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American Exceptionalism

When we look at the world today we see many different governments that have many different effects on the people and the economy of the nations that they preside over. There are nations that are in abject poverty and there are nations that are wealthy. There are many reasons for the disparity between these nations. Some lack natural resources that help drive an economy. Many lack educational means to properly educate the masses. Some have governments that believe that it is the government’s responsibility to supply the needs of the masses. Some nations allow the people to develop means of supplying their own needs through innovative methods such as farming, manufacturing, and all other forms of entrepreneurship. These nations are usually the most prosperous. The nations where the government takes on the role of being the peoples source for everything have always produced the poorest and least educated nations. The key to all of this is education. The less education a person has the more he will depend on the government for his needs.

When the Founders of the United States formed our government they were well aware of what governments worked well and which governments didn’t. There were some good aspects of many of the governments that were around at that time but for the most part all these governments benefited the governments more than the people. Our Founders wanted a government that was more beneficial to the people than the government. All of our Founding Fathers believed that some government was needed for the protection of the people and national security, but they also believed that a limited government was the best government. Thomas Jefferson stated: “My reading of history convinces me that most bad government results from too much government.”

Large governments were not effective and always benefits government. Democracies have built in destructive features because it takes all of the people being involved all of the time for it to function even somewhat effectively and it lends itself to be open to tyranny of the majority. Benjamin Rush said, in the year 1789: "A simple democracy ... is one of the greatest of evils" and James Madison said, in 1787, "Democracies have ever been spectacles of turbulence and contention; have ever been found incompatible with personal security, or the rights of property; and have, in general, been as short in their lives as they have been violent in their deaths," and John Adams is reported to have stated in 1814 "Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There never was a democracy yet that did not commit suicide".

To have a government that was totally of the people, by the people and for the people had never been tried before. In taking the best parts of some governments along with understanding that our rights as humans are rights given by God and not by man they gave us a Constitutional Republic with balanced sharing of powers and checks & balances keeping the progression of tyranny in check, for the most part, for many years. James Madison stated in The Federalist No. 14 "...in a democracy, the people meet and exercise the government in person; in a republic, they assemble and administer it by their representatives and agents. A democracy, consequently, will be confined to a small spot. A republic may be extended over a large region.” The author of the First Amendment, Fisher Ames stated: “A democracy is a volcano which conceals the fiery materials of its own destruction. These will produce an eruption and carry desolation in their way.”

Their belief that because our rights were God given and not man given caused them to use as a foundation for their government godly principles and relied on men governing themselves according to those Christian principles. Many revisionist historians refute that fact, but facts being what they are, indisputable, all printed comments concerning this from the time of the Founders prove this. John Jay, the First Chief Justice of the Supreme Court declared: "Providence has given to our people the choice of their rulers, and it is the duty, as well as the privilege and interest, of our Christian nation to select and prefer Christians for their rulers." John Quincy Adams, President, son of the second President, member of the House of Representative and the Senate stated: “The highest glory of the American Revolution was this: it connected in one indissoluble bond the principles of civil government with the principles of Christianity.” James Madison declared “We have staked the whole of all our political Institutions upon the capacity of mankind for Self-government, upon the capacity of each and all of us to govern ourselves, to control ourselves, to sustain ourselves according to The Ten Commandments of God.” (Emphasis added) George Washington firmly believed in the need for man to have knowledge of the God of the Bible. He stated: “It is impossible to rightly govern a nation without God and the Bible.” He also stated in his farewell address from public life: “Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensible supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of patriotism who should labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness.” The religion he refers to is Christianity. Patrick Henry stated unashamedly: “It cannot be emphasized too clearly and too often that this nation was founded, not by religionists, but by Christians; not on religion, but on the gospel of Jesus Christ.” (Emphasis added)

Our Founders believed that only men of character should be placed in positions of authority in our government. Samuel Adams believed that a man’s character is vital if he is to be in a position of authoruity. He stated: "The public cannot be too curious concerning the characters of public men." George Washington believed that the Christian character was of utmost importance: "To the distinguished character of Patriot, it should be our highest glory to add the more distinguished character of Christian." As stated earlier, John Jay, the First Chief Justice of the Supreme Court declared: "Providence has given to our people the choice of their rulers, and it is the duty, as well as the privilege and interest, of our Christian nation to select and prefer Christians for their rulers." (Emphasis added)

It is this aspect, Christian principles for the foundation of government, that has set America’s form of government apart from all other forms of government. There has never been a government founded solely on Christian principles, totally controlled by the people for the benefit of the people. When followed as it was designed by the Founders, it produced the freest most prosperous nation this world has ever seen or will ever see. If we let this slip from our hands, we will never see it again. That is not just a tragedy for America, but for the world.

America was watched by all nations after the Revolutionary War. Everybody wanted to see if this type of government could work. Not many believed it would. But after only a few years the fruits of a government based on Christian principles began to emerge. Alexis De Tocqueville after touring America for nine months in 1831-1832 to study how our government works, made this comment in his book Democracy in America: “The English colonies (and this is one of the main causes of their prosperity) have always enjoyed more internal freedom and more political independence than the colonies of other nations; but this principle of liberty was nowhere more extensively applied than in the States of New England.” 1 (Emphasis added) De Tocqueville also stated concerning our laws: “. . . and enacted laws as if their allegiance was due only to God.” 2 “The legislators of Connecticut begin with penal laws, and, strange to say, they borrow their provisions from the text of Holy Writ. “Whomsoever shall worship any other God than the Lord” says the preamble of the Code, “shall surely be put to death.” This is followed by ten or twelve enactments of the same kind, copied verbatim from the books of Exodus, Leviticus, and Deuteronomy. Blasphemy, sorcery, adultery, and rape were punished with death; an outrage offered by a son to his parents was to be expiated by the same penalty.” 3

America’s form of government has lasted longer than any other form of government. It has also produced the wealthiest population in the world. The freedoms that our Constitution has afforded its citizens have made America the envy of the world. People don’t pack up and leave America for a better place. There is no better place. We are far from what our Founders established and in the last 70 years have gone in the wrong direction, but we are still the envy of the world. America still has the dream. You can be free and prosperous in America more than any other nation in the world. In America you can still make something of yourself.

One of the biggest things that make America great is the fact that the people can own property. Not many nations allow its citizens to own property. Our Founders believed that property ownership was an unalienable right provided by God and no man had the right to deny another man the right to own property. John Adams, our second President declared: “The moment the idea is admitted into society, that property is not as sacred as the laws of God, and that there is not a force of law and public justice to protect it, anarchy and tyranny commence. If "Thou shalt not covet," and "Thou shalt not steal," were not commandments of Heaven, they must be made inviolable precepts in every society, before it can be civilized or made free.” (Emphasis added) John Jay concurred: “No power on earth has a right to take our property from us without our consent.” Andrew Jackson declared that defending the liberty of owning property was for the good of the people: As long as our government is administered for the good of the people, and is regulated by their will; as long as it secures to us the rights of persons and of property, liberty of conscience and of the press, it will be worth defending.” John Jay also believed that property ownership was a sacred right: “No power on earth has a right to take our property from us without our consent.” Joseph Story, Justice of the Supreme Court, Father of American Jurisprudence believed that property was a God given right that was to be defended by the courts: “The state governments have a full superintendence and control over the immense mass of local interests of their respective states, which connect themselves with the feelings, the affections, the municipal institutions, and the internal arrangements of the whole population. They possess, too, the immediate administration of justice in all cases, civil and criminal, which concern the property, personal rights, and peaceful pursuits of their own citizens.” Thomas Jefferson also believed in the right to own personal property: “Our citizens have wisely formed themselves into one nation as to others and several States as among themselves. To the united nation belong our external and mutual relations; to each State, severally, the care of our persons, our property, our reputation and religious freedom.” One can only agree with the beliefs of the Founders concerning the importance property ownership is to the liberties of the people.

The last major factor to the greatness of America is the individual freedoms that each person enjoys. Freedom of speech. Many nations do not allow freedom of speech. Islamic nations do not allow a person to speak their mind on almost any subject. Even the truth about the founder of Islam will bring the wrath of the Imam’s down on a person. Freedom of assembly. We have the right to assemble whenever we want. Not all nations would allow that. We have the freedom of the press. Though the truth is not always printed in the press today, it was vital during the days of our Founders. Our Constitution does not allow the government to restrict what we put in our newspapers, except for national security issues, but even that has been breached in recent years. In most nations the press is 100% controlled by the government and it can only print what the government says it can print. We have above all, freedom of religion. This may be THE most important freedom we have. It is less free than in the days of the Founders, but it is still our most precious freedom. Our Founders came from a country where they were told what religion they were to have , how to worship, they were taxed to support that religion and the doctrines of that church were determined by the government. In America we can worship how we please and participate in any religion we feel led to follow.

There have been some violations for these freedoms over the years for various reasons, but for the most part these freedoms are still intact and are the foundation of the exceptionalism of America. It is the intent of the author to bring out all the aspects of America to fully define the uniqueness of our form of government and how these uniqueness’s defined America throughout the ages.

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