FAQ: Founders & Slavery

The issue of slavery in America’s Founding Era was complex. Initially, many people saw slavery as a normal part of life; this perspective is acknowledged by Chief Justice John Jay, who stated that, before the War for Independence, very few “doubted the propriety and rectitude of it.”1

However, the changing attitude towards slavery was evident even before the War for Independence when several colonies passed anti-slavery laws.2 (Each of these were overturned by King George III.3) Notably, a section of the Declaration of Independence written by Thomas Jefferson criticized the king for maintaining slavery and the slave trade.4

After the Declaration of Independence, states such as Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Vermont, New York, and New Jersey abolished slavery.5 Additionally, Virginia, in 1778, outlawed the further importation of slaves.6

Among the Founders themselves, some slave-owners, such as Thomas Jefferson and George Washington, openly spoke against slavery.7 Conversely, others were demonstrably pro-slavery.8 There were also Founders involved in abolition movements. For example, Benjamin Franklin and Benjamin Rush helped establish the first abolition society in 1774.9 Furthermore, John Jay served as president of the New York abolition society.10

Again, this was a complicated issue for Americans during the Founding Era, but the actions of many demonstrate that this reprehensible practice had much opposition among the Founders. For more information on this topic, please see these additional resources.


1 John Jay, The Correspondence and Public Papers of John Jay, ed. Henry P. Johnston (New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1891), 3:342, to the English Anti-Slavery Society, June 1788.
2 W.O. Blake, The History of Slavery and the Slave Trade (Columbus: J. & H. Miller, 1858), 386; George M. Stroud, A Sketch of the Laws Relating to Slavery in the Several States of the United States of America (Philadelphia: Kimber and Sharpless, 1827), 137; Thomas F. Gordon, The History of Pennsylvania from its Discovery by Europeans to the Declaration of Independence in 1776 (Philadelphia: Carey, Lea & Carey, 1829), 554-555.
3 Benjamin Franklin, The Works of Benjamin Franklin, ed. Jared Sparks (Boston: Tappan, Whittemore, and Mason, 1839), 8:42, to Dean Woodward on April 10, 1773; Benson J. Lossing, Harpers’ Popular Cyclopaedia of United States History (New York: Harper and Brothers, 1892), 1299.
4 Thomas Jefferson, The Writings of Thomas Jefferson, ed. Albert Ellery Bergh (Washington DC: Thomas Jefferson Memorial Association, 1903), 1:34, from Jefferson’s original draft of the Declaration of Independence. This section was removed on the objection of two states: Thomas Jefferson, Memoir, Correspondence, and Miscellanies, ed. Thomas Jefferson Randolph (London: Colburn and Bentley, 1829), 1:16, from his Autobiography.
5 A Constitution or Frame of Government Agreed Upon by the Delegates of the People of the State of Massachusetts-Bay (Boston: Benjamin Edes and Sons, 1780), 7; An Abridgement of the Laws of Pennsylvania, ed. Collinson Read, (Philadelphia: 1801), 264-266; The Public Statute Laws of the State of Connecticut (Hartford: Hudson and Goodwin, 1808), Book I, 623-625; Rhode Island Session Laws (Providence: Wheeler, 1784), 7-8; The Constitutions of the Sixteen States (Boston: Manning and Loring, 1797), 50, New Hampshire, 1792; The Federal and State Constitutions Colonial Charters, and Other Organic Laws of the States, Territories, and Colonies Now or Heretofore Forming The United States of America, ed. Francis Newton Thorpe (Washington DC: Government Printing Office, 1909), 6:3762, Vermont, 1793; Laws of the State of New York, Passed at the Twenty-Second Session, Second Meeting of the Legislature (Albany: Loring Andrew, 1798), 721-723; Laws of the State of New Jersey Compiled and Published Under the Authority of the Legislature, ed. Joseph Bloomfield (Trenton: James J. Wilson, 1811), 103-105.
6 The Statues at Large; Being A Collection of all the Laws of Virginia From the First Session of the Legislature in the Year 1619, ed. William Waller Henning (Richmond: J & G Cochran, 1821), IX:471-472, “An act for preventing the farther importation of Slaves,” October, 1778.
7 Paul Leland Haworth, George Washington: Farmer (Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill Company, 1915), 192; Mary V. Thompson, “The Only Unavoidable Subject of Regret,” Mount Vernon, 1999; The Works of Thomas Jefferson, ed. Paul Leicester Ford (New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1905), 11:417, to Edward Coles on August 25, 1814; Thomas Jefferson, The Writings of Thomas Jefferson, ed. H.A. Washington (New York: Riker, Thorne, & Co., 1855), 6:378, to Thomas Cooper on September 10, 1814; Thomas Jefferson, Notes on the State of Virginia (Philadelphia: Mathew Carey, 1794), 236-238, “Query XVIII.”
8 See, for example, Jeffrey Crow, “Liberty to Slaves: The Black Response,” Anchor, accessed August 23, 2023; James Madison, The Writings of James Madison, ed. Gaillard Hunt (New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1903), 4:267-268, “Journal of the Constitutional Convention,” August 22, 1787; The Debates and Proceedings in the Congress of the United States, ed. Joseph Gales (Washington DC: Gales and Seaton, 1834), 1:1242-1243, February 12, 1790.
9 Constitution of the Pennsylvania Society for Promoting the Abolition of Slavery, and the Relief of Free Negroes, Unlawfully Held in Bondage. Begun in the Year 1774, and Enlarged on the 23rd of April, 1787 (Philadelphia: Joseph James, 1787), 8.
10 “Race and Antebellum New York City: The New York Manumission Society,” New York Historical Society, accessed August 23, 2023; The Works of Samuel Hopkins (Boston: Doctrinal Tract and Book Society, 1854), 2:548, Advertisement page for “A Dialogue Concerning the Slavery of the Africans.”

How to Research: Book Accuracy

Validating a book’s historical accuracy can be challenging, but there are actionable pointers to aid assessment.

Primary Sources

Start by considering the publication date vis-à-vis the historical era discussed. A book written during or shortly after the period in question (within 50 years) holds higher credibility due to its reliance on primary sources – the most reliable historical references. Conversely, modern works addressing distant history warrant closer scrutiny.

A book reliant on primary sources, rather than secondary sources, proves more reliable. Primary sources encompass contemporaneous event-related documents. These may include eyewitness accounts like letters, essays, journals, and autobiographies. In contrast, secondary sources provide non-contemporary summaries of, or insights into, events or people and often rely on other modern authorities. Over-dependence on secondary sources can lead to historical inaccuracies and revisionism.


Inadvertent revisionism is evident in The Search for Christian America. Three scholars concluded that America did not have a Christian founding. But in studying America’s Christian founding, 88% of their sources postdated 1900 and 80% postdated 1950. Relying on citations much later than the Founding Era (1760-1805), caused them to arrive at an errant conclusion, and one much different than if they had consulted primary sources.

Deliberate revisionism is readily seen in The Godless Constitution. Professors Isaac Kramnick and Laurence Moore assert the Founders were atheists, agnostics, and deists aiming for a secular government. This text is a staple of universities and is cited by courts and other professors. However, no footnotes are included, simply this statement, “we have dispensed with the usual scholarly apparatus of footnotes.” So, these professors’ sweeping claims about the Founders’ faith is seen as a great scholarly achievement, but there is not a single reference to primary documents proving that claim. Accurate history definitely necessitates caution with works lacking proper citations.


When dealing with early America, biographies and pre-1900 history works offer less biased insights. They are more likely to be written by contemporaries of the subjects and events, and are not likely colored by modern agendas. Works printed from 1900-1920 have around 75% confidence. But our confidence drops to about 50% for works from 1920-1950, which were heavily influenced by the progressive educational transformation. Modern books are often tainted by historical malpractices,1 excluding those rich in primary source citations. Authors like Mark David Hall, David McCullough, Dumas Malone, Daniel Dreisbach, James Hutson, and Peter Lilliback exemplify this exception.

The good news is that primary sources are easier than ever to locate. Thousands of early books and documents have been digitized and made available via online platforms.2 Many older books are available as reprints through major book outlets. These sources offer direct access to primary documents, reducing dependence on secondary ones. Utilize these resources for reliable research.


1 Examples of these malpractices can be found in WallBuilders’ article “Deconstructionism and the Left.”
2 Check out WallBuilders’ historical reprints, or Helpful Links page to find some of these online resources.

To see additional articles about How to Research, check out the articles posted here and here.

How to Research: Identifying Revisionism & Bias

When delving into historical research about individuals or events, it’s crucial to identify factors that might lead to an inaccurate portrayal. Two major concerns in this realm are revisionism and bias.

Definitions and Goals

Revisionism involves advocating for a reevaluation of established views, theories, or historical events.1 It often seeks to reshape how people perceive history to encourage acceptance of, or to justify, new policies. Bias refers to an inclination towards certain perspectives without logical reasoning; assumptions rooted in a worldview are another factor of bias.2  Modern works often use either or both of these factors, thus requiring careful consideration to avoid adopting an incorrect historical standpoint.

Revisionists achieve their goal of rewriting history by:

  • Minimizing or overlooking aspects of American history they deem politically incorrect, while magnifying those they support.
  • Criticizing historical figures who held opinions they reject.
  • Crafting an illusion of widespread historical approval for the social policies they are attempting to promote.

Identifying Concerns

To identify signs of revisionism or bias in a text, pay attention to its tone, the documents referenced, and the featured individuals. For example, when assessing a book or article on American History, consider the following questions:

  • Is exploration and colonization portrayed solely as driven by greed for land or wealth?
  • Are proponents of religious and moral values depicted as harsh and unyielding?
  • Do the depictions favorably portray other religions while degrading Christianity?
  • Is a concept of traditional family ignored?
  • Does the portrayal overshadow individuals, families, and communities, positioning the government as the sole solution to societal needs?
  • Is there a consistent focus on victimhood, highlighting exploited groups rather than those who positively impacted their culture?
  • Do the books present original historical documents? If so, are they extensively edited or do they offer contextual content?
  • Who are the figures portrayed as heroes? Do they primarily express anger towards an unjust society or government? Are they exclusively modern and secular leaders?

By keeping these considerations in mind, you can better evaluate historical texts and discern potential issues in accuracy and perspective.3


1 “Revisionism,” The Free Dictionary.
2 “Bias,” Merriam-Webster.
3 For more information on this topic and examples of revisionism and bias, see these additional articles from WallBuilders: “Revisionism: How to Identify it in Your Children’s Textbooks;” “God: Missing in Action from American History;” “Confronting Civil War Revisionism: Why the South Went to War;” and the Winter 1996 Newsletter.

To see additional articles about How to Research, check out the articles posted here and here.

How to Research: Getting Started

Researching a topic, person, or even finding specific quotes might feel daunting, but don’t worry! We’ve put together some simple tips to guide you through the process.

  1. Give It Time: Remember, good research takes time. For straightforward tasks like checking a quote, set aside 1-2 hours. For more complex topics, expect to spend 1-2 days, or even longer.
  2. Focus Your Topic: Narrow down your topic. Instead of tackling something broad like “America’s Christian Heritage,” zoom in on a specific angle, such as “America’s Christian Heritage in Colonial Times.” This will help you find more relevant information.
  3. Diversify Your Sources: While sites like Wikipedia or other online encyclopedias are fine as starting points, don’t rely on them. Mix it up by using various sources such as online articles, newspapers, and books to cross-reference and verify information. (Please note: Wikipedia is editable by the public at large, so we recommend using it as a launchpad to help you trace back to primary sources instead of using it as an authority on any given topic.)
  4. Seek Primary Sources: For the most accurate historical info, turn to original sources or works written within about 50 years of the time you’re researching. If you’re reading a newer book with sources listed, it can sometimes help you trace back to more authentic materials. (Remember, your goal is to hear it from the horse’s mouth instead of through the grapevine.)
  5. Review the Pitfalls to Avoid: Understand how to look for book accuracy, and how to identify revisionism and bias before researching a topic. Check out the Just Facts Academy for more information on determining accurate information and other research tips.
  6. Tap into Online Libraries: Websites like Google Books, Hathi Trust, and Internet Archive offer free access to old books that are no longer under copyright. These are great places to find primary sources.

Additionally, here are some resources from WallBuilders that could be used as a great starting point for research… 

  • WallBuilders Online Resources: Discover historical sermons, documents, and articles from our collection that are available online.
  • Recommended Reading List: Dive into our curated list of helpful books that can provide you with historical overviews and a place to begin your research. (For writings of the Founders or other historical resources, see the Helpful Links page. The Recommended Reading List page contains more modern works.) 
  • FAQ: Check out our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) section, where our team addresses common historical queries.
  • Helpful Links: Utilize a compiled list of external sources and organizations that can aid your research.

Remember, research is a journey. Take your time to explore different sources and enjoy the process of uncovering hidden truths and fascinating stories. 

To see additional articles about How to Research, check out the articles posted here and here.

Sermon – Duty of Americans


Timothy Dwight (1752-1817) graduated from Yale in 1769. He was principal of the New Haven grammar school (1769-1771) and a tutor at Yale (1771-1777). A lack of chaplains during the Revolutionary War led him to become a preacher and he served as a chaplain in a Connecticut brigade. Dwight served as preacher in neighboring churches in Northampton, MA (1778-1782) and in Fairfield, CT (1783). He also served as president of Yale College (1795-1817).

Citizens of New-Haven.



“Behold I come as a thief: Blessed is he
that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he
walk naked, and they see his shame.”

THIS passage is inserted as a parenthesis in the account of the sixth vial. To feel its whole force it will be necessary to recur to that account, and to examine it with some attention. It is given in these words.

  1. 12. “And the sixth angel poured out his vial upon the great river Euphrates; and the water thereof was dried up, that the way of the king of the east might be prepared.”
  2. “And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet.
  3. “For they are the spirits of devils (Gr. Demons), working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth, and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty.”
  4. “Behold I come as a thief: Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame.”
  5. “And he gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon.”

TO this account is subjoined that of the seventh vial; at the effusion of which is accomplished a wonderful and most affecting convulsion of this guilty world, and the final ruin of the Antichristian empire. The circumstances of this amazing event are exhibited at large in the remainder of this, and in the three succeeding chapters.

INSTEAD of employing the time, allowed by the present occasion, in stating the several opinions of commentators concerning this remarkable prophecy, opinions which you can examine at your leisure, I shall, as briefly as may be, state to you that, which appears to me to be its true meaning. This is necessary to be done, to prepare you for the use of it, which is now intended to be made.

IN the 12th verse, under a natural allusion to the manner in which the ancient Babylon was destroyed, a description is given us of the measures, used by the Most High to prepare the way for the destruction of the spiritual Babylon. The river Euphrates surrounded the walls, and ran through the middle, of the ancient Babylon, and thus became the means of its wealth, strength and safety. When Cyrus and Cyaxares (The Darius of Daniel), the kings of Persia and Media, or, in the Jewish phraseology, of the east, took this celebrated city, they dried up, or emptied, the waters of the Euphrates, out of its proper channel, by turning them into a lake, or more probably a sunken region of the country, above the city. They then entered by the channel which passed through the city, made themselves masters of it, and overturned the empire. The emptying, or drying up, of the waters of the real Euphrates thus prepared the way of the real kings of the east for the destruction of the city and empire of the real Babylon. The drying up of the waters of the figurative Euphrates in the like manner prepares the way of the figurative kings of the east for the destruction of the city and empire of the figurative Babylon. The terms waters, Euphrates, kings, east, Babylon, are all figurative or symbolical; and are not to be understood as denoting real kings, or a real east, any more than a real Euphrates, or a real Babylon. The whole meaning of the prophet is, I apprehend, that God will, under this vial, so diminish the wealth, strength, and safety, of the spiritual or figurative Babylon, as effectually to prepare the way for its destroyers.

IN the remaining verses an event is predicted, of a totally different kind; which is also to take place in the same period. Three unclean spirits; like frogs, are exhibited as proceeding out of the mouth of the Dragon or Devil, of the Beast or Romish Government, and of the False Prophet, or, as I apprehend, of the regular Clergy of that Hierarchy. These spirits are represented as working miracles, as going forth to the kings, of the whole world, to gather them; and as actually gathering them together to the battle of that great day of God Almighty, described in the remainder of this chapter, and in the three succeeding ones. Of this vast enterprise the miserable end is strongly marked, in the name of the place, into which they are said to be gathered—Armageddon—the mountain of destruction and mourning.

THE writer of this book will himself explain to us what he intended by the word spirits in this passage. In his 1st Epistle, ch. iv. v. 1. he says,

Beloved, believe not every spirit; but try the spirits, whether they be of God; because many false prophets are gone out into the world. (See also v. 2, 3, 6.)

  1. E. Believe not every teacher, or doctrine, professing to come from God; but examine all carefully, that ye may know whether they come from God, or not; for many false prophets, or teachers passing themselves upon the Church for teachers of truth, but in reality teachers of false doctrines, are gone out into the world.

IN the same sense, if I am not deceived, is the word used in the passage under consideration. One great characteristic and calamity of this period is, therefore, that unclean teachers, or teachers of unclean doctrines, will spread through the world, to unite mankind against God. They are said to be three; i. e. several; a definite number being used here, as in many other passages of this book, for an indefinite one; to come out of the mouths of the three evil agents abovementioned; i. e. to originate in those countries, where they have principally co-operated against the kingdom of God; to be unclean; to resemble frogs; i. e. to be lothesome, clamorous, impudent, and pertinacious; to be the spirits of demons, i. e. to be impious, malicious, proud, deceitful, and cruel; to work miracles, or wonders; and to gather great multitudes of men to battle, i. e. to embark them in an open, professed enterprise, against God Almighty.

HAVING thus summarily explained my views of this prophecy, I shall now for the purpose of presenting it in a more distinct and comprehensive view draw together the several parts of it in a paraphrase.

IN the sixth great division of the period of providence, denoted by the vials filled with divine judgments and emptied on the world, the wealth, strength and safety of the Antichristian empire will be greatly lessened, and thus effectual preparation will be made for its final overthrow.

IN the meantime several teachers of false and immoral doctrines will arise in those countries, where the Powers of the Antichristian empire have especially distinguished themselves, by corrupting the truth, and persecuting the followers, of Christ; the character of which teachers and their doctrines will be impure, lothesome, impudent, pertinacious, proud, deceitful, impious, malicious, and cruel.

THESE teachers will, by their doctrines and labours, openly, professedly, and in an unusual manner, contend against God, and against his kingdom in this world, and will strive to unite mankind in this opposition.

NOR will they fail of astonishing success; for they will actually unite a large part of the human race, particularly in Christendom, in this impious undertaking.

BUT they will only unite them to their destruction; a destruction most awfully accomplished at the effusion of the seventh vial.

FROM this explanation it is manifest, that the prediction consists of two great and distinct parts; the preparation for the overthrow of the Antichristian empire; and the embarkation of men in a professed and unusual opposition to God, and to his kingdom, accomplished by means of false doctrines, and impious teachers.

BY the ablest Commentators the fifth vial is considered as having been poured out at the time of the Reformation. The first is supposed, and with almost absolute certainty, to have begun to operate not long after the year 800. If we calculate from that period to the year 1517, the year in which the Reformation began in Germany, the four first vials will be found to have occupied about four times 180 years. 180 years may therefore be estimated as the greatest, and 170 years as the least duration of a single vial. From the year 1517 to the year 1798 there are 281 years. If the fifth vial be supposed to have continued 180 years, its termination was in the year 1697; if 170, in 1687. Of course the sixth vial may be viewed as having been in operation more than 100 years.

YOU will now naturally ask, What events in the Providence of God, found in this period, verify the prediction?

TO this question I answer, generally, that the whole complexion of things appears to me to have, in a manner surprisingly exact, corresponded with the prediction. The following particulars will evince with what propriety this answer is returned.

WITHIN this period the Jesuits, who constituted the strongest branch, and the most formidable internal support, of the Romish hierarchy, have been suppressed.

WITHIN this period various other orders of the regular Romish Clergy have in some countries been suppressed, and in others greatly reduced. Their permanent possessions have been confiscated, and their wealth and power greatly lessened.

WITHIN this period the Antichristian secular powers have been in most instances exceedingly weakened. Poland as a body politic is nearly annihilated. Austria has deeply suffered. Venice and the popish part of Switzerland as bodies politic have vanished. The Sardinian monarchy is on the eve of dissolution. Spain, Naples, Tuscany, and Genoa, are sorely wounded; and Portugal totters to its fall. By the treaty, now on the tapis in Germany, the Romish Archbishoprics and Bishoprics, in that empire, are proposed to be secularized, and as distinct governments to be destroyed. As the strength of these powers was the foundation, on which the Hierarchy rested; so their destruction, or diminution, is a final preparation for its ruin.

IN France, Belgium, the Italian, and Cis-rhenane republics, a new form of government has been instituted, the effect of which, whether it shall prove permanent, or not, must be greatly and finally to diminish the strength of the Hierarchy.

IN France, and in Belgium, the whole power and influence of the Clergy of all descriptions have, in a sense, been destroyed; and their immense wealth has been diverted into new channels. In France, also, an open, violent, and inveterate war has been made upon the Hierarchy, and carried on with unexampled bitterness and cruelty. (In the mention of all these evils brought on the Romish Hierarchy, I beg he may be remembered that I am far from justifying the iniquitous conduct of their persecutors. I know not that any person holds it, and all other persecution, more in abhorrence. Neither have I a doubt of the integrity and piety of multitudes of the unhappy sufferers. In my view they claim, and I trust will receive, the commiseration, and, as occasion offers, the kind offices of all men possessed even of common humanity.)

WITHIN this period, also, the revenues of the Pope have been greatly curtailed; the territory of Avignon has been taken out of his hands; and his general weight and authority have exceedingly declined.

WITHIN the present year his person has been seized, his secular government overturned, a republic formed out of his dominions, and an apparent and at least temporary end put to his dominion.

TO all these mighty preparations for the ruin of the Antichristian empire may be added, as of the highest efficacy, that great change of character, of views, feelings, and habits, throughout many Antichristian countries, which assures us completely, that its former strength can never return.

THUS has the first part of this remarkable prophecy been accomplished. Not less remarkable has been the fulfilment of the second.

ABOUT the year 1728, Voltaire, so celebrated for his wit and brilliancy, and not less distinguished for his hatred of christianity and his abandonment of principle, formed a systematical design to destroy christianity, and to introduce in its stead a general diffusion of irreligion and atheism. For this purpose he associated with himself Frederic the II, king of Prussia, and Mess. D’Alembert and Diderot, the principal compilers of the Encyclopedie; all men of talents, atheists, and in the like manner abandoned. The principal parts of this system were, 1st. The compilation of the Encyclopedie (The celebrated French Dictionary of Arts and Sciences, in which articles of Theology were speciously and decently written; but, by references artfully made to other articles, all the truth of the former was entirely and insidiously overthrown to most readers, but the sophistry of the latter.); in which with great art and insidiousness the doctrines of Natural as well as Christian Theology were rendered absurd and ridiculous; and the mind of the reader was insensibly steeled against conviction and duty. 2. The overthrow of the religious orders in Catholic countries; a step essentially necessary to the destruction of the religion professed in those countries. 3. The establishment of a sect of philosophists to serve, it is presumed, as a conclave, a rallying point, for all their followers. 4. The appropriation to themselves, and their disciples, of the places and honours of members of the French Academy, the most respectable literary society in France, and always considered as containing none but men of prime learning and talents. In this way they designed to hold out themselves, and their friends, as the only persons of great literary and intellectual distinction in that country, and to dictate all literary opinions to the nation. (So far was this carried, that a Mr. Beauzet, a layman, but a sincere Christian, who was one of the forty members, once asked D’Alembert how they came to admit him among them? D’Alembert answered, without hesitation, “I am sensible, this must seem astonishing to you; but we wanted a skillful grammarian, and among our party, not one had acquired a reputation in this line. We know that you believe in God, but, being a good sort of man, we cast our eyes upon you, for want of a philosopher to supply your place.” Brit. Crit. Art. Barruel’s Memoirs of the History of Jacobinism. August 1797.) 5. The fabrication of Books of all kinds against christianity, especially such as excite doubt, and generate contempt and derision. Of these they issued, by themselves and their friends, who early became numerous, an immense number; so printed, as to be purchased for little or nothing, and so written, as to catch the feelings, and steal upon the approbation, of every class of men. 6. The formation of a secret Academy, of which Voltaire was the standing president, and in which books were formed, altered, forged, imputed as post-humous to deceased writers of reputation, and sent abroad with the weight of their names. These were printed and circulated, at the lowest price, through all classes of men, in an uninterrupted succession, and through every part of the kingdom.

NOR were the labours of this Academy confined to religion. They attacked also morality and government, unhinged gradually the minds of men, and destroyed their reverence for every thing heretofore esteemed sacred.

IN the mean time, the Masonic Societies, which had been originally instituted for convivial and friendly purposes only, were, especially in France and Germany, made the professed scenes of debate concerning religion, morality, and government, by these philosophists (The words Philosophism and Philosophists may in our opinion, be happily adopted from this work, to designate the doctrines of the Diestical sect; and thus to rescue, the honourable terms of Philosophy and Philosopher from the abuse, into which they have fallen. Philosphism is a love of Sephisms, and thus completely describes the sect of Voltaire: A Philosphists is a lover of Sophists. Brit. Crit. Ibid.) who had in great numbers become Masons. For such debate the legalized existence of Masonry, its profound secresy, its solemn and mystic rites and symbols, its mutual correspondence, and its extension through most civilized countries, furnished the greatest advantages. All here was free, safe, and calculated to encourage the boldest excursions of restless opinion and impatient ardour, and to make and fix the deepest impressions. Here, and in no other place, under such arbitrary governments, could every innovator in these important subjects utter every sentiment, however daring, and attack every doctrine and institution, however guarded by law or sanctity. In the secure and unrestrained debates of the lodge, every novel, licentious, and alarming opinion was resolutely advanced. Minds, already tinged with philosophism, were here speedily blackened with a deep and deadly die; and those, which came fresh and innocent to the scene of contamination, became early and irremediably corrupted. A stubborn incapacity of conviction, and a flinty insensibility to every moral and natural tie, grew of course out of this combination of causes; and men were surely prepared, before themselves were aware, for every plot and perpetration. In these hot beds were sown the seeds of that astonishing Revolution, and all its dreadful appendages, which now spreads dismay and horror throughout half the globe.

WHILE these measures were advancing the great design with a regular and rapid progress, Doctor Adam Weishaupt, professor of the Canon law in the University of Ingolstadt, a city of Bavaria (in Germany) formed, about the year 1777, the order of Illuminati. This order is professedly a higher order of Masons, originated by himself, and grafted on ancient Masonic Institutions. The secresy, solemnity, mysticism, and correspondence of Masonry, were in this new order preserved and enhanced; while the ardour of innovation, the impatience of civil and moral restraints, and the aims against government, morals, and religion, were elevated, expanded, and rendered more systematical, malignant, and daring.

IN the societies of Illuminati doctrines were taught, which strike at the root of all human happiness and virtue; and every such doctrine was either expressly or implicitly involved in their system.

THE being of God was denied and ridiculed.

GOVERNMENT was asserted to be a curse, and authority a mere usurpation.

CIVIL society was declared to be the only apostasy of man.

THE possession of property was pronounced to be robbery.

CHASTITY and natural affection were declared to be nothing more than groundless prejudices.

ADULTERY, assassination, poisoning, and other crimes of the like infernal nature, were taught as lawful, and even as virtuous actions.

TO crown such a system of falshood and horror all means were declared to be lawful, provided the end was good.

IN this last doctrine men are not only loosed from every bond, and from every duty; but from every inducement to perform any thing which is good, and, abstain from any thing which is evil; and are set upon each other, like a company of hellhounds to worry, rend, and destroy. Of the goodness of the end every man is to judge for himself; and most men, and all men who resemble the Illuminati, will pronounce every end to be good, which will gratify their inclinations. The great and good ends proposed by the Illuminati, as the ultimate objects of their union, are the overthrow of religion, government, and human society civil and domestic. These they pronounce to be so good, that murder, butchery, and war, however extended and dreadful, are declared by them to be completely justifiable, if necessary for these great purposes. With such an example in view, it will be in vain to hunt for ends, which can be evil.

CORRESPONDENT with this summary was the whole system. No villainy, no impiety, no cruelty, can be named, which was not vindicated; and no virtue, which was not covered with contempt.

THE means by which this society was enlarged, and its doctrines spread, were of every promising kind. With unremitted ardour and diligence the members insinuated themselves into every place of power and trust, and into every literary, political and friendly society; engrossed as much as possible the education of youth, especially of distinction; became licensers of the press, and directors of every literary journal; waylaid every foolish prince, every unprincipled civil officer, and every abandoned clergyman; entered boldly into the desk, and with unhallowed hands, and satanic lips, polluted the pages of God; inlisted in their service almost all the booksellers, and of course the printers, of Germany; inundated the country with books, replete with infidelity, irreligion, immorality, and obscenity; prohibited the printing, and prevented the sale, of books of the contrary character; decried and ridiculed them when published in spite of their efforts; panegyrized and trumpeted those of themselves and their coadjutors; and in a word made more numerous, more diversified, and more strenuous exertions, than an active imagination would have preconceived.

TO these exertions their success has been proportioned. Multitudes of the Germans, notwithstanding the gravity, steadiness, and sobriety of their national character, have become either partial or entire converts to these wretched doctrines; numerous societies have been established among them; the public faith and morals have been unhinged; and the political and religious affairs of that empire have assumed an aspect, which forebodes its total ruin. In France, also, Illuminatism has been eagerly and extensively adopted; and those men, who have had, successively, the chief direction of the public affairs of that country, have been members of this society. Societies have also been erected in Switzerland and Italy, and have contributed probably to the success of the French, and to the overthrow of religion and government, in those countries. Mentz was delivered up to Custine by the Illuminati; and that General appears to have been guillotined, because he declined to encourage the same treachery with respect to Manheim.

NOR have England and Scotland escaped the contagion. Several societies have been erected in boch of those countries. Nay in the private papers, seized in the custody of the leading members in Germany, several such societies are recorded as having been erected in America, before the year 1786. (See Robinson’s Conspiracy and the Abbe Barruel’s Memoirs of the History of Jacobinism.)

IT is a remarkable fact, that a large proportion of the sentiments, here stated, have been publicly avowed and applauded in the French legislature. The being and providence of God have been repeatedly denied and ridiculed. Christ has been mocked with the grossest insult. Death, by a solemn legislative decree has been declared to be an eternal sleep. Marriage has been degraded to a farce, and the community, by the law of divorce, invited to universal prostitution In the school of public instruction atheism is professedly taught; and at an audience before the legislature, Nov. 30, 1793, the head scholar declared, that he and his schoolfellows detested a God; a declaration received by the members with unbounded applause, and rewarded with the fraternal kiss of the president, and with the honors of the sitting. (See Gifford’s Letter to Erskine.)

I presume I have sufficiently proved the fulfilment of the second part of this remarkable prophesy; and shewn, that doctrines and teachers, answering to the description, have arisen in the very countries specified, and that they are rapidly spreading through the world, to engage mankind in an open and professed war against God. I shall only add, that the titles of these philosophistical books have, in various instances, been too obscene to admit of a translation by a virtuous man, and in a decent state of society. So fully are these teachers entitled to the epithet unclean.

ASSUMING now as just, for the purposes of this discourse, the explanation, which has been given, I shall proceed to consider the import of the Text.

THE Text is an affectionate address of the Redeemer to his children, teaching them that conduct, which he wills them especially to pursue in this alarming season. It is the great practical remark, drawn by infinite Wisdom and Goodness from a most solemn sermon, and cannot fail therefore to merit our highest attention. Had he not, while recounting the extensive and dreadful convulsion, described in the context, made a declaration of this nature, there would have been little room for the exercise of any emotions, beside those of terror and despair. The gloom would have been universal and entire; a blank midnight without a star to cheer the solitary darkness. But here a hope, a promise, is furnished to such as obey the injunction, by which it is followed; a luminary like that, which shone to the wise men of the east, is lighted up to guide our steps to the Author of peace and salvation.

BLESSED, even in this calamitous season, saith the Saviour of men, is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked and they see his shame.

SIN is the nakedness and shame of the scriptures, and righteousness the garment which covers it. To watch and keep the garments is, of course, so to observe the heart and the life, so carefully to resist temptation and abstain from sin, and so faithfully to cultivate holiness and perform duty, that the heart and the life shall be adorned with the white robes of evangelical virtue, the unspotted attire of spiritual beauty.

THE cautionary precept given to us by our Lord is, therefore,


TO those, who obey, a certain blessing is secured by the promise of the Redeemer.

THE great and general object, aimed at by this command, and by every other, is private, personal obedience and reformation of life; personal piety, righteousness, and temperance.

TO every man is by his Creator especially committed the care of himself; of his time, his talents, and his soul. He knows, or may know, better than any other man, his wants, his sins, and his dangers, and of course the means of relief, reformation, and escape. No one, so well as he, can watch the approach of temptation, so feelingly pray for divine assistance, or so profitably resolve on future obedience. In truth no resolutions, no prayers, no watchfulness of others, will profit him at all, unless seconded by his own.

No other person can make any useful impressions on our hearts, or our lives, unless by rousing in us the necessary exertions. All extraneous labours terminate in this single point: it is the end of every doctrine, exhortation, and reproof, of every moral and religious institution.

THE manner, in which such obedience is to be performed, and such reformation accomplished, is described to you weekly in the desk, and daily in the scriptures. A detail of it, therefore, will not be necessary, nor expected, on the present occasion. You already know what is to be done, and the manner in which it is to be done. You need not be told, that you are to use all efforts of your own, and to look humbly and continually to God to render those efforts successful; that you are to resist carefully and faithfully every approaching temptation, and every rising sin; that you are to resolve on newness of life, and to seize every occasion, as it presents itself, to honour God, and to bless your fellow men; that you are strenuously to contend against evil habits, and watchfully to cherish good ones; and that you are constantly to aim at uniformity and eminency in a holy life, and to “adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things.”

BUT it may be necessary to remind you, that personal obedience and reformation is the foundation, and the sum, of all national worth and prosperity. If each man conducts himself aright, the community cannot be conducted wrong. If the private life be unblamable, the public state must be commendable and happy.

INDIVIDUALS are often apt to consider their own private conduct as of small importance to the public welfare. This opinion is wholly erroneous and highly mischievous. No man can adopt it, who believes, and remembers, the declarations of God. If “one sinner destroyeth much good,” if “the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much,” if ten righteous persons, found in the polluted cities of the vale of Siddim, would have saved them from destruction, the personal conduct of no individual can be insignificant to the safety and happiness of a nation. On the contrary, the advantages to the public of private virtue, faithful prayer and edifying example, cannot be calculated. No one can conjecture how many will be made better, safer, and happier, by the virtue of one.

WHEREVER wealth, politeness, talents, and office, lend their aid to the inherent efficacy of virtue, its influence is proportionally greater. In this case the example is seen by greater numbers, is regarded with more respectful attention, and felt with greater force. The piety of Hezekiah reformed and saved a nation. Men far inferior in station to kings, and possessed of far humbler means of doing good, may still easily circulate through multitudes both virtue and happiness. The beggar on the dunghill may become a public blessing. Every parent, if a faithful one, is a public blessing of course. How delightful a path of patriotism is this?

IT is also to be remembered, that this is the way, in which the chief good, ever placed in the power of most persons, is to be done. If this opportunity of serving God, and befriending mankind, be lost, no other will by the great body of men ever be found. Few persons can be concerned in settling systems of faith, moulding forms of government, regulating nations, or establishing empires. But almost all can train up a family for God, instil piety, justice, kindness and truth, distribute peace and comfort around a neighbourhood, receive the poor and the outcast into their houses, tend the bed of sickness, pour balm into the wounds of pain, and awaken a smile in the aspect of sorrow. In the secret and lowly vale of life, virtue in its most lovely attire delights to dwell. There God, with peculiar complacency, most frequently finds the inestimable ornament of a meek and quiet spirit; and there the morning and the evening incense ascends with peculiar fragrance to heaven. When angels became the visitors, and the guests, of Abraham, he was a simple husbandman.

BESIDES, this is the great mean of personal safety and happiness. No good man was ever forgotten, or neglected, of God. To him duty is always safety. Around the tabernacle of every one, that feareth God, the angel of protection will encamp, and save him from the impending evil.

  1. AMONG the particular duties required by this precept, and at the present time, none holds a higher place than the observation of the Sabbath.

THE Sabbath and its ordinances have ever been the great means of all moral good to mankind. The faithful observation of the sabbath is, therefore, one of the chief duties and interests of men; but the present time furnishes reasons, peculiar, at least in degree, for exemplary regard to this divine institution. The enemies of God have by private argument, ridicule, and influence, and by public decrees, pointed their especial malignity against the Sabbath; and have expected, and not without reason, that, if they could annihilate it, they should overthrow christianity. From them we cannot but learn its importance. Enemies usually discern, with more sagacity, the most promising point of attack, than those who are to be attacked. In this point are they to be peculiarly opposed. Here, peculiarly, are their designs to be baffled. If they fail here, they will finally fail. Christianity cannot fall, but by the neglect of the Sabbath.

I HAVE been credibly informed, that, some years before the Revolution, an eminent philosopher of this country, now deceased, declared to David Hume, that Christianity would be exterminated from the American colonies within a century from that time. The opinion has doubtless been often declared and extensively imbibed; and has probably furnished our enemies their chief hopes of success. Where religion prevails, their system cannot succeed. Where religion prevails, Illuminatism cannot make disciples, a French directory cannot govern, a nation cannot be made slaves, nor villains, nor atheists, nor beasts. To destroy us, therefore, in this dreadful sense, our enemies must first destroy our Sabbath, and seduce us from the house of God.

RELIGION and Liberty are the two great objects of defensive war. Conjoined, they unite all the feelings, and call forth all the energies, of man. In defense of them, nations contend with the spirit of the Maccabees; “one will chase a thousand, and two put ten thousand to flight.” The Dutch, in defense of them, few and feeble as they were in their infancy, assumed a gigantic courage, and grew like the fabled sons of Alous to an instantaneous and gigantic strength, broke the arms of the Spanish empire, swept its fleets from the ocean, pulled down its pride, plundered its treasures, captivated its dependencies, and forced its haughty monarch to a peace on their own terms. Religion and liberty are the meat and the drink of the body politic. Withdraw one of them, and it languishes, consumes, and dies. If indifference to either at any time becomes the prevailing character of a people, one half of their motives to vigorous defense is lost, and the hopes of their enemies are proportionally increased. Here, eminently, they are inseparable. Without religion we may possibly retain the freedom of savages, bears, and wolves; but not the freedom of New-England. If our religion were gone, our state of society would perish with it; and nothing would be left, which would be worth defending. Our children of course, if not ourselves, would be prepared, as the ox for the slaughter, to become the victims of conquest, tyranny, and atheism.

THE Sabbath, with its ordinances, constitutes the bond of union to christians; the badge by which they know each other; their rallying point; the standard of their host. Beside public worship they have no means of effectual descrimination. To preserve this is to us a prime interest and duty. In no way can we so preserve, or so announce to others, our character as christians; or so effectually prevent our nakedness and shame from being seen by our enemies. Now, more than ever, we are “not to be ashamed of the gospel of Christ.” Now, more than ever, are we to stand forth to the eye of our enemies, and of the world, as open, determined christians; as the followers of Christ; as the friends of God. Every man, therefore, who loves his country, or his religion, ought to feel, that he serves, or injures, both, as he celebrates, or neglects, the Sabbath. By the devout observation of this holy day he will reform himself, increase his piety, heighten his love to his country, and confirm his determination to defend all that merits his regard. He will become a better man, and a better citizen.

THE house of God is also the house of social prayer. Here nations meet with God to ask, and to receive, national blessings. On the Sabbath, and in the sanctuary, the children of the Redeemer will, to the end of the world, assemble for this glorious end. Here he is ever present to give more than they can ask. If we faithfully unite, here, in seeking his protection, “no weapon formed against us will prosper.”

  1. ANOTHER duty, to which we are also eminently called, is an entire separation from our enemies. Among the moral duties of man none hold a higher rank than political ones, and among our own political duties none is more plain, or more absolute, than that which I have now mentioned.

IN the eighteenth chapter of this prophecy, in which the dreadful effects of the seventh vial are particularly described, this duty is expressly enjoined on christians by a voice from Heaven. “And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.” Under the evils and dangers of the sixth vial, the command in the Text was given; under those of the seventh, the command which we are now considering. The world is already far advanced in the period of the sixth. In the Text we are informed, that the Redeemer will hasten the progress of his vengeance on the enemies of his church, during the effusion of the two last vials. If, therefore, the judgments of the seventh are not already begun, a fact of which I am doubtful, they certainly cannot be distant. The present time is, of course, the very period for which this command was given.

THE two great reasons for the command are subjoined to it by the Saviour—”that ye be not partakers of her sins; and that ye receive not of her plagues;” and each is a reason of incomprehensible magnitude.

THE sins of these enemies of Christ, and Christians, are of numbers and degrees, which mock account and description. All that the malice and atheism of the Dragon, the cruelty and rapacity of the Beast, and the fraud and deceit of the false Prophet, can generate, or accomplish, swell the list. No personal, or national interest of man has been uninvaded; no impious sentiment, or action, against God has been spared; no malignant hostility against Christ, and his religion, has been unattempted. Justice, truth, kindness, piety, and moral obligation universally, have been, not merely trodden under foot; this might have resulted from vehemence and passion; but ridiculed, spurned, and insulted, as the childish bugbears of driveling idiocy. Chastity and decency have been alike turned out of doors; and shame and pollution called out of their dens to the hall of distinction, and the chair of state. Nor has any art, violence, or means, been unemployed to accomplish these evils.

FOR what end shall we be connected with men, of whom this is the character and conduct? Is it that we may assume the same character, and pursue the same conduct? Is it, that our churches may become temples of reason, our Sabbath a decade, and our psalms of praise Marseillois hymns? Is it, that we may change our holy worship into a dance of Jacobin phrenzy, and that we may behold a strumpet personating a Goddess on the altars of JEHOVAH? Is it that we may see the Bible cast into a bonfire, the vessels of the sacramental supper borne by an ass in public procession, and our children, either wheedled or terrified, uniting in the mob, chanting mockeries against God, and hailing in the sounds of Caira the ruin of their religion, and the loss of their souls? Is it, that we may see our wives and daughters the victims of legal prostitution; soberly dishonoured; speciously polluted; the outcasts of delicacy and virtue, and the lothing of God and man? Is it, that we may see, in our public papers, a solemn comparison drawn by an American Mother club between the Lord Jesus Christ and a new Marat; and the fiend of malice and fraud exalted above the glorious Redeemer?

SHALL we, my brethren, become partakers of these sins? Shall we introduce them into our government, our schools, our families? Shall our sons become the disciples of Voltaire, and the dragoons of Marat (See a four years Residence in France, lately published by Mr. Cornelius Davis of New York. This is a most valuable and interesting work, and exhibits the French Revolution in a far more perfect light than any book I have seen. It ought to be read by every American.); or our daughters the concubines of the Illuminati?

SOME of my audience may perhaps say, “We do not believe such crimes to have existed.” The people of Jerusalem did not believe, that they were in danger, until the Chaldeans surrounded their walls. The people of Laish were secure, when the children of Dan lay in ambush around their city. There are in every place, and in every age, persons “who are settled upon their lees,” who take pride in disbelief, and “who say in their heart, the Lord will not do good, neither will he do evil.” Some persons disbelieve through ignorance; some choose not to be informed; and some determine not to be convinced. The two last classes cannot be persuaded. The first may, perhaps, be at least alarmed, when they are told, that the evidence of all this, and much more, is complete, that it has been produced to the public, and may with a little pains-taking be known by themselves.

THERE are others, who, admitting the fact, deny the danger. “If others,” say they, “are ever so abandoned, we need not adopt either their principles, or their practices.” Common sense has however declared, two thousand years ago, and God has sanctioned the declaration, that “Evil communications corrupt good manners.” Of this truth all human experience is one continued and melancholy proof. I need only add, that these persons are prepared to become the first victims of the corruption by this very selfconfidence and security.

SHOULD we, however, in a forbidden connection with these enemies of God, escape, against all hope, from moral ruin, we shall still receive our share of their plagues. This is the certain dictate of the prophetical injunction; and our own experience, and that of nations more intimately connected with them, has already proved its truth.

LOOK for conviction to Belgium; sunk into the dust of insignificance and meanness, plundered, insulted, forgotten, never to rise more. See Batavia wallowing in the same dust; the butt of fraud, rapacity, and derision, struggling in the last stages of life, and searching anxiously to find a quiet grave. See Venice sold in the shambles, and made the small change of a political bargain. Turn your eyes to Switzerland, and behold its happiness, and its hopes, cut off at a single stroke: happiness, erected with the labour and the wisdom of three centuries; hopes, that not long since hailed the blessings of centuries yet to come. What have they spread, but crimes and miseries; Where have they trodden, but to waste, to pollute, and to destroy?

ALL connection with them has been pestilential. Among ourselves it has generated nothing but infidelity, irreligion, faction, rebellion, the ruin of peace, and the loss of property. In Spain, in the Sardinian monarchy, in Genoa, it has sunk the national character, blasted national independence, rooted out confidence, and forerun destruction.

BUT France itself has been the chief seat of the evils, wrought by these men. The unhappy and ever to be pitied inhabitants of that country, a great part of whom are doubtless of a character similar to that of the peaceable citizens of other countries, and have probably no voluntary concern in accomplishing these evils, have themselves suffered far more from the hands of philosophists, and their followers, than the inhabitants of any other country. General Danican, a French officer, asserts in his memoirs, lately published, that three millions of Frenchmen have perished in the Revolution. Of this amazing destruction the causes by which it was produced, the principles on which it was founded, and the modes in which it was conducted, are an aggravation, that admits no bound. The butchery of the stall, and the slaughter of the stye, are scenes of deeper remorse, and softened with more sensibility. The siege of Lyons, and the judicial massacres at Nantes, stand, since the crucifixion, alone in the volume of human crimes. The misery of man never before reached the extreme of agony, nor the infamy of man its consummation. Collot D. Herbois and his satellites, Carrier and his associates, would claim eminence in a world of fiends, and will be marked with distinction in the future hissings of the universe. No guilt so deeply died in blood, since the phrenzied malice of Calvary, will probably so amaze the assembly of the final day; and Nantes and Lyons may, without a hyperbole, obtain a literal immortality in a remembrance revived beyond the grave.

IN which of these plagues, my brethren, are you willing to share? Which of them will you transmit as a legacy to your children?

WOULD you escape, you must separate yourselves. Would you wholly escape, you must be wholly separated. I do not intend, that you must not buy and sell, or exhibit the common offices of justice and good will; but you are bound by the voice of reason, of duty, of safety, and of God, to shun all such connection with them, as will interweave your sentiments or your friendship, your religion or your policy, with theirs. You cannot otherwise fail of partaking in their guilt, and receiving of their plagues.

4thly. ANOTHER duty, to which we are no less forcibly called, is union among ourselves.

THE same divine Person, who spoke in the Text, hath also said, “A house, a kingdom, divided against itself cannot stand.” A divided family will destroy itself. A divided nation will anticipate ruin, prepared by its enemies. Switzerland, Geneva, Genoa, Venice, the Sardinian territories, Belgium, and Batavia, are melancholy examples of the truth of this declaration of our Saviour; beacons, which warn, with a gloomy and dreadful light, the nations who survive their ruin.

THE great bond of union to every people is its government. This destroyed, or distrusted, there is no center left of intelligence, counsel, or action; no system of purposes, or measures; no point of rallying, or confidence. When a nation is ready to say, “What part have we in David, or what inheritance in the son of Jesse?” it will naturally subjoin, “Every man to his tent, O Israel!”

THE candour and uprightness, with which our own government has acted in the progress of the present controversy, have forced encomiums even from its most bitter opposers, and excited the warmest approbation and applause of all its friends. Few objects could be more important, auspicious, or gratifying to christians, than to see the conduct of their rulers such, as they can, with boldness of access, bring before their God, and fearlessly commend to his favour and protection.

IN men, possessed of similar candour, adherence to our government, in the present crisis, may be regarded as a thing of course. They need not be informed, that the existing rulers must be the directors of our public affairs, and the only directors; that their views and measures will not and cannot always accord with the judgment of individuals, as the opinions of individuals accord no better with each other; that the officers of government are possessed of better information than private persons can be; that, if they had the same information, they would probably coincide with the opinions of their rulers; that confidence must be placed in men, imperfect as they are, in all human affairs, or no important business can be done; and that men of known and tried probity are fully deserving of that confidence.

AT the present time this adherence ought to be unequivocally manifested. In a land of universal suffrage, where every individual is possessed of much personal consequence as in ours, the government ought, especially in great measures, to be as secure, as may be, of the harmonious and cheerful co-operation of the citizens. All success, here, depends on the hearty concurrence of the community; and no occasion ever called for it more.

BUT there are, even in this State, persons, who are opposed to the government. To them I observe, That the government of France has destroyed the independence of every nation, which has confided in it.

THAT every such nation has been ruined by its internal divisions, especially by the separation of the people from their government.

THAT they have attempted to accomplish our ruin by the same means, and will certainly accomplish it, if they can;

THAT the miseries suffered by the subjugated nations have been numberless and extreme, involving the loss of national honour, the immense plunder of public and private property, the conflagration of churches and dwellings, the total ruin of families, the butchery of great multitudes of fathers and sons, and the most deplorable dishonour of wives and daughters;

THAT the same miseries will be repeated here, if in their power.

THAT there is, under God, no mean of escaping this ruin, but union among ourselves, and unshaken adherence to the existing government;

THAT themselves have an infinitely higher interest in preserving the independence of their country, than in any thing, which can exist, should it be conquered;

THAT they must stand, or fall, with their country; since the French, like all other conquerors, though they may for a little time regard them, as aids and friends, with a seeming partiality, will soon lose that partiality in a general contempt and hatred for them, as Americans. That should they, contrary to all experience, escape these evils, their children will suffer them as extensively as those of their neighbours; and

THAT to oppose, or neglect, the defence of their country, is to stab the breast, from which they have drawn their life.

I KNOW not that even these considerations will prevail: if they do not, nothing can be suggested by me, which will have efficacy. I must leave them, therefore, to their consciences, and their God.

IN the mean time, since the great facts, of which this controversy has consisted, have not, during the preceding periods, been thoroughly known, or believed, by all; and since all questions of expediency will be viewed differently by different eyes; I cannot but urge a general spirit of conciliation. To men labouring under mere mistakes, and prejudices void of malignity, hard names are in most cases unhappily applied, and unkindness is unwisely exhibited. Multitudes, heretofore attached to France with great ardour, have, from full conviction of the necessity of changing their sentiments and their conduct, come forth in the most decisive language, and determined conduct, of defenders of their country. More are daily exhibiting the same spirit and measures. Almost all native Americans will, I doubt not, speedily appear in the same ranks; and none should, in my opinion, be discouraged by useless obloquy.

  1. ANOTHER duty, injoined in the text, and highly incumbent on us at this time, is unshaken firmness in our opposition.

A STEADY and invincible firmness is the chief instrument of great atchievements. It is the prime mean of great wealth, learning, wisdom, power and virtue; and without it nothing noble or useful is usually accomplished. Without it our separation from our enemies, and our union among ourselves, will avail to no end. The cause is too complex, the object too important, to be determined by a single effort. It is infinitely too important to be given up, let the consequence be what it may. No evils, which can flow from resistance, can be so great as those, which must flow from submission. Great sacrifices of property, of peace, and of life, we may be called to make, but they will fall short of complete ruin. If they should not, it will be more desirable, beyond computation, to fall in the honourable and faithful defence of our families, our country, and our religion, than to survive, the melancholy, debased, and guilty spectators of the ruin of all. We contend for all that is, or ought to be, dear to man. Our cause is eminently that, in which “he who seeketh to save his life shall lose it, and he who loseth it,” in obedience to the command of his Master, “shall find it” beyond the grave. To our enemies we have done no wrong. Unspotted justice looks down on all our public measures with a smile. We fight for that, for which we can pray. We fight for the lives, the honor, the safety, of our wives and children, for the religion of our fathers, and for the liberty, “with which Christ hath made us free.” “We jeopard our lives,” that our children may inherit these glorious blessings, be rescued from the grinding insolence of foreign despotism, and saved from the corruption and perdition of foreign atheism. I am a father. I feel the usual parental tenderness for my children. I have long soothed the approach of declining years with the fond hope of seeing my sons serving God and their generation around me. But from cool conviction I declare in this solemn place, I would far rather follow them one by one to an untimely grave, than to behold them, however prosperous, the victims of philosophism. What could I then believe, but that they were “nigh unto cursing, and that their end was to be burned.”

FROM two sources only are we in danger of irresolution; Avarice, and a reliance on those fair professions, which our enemies have begun to make, and which they will doubtless continue to make, in degrees, and with insidiousness, still greater.

ON the first of these sources I observe, that, if we grudge a part of our property in the defence of our country, we lose the whole; and not only the whole of our property, but all our comforts, and all our hopes. Every enjoyment of life, every solace of sorrow, will be offered up in one vast hecatomb at the shrine of pride, plunder, impurity, and atheism. Those “who fear not God, regard not man.” All interests, beside their own, are in the view of such men the sport of wantonness, of insolence, and of a heart of millstone. They and their engines will soon tell you, if you do not put it out of their power, as one of the same engines told the miserable inhabitants of Neuwied (in Germany) unhappily placing confidence in their professions.

Hear the story, in the words of Professor Robison, “If ever there was a spot upon earth, where men may be happy in a state of cultivated society, it was the little principality of Neuwied. I saw it in 1770. The town was neat, and the palace handsome and in good state. But the country was beyond conception delightful; not a cottage that was out of repair; not a hedge out of order. It had been the hobby of the Prince (pardon me the word) who made it his daily employment to go through his principality, and assist every housholder, of whatever condition, with his advice and with his purse; and when a freeholder could not of himself put things into a thriving condition, the Prince sent his workmen and did it for him. He endowed schools for the common people and two academies for the gentry and the people of business. He gave little portions to the daughters, and prizes to the well-behaving sons of the labouring people. His own houshold was a pattern of elegance and economy; his sons were sent to Paris, to learn elegance, and to England, to learn science and agriculture. In short the whole was like a romance, and was indeed romantic. I heard it spoken of with a smile at the table of the Bishop of Treves, and was induced to see it the next day as a curiosity. Yet even here the fanaticism of Knigge (one of the founders of the Illuminati) would distribute his poison, and tell the blinded people that they were in a state of sin and misery, that their Prince was a despot, and that they would never be happy ’till he was made to fly, and ’till they were made all equal.”

“THEY got their wish. The swarm of French locusts sat down at Neuwied’s beautiful fields, in 1793, and intrenched themselves; and in three months Prince’s and Farmers’ houses, and cottages, and schools, and academies, all vanished. When they complained of their miseries to the French General, René le Grand, he replied, with a contemptuous and cutting laugh, “All is ours. We have left you your eyes to cry.”

WILL you trust such professions? Have not your enemies made them to every country, which they have subjugated? Have they fulfilled them to one? Will they prove more sincere to you? Have they not deceived you in every expectation hitherto? On what grounds can you rely on them hereafter?

WILL you grudge your property for the defence of itself, of your families, of yourselves. Will you preserve it to pay the price of a Dutch loan? to have it put in requisition by the French Directory? to label it on your doors, that they may, without trouble and without a tax bill, send their soldiers and take it for the use of the Republic? Will you keep it to assist them to pay their fleets and armies for subduing you? and to maintain their forts and garrisons for keeping you in subjection? Shall it become the purchase of a French fete, holden to commemorate the massacres of the 10th of August, the butcheries of the 3d of September, or the murder of Louis the 16th, your former benefactor? Shall it furnish the means for Representatives of the people to roll through your streets on the wheels of splendour, to imprison your sons and fathers; to seize on all the comforts, which you have earned with toil, and laid up with care; and to gather your wives, sisters, and daughters, into their brutal seraglios? Shall it become the price of the guillotine, and pay the expense of cleansing your streets from brooks of human blood?

WILL you rely on men whose principles justify falshood, injustice, and cruelty? Will you trust philosophists? men who set truth at nought, who make justice a butt of mockery, who deny the being and providence of God, and laugh at the interests and sufferings of men? Think not that such men can change. They can scarcely be worse. There is not a hope that they will become better.

BUT perhaps you may be alarmed by the power, and the successes, of your enemies. I am warranted to declare, that the ablest judge of this subject in America has said, that, if we are united, firm, and faithful to ourselves, neither France, nor all Europe, can subdue these States. Against other nations they contended with great and decisive advantages. Those nations were near to them, were divided, feeble, corrupted, seduced by philosophists, slaves of despotism, and separated from their government. None of these characters can be applied to us, unless we voluntarily retain those, which depend on ourselves. Three thousand miles of ocean spread between us and our enemies, to enfeeble and disappoint their efforts. They will not here contend with silken Italians, with divided Swissers, nor with self-surrendered Belgians and Batavians. They will find a hardy race of freemen, uncorrupted by luxury, unbroken by despotism; enlightened to understand their privileges, glowing with independence, and determined to be free, or to die: men who love, and who will defend, their familes, their country, and their religion: men fresh from triumph, and strong in a recent and victorious Revolution.

Doubled, since that Revolution began, in their numbers, and quadrupled in their resources and advantages, at home, in a country formed to disappoint invasion, and to prosper defence, under leaders skilled in all the arts and duties of war, and trained in the path of success, they have, if united, firm, and faithful, every thing to hope, and, beside the common evils of war, nothing to fear.

THINK not that I trust in chariots and in horses. My own reliance is, I hope, I ardently hope yours is, also, on the Lord our God. All these are his most merciful blessings, and, as such, most supporting consolations to us. They are the very means, which he has provided for our safety, and our hope. Stupidity, sloth, and ingratitude, can alone be blind to them as tokens for good. We are not, my brethren, to look for miracles, nor to expect God to accomplish them. We are to trust in him for the blessings of a regular and merciful providence. Such a providence is over us for good. I have recited abundant proofs, and could easily recite many more. All these are means, with which we are to plant, and to water, and in answer to our prayers God will certainly give the increase.

BUT I am peculiarly confident in the promised blessing of the Text. Our contention is a plain duty to God. The same glorious Person, who has commanded it, has promised to crown our obedience with his blessing; and has thus illumined this gloomy prediction, and shed the dawn of hope and comfort over this melancholy period.

TO you the promise is eminently supporting. He has won your faith by the great things he has already done for your fathers, and for you. The same Almighty Hand, which destroyed the fleet of Chebucto by the storm, and whelmed it in the deep; which conducted into the arms of Manly, and of Mugford, those means of war, which for the time saved your country; which raised up your Washington to guide your armies and your councils; which united you with your brethren against every expectation and hope; which disappointed the devices of enemies without, and traitors within; which bade the winds and the waves fight for you at Yorktown; which has, in later periods, repeatedly disclosed the machinations of your enemies, and which has now roused a noble spirit of resistance to intrigue and to terror; will accomplish for you a final deliverance from the hand of those, “who seek your hurt.” He has been your fathers’ God, and he will be yours.

LOOK through the history of your country. You will find scarcely less glorious and wonderful proofs of divine protection and deliverance, uniformly administered through every period of our existence as a people, than shone to the people of Israel in Egypt, in the wilderness, and in Canaan. Can it be believed, can it be, that Christianity has been so planted here, the Church of God so established, so happy a Government constituted, and so desirable a state of Society begun, merely to shew them to the world, and then destroy them? No instance can be found in the providence of God, in which a nation so wonderfully established, and preserved, has been overthrown, until it had progressed farther in corruption. We may be cast down; but experience only will prove to me, that we shall be destroyed.

BUT the consideration, which ought of itself to decide your opinions and your conduct, and which adds immense weight to all the others, is that the alternative, as exhibited in the prediction, and in providence, is beyond measure dreadful, and is at hand. “Behold,” saith the Saviour, “I come as a thief”—suddenly, unexpectedly, alarmingly— as that wasting enemy, the burglar, breaks up the house in the hour of darkness, when all the inhabitants are lost in sleep and security. How strongly do the great events of the present day shew this awful advent of the King of Kings to be at the doors?

TURN your eyes, for a moment, to the face of providence, and mark its new and surprising appearance. The Jews, for the first time since the destruction of Jerusalem by Adrian, have, in these States, been admitted to the rights of citizenship; and have since been admitted to the same rights in Prussia. They have also, as we are informed, appointed a solemn delegation to examine the evidences of Christianity. In the Austrian dominions, it is asserted, they have agreed to observe the Christian Sabbath; and in England, have in considerable numbers embraced the Christian religion. New and unprecedented efforts have been made, and are fast increasing, in England, Scotland, Germany, and the United States, for the conversion of the Heathen. Measures have, in Europe, and in America, been adopted, and are still enlarging, for putting an end to the African slavery, which will within a moderate period bring it to an end. Mohammedism is nearly extinct in Persia, one of the chief supports of that imposture. In Turkey, its other great support, the throne totters to its fall. The great Calamities of the present period have fallen, also, almost exclusively upon the Antichristian empire; and almost every part of that empire has drunk deeply of the cup. France, Belgium, Spain, Ireland, the Sardinian monarchy, the Austrian dominions, Venice, Genoa, popish Switzerland, the Ecclesiastical State, popish Germany, Poland, and the French West-Indies, have all been visited with judgments wonderful and terrible; and in exact accordance with prophecy have furthered their own ruin. The Kings, or states, of this empire are now plainly “hating the whore, eating her flesh, and burning her with fire.” Batavia, Protestant Switzerland, some parts of protestant Germany, and Geneva, have most unwisely, not to say wickedly, refused “to come out” and have therefore “partaken of the sins, and received of the plagues,” of their enemies. To the same unhappy cause our own smartings may all be traced; but blessed be God, there is reason to hope, that “we are escaping from the snare of the fowler.”

SO sudden, so unexpected, so alarming a state of things has not existed since the deluge. Every mouth proclaims, every eye looks its astonishment. Wonders daily succeed wonders, and are beginning to be regarded as the standing course of things. As they are of so many kinds, exist in so many places, and respect so many objects; kinds, places and objects, all marked out in prophecy, exhibited as parts of one closely united system, and to be expected at the present time; they shew that this affecting declaration is even now fulfilling in a surprising manner, and that the advent of Christ is at least at our doors. Think how awful this period is. Think what convulsions, what calamities, are portended by that great Voice out of the temple of Heaven from the Throne.—”It is done!” by the voices and thunderings and lightnings, by the unprecedented shaking of the earth, the unexampled plague of hailstones, the fleeing of the islands, the vanishing of the mountains, the rending asunder of the Antichristian empire, the united ascent of all its sins before God, the falling of the cities of the nations, the general embattling of mankind against their Maker, and their final overthrow, in such immense numbers, that “all the fowls shall be filled with their flesh.”

“GOD is jealous, and the Lord revengeth; the Lord revengeth and is furious; the Lord will take vengeance on his adversaries, he reserveth wrath for his enemies. The Lord is slow to anger, and great in power, and will not at all acquit the wicked. The Lord hath his way in the whirlwind, and in the storm, and the clouds are the dust of his feet. The mountains quake at him, and the hills melt; and the earth is burnt at his presence, yea the world, and all that dwell therein. Who can stand before his indignation? Who can abide in the fierceness of his anger?”

IN this amazing conflict, amidst this stupendous and immeasurable ruin, how transporting the thought, that safety and peace may be certainly found. O thou God of our fathers! our own God! and the God of our children! enable us so to watch, and keep our garments, in this solemn day, that our shame appear not, and that both we and our posterity may be entitled to the blessing which thou hast promised. AMEN.

The Nazis Really Were Socialists

Recently in the mainstream media the words “Nazi” and “Hitler” are perhaps two of the most commonly used words employed by pundits and even politicians. Those on the Left go so far as to claim that the current President parallels to Hitler,[i] with some public schools even teaching it in classrooms.[ii] Members of the Right retort that the rapidly growing socialist elements within the leftist parties are more deserving of the association because “Nazi” is simply an abbreviation of its full name—Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei, or, National Socialist German Workers’ Party.[iii]

With the centrality of the debate and the frequency of its usage, it is no surprise then that the political arguments have led directly into historical debates about Nazism. Thus, the most recent development in this match of political badminton has materialized in a slew of articles from left-leaning authors denying any connection between the National Socialism of Germany during Hitler’s regime and the socialism on the rise today in the American Left.[iv]

The claim that National Socialists were not true Socialist is not entirely new, with Western Marxist and socialist economists and historians distancing themselves from Nazism by claiming that Hitler and his followers were actually capitalists.[v] The historical facts of the Nazi regime, however, leave little room for doubt, the National Socialist party truly was ideologically socialist in name and in deed.

In order to competently answer this question definitions for both socialism and capitalism must be adopted. The generally accepted fundamental distinction between a capitalistic and a socialistic economic system rests upon the ownership of the means of production. In free markets the private ownership of capital is safeguarded as an intrinsic right which the government is bound to protect. For example, in the American tradition considers protections for private property paramount, with Thomas Jefferson explaining that:

“A wise and frugal government, which shall restrain men from injuring one another, shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned. This is the sum of good government.”[vi]

On the other hand, the general sentiments of socialist theorists suggest that the private ownership of the means of production leads only to the richer propertied classes oppressing the poorer non-propertied parts of the population. Thus, the hypothetical hallmark of a pure socialist society is one in which there is no real private ownership of the means of production, only public or state ownership.[vii] Simply put, socialism is the destruction of private property rights.

Although there are endless varieties when it comes to methods, ends, and styles of each capitalism and socialism, for the purposes of this investigation the basic understood definitions will provide a sufficient evaluative baseline. In short, the crux of whether or not the German National Socialists can be rightly considered as true socialists comes down to the status of private property during the Nazi regime. If the rights of private ownership were protected, then Nazism ought to be viewed as a form of capitalism. If, however, the Nazis dramatically infringed upon property rights to the extent that they failed to meaningfully exists, then their self-appointed moniker is rightly applied.

To discover how the Nazis approached the matter of private property Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf naturally reveals the early rational which would soon materialize once he gained power in 1933. The significance of Mein Kampf is seemingly often overlooked today with some writers drawing conclusions which even a quick perusal of the text directly refutes,[viii] but Hitler’s manifesto certainly captured much of what it meant to be a National Socialist. So much so, that the German Ministry of Culture later instructed that:

“Boys and girls in their teens must acquire a proper insight in order to understand this new Bible of the People. They must become acquainted and familiar with the lines of policy traced therein by the master’s hand. The grown-ups must, by reading this book, purify and strengthen their civic consciousness.”[ix]

Whatever the effect it had on German readers, one quickly learns two key facts concerning Hitler’s economic thought throughout Mein Kampf. First, that Hitler viewed Marxism as a Jewish scheme to destroy nations for their own capitalistic ends.[x] He explains that:

“I resumed the process of learning, and so came to realize for the first time what it was that the life work of the Jew Karl Marx was directed toward. Now I really began to comprehend his Capital, as well as the struggle of Social Democracy against the national economy.”[xi]

Hitler continued later in Mein Kampf to declare Marxism nothing more than “the pure essence of the Jew’s attempts” to achieve the “destructive purposes of the international world Jew.”[xii] For National Socialism to successfully come to power, Hitler believed that they must be extremely wary of being “eaten away by the poison of Marxism,” because the two ideologies, are on the face, so similar.[xiii] In fact, the future Führer

“What must fundamentally distinguish the populist world-concept [Nazi worldview] from the Marxist one is the fact that it recognizes not only the value of race, but the importance of the personality, and thus makes these the pillars of its whole structure…If the National Socialist movement were not to understand the fundamental significance of this basic realization, and instead were superficially to patch up the present State, or actually to regard the mass standpoint as its own [i.e. Democratic Socialism, which was a major party in Germany at the time], it would really be only a party competing with Marxism.”[xiv]

Thus, from Hitler’s perspective, Marxism differed from Nazism because the Nazis would not let the “international Jew” use them for capitalist ends, nor would they let any element of democracy remain. In fact, democratic elements were so repugnant to the National Socialist theory that the:

“State must release all leadership, but particularly the highest—that is the political—leadership, from its parliamentary principle of the majority (i.e. mass) rule.… Of course every man has counsellors to assist him, but one man makes the decision.”[xv]

This explains Nazism’s repression of Marxists throughout the regime—a fact sometimes offered as proof of National Socialism’s underlying capitalism. But Hitler and his followers rejected Marxism on the belief that it was a clandestine method for achieving capitalism, believing that the class warfare was merely a pretense, “meant solely to prepare the ground for the rule of truly international finance capital.”[xvi]

Thus, the problem with Marxism for the Nazis was its Jewish connections and Hitler’s belief in an undercover capitalism inherent in the methodology suggested for reaching socialism, not anything pertaining to economic socialism itself. Therefore, the professed goal of a Marxist revolution—that being socialism—was still a valid and desirable end, but the method for attainment would be that of German Nationalism.

In fact, Hitler routinely showed his frustration for those whose, “brains have not grasped the difference between Socialism and Marxism even yet.”[xvii] Significantly, the more astute and principled of German businessmen resisted Nazism on the grounds that it was a modification of Marxism sharing the same goal but substituting the class struggle with race.[xviii]

Gottfried Feder

The second revelation about Hitler’s economic development is that after his interaction with soon-to-be Nazi economist Gottfried Feder, Hitler’s whole view towards capitalism and wider economics changed.[xix] Feder became one of the earliest members of the National Socialist party and his economic policy had enormous influence early on.

Hitler explains that even though he was, “attentive as I had always been to economic problems,” his knowledge was relegated to social experience with little theoretical development.[xx] But upon listening to Feder’s lectures, “the idea instantly flashed through my head that I had now found my way to one of the prime essentials of the foundation of a new party.”[xxi] These ideas led directly to the formal creation of the Nazi Party.

The influence of Feder on Hitler extended well beyond the pages of Mein Kamp. It is notably present when Hitler announced the Twenty-Five Points on February 24, 1920, which constituted the political

The 25 Points

platform of the National Socialist party (at this point they were still the German Workers’ party, but changed the name later that year). Along with the typical and expected aspects of pre-war Nazism (such as abrogation of the Treaty of Versailles, the restoration of the colonies, and blatant anti-Semitism), there were many plainly socialist aspects reflecting Hitler’s growing commitment to the system.

Points 7 and 10 suggested increased government interference and control of the “industry and livelihood of citizens,” through ensuring everyone “work with his mind or with his body…for the general good.”[xxii] Point 11 demanded the “abolition of incomes unearned by work,” while point 13 called for the “nationalization of all businesses.”[xxiii] Many of the other articles within the platform—such as points 14, 15, 17, and 18—all advocated for distinct increases in government control of finances and close regulation of profits and property.

It was in the principles of the Twenty-Five Points that Hitler declared:

“The National-Socialist German Workers’ Party has a foundation which must be immovable. The task of our movement’s present and coming members must consist not in critically reworking these guiding principles, but in pledging themselves to them.”[xxiv]

But what happened once Hitler and his National Socialist party took power? His socialist intentions to regulate, direct, and nationalize the economic nature of Germany were plain, but upon taking the reins how did the Nazis manage their newfound Reich?

An invaluable source of information concerning the economy of the National Socialist Germany comes from those dissident voices who managed to escape the censors or flee before all contact to the outside world was cut off. One such voice was Emil Lederer, a Jewish professor of economics at the University of Berlin who fled to America after being deposed of his teaching position. In a 1937 article he explained a fundamental law of economic theory, writing that, “inasmuch as reality is never the crystallization of a pure principle, every historical system is more or less a compromise.”[xxv]

Thus, the Nazis were never able to perfect their Twenty-Five Points and create a pure socialist system—much like any other proclaimed socialist state, reality universally underperforms the ideal. In Hitler’s Germany, however, the central economic planners were able to get remarkably far in securing the government supremacy. Lederer concludes that, “this new economic system built up in Germany, taken in its structural character,” was designed so that the entire population was, “organized for purposes fixed by the government.”[xxvi]

Von Mises

Lederer is far from alone in his evaluation. Famous Austrian economist Ludwig von Mises, building off of his famous 1940 work on economics, declared shortly after the war that:

“The doctrines of Nazism are vicious, but they do not essentially disagree with the ideologies of socialism and nationalism as approved by other peoples’ public opinion. What characterized the Nazis was only the consistent application of these ideologies to the special conditions of Germany.”[xxvii]

Later in his writings Mises identifies Nazism as one of the “two patterns for the realization of socialism,” with the other being Russian Bolshevism.[xxviii] The key distinction between the German and Russian varieties, is that National Socialism, despite their intentions, “nominally and seemingly preserves private ownership of the means of production.”[xxix] At this point, some writers positively declare that Nazis were not real socialists and instead sought to preserve a capitalistic system, or at the least they failed to actively purge capitalism from their midst.[xxx]

However, although the term “private property” was preserved, it remained little more than an entry in the dictionaries. At any moment, if the Nazi leadership demanded it, anyone could be deprived of all their assets without warning or recourse. For example, we see the appropriation of the Junkers airplane factory in 1934 and the institution of Hermann Goring Works in 1937 designed specifically to, “encourage compliance with government production plans.”[xxxi]

Similarly, when even some of the most powerful manufacturers failed to meet government demands, “the state simply replaced his organization with one better suited to the National Socialist war effort.”[xxxii] In the end:

“the state therefore could direct the firms’ activities without acquiring direct ownership of enterprises.…They were opposed to capitalism and formal markets.”[xxxiii]

A different German businessman lamented to a confidant that the situation meant the destruction of private industry through a variety of means, saying that:

“You have no idea how far State control goes and how much power the Nazi representatives have over our work.…These Nazi radicals think of nothing except ‘distributing the wealth.’ Some businessmen have even started studying Marxist theories, so that they will have a better understanding of the present economic system.…You cannot imagine how taxation has increased. Yet everyone is afraid to complain about it. The new State loans are nothing but confiscation of private property.”[xxxiv]

In the end, Nazism left no room for private property. If the state has the power, ability, and inclination to confiscate the means of production whenever their wishes are not conformed to there is no real private ownership anymore. A common anecdote within the cowering business class remarked that:

“Under National Socialism you are allowed to keep the cows; but the State takes all the milk, and you have the expense and labor of feeding them.”[xxxv]

This nominalization was even outlined by Nazi economist Othmar Spann who desired a state where private ownership existed only in a, “formal sense, while in fact there will be only public ownership.”[xxxvi]

The effects of the National Socialist system of central planning, government control, and arbitrary powers destroyed whatever vestiges of private financial vivacity remained, with the purposes of making it all the easier for the State to consolidate its grip on every aspect of production. Quality of goods rapidly fell while prices remained steady, and out of what little raw materials which were available most was rapaciously consumed by the military. Thus, as early as, “1936 almost complete control over production could be exerted.”[xxxvii]

Even in military matters, the Nazi system was ill-equipped, and despite outspending England nearly two-to-one in 1940, Germany still produced 50% fewer planes and 100% fewer vehicles.[xxxviii] Additionally, factory laborers often were required to work up to 70 hours per week without a corresponding rise in wages.[xxxix]

Therefore, National Socialism rightfully earns its designation because it generally achieved, or significantly worked toward, the hallmarks of a socialist system. The objection on the grounds of private property has been proven to be merely a mirage, with the arbitrary State being the ultimate decision maker and real owner of the means of production.

To a large extent, perhaps unparalleled anywhere besides the Soviet Union, Hitler realized his vision of autocratic socialism. Thereby confirming his 1925 threat that, “the future lord of the highway is National Socialism,”[xl] which exists solely because, “it has the life of a people to destine and to regulate anew.”[xli] Nazism is clearly inseparable from socialism and ought to be recognized as such.

[i] Gavriel D. Rosenfeld, “An American Führer? Nazi Analogies and the Struggle to Explain Donald Trump,” Central European History Volume 52, Issue 4 (December 2019): 554-587.

[ii] Aris Folley, “Maryland Republicans criticize high school lesson comparing Trump to Nazis, communists,” The Hill (February 23, 2020), https://thehill.com/homenews/state-watch/484284-maryland-republicans-criticize-high-school-lesson-comparing-trump-to (accessed March 28, 2020).

[iii] Dinesh D’Souza, The Big Lie: Exposing the Nazi Roots of the American Left (Washington: Regnery, 2017).

[iv] Josh Bresnahan, “Bizarre fight breaks out in House over whether socialists are Nazis,” Politico (March 26, 2019): https://www.politico.com/story/2019/03/26/congress-socialist-nazi-debate-1237472 (accessed March 28, 2020); Jane Coaston, “Adolf Hitler was not a Socialist,” Vox (March 27, 2019): https://www.vox.com/2019/3/27/18283879/nazism-socialism-hitler-gop-brooks-gohmert (accessed March 28, 2020); Ronald Granieri, “The Right Needs to Stop Falsely Claiming that the Nazis were Socialists,” The Washington Post (February 5, 2020), https://www.washingtonpost.com/outlook/2020/02/05/right-needs-stop-falsely-claiming-that-nazis-were-socialists/ (accessed March 26, 2020); David Emory, “Were the Nazis Socialists?” Snopes (accessed March 28, 2020): https://www.snopes.com/news/2017/09/05/were-nazis-socialists/.

[v] Cf. Maxine Sweezy, The Structure of the Nazi Economy (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1941); Richard Evans, The Coming of the Third Reich (New York: Penguin Group, 2003), 173; Ian Kershaw, Hitler: A Biography (New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 2010), 269-270.

[vi] Thomas Jefferson, “Inaugural Address, March 4, 1801,” The Works of Thomas Jefferson (New York: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1905), 9.197.

[vii] Cf., Ludwig von Mises, Human Action: A Treatise on Economics (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 1996), 4.998.

[viii] For a clear example of this see, Kershaw, Hitler, 269-270.

[ix] Quoted in the preface to, Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf (New York: Stackpole Sons Publishers, 1939), 5.

[x] Hitler, Mein Kampf, 194, 212, 305-307, 433, 469, 525.

[xi] Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf (New York: Stackpole Sons Publishers, 1939), 212.

[xii] Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf (New York: Stackpole Sons Publishers, 1939), 433.

[xiii] Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf (New York: Stackpole Sons Publishers, 1939), 435.

[xiv] Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf (New York: Stackpole Sons Publishers, 1939), 434-435.

[xv] Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf (New York: Stackpole Sons Publishers, 1939), 435.

[xvi] Hitler, Mein Kampf, 212.

[xvii] Hitler, Mein Kampf, 469.

[xviii] Matt Bera, Lobbying Hitler: Industrial Associations between Democracy and Dictatorship (New York: Berghahn Books, 2016), 222.

[xix] Hitler, Mein Kampf, 206-208, 212.

[xx] Hitler, Mein Kampf, 206.

[xxi] Hitler, Mein Kampf, 208.

[xxii] Anson Babinbach and Sander L. Gilman, “The Program of the German Workers’ Party: The Twenty-Five Points,” The Third Reich Sourcebook (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2013), 13.

[xxiii] Babinbach, “The Program of the German Workers’ Party,” 13.

[xxiv] Hitler, Mein Kampf, 446.

[xxv] Emil Lederer, “The Economic Doctrine of National Socialism,” The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 191 (1937): 221.

[xxvi] Lederer, “The Economic Doctrine of National Socialism,” 225.

[xxvii] Mises, Human, 1.187.

[xxviii] Mises, Human, 3.717.

[xxix] Mises, Human, 3.717-718.

[xxx] Cf. Kershaw, Hitler, 269-270; Granieri, “The Right Needs to Stop Falsely Claiming that the Nazis were Socialists”; Gunter Reimann, The Vampire Economy: Doing Business Under Fascism (New York: Vanguard Press, 1939), 314; John D. Heyl, “Hitler’s Economic Thought: A Reappraisal,” Central European History 6, no. 1 (1973): 92.

[xxxi] Peter Temin, “Soviet and Nazi Economic Planning in the 1930s,” The Economic History Review, New Series, 44, no. 4 (1991): 576-577.

[xxxii] Bera, Lobbying Hitler, 224.

[xxxiii] Temin, “Soviet and Nazi Economic Planning,” 583, 588.

[xxxiv] Reimann, The Vampire Economy, 6-7.

[xxxv] Reimann, The Vampire Economy, 309.

[xxxvi] Quoted in Mises, Human Action, 2.683.

[xxxvii] Arthur Van Riel and Arthur Schram, “Weimar Economic Decline, Nazi Economic Recovery, and the Stabilization of Political Dictatorship,” The Journal of Economic History 53, no. 1 (1993): 97-98.

[xxxviii] R. J. Overy, “Hitler’s War and the German Economy: A Reinterpretation,” The Economic History Review, 35, no. 2 (1982): 286.

[xxxix] C., “Will Hitler Save Democracy?” Foreign Affairs 17, no. 3 (1939): 461

[xl] Hitler, Mein Kampf, 525.

[xli] Hitler, Mein Kampf, 559.

Was the Boston Tea Party a Riot?

Recently America has witnessed a horrific tragedy in the killing of George Floyd by a police officer. To date, the officer has been fired, arrested, and charged with murder. Currently he is awaiting trial, at which point he will be prosecuted in front of a jury of his peers. This is the American judicial system punishing someone who has broken the law and violated the most central of the principles outlined in the Declaration—the right to life.

Peaceful protesters have marched around the country to demand justice. However, in the midst of justified outrage some people have themselves begun committing unjustifiable acts, assaulting and murdering police officers, burning down buildings, mercilessly beating people, and destroying their fellow citizens’ property. Out of town activists and professional agitators have poured into metropolitan centers and led rioters to destroy businesses, housing units, and even churches.

In defense of these heinous acts, some people have begun pointing to the Boston Tea Party as an example of how violent riots are part of American tradition. This historical perspective, however, is only possible if you don’t know the first thing about the Boston Tea Party, who was involved, and why it happened.

As a brief background, the British Parliament had been passing laws taxing American colonists for years without allowing for any recourse through representation in Parliament. (Although the Colonists had elected representatives in local government, they had no elected leaders to represent them in England.) This principle of arbitrary power exerted by the government was clearly illustrated by a tax on imported tea despite colonial resistance.

In 1773, England passed the Tea Act which effectively forced the colonists to import and pay for specifically English tea. One early historian explained that the British Prime Minister declared that, “it was of no use for anyone to offer objections, for the king would have it so.”[1] At major American ports commissioners were appointed to receive and pay for the tea, meaning that even if no individuals directly purchased tea, all the colonists would be taxed for it.

Naturally, the Americans were indignant and the colonists acted to prevent the tea from being received at the ports. In many cases, the British appointed leaders overseeing the importation stepped down or the tea-laden ships were forced to turn back to England. Benjamin Franklin explained that none of Great Britain’s actions were sufficient to overcome all the patriotism of an American.”[2]

In Boston, however, the Royal Governor, Thomas Hutchinson, forced the ships to stay in the harbor and the commissioners (two of whom were Hutchinson’s sons) refused to step down.[3] When three ships carrying the tea arrived, Abigail Adams explained the tense and dangerous situation that met the patriots:

“The tea (that baneful weed) is arrived. Great, and I hope, effectual opposition has been made to the landing of it.…the proceedings of our Citizens have been united, spirited and firm. The flame is kindled and like lightning it catches from soul to soul. Great will be the devastation if not timely quenched or allayed by some more lenient measures.”[4]

On both sides of the Atlantic all eyes turned to Boston to see what the patriots would do. In Philadelphia, who had been successful in getting their British appointed commissioners to resign, it was stated, “all that we fear is that you will shrink at Boston. May God give you virtue enough to save the liberties of your country!”[5]

With time running out and all other options exhausted, nearly 7,000 Bostonians gathered at the Old South Meeting House and learned from ship’s owner, Joseph Rotch, that his request to sail back to England had been rejected and that if the tea was not unloaded that night it was subject to confiscation by the English navy (who undoubtedly would land the tea and tax the colonists).[6]

The colonists acknowledged that Rotch “was a good man who had done all in his power to gratify the people; and changed them [the people] to do no hurt to his person or his property.”[7] The patriots had formulated a plan to disguise themselves, board the ships and dump the tea in the harbor. At this point Samuel Adams called forth the men, wearing native American dress, and they proceeded to the ships and dumped the tea into the Boston Harbor.

Upon hearing the news of the “Tea Party”, John Adams exclaimed:

“This is the most magnificent movement of all. There is a dignity, a majesty, a sublimity, in this last effort of the patriots, that I greatly admire.”[8]

However, with this background in mind, the Boston Tea Party was not a riot by any stretch of the imagination for two important reasons.

First, it was 100% peaceful with no looting, rioting, injury, or destruction of person or private property.

It is no historical accident that it was called a party and not a riot. Throughout all of the actions taken by the patriots during that night, no personal property was destroyed. The tea itself, which was owned by the government-run East India Company and being forced upon the colonists by government edict, was the only item targeted.

In a letter written to Benjamin Franklin immediately after the Tea Party, it was explained that the Sons of Liberty arrived and demanded:

“the Tea, which was given up to them without the least resistance, they soon emptied all the chests into the harbor, to the amount of about three hundred and forty. This was done without injury to any other property, or to any man’s person…When they had done their business, they silently departed, and the town has been remarkably quiet ever since.”[9]

In fact, when it was discovered that one opportunist had filled his pocket with some tea, he “was stripped of his booty and his clothes together, and sent home naked,” with the writer sarcastically noting that it was “a remarkable instance of order and justice, among savages.”[10]

The morning after the Tea Party, John Adams reported that:

“The town of Boston, was never more still and calm of a Saturday night than it was last night. All things were conducted with great order, decency, and perfect submission to government” (emphasis in original).[11]

The early historian Richard Frothingham documents that:

“Notwithstanding the whoop, mentioned to have been given when the party went on board, they proved themselves quiet, orderly, and systematic workers; the parties in the ships doing faithfully the part assigned to them. In about three hours, they broke open three hundred and forty-two chests of tea, and cast their contents into the water. There was no interference with them; no person was harmed; no other property was permitted to be injured; and no tea was allowed to be purloined.…The inquirer will seek in vain in this deed for the tiger-like growl of an infuriated mob.”[12]

The ship owner himself, Joseph Rotch, explained to Governor Hutchinson that before the Tea Party the Boston assembly had given him no reason to fear the fury of the mob or the threat of a riot, noting that “his concern was not for his ship, which he did not believe was in danger, but he could not tell what would be the fate of the tea on board.”[13]

Gov. Hutchinson

In fact, everything was so peaceful and orderly that even crown-appointed Governor Hutchinson was forced to confess that, “the whole was done with very little tumult.”[14]

This is not to say that the situation couldn’t have quickly or easily turned violent. John Adams notes that there were bad actors who wished, “that as many dead Carcasses were floating in the Harbor as there are Chests of Tea.”[15] But to do so would have been wrong and injured innocent people like the ship owner Rotch who was just as much a victim of English tyranny as they were. Additionally, in the weeks leading up to the Boston Tea Party, patriot leaders had even stopped mobs from rioting.[16]

Indeed, it was documented that, “neither revenge, nor a spirit of hostility to rights of property or persons, formed a part of the program of the popular [patriot] leaders.”[17] And so stalwart were the patriots in their commitment to peaceful resistance that they “had been as true to the idea of order as they had been faithful to the cause of liberty.”[18]

Secondly, the colonists had only two options remaining them in that situation, pay the unjust tax or throw the tea into the harbor.

The Bostonians, along with all the other American colonists, had no representation in the English Parliament who were passing laws like the 1773 Tea Act. This meant that the colonists had no real legal way to seek the redress of their grievances. Therefore, the famous motto became “no taxation without representation.”

John Adams recognized that the patriots would not have been right if the problem could have been addressed in a different way. The morning after the Boston Tea Party, he wrote in his diary:

“The question is whether the destruction of this tea was necessary? I apprehend it was absolutely and indispensably so. They could not send it back, the Governor, Admiral and Collector and Comptroller would not suffer it. It was in their power [i.e. the Governor’s] to have saved it—but in no other. It [the ship] could not get by the castle, the Men of War [the British warships] &c. Then there was no other alternative but to destroy it or let it be landed. To let it be landed, would be giving up the principle of taxation by Parliamentary authority, against which the Continent have struggled for 10 years, it was losing all our labor for 10 years and subjecting ourselves and our posterity forever to Egyptian taskmasters—to burthens, indignities, to ignominy, reproach and contempt, to desolation and oppression, to poverty and servitude.”[19]

However, even with all of that at stake, the patriot leaders were careful to never let their justified anger lead them to commit unjustified acts of violence against innocent people.

Adams was not alone in his evaluation, and fellow patriot Thomas Cushing explained that the British policy concerning the forced importation of tea was, “the source of their distress, a distress that borders upon despair and they know not where to fly for relief”[20] After months of working to find a different effectual means of resolution the Bostonians had nowhere else to go.

Indeed, one of the Tea Party participants outlined their situation and how the English government had rejected all other methods of handling it:

“The Governor, Collector, and Consignees, most certainly had it in their power to have saved this destruction, and returned it undiminished to the owner, in England, as the people were extremely desirous of this, did everything in their power to accomplish it, and waited so long for this purpose, as to run no small risk of being frustrated in their grand design of preventing it’s being landed.”[21]

It was only, “after it had been observed to them, that, everything else in their power having been done, it now remained to proceed in the only way left,” and the tea was destroyed. [22] But, as mentioned early, the colonists saw that, “the owner of the ship having behaved like a man of honor, no injury ought to be offered to his person or property”[23]

The situation in American today is entirely different. Respect and decency are not being shown to innocent people or business owners. The current riots are like a destructive tornado set on destroying everything in its path.

Peaceful protests are protected by the Bill of Rights, but violent riots which destroy, loot, and victimize are antithetical to the American idea. The comparison of the violent riots to the Boston Tea Party is wildly unfounded and demonstrates that Americans should study their history before they try to weaponize it.

[1] John Fiske, The American Revolution (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1919, originally published 1891), 81.

[2] Benjamin Franklin, The Works of Benjamin Franklin (Philadelphia: William Duane, 1809), 6:310, to Thomas Cushing on June 4, 1773, in which Franklin said, “They have no idea that any people can act from any other principle but that of interest; and they believe that three pence on a pound of tea, of which one does not perhaps drink ten pounds in a year, is sufficient to overcome all the patriotism of an American.”

[3] Richard Frothingham, Life and Times of Joseph Warren (Boston: Little, Brown, & Company, 1865), 238, here.

[4] Abigail Adams, “To Mercy Otis Warren, 5 December 1773,” Founders Archive (accessed June 1, 2020), here.

[5] Richard Frothingham, Life and Times of Joseph Warren (Boston: Little, Brown, & Company, 1865), 267, here.

[6] See, Richard Frothingham, The Rise of the Republic of the United States (Boston: Little, Brown, and Company, 1872), 306-308; Richard Frothingham, Life and Times of Joseph Warren (Boston: Little, Brown, & Company, 1865), 275;  and George Bancroft, History of the United States (Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1854), 6:482-487.

[7] Richard Frothingham, Life and Times of Joseph Warren (Boston: Little, Brown, & Company, 1865), 279, here.

[8] John Adams, “1773. Decr. 17th. From the Diary of John Adams,” Founders Archive (accessed June 1, 2020), here.

[9] Samuel Cooper, “To Benjamin Franklin, 17 December 1773,” Founders Archive (accessed June 1, 2020), here.

[10] Samuel Cooper, “To Benjamin Franklin, 17 December 1773,” Founders Archive (accessed June 1, 2020), here.

[11] John Adams, “To James Warren, 17 December 1773,” Founders Archive (accessed June 1, 2020), here.

[12] Richard Frothingham, Life and Times of Joseph Warren (Boston: Little, Brown, & Company, 1865), 281, here.

[13] Thomas Hutchinson, The History of the Province of Massachusetts Bay From 1749 to 1744 (London: John Murray, 1828), 435, here.

[14] Edward Howland, Annals of North America (Hartford: The J.B. Burr Publishing Company, 1877), 298, here.

[15] John Adams, “1773. Decr. 17th. From the Diary of John Adams,” Founders Archive (accessed June 1, 2020), here.

[16] See, for example, Richard Frothingham, Life and Times of Joseph Warren (Boston: Little, Brown, & Company, 1865), 251, here.

[17] Richard Frothingham, Life and Times of Joseph Warren (Boston: Little, Brown, & Company, 1865), 258, here.

[18] Richard Frothingham, Life and Times of Joseph Warren (Boston: Little, Brown, & Company, 1865), 273, here.

[19] John Adams, “1773. Decr. 17th. From the Diary of John Adams,” Founders Archive (accessed June 1, 2020), here.

[20] Thomas Cushing, “To Benjamin Franklin, 10 December 1773,” Founders Archive (accessed June 1, 2020), here.

[21] Samuel Cooper, “To Benjamin Franklin, 17 December 1773,” Founders Archive (accessed June 1, 2020), here.

[22] Thomas Hutchinson, The History of the Province of Massachusetts Bay From 1749 to 1744 (London: John Murray, 1828), 436, here.

[23] Thomas Hutchinson, The History of the Province of Massachusetts Bay From 1749 to 1744 (London: John Murray, 1828), 436, here.

Did America Create Slavery?

Democratic Senator Tim Kaine announced on the floor of the Senate that:

“The United States didn’t inherit slavery from anybody. We created it.”[i]

For even the most basic student of world history such a statement ought to immediately be recognized as incomprehensively ridiculous. Historically, every single people, nation, culture, and race has at various times been both the slave and the master. Indeed, “all have sinned and fallen short” (Romans 3:23). Sen. Kaine, just like the famously inaccurate 1619 Project, must ignore documented history and create his own fantasy world to arrive at such a conclusion.

For example, in ancient Greece—which existed thousands of years before America—nearly 30% of their population were slaves. The Roman Empire reached a staggering 40%.[ii] In fact, one of the most significant and widely known aspects of the Bible centers around the Israelites being delivered out of slavery in Egypt through the famous Exodus. We could walk through every nation in human history and find a tragic past riddled with slavery.

Arab Slavers

Prior to the creation of the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade by the Spanish from Africa to South America in the early 1500s, Africa already participated in a robust trans-Saharan and Indian Ocean slave trade. Black tribes would raid, capture, and enslave other black tribes for profit, selling them across the continent and beyond. Many of these slaves were sold into the Islamic Middle East, and “medieval Arabs came to associate the most degrading forms of labor with black slaves.”[iii] Most likely it was this racial bias which was translated to the Iberian Peninsula (i.e., Spain and Portugal) when the Muslims conquered parts of that area in the 8th century. When the Spanish became the first European nation to significantly colonize the New World, they seemingly brought this bias with them which was thereby disseminated through the Americas, North, Central, and South. In this sense, America very literally inherited racial slavery—from the Arab Middle East through Spain.

Christian Slaves

What is perhaps even more astounding is that a larger number of white Europeans were captured and sold into African slavery than the number of Africans sold into the land that would become the United States. Just over 300,000 black slaves landed in the North American colonies which became America[iv] but 1,250,000 white Europeans were captured and shipped to slave markets in Northern Africa.[v] This Barbary Coast Trade lasted longer than American slavery and was only stopped through the naval efforts of the British and Americans. Furthermore, it was not until the late 17th century that black slaves in the New World outnumbered white slaves in the Old.[vi]

Additionally, for hundreds of years before Christopher Columbus ever conceived of the idea to sail westward, the Native Americans practiced mass slavery amid other practices including human sacrifice and cannibalism. This pre-Columbian native slave trade was so prolific that “wherever European conquistadors set foot in American tropics, they found evidence of indigenous warfare, war captives, and captive slaves.”[vii] Indeed, indigenous cultures saw slavery rates so prevalent that up to 20-40% of all Indians were enslaved by other Indians.[viii]

Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade

Even today, nearly 160 years after America became one of the first nations to abolish slavery, there are still 94 nations that do not have laws criminalizing slavery.[ix] This has led to the enslavement of over 40 million people in the world right now. In a stroke of tragic irony, Africa has the highest rate of slavery today, closely followed by Asia,[x] while North America has the lowest.[xi] Currently, Africa holds some 9,240,000 people in chains and slavery today,[xii] which is nearly identical to the total number of slaves disembarked in the entire New World (North, Central, and South America) throughout the almost four centuries of the Trans-Atlantic slave trade.[xiii]

So, clearly Sen. Tim Kaine must either be completely ignorant about the history of slavery or maliciously intentional in his presentation of “facts.” America in no way created slavery—in fact, if we were to say anyone “created” slavery in America we must conclude that the indigenous people did so. By contrast, the United States, despite its well-known shortcomings, ought to receive credit for having done more than nearly any other nation in the history of the world to fight slavery both in the past and today.

(Watch for our new book, The American Story: The Beginnings, for extensive information on the history of slavery not only in the United States but also the world.)

[i] Tobias Hoonhout, “Dem Sen. Kaine Claims United States ‘Created’ Slavery and ‘Didn’t Inherit Slavery from Anybody,’” National Review (June 16, 2020), accessed June 16, 2020, here.

[ii] Fernando Santos-Granero, Vital Enemies: Slavery, Predation, and the Amerindian Political Economy of Life (Austin: University of Texas Press, 2009), 226-227.

[iii] Philip Morgan, “Origins of American Slavery,” Organization of American History Magazine of History, Vol. 19, No. 4 (July 2005), 53.

[iv] “Summary Statistics,” Slave Voyages (accessed June 16, 2020), here. Summary Statistics with the Principle Place of Slave Landing being restricted to Rhode Island, Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, the Gulf Coast, and “Other North America.”

[v] Past & Present (Aug., 2001), No. 172, 118, Robert C. Davis, “Counting European Slaves on the Barbary Coast”; Robert C. Davis, Christian Slaves, Muslim Masters: White Slavery in the Mediterranean, the Barbary Coast, and Italy, 1500-1800 (NY: Palgrave MacMillan, 2004), 23-24.

[vi] Philip Morgan, “Origins of American Slavery,” Organization of American History Magazine of History, Vol. 19, No. 4 (July 2005), 53.

[vii] Fernando Santos-Granero, Vital Enemies: Slavery, Predation, and the Amerindian Political Economy of Life (Austin: University of Texas Press, 2009), 1.

[viii] Santos-Granero, Vital Enemies, 226-227.

[ix] Sonia Elks, “Slavery is Not a Crime for Almost Half the Countries in the World,” Reuters (February 12, 2020), accessed June 16, 2020, here.

[x] “Prevalence Across the Regions,” Global Slavery Index (2018), accessed June 16, 2020, here.

[xi] “Regional Highlights: Americas,” Global Slavery Index (2018), accessed June 17, 2020, here.

[xii] “Region Highlights: Africa,” Global Slavery Index (2018), accessed June 16, 2020, here.

[xiii] “Summary Statistics,” Slave Voyages (accessed June 16, 2020), here.


*Originally posted: June 29, 2020.

Black Communist Leader Exposes the Truth of Racial Divide

This is a part of our Alumni Series of articles written by past participants of the WallBuilders/Mercury One Leadership Training Program. Click here to learn more about LTP. 

By Noah DeGarmo – Class of 2019

Manning Johnson, a black man born in 1908, joined the Communist Party USA in 1930, where he served as a national organizer for the Trade Unity League.[i] From 1931 to 1932, he served as the District Agitation Propaganda Director for Buffalo, NY, and was district organizer for Buffalo from 1932 to 1934. In 1935, Johnson ran as the Communist Party’s Candidate for New York’s 22nd Congressional District for the U.S. House of Representatives. From 1936 to 1939, he served on the Party’s National Committee, National Trade Union Commission, and Negro Commission. Despite his notable status, Johnson left the Communist Party in 1939.[ii]

Johnson explained that some of the biggest factors to his departure included his original religiosity, the Party’s promotion of “Soviet Negro Republic” in the “Black Belt” of the United States, the insincerity of the Party in saving the Scottsboro Boys, and finally, the Hitler-Stalin Pact of 1939.[iii] Additionally, Johnson saw that the Communists were using black Americans as pawns in their hope that a “bloody racial conflict would split America.”[iv]

After leaving the Party, Johnson became a government informant and witness, testifying in 18-20 cases by his own estimation.[v] In 1958, he published Color, Communism, and Common Sense detailing the Communist Party’s tactics for infiltrating the African-American community and inciting racial division in the United States, paving the way for a Communist takeover in America. Shortly after publishing the book, Johnson died in an automobile accident on June 26, 1959.[vi] The information he provides in this book is eerily similar to and has much to say about the state of America in 2020.

Johnson shares that the goal of Communist agents in the early 20th century was to cripple the black community in America and incite racial division. This division would consequently weaken the nation as a whole and provide the opportunity for Communists to gain power.

He writes that white Communists infiltrated black communities by presenting themselves as allies of the black cause. They preached that black Americans were oppressed and offered liberation as a guise for their Communist agenda:

White leftists descended on Negro communities like locusts, posing as “friends” come to help “liberate” their black brothers. Along with these white communist missionaries came the Negro political Uncle Toms to allay the Negro’s distrust and fears of these strangers. Everything was interracial, an inter-racialism artificially created, cleverly devised as a camouflage of the red plot to use the Negro.[vii]

Despite how they portrayed themselves, the Communists never did anything to advance the well-being of the black population. However, they gained power and money by parroting and hiding behind the cause of civil rights. The Communists placed all the responsibility for the condition of the African-American community on the white man. Johnson noted that this victimhood mindset strips black individuals of agency, discouraging initiative and responsibility.

The placing of the repository of everything, right and just, among the darker races is a dastardly Communist trick to use race as a means of grabbing and enslaving the whole of humanity.

Moscow’s Negro tools in the incitement of racial warfare place all the ills of the Negro at the door of the white leaders of America. Capitalism and imperialism are made symbols of oppressive white rule in keeping with instructions from the Kremlin.

To one familiar with red trickery, it is obvious that placing the blame for all the Negroes’ ills at the door of the white leaders in America is to remove all responsibility from the Negro. This tends to make the Negro:

  • feel sorry for himself;
  • blame others for his failures;
  • ignore the countless opportunities around him;
  • jealous of the progress of other racial and national groups;
  • expect the white man to do everything for him;
  • look for easy and quick solutions as a substitute for the harsh realities of competitive struggle to get ahead.

The result is a persecution complex — a warped belief that the white man’s prejudices, the white man’s system, the white man’s government is responsible for everything. Such a belief is the way the reds plan it, for the next logical step is hate that can be used by the reds to accomplish their ends.[viii]

Despite all the promises, plans, and “solutions,” Johnson understood that the Communists were only fanning the flames of racial tension in order to raise money which they poured into promoting more tension instead of using it to benefit black communities:

The fact that the reds have never contributed anything tangible to the progress of the Negro is overlooked though the reds have collected millions of dollars as a result of race incitement. Like the Communist Party, the N.A.A.C.P. has collected millions of dollars through exploitation of race issues. The bigger the race issue, the bigger the appeal and the bigger the contributions.[ix]

Yet one cannot find any report of any of this money being spent for factories and shops to provide jobs, land and home construction, specialized training for talented youth, hospitals, convalescent homes, classes in sanitation and personal hygiene, care and upkeep of property, combatting crime and juvenile delinquency, centers to aid Negro youth in preparing to meet stiff employment competition in science and industry.

It is then no accident that the N.A.A.C.P. is dubbed “The National Association for the Agitation of Colored People.” The record speaks for itself. Millions for agitation; not one cent for those things that win the respect and acclaim of other races and national groups.[x]

Johnson’s words from 1958 seemingly prophesy the events of  2020. Modern leftists of both races have artificially enflamed and exploited racial division for profit. Former NFL player Colin Kaepernick gained fame by kneeling during the national anthem in protest of police brutality, and has made millions off of this fame, securing an exclusive advertising deal with Nike and a recently-signed partnership with Disney. Additionally, organizations like Black Lives Matter collect millions in donations while doing nothing to practically advance black communities.

Johnson also writes that politicians would exploit racial division for votes, a practice continued by Democrats today.

Many white Northern politicians objectively aid the rapidly deteriorating racial situation through the exploitation of leftist propaganda to garner Negro votes. They care not a tinker’s dam about the Southern Negro and simply flatter the Northern Negro whom they consider a gullible fool. Getting elected and re-elected is their only concern.[xi]

The Democrat Party has maintained power in black communities for decades, while those communities continue to suffer from poor economies and high crime rates. Democrats claim to fight for black people, while doing nothing for their well-being.

Because the Communists were not truly on the side of the black community, they had to squash any voices who called them out on their hypocrisy. Any whites who opposed the communist agenda were accused of white supremacy, while black opponents were labeled Uncle Toms. Johnson, in a long but invaluable section of his book, reveals that this is not a new practice:

At the root of all the present racial trouble is interference in the internal affairs of Southern States by people not at all interested in an amicable settlement of any problems arising between Negro and white Americans.

This interference comes from organizations and individuals in the North seeking to use the Negro. Among them are found Communists, crypto-communists, fuzzy-headed liberals, eggheads, pacifists, idealists, civil disobedience advocates, socialists, do-gooders, conniving politicians, self-seekers, muddle-headed humanitarians, addle-brained intellectuals, crackpots and plain meddlers. Like “missionaries,” they descend on the South ostensibly to change or to benefit the Negro.

In fact and in implication, all of them seek to by-pass the responsible white and Negro leaders in the South to effect a solution. They employ a pattern of setting up provocative situations which inflame and agitate the white populace and then using it as propaganda here and abroad against the South in particular and all of America in general.

White Southerners who oppose these “missionaries” are pounced upon and labeled “race baiters”, “reactionaries”, “Ku Kluxers”, “white supremacists”, “persons outside the law” and so forth. Negro Southerners who oppose these “missionaries” are also attacked and labeled “Uncle Toms”, “traitors of the race”, “handkerchief heads”, “white folks niggers” and so forth.

Obviously such name calling is a deliberate attempt on the part of these “missionaries” to scuttle all the progress made by the Negro since slavery by creating an atmosphere of distrust, fear, and hate. Like a witch stirring her brew the “missionaries” stir up all the sectional and racial bitterness that arose in the wake of the Civil War and Reconstruction. They open old wounds. They thumb the pages of closed chapters. They rake over the dying embers of old grudges, old grievances, old fears and old hates, that time has been gradually consigning to history in the onward sweep of a young, lusty, healthy and growing nation.

Labeling opponents is a specialty of the reds. Smear is a cardinal technique. Any label found in the red stockpile, you may be sure, is carefully made and selected to draw the maximum hate to the person or persons, the group or the organization to which it is attached.

The use of such labels has a tendency to divide America. Nothing, in my opinion, would please the aforementioned weird assortment of “missionaries” more than a divided America unless it is a Soviet America. They are forever predicting it at the same time working tirelessly to bring it about.[xii]

Modern leftists still employ this tactic today. The Republican Party has been smeared as the party of racism, as the media constantly accuses conservatives, particularly President Trump, of white supremacy. Additionally, black conservatives are frequently labeled “coons” and “Uncle Toms.” In fact, conservative author and commentator Larry Elder, recently produced a documentary titled Uncle Tom exploring this exact phenomenon. Black conservatives in the public eye like Elder, Candace Owens, Jesse Lee Peterson, Ben Carson, and even Kanye West are often smeared as Uncle Toms by their leftist opposition.

Johnson goes on to share how the communists would highlight racial division and emphasize incidents of racist violence while downplaying racial progress to cultivate a victimhood mentality among blacks in America.

Moreover, while they talk about “racial strife” in America as providing grist for Moscow’s propaganda mill they are busy creating it. They are careful to hide the fact that they are responsible for the provocations of extremists as was the case in Little Rock.

In all red propaganda, here and abroad, such acts of extremists are made the symbol of the treatment of the Negro in America. It also is the red smear pot in which all opponents of a forthwith solution of the race problem are tossed. The fact is that the majority of white Southerners are opposed to extremists. All-white Southern juries have convicted some of them as troublemakers and white Southern judges have sentenced some of them to long prison terms. This is deliberately ignored or played down by the leftists.[xiii]

These facts, too, are ignored or played down by the leftist “missionaries” and irresponsible crusaders. In political warfare, it seems, a cardinal principle to credit your enemy with only that which will hasten the build-up for his destruction.

The media of public information is far from free of communists and fellow travelers who operate under the guise of liberalism. They are ready at all times to do an effective smear job. Among these red tools may be found editorial writers, columnists, news commentators and analysts, in the press, radio and television. They go overboard in giving top news coverage to racial incidents, fomented by the leftists, and also those incidents that are interpreted so as to show “biased” attitudes of whites against Negroes. This is a propaganda hoax aimed, not at helping the Negro, but at casting America in a bad light in order to destroy its prestige and influence abroad, thereby aiding Soviet Russia in the penetration and conquest of Asia and Africa.

Thus all racial progress based upon understanding, goodwill, friendship and mutual cooperation, built up painfully over the years, is wiped out. White Americans are set against Negro Americans and vice versa. The stage is thus set for the opening of a dark and bloody era in Negro and white relations. Many white Northern politicians objectively aid the rapidly deteriorating racial situation through the exploitation of leftist propaganda to garner Negro votes. They care not a tinker’s dam about the Southern Negro and simply flatter the Northern Negro whom they consider a gullible fool. Getting elected and re-elected is their only concern.[xiv]

Modern leftists likewise seek to define the African-American experience exclusively by horrible, yet rare, incidents of violence against blacks at the hands of whites, specifically white cops. Following the tragic murders of Ahmaud Arbery and George Flloyd, many prominent Democratic politicians and celebrities wasted no time in painting the picture that these murders reflect the treatment of blacks across America.

Additional statements include:

Watching his life be taken in the same manner, echoing nearly the same words as Eric Garner more than five years ago — ‘I can’t breathe’ — is a tragic reminder that this was not an isolated incident, but part of an ingrained systemic cycle that exists in this country.[xv]—Joe Biden

Being black in America should not be a death sentence. For five minutes, we watched a white officer press his knee into a black man’s neck. Five minutes. When you hear someone calling for help, you’re supposed to help. This officer failed in the most basic, human sense.—Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey

This does not necessarily mean that LeBron James is a communist. In fact, Manning Johnson reveals that Communists would manipulate progressives and liberals to spread their propaganda.

Significantly… there is only one highly organized, trained and disciplined force, and that is the Communists. So they are able to use, manipulate and combine this weird assortment of leftist “missionaries” in one way or another to bring about “a social upheaval which will plow up Southern institutions to their roots.”[xvi]

An essential tenet of the Communist strategy was the destruction of black businesses. Black communities could not have strong, independent, economies because that would undermine the communist argument that they were oppressed by the white man. According to Johnson, they schemed to ensure that black people were dependent on white businesses and on the U.S. government. If the black community was thriving, they wouldn’t be susceptible to the communist victimhood propaganda. As discussed earlier, the communists fostered “a persecution complex — a warped belief that the white man’s prejudices, the white man’s system, the white man’s government is responsible for everything.”[xvii] Independent, black-owned businesses were detrimental to this complex. Johnson writes:

The Negro business man has always been a chief target of the reds. They despise him because of his conservatism. They label him “a tool of the white imperialists” and an “enemy of the Negro masses.” Such labels are reserved for those the reds plan to liquidate and since the Negro business man is an inspiration and example to other Negroes to take advantage of the countless opportunities of the free enterprise system, he is therefore an object of derision by Communists. An enthusiastic response of the Negro to the appeal and opportunities for Negro business is a cardinal bulwark against Communism. Consequently, the reds seek to discredit, discourage and liquidate Negro business.

Only during the period of the Popular Front did the reds cease their attack on Negro business in order to link the Negro banker, broker, realtor, business man, merchant, lawyer, physician, preacher, worker and farmer with Bolshevism under the guise of a National Negro Congress.

Basically, the reds’ policy is now, and always has been, anti-Negro business. The fact that Negro business is sustained in the main by Negro patronage, that it exists almost entirely in the Negro community, makes it vulnerable to attack by the reds. They term it a product of “segregation,” “social isolation,” “the ghetto,” etc. And, too, the reds use the example of sharp competition between small and big business to discourage Negro entry into the general arena.[xviii]

While there were many peaceful protests following the murder of George Floyd, there were also violent riots in nearly every major city across America. Businesses were looted and communities were destroyed. The leftist message, parroted by the media, was that only large, insured corporations like Target were subject to looting. This is false. The brunt of the physical and financial destruction caused by these riots was borne by the Communists’ greatest enemy: black-owned small businesses.


Violent, racial conflict was the goal of the Communists — to divide America, weaken it, and make it ripe for Communist takeover.

Black rebellion was what Moscow wanted. Bloody racial conflict would split America. During the confusion, demoralization and panic would set in. Then finally, the reds say: “Workers stop work, many of them seize arms by attacking arsenals. Many had armed themselves before . . . Street fights become frequent. Under the leadership of the Communist Party the workers organize Revolutionary Committees to be in command of the uprising. Armed workers . . . seize the principal government offices, invade the residences of the President and his Cabinet members, arrest them, declare the old regime abolished, establish their own power. . .”[xix]

While it may seem conspiratorial, we should not underestimate the influence of Communists and Marxists in America today. Socialism is now viewed as favorable by millennials and Generation Z,[xx] with popular Democrat politicians like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Bernie Sanders openly advocating for it. Marxism has spread through universities and left-wing activism, and one of the founders of Black Lives Matter has openly said, “We are trained Marxists.”


We should acknowledge the information shared by Manning Johnson and recognize that Communism is still a threat to American liberty, and it is a threat that we must take seriously and address accordingly.

Too few Americans in our day have the courage of their convictions. Too few will fly in the face of leftist opposition. Too few will stand up for truth in the face of the ominous and destructive storm of “me-tooism” or the communist ideological regimentation that hangs like a pall over our country. Many take the attitude that it is better to be safe than sorry or conclude, after a little difficulty or several reverses, that “if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em.” The words God, country and posterity have lost much of their substance and are becoming only a shadow in the hearts and minds of many Americans.[xxi]

Johnson’s entire book, which I encourage everyone to read, can be freely viewed at manningjohnson.org.

Disclaimer: The viewpoints expressed by the authors do not necessarily reflect the opinions of WallBuilders. 

[i] Hearings Regarding Communist Infiltration of Minority Groups. US GPO. 1949. pp. 497–521.

[ii] Hearings Regarding Communist Infiltration of Minority Groups. US GPO. 1949. pp. 497–521; County Clerk’s Index. 1951. pp. 1180-1363 (all testimony), 1180 (birth), 1183-1184 (CPUSA service), 1294-1295 (witness against Gerhart Eisler), 1295 (18-20 cases); Rader, Melvin (5 July 1954). “The Profession of Perjury”The New Republic.

[iii] Hearings Regarding Communist Infiltration of Minority Groups. US GPO. 1949. pp. 497–521.

[iv] Manning Johnson, Color, Communism, and Common Sense (Belmont: American Opinion Reprints, 1963), 18.

[v] County Clerk’s Index. 1951. pp. 1180-1363 (all testimony), 1180 (birth), 1183-1184 (CPUSA service), 1294-1295 (witness against Gerhart Eisler), 1295 (18-20 cases).

[vi] National Cemetery Administration. U.S. Veterans’ Gravesites, ca.1775-2006 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2006. Ancestry, Inc.

[vii] Manning Johnson, Color, Communism, and Common Sense (Belmont: American Opinion Reprints, 1963), 22.

[viii] Manning Johnson, Color, Communism, and Common Sense (Belmont: American Opinion Reprints, 1963), 43-44.

[ix] Manning Johnson, Color, Communism, and Common Sense (Belmont: American Opinion Reprints, 1963), 43-44.

[x] Manning Johnson, Color, Communism, and Common Sense (Belmont: American Opinion Reprints, 1963), 44-45.

[xi] Manning Johnson, Color, Communism, and Common Sense (Belmont: American Opinion Reprints, 1963), 54.

[xii] Manning Johnson, Color, Communism, and Common Sense (Belmont: American Opinion Reprints, 1963), 51-52.

[xiii] Manning Johnson, Color, Communism, and Common Sense (Belmont: American Opinion Reprints, 1963), 52-33.

[xiv] Manning Johnson, Color, Communism, and Common Sense (Belmont: American Opinion Reprints, 1963), 53-54.

[xv] Sullivan, Sean. Biden calls for federal civil rights investigation into death of George Floyd, April 27, 2020. https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/biden-calls-for-federal-civil-rights-investigation-into-death-of-george-floyd/ar-BB14G39Q?sf17491758=1.

[xvi] Manning Johnson, Color, Communism, and Common Sense (Belmont: American Opinion Reprints, 1963), 55.

[xvii] Manning Johnson, Color, Communism, and Common Sense (Belmont: American Opinion Reprints, 1963), 43-44.

[xviii] Manning Johnson, Color, Communism, and Common Sense (Belmont: American Opinion Reprints, 1963), 58.

[xix] Manning Johnson, Color, Communism, and Common Sense (Belmont: American Opinion Reprints, 1963), 18.

[xx] “2019 Annual Poll,” 2019. https://www.victimsofcommunism.org/2019-annual-poll

[xxi] Manning Johnson, Color, Communism, and Common Sense (Belmont: American Opinion Reprints, 1963), 56.

An Appeal to Heaven Flag

During the early days of the War for Independence—while the gun smoke still covered the fields at Lexington and Concord, and the cannons still echoed at Bunker Hill—America faced innumerable difficulties and a host of hard decisions. Unsurprisingly, the choice of a national flag remained unanswered for many months due to more pressing issues such as arranging a defense and forming the government.

However, a flag was still needed by the military in order to differentiate the newly forged American forces from those of the oncoming British. Several temporary flags were swiftly employed in order to satisfy the want. One of the most famous and widespread standards rushed up flagpoles on both land and sea was the “Pinetree Flag,” or sometimes called “An Appeal to Heaven” flag.

As the name suggests, this flag was characterized by having both a tree (most commonly thought to be a pine or a cypress) and the motto reading “an appeal to Heaven.” Typically, these were displayed on a white field, and often were used by troops, especially in New England, as the liberty tree was a prominent northern symbol for the independence movement.1

In fact, prior to the Declaration of Independence but after the opening of hostilities, the Pinetree Flag was one of the most popular flags for American troops. Indeed, “there are recorded in the history of those days many instances of the use of the pine-tree flag between October, 1775, and July, 1776.”2

Some of America’s earliest battles and victories were fought under a banner declaring “an appeal to Heaven.” Some historians document that General Israel Putnam’s troops at Bunker Hill used a flag with the motto on it, and during the Battle of Boston the floating batteries (floating barges armed with artillery) proudly flew the famous white Pinetree Flag.3 In January of 1776, Commodore Samuel Tucker flew the flag while successfully capturing a British troop transport which was attempting to relieve the besieged British forces in Boston.4

The Pinetree Flag was commonly used by the Colonial Navy during this period of the War. When George Washington commissioned the first-ever officially sanctioned military ships for America in 1775, Colonel Joseph Reed wrote the captains asking them to:

Please to fix upon some particular color for a flag, and a signal by which our vessels may know one another. What do you think of a flag with a white ground, a tree in the middle, the motto ‘Appeal to Heaven’? This is the flag of our floating batteries.5

In the following months news spread even to England that the Americans were employing this flag on their naval vessels. A report of a captured ship revealed that, “the flag taken from a provincial [American] privateer is now deposited in the admiralty; the field is a white bunting, with a spreading green tree; the motto, ‘Appeal to Heaven.’”6

As the skirmishes unfolded into all out warfare between the colonists and England, the Pinetree Flag with its prayer to God became synonymous with the American struggle for liberty. An early map of Boston reflected this by showing a side image of a British redcoat trying to rip this flag out of the hands of a colonist (see image on right).7 The main motto, “An Appeal to Heaven,” inspired other similar flags with mottos such as “An Appeal to God,” which also often appeared on early American flags.

For many modern Americans it might be surprising to learn that one of the first national mottos and flags was “an appeal to Heaven.” Where did this phrase originate, and why did the Americans identify themselves with it?

To understand the meaning behind the Pinetree Flag we must go back to John Locke’s influential Second Treatise of Government (1690). In this book, the famed philosopher explains that when a government becomes so oppressive and tyrannical that there no longer remains any legal remedy for citizens, they can appeal to Heaven and then resist that tyrannical government through a revolution. Locke turned to the Bible to explain his argument:

To avoid this state of war (wherein there is no appeal but to Heaven, and wherein every the least difference is apt to end, where there is no authority to decide between the contenders) is one great reason of men’s putting themselves into society and quitting [leaving] the state of nature, for where there is an authority—a power on earth—from which relief can be had by appeal, there the continuance of the state of war is excluded and the controversy is decided by that power. Had there been any such court—any superior jurisdiction on earth—to determine the right between Jephthah and the Ammonites, they had never come to a state of war, but we see he was forced to appeal to Heaven. The Lord the Judge (says he) he judge this day between the children of Israel and the children of Ammon, Judg. xi. 27.8

Locke affirms that when societies are formed and systems and methods of mediation can be instituted, armed conflict to settle disputes is a last resort. When there no longer remains any higher earthly authority to which two contending parties (such as sovereign nations) can appeal, the only option remaining is to declare war in assertion of certain rights. This is what Locke calls an appeal to Heaven because, as in the case of Jephthah and the Ammonites, it is God in Heaven Who ultimately decides who the victors will be.

Locke goes on to explain that when the people of a country “have no appeal on earth, then they have a liberty to appeal to Heaven whenever they judge the cause of sufficient moment [importance].”9 However, Locke cautions that appeals to Heaven through open war must be seriously and somberly considered beforehand since God is perfectly just and will punish those who take up arms in an unjust cause. The English statesman writes that:

he that appeals to Heaven must be sure he has right on his side; and a right to that is worth the trouble and cost of the appeal as he will answer at a tribunal that cannot be deceived [God’s throne] and will be sure to retribute to everyone according to the mischiefs he hath created to his fellow subjects; that is, any part of mankind.10

The fact that Locke writes extensively concerning the right to a just revolution as an appeal to Heaven becomes massively important to the American colonists as England begins to strip away their rights. The influence of his Second Treatise of Government (which contains his explanation of an appeal to Heaven) on early America is well documented. During the 1760s and 1770s, the Founding Fathers quoted Locke more than any other political author, amounting to a total of 11% and 7% respectively of all total citations during those formative decades.11 Indeed, signer of the Declaration of Independence Richard Henry Lee once quipped that the Declaration had been largely “copied from Locke’s Treatise on Government.”12

Therefore, when the time came to separate from Great Britain and the regime of King George III, the leaders and citizens of America well understood what they were called upon to do. By entering into war with their mother country, which was one of the leading global powers at the time, the colonists understood that only by appealing to Heaven could they hope to succeed.

For example, Patrick Henry closes his infamous “give me liberty” speech by declaring that:

If we wish to be free—if we mean to preserve inviolate those inestimable privileges for which we have been so long contending—if we mean not basely to abandon the noble struggle in which we have been so long engaged, and which we have pledged ourselves never to abandon—we must fight!—I repeat it, sir, we must fight!! An appeal to arms and to the God of Hosts, is all that is left us!13

Furthermore, Jonathan Trumbull, who as governor of Connecticut was the only royal governor to retain his position after the Declaration, explained that the Revolution began only after repeated entreaties to the King and Parliament were rebuffed and ignored. In writing to a foreign leader, Trumbull clarified that:

On the 19th day of April, 1775, the scene of blood was opened by the British troops, by the unprovoked slaughter of the Provincial troops at Lexington and Concord. The adjacent Colonies took up arms in their own defense; and the Congress again met, again petitioned the Throne [the English king] for peace and settlement; and again their petitions were contemptuously disregarded. When every glimpse of hope failed not only of justice but of safety, we were compelled, by the last necessity, to appeal to Heaven and rest the defense of our liberties and privileges upon the favor and protection of Divine Providence; and the resistance we could make by opposing force to force.14

John Locke’s explanation of the right to just revolution permeated American political discourse and influenced the direction the young country took when finally being forced to appeal to Heaven in order to reclaim their unalienable rights. The church pulpits likewise thundered with further Biblical exegesis on the importance of appealing to God for an ultimate redress of grievances, and pastors for decades after the War continued to teach on the subject. For example, an 1808 sermon explained:

War has been called an appeal to Heaven. And when we can, with full confidence, make the appeal, like David, and ask to be prospered according to our righteousness, and the cleanness of our hands, what strength and animation it gives us! When the illustrious Washington, at an early stage of our revolutionary contest, committed the cause in that solemn manner. “May that God whom you have invoked, judge between us and you,” how our hearts glowed that we had such a cause to commit!15

Thus, when the early militiamen and naval officers flew the Pinetree Flag emblazoned with its motto “An Appeal for Heaven,” it was not some random act with little significance or meaning. Instead, they sought to march into battle with a recognition of God’s Providence and their reliance on the King of Kings to right the wrongs which they had suffered. The Pinetree Flag represents a vital part of America’s history and an important step on the journey to reaching a national flag during the early days of the War for Independence.

Furthermore, the Pinetree Flag was far from being the only national symbol recognizing America’s reliance on the protection and Providence of God. During the War for Independence other mottos and rallying cries included similar sentiments. For example, the flag pictured on the right bore the phrase “Resistance to Tyrants is Obedience to God,” which came from an earlier 1750 sermon by the influential Rev. Jonathan Mayhew.16  In 1776 Benjamin Franklin even suggested that this phrase be part of the nation’s Great Seal.17 The Americans’ thinking and philosophy was so grounded on a Biblical perspective that even a British parliamentary report in 1774 acknowledged that, “If you ask an American, ‘Who is his master?’ He will tell you he has none—nor any governor but Jesus Christ.”18

This God-centered focus continued throughout our history after the Revolutionary War. For example, in the War of 1812 against Britain, during the Defense of Fort McHenry, Francis Scott Key penned what would become our National Anthem, encapsulating this perspective by writing that:

Blest with vict’ry and peace may the heav’n rescued land
Praise the power that hath made and preserv’d us a nation!
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto: “In God is our trust.”19

In the Civil War, Union Forces sang this song when marching into battle. In fact, Abraham Lincoln was inspired to put “In God we Trust” on coins, which was one of his last official acts before his untimely death.20 And after World War II, President Eisenhower led Congress in making “In God We Trust” the official National Motto,21 also adding “under God” to the pledge in 1954.22

Throughout the centuries America has continually and repeatedly acknowledged the need to look to God and appeal to Heaven. This was certainly evident in the earliest days of the War for Independence with the Pinetree Flag and its powerful inscription: “An Appeal to Heaven.”


1 “Flag, The,” Cyclopaedia of Political Science, Political Economy, and of the Political History of the United States, ed. John Lalor (Chicago: Melbert B. Cary & Company, 1883), 2.232.
2 Report of the Proceedings of the Society of the Army of the Tennessee at the Thirtieth Meeting, Held at Toledo, Ohio, October 26-17, 1898 (Cincinnati: F. W. Freeman, 1899), 80.
3 Schuyler Hamilton, Our National Flag; The Stars and Stripes; Its History in a Century (New York: George R. Lockwood, 1877), 16-17.
4 Report of the Proceedings (1899), 80.
5 Richard Frothingham, History of the Siege of Boston, and of the Battles of Lexington, Concord, and Bunker Hill (Boston: Charles C. Little and James Brown, 1849), 261.
6 Frothingham, History of the Siege of Boston (1849), 262.
7 Frothingham, History of the Siege of Boston (1849), 262.
8 John Locke, Two Treatises of Government (London: A. Millar, et al., 1794), 211.
9 Locke, Two Treatises (1794), 346-347.
10 Locke, Two Treatises (1794), 354-355.
11 Donald Lutz, The Origins of American Constitutionalism (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University, 1988), 143.
12 Thomas Jefferson to James Madison, August 30, 1823, National Archives.
13 William Wirt, The Life of Patrick Henry (New York: McElrath & Bangs, 1831), 140.
14 Jonathan Trumbull quoted in James Longacre, The National Portrait Gallery of Distinguished Americans (Philadelphia: James B. Longacre, 1839), 4:5.
15 The Question of War with Great Britain, Examined upon Moral and Christian Principles (Boston: Snelling and Simons, 1808), 13.
16 Jonathan Mayhew, A Discourse Concerning Unlimited Submission and Non-Resistance to the Higher Powers (Boston: D. Fowle, 1750) [Evans # 6549]; John Adams to Abigail Adams, August 14, 1776, National Archives.
17 Benjamin Franklin’s Proposal, August 20, 1776, National Archives.
18 Hezekiah Niles, Principles and Acts of the Revolution in America (Baltimore: William Ogden Niles, 1822), 198.
19 Francis Scott Key, “The Defence of Fort M’Henry,” The Analectic Magazine (Philadelphia: Moses Thomas, 1814) 4:433-434.
20 B. F. Morris, Memorial Record of the Nation’s Tribute to Abraham Lincoln (Washington, DC: W. H. & O. H. Morrison, 1866), 216.
21 36 U.S. Code § 302 – National motto.
22 Dwight Eisenhower, “Statement by the President Upon Signing Bill To Include the Words “Under God” in the Pledge to the Flag,” June 14, 1954, The American Presidency Project.