The American Story: Building the Republic Endnotes

Most Americans recognize the names George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, and James Madison, but few can tell you their stories—much less that of James Monroe, John Quincy Adams, or Andrew Jackson. These seven men from the Founding Ear were America’s first presidents. They established our republic on the foundation of the Constitution and its liberties.

But who were they? Were they good or bad leaders? How did they become presidents? Did they follow the Constitution or abandon its principles?

Their lives reflect the opportunities America offers. Farmers, attorneys, military veterans, and philosophers, they each rose to the highest ranks of political leadership. From very different backgrounds, all loved their nation. Each had shortcomings (some far more than others) as well as stellar shining moments. Some preserved our strong foundations and some abandoned core constitutional principles.

The stories of each of these presidents are fascinating, instructive, and compelling. And why not? After all, these are the men who built the republic.

In this document, you will see the complete endnotes for this work. Thank you!

The American Story Building the Republic_Endnotes

Modern Thanksgiving Celebrations

The Pilgrims inaugural Thanksgiving in 1621 was followed by sporadic national Thanksgiving celebrations but more common celebrations at the state level. The switch to a standard Thanksgiving holiday at the federal level came about in the 1800s.

Lincoln’s 1863 Proclamation

Much of the credit for this adoption may be attributed to Mrs. Sarah Josepha Hale, editor of Godey’s Lady’s Book (a popular magazine containing poetry, art work, and articles by America’s leading authors). She persistently campaigned for an established national Thanksgiving, such as in this 1852 editorial:

The American people have two peculiar festivals, each connected with their history, and therefore of great importance in giving power and distinctness to their nationality. The Fourth of July Is the exponent of independence and civil freedom. Thanksgiving Day is the national pledge of Christian faith in God, acknowledging him as the dispenser of blessings. These two festivals should be joyfully and universally observed throughout our whole country, and thus incorporated in our habits of thought as inseparable from American life.1

For two decades, Hale promoted the idea of a national Thanksgiving Day,2 writing president after president. Abraham Lincoln eventually responded to this persistence in 1863 by setting aside the last Thursday of that November. The Thanksgiving proclamation issued by Lincoln at that time was remarkable not only for its strong religious content but also for its timing. It was delivered in the midst of the darkest days of the Civil War, after the Union had lost multiple battles in the first three years of that conflict. Yet, despite those dark circumstances, Lincoln called Americans to give thanks that:

In the midst of a civil war of unequaled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to invite and provoke the aggressions of foreign States, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere, except in the theater of military conflict.3

In that proclamation, President Lincoln also noted that:

The year that is drawing toward its close has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the Source from which they come, others have been added which are of so extraordinary a nature that they can not fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever-watchful providence of Almighty God. . . . No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, Who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy.4

Presidents After Lincoln

Over the seventy-five years following Lincoln’s Thanksgiving Proclamation, presidents faithfully followed Lincoln’s precedent, annually declaring a national Thanksgiving Day. The date, however, of the celebrations varied widely from proclamation to proclamation.

Among the many Thanksgiving proclamations in the WallBuilders’ collection is an 1887 handwritten one issued by President Grover Cleveland in which he once again emphasized God’s hand:

The goodness and the mercy of God, which have followed the American people during all the days of the past year claim our grateful recognition and humble acknowledgment. By His omnipotent power He has protected us from war and pestilence and from every national calamity; by His gracious favor the earth has yielded a generous return to the labor of the husbandman, and every path of honest toil has led to comfort and contentment; by His loving kindness the hearts of our people have been replenished with fraternal sentiment and patriotic endeavor, and by His Fatherly guidance we have been directed in the way of national prosperity.5

In 1933, President Franklin D. Roosevelt set the precedent of celebrating Thanksgiving on the fourth Thursday of each November. And in 1941, Congress permanently established that day as the national Thanksgiving holiday.6

During World War II, (which would eventually claim the lives of over 400,000 Americans7), President Franklin Delano Roosevelt issued a Thanksgiving proclamation for November 1944 asking Americans to be thankful . . .

For the preservation of our way of life from the threat of destruction; for the unity of spirit which has kept our Nation strong; for our abiding faith in freedom; and for the promise of an enduring peace.8

President George W. Bush summarized this history of Thanksgiving proclamations and celebrations in his 2007 Thanksgiving proclamation:

Our country was founded by men and women who realized their dependence on God and were humbled by His providence and grace. The early explorers and settlers who arrived in this land gave thanks for God’s protection and for the extraordinary natural abundance they found. Since the first National Day of Thanksgiving was proclaimed by President George Washington, Americans have come together to offer thanks for our many blessings.9

As Americans continue to “Be thankful in all circumstances” (1 Thessalonians 5:18 NLT), our Thanksgiving celebrations should include reflections on all the reasons to be truly thankful to God for His many blessings. Perhaps the four items George Washington mentioned in America’s original federal Thanksgiving proclamation in 178910 should be the basis for future Thanksgiving commemorations:

  1. Acknowledge the providence of Almighty God;
  2. Obey His will;
  3. Be grateful for His benefits; and
  4. Humbly implore His protection and favor.

For additional articles on Thanksgiving, see:

See previous articles in this series on Thanksgiving: “The Pilgrims Thanksgiving,” and “The Founders Thanksgivings,”


1 “Editor’s Table,” Godey’s Lady’s Book (Philadelphia: October 1852), 388,
2 Appleton’s Cyclopedia of American Biography, eds. James Grant Wilson & John Fiske (New York: D. Appleton & Co, 1888), III:35,
3 Abraham Lincoln, Proclamation for Thanksgiving, October 3, 1863, The Works of Abraham Lincoln, eds. John H. Clifford & Marion M. Miller (New York: University Society Inc, 1908), VI:160-161,; Abraham Lincoln, “Thanksgiving Proclamation,” October 3, 1863, WallBuilders,
4 Lincoln, Proclamation for Thanksgiving, October 3, 1863, Works of Lincoln, eds. Clifford & Miller (1908), VI:160-161,; Lincoln, “Thanksgiving Proclamation,” October 3, 1863, WallBuilders,
5 Grover Cleveland, “Thanksgiving Proclamation,” issued October 25, 1887, WallBuilders,
6 “Congress Establishes Thanksgiving,” The National Archives, accessed August 31, 2023,; “Presidential Thanksgiving Proclamations 1940-1949: Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry S. Truman,” Pilgrim Hall Museum,, Proclamation 2571, November 11, 1942, referring to a “joint resolution of Congress approved December 26, 1941, which designates the fourth Thursday in November of each year as Thanksgiving Day.”
7 “WWII Memorial Registry,” accessed August 31, 2023,
8 Franklin D. Roosevelt, “Thanksgiving Proclamation,” issued November 1, 1944, WallBuilders,
9 George W. Bush, “Thanksgiving Day, 2007,” issued November 15, 2007,
10 George Washington, Proclamation for a National Thanksgiving on October 3, 1789, Writings of George Washington, ed. Jared Sparks (Boston: Russell, Odiorne and Metcalf, 1838), XII:119; George Washington, “Thanksgiving Proclamation,” issued on October 3, 1789, WallBuilders,

Presidents Day: A Brief History

In the 1800s, February 22 was annually celebrated as George Washington’s Birthday in many localities throughout the new American nation. An official federal holiday recognizing this day, however, was not declared until 1879.

Black hero Lemuel Haynes has an interesting tie to Washington’s Birthday celebrations. Haynes was a Minuteman in the War for Independence and participated in the expedition against Fort Ticonderoga. After he became a minister in 1785, he preached for both all-white and mixed congregations. About 40 years after his participation in the War, Haynes preached a sermon on Washington’s Birthday, noting:

Perhaps it is not ostentatious [bragging] in the speaker to observe that in early life he devoted all for the sake of freedom and independence, and endured frequent campaigns in their defense, and has never viewed the sacrifice too great.

In 1968, a Congressional Act was passed that moved the celebration of Washington’s Birthday to the third Monday in February. This holiday is now called Presidents Day and celebrates all of America’s presidents.

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):

[vi] “Election. Federal Republicans Beware!” 1816. Vote: The Machinery of Democracy (accessed November 8, 2020):

[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):

[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):

[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:

[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:

[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:

[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:

[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:; Alex Samuels, “Carrollton Mayoral Candidate Arrested on Suspicion of Fraudulently Obtaining Mail-in-Ballots,” The Texas Tribune (October 8, 2020), accessed November 8, 2020:

[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:

[xxxi] See database, “Election Fraud Cases,” The Heritage Foundation (accessed November 7, 2020),; see also, Erin Anderson, “Texas Social Worker Charged With 134 Election Fraud Felonies,” Texas Scorecard (November 6, 2020), accessed November 8, 2020:

[xxxii] Joseph Curl, “Biden Stumbles Through Final Days of Presidential Campaign,” The Daily Wire (November 2, 2020), accessed November 10, 2020:

[xxxiii] E.g., Vera Bergengruen, “How Republicans are Selling the Myth of Rampant Voter Fraud,” Time (October 22, 2020), accessed November 7, 2020:; William T. Adler, “Why Widespread Voter Fraud is a Myth,” Center for Democracy & Technology (October 28, 2020), accessed November 7, 2020,; Amber McReynolds, “Let’s put the vote-by-mail “fraud” myth to rest,” The Hill (April 28, 2020), accessed November 7, 2020:

[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:

Celebrating Our Savior

Easter is one of the most significant Christian holy days. What occurred on this day defines and distinguishes the Christian faith from all others. As Roman 1:4 affirms, “Through the Spirit of holiness Jesus was declared with power to be the Son of God by His resurrection from the dead: Jesus Christ our Lord!”

At Easter, we remember not only the great sacrifice of Jesus on the cross but especially that through His triumph over the power of sin and death we can have eternal life. Across the centuries of American history, our public leaders have reminded us of the importance of Easter.

For example, signer of the Declaration of Independence Charles Carroll declared:

The approaching festival of Easter, and the merits and mercies of our Redeemerhave inspired me with the hope of finding mercy before my Judge and of being happy in the life to come — a happiness I wish you to participate with me by infusing into your heart a similar hope.

And, many generations later, President George W. Bush reminded America:

Easter is the most important event of the Christian faith, when people around the world join together with family and friends to celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, the Son of God and the hope of life to come. For Christians, the life and death of Jesus are the ultimate expressions of love, and the supreme demonstrations of God’s mercy, faithfulness, and redemption.

Easter is a special day of joy and rejoicing–through what Jesus did on this day, eternal life is now available to all who believe on Him!

John & Abigail Adams

The story of John and Abigail Adams is an example of lasting love, affection, trust, and openness.

Abigail was born in 1744 to a Congregationalist minister; she had limited formal education, but her self-education was extensive. John Adams, born in 1735, was an attorney when he met Abigail in 1761. After an initial rocky start at their first meeting (John was not impressed with Abigail or her sisters, and Abigail’s mother was not impressed with him), they would court over the course of the next three years. During their courtship, John wrote this letter to Abigail:

Dear Miss Adorable, I hereby order you to give [me] as many kisses and as many hours of your company after 9 o’clock as [I] shall please to demand, and charge them to my account.

John and Abigail married on October 25, 1764. Throughout their 54 years of marriage (Abigail died in 1818 & John in 1826), they shared an extensive correspondence of over 1,100 letters. In this massive correspondence, they addressed topics from politics to everyday life, from their family to their love for each other. (These letters have been preserved and printed in various forms.)

Here are just a few examples of the many letters they exchanged:

I dare not express to you at 300 miles how ardently I long for your return. I have some very miserly wishes and cannot consent to your spending one hour in town till, at least, I have had you twelve. The idea plays about my heart, unnerves my hand whilst I write, [and] awakens all the tender sentiments that years have increased and matured. (Abigail to John: October 16, 1774 — written when John was serving in the Continental Congress)

[I] pray you to come on [as] soon as possible….As to money to bear your expenses, you must, if you can, borrow of some friend enough to bring you here. If you cannot borrow enough, you must sell horses, oxen, sheep, cows, anything at any rate rather than not come on. If no one will take the place, leave it to the birds of the air and the beasts of the field. (John to Abigail: May 14, 1789 — written when John was serving as the first Vice-President)

Take some time to learn about the loving relationships that existed between many of our Founding Father and Founding Mothers!

Fatherly Advice

Each year on Father’s Day we celebrate our fathers and thank them for all the ways they bless us (a practice we should carry with us throughout the year!). In addition to our own fathers, we also have national fathers for whom we can be thankful and who were also great fathers to their family.

John Adams, signer of the Declaration of Independence and America’s second President, was the father of six children. During the War for Independence he spent much time in public service and away from his family. Not wanting to neglect his children, he and Abigail Adams wrote letters to each other about how the children’s education should proceed, including these suggestions:

The education of our children is never out of my mind. Train them to virtue. Habituate them to industry [hard work], activity, and spirit [endurance]. Make them consider every vice as shameful and unmanly. Fire them with ambition to be useful. Make them disdain to be destitute of any useful or ornamental knowledge or accomplishment. Fix their ambition upon great and solid objects, and their contempt upon little, frivolous, and useless ones. (August 1774)

It should be your care, therefore, and mine, to elevate the minds of our children and exalt their courage; to accelerate and animate their industry and activity; to excite in them an habitual contempt of meanness, abhorrence of injustice and inhumanity, and an ambition to a excel in every capacity, faculty, and virtue. If we suffer their minds to grovel and creep in infancy, they will grovel all their lives.(October 1775)

John Quincy Adams grew up under this instruction. He became our nation’s sixth President, and was the father of four children. In his many years of public service, he would often spend extended periods away from his family. Wanting to encourage and advise his children during these times, especially on growing strong spiritually, he wrote a series of letters giving his son advice on how to read and study the Bible. In one of these letters, he said:

I advise you, my son, in whatever you read, and most of all in reading the Bible, to remember that it is for the purpose of making you wiser and more virtuous. I have myself, for many years, made it a practice to read through the Bible once every year. I have always endeavored to read it with the same spirit and temper of mind, which I now recommend to you: that is, with the intention and desire that it may contribute to my advancement in wisdom and virtue.

This advice from our Founding Fathers is definitely worth remembering.

The Reason for the Season

At Christmas, people all over the world pause to remember the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ. This celebration has occurred despite difficulties or circumstances facing us throughout history. Many of America’s presidents have reminded us at Christmastime that Jesus’ birth has continued to impact the world.

For example, in the midst of World War II, President Franklin Roosevelt reminded the nation that the message of Jesus has endured for many reasons:

It is because the spirit of unselfish service personified by the life and the teachings of Christ makes appeal to the inner conscience and hope of every man and every woman in every part of the earth. It transcends in the ultimate all lines of race, of habitat, of nation. It lives in the midst of war, of slavery, of conquest. It survives prohibitions and decrees and force. It is an unquenchable Spring of Promise to humanity.

President Harry Truman acknowledged the reason for Christmas when he told Americans on Christmas Eve in 1952:

[W]e remember another night long ago. Then a Child was born in a stable. A star hovered over, drawing wise men from afar. Shepherds, in a field, heard angels singing: “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.” That was the first Christmas and it was God’s great gift to us. This is a wonderful story. Year after year it brings peace and tranquility to troubled hearts in a troubled world. And tonight the earth seems hushed, as we turn to the old, old story of how “God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

This was a sentiment repeated by many modern era Presidents, such as when Ronald Reagan said:

Of all the songs ever sung at Christmastime, the most wonderful of all was the song of exaltation heard by the shepherds while tending their flocks on the night of Christ’s birth. An angel of the Lord appeared to them and said: “Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.” Suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of voices praising the Heavenly Father and singing: “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.” Sometimes, in the hustle and bustle of holiday preparations we forget that the true meaning of Christmas was given to us by the angelic host that holy night long ago. Christmas is the commemoration of the birth of the Prince of Peace, Jesus Christ, whose message would truly be one of good tidings and great joy, peace and good will.

And both George H. W. Bush and George W. Bush spoke of the lasting impact of Christ’s birth.

At Christmas, we celebrate the promise of salvation that God gave to mankind almost 2,000 years ago. The birth of Christ changed the course of history, and His life changed the soul of man. (George H. W. Bush, 1991)

During the Christmas season, millions of people around the world gather with family and friends to give thanks for their blessings and to recall the events that took place in Bethlehem almost 2,000 years ago. As we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, whose life offers us a model of dignity, compassion, and justice, we renew our commitment to peace and understanding throughout the world. (George H. W. Bush, 1992)

During Christmas, we gather with family and friends to celebrate the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ. As God’s only Son, Jesus came to Earth and gave His life so that we may live. His actions and His words remind us that service to others is central to our lives and that sacrifice and unconditional love must guide us and inspire us to lead lives of compassion, mercy, and justice. (George W. Bush, 2002)

So, read the Christmas story from the Bible (Luke 2:1-20) and remember the true reason for the Christmas season.

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


George Bush on Prayer

George Herbert Walker Bush (1924-2018) served his country in the military during WWII, was ambassador to the UN (1971-1973), Vice-President (1981-1989), and President of the United States (1989-1993). From the WallBuilders’ Collection, below is a handwritten note by him written on the back of a June 1983 calendar that belonged to Barbara Bush that provides an interesting glimpse into his faith.

Lay down its [arms] –

Prayer can comfort & give strength.

We had a child very ill with cancer. In our world most of the kids wouldn’t make it. My Barbara asked the parents of a sick little guy named Joe how Joe was doing. The mother said “Remember what the Lord said – Let the little children that suffer come to me. Well Joe had a bad day, but our prayers will be answered.” It matters not that two words were mixed up (let the children vs suffer the little children), what counts was her faith and belief in prayer.