Saturday, February 6, 2016

Constitutional Literacy Class-The Price of Liberty...Eternal Vigilance

Today I got to do something rather unique. I sat in on a Constitutional Literacy lecture with Constitutional lawyers Michael Farris and one of his previous students, Jenna Ellis. This was livestreamed from Colorado, which was great because I'm in Virginia. Seven hours later...my mind was feeling quite weighty! Then my husband took me out to dinner during which I regaled him with all the new information I learned!

Some of the information was a review, that I have learned from frequent visits to the Founding Fathers at Colonial Williamsburg. Today the depth became so much  more as we learned about the legal origins and specific meaning of the Constitution as compared to how it is deconstructed today. In fact my head is still swimming from a mass of legal terms that my brain finally couldn't keep up with. However, never fear. I will not give up. I shall be ordering their books for further study (linked above)!

While I was homeschooling, I deeply felt a need to be purposeful in our lessons. The more I studied history, the more I saw history balancing on the 18th century. In all the years leading to 1776, man yearned to be free. In the last quarter of the 18th century, America separated herself from a tyrant, and shed blood to remain free. Then our Founding Fathers wrote a  most unique document in all the world, which became the Great Experiment. Our government became a republic...if we could keep it. The years after this time seem to be all about the struggle to keep these freedoms that our Founding Fathers fought for.

I'll never forget our final homeschool history presentation. We sadly sat around the table, knowing our homeschool era had come to an end. As excited as we were about the kids moving on in their college careers, we felt something special being lost forever as it slipped through our fingers.

My family encouraged me to write down what we had studied during those years so that the grandchildren would benefit from it when they will be homeschooled in the future. Not so much the biographies of each great leader (although that could be fun to do a series for kids) but to be certain to write down the connections of lessons in the Bible, history, literature, and all the other subjects as they created application points in how we should become vigilant citizens in our own day...to keep our freedoms.

To that end, I've been reading many books that I hadn't had time to read while homeschooling, hoping to further analyze, synthesize, and extend my own learning before I put pen to paper.  Especially I haven't quite yet decided how to lay out my ideas. Now is the time for reading and research, and of course at least the writing of summaries to help me firmly implant the ideas in my head.

Therefore, everything I heard today further rounded out and solidified these goals.  As a writer of a curriculum, and as a vigilant citizen, I must learn my history better.  I've gained a list of books to pursue in study. We learned how we can become active in the Convention of States, which is open to every citizen to work to reign in tyrannical government. My son did a project with them a couple of years ago while seeking a college scholarship. Although he did not win, the entire family learned a lot as we were introduced to this  most fascinating provision in the Constitution which allows the citizenry to speak up against run away government. After all, our 18th century Founding Fathers wrote the Constitution to empower the people, not the government. The government is to answer to the people.

Today I was inspired to push forward with an idea I've been kicking around. Now that the homeschool years, which this blog used to focus on, are no longer with us, I've decided to redirect to more frequent visits to the 18th century. I learned today that in order to understand our Constitution, we need to understand the 18th century. So perhaps without causing too much angst by digging into modern politics, I can instead allow the 18th century to speak for itself. After all, actions have not much changed.

There is definitely a difference between the Enlightenment Era and the Postmodern Era. During the Enlightenment Era, the words of the founding documents had specific meanings that had remained constant for centuries before that. In the Postmodern Era, definitions for almost anything tend to change moment by moment. Nothing is constant. A peak into the 18th century will help us to understand our Founding Fathers better...which will help us to understand our Constitution better.  Besides I can assure  you that the 18th century is quite a bit of fun. I've done  much study of the 18th century and it is my favorite era. It will be a delightful step back in time. A chance to travel in a time machine away from the hustle and bustle of the 21st century to the 4mph society of the last half of the 18th century. A time when there were ladies and gents, carriages and horses, balls and more balls. At least it was so in Virginia because Philip Vickers Fithian wrote, "Virginians must dance or they will die."

Believe it or not, one of the most fun dancers of all was Patrick Henry, himself! Known to be out of fashion and quite the firebrand, he was also known to have a good time. In fact, I've had a dance with Mr. Henry, himself, at the Subscription Ball at the Raleigh Tavern.  Even the best lawyer in Virginia found time to dance...because "Virginians must dance or they will die."

As Patrick Henry is often attributed with saying, "we need to remain vigilant to keep our freedoms." We need to fight the trend towards socialism. No country has ever survived socialism. Those who create socialism are tyrants, because they are taking away our natural freedoms. As James Madison said, "If men were angels, no government would be necessary." Nothing in life is free...not even our freedoms. The price of liberty is eternal vigilance.  

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