[first published 4 July 2014]
David Pence writes:
The Battles of Lexington and Concord were fought by local militias on April 19, 1775. American militiamen were protecting a large cache of military supplies in Concord from British seizure. (If you had asked a man from Massachusetts in that glorious era what a male civil union was, he would have answered: "The local militia!")
The militias would not be enough to defeat the mighty British Army, so the Continental Army was formed by a resolution of the Continental Congress on June 14, 1775. A few days later, the Congress commissioned George Washington as its Commander-in-Chief.
|Gen. Henry Knox: self-educated artilleryman|
The British evacuated Boston – on March 17, 1776 – after militia and Continental forces besieged the city for 11 months. The stalemate was turned when the Knox Expedition to the newly captured Fort Ticonderoga brought 60 tons of captured heavy artillery over difficult terrain in mid-winter to bear on the encircled British. (This is now celebrated as “Evacuation Day” in Massachusetts along with another feast of national identity: Saint Patrick’s Day.)
The Declaration of Independence was signed in Philadelphia on July 4, 1776.
It was, indeed, a declaration of inalienable rights:
'We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights; that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.'
But if all men are born free and equal, why everywhere are men enslaved?
Because their fathers did not secure these rights by forming a well-ordered armed covenant with other men by which rights could be protected against tyrants, criminals, and unfettered passions. Our founding fathers made and enforced such a covenant. They protected their armaments at Concord and captured the cannons of Ticonderoga, one year before they declared on paper their Independence. As my daddy used to say: "You want to change the world? Bring large groups of armed men into agreement." That’s why we are grilling hot dogs and waving flags on July 4th.
We rejoice because men loved each other with the sacrificial love of fellow citizens under God. They broke one form of blood kinship and hereditary rule with the English to assert the more powerful and democratic bloodshed-brotherhood of republican military duty. They formed a nation for all on a brotherhood for adult males only. Their brotherly love spoke in the language of honor codes and Providence.
'That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men…And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.'If the oft-quoted second paragraph of the Declaration is about the rights of every person in principle, then the seldom-quoted last line is about the sacred masculine blood oath which won those rights in practice. The words declaring the rights of men were sealed authoritatively one year earlier by the sacrificial fraternal acts at Lexington and Concord.
While the nation as a single organism embraces all men, women, and children, the fundamental bond which makes the nation possible through time is a trans-generational masculine fraternity of sacrifice. No authoritative covenant by men in arms – no rights of man. No communal authority – no individual liberty.
We are not the founders of our nation. The adult men of this generation are challenged to receive and transmit a patrimony already established. Some men find themselves in a time and place which demand a founding. This is not our situation in the America of today. The fireworks of the Fourth celebrate our good fortune. We are not called to found a city, but to be the watchmen of her walls already built by the sweat and bought by the blood of men who went before us.
America is the sweetest fruit of the Protestant Reformation. Laymen had to separate themselves into the communal fellowship of nations, to free themselves from the temporal rule of the Catholic Church. (This freed the Church to clarify her spiritual mission.)
The American continents provided a vast and separate land where the dynamic interplay of the nations of Noah and the seed of Abraham might bring forth the will of Providence. Adam and his sons, Noah and his sons, Abraham and his seed, Jacob and his sons – these communal forms of patriarchal fraternity are now found in the apostolic Church and the national brotherhoods. In America they were made incarnate by the biblical leadership structures of Protestant congregations, and the military structures of local and state militias. These sacred bonds of civic and ecclesial masculine duty settled the wilderness and – in God’s appointed time – will cast out the Father of Lies and restore all things in Christ.
BACKGROUND: Monsieur Renan on the spiritual nature of the nation.
Dr. Pence on America as a Christian nation: part 1 and part 2.
Take some time to listen to this long interview with Harry Jaffa conducted by radio host Hugh Hewitt. The good professor explains why the meeting of our Founding Fathers (1776 Philadelphia) was one of the two or three most important events in all of human history!
Bishop Fulton Sheen on American Patriotism.
Archbishop John Ireland on Religion and Patriotism. "Next to God is country and next to religion is patriotism." This remarkable poetic work was written in the midst of the 19th century, during an era known as The Spring of Nations.