The United States of America and its Heritage
The central theme in the inheritance we receive as citizens of the US is the ideals of a country which are epitomized by the famous words contained in our Declaration of Independence:
“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.”
Protecting the ideals of our national heritage is similar to protecting historic structures. Both need to be accomplished or both will disappear. In either the case of historic preservation of a physical structure or the preservation of a worthy ideal, skilled practitioners must go back to the root of what was the designer’s original intent to uncover and understand the essence of the object. A correct interpretation of what is the original fabric and what is the detrimental baggage it has picked up along the way must be determined. Then one can prescribe remedies to reverse the inappropriate and conserve the original fabric. Choosing “in-kind” or non-detrimental complementary components to complete the missing or broken parts of the object or ideal can then be effectively accomplished. Finally, with everything in place, a perpetual conservation plan can be formulated to keep the object or ideal saved into perpetuity.
This is the protocol for affecting a substantial conservation work upon a historic structure and should be the same for all objects that represent the ideals of our National heritage.
The reason we should consider applying the same principles of conservation used on historic structures to any worthy non-tangible ideal is to strengthen the valuable fabric of our entire community for its effectiveness now and for our children’s children and their well-being. Restored objects only bear witness to the importance we place on them. However, if only the physical buildings were restored and only they were put into a state of conservation then we would only have pseudo-museums of our forefather’s external world. That would not represent the essence of who they were fully.
Main Streets would look perfected but the soul of the nation would decline if the heart of the ideals were not equally protected and likewise put into conservation. Many who are in conservation are working hard toward accomplishing both. Many however have no use for certain ideals and are attempting to re-write history. The purpose of this section of our web site is to support the historical ideals mentioned above from the Declaration of Independence. With the help of the History Channel I have listed some recorded speeches named below that capture certain themes. If we capture the essence of these themes in ourselves and strengthen them in ourselves as individuals it will make us all part of the collective good and lead us to a solution to many problems in our own lives and in our country in my opinion.
I don’t believe that anyone can affect a building properly if they don’t know what it is made of or how it was constructed. No one can even begin to design a plan to help put anything into conservation if they don’t first find out root facts about the object. Rushing into “restoration” happens every day and that not without consequence.
More time, money and valuable effort is wasted when issues only get revisited again and again because the depth of understanding, which is foundational to the effort, was not complete. I hope that you agree with me that the United States of America is the greatest nation in the history of the world and worthy of both the conservation of its historic and cultural resources and the ideals housed by them.
Our country has attempted to allow all people, who are considered as equal, to pursue their own life, liberty and happiness. Although we have become accustomed to it as Americans, our freedoms are only a novel idea that could be swept away by the bulldozers of special interest groups. Special interest groups are within our borders as well as outside our country’s borders. Historic structures are vanishing across the American landscapes. Landscapes are vanishing across America’s landscapes. Age-old businesses that have produced the best goods in the world are also vanishing because of those who have no need for them in their agenda to rob America of its assets for quick and dirty gain.
A personal freedom for each countryman has not been the cornerstone for most forms of government in the history of the world. I think that there are many in the world don’t like that we, the people of the United States, stand for personal freedoms. I think that by understanding the minds of our founding fathers, who designed our constitution, we will keep in the forefront of our own minds the facts needed to effect any conservation effort that may be substantial in protecting our national heritage in what ever form it takes. Thank God for the USA!
Please read and consider the following quotes and if you have the time please get on the History Channel and listen to the mpeg recorded speeches listed below and e-mail me your thoughts.
Thanks for your time.
Thomas Jefferson, a main architect of our constitution said:
“Can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are a gift of God? Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that His justice cannot sleep forever.”
(Thomas Jefferson, 1781, third U.S. president and principal author of the Declaration of Independence. [Cited in Saul K. Padover, ed., The Complete Jefferson, Query XVII (New York: Tudor Publishing, 943), p. 677.] )
This quote contradicts those historical revisionists who contend that Jefferson wanted a “wall of separation” to protect the government from people of faith. The great gift we have in the United States of America is freedom of religion, not freedom from religion.
John Adams, America’s third president, said; “We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridles by morality and religion…Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”
John Adams, 1798, first U.S. vice-president and second U.S. president. Cited in Charles Frances Adams, ed., The Works of John Adams, Second President of the United States (Little, Brown and Co., 1954), IX, p. 229.
Benjamin Franklin said:
“I’ve lived, Sir, a long time, and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth — that God governs in the affairs of men.
If a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without His notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without His aid?
We have been assured, Sir, in the sacred writings, that ‘except the Lord build the house they labor in vain who build it.’ I firmly believe this, and I also believe that without His concurring aid, we shall succeed in this political building no better than the builders of Babel.”
Benjamin Franklin, 1787. Cited in Gallard Hart and James Brown Scott, ed., The Debates in the Federal Convention of 1787 Which Framed the Constitution of the United States, reported by James Madison (Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1970), p. 81.]
President Lincoln designated April 30th as a day of national humiliation, fasting, and prayer. Let me read a portion of his proclamation on that occasion: “It is the duty of nations, as well as of men, who owe their dependence upon the overruling power of God, to confess their sins and transgressions in humble sorrow, yet with assured hope that genuine repentance will lead to mercy and pardon, and to recognize the sublime truth announced in the Holy Scriptures and proven by a history that those nations only are blessed whose God is the Lord.
The awful calamity of civil war which now desolates the land may be but a punishment inflicted upon us for our presumptuous sins, to the needful end of our national reformation as a whole people. Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us. We have grown in numbers, wealth, and power as no other nation has grown, but we have forgotten God.”
“We have been the recipients of the choicest bounties of heaven; we have been preserved these many years in peace and prosperity; we have grown in numbers, wealth, and power as no other nation has ever grown. But we have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us; and we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own…It behooves us, then, to humble ourselves before the offended Power, to confess our national sins, and to pray for clemency and forgiveness.”
[Abraham Lincoln, 1863. Cited in Anson Phelps Stokes, Church and State in the United States (New York: Harper and Brothers, 1950), vol. 3, p. 186.]
Bible commentator John R. W. Stott said;
“What, then, is the biblical basis for social concern? Why should Christians get involved? In the end there are only two possible attitudes which Christians can adopt towards the world: Escape OR Engagement.
‘Escape’ means turning our backs on the world in rejection, washing our hands of it and steeling our hearts against its agonized cries for help.
In contrast, ‘engagement’ means turning our faces towards the world in compassion, getting our hands dirty, sore and worn in its service, and feeling deep within us the stirring of the love of which cannot be contained.
If we truly love our neighbors, we shall be concerned for their total welfare, the well-being of their soul, their body and their community.”
[John R. W. Stott, Decisive Issues Facing Christians Today (Grand Rapids, MI: Revell, 1995),
pp. 14, 19.]
A theme of what seems to make people happy in the following speeches is the opportunity afforded in the great USA for encouraging creativity, ingenuity and industriousness for improving life for ourselves and our families and the community around us. Look for the theme of “teamwork”, “courage”, “rising to the challenge” in the following recorded speeches. These traits have historically been what American’s are made of. Good stuff.