Posts Tagged ‘Liberty’

Regretting Lost Freedom

November 8, 2012

REGRETTING LOST FREEDOM

PEOPLE have lost their freedom from time to time down thru the long centuries. But they have never failed to regret that loss and to strive to regain liberty.

The world has changed, the editors of “Das Reich,” a Berlin newspaper, seems to believe. For this paper is urging the people of the Netherlands and of Scandinavia to “cease regretting their lost freedom and be glad to join the German Reich …”

People are stubborn about things like that. They may be conquered. They may be held down by military occupation. They may be denied freedom.

But the longing for lost freedom is something that is not so easily removed as a pair of tonsils. It lies down deep in man, out of reach of the surgeon’s knife — or even of the bayonet.

Lima News (Lima, Ohio) Nov 5, 1940

Our Constitution: Beacon Light Of Human Liberty

September 17, 2012

Our Constitution Is Beacon Light Of Human Liberty

Today is the 153rd anniversary of signing of the Constitution of the United States. On this day in `1787, some thirty odd members of the Constitutional Convention, sitting in Philadelphia, affixed their signatures to the document with which few, if any of them were satisfied, but which they believed was the best upon which the majority could agree.

Even George Washington, who presided over the meeting, was dubious as to whether the constitution would be adopted by the thirteen states; and even if adopted, he had little faith in its permanence.

How much better the makers of the constitution wrought then they themselves anticipated!

Today there exists not an instrument of government anywhere which is more strongly entrenched in the affections of the people; nor is there one which gives so much promise of enduring in a world in flux and revolution.

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The document was born out of a great national crisis.

The thirteen colonies successfully had won their political independence from Great Britain, but they had failed utterly to achieve national unity. On the contrary, the drift was steadily toward disunion, civil war and anarchy.

The Articles of Confederation made what national government there was both feeble, incompetent and futile.

A few of the more far sighted among the leaders — Washington, Madison, Hamilton and Franklin, among others — saw the imperative necessity for action if the country were to be saved, and thus it was that the governors of twelve states were prevailed upon to appoint delegates to consider revision of the Articles of Confederation.

That was their instructions.

But happily for us the delegates voted to disregard these instructions and drew up an entirely new constitution for the United States.

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Nor is it fair to those who wrote the constitution to say that their prevailing temper was conservative — that the aim they had in view was not only to secure the unity of the country, but to assure the security of property as well.

Perhaps the frankest statement as to this prevailing view came from Roger Sherman, who said:

The people should have as little to do as may be with the government.

Thus it was that when the constitution was completed some twenty delegates refused to sign it and it was denounced by such famed patriots as Patrick Henry and old Sam Adams as “a rich man’s document.”

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This fear of the dangers of “mob government” or too much control by the “masses” is evident to even the casual student of the work of the convention.

The president was not to be chosen by the people, neither were the senators. To select the former an electoral college was set up, which theoretically was to be composed of the best men in each state who in turn would meet and choose with deliberation and care the man best suited to be president. Of course, it only worked that way in the first two elections. But senators continued to be named by the state legislatures until after the turn of the present century.

The president’s power was curbed by provisions that all treaties should be subject to the test of a two thirds vote of the senate, while all appointments were made subject to senate confirmation.

The president, however, could put a check on both houses of congress through the veto power, while wide but deliberately vague authority was given to a powerful judiciary appointed for life.

Moreover, in the original draft there was no Bill of Rights, no protection for freedom of speech, the practice of religion and the press.

It was Thomas Jefferson who refused to give his support to the constitution unless a pledge were given that the Bill of Rights would be incorporated as soon as possible after the new government was established, which was done.

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The constitution has proved its worth through the years. It has provided security for property, but also has safeguarded human rights. Today it is the beacon light of freedom in a world over much of which has spread the darkness of totalitarianism.

It is the hope of Democracy in a world where despots sneer at popular government as decadent and hopeless.

As we ourselves sustain and support the constitution we shall prove these despots to be liars and frauds; and thus hasten the day when the ideals of liberty which it enshrines shall once more become the common heritage of humanity.

Fresno Bee Republican (Fresno, California) Sep 17, 1940

Ode: Sweet Songs of Liberty

September 8, 2012

Image from The Ideal in the West

The Concord Hymn.

[Mr. R.W. Emerson’s Concord Hymn, for the 4th of July, 1857, contains so much more poetry and fulfilled and fulfilling prophecy than any equal number of words for the day, that we give it the preference over all other national songs for reutterance at this time.]

O tenderly the haughty day
Fills his blue urn with fire,
One morn is in the mighty heaven,
And one in our desire.

The cannon booms from town to town,
Our pulses are not less,
The joy bells chime their tidings down,
Which children’s voices bless.

For He that flung the broad blue fold
O’er mantling land and sea,
One-Third part of the sky unrolled
For the banner of the free.

The men are ripe of Saxon kind
To build an equal state;
To take the statute from the mind,
And make of duty fate.

The men are ripe of Saxon kind
To build an equal state,—
To take the statute from the mind
And make of duty fate.

United States! the ages plead —
Present and Past in undersong, —
Go put your creed into your deed,
Nor speak with double tongue.

For sea and land don’t understand,
Nor skies without a frown,
See rights for which the one hand fights
By the other cloven down.

Be just at home; then reach beyond
Your charter o’er the sea,
And make the great Atlantic pond
A ferry of the free.

And henceforth there shall be no chain
Save, underneath the sea,
The wires shall murmur through the main
Sweet songs of LIBERTY.

The conscious stars accord above,
The waters wild below,
And under through the cable wove,
The fiery errands go.

For He that worketh high and wise.
Nor pauses in his plan,
Will take the sun out of the skies
Ere freedom out of man.

The Herald and Torch Light (Hagerstown, Maryland) Aug 16, 1865

Our Liberty and Ourselves

August 21, 2012

OUR LIBERTY AND OURSELVES

HUMAN LIBERTY is not a gift of God but a social achievement. Pitifully few people ever enjoyed the freedoms we know. And far fewer enjoy freedom now than ten years ago. In fact, we cannot be certain there will be any human liberty in the world at all in the next few years. Over a dozen constitutions of a quality similar to ours have been tossed on the bonfire lit by recent tyranny. What comfortable guarantee have we that our own constitution will survive another 150 years, or even the next 10 years.

Freedom has come only to those people who hated tyranny enough to shatter it at whatever cost. Their children will retain that freedom only if they act in a united way to repel at whatever cost any force which would attack it. We cannot call Washington and his heroes back to defend in our day the freedom they established while we applaud from the sidelines.

There must be a heroic quality in us as there was in them.

But some Americans are already complaining about the disappearance of luxury items from the market. We hear voices protesting the silk stocking shortage. Let them recall the bleeding feet at Valley Forge. Others object to gasoline rationing, no white-wall tires next year, fewer new cars. If we preserve our liberties with the sacrifices as trivial as these, we will be unbelievably lucky.

Mason City Glob Gazette (Mason City, Iowa) Aug 22, 1941

George Washington at Valley Forge

What This Country Needs

July 26, 2012

What This Country Needs

St. Paul Crescent

What this country needs in not a new birth of freedom but the old fashioned two-dollar lower berth.

What this country needs isn’t more liberty but less people who take liberties with our liberty.

What this country needs is not a job for every man but a real man for every job.

What this country needs isn’t to get more taxes from the people but for the people to get more from the taxes.

What this country needs is not more miles of territory but more miles to the gallon.

What this country needs is more tractors and less detractors.

What this country needs isn’t more young men making speed but more young men planting spuds.

What this country needs is more paint on the old place and less paint of the young face.

What this country needs isn’t a lower rate of interest on money but a higher interest in work.

What this country needs is to follow the footsteps of the fathers instead of the dancing master.

The Daily Courier (Connellsville, Pennsylvania) Jul 26, 1922

Not Yet! The Spirit of Liberty Still Survives

June 15, 2012

Image from RightWingStuff

ADDRESS

DELIVERED ON JULY 4, 1863, AT PADUCAH, KY., TO THE CITIZENS, AND THE 111TH REG. ILL. VOL.

BY JAMES BASSETT, ESQ.
[excerpt]

Fellow citizens! God intended us as one consolidated and great people, our physical geography so teaches. Whence our seaboard along the Atlantic, the Mexican Gulf and the Pacific, whence our lakes; whence our arterial rivers and our boundless plains, but to teach the lesson, that from the Pacific to the Atlantic, and from the sunny Mexican Gulf to frigid Canada, we are to be one people, having a grand mission of liberty, which is the exponent of Christianity, the only great idea of liberty to man promulgated by God.

Are you prepared to give up that great mission — to resign nationality — to serve under aristocratic or kingly rule, under the iron sceptre of despotism — to cease to be freemen — to give up the memory of the past — and instead of being citizens of the great nation of the United States, become, it may be, members of some small confederacy, as one has said become citizens not of the United States, whose flag is respected in every land, but become citizens of what? of a small American nation, whose flag, the Palmetto, or some other ensign, steals into the harbour of some ancient nationality, and when asked about, the answer be, it is the flag of one of the obscure republics of America. Are you prepared I ask to blot out the past, despise the future? I rather think you will adopt the sentiment of the Representative poet of American W.C. Bryant, and say “Not Yet”

“Oh! country, marvel of the earth,
Oh realm to sudden greatness grown,
The age that gloried in thy birth,
Shall it behold thee overthrown?
Shall traitors lay that greatness low?
No, Land of Hope and blessing, No!

And we who wear thy glorious name
Shall we, like cravens, stand apart,
When those whom thou hast trusted, aim
The death-blow at thy generous heart?
Forth goes the battle cry, and lo
Hosts rise in harness, shouting No!

And they who founded, in our land
The power that rules from sea to sea,
Bled they in vain, or vainly planned
To leave their country great and free!
Their sleeping ashes, from below,
Send up the thrilling murmur, No!

Knit they the gentle ties which long
These sister States were proud to wear,
And forged the kindly links so strong
For idle hands in sport to tear,
For scornful hands aside to throw?
No, by our fathers’ memory, No!

Our humming marts, our iron ways,
Our wind tossed woods on mountain crest,
The hoarse Atlantic, with its bays,
The calm, broad Ocean of the West,
And Mississippi’s torrent flow,
And loud Niagara, answer, No!

For now behold, the arm that gave
The victory in our fathers’ day,
Strong, as of old, to guard and save,
That mighty arm, which none can stay–
On clouds above, and fields below,
Writes in men’s sight, the answer, No!”

How glorious is Liberty! It is a perennial flower, ever blooming, ever fresh. Let the conqueror, the tyrant wrap the world in flames, so that the blood of millions can not quench them, the Spirit of Liberty still survives, and grows stronger and stronger, while the oppression dwindles and dies. And the tree of American liberty planted by Washington, and nurtured by the blood of the patriots in 1776, whose branches have so spread as to encircle this whole continent, and towered so high as to be seen by all the nations, shall spread wider, and rise higher and higher; so that the Eagle of Liberty perched on its topmost bough shall glory in freedom, and the desponding of every nation find shelter under its kindly branches. That tree which is like the tree in the amaranthine bowers of Paradise whose leaves are for the healing of the nations; shall never be uprooted from the soil of free America, of these United States.

Centralia Sentinel (Centralia, Illinois) Jul 26, 1863

We Can’t Surrender Now!

June 15, 2012

WE CAN’T SURRENDER NOW.

The struggle was too fierce and long,
The cost in lives too dear —
Not yet forgotten are the braves
Who had no thought of fear;
They could not see the old flag torn,
From Freedom’s hallowed brow,
Nor can we lose what they bequeathed —
We can’t surrender now!

While Hope is strong within the breast
Of every freeman true —
While Union’s symbol proudly floats
Its red and white and blue —
While God is just, and Might o’er Right
No victory will allow,
We will be true to Liberty —
We can’t surrender now!

Then ask us not to vote for those
Who held our brave boys back,
When onward came the Union foes
With desolating track;
We cannot blot the record fair
Of Freedom’s holy vow,
We cannot dim Truth’s sacred light —
We can’t surrender now!

The Grand Traverse Herald (Traverse City, Michigan) Oct 29, 1868

Uncle Sam, Uncle Sam

May 14, 2012

Image from Wind Turbine Syndrome

UNCLE SAM OUR LEADER.

(Tune, “Baby Mine.”) [also called “Crawdad Song“]

Hark! I hear our Chief a-coming,
Uncle Sam, Uncle Sam;
And the bells are all a-ringing,
Uncle Sam, Uncle Sam,
Comes a shout from o’er the main,
Glorious Chief is the refrain,
And they shout it once again,
Uncle Sam, Uncle Sam,
Uncle Sam.

We will lift a million praises,
Uncle Sam, Uncle Sam,
Till the vault of heaven raises,
Uncle Sam, Uncle Sam,
Till the world rings out the note
As if from a single throat,
“May your flag forever float,”
Uncle Sam, Uncle Sam,
“May your flag forever float,”
Uncle Sam.

When we hear our country calling,
Uncle Sam, Uncle Sam,
From the ranks will none be falling,
Uncle Sam, Uncle Sam,
Rich and poor, like soldiers true,
We will all be proud of you,
Chief who dares to think and do,
Uncle Sam, Uncle Sam,
Chief who dares to think and do,
Uncle Sam.

You have writ a golden page,
Uncle Sam, Uncle Sam,
In this busy, bustling age,
Uncle Sam, Uncle Sam,
And the nation’s grand advance
You will mightily enhance,
Giving every man a chance,
Uncle Sam, Uncle Sam,
Giving every man a chance,
Uncle Sam.

A good, solid working place,
Uncle Sam, Uncle Sam,
Counting neither caste nor race,
Uncle Sam, Uncle Sam,
Your bright flag we’ll ever see
Floating o’er this land so free,
Glorious home of liberty,
Uncle Sam, Uncle Sam,
Glorious home of liberty,
Uncle Sam.

Foe to none on land or sea,
Uncle Sam, Uncle Sam,
Save to foes of liberty,
Uncle Sam, Uncle Sam,
Smite der kaiser’s warlike mien,
Smash his hellish submarine,
Give this world a brighter sheen,
Uncle Sam, Uncle Sam,
Give this world a brighter sheen,
Uncle Sam.

— B.J. Price, a Former Oshkosh Man.

The Daily Northwestern (Oshkosh, Wisconsin) Jul 18, 1917

Image from The Long and Short of it All