National Popular Vote In America: It is Foundations of Freedom Thursday, a special day of the week where we get to answer questions from you, the listeners! Always answering your questions from constitutional principles! Tune in today as we answer your questions!
Air Date:Â 12/20/2018
On-air Personalities: David Barton, Rick Green, and Tim Barton
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Transcription note: Â As a courtesy for our listeners’ enjoyment, we are providing a transcription of this podcast. Transcription will be released shortly. 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.
Faith And The Culture
We know it’s not actually Christmas Day yet; but, here at WallBuilders Live, we actually like Christmas music year round. David just kind of infected all of us with the love of Christmas music; but, we’re close. It’s Thursday before Christmas Day; so, you”ve got to be in the Christmas spirit already.
Part of our Christmas spirit is to spread freedom. We like giving the gift of freedom here at WallBuilders Live! We’re always talking about the hot topics of the day; but, we’re always looking at them from a Biblical, historical, and constitutional perspective.
Today it’s Foundations of Freedom Thursday.
We’re taking your questions and diving into those questions and resourcing those questions from those three perspectives. We”re here with David Barton, America’s premier historian and the founder of WallBuilders. Tim Barton”s with us, a national speaker and pastor and president of WallBuilders. My name is Rick Green; I”m a former Texas legislator.
Check Out Our Websites & Do Some Christmas Shopping!
Be sure to check out our two websites today. WallBuildersLive.com has archives of the program over the last few weeks and a lot of other great information. Then at WallBuilders.com, you can get all kinds of great tools and information things, from DVD sets and curriculum to books and all kinds of great biographies. Â Great things are there.
Actually, even at the last minute, you could still get something for somebody for Christmas. You won’t get it under the tree in time, but you can print out a picture of it and show them what they’re going to be getting in the mail over the next few days.
You can do that at WallBuilders.com. Then of course, you can do an end-of-year gift. As we’re closing in on the end of 2018 and you’re thinking about those gifts you want to give, please consider WallBuilders as a recipient.
You can come alongside us and help to support this program which is listener supported. It also supports all the other things we do in the culture to influence our nation and bring it back to its Biblical foundations. Check all that out at WallBuilders.com and WallBuildersLive.com.
David, Tim, looking forward to our Foundations of Freedom program. Today we’ve got a lot of questions we’ll try to get to. Let me just read a positive comment first, and then we’ll jump into questions.
Share the Wealth of Knowledge
Let’s start off with a little encouragement from one of our listeners. It says, “All of you are such a blessing, and as a token of my appreciation, I recommended a public school teacher to the WallBuilders Live program after an intimate conversation with her about current events. She was so inspired by what I shared with her that she enthusiastically had me wait outside her door and went to get a piece of paper pen to write down the WallBuildersLive.com site so she could listen daily when she gets home from teaching.
“ I am praying for this WallBuilders ministry that God may move upon the hearts of the faithful listeners to contribute financially, to buy more WallBuilders materials, and recommending the site to friends, family, and neighbors. This program has inspired me to become a political canvasser for these midterm elections, and I don’t know how I would have engaged voters to vote for my candidates without you all equipping me with sound information. Thank you guys; I love all of you with the love of the Lord.”
That’s a great email. Thank you very much for that encouragement. Actually, that’s a great encouragement to all of our listeners.
Spread the word; let people know about the radio program and how much it will equip and inspire them. Give them the website WallBuildersLive.com; give them links to be able to get the podcast, and let them know about the radio stations in your local area. All 350 stations are listed there at the website as well.
All right, sorry, guys. I just thought that was a fun one to share with folks. Now let me get to a question for you.
Questions Regarding the Founders
This one comes from Andrew: “Did Abigail Adams believe in the Trinity? Apparently she wrote this in a letter to her son, Â “There is not any reasoning that three is one and one is three;” however, websites that quote this letter never show the whole thing. I’m curious what the truth is on this matter.
“Also I have a question about James Madison. I”ve read online that he used Isaiah 33:22 when arguing for having three branches of government; however, I can’t find any primary sources that support this. Is there a record of what was said at the Constitutional Convention:
“Lastly–“ man, Andrew, you’ve got a lot of questions, but that’s okay. We like lots of questions, so keep sending them.
“Lastly, I have heard a lot about George Washington’s prayer book. Critics have claimed that it wasn’t his; but, again I don’t know why they come to that conclusion. How can we know for sure that this was his prayer book?”
All good questions, Andrew. David, Tim, I love the way he’s asking them. He”s saying, “I want original sources;” he wants us to go to that original documentation, primary sources; so, he’s thinking exactly right. Which one of those do you want to tackle first:
Abigail Adams, James Madison, and George Washington?
Finding the Source
First of all, let me tackle the fact that I love someone saying, “How can I know what is true? And not just what you guys think; what’s the original source? I can’t find the source; what’s the source? Where can I go?”
This is where so much of culture is led astray. Instead of saying, “What is the original source; what does it actually say? “I’ve seen this quote from Abigail; I can’t find the source. Where’s the source?”
We often ask for someone to tell us the answer instead of helping us know where the answer is found. By saying, “Where is the source; what source is this?” Right? “Was this his actual prayer book; how can we actually know?”
By asking the right questions you’re, going to come to an answer that you can kind of establish yourself on, and that is truth. Jesus said that he that builds his house on the rock, the storm comes and you’re not shaken, right? You want to build on something is going to last.
Sometimes, even with these questions, when we start digging into the Founding Fathers, we realize there’s not really good evidence to support what the general consensus has been on this topic or issue. So, the truth that we’ve found in digging is that there’s really not a great answer.
Therefore, I know it’s possible that this person said this; it’s possible this person did this, but there is no original source document to confirm that actually happened. Therefore, it’s kind of just subjection, hearsay, and not really worth building on. Sometimes even knowing that there’s not enough information to build on is a very safe thing; because, you know not to rely on that fact because there’s no verifiable, firsthand, original source documentation for it.
Or, maybe in some cases you can go back to the original source. Like with James Madison, you can go, “Actually, here’s what he said.” It’s a little different for George Washington: “Actually, here was his book.” Or, Abigail Adams: “Here’s where that came from or didn’t come from,” as the case might be.
But, going back to that source is just a brilliant–what should be the obvious, practical way to do it. First of all, bravo for asking good questions; but, dad, I know you’ve had a stack in front, because we were looking at some of this earlier. Which do you want to go to first?
Did Abigail Adams Believe in the Trinity?
Let”s go with Abigail Adams. In looking at Abigail, it’s interesting that she is a person who is very notable and the founding era. She’s not obscure a person; she is very much out front.
Unlike Martha, she did not burn her letters when John died. Martha Washington had lots of letters from George, and when George died, she burned everything. There’s very very few Martha signatures that ever pop up anymore, because she just burned papers like crazy.
But, there were still a lot of George Washington papers that she did not burn; but, the letters with her back and forth between her and George, they basically all went away. With Abigail Adams, her grandson, Charles Francis Adams, who is this the son of John Quincy Adams, had access to all the family papers. Of course, he grew up there in the same home where John and Abigail grew up; because, John Quincy grew up there and then he stayed at the home of his parents, so he was there.
Adams Family Library
One of the coolest places I’ve ever been, ever, is the Adams Family Library. The building they have adjoining their house where they put the family library over there has really cool stuff. I love going there.
Charles Francis Adams, the grandson, came out with her letters very early in history in the early 1800s. As a matter of fact, we have the set of letters he came out with; so, all the known letters of her that they had at that time, they came out with. Then, later in 1875, they had found some more letters and they came out with those.
We have the early collections of the letters of Abigail Adams, and nowhere does this quote appear in those early collections. Now, that’s not authoritative in the sense to say, “Well, she never said it;” because, she could have written a later letter; or, someone that she sent the letter to, maybe it just fell into the hands of the great-great-great-great-great grandchildren now, and they made it public.
You don’t know. In looking at Is this quote out there? If you look online, yes; the quote is all over the place out there; but, there’s not a single source we can find that sites more than two paragraphs out of the full letter.
They all cite the same two paragraphs, and they can’t–they don’t date it to any original source. So, at this point, all we can say is just say–
They just say, “A letter from Abigail Adams to her son.”
It doesn’t have a date on it or a situation. Nearly all letters will have “Written on the 18th of September in 1804,” or whatever it is; they’ll have–
Because, almost all letters were written in September 1804.
Original Sources Provide More Context
So, they”re going to have that specific–No, not that specific date. Right?
That’s what I say, “Or whatever.”
Yeah; but, they’re going to say that day was written and who it is written to and is going to have a little more context than just, “Well she said it to her son one time in a letter.”
Well, that’s pretty vague. The fact that it’s been widely circulated now, it’s almost like this idea of George Washington chopping down a cherry tree. Could he have chopped down a cherry tree and said, “I cannot tell a lie?” That’s possible, right?
Is there any evidence he did? Nope, none whatsoever. Some of these kind of folklore has come where–is it possible it is rooted in truth somewhere? It’s possible; but, certainly there’s no original source documentation to confirm that this was, in fact, the position.
We actually are contacting the Adams Family Home because they own all of the family papers, and they’ve collected everything. Even the letters we have from John Adams, we’ve let them have copies so they would have as comprehensive a list as they can. So, we’re contacting them to see if they know of anything. Maybe there’s a letter has been found recently that we didn’t know about.
Just like we’ve allowed them to have access to our letters, many other people have too; so, they will know about a lot more, maybe even than what you can just google and find online or going into the Adams Family Papers or whatever else. If anybody knows about it–at least those were, if there’s an original source documentation for it, it will be these guys. Hopefully we’ll have an answer for that soon; but, at this point, it doesn’t look like there’s any original source documentation.
Everybody Quoting Everybody All Over the Web
At this point, I would put question marks all over that quote; because, you can’t track it to its original source at this point. It’s all everybody quoting each other all over the web.
Now, I will say this. John Adams, her husband, moved toward a Unitarian position and away from a trinity position late in life. Could Abigail have drifted with her husband? Yeah, it’s very possible that might have.
Abigail’s father was a minister; he was the president of Harvard, and he was a Trinitarian. He was very orthodox in that Christian doctrine. Nonetheless, it’s possible that Abigail, late in life, might have drifted. It’s not out of the realm of possibilities considering what John did.
But again, there is no authoritative source we can find for that; it is certainly not in any of the collections we have of her letters. It’s all over the Internet with all these sources kind of having a circular quote; they kind of quote the same thing, and nobody’s got a source on it. That’s a big red flag at this point.
All right, let’s take a quick break. We’ll come back and get the James Madison and George Washington questions as well. Stay with us, folks, on Foundation of Freedom Thursday.
Send your questions in to [email protected]. We’ll be right back on WallBuilders Live!
This is David Barton with another moment from America’s history. Since the Ten Commandments have formed the basis of civil law in the western world for over 2,000 years, an individual is more likely to find a copy of them in a government building rather than a religious one. Yet, amazingly, numerous rulings over recent years now make it unconstitutional to display the commandments in many public arenas.
Consider what Founding Father John Adams said about this, he declared, “The moment the idea is admitted into society that property is not as sacred as the laws of God, anarchy and tyranny commence. If “thou shall not covet” and “thou shall not steal” were not commandments of heaven, they must be made inviolable precepts in every society before it can be civilized or made free.”
John Adams believed that no society could remain civilized if separated from the Ten Commandments. For more information on God’s hand in American history contact WallBuilders at 1-800-8-REBUILD.
Welcome back to WallBuilders Live! It’s Foundations of Freedom Thursday. It”s almost Christmas time, and we appreciate your sending in your questions for this Foundations of Freedom Thursday.
This is the second part of Andrew”s question; it had to do with a James Madison quote about the three branches of government and what Bible verse he based that on.
David, Â Tim?
Three Branches of Government From the Bible?
I find no source where James Madison used Isaiah 33:22 as a source. By the way, that is the passage of the Bible where it talks about the Lord being our lawgiver, our judge, and our king. That’s where you get the legislative branch, the executive branch, and the judiciary branch.
Now, we do find that that verse is used in the Founding Era in sermons and in the writings of the day. It talks about the three branches of government. The separation of those three branches is what John Adams specifically cited, the principle of Jeremiah 17:9, as why they separated the three branches.
I can’t find anything where Madison has said that that came out of Isaiah 33;22. What you do find is in Federalist 51, he refers and bases his argument of government on that same principle that John Adams used out of Jeremiah 17:9; as did George Washington, Â Alexander Hamilton, and others.
Separation of Powers
Based on the depravity of man and on the fact that man is not always good, we need to separate the powers. Actually, as Madison said it here, he said, “If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external or internal controls and government would be necessary.”
So, if men were perfect and they didn’t have a depraved heart, we wouldn’t need any government; they’d all be fine, and we could have them be like the angels. They wouldn’t need the government; but that’s not where we are. He goes on to argue separation of powers.
So, nothing from Isaiah 33:22 that I’ve ever seen with Madison on that.
We went a little long our first break; so, we’re going to go short on this on this segment. We’ll come back and get the answer on George Washington’s prayer book.
Stay with us, folks; you’re listening to WallBuilders Live!
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. Â 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.
Welcome back to WallBuilders Live! It is Foundations of Freedom Thursday. We”re actually in the third part of a three-part question dealing with original sources.
Now, how do you document and find out whether or not some of these Â things that you see on the web on the Internet are actually true?
Finding the Truth Online
Well, the third question was having to do with George Washington’s prayer book. Critics have claimed that it wasn’t his; so, the question is Do we have any way to prove or show that he actually had this prayer book?
The prayer book, it’s interesting, is often called The Daily Sacrifice. It is a well-worn book, and it’s a prayer book not in the sense that it was ever published, it’s all handwritten prayers that are written out.
All the prayers are written out in hand, and they are very Christian, very strong. What you’d consider to be Orthodox Christian-doctrine type of prayers. There are lengthy prayers.
The book itself is fairly tattered and worn, and it was found in George Washington’s papers and possessions at his death. It was apparently with him in the Revolution. He kept it in a trunk through the Revolution; at his death that was seen, and people made it public, and there were now reproductions of it out there.
Did George Washington Write the Prayer Book?
The question is Is it George Washington’s or is it simply something that he owned? Â Actually–it’s got to be 25 years ago–we got involved in this actual thing and actually paid for a handwriting expert to look at it; because, the handwriting, as you look at the book, clearly is not that of the adult George Washington. The adult George Washington that”s not his handwriting; but, the handwriting of young people can sometimes be very different.
We know, for example, that way back when he was 8, 9, 10 years old, whatever it was, that he did the handwritten–what we called the Rules of Civility. He copied those out in his own hand; they’re great rules of civility. That’s actually a book that we sell at WallBuilders, is George Washington’s Rules of Civility.
He brought that out; it’s really good stuff. The question is Could he also have written this out back in that period? It looked to me like the handwriting was not his; so, we had experts look at it, and they said, “No, I don’t think it’s Washington’s; it could be but probably not.”
It looks like for whatever reason, it was a prayer book that he liked. He kept it with his papers. It was well used, well-worn; it could have been well warn before he got it.
But nonetheless, he did not get rid of it and kept it, and it stayed with his papers.
We can call it “George Washington’s prayer book” in the sense that George Washington owned it. You can’t call it “George Washington’s Prayer Book” in the sense that George Washington composed or wrote the prayers; because, the evidence does not seem to indicate that.
But it does–you can clearly argued that it was his prayer book. He kept it; it was with his papers and his possessions. He had apparently for a long period of time.
All right. Quick break. We’ll be right back.
Thanks again to Andrew for such great questions and asking those questions in the right way, as Tim said earlier in the program, “Seeking truth wanting to know what that foundation is and being able to actually prove those things.”
We”re going to take a quick break. We’ll be right back on WallBuilders Live!
This Precarious Moment Book
This is David Barton. I want to let about a brand new book we have called This Precarious Moment: Six Urgent Steps That Will Save You, Your family, and Our Country. Jim Garlow and I have co-authored this book and we take six issues that are hot in the culture right now.
Issues that we’re dealing with, issues such as immigration, race relations, our relationship with Israel, the rising generation Millennials, and the absence of the church in the culture wars, and where American heritage is, our godly heritage. We look at all six of those issues right now that are under attack and we give you both Biblical and historical perspective on those issues that provide solutions on what each of us can do right now to make a difference.
These are all problems that are solvable if we’ll get involved. So you can grab the book This Precarious Moment and find out what you can do to make a difference. This Precarious Moment is available at WallBuilders.com.
Welcome back. Thanks for staying with us on Foundations of Freedom Thursday here on WallBuilders Live! It”s right before Christmas, just a few days left.
We”ve got two more questions we”re actually going to put together that come from two different listeners on the same subject. Then we’ll toss it to David and Tim to answer. Here’s the first one; it comes from Kay.
Interstate Compact to Elect the President by National Popular Vote
She says, “I recently read where Connecticut passed a bill in May to commit electoral votes to whichever U.S. presidential candidate wins the national popular vote regardless of who wins the state. Ten other states and Washington D.C. have passed similar bills. The interstate compact is officially called “The agreement among the states to elect the president by national popular vote.”
“I know the delegates do not have to vote in the Electoral College the way the people voted, but they usually do. Is this a sneaky way of subverting the purpose of the
and electing the president by popular vote? I really appreciate your radio program and the Biblical and constitutional perspectives you share on current events.”
Very similarly, Sean emailed in and said, “Are there any organized efforts to oppose the National Popular Vote (NPV) effort to undermine the Electoral College? Are these efforts active in states like New York where I live to rescind already approved legislation where the NPV effort has already succeeded?
“Thank you for all you do. Listening to your show goes a long way to keep me optimistic about our country in uber-liberal New York State.”
All right, David and Tim, a kind of a two-part there: What is the National Popular Vote; is it undermining the Electoral College? Then: Are there efforts in states like New York that adopted National Popular Vote, to repeal it?
Just as a way of understanding for our listeners, most of the states that have adopted this National Popular Vote, it doesn’t go into effect until enough states adopt it for it to actually be 270 electoral votes and actually control who gets president. So, go ahead, guys.
Here’s a question for you guys. How many states have now passed it?
I was thinking it was more like 19 or 20; but, I have not paid attention the last couple of years on that one.
I would guess teens; but, it’s just a guess. I do not know.
National Popular Vote
I’ll just read to you off the National Popular Vote website. It says: “The National Popular Vote bill has now passed a total of 36 state legislative chambers and 23 states.”
Oh, passed “chambers.”
You got it.
It didn”t say it has become law if both chambers in that state haven”t passed.
That’s right. They”re making it sound like it’s a massive movement: “Thirty-six state legislative chambers passed it; 23 states.” Only 12 states have approved it; because, it has to go through both chambers–in Nebraska just one–both chambers and be signed by the governor.
So, 12 states, including the Washington D.C. jurisdiction, have now approved that. They do not have the 270 votes they need but have 172 votes. An additional 98 are needed.
What it is is a compact between those states that, “What we’re going to do is, in our states if 270 total electoral votes states say that they’ll do this, will throw out the electoral vote college and we’ll just put all of our electoral votes behind a single candidate.” What that really does is that it really negates the vote of the people in that state.
If 49 percent of the state votes for one candidate, they’re going to give 100 percent of the votes to the candidate that wins the popular vote. So, you could be in Washington D.C.; you could be somewhere else, in a state, for example like Alabama. In Alabama, your state voted for Trump; but, if the other states all decide for Hillary, then Alabama is going to say, “We’re going to put all of our votes for Hillary instead of Trump.”
You can imagine how that will make voters in that state feel when all the votes they cast in that state for that candidate get thrown behind the candidates chosen by the other states. That’s a problem with that that bill. The question is Are there any efforts to combat this bill across the nation?
The answer is yes, anywhere you elect Republicans. This is an initiative that is a Democrat initiative. It is the way they see of getting past the rural areas.
It’s a way they see of allowing 20 states–there is enough population in 20 states in the United States to elect the president the United States if you do this by popular vote. There are 35,000 cities in the United States; but, 20 of them are large enough and they all tend to be blue cities, that those 20 cities can go together and elect a president.
If you don’t like the National Popular Vote movement, you need to vote a Republican legislature into your state; because, they will rescind that bill or they will stop that bill before it goes forward.
That bill should be rescinded, by the way. That”s a terrible bill, as you’re kind of providing commentary along the way. But, the National Popular Vote is bad for a lot of reasons.
National Popular Vote Vs. The Electoral College
There’s a great PragerU video out there; we can put a link on our website today that talks about the National Popular Vote. There was a reason the Founding Fathers did what they did. The old adage of “You should never tear down your neighbor’s fence, or any fence in general, until you know why it was put there in the first place;” if you don’t know why we have the Electoral College, then you don’t need to replace it.
Now, if Â why and you think you should be gone, that’s a different debate and discussion. But, most Americans have no idea what the Electoral College is, much less why we have it.
All right, guys, we’re out of time for today. No more questions on this Thursday; but, next time we will have more questions from you and our audience. Be sure to send those in to [email protected].
Also, go to WallBuildersLive.com today for links to the stories that we’ve talked about. It also gives you an opportunity to make a last-minute, end-of-year donation to the program. We are listener support program.
We certainly appreciate your support, and we encourage you to visit wobblers WallBuildersLive.com today for that. Thanks for listening today to WallBuilders Live!