Friday, September 26, 2008

Founding Fathers Quote Friday - Liberty

Favorite Founding Father's Quote Day

This is the second installment of a weekly meme called FFQF, or, "Founding Father's Quote Friday" - to read more about what it is you can click here.

This month's theme is Liberty. And today's Founding Father is The Godfather of Founding Fathers, George Washington.

"Liberty, when it begins to take root, is a plant of rapid growth."

This quote from President Washington is taken from a letter he wrote to James Madison on March 2, 1788. The letter was written to Madison on the eve of the election of officials from Massachusetts, who were to vote on the ratification of the Constitution.

It was during this time in 1787 and 1788, that Madison, along with Alexander Hamilton and John Jay wrote the famed Federalist Papers. Most of the essays were published in between October 1787 and August 1788. So this letter falls right in the middle of it all.

In reading this quote and knowing it's context I get a sense that Washington was confident in the ratification of the Constitution. Almost reassuring Madison, who was the chief architect of the document, as it was based on his Constitution of Virginia, that his hard work would not go for naught.

By June 21, 1788, the Constitution had been ratified by nine states and it soon went into effect. The rest, as they say... is history.

The letter can be read in its entirety below.

Mount Vernon, March 2, 1788


The decision of Massachusetts, notwithstanding its concomitants, is a severe stroke to the opponents of the proposed Constitution in this State; and with the favorable determination of the States which have gone before, and such as are likely to follow after, will have a powerful operation on the Minds of Men who are not actuated more by disappointment, passion and resentment, than they are by moderation, prudence and candor. Of the first description however, it is to be lamented that there are so many; and among them, some who would hazard every thing rather than their opposition should fail, or have the sagacity of their prognostications impeached by an issue contrary to their predictions.

The determination you have come to, will give pleasure to your friends. From those in your County you will learn with more certainty than from me, the expediency of your attending the election in it. With some, to have differed in sentiment, is to have passed the Rubicon of their friendship, altho’ you should go no further. With others (for the honor of humanity) I hope there is more liberality; but the consciousness of having discharged that duty which we owe to our Country, is superior to all other considerations, will place small matters in a secondary point of view.

His Most Ch—n M—y speaks, and acts in a style not very pleasing to republican ears or to republican forms; nor do I think this language is altogether so to the temper of his own subjects at this day. Liberty, when it begins to take root, is a plant of rapid growth. The checks he endeavors to give it, however warrantable by ancient usage, will more than probably, kindle a flame, which may not be easily extinguished; tho’ for a while it may be smothered by the Armies at his command, and the Nobility in his interest. When the people are oppressed with Taxes, and have cause to suspect that there has been a is application of their money, the language of despotism is but illy brooked. This, and the mortification which the pride of the Nation has sustained in the affairs of Holland (if one may judge from appearances) may be productive of events which prudence will not mention.

To-morrow, the Elections for delegates to the Convention of this State commences; and as they will tread close upon the heels of each other this month becomes interesting and important. With the most friendly sentiments and affectionate regard &c.


Monday, September 22, 2008

Links to History: Eduator Appreciation Weekend @ Borders

I receive great information via email and love to share them with you... This one is from Borders Book stores...

25% Off Borders for all Educators:

"Ladies and Gentlemen:

Borders recognizes each teacher, homeschooler, professor, religious educator, and school librarian's efforts to share the love of books and knowledge with their students. We honor your hard and rewarding work with an "apple" of our own by welcoming current and retired teachers to take part in our Educator Appreciation Weekend, Friday, October 3 - Sunday, October 5.

You'll enjoy 25% off your personal and classroom purchases of list priced books, CDs, DVDs, cafe items, gifts & stationery and more* when you bring in your current Classroom or Educator Discount Card, educator ID or pay stub. For more information, please visit

Don't miss our Special Reception, Friday, October 3 from 4:00-8:00 PM at Borders stores nationwide.

If you need assistance with purchase orders, or collection development, quotes for classroom materials, would like a classroom visit, or have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.

We appreciate and recognize your efforts to support and encourage education. Our commitment to this effort is shown through our

Business & Educator Services Program, which provides up to 25% savings to schools, libraries, nonprofits and others year-round. For>more information, or to sign up for a free account, please visit

We look forward to welcoming you to our stores October 3 - October 5. To locate a store near you,, please click on "Store Locator" on, or call toll free 888.81BOOKS.

Thank you for the great work you do! Please share this event information with the educators in your life."


Friday, September 19, 2008

Founding Fathers Quote Friday

Favorite Founding Father's Quote Day

FFQF, or, "Founding Father's Quote Friday," is a meme created and hosted by Hercules Mulligan on his blog, Meet the Founding Fathers. The meme seeks to interest and educate the public in the history and principles of the American Founding Era (c. 1760-1805). And USHistoryBlog has been asked to be a contributor.

This month's theme is Liberty.

To start, I chose one of the fiercest fighters of liberty and one of my favorite Founding Fathers; John Adams.

"I must study politics and war that my sons may have liberty to study mathematics and philosophy. My sons ought to study mathematics and philosophy, geography, natural history, naval architecture, navigation, commerce and agriculture in order to give their children a right to study painting, poetry, music, architecture, statuary, tapestry, and porcelain."

Adams' sentiments demonstrate how important he believed his life's purpose was. His actions, would undoubtedly effect many generations after his..."our posterity" if you will, and it is comforting to know that he had the future in mind.

For more quotes by John Adams and other founding fathers, go to the Quotes page:

And here's one more John Adams quote, just because...

"Liberty, according to my metaphysics is a self-determining power in an intellectual agent. It implies thought and choice and power."


Friday, September 12, 2008

History According to Pearl Jam

Though more suited for world history, Pearl Jam's "Do the Evolution" music video certainly presents itself for some good discussion of human nature and how history repeats itself. Though not 100% classroom ready, it can be prefaced with some discussion and used as a tool to introduce history.

And though the lyrics suggest a satirical look at the religiously faithful, the video ponders much more than just religion. In college me and a friend analyzed this entire album and easily pulled biblical references from every song. This one is no exception. (Armageddon - "2010 watch it go to fire")

The video begins with evolution from cells to dinosaurs on to early man. It continues towards the Crusades showing a medieval knight preparing for battle. The video evolves to match the lyrics discussing the stock market crash. The KKK is shown doing some kind of ritual dance. It references Nazi troops and World War 1 trench warfare. There's a sequence of a slave master whipping a slave...There's a scene depicting what looks like the bombing of a Vietnamese village, by the "evil" United States. And it goes on towards a Pink Floyd-esque futuristic era, with the idea that computers are taking over and mankind is in the decline.

So who's to blame for mankind's de-evolution? Vedder and Pearl Jam seem to blame world leaders, religious leaders and large institutions in general.


I'm ahead, I'm a man
I'm the first mammal to wear pants, yeah
I'm at peace with my lust
I can kill 'cause in God I trust, yeah

It's evolution, baby

I'm at piece, I'm the man
Buying stocks on the day of the crash
On the loose, I'm a truck
All the rolling hills, I'll flatten 'em out, yeah

It's herd behavior, uh huh
It's evolution, baby

Admire me, admire my home
Admire my son, he's my clone
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah

This land is mine, this land is free
I'll do what I want but irresponsibly
It's evolution, baby

I'm a thief, I'm a liar
There's my church, I sing in the choir: (hallelujah, hallelujah)

Admire me, admire my home
Admire my son, admire my clones'

Cause we know, appetite for a nightly feast
Those ignorant Indians got nothin' on me
Nothin', why? Because... it's evolution, baby!

I am ahead, I am advanced
I am the first mammal to make plans, yeah
I crawled the earth, but now I'm higher
2010, watch it go to fire
It's evolution, baby

Do the evolution
Come on, come on, come on

-- Eddie Vedder/Stone Gossard

PS - Korn's "Evolution" has a similar message... but with a lot less history and more things that make you go hmmmm...


Monday, September 01, 2008

The History of Labor Day

Most call it the unofficial end of summer. Many use it as their last hoo-rah before heading back to school... It's another American excuse to barbecue, hang out with friends, drink some beer and close up the beach house...but what exactly is Labor Day?

According to the Department of Labor - Labor Day is "dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers" and their contributions to the "strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country."

first labor day parade in New York City - September 5, 1882During the industrial revolution it was common for men, women and children to work 12 hour days, 6 and 7 days a week just to make a living. Without many labor laws in place the terrible working conditions forced many workers to band together forming unions.

On September 5, 1882, in an attempt to voice their demands for a better way of life, some 10,000 of over-worked laborers marched together through the streets of New York City, creating the first-ever Labor Day Parade.

There is debate as to who's idea Labor Day was... but I won't bore you with the specifics...(you can read more about it here). Starting in the 1890's there was increasing legislation movement for states to adopt and institute Labor Day to honor their hardworking citizens. Slowly more and more states adopted the idea.

By 1894, 29 states had adopted the holiday to honor their workers. On June 28 of that year, Congress passed an act making the first Monday in September of each year a legal holiday in the District of Columbia and the territories.

So there you have it... kind of a boring history, but a history nonetheless.

Teachers, prepare your lesson plans. Students find your thinking caps. The school year is upon us. Good luck to all.

For more information about Labor Day visit the Department of Labor website:

Also - the history channel has a micro-site dedicated to Labor Day with images and videos: