[xxviii] Many of these cases hinged upon the easy accessibility to unsolicited mail-in-ballots—as was the case when a Democrat mayoral candidate in Texas was arrested on 25 counts of illegally possessing ballots and 84 counts of falsifying voter applications.[xxix] Likewise, 35,000 registrant files list commercial addresses instead of residential ones—an action which led Congressman Steve Watkins (R-Kansas) to face three felony counts of potential fraud in 2020.[xxx]

Between the vulnerability of voting machines and the rancid condition of voter registration rolls, the stage is set for widespread, nearly untraceable, and possibly irreversible fraud. Whether paper or electronic, Americans are susceptible to having their elections stolen from under their noses. Even in the months prior to the presidential election in 2020, arrests and criminal convictions have happened for illegal voting activities such as the fraudulent use of absentee ballots, duplicate voting, false registrations, ballot petition fraud, and illegal “assistance” at the polls.[xxxi]

In fact, just days before the election the Democrat presidential nominee Joe Biden declared in a press conference, while seemingly reading off a script, “we have put together, I think the most extensive and inclusive voter fraud organization in the history of American politics.”[xxxii]

Many people simply laughed at such a statement. In recent years, Biden has become infamous for incoherent statements and botching speeches even while using a teleprompter. Compilations of his gaffes from just the campaign trail alone easily extend upwards of a half an hour. But now that the election has been rife with hundreds of clearly suspicious cases of “glitches” and “irregularities,” perhaps Biden was just being honest. Rather than being yet another gaffe, perhaps it was a kind of “fraud-ian” slip.

The Symbol of Liberty

Perhaps the most surprising facet of the 2020 election, however, has been the utter denial of even the possibility of voter fraud by legacy media conglomerates. These alleged investigative journalists turn a blind eye to both present evidence and historical fact when they collectively denounce “the myth of voter fraud.”[xxxiii] In fact, the same mass of media outlets which spent three years hopelessly searching for international election interference in the 2016 American election, scoff at even the mention of possible domestic election interference in 2020.

Historically, voter fraud has happened in America since its inception. That the mainstream media agencies refuse to acknowledge its existence does not alter the reality. Instead, such denial only makes them tacit accomplices in the death of the Republic. The same people who warn that democracy dies in darkness are the ones turning off the lights.

To entirely ignore or deny the existence of fraud is irresponsible, ignorant, or maliciously intentional. Everyone, no matter their political affiliation, should have an unquenchable desire for a transparent and airtight election process. Each fraudulent ballot discards someone’s legitimate vote. Every fake declaration silences someone’s real voice. Counterfeit elections devalue and debase the freedom and liberty of all Americans, ensuring nothing except the arbitrary control that the political elite may exert upon the people.

Glass Ballot Box

In the past, America turned began using glass ballot boxes (as pictured) which allowed people to see that no one was stealing the election.[xxxiv] It made the officials directly accountable to the people who were free to watch and observe their actions with full transparency. Over the years, the glass ballot box became a symbol of American freedom. A symbol now long forgotten—but one that needs to be resurrected. This is the true Cradle of Liberty—where the people are free to make their own decision, without coercion, fraud, or oppression, about who will represent them. Integrity is necessary for liberty, and the ballot boxes and voting processes of today ought to be just as transparent as the glass ones from yesteryear.



[i] The Encyclopedia Americana, s.v. “Electoral Fraud and Safeguards Against,” (New York: The Encyclopedia Americana Corporation, 1918), 10.70.

[ii] Tracy Campbell, Deliver the Vote: A History of Election Fraud, An American Political Tradition—1742-2004 (New York: Carroll & Graf Publishers, 2005), 5-7.

[iii] Tracy Campbell, Deliver the Vote: A History of Election Fraud, An American Political Tradition—1742-2004 (New York: Carroll & Graf Publishers, 2005), 9.

[iv] Tracy Campbell, Deliver the Vote: A History of Election Fraud, An American Political Tradition—1742-2004 (New York: Carroll & Graf Publishers, 2005), 9.

[v] “Election. Federal Republicans Beware!” 1816. Vote: The Machinery of Democracy (accessed November 8, 2020): https://americanhistory.si.edu/vote/paperballots.html.

[vi] “Election. Federal Republicans Beware!” 1816. Vote: The Machinery of Democracy (accessed November 8, 2020): https://americanhistory.si.edu/vote/paperballots.html.

[vii] “‘How the Copperheads Obtain their Votes,’ Thomas Nast, Harper’s Weekly, November 12, 1864, detail,” House Divided: The Civil War Research Engine at Dickinson College (accessed November 7, 2020): http://hd.housedivided.dickinson.edu/node/43183.

[viii] Josiah Benton, Voting in the Field: A Forgotten Chapter in the Civil War (Boston: Privately Printed, 1915), 164; see also, Donald Inbody, The Soldier Vote: War, Politics, and the Ballot in America (New York: Palgrave McMillian, 2016), 42.

[ix] See, for example, William Simmons, Men of Mark: Eminent, Progressive, and Rising (Cleveland: Geo. M. Rewell & Co., 1887), 348.

[x] Valeria Weaver, “The Failure of Civil Rights 1875-1883 and Its Repercussions,” The Journal of Negro History 54, no. 4 (1969): 369-370.

[xi] “‘Of Course He Wants to Vote the Democratic Ticket.’ A. B. Frost. From Harper’s Weekly, October 21, 1876,” The Newberry Digital Collections for the Classroom (accessed November 7, 2020): https://dcc.newberry.org/items/of-course-he-wants-to-vote-the-democratic-ticket.

[xii] Genevieve Gist, “Progressive Reform in a Rural Community: The Adams County Vote-Fraud Case,” The Mississippi Valley Historical Review 48, no. 1 (1961): 65.

[xiii] Genevieve Gist, “Progressive Reform in a Rural Community: The Adams County Vote-Fraud Case,” The Mississippi Valley Historical Review 48, no. 1 (1961): 71.

[xiv] The Encyclopedia Americana, s.v. “Electoral Fraud and Safeguards Against,” (New York: The Encyclopedia Americana Corporation, 1918), 10.70.

[xv] Robert Brooks, Corruption in American Politics and Life (New York: Dodd, Mead and Company, 1910), 206.

[xvi] Victoria Collier, “How to Rig an Election,” Harper’s Magazine (November 2012), accessed November 8, 2020: https://harpers.org/archive/2012/11/how-to-rig-an-election/.

[xvii] See, John Fund, Stealing Elections: How Voter Fraud Threatens Our Democracy (New York: Encounter Books, 2008), 12, 176-177; Robert Caro, The Years of Lyndon Johnson: Master of the Senate (New York: Random House Inc., 2009), 115-116.

[xviii] John Fund, Stealing Elections: How Voter Fraud Threatens Our Democracy (New York: Encounter Books, 2008), 177.

[xix] Bev Harris, Black Box Voting: Ballot Tampering in the 21st Century (Renton, WA: Talion Publishing, 2004), 4. Here.

[xx] Victoria Collier, “How to Rig an Election,” Harper’s Magazine (November 2012), accessed November 8, 2020: https://harpers.org/archive/2012/11/how-to-rig-an-election/.

[xxi] Bev Harris, Black Box Voting: Ballot Tampering in the 21st Century (Renton, WA: Talion Publishing, 2004), 27, 31. Here.

[xxii] Bev Harris, Black Box Voting: Ballot Tampering in the 21st Century (Renton, WA: Talion Publishing, 2004), 32. Here.

[xxiii] Lorin Hitt, The Business of Voting: Market Structure and Innovation in the Election Technology Industry (Philadelphia: Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, 2017), 14, 54. Here.

[xxiv] Dave Williams, “Georgia Chooses Denver Company to Install New Statewide Voting System,” Atlanta Business Chronicle (July 29, 2019), accessed November 8, 2020: https://www.bizjournals.com/atlanta/news/2019/07/29/georgia-chooses-denver-company-to-install-new.html.

[xxv] Critical Condition: American Voter Rolls Filled With Errors, Dead Voters, and Duplicate Registrations (Public Interest Legal Foundation, September 2020), 8.

[xxvi] Critical Condition: American Voter Rolls Filled With Errors, Dead Voters, and Duplicate Registrations (Public Interest Legal Foundation, September 2020), 8.

[xxvii] Carolyn Blackburn, “Man Arrested for Voter Fraud in Luzerne County,” WNEP News Station (October 21, 2020), accessed November 8, 2020: https://www.wnep.com/article/news/local/luzerne-county/man-arrested-for-voter-fraud-in-luzerne-county/523-7fc4fd2f-9105-47e7-a510-2b5ff176ab2c.

[xxviii] Critical Condition: American Voter Rolls Filled With Errors, Dead Voters, and Duplicate Registrations (Public Interest Legal Foundation, September 2020), 8.

[xxix] Matthew Impelli, “Texas Dem Mayoral Candidate Charged With Voter Fraud After Allegedly Applying for 84 Mail-in-Ballots,” Newsweek (October 13, 2020), accessed November 10, 2020: https://www.newsweek.com/texas-dem-mayoral-candidate-charged-voter-fraud-after-allegedly-applying-84-mail-ballots-1538644; Alex Samuels, “Carrollton Mayoral Candidate Arrested on Suspicion of Fraudulently Obtaining Mail-in-Ballots,” The Texas Tribune (October 8, 2020), accessed November 8, 2020: https://www.texastribune.org/2020/10/08/voting-fraud-arrest-carrollton/.

[xxx] Critical Condition: American Voter Rolls Filled With Errors, Dead Voters, and Duplicate Registrations (Public Interest Legal Foundation, September 2020), 30; Brian Lowry, “‘I Wasn’t Hiding the Ball.’ Watkins Admits Voting at Wrong Address, but Denies Intent,” The Kansas City Star (July 28, 2020), accessed November 8, 2020: https://www.kansascity.com/news/politics-government/article244541302.html.

[xxxi] See database, “Election Fraud Cases,” The Heritage Foundation (accessed November 7, 2020), https://www.heritage.org/voterfraud/search?combine=&state=All&year=2020&case_type=All&fraud_type=All; see also, Erin Anderson, “Texas Social Worker Charged With 134 Election Fraud Felonies,” Texas Scorecard (November 6, 2020), accessed November 8, 2020: https://texasscorecard.com/state/texas-social-worker-charged-with-134-election-fraud-felonies/.

[xxxii] Joseph Curl, “Biden Stumbles Through Final Days of Presidential Campaign,” The Daily Wire (November 2, 2020), accessed November 10, 2020: https://www.dailywire.com/news/biden-stumbles-way-through-final-days-of-presidential-campaign.

[xxxiii] E.g., Vera Bergengruen, “How Republicans are Selling the Myth of Rampant Voter Fraud,” Time (October 22, 2020), accessed November 7, 2020: https://time.com/5902728/voter-fraud-2020-2/; William T. Adler, “Why Widespread Voter Fraud is a Myth,” Center for Democracy & Technology (October 28, 2020), accessed November 7, 2020, https://cdt.org/insights/why-widespread-mail-in-voter-fraud-is-a-myth/; Amber McReynolds, “Let’s put the vote-by-mail “fraud” myth to rest,” The Hill (April 28, 2020), accessed November 7, 2020: https://thehill.com/opinion/campaign/494189-lets-put-the-vote-by-mail-fraud-myth-to-rest.

[xxxiv] Jennifer Nalewicki, “A Glass Ballot Box Was the Answer to Voter Fraud in the 19th Century,” Smithsonian Magazine (November 2, 2020), accessed November 10, 2020: https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smithsonian-institution/glass-ballot-box-was-answer-voter-fraud-19th-century-180976171/.

Early Black Political Leaders

The first black US Senator was Hiram Rhodes Revels. Revels (1827-1901) attended a seminary in Indiana before becoming a preacher in 1845. He was jailed in 1854 for preaching to slaves in St. Louis, even though he “sedulously refrained from doing anything that would incite slaves to run away from their masters.” During the Civil War, he helped in recruiting two black regiments and also served as a chaplain. Revels was in the Senate for a partial term, from February 1870 to March 1871, and spent the remainder of his life serving various religious and educational offices.

Blanche Kelso Bruce was the first black US Senator to serve a full term in office. Bruce (1841-1898) was born into slavery but fled to Kansas during the Civil War where he attempted to enlist. His enlistment was refused and he taught school for a time before moving to Mississippi where he was elected to various local political offices in the early 1870s. Bruce took his seat in the US Senate in 1875 and served until 1881, in this role he championed the rights of black war veterans and Native Americans. He was also the first black person to preside over a Senate session on February 14, 1879. Bruce spent the remainder of his life after the Senate in various other political offices.

Joseph Hayne Rainey was the first black person to serve in the US House of Representatives. Rainey (1832-1887) was born into slavery but his father was able to purchase freedom for his family. Rainey worked as a barber before being pressed into service by the Confederacy during the Civil War; in 1862 he escaped to Bermuda where he remained until the end of the war. He was a delegate to the 1868 South Carolina state constitutional convention. Rainey was elected to the US House of Representatives where he served from 1870-1879. He also has the distinction of being the first black person to preside over the House of Representatives in 1874.

We encourage you to take some time to learn more about these men and other black history heroes!

Ten Facts About George Washington

From the $1 Bill to the capital of America, George Washington’s name appears more often than probably any other name in American history. Being the most prominent Founding Father, everyone learns how Washington led the Continental Army against the British during the War for Independence and eventually became the first President of the United States. But there are plenty of stories and facts that are rarely taught in schools today. Watch the video and then read below about ten facts you probably do not know about George Washington.

1. George Washington did not chop down a cherry tree.

“I cannot tell a lie,” a young George Washington is reported to have said—but his biographers sure can! The famous story originates from the 5th edition of the popular biography The Life of Washington the Great by Mason Weems.1 Published in 1806, seven years after Washington’s death, there are no primary sources attesting to its truthfulness. All things considered, its late appearance and the complete lack of evidence has led most to consider it apocryphal.

2. He was most embarrassed about his lack of education and his bad teeth.

The most persistent enemy to Washington were not his political or military opponents, but his teeth. By the time he was sworn in as the first President of the United States he only had a single original tooth left.2 Over the course of his life he had a number of dentures made from a wide variety of materials.3 The dentures of the time were large, bulky, and burdensome which worked together to make Washington quite self-conscience about them leading him to be more introverted than perhaps he might have been.4

On top of this, George Washington did not have the same high level of education his older brothers received due to the death of their father when he was only eleven years old. This tragedy led Washington to become a surveyor (which incidentally provided the exact education he needed to accomplish the amazing things God had planned for him). When standing next to the genius level intellects of Jefferson, Adams, and others it was easy for Washington to feel at an embarrassing disadvantage to his more educated peers.5 That said, Washington was still incredibly intelligent on account of his extensive reading throughout his life in order to make up for his perceived lack of formal education.

3. He was nominated to be commander of the colonial army by John Adams.

“I do not think myself equal to the Command I am honored with.”6 It was with these words that the ever-humble George Washington accepted the unanimous appointment to command the soon-to-be-created Continental Army. The official vote happened on June 15, 1775, with John Adams credited as being the one who recommended and nominated Washington to the position.7 On the occasion, Adams wrote to his wife explaining how Congress elected the, “modest and virtuous, the amiable, generous and brave George Washington,” and solemnly proclaimed that, “the Liberties of America, depend upon him.”8

4. George Washington was described as being taller than the average man.

In an era when the average man stood at 5’7″, noted early biographer Jared Sparks clocked Washington in at an impressive 6’3″ tall.9 John Adams, later in life, wrote to fellow signer of the Declaration of Independence, Dr. Benjamin Rush, that Washington had, “a tall stature, like the Hebrew sovereign chosen because he was taller by the head than the other Jews.”10

A military observer repeatedly called attention to the vast stature of Washington, explaining, “it is not difficult to distinguish him from all others; his personal appearance is truly noble and majestic; being tall and well proportioned.”11 He continues to write that Washington, “is remarkably tall, full six feet, erect and well proportioned…This is the illustrious chief, whom a kind Providence has decreed as the instrument to conduct our country to peace and to Independence.”12 George Washington was a tall man with an even bigger purpose.

5. He encouraged his troops to go to church.

As General, Washington would issue orders throughout the army instructing them on daily operations. On June 23, 1777, he issued the following order:

“All chaplains are to perform divine service tomorrow, and on every other succeeding Sunday, with their respective brigades and regiments, when their situations will admit of it, and the commanding officers of the corps are to see that they attend. The Commander-in-Chief expects an exact compliance with this order, and that it be observed in future as an invariable rule of practice, and every neglect will not only be considered a breach of orders, but a disregard to decency, virtue, and religion.”13

Being a man of great piety and sincere religion himself, it is no surprise that Washington placed such an extraordinary emphasis on his soldiers’ corporate worship. In fact, when Washington believed the chaplains were not making regular church services a proper priority, he required all the chaplains to come to a meeting to address the issue and then report back to him.14

Washington’s devotion to Christ was so apparent in the camp that the Rev. Henry Muhlenberg, father of Major General John Peter Gabriel Muhlenberg, remarked:

“His Excellency General Washington rode around among his army yesterday and admonished each and every one to fear God, to put away the wickedness that has set in and become so general, and to practice the Christian virtues. From all appearances this gentleman does not belong to the so-called world of society, for he respects God’s Word, believes in the atonement through Christ, and bears himself in humility and gentleness. Therefore the Lord God has also singularly, yea, marvelously, preserved him form harm in the midst of countless perils, ambuscades [ambushes], fatigues, etc. and has hitherto graciously held him in His hand as a [chosen] vessel. II Chronicles 15:1-3.”15

6. He forbade his officers to swear.

Along the same lines as the previous fact, Washington focused on making the American military not only righteous but also respectable. To this end, on July 4, 1775, he issued the following order:

“The General most earnestly requires, and expects, a due observance of those articles of war, established for the government of the army, which forbid profane cursing, swearing and drunkenness. And in like manner requires and expects, of all officers, and soldiers, not engaged on actual duty, a punctual attendance on Divine Service, to implore the blessings of Heaven upon the means used for our safety and defense.”16

7. He was the only President elected unanimously.

After the ratification of the Constitution, the first order of business was to fill the newly created positions of government. The most important question was, “who will be our President?” For the Americans of 1789, that was apparently an easy answer. “George Washington of course!” With that resolution, Washington, “by no effort of his own, in a manner against his wishes, by the unanimous vote of a grateful country.”17 In the history of the United States, there has been only one other unanimous vote for President — Washington again for his second term.18

8. George Washington added “So help me God” to the Presidential Oath of Office.

Article II, Section 1, of the Constitution states that when the President is sworn into office, he is to say the following oath:

“I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”

With his hand laid upon the open Bible, Washington repeated the oath. He then sealed the oath by with a solemn, “so help me God,” and reverently bowed down and kissed the Bible.19 One eyewitness to the event recalled that, “it seemed, from the number of witnesses, to be a solemn appeal to Heaven and earth at once.”20

9. He was elected to be a vestryman at local churches.

In early American Episcopalian churches, vestrymen were, “a select number of principal persons of every parish, who choose parish officers and take care of its concerns.”21 This included making sure the poor, widows, and orphans were taken care of, and even extended to major decisions about the church as a whole.

George Washington was elected (perhaps his first election) to be a vestryman in two different parishes. In March of 1765, he was chosen in Fairfax Parish with 274 votes, and then four months later he was again chosen in Truro Parish with 259 votes.22 Washington was extremely active as a vestryman.23

On one occasion, Washington even went toe-to-toe with George Mason (fellow future delegate to the Constitution Convention) about relocating the church to a new site. After an impassioned speech by Mason which seemingly settled the question, Washington unassumingly rose and used a surveying map to show where the new site would be and how it would be better for each parishioner. This sudden recourse to sound reason and just sensibilities restored the council to their senses and they voted with Washington to move the church to the new site.24

10. George Washington was killed by his doctors.

This characterization might be a little uncharitable—the doctors were doing the best they could with the knowledge they had—but it doesn’t mean it’s not true. The old General fell sick after riding out on Mount Vernon during the cold rain. Soon, he was struggling to breathe. The following is taken from the journal of George Washington’s lifelong friend and physician, James Craik:

“The disease commenced with a violent ague, accompanied with some pain in the upper and fore part of throat, a sense of stricture in the same part, a cough, and a difficult rather than paint deglutition, which were soon succeeded by fever and a quick and laborious respiration. The necessity of blood-letting suggesting itself to the General, he procured a bleeder in the neighborhood, who took from his arm, in the night, twelve or fourteen ounces of blood.”25

Medical science at the time thought that a number of sicknesses were caused because of some issue with the person’s blood itself. To fix the disease, therefore, a common “solution” would be to bleed a patient out in order to get rid of the bad blood.

Once more doctors had been called to the scene, Craik continues:

“In the interim were employed two copious bleedings; a blister was applied to the part affected, two moderate doses of calomel were given, and an injection was administered, which operated on the lower intestines—but all without any perceptible advantage; the respiration becoming still more difficult and distressing.”26

Even more blood was taken, and now the doctors applied hot irons to his throat because they thought that an accumulation of blood in Washington’s throat was what caused the difficulty breathing. Calomel is a kind of mercury chloride, which, we now know to be quite toxic! This, along with the bleedings and the injections were a long way off from helping Washington recover. But the doctors weren’t done yet:

“Upon the arrival of the first of the consulting physicians, it was agreed… To try the result of another bleeding, when about thirty-two ounces of blood were drawn, without the smallest apparent alleviation of the disease… ten grains of calomel were given, succeeded by repeated doses of emetic tartar, amounting, in all, to five or six grains, with no other effect than a copious discharge of the bowels. The powers of life seemed now manifestly yielding to the force of the disorder. Blisters were applied to the extremities.”27

More blood-letting, more toxic calomel, more blisters. The biggest variation in this round of treatments is that they gave Washington another poisonous substance—emetic tartar. Altogether, it served only to give the dying President diarrhea.

Finally, Dr. Craik relates the end to his friend’s suffering:

“Speaking, which was painful from the beginning, now became almost impracticable; respiration grew more and more contracted and imperfect, till… when retaining the full possession of his intellect, he expired without a struggle.”28

A contemporary doctor estimated the total amount of blood drawn to be, “the enormous quantity of eighty-two ounces, or above two quarts and a half of blood in about thirteen hours.”29 The same doctor goes on to accurately explain that:

“Very few of the most robust young men in the world could survive such a loss of blood; but the body of an aged person must be so exhausted, and all his power so weakened by it as to make his death speedy and inevitable.”30

The average amount of blood in someone of Washington’s size and stature is around 210 ounces. If, as the doctor estimates, somewhere around 82 ounces were taken, then Washington lost nearly 40% of his blood. This amount is nearly tantamount to exsanguination (death by bleeding out), and when combined with the blisters, calomel, emetic tartars, and the various vapors, it appears to be the unfortunate conclusion that the doctors killed George Washington.31


1. Mason Locke Weems, The Life of Washington the Great (Augusta: George P. Randolph, 1806), 8-9.
2. “Washington Tooth Troubles,” Mount Vernon (accessed March 29, 2019).
3. “False Teeth,” Mount Vernon (accessed September 18, 2023).
4. “Washington Tooth Troubles,” Mount Vernon (accessed March 29, 2019).
5. “Education” Mount Vernon (accessed March 29, 2019).
6. June 16, 1775, Journal of the Proceedings of the Congress, Held at Philadelphia, May 10, 1775
7. John Adams autobiography, part 1, through 1776, Adams Family Papers: An Electronic Archive, Massachusetts Historical Society.
8. John Adams to Abigail Adams, June 17, 1775, Adams Family Papers: An Electronic Archive, Massachusetts Historical Society.
9. Jared Sparks, The Life of George Washington (Boston: Ferdinand Andrews, 1839), 102n.
10. John Adams to Benjamin Rush, November 11, 1807, Founders Online (accessed March 29, 2019).
11. James Thacher, A Military Journal During the American Revolutionary War (Boston: Richardson and Lord, 1823), 37.
12. Thacher, Military Journal, 182-183.
13. George Washington, General Order, June 28, 1777, Records of the Revolutionary War (New York: Pudney & Russell, 1858), 330.
14. Washington, General Order, October 6, 1777, Records of the Revolutionary War, 345.
15. Henry M. Muhlenberg, The Journals of Henry Melchoir Muhlenberg (Philadelphia: The Muhlenberg Press, 1958), III:149, journal entry for May 7, 1778.
16. George Washington, General Orders, July 4, 1775, Library of Congress (accessed September 18, 2023).
17. Washington Irving, Life of George Washington (New York: G. P. Putman & Company, 1857), IV:516.
18. Annals of Congress (1873), 2nd Congress, 2nd Session,  874-875, February 13, 1793; Jared Sparks, The Life of George Washington (Boston: Ferdinand Andrews, 1839), 445.
19. Irving, Washington, IV:475.
20. “Philadelphia, May 8. Extract of a Letter from New York, May 3,” Gazette of the United States (May 9 to May 13, 1789).
21. Noah Webster, “Vestry-man,” American Dictionary of the English Language (1828).
22. Jared Sparks, The Life of George Washington (Boston: Ferdinand Andrews, 1839), 520.
23. “Churchwarden and Vestryman,” Mount Vernon (accessed April 1, 2019).
24. Sparks, Washington, 106.
25. James Craik, “From The Times, A Newspaper printed in Alexandria (Virginia), dated December, 1799,” The Medical Repository (New York: T. & J. Swords, 1805), III:311.
26. Craik, “From The Times” Medical Repository, III:311-312.
27. Craik, “From The Times” Medical Repository, III:312.
28. Craik, “From The Times” Medical Repository, III:312.
29. John Brickell, “Medical Treatment of General Washington,” Transactions of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia (Philadelphia: Printed for the College, 1903), 25:93.
30. Brickell, “Medical Treatment” College of Physicians of Philadelphia, 25:93.
31. For a more technical examination of the medical circumstances surrounding Washington’s death see, Dr. Wallenborn’s, “George Washington’s Terminal Illness: A Modern Medical Analysis of the Last Illness and Death of George Washington,” The Washington Papers (November 5, 1997).


* Originally posted: May 9, 2019


First Federal Budget: 1789

Below is an interesting item from WallBuilders’ collection — the first federal budget of the United States, dated July 9, 1789. This budget takes up only about 1/2 page of the newspaper it’s printed in, The Gazette of the United States (July 18, 1789).

Here’s the complete front page, the budget is on the top right.

And here’s a close-up of the budget.

“Give Me Liberty, or Give Me Death”

On March 23, 1775, Patrick Henry delivered one of the most famous speeches in American history. While some of his words are still familiar today, many Americans are unaware of the turbulent times preceding his celebrated address.

In the 1760s, Parliament passed numerous laws directly violating the rights of the colonists, including the Sugar Act (1764), the Stamp Act (1765), and many others. Patrick Henry, a member of the Virginia House of Burgesses, was one of many who objected. When the Stamp Act was repealed in 1766, the joy was so widespread that a Boston minister preached a notable sermon celebrating the event!

But the repeal of the Stamp Act was only a temporary reprieve. In 1767 came the hated Townshend Revenue Acts, which led to additional boycotts and protests. When the British sent troops to America to enforce these acts, it led to the shooting down of five Americans in what became known as the Boston Massacre. The Townshend Acts were finally repealed, but in 1774 they were replaced by even worse laws known as the Intolerable Acts.

The British became more hard-fisted, and following the Boston Tea Party, they closed almost all commercial shipments, effectively ended self-government in Massachusetts, and required the people to house British troops in private homes. It was against the backdrop of this turmoil that Patrick Henry rose to speak.

Some had argued that the American Colonies were too weak to do anything against the British (one of the world’s greatest powers at that time), but in his March 23, 1775 speech, Henry replied:

Three millions of people armed in the holy cause of liberty and in such a country as that which we possess are invincible by any force which our enemy can send against us. Besides, sir, we shall not fight our battles alone. There is a just God Who presides over the destines of nations, and Who will raise up friends to fight our battles for us. The battle, sir, is not to the strong alone; it is to the vigilant, the active, the brave. . . .Gentlemen may cry, peace, peace — but there is no peace. The war is actually begun! The next gale that sweeps from the north will bring to our ears the clash of resounding arms! Our brethren are already in the field! . . . . Is life so dear, or peace so sweet as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty, or give me death!

Significantly, Henry’s speech was heavily punctuated with quotations from numerous Bible verses. (See the commentary surrounding Matthew 12 in the Founders’ Bible for more about this, also showing how Bible verses appeared throughout numerous famous speeches by our Founding Fathers.) Not long after his speech came the Battles of Lexington and Concord, beginning the American War for Independence. So March 23rd marks the anniversary of one of the most famous speeches heralding American independence! (You can even purchase a parchment reprint of this famous speech from WallBuilders.)