Curtis Dahlgren
An attack on your ROOTS is an attack on YOU: 40 years from Woodstock
By Curtis Dahlgren
April 11, 2009

". . I have seen such selfishness and littleness even in New England, that I sometimes tremble to think that, although we are engaged in the best cause that ever employed the human heart, yet the prospect for success is doubtful not for want of power . . . but of virtue." — John Adams (quoted by John Howe, Jr.; Princeton Univ. Press)


- "Massachusetts GOP Chair tells gay paper: Forget the culture war"

- "New York Times threatens to shut down the Boston Globe"

- "North Korea fires long-range missile"

- "Defense Secretary announces cuts in several major weapons programs"

- "Somali pirates seize American ship"

- "Secretary of State declares that we are watching the situation closely" [and laughs]

- "White House science adviser advocates 'cooling the earth' with geo-engineering"

- "Detroit hit by snowstorm during NCAA championship week"

- "Iran still working on nukes; Obama offers to dismantle ours"


Any old tree surgeon could tell you that an attack on your roots is an attack on YOU. And this week the President said that this is not a Christian nation (or Jewish or Muslim) but a people who came together around a set of "shared ideas."

By this he claims that we are a "secular nation," but he didn't define those "shared ideas and values," so allow me, if you will, to do so! If you want to know what shared values brought our forebears together, just ask me and I'll tell you (such as the story of Samuel and John Adams).

Sam was a second cousin of John Adams, and 13 years older. Sam's father was the beer brewer, but Sam the writer never became a wealthy man, due in part to his preoccupation with both politics and religion (those two subjects we are constantly told to shut up about, for the sake of unity). The Encyclopaedia Britannica, 11th edition, says:

"There can be no question . . that Samuel Adams was one of the first, if not the first, of American political leaders to deny legislative power to [British] parliament and to desire and advocate separation from the mother country . . . He was, in fact, one of the most voluminous and influential political writers of his time . . [and] he is considered to have done more than any other one man, in the years immediately preceding the War of Independence, to mould and direct public opinion in his community.

"The intense excitement which followed the 'Boston Massacre' Adams skillfully used to secure the removal of the soldiers from the town to a fort in the harbour. He it was, also, who managed the procedings of the 'Boston Tea Party,' and later he was moderator of the convention of Massachusetts towns called to protest against the Boston Port Bill.

"One of the objects of the expedition sent by Governor Thomas Gage to Lexington and Concord on April 18-19, 1775, was the capture of Adams and John Hancock, temporarily staying at Lexington . . "


In "Christianity and the Constitution; the Faith of Our Founding Fathers," John Eidsmoe says that while the encyclopedias don't mention the role of religion in Sam Adams' life and philosophy, religion was the chief impetus for everything that he did. Eidsmoe quotes biographer John C. Miller (Stanford Univ. Press):

"While [Sam Adams] was at Harvard College, the Great Awakening swept over the country and Harvard became 'a new Creature' filled with devout young men . . . Adams never forgot those stirring days . . [and] the glimpse Adams caught of 'Puritanism' in 1740 had profound influence upon his later career. It became one of his strongest desires to restore Puritan manners and morals to New England: in his eyes, the chief purpose of the American Revolution was to separate New England from the 'decadent' mother country in order that Puritanism might again flourish as it had in the early 1600s."

Miller says that Adams often combined his two interests of politics and religion, and that: "No patriot leader had greater success than Sam Adams in convincing New Englanders that if they tamely surrendered their liberty to the British government, their religion[s] [were] certain to be swallowed up by [either Rome or Episcopacy, depending on how Britain went] . . .

"Adams became known as the 'Cato' of the American Revolution because from youth to old age he preached the necessity of returning to an earlier and simpler way of life: his first revolt was against materialism . . "

Eidsmoe says that Sam Adams was "at times suspected of being a 'leveller' who wanted to abolish property rights and redistribute wealth, but he emphatically declared that was not the case. In 1768 he declared that redistribution of income and property was as objectionable as giving the King and Parliament absolute power over the colonists' money. Adams asserted with John Locke that private property is a God-given natural right and a chief purpose of government is to protect property rights."

Sam Adams said, "The utopian schemes of leveling and a community of goods are as visionary and impracticable as those which vest all property in the Crown. [These ideas] are arbitrary, despotic, and in our government, unconstitutional."


The reason I'm taking so much time to relate the story of Sam and John Adams is because there are so many myths and misconceptions out there in "social studies" classes today. President Obama's secular "history classes" have evidently convinced him that America never was a Christian nation — that our revolution was akin to the French Revolution. HA!

[The Left won't be decrying a lack of "separation of church and state" when Notre Dame gives the President an honorary law degree. That accusation is only cried when a politician or preacher agrees with Sam and John Adams, of course. The Left cites "constitutionality" when suppressing religion, even though the Constitution does not contain the words "separation of church and state" (the First Amendment cuts both ways, but the main thrust was to protect religion from the state, from the power of wannabe dictators).]

Anyway, when his cousin ran for President in 1896 against Thomas Jefferson, Sam Adams supported Jefferson, even though the two Adamses were on the same page on most issues. And despite running against each other for President, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson ended up essentially on the same page, too.

Through a review of many letters written to each other over their last years of life, it is obvious that Tom Jefferson was as much a believer in Design-by-Deity as John Adams the Puritan was (and they had never disagreed about the positive societal benefits of religion). See "Will the real Thomas Jefferson please STAND UP?"

Washington, Adams, and Jefferson — and even Tom Paine — would be totally flabbergasted (bewildered, or "blown away" in modern lingo) by the degree to which the history of the American Revolution has been rewritten, and by the extent to which religion in the public square is now forbidden.

Of the four men just mentioned, only Paine — in a sort of way — was a deist, and even the deists of the 1700s believed that the world operates according to laws created by God:

"The Deists argued that after God's initial work of creation, He withdrew into detached transcendence, leaving the world to operate according to rational natural rules. Borrowing upon the general prestige of Newton's vision of the universe as a mechanism obeying stable rational laws, they propounded variations on the classic argument for design wherein the existence of a creator is inferred from the evidence of the rational ordering of the world."
- Encyclopedia Britannica, 1986 (quoted from "Christianity and the Constitution"; Eidsmoe)

[A footnote adds, the Macropaedia says, "Indeed, in the eighteenth century, there was a tendency to convert Newton into a matter-of-fact Deist — a transmutation that was contrary to the spirit of both his philosophical and his theological writings."]

I might add that if Jefferson were to "stand up" today, he'd be a bit surprised that he had gone down in [rewritten] history as a Deist, too. Jefferson as President had done a lot to encourage religion in this Republic (even among — gasp! — the "native Americans"), and as a believer in the Laws of Nature "and of Nature's God," he'd be trembling for the future of the country (because violations have consequences)!

Today's "best and bright" Ivy Leaguers seem to believe that those old "dead white Anglo-Saxons" had read a little book called "Government For Dummies" before writing the Constitution. The Ivy Leaguers aren't "standing on the shoulders of giants"; they're trying to shake them off!

Sam Adams understood both Latin and Greek before entering Harvard at the age of 14. And today's Ivy Leaguers consider the Founding Fathers stupid?

In actuality, they had sifted the best from the Roman Republic and classic Greek literature (most of them could read Latin and Greek) — as well as classical religious writers of the Current Era.

John Eidsmoe says:
"Augustine and Aquinas spoke of the law of nature, drawing from the Bible and classical Greek tradition. Calvin spoke of the law of nature as part of the 'common grace' which God bestowed upon all men; Lutherans called it 'gratia natura,' or natural grace [Paul's "work of the law written in our hearts" — or conscience (Romans 2).]

The American Revolution wasn't a "consensus" (an emotional frenzy like the French Revolution) but a "Concord" (like-mindedness that even the few deists understood). When he penned the Declaration of Independence, Jefferson used terminology and concepts that not only Catholics, Protestants, and others understood, but to which even the Thomas Paines subscribed. That took genius — and both forsightedness and historical context — but today's wannabe "geniuses" think all that "old stuff" is passe — cliches or "backwardness."


"Let the pulpit resound with the doctrine and sentiments of religious liberty. Let us hear of the dignity of man's nature, and the noble rank he holds among the works of God... Let it be known that British liberties are not the grants of princes and parliaments."
— John Adams, Dissertation on the Canon and Feudal Law, 1765

"Statesmen by dear Sir, may plan and speculate for Liberty, but it is Religion and Morality alone, which can establish the Principles upon which Freedom can securely stand....The only foundation of a free Constitution, is pure Virtue, and if this cannot be inspired into our People, in a great[er] Measure, than they have it now, They may change their Rulers, and the forms of Government, but they will not obtain a lasting Liberty."
- John Adams (forwarded from Founders' Quote Daily,

"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."
- John Adams, "A Defense of the American Constitution"; 1787

"Liberty must at all hazards be supported. We have a right to it, derived from our Maker. But if we had not, our fathers have earned and bought it for us, at the expense of their ease, their estates, their pleasure, and their blood."
— John Adams (A Dissertation on the Canon and Feudal Law, 1765)

"We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. Avarice, ambition, revenge, or gallantry, would break the strongest cords of our Constitution as a whale goes through a net. Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other."
- John Adams, Address to the Military, October 11, 1798

"Liberty cannot be preserved without a general knowledge among the people, who have a right, from the frame of their nature, to knowledge, as their great Creator, who does nothing in vain, has given them understandings, and a desire to know; but besides this, they have a right, an indisputable, unalienable, indefeasible, divine right to that most dreaded and envied kind of knowledge; I mean, of the characters and conduct of their rulers."
— John Adams (Dissertation on Canon and Feudal Law, 1765)

"The foundation of national morality must be laid in private families. . .How is it possible that Children can have any just Sense of the sacred Obligations of Morality or Religion if, from their earliest Infancy, they learn their Mothers live in habitual Infidelity to their fathers, and their fathers in as constant Infidelity to their Mothers?"
— John Adams (Diary, 2 June 1778


It's been 40 years since Woodstock, and so it's not surprising that leaders who glorify the spirit of Woodstock say that America is not a Christian nation. They don't WANT it to be a Christian nation!

What IS surprising is that Republicans-in-name-only join in with the chorus by saying that "Reaganism is dead."

I hate to tell you this, but President Reagan didn't invent "Reaganism." Reagan the actor didn't invent "Reaganism." Not even the Eureka College football player invented "Reaganism."

That concept actually goes back to Sam and John Adams, George Washington and Tom Jefferson, and on back to our TRUE ROOTS. An attack on your roots is an attack on YOU — and John Adams warned of a "Woodstock generation":

"Democracy will soon degenerate into an anarchy, such as anarchy that every man will do what is right in his own eyes and no man's life or property or reputation or liberty will be secure, and every one of these will soon mould itself into a system of subordination of all the moral virtues and intellectual abilities, all the powers of wealth, beauty, wit and science, to the wanton pleasures, the capricious will, and the execrable cruelty of one or a very few." — "An Essay on Man's Lust for Power," August 29, 1763

He said, "Men must be ready, they must pride themselves, and be happy to sacrifice their private pleasures, passions and interests, nay, their private friendships and dearest connections, when they stand in competition with the rights of society . . "

Yes, in these times of the ME-generation, let us never forget that Right makes Might, and in that confidence, be willing to forward columns such as this one to our neighbors, friends, and relatives — whatever the cost may be!

Don't be too shy about sending this column to your Democrat or liberal neighbors. Polls still show that three-fourths of the American people consider themselves "Christian," and only six-tenths of one percent Moslem, no matter what the White House says.

© Curtis Dahlgren


The views expressed by RenewAmerica columnists are their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of RenewAmerica or its affiliates.
(See RenewAmerica's publishing standards.)

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Curtis Dahlgren

Curtis Dahlgren is semi-retired in southern Wisconsin, and is the author of "Massey-Harris 101." His career has had some rough similarities to one of his favorite writers, Ferrar Fenton... (more)


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