Saturday, July 2, 2011

Declaration of Independence:

7 Major Components

As we celebrate Independence Day lets take a quick look at how things have changed since 1776. For example, one of the key issues facing the 2012 election will be Obamacare. Putting all other arguments aside lets look at simply the size of the bill, all 2,700 pages of it.

By comparison The King James Bible has 1888 pages, The Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire, which is a 900 year history of the empire, contains 1312 pages and War and Peace has a mere 1296 pages. And lets turn to a more modern work of art, that is if you consider 50 some years modern, Ayn Rand’s “Atlas Shrugged” is a measly 1078 pages.

This incredible document has about 1400 pages. I’m sorry; I’m confused it has about 1400 words. That’s right, words not pages. The Founding Fathers had the temerity to write one of the most important documents in history on, well, one page. What were they thinking? Perhaps the words pontificate and special interest had not yet been coined, just a thought.

So let’s take a closer look at the Declaration of Independence. I’ve found a series of wonderful videos on youtube with in-depth explanations. A gentleman by the name of Craig Seibert has about 6 videos and links to sites that are very interesting and understandable for the average citizen. I will link to these videos but I want to use his explanation to hopefully give you a clearer understanding of this document. Consider this a book report of Mr. Seibert’s video. Because quite frankly, I’m not this smart.

Look at this picture. As you can see, I’ve broken it into three sections. Of the almost 1400 words, about 400 are about the principals and beliefs and are split between the opening and closing. That leaves roughly a 1000 words to explain 25 of the abuses by King George III and the reasons for declaring independence.

The entire document can be broken into 7 components.

The first section has four components. The opening sentence is the reason for the document. When, in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and of nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

The second component in the opening section is the SELF EVIDENT TRUTHS. We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

But in the time of our founding Happiness had a deeper meaning which was according to Mr. Seibert “that the individual would have the freedom to use their time, talent and recourses to pursue the directions in life that they believed would bring them the most satisfaction and would benefit their family, friends and fellow man and future generations the most.”

The third component is the purpose of government. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

The fourth is the reason for the declaration. That whenever any form of government becomes destructive to these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness.

The most important element is the self-evident truths, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

The middle section is a list of grievances against the King that had troubled the colonies over the previous ten years. I’ve pulled out just a few to see if any of them seem just a little familiar
1. Unfair taxation (Individual Mandates for Healthcare)
2. Creating new government departments with officials that harass the people (Can you say Regulatory Czar?)
3. Cutting off trade (Pending free trade agreements)
4. Disallowing or not hearing any appeals for justice ( How about Black Panthers at polling places or illegal sanctuary cities)

Just to name a few.

Now the fifth component comes in the third section. This is the declaration statement. We, therefore, the representatives of the United States of America, in General Congress, assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world (aka God) for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the name, and by the authority of the good people of these colonies, solemnly publish and declare, that these united colonies are, and of right ought to be free and independent states;

The sixth component outlines the rights of the sovereign states
1-and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved;
2-and that as free and independent States, they have full power to levy war, conclude peace, contract alliances, establish commerce,
3-and to do all other acts and things which independent States may of right do.

The Founders referred to the State of Great Britain and then to themselves as free and independent States. Not a collective America but the individual States much the same way Europe is divided into sovereign States such as France, Italy etc.

And finally the seventh component is the pledge first to God, And for the support of this declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, then to each other. We mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor.

On July 4th John Hancock signed the Declaration of Independence, a copy was made up and it was announced to the people and on August 2, 1776 the remaining of the 56 men signed the Declaration of Independence and made it official.

You now know more than 90% of Americans about the Declaration of Independence, however in 1776, 90% of the people had this understanding.

We need to remember that the 4th of July is more than just a day off from work or a time to eat too many hotdogs. Thomas Jefferson said it best: “The price of freedom is eternal vigilance.”

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Property Laws… for now.

“The Right of property is the guardian of every other Right, and to deprive the people of this, is in fact to deprive them of their Liberty” Dr. Arthur Lee, 1774 from an article entitled “An Appeal to the Justice and Interests of the People of Great Britain”

We are a nation of laws… period, end of sentence. Thank you and have a nice day.

Ok I’m not done although I’m sure some are tired of me saying we are a nation of laws, however that’s what sets us apart from all other nations.

Therefore let’s take a look at property laws. The World English Dictionary says this, property: something of value, either tangible, such as land, or intangible, such as patents, copyrights, etc

Property is not just things, it’s more than that, it’s our ideas, our thoughts our money everything that belongs to us. And no one has the right to take any of it away.

“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”; The United States Constitution Article 1 Section 8.

At my first job in a corporate office I had to sign a “Thought Clause”. This simply meant if I had any great ideas while this company employed me, the company owned my ideas. I of course used this as an excuse to be completely thoughtless, and I had a contract to prove it. But seriously, the only way the company could take my ideas was for me to give them the rights.

James Madison said this “In a word, as a man is said to have a right to his property, he may be equally said to have a property in his rights.

Where an excess of power prevails, property of no sort is duly respected. No man is safe in his opinions, his person, his faculties, or his possessions.
Where there is an excess of liberty, the effect is the same, tho' from an opposite cause.

Government is instituted to protect property of every sort; as well that which lies in the various rights of individuals, as that which the term particularly expresses. This being the end of government, that alone is a just government, which impartially secures to every man, whatever is his own.”
March 29, 1792 (Source) The Founders’ Constitution Chapter 16, Document 23.

John Locke put it like this: “Government has no other end, but the preservation of property.”

The United States is a Representative Republic. Our Nation is not only founded on laws but on hiring people to decide and enforce the laws. Where do you think this idea came from? In my quest to remind you of our roots, might I suggest perhaps:

Exodus 18:17-26 (NIV 1984)17 Moses’ father-in-law replied, “What you are doing is not good. 18 You and these people who come to you will only wear yourselves out. The work is too heavy for you; you cannot handle it alone. 19 Listen now to me and I will give you some advice, and may God be with you. You must be the people’s representative before God and bring their disputes to him. 20 Teach them the decrees and laws, and show them the way to live and the duties they are to perform. 21 But select capable men from all the people—men who fear God, trustworthy men who hate dishonest gain—and appoint them as officials over thousands, hundreds, fifties and tens. 22 Have them serve as judges for the people at all times, but have them bring every difficult case to you; the simple cases they can decide themselves. That will make your load lighter, because they will share it with you. 23 If you do this and God so commands, you will be able to stand the strain, and all these people will go home satisfied.” 24 Moses listened to his father-in-law and did everything he said. 25 He chose capable men from all Israel and made them leaders of the people, officials over thousands, hundreds, fifties and tens. 26 They served as judges for the people at all times. The difficult cases they brought to Moses, but the simple ones they decided themselves.”

It’s right after this in the Bible in Exodus 19 that Moses goes to Mount Sinai and God gives him the Ten Commandments. So within two chapters we see the representative government and the law.

As I started thinking about the law and property rights I thought of the Ten Commandments, which prompted me to watch the movie. It’s been years and years since I had seen it. Towards the end after Moses comes down from Mount Sinai with the tablets, he finds that the people have lost faith and are worshiping the golden calf. In the movie Dathan tells Moses the people no longer need him or his laws because they are now free. Moses gets angry with him and yells, “without the law there is no freedom!” and then throws the tablets at them, the earth opens up and there is no more problem with Dathan.

The law is what protects our property. It’s what allows us to leave our homes with a reasonable expectation that when we come back all of our belongings will be where we left them. It’s what allows justice to be blind. To be judged on facts and not opinions. Even if we may not like all of the laws, if we know what the law is it gives us the boundaries to live freely within them. The protection of our property is what allows us to prosper. If we can keep our property or another way of saying it may be, if we can keep the fruits of our labor, it’s our incentive to be productive. The truth is and the statistics prove the more fruit we can keep the more we will produce. Unfortunately most of what we deal with today is not laws but regulations. This is a problem; the government is slowly but surely nudging us into compliance without our even knowing. Taking more and more of our fruit through fees and licenses, etc. That’s why it is so important for us to do our homework and understand the Constitution and the laws of our country.

I’ll close with this quote: “The end of law is not to abolish or restrain, but to preserve and enlarge freedom. For in all the states of created beings capable of law, where there is no law, there is no freedom”
John Locke “Two Treatises of Government” 1679.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

America's Great Awakening

America’s First Great Awakening started around 1734 and lasted through 1750. One of the stars of the time was George Whitefield. He was a small man with a big voice. The newspapers reported that he preached to thousands of people including his good friend Benjamin Franklin. But once instead of listening to Whitefield Franklin started to walk around the field to see if he could hear him. When Franklin got all the way to the back of the crowd he said, "Imagining then a semicircle, of which my distance should be the radius, and that it were filled with auditors to each of whom I allowed two square feet, I computed that he might be heard by more than thirty thousand. This reconciled me to the newspaper accounts of his having preached to twenty-five thousand in the fields."

It has been recorded that 80 percent of Americans physically heard Whitefield preach. His most famous teaching was the “Father Abraham” speech. Another good friend of his, John Adams, recorded the speech and recounted it to Thomas Jefferson like this: He [Whitefield] began: "Father Abraham," with his hands and eyes gracefully directed to the heavens (as I have more than once seen him): "Father Abraham, whom have you there with you? Have you Catholics?" "No." "Have you Protestants?" "No." "Have you Churchmen?" "No." "Have you Dissenters?" "No." "Have you Presbyterians?" "No." "Quakers?" "No." "Anabaptists?" "No." "Whom have you there? Are you alone?" "No." "My brethren, you have the answer to all these questions in the words of my next text: 'He who feareth God and worketh righteousness, shall be accepted of Him'" [Acts 10:35 KJV]. God help us all to forget having names and to become Christians in deed and in truth."

This message had a profound effect on Americans and at the opening of the First Congress on September 6th 1774, someone suggested they start with prayer. This was met with resistance. John Adams explains: “It was opposed by Mr. [John] Jay of New York and Mr. Rutledge of South Carolina because we were so divided in religious sentiments – some Episcopalians, some Quakers, some Anabaptists, some Presbyterians, and some Congregationalists – that we could not join in the same act of worship.” But Samuel Adams, a devout Christian, broke through the religious objections when he "arose and said he was no bigot, and could hear a prayer from a gentleman of piety and virtue." They then proceeded to pray.

If you remember previously I explained the Tytler Cycle of History that starts with bondage and goes to spiritual faith. Once people have spiritual faith they have courage as it says in 1 John 4:18 “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear” With this great awakening people began to understand that their rights came from God. Not from one church or another, or from the King, or the government. It was an individual relationship with God. The more people understood their individual rights the more they wanted freedom for themselves and for others. First for the Colonies from England and then eventually for slaves.

From I found this: The spiritual nature of America’s resistance was so clear even to the British that in the British Parliament: Sir Richard Sutton read a copy of a letter relative to the government of America from a [Crown-appointed] governor in America to the Board of Trade [in Great Britain] showing that. . . . If you ask an American, “Who is his master?” He will tell you he has none – nor any governor but Jesus Christ.

On I found the following quote: On April 18, 1775, John Adams and John Hancock were at the home of Reverend Jonas Clarke. British General Gage was pleading with the colonists to lay down their arms and all would be forgiven, except for Samuel Adams and John Hancock. That same night, Paul Revere arrived to warn them of the approaching Redcoats. The next morning British Major Pitcairn shouted to an assembled regiment of Minutemen; "Disperse, ye villains, lay down your arms in the name of George the Sovereign King of England." The immediate response of Reverend Clarke was:

"We recognize no Sovereign but God and no King but Jesus.

I think it’s time for the next Great Awakening.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Davy & Horatio
February 6, 2011

Today, February 6, 2011 would have been the 100th Birthday of Ronald Reagan. One of his many quotes is: "The nine most terrifying words in the English language are: I'm from the government and I'm here to help."

So with that, I’d like to tell you the story of Davy Crockett, you know the king of the wild frontier, and a constituent by the name of Horatio Bunce. Like many stories from history there is controversy as to the validity of this tale. If it is true it’s a great story, if it isn’t it’s still a great story. The short version is that as Davy was going throughout his district in preparation to start a reelection campaign he came upon a fellow working the fields. He introduced himself and said he was a politician. The farmer was Horatio Bunce and said he knew who Davy was and he didn’t want to waste either of their time. Horatio explained that even though he had voted for Davy in the past he would not be voting for him this time.

This caught Davy off guard and he asked why? "Well Colonel, it is hardly worthwhile to waste time or words upon it. I do not see how it can be mended, but you gave a vote last winter which shows that either you have not capacity to understand the Constitution, or that you are wanting in the honesty and firmness to be guided by it. In either case you are not the man to represent me”, said Horatio. “But an understanding of the constitution different from mine I cannot overlook, because the Constitution, to be worth anything, must be held sacred, and rigidly observed in all its provisions.” He went on to explain how Davy had voted to give a group of fire victims $20,000 in relief and this vote was unconstitutional. “The power of collecting and disbursing money at pleasure is the most dangerous power that can be entrusted to man”

“If you have the right to give at all; and as the Constitution neither defines charity nor stipulates the amount, you are at liberty to give to any and everything which you may believe, or profess to believe, is a charity and to any amount you may think proper. You will very easily perceive what a wide door this would open for fraud and corruption and favoritism, on the one hand, and for robbing the people on the other. 'No, Colonel, Congress has no right to give charity.'

Horatio went on to explain that if each member of Congress wanted to give a weeks salary toward the fire victims they would have raised about the same amount of money. But instead of giving their own money, they took the peoples money and disbursed it, but the money was “not yours to give”.

"'So you see, Colonel, you have violated the Constitution in what I consider a vital point. It is a precedent fraught with danger to the country, for when Congress once begins to stretch its power beyond the limits of the Constitution; there is no limit to it, and no security for the people."

To read the entire story click here:

Our modern day Congress and entitlements have come a long way from this story. According to a column written on January 26, 2011 by economist Dr. Walter E. Williams today’s entitlements account for nearly 60 percent of federal spending. Dr. Williams writes: “Everyone who receives government largesse and special favors deems his needs as vital, deserving, proper and in the national interest. It is entirely unreasonable to expect a politician to honor and obey our Constitution and in the process commit political suicide. What's even worse for our nation is that voters ousting a politician who'd refuse to bring, say, aid to higher education back to his constituents is perfectly rational. If, for example, he's a Virginia politician and doesn't bring higher education grants back to his constituents, it doesn't mean Virginian taxpayers will pay a lower income tax. All that it means is that Marylanders will get the money instead. Once legalized theft begins, it pays for everyone to participate. Those who don't will be losers.”

Dr. Williams continues: “That's the nation's dilemma. The most important job for people who want to spare our nation from economic collapse is not that of persuading politicians to do the right thing but to convince our fellow Americans to respect the limits of our Constitution. In his speech to Virginia's ratifying convention, James Madison said, "Liberty lies in the hearts of men and women; when it dies there, no constitution, no law, no court can save it; no constitution, no law, no court can even do much to help it."

You can find Dr. Williams column here:

Our ability to rely on God rather than the government has been blinded by “compassion”.

It says in Matt 22:34-40 (34) Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together. (35) One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: (36) “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” (37) Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ (38) This is the first and greatest commandment. (39) And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ (40) All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

I realize I’m speaking in generalized terms and preaching to the choir, but as a nation we have replaced God with the government. And instead of ‘loving your neighbor as yourself’ we have allowed the government to love them for us.

Our Republic was designed as a nation of laws. I’m concerned we’re quickly becoming a nation of entitlements. It is the lack of respect for our laws that open the doors for entitlements.

Abraham Lincoln said: “Let reverence for the laws be breathed by every American mother to the lisping babe that prattles on her lap; let it be taught in schools, in seminaries, and in colleges; let it be written in primers, spelling-books, and in almanacs; let it be preached from the pulpit, proclaimed in legislative halls, and enforced in courts of justice. And, in short, let it become the political religion of the nation.”

To this I say, Amen!

Friday, January 7, 2011

The Law’s of Nature and of Nature's God

I have spent most of my life in total oblivion to what our country really stood for. Like most American’s I was busy raising a family, working on a career and just trying to get through life one challenge at a time. I believed in America and what she stands for but I never really understood what that meant until a few years ago. Then one day the Lord removed the scales from my eyes. It was more that he ripped off the blinders and I was staring into a bright light and I thought, “Holy moly, how did we get here?” at that moment I began to pay attention. I started reading everything I could get my hands on and tried to learn what this country is really about. I regret it took me so long to wake up, but I’m grateful that I have finally awakened.

What I don’t know still out weighs what I have recently learned but I’m moving forward. I believe one of the most important facts we as Americans’ should learn is about "The Laws of Nature and Nature’s God". This phrase first appeared to me in the Declaration of Independence. The beginning reads as follows: “When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.”

The Law’s of Nature and of Nature’s God. So what exactly does that mean? To me it means that there is a God and He is the God of all Nature and that there are certain laws that can only come from Him.

The Declaration of Independence continues with: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

Let’s look at this sentence. “We hold these truths to be sefl-evident”. So the truth is self-evident, this would mean that first, it’s true and second it doesn’t need further explaination. It is containing its own evidence or proof without need of further demonstration.

“That all men are created equal”-from the moment we are born, we are all equal. We are not guaranteed equal opportunities or circumstances but if you are born an American you have all the same rights under the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God. This was especially important to the colonist because England was under a monarchy system. Your place in life was determined by who your parents were. You could be a prince or a pauper and there was very little you could do to change your station in life. America was about to change that.

“That they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights”-That they, meaning all men and women, are given from the Creator certain unalienable rights. Unalienable: Rights that are not transferable to another or capable of being repudiated.

“That among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” Life, no one can take our life without consequence. Liberty, the government doesn’t make us free, we are born free and that can not be taken away. And last, Happiness. The original text said property instead of happiness, but because of slavery, the founders changed it to Happiness. The founders understood that slavery was wrong and would one day be abolished so they did what they could at the time to eleminate the advancement of slavery.

There is an excellent video on youtube by a gentelman name Craig Seibert called "Understanding the Declaration of Independence."
You can find it here:

As he explains in the video when we think of Happiness today it’s more of a hedonistic view: which means the doctrine that pleasure or happiness is the highest good. But in the time of our founding, Happiness had a deeper meaning which was, according to Mr. Seibert, “that the individual would have the freedom to use their time, talent and recourses to pursue the directions in life that they believed would bring them the most satisfaction and would benefit their family, friends and fellow man and future generations the most.”

It was about individual responsibility and individual rights. Once we understand that those rights come from “Nature’s God” we can begin to understand that it does not come from government. The problem with getting our rights from the government is this, if they can give them to us, they can take them away. The rights offered in the Declaration of Independence come from “Nature’s God” and are unalienable. Just as a reminder according to the dictionary, unalienable means rights that are not transferable to another or capable of being repudiated. I can’t give you my rights and you can’t take mine to use for yourself. They have been given to each of us by God. Only in America can we choose how we will use or abuse the “Laws of Nature and of Natures God”.

Friday, December 3, 2010

The Tytler Cycle of History

Let’s start right from the beginning and say that Alexander Tytler may or may not have written this around 1787. Tytler was a Scottish history professor at the University of Edinburgh and said this about the fall of the Athenian Republic some 2000 years prior:"A democracy is always temporary in nature; it simply cannot exist as a permanent form of government. A democracy will continue to exist up until the time that voters discover they can vote themselves generous gifts from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates who promise the most benefits from the public treasury, with the result that every democracy will finally collapse due to loose fiscal policy, which is always followed by a dictatorship. The average age of the world’s greatest civilizations from the beginning of history has been about 200 years. During those 200 years, these nations always progressed through the following sequence:

1. From bondage to spiritual faith:

2. From spiritual faith to great courage:

3. From courage to liberty:

4. From liberty to abundance:

5. From abundance to selfishness:

6. From selfishness to complacency:

7. From complacency to apathy:

8. From apathy to dependence:

9. From dependence back into bondage "

I believe the message is more important than who actually said it. So I’m just going to stick with Tytler.

There are several good articles about this and one that I found very helpful was by John Eberhard He breaks the American cycle down like this:

“From bondage to spiritual faith (1760 to 1769)
King George III becomes King of England
Currency Act, Sugar Act, Stamp Act, Quartering Act, Townsend Act passed by Parliament
Sons of Liberty formed by John Adams, Samuel Adams, Paul Revere, John Hancock, Patrick Henry, among others.

“From spiritual faith to great courage (1770 to 1783)
Boston massacre
Parliament passes the Tea Act
Boston Tea Party
The First Continental Congress
Revolutionary War rages for six years
British surrender at Yorktown

“From courage to liberty (1784 to 1865)
Constitutional Convention
George Washington elected President
Bill of Rights passed
Abraham Lincoln elected President
Confederate states secede from the Union
Emancipation Proclamation
Civil War rages for four years
Union is restored
13th Amendment abolishes slavery

“From liberty to abundance (1866 to 1969)
First Trans-Continental Railroad
Alexander Graham Bell invents the telephone
Industrial Revolution
Airplane invented
Neil Armstrong walks on the moon

“From abundance to complacency (1970 to 1989)
Roe vs Wade
President Nixon resigns in disgrace
Oil embargo
Ronald Reagan elected President
Fall of the Soviet Union

“From complacency to apathy (1990 to 2000)
Gulf War
Bill Clinton elected President
Gridlock between Congress & President leads to budget surpluses
President Clinton acquitted in impeachment trial

“From apathy to dependence (2001 to 2007)
Nasdaq stock bubble bursts
9/11 attack
Department of Homeland security created
Hurricane Katrina

“From dependence back into bondage (2008 to ????)
Housing prices collapse
Financial firms collapse
Government bailouts
Federal Reserve lowers rates to below 1%”

This is an abbreviated version of Mr. Eberhard’s theory you can go to his site to read the entire article.

If you’re interested in the controversy of who actually came up with this cycle a good article can be found by Loren Collins titled “The Truth About Tytler” at

The most important part to remember is we can still turn things around. People are starting to wake up and pay attention. The election of 2010 sent a huge message to Washington that once again “We the People” are watching. Combine that with another Spiritual Awakening and all things are possible. I choose to live in the possible.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

George Washington: Civility Rules!

What’s the one thing everyone remembers about George Washington? His honesty. “I cannot tell a lie, I chopped down the cherry tree.” This was first published by Parson Mason Weems in his hagiography of the founding fathers in the early eighteen hundreds. Most historians today believe that it’s just a story made up by Parson Weems to get the point across about his honesty. However a German vase made between 1770-1790 has a depiction of a young boy with a hatchet and a cherry tree with the initials G.W. This proves nothing but most tales start with some truth.

Character and integrity were of the utmost importance to George Washington and it was apparent to all who knew him.

Thomas Jefferson said this: “His integrity was most pure, his justice the most inflexible I have ever known, no motives of interest of consanguinity, of friendship, of hatred, being able to bias his decision. He was, indeed, in every sense of the word, a wise, a good, and a great man. His temper was naturally irritable and high-toned; but reflection and resolution had obtained a firm and habitual ascendancy over it…”

The great British military leader, the Duke of Wellington said of Washington: “The purest and noblest character of modern time-possibly of all time.”

So what was it that lead George Washington to become a man of such character? In 1796 he wrote; “for you know it has been said, and truly, ‘that as the twig is bent so it will grow. This… shows the propriety of letting your inexperience be directed by maturer advice.”

The short answer, he was a man of great faith and a mother of great faith had raised him.

George’s father and stepbrothers were schooled at the Appleby Grammar School and part of the curriculum was a book titled: “Youth’s Behaviour of Decency in Conversation Amongst Men”. The title page continues with “Composed in French by grave persons for the use and benefit of their youth. Now newly turned into English by Francis Hawkins.” It was so popular that eleven editions were printed between 1640 and 1672 and became know as the Hawkins’ rules.

By the time young George came along it was called Rules of Civility & Decent Behavior In Company and Conversation. This and the Bible became his philosophy for life. He wrote all one hundred and ten rules out longhand and kept them with him. He would frequently re-read the rules. No one is sure of Washington's age when he wrote the rules, but it's believed he was between the ages of 9 to 15.

Another book being used at the time was The Young Man’s Companion written by W. Mather in 1742. It said this: "The instruction of words is not so powerful as the exhortation of works, for if they teach well and neglect to do well, they shall hardly profit their hearers… let us declare and profess what we will, men will judge of us after all by our works… So that it is a dishonor to God, a scandal to religion, and a cause why many become atheists that men are permitted to preach and teach the people, who are unsound in morals, yea, guilty of some of the evil above-mentioned."

What’s the old adage, actions speak louder than words?

Let’s take a look at Washington’s Rules for Civility. In William H. Wilbur’s book “The Making of George Washington” he suggests that the rules fall into the following 7 categories:
RULES Which Taught Character
RULES Which Counseled Consideration for Others
RULES That Urged Modesty
RULES That Advised Compassion
RULES That Enjoined Respect for Elders and Persons in Positions of Responsibility and Authority
RULES Which Concern Conduct
RULES Governing Table Manners and Cleanliness

Most of the above quotes come from "Sacred Fire" by Peter A. Lillback with Jerry Newcombe.

George Washington's Rules of Civility & Decent Behavior In Company and Conversation

(Note: Much of the original spelling and punctuation has been retained except where deemed necessary to modernize for easier reading and understanding.) For additional material on George Washington, check out the Mt. Vernon Ladies' Association.

1. Every action done in company, ought to be with some sign of respect, to those that are present.
2. When in company, put not your hands to any part of the body not usually discovered.
3. Show nothing to your friend that may affright him.
4. In the presence of others sing not to yourself with a humming noise, nor drum with your fingers or feet.
5. If you cough, sneeze, sigh, or yawn, do it not loud but privately; and speak not in your yawning, but put your handkerchief or hand before your face and turn aside.
6. Sleep not when others speak, sit not when others stand, speak not when you should hold your peace, walk not on when others stop.
7. Put not off your clothes in the presence of others, nor go out your chamber half dress’d.
8. At play and at fire its good manners to give place to the last comer, and affect not to speak louder than ordinary.
9. Spit not in the fire, nor stoop low before it neither put your hands into the flames to warm them, nor set your feet upon the fire especially if there be meat before it.
10. When you sit down, keep your feet firm and even, without putting one on the other or crossing them.
11. Shift not yourself in the sight of others nor gnaw your nails.
12. Shake not the head, feet or legs, roll not the eyes, lift not one eyebrow higher than the other, wry not the mouth, and bedew no mans face with your spittle, by approaching too near him when you speak.
13. Kill no vermin as fleas, lice ticks etc. in the sight of others, if you see any filth or thick spittle put your foot dexteriously upon it if it be upon the clothes of your companions, put it off privately, and if it be upon your own clothes return thanks to him who puts it off.
14. Turn not your back to others especially in speaking, jog not the table or desk on which another reads or writes, lean not upon any one.
15. Keep your nails clean and short, also your hands and teeth clean yet without showing any great concern for them.
16. Do not puff up the cheeks, loll out the tongue, rub the hands or beard, thrust out the lips, or bite them, or keep the lips too open or too close.
17. Be no flatterer, neither play with any that delights not to be play’d withal.
18. Read no letters, books, or papers in company but when there is a necessity for the doing of it you must ask leave: come not near the books or writings of another so as to read them unless desired or give your opinion of them unask’d also look not nigh when another is writing a letter.
19. Let your countenance be pleasant but in serious matters somewhat grave.
20. The gestures of the body must be suited to the discourse you are upon.
21. Reproach none for the infirmities of nature, nor delight to put them that have in mind thereof.
22. Show not yourself glad at the misfortune of another though he were your enemy.
23. When you see a crime punished, you may be inwardly pleased; but always show pity to the suffering offender.
24. Do not laugh too loud or too much at any publick spectacle.
25. Superfluous compliments and all affectation of ceremonie are to be avoided, yet where due they are not to be neglected.
26. In pulling off your hat to persons of distinction, as noblemen, justices, churchmen etc. make a reverence, bowing more or less according to the custom of the better bred, and quality of the person. Amongst your equals expect not always that they should begin with you first, but to pull off the hat when there is no need is affectation, in the manner of saluting and resaluting in words keep to the most usual custom.
27. ’Tis ill manners to bid one more eminent than yourself be covered as well as not to do it to whom it’s due likewise; he that makes too much haste to put on his hat does not well, yet he ought to put it on at the first, or at most the second time of being ask’d; now what is herein spoken, of qualification in behavior in saluting, ought also to be observed in taking of place, and sitting down for ceremonies without bounds is troublesome.
28. If any one come to speak to you while you are sitting stand up tho’ he be your inferior, and when you present seats let it be to every one according to his degree.
29. When you meet with one of greater quality than yourself, stop, and retire especially if it be at a door or any straight place to give way for him to pass.
30. In walking, the highest place in most countrys seems to be on the right hand; therefore place yourself on the left of him whom you desire to honor: but if three walk together the middest place is the most honorable; the wall is usually given to the most worthy if two walk together.
31. If any one far surpasses others, either in age, estate, or merit yet would give place to a meaner than himself in his own lodging or elsewhere the one ought not to except it, so he on the other part should not use much earnestness nor offer it above once or twice.
32. To one that is your equal, or not much inferior you are to give the chief place in your lodging and he to who ‘tis offered ought at the first to refuse it but at the second to accept though not without acknowledging his own unworthiness.
33. They that are in dignity or in office have in all places preceedency but whilst they are young they ought to respect those that are their equals in birth or other qualitys, though they have no publick charge.
34. It is good manners to prefer them to whom we speak before ourselves especially if they be above us with whom in no sort we ought to begin.
35. Let your discourse with men of business be short and comprehensive.
36. Artificers & persons of low degree ought not to use many ceremonies to lords, or others of high degree but respect and highly honor them, and those of high degree ought to treat them with affability & courtesie, without arrogancy.
37. In speaking to men of quality do not lean nor look them full in the face, nor approach too near them at lest keep a full pace from them.
38. In visiting the sick, do not play the physician if you be not knowing therein.
39. In writing or speaking, give to every person his due title according to his degree & the custom of the place.
40. Strive not with your superiors in argument, but always submit your judgment to others with modesty.
41. Undertake not to teach your equal in the art himself proffesses; it savors of arrogancy.
42. Let thy ceremonies in courtesie be proper to the dignity of his place with whom thou conversest for it is absurd to act the same with a clown and a prince.
43. Do not express joy before one sick or in pain for that contrary passion will aggravate his misery.
44. When a man does all he can though it succeeds not well, blame not him that did it.
45. Being to advise or reprehend any one, consider whether it ought to be in publick or in private; presently, or at some other time in what terms to do it & in reproving show no sign of cholar but do it with all sweetness and mildness.
46. Take all admonitions thankfully in what time or place soever given but afterwards not being culpable take a time & place convenient to let him know it that gave them.
47. Mock not nor jest at any thing of importance break no jest that are sharp biting and if you deliver any thing witty and pleasant abstain from laughing there at yourself.
48. Wherein you reprove another be unblameable yourself; for example is more prevalent than precepts.
49. Use no reproachfull language against any one; neither curse nor revile.
50. Be not hasty to believe flying reports to the disparagement of any.
51. Wear not your clothes foul, ripped or dusty but see they be brush’d once every day at least and take heed that you approach not to any uncleaness.
52. In your apparel be modest and endeavor to accommodate nature, rather than to procure admiration keep to the fashion of your equals such as are civil and orderly with respect to times and places.
53. Run not in the streets, neither go too slowly nor with mouth open go not shaking your arms kick not the earth with your feet, go not upon the toes, nor in a dancing fashion.
54. Play not the peacock, looking every where about you, to see if you be well deck’t, if your shoes fit well, if your stockings sit neatly, and clothes handsomely.
55. Eat not in the streets, nor in the house, out of season.
56. Associate yourself with men of good quality if you esteem your own reputation; for ‘tis better to be alone than in bad company.
57. In walking up and down in a house, only with one in company if he be greater than yourself, at the first give him the right hand and stop not till he does and be not the first that turns, and when you do turn let it be with your face towards him; if he be a man of great quality, walk not with him cheek by jowl but somewhat behind him; but yet in such a manner that he may easily speak to you.
58. Let your conversation be without malice or envy, for ’tis a sign of a tractable and commendable nature: and in all causes of passion admit reason to govern.
59. Never express anything unbecoming, nor act against the rules moral before your inferiors.
60. Be not immodest in urging your friends to discover a secret.
61. Utter not base and frivolous things amongst grave and learn’d men nor very difficult questions or subjects, among the ignorant or things hard to be believed, stuff not your discourse with sentences amongst your betters nor equals.
62. Speak not of doleful things in a time of mirth or at the table; speak not of melancholy things as death and wounds, and if others mention them change if you can the discourse tell not your dreams, but to your intimate friend.
63. A man ought not to value himself of his achievements, or rare qualities of wit; much less of his riches virtue or kindred.
64. Break not a jest where none take pleasure in mirth laugh not aloud, nor at all without occasion, deride no mans misfortune, tho’ there seem to be some cause.
65. Speak not injurious words neither in jest nor earnest scoff at none although they give occasion.
66. Be not forward but friendly and courteous; the first to salute hear and answer & be not pensive when it’s a time to converse.
67. Detract not from others neither be excessive in commanding.
68. Go not thither, where you know not, whether you shall be welcome or not. Give not advice without being ask’d & when desired do it briefly.
69. If two contend together take not the part of either unconstrained; and be not obstinate in your own opinion, in things indifferent be of the major side.
70. Reprehend not the imperfections of others for that belongs to parents masters and superiors.
71. Gaze not on the marks or blemishes of others and ask not how they came. What you may speak in secret to your friend deliver not before others.
72. Speak not in an unknown tongue in company but in your own language and that as those of quality do and not as the vulgar; sublime matters treat seriously.
73. Think before you speak pronounce not imperfectly nor bring out your words too hastily but orderly & distinctly.
74. When another speaks be attentive your self and disturb not the audience if any hesitate in his words help him not nor prompt him without desired, interrupt him not, nor answer him till his speech be ended.
75. In the midst of discourse ask not of what one treateth but if you perceive any stop because of your coming you may well intreat him gently to proceed: if a person of quality comes in while your conversing it’s handsome to repeat what was said before.
76. While you are talking, point not with your finger at him of whom you discourse nor approach too near him to whom you talk especially to his face.
77. Treat with men at fit times about business & whisper not in the company of others.
78. Make no comparisons and if any of the company be commended for any brave act of virtue, commend not another for the same.
79. Be not apt to relate news if you know not the truth thereof. In discoursing of things you have heard, name not your author. Always a secret discover not.
80. Be not tedious in discourse or in reading unless you find the company pleased therewith.
81. Be not curious to know the affairs of others neither approach those that speak in private.
82. Undertake not what you cannot perform but be careful to keep your promise.
83. When you deliver a matter do it without passion & with discretion, however mean the person be you do it too.
84. When your superiors talk to any body hearken not neither speak nor laugh.
85. In company of these of higher quality than yourself speak not ’til you are ask’d a question then stand upright put of your hat & answer in few words.
86. In disputes, be not so desireous to overcome as not to give liberty to each one to deliver his opinion and submit to the judgment of the major part especially if they are judges of the dispute.
87. Let thy carriage be such as becomes a man grave settled and attentive to that which is spoken. contradict not at every turn what others say.
88. Be not tedious in discourse, make not many digressions, nor repeat often the same manner of discourse.
89. Speak not evil of the absent for it is unjust.
90. Being set at meat scratch not neither spit cough or blow your nose except there’s a necessity for it.
91. Make no show of taking great delight in your victuals, feed not with greediness; cut your bread with a knife, lean not on the table neither find fault with what you eat.
92. Take no salt or cut bread with your knife greasy.
93. Entertaining any one at table it is decent to present him with meat, undertake not to help others undesired by the master.
94. If you soak bread in the sauce let it be no more than what you put in your mouth at a time and blow not your broth at table but stay till cools of it self.
95. Put not your meat to your mouth with your knife in your hand neither spit forth the stones of any fruit pie upon a dish nor cast anything under the table.
96. It’s unbecoming to stoop much to ones meat keep your fingers clean & when foul wipe them on a corner of your table napkin.
97. Put not another bit into your mouth ’til the former be swallowed let not your morsels be too big for the jowls.
98. Drink not nor talk with your mouth full neither gaze about you while you are a drinking.
99. Drink not too leisurely nor yet too hastily. before and after drinking wipe your lips breath not then or ever with too great a noise, for its uncivil.
100. Cleanse not your teeth with the table cloth napkin fork or knife but if others do it let it be done with a pick tooth.
101. Rinse not your mouth in the presence of others.
102. It is out of use to call upon the company often to eat nor need you drink to others every time you drink.
103. In company of your betters be not longer in eating than they are lay not your arm but only your hand upon the table.
104. It belongs to the chiefest in company to unfold his napkin and fall to meat first, but he ought then to begin in time & to dispatch with dexterity that the slowest may have time allowed him.
105. Be not angry at table whatever happens & if you have reason to be so, show it not but on a cheerful countenance especially if there be strangers for good humor makes one dish of meat a feast.
106. Set not yourself at the upper of the table but if it be your due or that the master of the house will have it so, contend not, least you should trouble the company.
107. If others talk at table be attentive but talk not with meat in your mouth.
108. When you speak of God or his attributes, let it be seriously & with reverence. Honor & obey your natural parents altho’ they be poor.
109. Let your recreations be manfull not sinfull.
110. Labor to keep alive in your breast that little spark of celestial fire called