Declaration Of Arms, It’s Purpose And Why It Was Created: It’s Foundations of Freedom Thursday, a special day of the week where we get to answer questions from you, the listeners! Tune in today as we answer your questions such as what is the purpose of the Declaration of Arms, does the Constitution support women’s suffrage, truths about women’s rights, and so much more, right here on WallBuilders Live! This episode was recorded on May 8th, 2014. We hope you enjoy reminiscing this podcast as much as we did!
Air Date: 07/13/2017
Guests: David Barton, Rick Green, and Tim Barton
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Transcription note: As a courtesy for our listeners’ enjoyment, we are providing a transcription of this podcast. However, as this is transcribed from a live talk show, words and sentence structure were not altered to fit grammatical, written norms in order to preserve the integrity of the actual dialogue between the speakers. Additionally, names may be misspelled or we might use an asterisk to indicate a missing word because of the difficulty in understanding the speaker at times. We apologize in advance.
This episode was recorded on May 8th, 2014. We hope you enjoy reminiscing this podcast as much as we did!
President Thomas Jefferson said, “ I know no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves. And if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion the remedy is not to take it from them but to inform their discretion by education. This is the true corrective of abuses of constitutional power.”
Welcome to the intersection of faith and politics, this is WallBuilders Live! Thanks for joining us today! Visit us online at WallBuilders.com and WallBuildersLive.com. It’s Thursday so it’s Foundations of Freedom Thursday.
I’m Rick Green, here with David Barton, and that means we’re going to be talking about the Constitution, the Declaration, the founding documents, and the principles upon which our nation was built.
Americans Are Getting Historically Literate
We’re going to be taking your questions. David, Thursdays are always great because we get to look to the past to find out what made America so great and protect that greatness going into the future.
I love these because, as we’ve commented, over the recent years we’re getting stronger and stronger questions and more and more depth into our history. It used to be really simple stuff because Americans knew so little about who we were. We teach our history so abysmally in government schools that we don’t even know what’s going on.
It is really striking that the kind of questions we’re getting really do indicate a depth. And it’s not like the questions are, “Let’s stump the host” kind of stuff. This is, “Hey, I was reading, and I just saw this document, I wondered about this, I saw a Professor say this, and I saw something on the History Channel say this.”
So it really is good that people are paying attention, they’re watching, and some of this stuff just doesn’t pass the smell test, it doesn’t feel right, and so they ask. It’s really been wonderful these last couple of years just on the way that the questions that we get indicate the growth that’s happening in the nation I think that’s wonderful.
It’s fantastic and it really is a sign of that Josiah moment where everybody’s saying, “Hey, I’m beginning to learn who we were as a nation and beginning to see the transformation that is taking place. I don’t like where the country is headed. So I’m willing to do some homework and figure out how to get our nation turned around.”
Great question, it’s a very new topic for us, from Jeremy Gordon one of our listeners. He said, “I recently read the Declaration of Arms. It was written a year before the Declaration of Independence. I like what it said but I don’t understand what its purpose was and what this document was for.”
So, David, most people probably have never heard of this one. It’s actually pretty interesting just to find out who was responsible for it and what was going on at the time. So what is the Declaration of Arms?
This question is exactly one of those we’re talking about. Because this is a really significant founding document. And I don’t know that in reviewing textbooks over the last number of years that I’ve even seen this document mentioned in those textbooks. But it is a really significant document.
Why Are There More Signers Of The Declaration In Paintings
The people involved with it are very significant people. For example, I just got back last night from three days in Washington, D.C. just met with a bunch of Congressman and we were over in the Capitol. People look at that picture in the Rotunda of the Capitol of the presenting of the Declaration of Independence to Congress. They often say, “That is the signers of the declaration.” Yeah, kind but not really.
There are a half a dozen guys in that picture that John Trouble painted into the picture. John Trouble knew these guys. His father was the governor of Connecticut. He was General George Washington’s aide de camp in the Revolution. He knew these guys, these were like photographs if you will because he knew them.
He put several people in there around the Declaration of Independence that did not sign that document. And you’re going, “Why would he do that? Did he not know who signed?” Of course, he knew who signed.
But you have one of the five guys who was assigned to help write the Declaration. You have Robert Livingston, I mean, there he is at the table laying the Declaration on the table to Congress, the committee of five.
He didn’t sign the document, and it’s not because he didn’t support it because he voted for it. But one of the things that a lot of people don’t recognize is when they voted for this on the 4th of July and approved the wording in the Declaration they didn’t sign it then. Only two folks signed it at that point in time.
Those two folks were John Hancock the President of Congress and Charles Thompson the secretary of Congress. It wasn’t until the 17th of July that they made a motion, “Hey, why don’t we all get a really big one and we can all put our names on it?” And they loved it.
So the second of August they signed it. Well, in the meantime, Robert Livingston from New York approved the Declaration, he helped write the Declaration, he voted for the Declaration, but he didn’t sign it because his State of New York calls him home and says, “We need you to head up the entire judicial system in New York. Now that we’re no longer a British colony, now that we’re a free independent American colony we need to start our own American judicial system and you’re the head of it.” So he had to head on home.
Another guy from New York, same thing. Over on the left side of that famous picture is a guy named George Clinton and he voted for it. And he’s a strong supporter of the Declaration but he never got to sign it because New York again called him home and said, “Hey, we want you to get the entire military set up in our new state.
We’ve had British stuff, now, you’re the head so you take this.” Several guys like that.
One of the guys that appears there is the guy over on the right side of that famous painting and it’s a guy named John Dickinson who is very prominently featured there but he didn’t sign the Declaration and he didn’t vote for the Declaration. He didn’t want to separate from Great Britain, he thought it might come. And by the way, once it did come, he became a general in the Revolutionary Army. General under George Washington.
So, he clearly is not anti-American in this but he didn’t think it was the right time for the Declaration. He still thought there were other things we could and should be doing. And so he helped move us to that point.
And one of the ways he helped move us to that point is this question that has been asked on this Declaration of the Causes and Necessity of Taking Up Arms. He is one of the primary authors of this. And this was done almost a year to the day before the Declaration of Independence. It was done on the 6th of July 1775. So it is a really significant document that we can talk about when we come back.
Alright, we are going to take a quick break, we’ll be back to learn more about this one. Thanks to Jeremy Gordon for great question, by the way. Stay with us here on WallBuilders Live.
John Adams Said, “ Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly and adequate to the government, of any other.”
Moment From American History
This is David Barton with another moment from America’s history. Our Founding Fathers, despite their common love for America, did not always agree with each other in politics. Such was the case between John and Samuel Adams. John was a leader of the Federalist Party and Samuel was the leader of the Anti-Federalist Party.
Consequently, political disagreements were not unusual between these two. On October the 4th 1790, Sam wrote John and told him, “Let ministers and philosophers, statesmen and Patriots, unite their endeavors to renovate the age by educating their little boys and girls and leading them in the study and practice of the exalted virtues of the Christian system.”
Two weeks later John wrote back and told Samuel that on this issue they both agreed. While these two prominent Founding Fathers disagreed on much they both agreed on the importance of education the next generation in the principles of Christianity. For more information on God’s hand in American history contact WallBuilders at 1-800-8 REBUILD.
The Purpose Of The Declaration Of Arms
Abraham Lincoln said, “We the people are the rightful masters of both Congress and the courts. Not to overthrow the Constitution, but to overthrow the men who pervert the Constitution.”
Welcome back to WallBuilders Live! If we’re going to overthrow men that are perverting the Constitution we have to know those founding principles. We actually had a question today here on Foundations of Freedom Thursday about a document before the Constitution and before the Declaration of Independence.
The Declaration of Arms written a year before the Declaration. David, before the break you were telling us about how that there were guys in the painting of the signing of the Declaration that didn’t actually sign. One of those gentlemen, John Dickinson, you were talking about.
Yeah, Dickinson was a significant figure. He with Thomas Jefferson really kind of authored this document, The Declaration of the Causes and Necessity of Taking Up Arms. If you take that title and reduce it you’re saying, “Here are the reasons, here are the causes, and here’s why we would be required to take up arms.” This is sent to the British ministry. This is sent to the crown himself, to King George the Third.
This is sent to all the officials in Great Britain because that is our government. I mean, we are still British citizens at this point. None of the colonies would have voted for separation from Great Britain.
So in this document, they do what they’ve been doing all along. I think they made some bad assumptions here as it turned out. But they made it with the right attitude. What they do is they say look, we are in a situation where that we have certain guarantees and written down rights that come to us as British citizens.
We have the Magna Carta, we have a British Bill of Rights, we have certain guarantees, they go to every Briton. Every person in Britain gets these guarantees. And what we’re finding is that we’re being denied the exercise of these guarantees.
It would be the same today as if we said, “Hey, the government is violating the Bill of Rights. We have a right to keep and bear arms. We have a right to freedom of speech. We have a right to freedom of religion. It’s a government that is violating this.” That’s where people get upset and that’s exactly where they were.
So this said that, “You have now sent your own troops against us. We had the Boston Massacre were you fired on our guys. We had Lexington and Concord where you sent 700 British troops and we only had 70 at Lexington and you attacked us there and shot 18 of us. And so we have these written guarantees that come with our nation it’s our written documents and you’re sending troops over here and forcing a violation of what is written. You can’t do that.”
So what they lay out in this is that, “We think King George the Third is still a good king. We support him. We want to be British citizens, we want to be part of Great Britain, but we think that there are some people in the crown ministry.” That’s kind of like our Cabinet secretaries.
“We believe there are people in the crown ministry that are really corrupt around him and they’re doing things that violate the written laws that we have in Britain and we don’t think the King knows about it. So we want to tell the king what’s going on.”
So they send us documents, really directed to King George the Third.
It would be people like Lord North and some of those others, the foreign secretary that we’re very hard-fisted toward America. And so what they’re doing is that, “We’re going to take up arms and we’re going to fight for our rights.” That’s what we had to do at Lexington, that’s what we had to do at Concord.
“We’ll do this. We’re not starting this. We want it to end and we’re appealing to the king. But we’re just telling you that we will defend our rights. If you come after us the same way you did at Lexington and Concord, we’ll do that. But we don’t want to separate. We want this reconciled. King, you need to know you’ve got some bad guys around you.”
So that’s the essence of what they’re saying. There is a cause and necessity for taking up arms.
“We do this reluctantly, we’re not looking to start a revolution. We don’t want a revolution. We like being British citizens, we want to continue to be that.” But as it turns out, King George the Third was fully caught in on what was going on.
So their appeal really kind of fell on deaf ears. They did this, they sent the olive branch petition not long afterward also saying, “Hey we want to reconcile and it was the king who really had the hard heart on this thing and who wanted to answer by sending 25,000 British troops.”
So that’s the importance of this document that’s important to John Dickinson. Dickinson still thought there was a way we could reconcile which is why he didn’t sign the Declaration. He’s willing to stand up and defend, as I mentioned, once we signed the Declaration he jumps wholeheartedly on board. He becomes a revolutionary general, he becomes the governor of two states, the governor of Delaware and the governor of Pennsylvania.
So he’s a great patriot but he and Thomas Jefferson did this document and it’s worth everyone reading this document because it is a precursor to the Declaration. But it sets the right tone and attitude. And for folks out there who say, “God could never bless the American Revolution because it was an act of rebellion disobedience and defiance.”
That just proves they haven’t read documents like this which set forth a totally different tone.
And he was involved from the beginning to the end of the whole revolution period, wasn’t he? He helped draft the Articles of Confederation, he signed the Constitution, right? He was a big part of that. And it actually even provided some of the language for the First Amendment, is that right?
Letters From A Pennsylvania Farmer
Yeah, well, he did. Back in 1768, he’s already writing national letters. Letters from a Pennsylvania Farmer that were really huge. That’s after we’ve gone through the stamp act controversy. Here come the intolerable acts, and here come the quartering acts, next come all these British acts are taken away more and more rights.
So he writes Letters from a Pennsylvania Farmer. We actually have the originals of those and he writes those letters explaining, “No, guys, we’ve got to stand up for our rights, we are British citizens, these are British guaranteed rights. These are rights written down. You can’t allow anyone to violate these.”
He’s been in this thing for a number of years and we just don’t know much about John Dickinson today. But he is a great hero great, great patriot.
We’ve got to take a very quick break Jeremy Gordon, thank you for your question about the Declaration of Arms, hope a lot of folks out there- I learned a lot right there and I hope you did as well. We’ve got another question coming at you on Foundations of Freedom Thursday when we return here on WallBuildersLive.
Thomas Jefferson said, “ In questions of power then let no more be heard of confidence in the man that bind him down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution.”
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.
Does The Constitution Support Women’s Suffrage
Thomas Jefferson said, “The Constitution of most of our states and of the United States asserts that all power is inherent in the people that they may exercise it by themselves that it is their right and duty to be at all times armed. That they are entitled to freedom of person, freedom of religion, freedom of property, and freedom of press.”
Welcome back to WallBuilders Live! Its Foundations of Freedom Thursday so we’re diving into your questions about our Founding Fathers and our founding documents. Next question comes from Britain Croft and it’s about women’s suffrage.
“Hello, Mr. Barton and Mr. Green. Women’s suffrage is confusing to me. I don’t believe our nation’s framers were so sexist that women were not given the right to vote. In my study of the Constitution, I haven’t seen anything suggesting that women can’t vote. What I believe was the case focused more on a Biblical principle, a house divided cannot stand. Not that women did not have the right to vote it’s more that the husband’s vote was supposed to represent that household. That is, how the husband voted is where the family stood on those issues. Would you mind addressing this in one of your programs? I just don’t believe that they were sexist as we told today. I really want to know the truth so I can share it with friends and family who have discussed it in the past.”
Great question David, I don’t know the answer to this one. I always jokingly say that women’s suffrage was actually because the men were suffering because they wouldn’t let the wives vote and therefore they said, “Yes ma’am.” But going all the way back to the Founding era, what do you think about that? Was it really the husband’s vote was the vote for the whole house?
This is a brilliant question because it does not assume that the way things are today is the way things were then. And she’s exactly right. The family was the first and the fundamental unit of all government. Actually, you have individual self-government first, then you have family government second, then you have civil government third, and you have church government fourth. Those are the four levels of government in the order they are given in the Bible.
So family government precedes civil government. And you watch that as colonists came to America they voted by families. If you look at the Pilgrims, when they finally moved away from socialism and moved toward that free enterprise system they called the families together and gave families plots of land. Private property was given to the families. So that’s the way things worked.
You have to remember back then, husband and wife, the two are considered one. That is the Biblical precept, that’s the way they looked at them in the civil community. That is a family that is voting.
The head of the family was traditionally considered to be the husband and even Biblically still continues to be so. And in happy homes today the husband is still the head of the home although he has learned to say, “Yes, dear. Happy wife is a happy life.” Phil Robertson, happy, happy, happy, all that.
The husband is still the head of the family but not and the theocratic kind of a mold or aristocratic or any kind of a tyrannical or despotic mold. That’s just where God put the responsibility. As we’ve often said, in military every individual military has an equal worth, equal value, it’s just that some hold different ranks than others and that doesn’t mean they’re worth more than someone.
Someone that is a sergeant is not worth more than someone that’s a private. He has a different rank but they’re equally important. And so that was the position they held.
What Happened After No Fault Divorce
Now, because of that, you have to understand that family unit was so secure that in following the Biblical and traditional principles you didn’t break up the family.
So we talked today about somebody gets really frustrated they’ll say, “Oh, it will take an act of Congress to do that.” Well, that’s what it took to break up a family back then. It literally took an act of the legislature to get a divorce.
Divorce is so easy today. It’s been so easy since no-fault divorce went in back in the 60s for any reason, for no reason, you can separate today. But not back then, it took an act of the legislature and it had to be such a significant breach in the home that the legislature was willing to recognize that and allow the divorce.
The legislature looked at it because the Bible only gives just a handful of causes for divorce. And if it wasn’t one of those causes, it wasn’t one of those Biblical reasons the Bible allowed, then the legislature didn’t do it. So she’s thinking right in terms of thinking, “Well, this is a family.”
The other thing that stands out in voting is – not only did they vote as families but property ownership was really significant. And I’ll tell you why that’s important for men and women when we come back.
We’re gonna take a quick break, stay with us folks on Foundations of Freedom Thursday here on WallBuilders Live!
Abraham Lincoln said, “We the people are the rightful masters of both Congress and the courts. Not to overthrow the Constitution, but to overthrow the men who pervert the Constitution.”
Bring A Speaker To Your Area
Hey, this is Tim Barton with WallBuilders. And as you’ve had the opportunity to listen to WallBuilders Live, you’ve probably heard a wealth of information about our nation, about our spiritual heritage, about the religious liberties, and about all the things that make America exceptional. And you might be thinking, “As incredible as this information is, I wish there was a way that I could get one of the WallBuilders guys to come to my area and share with my group.”
Whether it be a church, whether it be a Christian school, or public school, or some political event, or activity, if you’re interested in having a WallBuilders speaker come to your area, you can get on our website at www.WallBuilders.com and there’s a tab for scheduling. If you’ll click on that tab, you’ll notice there’s a list of information from speakers bio’s, to events that are already going on. And there’s a section where you can request an event, to bring this information about who we are, where we came from, our religious liberties, and freedoms. Go to the WallBuilders website and Bring a speaker to your area.
Only Property Owners Could Vote
President Calvin Coolidge said, “The more I study the Constitution, the more I realize that no other document devised by the hand of man has brought so much progress and happiness to humanity. To live under the American Constitution is the greatest political privilege that was ever accorded to the human race.”
No doubt about it! Welcome back to WallBuilders Live. Great quote by Coolidge. By the way, not only a great privilege for men but as Brooks and Dunn would say in their song and women too.
David, I think this question is right. There’s nowhere in the Constitution it says only men can vote. In fact, the issue is not brought up until the 19th amendment that says you can’t discriminate based on sex.
You’re saying back in the Founding Era it was basically the family unit. What about some of the colonies actually allowed women to vote all the way back in the 1790’s, right? Well, before that, back in the 1640’s.
It was all was based on the fact that the family unit is represented. So to vote you had to be a family unit and you had to also own property because again they were not going to let non-property owning people vote on what property owning people should do with their property.
I wish we still did that.
Exactly. Since so much income comes from property taxes for most states, to allow people who don’t own any property to tell what you guys who do own property, here’s what you’re going to pay for me, and I want this program-
And a regulator, right? To tell you what you can do with it.
Women Had More Rights Than We Are Told
And to regulate property. So they wanted you to have skin in the game, if you didn’t have skin in the game you’re not voting. So what they did was they established different procedures.
But because there were single women who might own land they could vote because you’re looking at a family unit. For example, you go back into the 1640s you have Margaret Brent and Marilyn who were already voting back in the 1640s, she’s a landowner. She actually was also an attorney and appeared in court cases to argue court cases.
Out of New York, you’ve got folks like Debra Moody, that’s back in 1655 already voting in Netherlands but she’s representing a family unit. She owns the property. And by the way, the Founding Fathers didn’t make it hard to own property. They just wanted you to have skin in the game.
If you’re in Pennsylvania property was one penny an acre. One penny an acre, it’s easy to own property but you’ve got to have skin in this game. Lydia Tufte out of Massachusetts. She was voting in the 1750s during the French and Indian War.
Her son was out fighting, her family was gone, and so she’s there. Well, she represents a family, she votes.
In New Jersey, take this. The constitution of New Jersey, ok. The constitution of New Jersey when they framed the New Jersey Constitution of 1776 it gave the right to vote to “all inhabitants of this colony of full age who were worth fifty pounds and have resided within the county for twelve months.”
Guess what, lots of women voted then. If they have that fifty pounds of worth, in other words, they’ve got skin in the game, they reside in the county, they voted.
You did say worth fifty pounds not weighs fifty pounds.
Just making sure.
Worth 50 pounds not weighed.
The Founders Cared About Equality
But that the point is there were a lot of women voting. Now, as we’ve moved more awacy from the family unit, “You need to be independent from a family, don’t be chained down and be a mother, don’t be chained down and be a father, and not be chained down to your parents.” We’ve moved into more of family anarchy kind of thing, the modern family kind of portrayal, that understanding is gone away.
But clearly, what Britain has asked is is a brilliant question because it does reveal that the bigotry we’re told that they held back then, they didn’t hold. What they did was they put the family unit higher than the government unit and they tried to work hard to keep the family together and as we can show in two or three hundred studies since then, the more you weaken the family, the more it hurts the entire culture in society.
So they had a strong culture, strong society, and it was based on a strong family that preceded government and they crafted their policies to protect a strong family.
You know David, I had not ever even thought of or made this connection. When you often talk about how in the Founding Era they looked at everybody the same. They didn’t put us in all the special rights groups and separate everybody by these groups.
When I look at even Article 1 when it talks about voting, you’re going to be chosen in a second year by the people of the several states. So even then it was treating everybody equal from the beginning.
Yeah, see the states are the ones that are allowed to do the voting. It’s the states that set up the procedures for voting, how you vote, how you choose the president in electoral, and everything else.
So that was not a federal power that was a state power. And for example, in 1809 New Jersey came into their own constitution that let women vote and said, “Hey, we’ve decided we just want white males to vote.” Well, that wasn’t in their original Constitution and that got changed later. So there are times that states step in and they will try to raise the barrier of people not that barrier back down.
It was added to the Federal Constitution because some states would not be allowing that to happen. But other states had been allowing it happened since the very beginning back in the 1640s.
So really, the move to do it is a federal level, is a move to say, “Well, there’s a few states out here that haven’t haven’t got this yet. So this do it for them.” But this really was something that was going on from the very beginning.
And that attitude I think also allowed for us to continually become that more perfect union once we end slavery, making those equal rights apply to everyone. But that foundation had to be laid. And as you said, within the family, the family unit.
That’s one thing we seem to be destroying so much right now. Thanks for joining us today it’s been Foundations of Freedom Thursday here on WallBuilders Live!
Samuel Adams said, “The liberties of our Country and the freedom of our civil Constitution are worth defending against hazards. And it is our duty to defend them against all attacks.”