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1764 July 23, The Rights of the British Colonies Asserted and Proved

The Rights of the British Colonies Asserted and Proved is a pamplet written by James Otis with the intent to address specific circumstances recently applied to British subjects in the Americas.  Among the issues at hand were the Sugar Act of 1764, and the Proclomation of 1763.  The Proclomation closed off the westward expansion of the colonies to include existing settlements by pioneering colonists.  Otis' footnotes illustrate he incoporated the Philosophy of John Locke in creating this argument, the most significant piece of which is likely to be his claim that rights are granted by God, and given directly to mankind.

According to Merrill Jensen, this pamplet was not widely published by newspapers outside of New England,1 and although Otis had some prominence for his work with the council for the Boston merchants' association,2 his contradictory statements in his next two pamplets caused him to loose prominence among Boston Society.

Echoes of this work's great statement occur in the Declaration of Independence. Whether Thomas Jefferson was personally aquainted with the ideas of this work is unknown.  Jefferson was well read, making it difficult to identify his specific philosophical heritage.  Little doubt exists that John Adams, a fellow representative assigned to the declaration committee, had read this work.  The earliest draft of the Declaration incorporates the idea that rights come from God in the handwriting of Thomas Jefferson making the idea appear as one he had incorporated, rather than one contributed by Adams. Otis has earned the credit for some variation of the following three posibilities.  One, the thought was entirely his and he penned it as such.  Two, the thought was emerging in society and he was the first to pen it (such was common practice).  Three, the thought was imported and Otis was the first to articulate it in a published work on the Americas.  Regarless the peice makes a bold statement about the origin of rights, and served as popular commentary within New England during its day.

The Rights of the British Colonies Asserted and Proved
by James Otis

Let no Man think I am about to commence advocate for despotism, because I affirm that government is founded on the necessity of our natures; and that an original supreme Sovereign, absolute, and uncontroulable, earthly power must exist in and preside over every society; from whose final decisions there can be no appeal but directly to Heaven. It is therefore originally and ultimately in the people.

  1. 1. or Tracts of the American Revolution, 1763-1776 (American Heritage Series)
  2. 2. A Patriot's History of the United States: From Columbus's Great Discovery to the War on Terror p 61

1620, November 11 The Mayflower Compact

The Mayflower Compact developed due to an interesting set of circumstances.  The Puritan Colonists who were aboard the Mayflower originally intended to settle in Virginia.  At the time Virginia was geographically positioned along the central coastline of British claimed territory, offering natural protection from the French settlements to the north (Canada) and Spanish settlements to the south (Florida).  Arriving off the coast of Massachusetts and realizing that nearly 500 miles lay between them and their intended destination the Pilgrims needed to decide whether to continue southward or plant their settlement where they had landed.  For various reasons they had determined to remain in what is now modern day Massachusetts.

Among the many points of discussion was the legality of a settlement so far north.  At the time England had claim in the central part of the coastline, the Dutch controlled settlements along the Hudson river at modern day Albany, and Manhattan.  Although the Dutch weren’t positioned to be an immediate threat, the territory around Cape Cod had not been claimed by any nation.  The Puritans had already been labeled as separatists from England after fleeing religious persecution for Holland.  Schweikart and Allen explain that “Any settlement could be perceived in England as defiance of the Crown.  [William] Bradford and the forty other adult men thus devised [The Mayflower Compact], before they even went ashore, to emphasize their allegiance to King James, to renounce any intention to create an independent republic, and to establish a civil government.”1

  1. 1. Schweikart and Allen, A Patriot's History of the United States: From Columbus's Great Discovery to the War on Terror, p27.

The Protester's Covenant

The Protester's Covenant was created during the Civil Right's protest lead by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr..  Using a format of 10 points, similar to the 10 commandments, it was a requirement that all protestors sign before marching.1

  1. Meditate daily on the teachings and life of Jesus.
  2. Remember always that the non—violent movement seeks justice and reconciliation — not victory.
  3. Walk and talk in the manner of love, for God is love.
  4. Pray daily to be used by God in order that all men might be free.
  5. Sacrifice personal wishes in order that all men might be free.
  6. Observe with both friend and foe the ordinary rules of courtesy.
  7. Seek to perform regular service for others and for the world.
  8. Refrain from the violence of fist, tongue, or heart.
  9. Strive to be in good spiritual and bodily health.
  1. 1. Alveda King, on The Glenn Beck Program, FOX NEWS, 20 April 2010.,2933,591339,00.html

1920-1921 The Forgotten Depression

The following article, which originally appeared in the Fall 2009 issue of The Intercollegiate Review, is reprinted with the permission of the Intercollegiate Studies Institute.

Warren Harding and the Forgotten Depression of 1920
Thomas E. Woods, Jr. - 10/08/09
Intercollegiate Review

It is a cliché that if we do not study the past we are condemned to repeat it. Almost equally certain, however, is that if there are lessons to be learned from an historical episode, the political class will draw all the wrong ones—and often deliberately so. Far from viewing the past as a potential source of wisdom and insight, political regimes have a habit of employing history as an ideological weapon, to be distorted and manipulated in the service of present-day ambitions. That’s what Winston Churchill meant when he described the history of the Soviet Union as “unpredictable.”

For this reason, we should not be surprised that our political leaders have made such transparently ideological use of the past in the wake of the financial crisis that hit the United States in late 2007. According to the endlessly repeated conventional wisdom, the Great Depression of the 1930s was the result of capitalism run riot, and only the wise interventions of progressive politicians restored prosperity. Many of those who concede that the New Deal programs alone did not succeed in lifting the country out of depression nevertheless go on to suggest that the massive government spending during World War II is what did it.1 (Even some nominal free-marketeers make the latter claim, which hands the entire theoretical argument to supporters of fiscal stimulus.)

The connection between this version of history and the events of today is obvious enough: once again, it is claimed, wildcat capitalism has created a terrific mess, and once again, only a combination of fiscal and monetary stimulus can save us.

  1. 1. On the fallacy of “wartime prosperity” during the Second World War, see Robert Higgs, Depression, War, and Cold War: Studies in Political Economy (New York: Oxford University Press, 2006).

SKOUSEN, Cleon W., The 5000 Year Leap: A Miracle That Changed the World

Have you ever met those great cooks in life who can sit down to a meal and tell you exactly what's in it? The type that can go home and re-create something from scratch? Well, the Constitution is kind-of like a great meal. It's the finished product of a tremendously thought out recipe. The ingredients in that recipe are the principles and values that allowed our founders to move beyond basic survival into prosperous society. These are the basic principles and values that the Constitution attempts to preserve. Skousen, like a master chef, delves into his understanding of the founder's recipe to offer the most concise explanation of these principles to date.

The 5000 Year LeapWhat does the author mean by a 5000 year leap?  The quick answer is that for 5000 years mankind stayed pretty much the same.  We plowed with a stick, transportation was by foot and rudimentary carts or wagons.  Then along came the American experiment.  For the first time in history, men were free to succeed, and fail, on their own and within a period of less than 200 years we went from riding in wagons to putting a man on the moon.  Never in human history had we evolved so much, or so quickly.  What caused this "evolution" is what the book teaches us.

We are given insight into what the founders knew, who they studied and learned from, and what they based our form of government on.  It teaches us the 28 principles they believed were necessary to develop a government, based in justice, with checks and balances, so that power would remain with the people.  We learn that they were prayful men who asked for guidance from their Creator and it gives us insight into "Manifest Destiny", that America was to be a role model for the moral and political emancipation of all mankind....which it was.

1776, July 04 -Signing of the Declaration of Independence

The Declaration of Independence, unanimously approved by the second Continental Congress on July 4, 1776, created a new nation, the "United States of America." Written primarily by Thomas Jefferson, it formally "dissolved the connection" between the thirteen states (which were now using the name the "United Colonies") and Britain. July 4 is still celebrated as the nation's birthday. The document enshrines the basic values of republicanism as the foundation of America; it inspired similar declarations in over a hundred countries.

The declaration contains three major characters, the people, the king, and God.  This logical and legal argument for separation is based upon the "self evident truth" that the people are given rights by their God.  Jefferson argues that when the king (or any government) moves from protecting the rights of the governed and "evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their security."  Essentially, that's what the Declaration of Independence does.  It removes the king as a barrier of the rights of man and empowers the citizens who are the initial recipients of the rights to form a government for themselves.

Getting Started

All books were created to answer questions.  Some even argue that the true secret of genius can be found in learning how to ask questions and discover their answers1.  Sir Isaac Newton was adamently opposed to publishing his work, and instead shared what he had learned via correspondence to his friends.  The combined individual and collective methods of questioning led to a new perspective on the universe that today is so commonplace we strain to imagine what theories it replaced2

  1. 1.
  2. 2.

JEFFERSON, Thomas (1743-1826)

In the thick of party conflict in 1800, Thomas Jefferson wrote in a private letter, "I have sworn upon the altar of God eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man."

This powerful advocate of liberty was born in 1743 in Albemarle County, Virginia, inheriting from his father, a planter and surveyor, some 5,000 acres of land, and from his mother, a Randolph, high social standing. He studied at the College of William and Mary, then read law. In 1772 he married Martha Wayles Skelton, a widow, and took her to live in his partly constructed mountaintop home, Monticello.

Freckled and sandy-haired, rather tall and awkward, Jefferson was eloquent as a correspondent, but he was no public speaker. In the Virginia House of Burgesses and the Continental Congress, he contributed his pen rather than his voice to the patriot cause. As the "silent member" of the Congress, Jefferson, at 33, drafted the Declaration of Independence. In years following he labored to make its words a reality in Virginia. Most notably, he wrote a bill establishing religious freedom, enacted in 1786.


A biography is a description or account of someone's life and the times.  Here you'll find biographies of famous, and not so famous individuals.  All of them influenced the history of our nation.


Ideas and Movements, 19th century1

The Progressive Movement was an effort to cure many of the ills of American society that had developed during the great spurt of industrial growth in the last quarter of the 19th century. The frontier had been tamed, great cities and businesses developed, and an overseas empire established, but not all citizens shared in the new wealth, prestige, and optimism.

  1. 1. From
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