Constitution Alive Section Two – The Seeds Of Liberty Day Two: Our Constitution is still alive and applicable today! As citizens, we all have a duty to study the Constitution, to understand where our rights and our freedoms are laid out in that document, and how our government structure should work. The reason our government continues to overstep its boundaries is because “we the people” don’t know what those boundaries are! Tune in for day two of another segment from Constitution Alive as we talk about the seeds of liberty and lay the foundation for studying our Constitution and Declaration in later episodes.
Air Date: 03/05/2019
On-air Personalities: David Barton and Rick Green
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Faith And The Culture
Welcome to the intersection of faith and politics. This is WallBuilders Live with David Barton and Rick Green.
Our website – WallBuilders.com, WallBuildersLive.com, and today we’re going to give you a third one, ConstitutionAlive.com. There at ConstitutionAlive.com you’ll find out about the program you’re going to hear today. And if you were listening yesterday, that you heard yesterday, for the rest of the week actually. It’s a four part series.
We’re sharing with you free of charge section two out of Constitution Alive with David Barton and Rick Green. This is the section where we talk about the seeds of liberty, we lay the foundation for our Constitution and our Declaration. So that then later in the program of Constitution Alive we can dive into those specific clauses and sections of the Constitution and it’ll make sense why they did what they did and how to properly apply the Constitution today.
If you’re not familiar with Constitution Alive it’s a program where David Barton and I go back to the origins of the Constitution out in Philadelphia at Independence Hall in the very room where it took place. And then also in the WallBuilders library where David pulls those documents off the shelf and shares them with you there in the video. But we want to share it with you free of charge here to our WallBuilders Live listeners today as part two of a four part, or four programs if you will, four part series that will share this entire chapter out of Constitution Alive.
Let’s pick up right where we left off with Constitution Alive with David Barton Rick Green.
What If Rodney Doesn’t Get Back?!
But Rodney doesn’t get back by the time we take the vote again, independence is going to fail. So,, he sends a dispatch back to Delaware tells him find Caesar Rodney, tell Rodney to get back here, we’ve got to have him or independence fails. Rodney gets the message, gets on his horse, takes off, rides all night long. This is 80 miles, right, 80 miles from Delaware back.
Now, 80 miles, I know for us that doesn’t sound like much, right. Today, 80 miles is– if my wife’s driving that’s 30 minutes or so, that’s just not going to take that long. But back then 80 miles on horseback at night. Rodney had cancer of the face, he’s hitting branches, it’s a painful experience.
Rodney gets here, busts through those doors just in time to cast a tie breaking vote for Delaware. Delaware goes from being a 1-1 tie to be in 2 to 1 for independents. And, in fact, Cesar Rodney’s pin, the actual quill that he used, is sitting right there on that desk. That’s the pin that he used to sign the Declaration of Independence.
Well, you say, “Okay, fine, Rick. That’s Rodney. That takes care of Delaware.” And, by the way, I don’t know if you collect the quarters from each state, but if you get the one from Delaware, on the back of that quarter they chose to put Caesar Rodney. Why? Because of his midnight ride to save independence.
So, that takes care Delaware. What about Pennsylvania? Well, Pennsylvania had initially been four of them against independence, three of them for independence. So, that means that we lose. This happens in politics all the time. When the opposition is not in the room. Take the vote, man. Get the vote done before they get back!
Well, that’s kind of what happened – two of your guys against independence, they either left, we don’t know for sure if they left or they just said, “We’re staying silent and deciding not to vote.” But Pennsylvania went from being 4-3 against independence to being 3-2 for independence. South Carolina completely flipped their entire vote. And there you have it. That’s how close we were to not getting our independence.
The Force Behind
I don’t know about you, I’m not a huge fan of the HBO special on John Adams. I love the first two episodes, but later I just felt like they portrayed him as just, I don’t know, just kind of like a sour puss, really. He’s always jealous of Washington, and he doesn’t care about his kids, they never talked about his faith. I just didn’t like the way they ended up portraying later on.
But in those first two episodes when they portrayed what happened in here they really captured it, I think. They captured how close these guys were, and you saw kind of the wrangling back and forth, and the negotiating, and the trying to convince each other of what to do. And it did show, I think, accurately that John Adams was really the force behind the whole thing. Without him we would’ve never had independence.
Have you ever wanted to learn more about the United States Constitution but just felt like, man, the classes are boring or it’s just that old language from 200 years ago or I don’t know where to start? People want to know. But it gets frustrating because you don’t know where to look for truth about the Constitution either.
Well, we’ve got a special program for you available now called Constitution Alive with David Barton and Rick Green. It’s actually a teaching done on the Constitution at Independence Hall in the very room where the Constitution was framed. We take you both to Philadelphia, the Cradle of Liberty and Independence Hall and to the WallBuilders’ library where David Barton brings the history to life to teach the original intent of our Founding Fathers.
We call it the QuickStart guide to the Constitution because in just a few hours through these videos you will learn the Citizen’s Guide to America’s Constitution. You’ll learn what you need to do to help save our Constitutional Republic. It’s fun! It’s entertaining! And it’s going to inspire you to do your part to preserve freedom for future generations. It’s called Constitution Alive with David Barton and Rick Green. You can find out more information on our website now at WallBuilders.com.
A Great Warning
We were very close not to having independence and not only was independence itself really miraculous in the way that things came together, but the Revolutionary War itself, throughout the war, Washington and others talked about how the wind came up at just the right time, the fog came in at just the right time – over, and over, and over, again they said Divine Providence intervened on behalf of the Americans.
So, they brought to life the words of the Declaration, they managed to free a nation, and then George Mason gave us sort of a challenge. And Mason, of course, was in here for the Constitution. He was one of the 55 that framed the Constitution, not one of the 39 to sign.
And I bet somebody in this room could tell me – what was his objection? Once they finished the Constitution why did he say, “I’m not signing?” Help me out. Yes! That’s exactly right – The Bill of Rights. No Bill of Rights. He wanted those guarantees, those individual protections. Actually, three of the guys that refused to sign for that very reason and he actually is known today as the Father of the Bill of Rights.
So, Mason, though, he gave us a great warning. So, here he is, champion of the Bill of Rights, he gave us a great warning about our freedoms that these guys put in place. He said, “No free government, nor the blessings of liberty, can be preserved to any people but by a frequent recurrence two fundamental principles.” Now, to me, that means you can’t just learn it once – you’ve got to constantly come back and remind yourself what are the principles that made great.
So, that’s, again, what we’re doing. We’re going back to these founding documents for that “frequent recurrence” of those principles what were the ideas these guys put in place. I call the Declaration of Independence, or at least the first two paragraphs, the “frame of America”. In my mind, in my way of thinking, those were the principles. If you go to that part of the Declaration, you’ll find the frame for our picture.
And you might have a different picture that you would throw up on the screen here. But if you could picture freedom, if you could take some picture of your family, or your schools, or your community, or your churches, whatever it might be, and put that picture inside the frame of America, know this – if that frame goes, then your picture is going with it, my picture is going with it. That frame is what’s holding it all together. Those principles they put in place, that’s why we’re free.
Keep The Frame
And if we lose that frame, if we allow that frame to be destroyed, or transformed, or changed, into something that they didn’t give us, then we’re going to lose the picture and we’re going to have a very different America than we were given. So, it’s important for us to remember the frame and remember what the principles are in the Declaration of Independence.
And I’m going to actually ask for a little bit of help here tonight. I’m going to get one of my sons to come up and share with us those principles out of the Declaration of Independence. He’s going to share with you the first two paragraphs and then he’s going to describe what those precious 56 words in the second paragraph, what they really mean and what they gave us in America.
So, you all help me welcome Rhett Green. He’s going to come up and join us. Come on up, buddy. Come on in. He’s even more nervous about crossing this rail than I was. Alright, Rhett, let’s come right back here. There’s your spot.
Now, you are standing in the very spot where the guys that wrote the language that you’re about to share with us, where they debated it, where they came up with it, where they adopted it. So, this is a pretty historic occasion. I want you to share the first paragraph where Jefferson actually is telling us, “Hey, here’s why we’re going to tell the whole world what we’re doing.” And then the 56 words, and then give us a little description of those 56 words. Go ahead, buddy.
“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.
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. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”
Four Basic Principles
In the words of the Declaration, there are four basic principles that make up the frame of America. First, the founding fathers became the basic idea that truth is real, it is obvious and it does not change. Second, they made it clear that God is the source of freedom. Like the Declaration says, our rights don’t come from elected or appointed officials, they come from God Almighty.
Third, the just powers of government can only come from the consent of the governed. That’s you and me. The word “consent” is used three times in the Declaration and 11 times in Constitution. Obviously, our Founding Fathers didn’t want the government use of power without our consent. They wanted us to always remember the government’s use of power without our consent is tyranny.
Now, our last part of the frame is the pursuit of happiness. This is the free enterprise system that made America the most successful nation in history. Thomas Jefferson once said, “A wise and free will government shall leave men free to regulate their own pursuit and ensure improvement and shall not take from the mouth of labor bread it has earned. This is the sum of good government.”
Now, let’s all do our part to preserve those four principles.
Hey, all your patriots out there that would like to see more Americans study the Constitution and understand the source of their freedom. How do you get people to pay attention to patriotism, the Constitution, the importance of being good citizens. Well, the answer is two words: Brad Stine. You make it fun, you make it fun to learn.
My friends, this is Rick Green from WallBuilders live, and Brad and I are bringing the comedy and constitution tour to you. We’re doing a live stream across the nation on March 23rd, 2019. Visit ConstitutionCoach.com, and you can sign up to bring this program to your church. You can stream it into your home or your local club. However you’d like to bring it. It’s an opportunity for you to bring the Comedy Constitution to your community, which will fire people up to study the Constitution. It’ll educate, entertain, equip, and inspire folks to accept protect and purposely pass the torch of freedom. Check it out today at ConstitutionCoach.com.
Without This It Just Won’t Work
Alright, our nine year old scholar on the Declaration of Independence. We’ve got to do something about these shy, poorly socialized, homeschoolers, I guess.
Anyway, okay, so I’m just going to touch on one quick thing about each of those things that Rhett was just sharing with you because I think it’s obvious sometimes when we say it today, “truths”, that we forget what these guys we’re comparing that to around the world. In other words, when we say “truths” today we mean, obviously, moral absolutes, right and wrong, that there is a right and wrong. It’s always right to do right, it’s always wrong to do wrong.
Put yourself back in their shoes in their day and what those words meant. For instance, George Washington put it this way, he said, “Of all the habits and dispositions which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports.” So, he’s saying that if you’re going to have a formula that works, if you’re going to have a nation that’s successful, of all the pieces of that formula that you put in there, you’ve got to have religion and morality. And without those two it’s just not going to work.
And a lot of my friends are always saying, “Well, Rick, I’m into liberty, I’m into freedom, but don’t mention God, don’t bring the Bible into this, don’t do–” They don’t want any that. They say, “Hey, I can be a patriot without that.” And I say, “Well, yeah, that’s probably true, but George Washington would have disagreed.
Washington actually said, “In vain would that man claim the tribute of patriotism that would work to subvert, or labor to subvert, these great pillars.” What pillars? Religion and morality. Why is he saying that? Because when he’s giving that speech, he’s watching the French Revolution take place.
With God, Not Without
So, you see, the American Revolution was was based on the idea of right and wrong and freedom or liberty under God. Liberty with God. The French Revolution was the opposite. The French Revolution was liberty without God. It was all about everybody do whatever is right in their own eyes. It’s just two different philosophies. Theirs led to chaos, it led to the guillotine, it led to destruction. Ours led to the greatest nation in the history of the world.
So, there was something special about our formula and Washington was saying, “You can’t have liberty without morality. You can’t have morality without religion.” You’ve got to keep those things in who you are. That God’s at the center of our equation of freedom.
So, as we work to preserve freedom, or as some today say, like Jefferson, that you need a good revolution. In our situation, we just need a freedom revolution. We just need more actions by our citizens just participating, voting, being a part of the process. We don’t have to revolt with bullets we get to revolt with ballots. What a wonderful system. These guys laid their lives on the line so we wouldn’t have to do it that way.
So, we want revolution, yes, no question about it. Constantly having a revolution of freedom in our nation. Here’s the deal though. We don’t want the French kind, okay? So, we don’t want to try freedom without God. We want to make sure it’s freedom recognizing there’s something bigger than us. That I’m not the end all be all. You’re not the end all be all.
I mentioned on the break my friend Zig Ziglar. Zig told me one time, he said, “Rick, I know three things – I know there is a God, I know I’m not Him, and neither are you.” He thought I was getting a little too big for my britches, I guess. But, so, we need to remember that. We need to remember that we’re not the end all be all.
And that’s, I think, what these guys were saying. It wasn’t that you had to worship the same way I do, or be of the same faith that I was. But it was a recognition that there is a Creator in this equation of freedom. And that’s why, I think, Jefferson had those important words in the Declaration that we are in fact endowed by our Creator – not by our commissioner, or our president, or our government, but we’re endowed by our Creator. And that was the distinction, really.
Back In Their Shoes
I think what Jefferson was trying to say there was, “Hey, we’re not going to be like Europe or anywhere else on the planet.” Because if you were, again, back in their shoes, if you went back to their day, when these guys came in this room in 1776 and adopted this Declaration, every model of government around the planet was different from what they were putting forth.
Every model of government on the whole planet look kind of like this – it said that power and freedom comes from God, but it goes to the king, it goes to the to the monarch, and then the monarch decides how much freedom we the people get. So, everything in our life really depended upon our relationship to the king. If you didn’t have a good relationship you didn’t have much at all.
These guys in this room did something nobody had ever done. They flipped that on its head. They totally turned that around and they said, “No, no, we believe freedom comes from God, no doubt. That’s the source of our rights and our source of freedom. But we believe that that freedom from God goes directly to the people. And then we the people, we give power to government only as we see fit.”
Just like Rhett was saying – consent of the governed. The only just powers the government come from the consent of the governed. So, what would Jefferson and these guys put in place was a system that says there’s freedom granted by God, there’s rights granted, and it goes directly to us and then we give power to government only for one reason – to protect and secure the freedom that God gave us.
So, that creates a totally different different atmosphere because if these guys didn’t give us our freedom, if government didn’t give us our freedom, government can’t take it away. If your neighbor is not the one that gave you freedom then your neighbor can’t take it away. See, I love the fact that these guys said there’s equal protection for all because it comes from a higher source. And if we take that piece of the puzzle out of the equation we have no true freedom. We’ve got to keep that piece in.
Liberty Under God
So, let’s not forget that and let’s make sure that it’s liberty under God – not liberty without God. And that didn’t change with the Constitution. That was the philosophy behind the Declaration for sure, but even when they came in and did the Constitution itself.
Could you imagine the things these guys were fighting about? They pretty much gave up about five weeks into this thing. And here they were debating over, “Okay, we throw the Articles of Confederation out, we start over, how are we going to sell that to the American people?” Big state versus small state, back and forth, back and forth. Finally people start coming with their plans. They can’t seem to find a plan they really agree on.
Slavery and the Three Fifths Compromise, they fought about that for a while. And I always thought when I read that that a Three Fifths Compromise, that the Three Fifths Compromise language, was devaluing a human being. That it was saying that person was only worth three fifths of a person.
And then I read this guy Frederick Douglass. I don’t if you’ve read much of Frederick Douglass. Great abolitionist. Amazing guy. You talk about somebody that God used in a mighty way. Incredible guy. Read Frederick Douglass. And Douglass said– he thought the same thing. He said, “That’s devaluing me as a black man.” He said, “I don’t like that.”
The Slavery Debate
Then he went and he read the debates that took place right here in this room. And he said, “When I read those debates I figured out, no, that was actually the northern states punishing the southern states and saying, ‘Hey, if you’re going to keep slavery we’re going to decrease your representation in Congress. You’re not going to get as many members of Congress as long as you’ve got slavery. Now, once you get rid of slavery, you free everybody, you let everybody vote, you let everybody participate, you let everybody have freedom, you’ll get the same amount of representation in Congress that we have.’” That’s what that was all about.
But, man, they went back and forth, talked about property and what it meant. And you really had some some strong anti slavery guys in here trying to end slavery from the beginning. Obviously, we didn’t accomplish that and it took a hundred years and a lot of bloodshed to get it right. But a lot of these guys were on the right side of that argument from day one.
So, anyway, you had all these fights going on, you get about five weeks in, and people started leaving. They just started giving up saying, “It’s just not going to happen. We’re not going to reach an agreement. So, people started leaving.”
Moment From American History:
This is David Barton with another moment from America’s history. In the case Lee versus Wiseman the Supreme Court ruled that for an adult to mention the word, “God” at a public graduation, constituted both psychological and religious coercion against his students.
Yet, consider the actions of William Samuel Johnson, a signer of the Constitution, and one of America’s leading educators who served as the first president of Columbia College. At his graduation exercises William Samuel Johnson declared to the students, “You this day have received a public education. The purpose whereof had been to qualify you better to serve your Creator and your country. Your first great duties, your sensible, are those you owe to heaven, to your Creator and Redeemer.”
Founding Father William Samuel Johnson believed that a public graduation was an appropriate setting to remind students of the duties which they owed God. For more information on God’s hand in American history. Contact WallBuilders at 1 800 8 REBUILD.
This Man Saved The Day
This man right here gets up to save the day. Benjamin Franklin who sat right here by where I’m talking. The sage, the wise man of the conviction. He was 81, 81 when he sat there doing those Constitutional debates. And I have trouble even wrapping my head around that. I used to think 81 was old, I don’t think that anymore, it’s getting younger and younger.
In fact, I was with a congressman doing an event a while back and he had just turned 81. He was my congressman when I was growing up. When I went to high school he was my congressman. He’s still in Congress, so he’s been there a little while. But he had just turned 81 before this event that we were doing, just a week or two before.
So, he gets up there to introduce me after he does his thing and he says, “Rick–”, he said, “I bet you think 81’s old.” He said, “Let me tell you something. I just turned 81 last week.” And he said, “I went to Senator Strom Thurmond’s 100 year birthday party.” He said, “At that party, Thurmond looked over me and said, ‘Oh, to be 80 again.’” So, I think I think 81 today is still young – wouldn’t you agree with that?!
Alright, so 81 today is young. Not for these guys, alright. Average lifespan in their day, in their time, was thirty five. This guy’s 81, he’s the elder statesman and probably the most respected guy here. When he spoke, everybody was going to listen. So, he decides he’s going to try to save the day. He’s going to try to keep this thing going, keep these guys together. He stands up, gives his longest speech of the convention, it’s June 28 is when this happens on June 28, 1787 right here.
He stands up and he says, “Mr. President, the small progress we’ve made after four or five weeks close attendance and continual reasons with each other, our different sentiments on almost every question is, me thinks, a melancholy proof of the imperfection of the human understanding.”
The Wisdom In That Room
Now, look, I am a country boy, I’ll just tell you, from Dripping Springs, Texas and I have to try to make this stuff work for country boy language. I think what he just said is, “We ain’t smart enough.” He said, “We don’t have the brainpower to solve these huge problems.” He’s saying, “Even with this brain trust in this room, some of the greatest minds on the planet, we cannot do this on our own.”, is what he was saying.
So, then he goes on to explain what they’d been debating. He said, “We indeed seem to feel our own want of political wisdom since we’ve been running about in search of it. We’ve gone back to ancient times, and models of government, and examined those different forms of those republics which now no longer exist.”
They even looked at Europe, but look at the response when they looked at Europe I love this. He said, “We’ve viewed modern states all around Europe, but find none of their Constitution suitable to our circumstances.” I just wish our leaders in Washington would still look to Europe and go, “No, that didn’t work for us.” There was a lot of wisdom in this room and they looked at Europe and said, “We don’t want to be like them, right? We want to be our own.”
Anyway, so he goes on to say, “In this situation of this assembly, groping, as it were, in the dark to find political truth and scarce able to distinguish it when presented to us, how has it happened, sir, that we have not hitherto once thought of humbly applying to the Father of lights to illuminate our understanding?” So Benjamin Franklin stands up and says to these guys after five weeks of debate, “Hey, time out. We’re trying to solve the biggest problems in the world and we haven’t yet gone to God and said, ‘Would you please help us out? We can’t do this on our own.’”
Time For A History Lesson
So, then he gives them a history lesson and I think it’s interesting that only eleven years into being a nation we needed a history lesson already. I don’t know about you. Most of you probably loved history – I hated history when I was in high school and college. Had no interest in what happened 200 years ago. I was a kid, I’m kind of a type A person, my wife says I’m type AAA., I tend to go a hundred miles an hour. So, I’m thinking about tomorrow, the next year, one hundred years from now. I didn’t want to think about yesterday.
We’re out of time for today, folks. That was part two and a four part series here on WallBuilders Live where we are sharing with you an entire chapter out of Constitution Alive with David Barton and Rick Green.
If you tuned in today for the first time, Constitution Alive isn’t an entire course on the Constitution. We call it the quick start guide to the Constitution because in about 12 hours you get a crash course on the Constitution, the Founding principles upon which the Constitution was built, and a complete teaching on how to apply the Constitution today, how to hold public servants accountable, how to restore our Constitutional principles, and get back to those basics, and once again become a strong Constitutional republic.
Constitution Alive Section Two – The Seeds Of Liberty Day Two
It’s all in there on Constitution Alive with David Barton and Rick Green. You can find out more at ConstitutionAlive.com, but we’re sharing with you this week section 2, or chapter two, if you will, out of that program. It’s called the Seeds of Liberty and this is where we lay the foundation before we get into the specific clauses, and phrases, and different areas articles, and amendments, of the Constitution. So, we’re sharing with you here on WallBuilders Live.
It’s a four part series, today we got part two. It’s going to take two more programs to share that entire chapter with you. So, be sure and tune in tomorrow and the next day and all four parts are going to be available right there on our website at WallBuildersLive.com. So, don’t miss tomorrow. We’ll pick up right where we left off today with Constitution Alive with David Barton and Rick Green.
Appreciate you listening today to WallBuilders Live.