Curtis Dahlgren
On Jefferson's birthday, America's birthday, and being too young to die(?)
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By Curtis Dahlgren
April 18, 2018

"The comparisons of our governments with those of Europe are like comparisons of heaven and hell." – Tom Jefferson (quoted in "The Jefferson Lies" by David Barton)

BELATED BIRTHDAY THOUGHTS: I like to mention TJ's birthday at this time of year because most people couldn't tell you when it is to save their lives (just one of many flaws in our history slaw). This column is adapted from my April 13, 2017 column:

TALK ABOUT "THE THIRD AND FOURTH GENERATION": The great-grandfather of one of my friends was born in 1798, before Jefferson was even elected to the White House. That even tops the story about the Dahlgrens, and I cannot tell a lie; my father saw Teddy Roosevelt when he was running for the White House and Teddy's been on Mount Rushmore for 77 years already.

As I've said before, a 4-generation photo would be impossible in my family, unless I could time-travel back to the 1840s, which was the Whig era. John Quincy Adams was a contemporary of my great- grandparents, but he was old enough on July 4, 1776 to remember the signing of the Declaration of Independence. But my friend's family story takes the cake:

He was born in 1943, but his father was born in 1900; his grandfather was born in 1839 (his grandfather had his firstborn son at the ripe age of 61), and the great-grandfather, as I said, was born in the 1700s! Some say America is past its prime, but I'm hoping – and praying – that America is too young to die. Maybe God can shed his grace on thee one more time?

Our Founding Families were a special breed. They thought Freedom and Liberty were worth giving up everything for, and the weak ones didn't make it. Some were buried at sea sailing on the Mayflower, and some didn't make it through that first winter. But the faith of the Pilgrims carried them through, and gave birth to a new kind of government (explicitly non-European).

And despite the lies you've heard about the 1776 Patriots, they weren't Deists. At the age of 33, Jefferson spoke of "the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God," and the Faith of the Founders grew even stronger following their Victory in the War for Independence. But American history is barely taught in America, and when it is, it is taught poorly!**

I've known three people who went to my high school who didn't know what the 4th of July celebrates. Many of today's teachers wouldn't be able to give you a reason why we should want to celebrate it. Some of them wouldn't be able to pick Abraham Lincoln out of a lineup. And yet the fact remains that America is the world's "last best hope." By the way, when I gave those three people a clue, "England," they all said "Beatles." Speaking of our – actually – Greatest Generation, Thomas Paine said:

"So deeply rooted were all the governments of the old world, and so effectually had . . tyranny . . established itself over the mind, that no beginning could be made in Asia, Africa, or Europe, to reform the political condition of man. Freedom had been hunted around the globe; reason was considered rebellion, and the slavery of fear had made men afraid to think.

"The sun needs no inscription to distinguish him from darkness, and no sooner did American governments display themselves to the world, than despotism felt a shock, and men began to contemplate redress . . . The insulted German and the enslaved Spaniard, the Russ and the Pole are beginning to think . . . [and]


"We have it in our power to begin the world over again. A situation, similar to the present hath not happened since the days of NOAH." http://www.renewamerica.com/columns/Dahlgren/100902 You will be tested on this column.

P.S. Apologies to Bacon: in last week's column about Reason, Religion, etc., I said that William Cowper said, "'What is truth?' said jesting Pilate; and would not stay for an answer." That's not true. I mean not true that he wrote it. That line was actually by Francis Bacon (1561-1626). I should have known; I don't eat the stuff, but I've read a lot of his stuff before. A few examples:

"God never wrought miracle to convince atheism, because His ordinary works convince it."

"A little philosophy inclineth man's mind to atheism, but depth in philosophy bringeth men's minds about to religion."

"Books will speak plain when counsellors blanche."

**PPS:
Speaking of books, I just posted a thing on Facebook about a new "American History" textbook heading to a public school near you: A student at Rosemount High School in Minnesota, who saw a copy of the book sent to her school, told Fox News she was "appalled" after seeing how "blatantly biased" the newest edition of "By the People: A History of the United States" was toward Trump and his voters. She said it also glossed over all issues then-Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton faced during her campaign. "There are specific parts where it goes off the rails from a historical textbook toward an op-ed," [she said].

Trump supporters are lumped together as "old," "uneducated," and paranoid etc. etc. I just wish our schools assigned "The Jefferson Lies" by David Barton as required reading. It wouldn't hurt if the guides at Monticello had to read it too. For more information, read "Will the Real Thomas Jefferson please stand up," one of my very early columns in the archives.

© Curtis Dahlgren

 

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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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