America is an exceptional country. In his inaugural speech, President George Washington reminded his fellow Americans, “No People can be bound to acknowledge and adore the invisible hand, which conducts the Affairs of men more than the People of the United States. Every step, by which they have advanced to the character of an independent nation, seems to have been distinguished by some token of providential agency.”
The remarkable history of the United States of America and the founding era, is a history of many miracles. No nation on earth has achieved the degree of liberty or level of freedom as the United States. It is one thing to know this, it is another to preserve it.
Thomas Jefferson the author of The Declaration of Independence and America’s third President said, “Educate and inform the whole mass of the people…They are the only sure reliance for the preservation of our liberty.”
James Madison considered the Father of the Constitution said, “What spectacle can be more edifying or more seasonable, than that of Liberty and Learning, each leaning on the other for their mutual and surest support?”
And from James Q. Wilson a signer of The Delclaration of Independence and one of the six original justices appointed by President Washington to the U.S. Supreme Court reminds us: “Law and liberty cannot rationally become the objects of our love, unless they first become the objects of our knowledge.”
The Utah SAR offers on this page a brief incomplete sampling of knowledge for patriotism. We invite you to explore the links and establish goals that will enable you to make Constitutional law and liberty something you love even as Patrick Henry’s unshakable devotion to liberty:
“…It is in vain, sir, to extenuate the matter. Gentlemen may cry, Peace, Peace – but there is no peace. The war is actually begun! The next gale that sweeps from the north will bring to our ears the clash of resounding arms! Our brethren are already in the field! Why stand we here idle? What is it that gentlemen wish? What would they have? Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!”
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Death of de Kalb. Engraving from painting by Alonzo Chappel (1828–1887)
On August 16, 1780 at the disastrous defeat at the Battle of Camden, South Carolina, Johann von Robais, Baron de Kalb, the great Bavarian-born French officer who served as a major general in the Continental Army had his horse shot out from under him. Before he could get up he was shot three times and repeatedly bayonetted by the red coats. It was reported that as he was being attended to by General Cornwallis’s personal surgeons as he lay dying he said, “I thank you sir for your generous sympathy, but I die the death I always prayed for: the death of a soldier fighting for the rights of man.” (1) Three days later he died. Several years later, George Washington visited his grave and is reported to have said, “So, there lies the brave deKalb. The generous stranger, who came from a distant land to fight our battles and to water with his blood the tree of liberty. Would to God he had lived to share its fruits” (2)
1) 1- Griswold, Rufus Wilmot; Simms, William Gilmore; Ingraham, Edward Duncan (1856). Washington and the Generals of the American Revolution. J.B. Lippincott. p. 271
2) 2- Ells, Benjamin Franklin (1849). Death of Baron De Kalb. The Western Miscellany 1. p. 234.