She is old enough to lose sight of the wisdom of her Founding Fathers; young enough to recover its vivifying message.
“I think that we need history as much as we need bread or water or love.” So writes an American historian who has twice won the Pulitzer Prize and twice won the National Book Award — David McCullough. To learn about the history of one’s nation is to be humbled and to feel gratitude. It is also to become cautious. “Those who do not learn from history’s mistakes,” the philosopher George Santayana has warned, “are condemned to repeat them.”
But birthday reflections should focus on the things for which we should be grateful, so that we can re-dedicate ourselves to all that is good and nourishing about our heritage.
How far we have come as a nation
and how far we have strayed from the actions and examples of our nation’s early
leaders! When John Adams entered
We wonder whether the last 230 years have carried us, through strong gusts of liberalism, away from our roots. Or have we been faithful to the vision that our Founding Fathers expressed and exemplified?
G.K. Chesterton once remarked that “real development is not leaving things behind, as on a road, but it is to draw life from them, as from a root.” Did Roe v Wade in 1973, along with several ensuing Supreme Court decisions, help fulfill the implications of the Constitution; or, in an enthusiasm for being “creative,” stray from them?
Development is not the same as succession, in which one thing merely follows another. Development has an organic quality. It grows from a living source. What ensures its continuing growth and development, the Founding Fathers believed, was a fidelity to a providential God.
John Adams invoked God’s blessings
It was John Adams, America’s
second president, who chose Thomas Jefferson to write the Declaration of
Independence. There was never any doubt in the minds of these two that
“independence” was from
Jefferson had been
John Adams and Thomas Jefferson
both passed away in bed and surrounded by books, on July 4, 1826, the 50th
anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence. People at the
time interpreted this extraordinary coincidence, or perhaps “God-incident,” as
a sign from heaven that
Perhaps the synchronicity of the
Donald DeMarco is
adjunct professor at Holy Apostles College and Seminary in Cromwell,