Paul R Dienstberger
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Nation of Christians

by Paul R Dienstberger
Copyright 2000 Paul R. Dienstberger


Table of Contents Previous Chapter Next Chapter

Chapter 3 The Search for Reason

I. Introduction in 1760

In the year of 1760 Britain under William Pitt and young King George III had reached a zenith in their struggle for a mercantile rule. The fourth French-British war of the century was coming to a close. In 1759 British successes were unparalleled with victories in India at Plassey, in Africa at Senegal, in the West Indes at Guadelope, and in North America at Quebec. The French had lost everywhere. Prime Minister Pitt's plans had added to the British empire, however the cost had doubled their debts and the realm was almost too big to govern.

In the American colonies the interest in the Great Awakening was waning. The colonists had contributed to the English success at Port Royal and Louisburg in all four wars. For the Englishmen in North America the French threat was now eliminated. Only the Indians stood in the way of western expansion. The colonial population was nearing three million, and they were spilling across the Appalachians.

There was no reason not to enjoy the blessings of the liberty that they had outside the British Isles. The parliament had permitted the policy of "salutary neglect" to free the colonist for most of the century. An ocean and the Great Awakening had deflected any expansion of Anglican or Popish control. The variety of Christian groups just defused any establishment of one dominant church.

At the closing of the colonial period there were an estimated one thousand religious organizations in each of the three sections of America. The Congregationalists had 658 mostly in New England, and the Presbyterians had 543 mostly in the Middle colonies. The others followed with Baptists 498, Anglicans 480, Quakers 295, German and Dutch Reformed 251, Lutherans 151, Catholics 50, and the Methodists with 37 circuits. Nine of the 13 colonies had "established" churches. In Massachusetts, Connecticut, and New Hampshire the Congregational church was supported by taxes and the law. In the five Southern colonies and New York the Anglican Church was the established church.

By 1760 the spiritual interests and emotional fervor of the revival were receding while political problems and rational pursuits were rising. The Great Awakening had provided the first common intercolonial experience, and leaders like Jonathan Edwards, George Whitefield, and other itinerants had name recognition in every colony. But in the future names like Franklin, Washington, Adams, and Patrick Henry would join the voices from New England to Georgia. Revival would be replaced by revolution.

II. Congregational and Republican Governments

The religious roots in America provided a platform for the political direction that led to independence. In the Congregational and Presbyterian churches the leadership and the voice came from the lay people. Their church government was a simple democracy with lay elders selected and problems solved in open discussion by their members. In political terms it was a representative democracy or a republic. The great Christian Edmund Burke told Parliament that the American religious beliefs and practices were far advanced in their Protestantism, and Americans were accustomed to free debate on all religious questions.

The parallel is seldom admitted, but the British-American form of representative government with power from the people matches with the Protestant lay elders' polity. The nations with a divine right monarchy and power at the top correspond with the Roman Catholic Church and the Pope in Rome making decrees throughout the realm. Thus in each case the church and the state are homogeneous.

In reality a New England Congregational church meeting had an open exchange of ideas; and when they went to the town meeting, they practiced the same procedures in their political assembly.

Even the pulpit became a forum for subjects on the public good like patriotism, tyranny, the causes of liberty, the right of resistance, and eventually war. Back in the homeland they blamed those descendants of John Knox for this sedition, and they believed that those "sessions" of the Scotch-Irish Presbyterians were the source of this rebellion and protest. The change was disastrous to American spiritual life because revivals were sporadic and localized.

III. Prelude to Independence

The prelude to colonial separation began when Britain ended Walpole's policy of salutary neglect. Although the British intentions were almost innocent at times and partially in America's best interest, the English measures and taxes stumbled into a position which resulted in a mutual antagonism. Their attempts to regulate the western lands, the currency, the smuggling, the sale of enumerated products, and to search and quarter troops in their homes only provoked the colonists, especially without their consent. However, the Americans quickly learned of the power behind their economic boycotts.

The Stamp Act was the most direct and most unifying provocation, and the colonial non-importation agreements resulted in a repeal. When the Townshend duties renewed England's taxation attempts, the colonists developed a propaganda network known as the Committees of Correspondence. Samuel Adams was the founder of a circular letter writing campaign that was given the unofficial salutation "No King but King Jesus."

Samuel Adams, a devoutly religious man, held morning and evening prayers with daily Bible readings in his home and revered the Sabbath. Nevertheless the "Father of the American Revolution" would be remember more for his Sons of Liberty at the Boston Tea Party.

After a decade of British policies only the Tea tax survived, and it was no more than a nuisance until the East India Company was given a tax break. The colonists responded with the Boston Tea Party by Adams' Sons of Liberty. Parliament retaliated with the Intolerable Acts. One of the five measures closed the port of Boston. Another part closed the West with the Quebec Act.

Earlier the Proclamation of 1763 was intended to prevent conflicts between the settlers and Indians beyond the Appalachian Mountains. But now the Quebec Act (1774) gave the Roman Catholics free exercise of their religion in the future Northwest Territories, and they could collect a tithe of the settlers. The easterners were angered and they interpreted the policy to be an "establishment" of a state religion. Most of the colonies had western land claims.

The Intolerable or Coercive Acts generated a surprising and unifying response by the colonists. They took a page from Cromwell's day. On June 1, 1774 Great Britain closed the port of Boston. Many colonists followed the example in Williamsburg. They held a day of prayer and fasting by attending church, and to "implore divine intervention to avert a calamity." George Washington recorded in his diary that he went to Bruton Parish Church and fasted all that day.

In Sept. the First Continental Congress met at Carpenter's Hall in Philadelphia. They unanimously agreed to open in prayer which was led by Reverend Jacob Duche. The famous stained-glass picture of the event was called the "Liberty Window" at Christ Church in Philadelphia. The famous Episcopalian Church where so many forefathers worshipped, also, had the equally famous "Patriot's Window" installed in 1861.

The intercolonial assembly agreed to suspend all trade with Great Britain, and to petition King George III, and to convene again the next spring. Before they could meet a second time bloodshed occurred at Lexington and Concord. It was the British who initiated the attack and fired the first shots after the famous partial ride of Paul Revere. In fact throughout the war it was the British who attacked. The "alleged" colonial revolutionaries mostly "rebelled" from a defensive position.

For the next 15 months everyone debated the relationship between Britain and the colonies, and The King and his subjects. John Dickinson called "the penman of the Revolution" had written in his Pennsylvania letter, "we are united by religion, liberty, laws, affections, relation, language, and commerce.." Dr. Samuel Langdon, the Harvard President, said, "We have rebelled against God..let us repent and implore the divine mercy." Patrick Henry said to the House of Burgesses, "There is no longer room for hope. If we wish to be free, we must fight! An appeal to arms and to the God of Hosts is all that is left for us!"

The Second Continental Congress decreed July 20, 1775 as the First National Day of fasting, humiliation, and prayer. They again petitioned The King. Meanwhile in Parliament, Edmund Burke made has famous "Conciliation with the colonies" speech. He was joined in sympathy for the colonials by William Pitt, Fox, John Wilkes, Conway, Amherst, and some other famous Englishmen. Tensions and struggles escalated, however there was no consensus on the issues of reconciliation or independence.

IV. Year One: The New England Phase

From the outset any oddsmaker would have given the mother country a huge advantage over her colonist. How could there be an American Revolution when never in the history of the world had a colony successfully broken away? The British army was nearly 60,000 well-trained and well-financed redcoats. The British navy, the finest in the world, started the war with 80 men-of-war and 22,000 men against a colonial fleet of four ships. King George III also hired 20,000 Hessian mercenaries. How could three million scattered colonists stretching over a 1500 mile coastline win a war of independence? In early 1776 only four delegations favored independence and possibly three Southern colonies favored re-joining Britain. The Second Continental Congress was indecisive, inept at financing the war, and bankrupt by 1779. Generals were selected out of sectional jealousies. The Colonial Blue and Whites served only for short-term enlistments. They were ill-clothed, ill-trained, and the worst paid lot. Regardless a Lexington-Concord mentality existed. All that was needed was a call to arms and the minutemen could be gathered from the countryside at a moments notice. The riflemen would show up with that bloody weapon the Pennsylvania flintlock with rifling. In spite of this, the wisest decision was to accept John Adams' nomination of George Washington as the Commander of the colonial army.

Phase One of the undeclared war was in New England. Captain Parker gave his famous command against Pitcairn's Royal Marines. The first bloodshed was spilled over a 16 mile gauntlet between Charlestown and Concord. On Day One the Massachusetts militia gained confidence for harrying the Redcoats back to Boston.

The next month a bold strategic move was made on Fort Ticonderoga by Benedict Arnold and Ethan Allen. To their astonishment the front gate was wide open. At daylight 6'4" Ethan Allen made a flying tackle on the lone sentry, whose weapon mis-fired at point blank range. Allen demanded that the commander Delaplace wake up and surrender, "in the name of the great Jehovah and the Continental Congress." In ten bloodless minutes without firing a shot the Americans were miraculously delivered 60 tons of artillery and 30,000 flints.

The final and most glorious battle in New England was Bunker Hill. General William Howe order three frontal assaults on the American redoubt at Breed's Hill. The Americans defended against Europe's best army in European styled-combat and inflicted heavy casualties on nearly half the enemy's force. The Yankees gracefully retreated with a morale victory, when Prescott's patriots ran out of powder. The only failure in New England was the expedition on Canada. Everything went wrong. The maps were inaccurate, their boats capsized, supplies were lost, and the force was exhausted by the time they reached Quebec. The first commander Schuyler got sick, his replacement Richard Montgomery was killed, Morgan was captured, and Benedict Arnold was wounded. The attack on the final night of the year was in a blinding snowstorm. By springtime a surviving remnant limped home under Arnold's command. They believed that Divine Providence was against the invasion of Canada.

As the first year came to a close only Boston remained in British hands. During the winter Henry Knox took advantage of the snow to drag some fifty pieces of Fort Ticonderoga's artillery on a 42-sled oxen train to Boston. General Washington selected the sixth anniversary of the Boston Massacre to fortify Dorchester Heights that overlooked Boston. The work party was blessed with a full moon on the high ground. Meanwhile unusual weather conditions existed around Boston. A northeasterly breeze brought a dense fog to Boston harbor and a noise barrier to the moonlit, nighttime, American activities on the hill.

In the morning Howe and Burgoyne were awed at the single night's accomplishment as they looked up at the Ticonderoga's cannons. Days later they sent an assault force to the high ground, but a wild storm soaked the powder and repulsed the attack without a shot. With over 40 weapons pointed at Boston Howe chose to evacuate the 7,000 troops and over a thousand Tories to Canada. The City of Boston was returned to American control without the loss of a single life on either side.

One sidelight to the northern events in 1776 was Charleston, South Carolina. Postwar appraisers have admonished the English for not first taking advantage of the numerous Tories in the South. But before the Declaration of Independence on June 28th a combined attack by Sir Peter Parker's fleet and Henry Clinton's ground forces was made on Fort Sullivan in Charleston harbor. Parker's 11-ships had ten times the 26-gun fire power of the American fort. William Moultrie's defenses gathered behind a 16-foot pile of palmetto logs and sand. The British misjudged the vulnerability of the earthenwork fort. Three British naval vessels ran aground on the Charleston shoal. The British fleet fired 7,000 cannonballs which were absorbed by the mud fort and killed on 12 Americans. Clinton's ground force was unable to traverse the water to Sullivan's Island. When their attack appeared ineffective, the British over-charged their cannons causing some to explode and damage their own ships.

After nightfall Parker abandoned the invasion. Major Barnard Elliot, the American artillery officer, said, "So wonderfully did God work in our behalf, that the men-of-war cut their cables in the dead of night and stole away." At that point none of the 13 colonies was occupied by one British redcoat or sailor.

V. Declaration of Independence

The drift toward independence was slow and reasoned out. Historically, the thought of rebellion against a divine right king was paralleled to rebellion against God. But English history was on their side. The English had beheaded Charles I and ousted James II without bloodshed. In the 17th Century John Locke had theorized that Christians had the right of revolution against tyrannical kings. Samuel Rutherford in Lex Rex rationalized that the Bible was the final authority not the king or the law. Furthermore these Hanover kings were Germans anyway, and the first two didn't use much English.

In March 1775 Ben Franklin confessed that he had not heard one person, drunk or sober, suggest breaking with the mother country. Although Britain voted for a state of war in late 1775, the tone in America was conciliation not separation.

In January 1776 Thomas Paine argued in Common Sense," In no instance hath nature made the satellite larger than its primary planet." He said, "I rejected the hardened, sullen-tempered Pharaoh of England forever," and he urged, "Tis time to part." Paine's reasons were so widely read and seemed to align with John Locke's logic that people began leaning toward independence.

On May 17, 1776, Congress declared the second national day of fasting, humiliation, and prayer. Abigail Adams reported that the clergy of every denomination in large numbers seemed to have turned from gospel to revolution.

Later they were referred to as the "black regiments" and the "fighting parsons" as especially the Congregational and Presbyterian clergymen, who admonished, recruited, and even marched their laymen to the battlefield. One spiritual leader exhorted, "cleanse yourself, then shoot the Redcoats." Spiritually the war was disastrous because churches were pastorless; the buildings became hospitals, barracks, and stables; and worship was neglected. Thus immorality and unbelief grew.

While the revival churches supported the revolution, the "peace sects" the Quakers, the Mennonites, and Moravians suffered rejection as "Conscientious Objectors." As for the Methodists John Wesley recalled all the English preachers and only Francis Asbury remained in America.

In June after Howe withdrew from Boston and word came that George III was hiring Hessian mercenaries, Richard Henry Lee proposed that a resolution for independence be drawn up by a five-man committee. Although at that time only four colonies supported independence, the Second Continental Congress agreed to recess and solicit their constituents' opinions.

The task of drafting the document was left to Thomas Jefferson. The talented writer in 18 days penned the American birth certificate. His proposal was altered 26 times by the committee and the Congress. By his own admission Jefferson said that it was not written with any new principles or on things never said before, but to express the common spirit of the American mind of that time for that occasion. Some historians have charged Jefferson and the Declaration with deist and Enlightenment principles, but the document expresses the Christian view of Locke, Rutherford, and the mostly Christian signers in the Congress.

After the three-week June adjournment the mood in Congress changed. Word arrived that Maryland and New Jersey now favored independence. The famous Dickinson-Adams debate was climaxed by the arrival of the New Jersey delegation led by John Witherspoon, President of Princeton and the only clergyman in the Congress.

The next day the final vote was dramatically disrupted by Caesar Rodney, who had ridden all night through a storm, to cast the tie-breaking vote in the Delaware deadlock. The final vote was unanimous: twelve colonies for independence and New York abstained.

Now after fifteen months of fighting without a national cause, they had a reason for the war. It was Independence. On July 4th they adopted as their as their official seal for the revolution a picture depicting the Exodus with Moses and Pharaoh at the Red Sea. The inscription read "Rebellion against tyranny is Obedience to God." After listing 27 grievances against King George III, they closed the document with this line: "with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor."

VI. The War for Independence:

Now that the confederation of the United States had declared its will to be a free and independent people, phase two of the war followed. England responded with William Howe's invasion of New York and with the largest army of the century over 30,000 troops. The Americans were outnumbered three to one and George Washington defended with a series of retreats. Washington's reputation for miraculous escapes continued in the New York episode.

The first week of the Long Island invasion found Washington's force dwindling and defending Brooklyn's Heights. On August 27th an imminent defeat was delayed by a northeastern thunderstorm. That night Washington evacuated his 9,000 troops across the East River. Another miracle was claimed when an all night breeze aided the 13-hour ferry service by Massachusetts marbleheaders, who ironically arrived as Washington gave his evacuation orders. The last boats were covered by a morning fog as the British discovered the retreat and fired on the General in the last boat.

Howe's invasion at Kips Bay again nearly trapped Washington at the battle of Harlem Heights. But the cautious Howe feared over-extending his lines so the Americans slipped away. Washington escaped again, when the first heroine of the war a Quaker patriot Mrs. Robert Murray, who had dated Howe in England, delayed the British officers with an afternoon of cake and wine on the Murray Hill estate.

Howe's pursuit up Manhattan Island was interrupted at the battle of Pelham by John Glover's rear-guard action. Howe decided to retire at what was called Throg's Neck. But it was really a peninsula and when Westchester flooded around the British encampment, they were trapped for six days.

Washington's flight continued with losses at White Plains and Fort Washington, the last American foothold in New York. A second escape was cooked up by Mrs. Murray again from the west side of the Hudson. The ragged remnant limped into New Jersey depleted by expired enlistments and desertions. Howe retired for the winter in New York City and left a line of outposts in New Jersey. Thomas Paine would write in The Crisis, "These are the times that try men's souls: The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will in this crisis, shrink from the service of his country."

By Christmas time the flame of liberty was barely flickering on the darkest days. The end of US history seemed to be only one Washington defeat away. However, the boldest strike of the war and another peculiar fluke happened at Trenton. It was the famous crossing of the Delaware on Christmas night, which ironically Emanuel Leutze painted in 1851 on the Rhine River in Germany.

The Trenton barracks was made up of over a thousand Hessian soldiers under the command of Johann Ralls. Undercover of a snowstorm the attack surprised the Germans and resulted in a victory, while not one American soldier killed in the battle. However, in the spoils of victory in the dead commander Ralls' pocket was an unopened Tory note. The message was intended to expose Washington's plan to re-cross the Delaware and attack Trenton, but it remained unread. Luck again?

Rather than return with a victory Washington took the offensive again and attacked Princeton. His charmed protection continued when he fearlessly rode into the midst of his retreating army at Stony Brook Bridge. His mounted figure was engulfed in a savage crossfire. Waving his hat, he called to his men, "Bring up the troops, the day is ours!" Washington had turned defeat into victory. In the heat of the battle a dramatic aura surrounded him, as if death and danger had no power to touch him. In the brilliant ten-day reversal he had mauled the New Jersey outposts and rekindled a hope for victory

The next summer of 1777 the British devised a comprehensive three-pronged offensive in New York to finish off the American malcontents. It would split the colonies through the Hudson Valley by linking up Burgoyne from the north, St. Leger from the west, and Howe from the south. Howbeit that Howe was never involved in the plan? Did Prime Minister Germain not inform him of the grandiose scheme? Or did Howe just use make a command decision that he would not go? It was the biggest blunder of the war.

Howe engaged Washington at Brandywine and the took Philadelphia. St. Leger was turned back along the Mohawk by Herkimer and that early-on hero Benedict Arnold. Gentleman Johnny Burgoyne with a cumbersome baggage lumbered toward Saratoga. Because of the success at Bennington and the propaganda of the Jane McCrea massacre the American forces increased daily. The four-month British invasion was swallowed up by a makeshift American army.

Saratoga was the turning point of the war. At the climatic fighting around Bemus Heights Benedict Arnold was omnipresent as he galloped throughout the fighting. Britain's battlefield commander Simon Fraser was killed by one of Morgan's riflemen. A cold rain flooded Burgoyne's camp as he parlayed for a convention. On the evening of his surrender Henry Clinton's re-enforcement's arrived too late, as Gentleman Johnny kept his word and laid down their arms.

Europe was astonished at the new Republic's success. France and other enemies of Britain sided with the American cause. Ben Franklin negotiated the Treaty of Alliance with France. And Ezra Stiles, President of Yale, observed that unusually contrary winds on the Atlantic had prevented British logistics from reaching Burgoyne's army.

Meanwhile Washington lost to Howe at Germantown in a blind fog. Then suffered through Valley Forge the next winter. And was nearly replaced by the bankrupt Continental Congress in the Conway Cabal. After a near victory at Monmouth, the last great battle in the North, only New York City remained in British hands.

A campaign of almost little concern proved to by the most visionary action of the war. George Rogers Clark led 175 Kentucky "long knives" to the Illinois frontier. He captured five forts and eventually the "infamous" Hairbuyer Henry Hamilton. Kaskaskia, Prairie du Rocher, Cahokia, Vincennes, and Fort Sackville all fell without a shot or an American lost through enemy action. This phenomenal endeavor added a territory half the size of the original thirteen colonies. It also established a precedent to inherit the eastern half of America from the Atlantic to the Mississippi at the Paris peace discussions.

During the final 18-months fighting was conducted in the South. For the patriots a 45-day siege of Charleston ended with British control of the city. "Butcher" Tarleton earned notoriety for a massacre in the Waxhaws. Horatio Gates of Saratoga fame was given an ignominious defeat at Camden. Benedict Arnold, who was overlooked for the southern command, shocked the nation with his treason at West Point.

Nathaniel Greene, who replaced Gates, began a guerrilla strategy against the superior forces of Cornwallis. His fight, lose, rise, and fight again tactics wore away at the British. Greene lost all four battles so he could hang on and win the South. Only the all-American battle at King's Mountain where the white-flag slaughter occurred was an patriot victory.

A favorable timing of events sealed Cornwallis' final and decisive surrender at Yorktown. Washington expressed the need for a "lucky coincidence of naval superiority" in the Chesapeake Bay. It happened when Count de Grasse's French fleet arrived from the Caribbean to engaged the Royal Navy under the command of Thomas Graves. The four day battle of the Virginia Capes ended when a violent storm scattered the two fleets. But deGrasse had control of the Bay entrance and Cornwallis was bottled up in Yorktown.

While the Marquis Lafayette with a smaller force opposed Cornwallis at Yorktown, Washington and Rochambeau occupied Clinton in New York City. In August Washington began a ruse with Rochambeau heading to Yorktown, while his army kept enough campfires to give an appearance of two armies. When Washington's main body was ferried to Yorktown the maneuver succeeded in encircling Yorktown.

On the night before the surrender Cornwallis attempted an over night evacuation. It would take three trips across the York River to Gloucester Point a la Washington's Brooklyn Heights maneuver. But when the first ferries landed a gale force storm struck and his forces were severed. The next day Lord Cornwallis surrendered nearly 8,000 troops and the band struck up "The World Turned Upside Down."

Fighting continued among the Europeans for the next two years before The Peace of Paris treaty and the British troops were removed from New York. Great Britain had lost the war to the Americans. The world was stunned.

The successful war for independence gave US orators the opportunity to rejoice in victory, praise God for the triumph, and proclaim the US's destiny. In the most lengthy discourse Ezra Stiles, President of Yale, gave a 100-page sermon to the Connecticut legislature. It was titled "The US Elevated to Glory and Honor." He reviewed the history of Israel's theocracy and drew parallels to the US position. He venerated the saintly George Washington as the American Joshua, who was divinely chosen and providentially inspired to another impossible victory. Stiles, also, surveyed the events of the war while generalizing an Almighty hand on the victory. Finally, President Stiles purposed that God's reason for elevating the United States was to propagate religious liberty to all Christendom. And to present the gospel of Christ to the heathen world which Stiles estimated at three quarters of mankind, and had not in his opinion changed for nine centuries. This glorious vision for the US was given in 1783.

Historians offer three general reasons for the US victory in the War for Independence or as they generally call it "The American Revolution." Mainly three foreign powers distracted Britain's effort against the colonies as France, Spain, and Holland retaliated worldwide for past defeats. Some historians believe that French money, supplies, and leaders like Lafayette, Rochambeau, and de Grasse plainly swung the balance to the Americans. Notwithstanding the other fine foreign officers like Von Steuben, Pulaski, and Kosciuszko so admirably performed for the American cause.

Secondly, American leadership and determination just persevered. The greatest American force was George Washington, who retreated, delayed, and prevented an American defeat. He cemented inexperience commanders and marginal troops with a fierce admiration and loyalty to follow him anyplace. They also had confidence in his tactics of hanging around and avoiding an allout conflict which was unfamiliar and frustrating to the Europeans.

Finally, Britain just outright lost the war. Their King's obstinate behavior forced the two groups of Englishmen into irreconcilable positions, and separated by a chasm that widened as the war lengthened. The British made mistakes in time, distance, and communication. The biggest blunder of the war was Howe not going to Saratoga to link up with Burgoyne. The British were wearied by the war and public opinion. It became an unpopular cause with respected leaders like William Pitt, Edmund Burke, Charles James Fox, John Wilkes, and heroes of the Seven Years War: Conway and Amherst, who all opposed the war against the colonies.

If every event of history was designed by God to show His continuous care for His people, then the American Revolution must certainly reveal His divine footprints. Secular historians will not honor God's rule of history or His control of nature. Nevertheless, when military insights are lacking by the most powerful nation on earth, and victories are won without firing a shot, and unusual weather finalizes the conclusion, and un-opened messages determine the outcome; this becomes no scenario of luck.

This statement is almost too big to make, but the Americans won the biggest catch of artillery (Fort Ticonderoga), the largest New England city (Boston), the most crucial victory of the war (Trenton), and the largest territorial claim (the West) all without a single loss of an American life in battle and in three of the four instances without firing a shot. What greater evidence can expose an unseen hand directing the conclusion of the War for Independence?

VII. Articles of Confederation:

The war had been won by the military, but the peace and unity now had to be maintained by the federal government. The organization that was selected by the Second Continental Congress to achieve this purpose was the Articles of Confederation. This much maligned government made major achievements during what has been called the "Critical Period." They established federal control over the 13 states. They negotiated a peace treaty to officially end the war. They set up the fabulous ordinances of 1784 and 1787 on what to do with the western lands, which had been received from the British, and from the former claims of the eastern states.

In a world being run by monarchs and despots the United States was developing a republic by the "will of the people." They were also granting territories the unheard of opportunity for equal status as full states for the first time in the history of the world. And they were protecting individual rights in a pattern that only the English had attempted.

The postwar decade has been criticized for the weak government that could not control Shay's Rebellion. It was reproved for the inability to carry on foreign trade or respected relations with the older European nations. The general populous was condemned for the rising practices of drunkenness, lawlessness, and skepticism. Religion in America was considered to be at a standstill or decline.

In the 18th Century the Enlightenment Age grew out of the Renaissance, and was expressed in letters and thoughts that stressed the ability of the human mind to solve the problems of mankind. The French philosophers Rosseau and Voltaire emphasized reason, nature, and the freedom and happiness of the individual. They tried moving away from the Bible and Christianity as a basis for law and government, and toward an Age of Reason with Deism as their religion. Voltaire said that Christianity would be forgotten within 30 years. He was dead by 1778.

In America Thomas Paine, Franklin, and Jefferson were accused of being deists, and other founding fathers were alleged of having Enlightenment leanings. In 1783 the societies of the Illuminati were organizing the infidel and revolutionary ideas in the US. College faculties and student bodies throughout the nation were being enticed by the French skepticism.

VIII The Northwest Ordinance and The Federal Convention:

In the midst of these circumstances in 1787 the Confederation in New York City and a federal convention in Philadelphia simultaneously wrote two of the three greatest documents in American history: the Northwest Ordinance and the Constitution. Only the Declaration of Independence rivals their importance.

Historians have admired the foresight in the Northwest Ordinance to establish a framework for statehood. But in reality the document was the first federal Bill of Rights. The six articles of this law would astonish the separation of church and state advocates today. Article One said, "No person, demeaning himself in a peaceable and orderly manner, shall be molested on account of his mode of worship." Clause Three said, "Religion, morality, and knowledge, being necessary to good government and the happiness of mankind, schools and the means of education shall forever be encouraged."

Two human rights issues were included in the legislation. Article Three guaranteed, "the utmost good faith shall always be observed toward the Indians ... their lands, property...rights and liberty... preserving peace and friendship." the slaves were included in Article Six which said, "There shall be neither slavery or involuntary servitude in the said territory." How many court cases would have been avoided, if the government had followed the founding fathers' laws? Religion in schools and freedom for Indians and slaves, why we would have missed the Civil War and the 30-year Indian Wars in the West.

The Northwest Ordinance was passed July 13, 1787 in New York. It was also approved by the Republic under the Constitution. Rufus King, the author of the anti- slavery clause, was the only representative to sign it and the Constitution. Thirty-one of the next 33 states except Texas and California were admitted to the Union on this basis.

Meanwhile in Philadelphia at the Old State House the same location, where the Declaration of Independence was signed eleven years earlier, fifty-five delegates from 12 states met with a vow of secrecy to revise the Articles of Confederation. They quickly decided to form a new and stronger federal government which protected the economic interests of particularly the land owners and limited the powers of the state governments.

The Convention with its prestigious delegates attracted much interest. With George Washington presiding most were willing to follow his leadership. Over half had served in the Revolutionary War so they respected "The General." James Madison became the "father of the Constitution" for his advanced preparation and detailed record of the proceedings. The 81-year old Ben Franklin added respect and credibility to the delegation. Most were well-educated and all had served at some level of government.

Two of the first three Presidents John Adams and Thomas Jefferson were in Europe as ambassadors. Jefferson did send books with French theories on the subject. Samuel Adams and Patrick Henry stayed home as did the State of Rhode Island. Several other prominent leaders like John Hancock and John Jay were serving in the government.

Ben Franklin suggested that they open in prayer "imploring the assistance of heaven," but they lacked the funds to pay a chaplain. The proceedings featured much discussion, debate, compromise, resolution, and passion. When an impasse seemed inevitable Franklin appealed, "I have 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, And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without his notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without his aid?"

Much has been written about the debates over powers, representatives, terms, and the relationship of the federal and state governments. The ideas expressed by Gouveneur Morris, James Wilson, Roger Sherman, Alexander Hamilton, Edmund Randolph, and each delegate were sealed in Madison's journal until 1840.

Less has been written about the original sources of their ideas. Montesquieu always get credit for the separation of three branches in The Spirit of Laws. The background on his reasoning is seldom mentioned. It is Christian: that all men are sinners and they need checks and balances. Montesquieu believed that Christianity fostered good laws and good government. He was the most quoted person at the convention.

The second most quoted writer was Sir William Blackstone. His idea was that natural law was made up of two parts: physical or the laws of nature, and the revealed or divine laws of the Holy Scriptures. John Locke's ideas on: inalienable rights, consent of the governed, separation of powers, and the right of revolution are familiar to most Americans, but the Scriptures he quoted to back up his opinions are hardly ever mentioned.

Finally, the most quoted source used by the founding fathers at the Constitutional Convention and made up 34 percent of all quotes was: The Bible. However, the labors of Donald S. Lutz, Charles S. Hyneman, and David Barton of Wallbuilders have recorded the acts of this convention and what the founding fathers did, better than what is written here.

After 124 days the 4,000 word instrument of US government was finished. It was signed by 39 members. Three refused to sign it. On September 17th, what was formerly called "I am An American Day" and is now called "Citizenship Day," the Constitution was presented to the States for ratification. In 1788 eleven of the 13 states ratified the document.

A wide variety of criticism followed their achievement. Their opening line "We the People" has been reproved when only five percent of the white men voted in the subsequent elections. The writers also omitted a Bill of Rights, and the rights of victims, women, slaves, and Indians. The "people" did not even get to elect their Senators or the President.

However, the most awesome chronicle of their ideas was presented in the newspapers and called The Federalist Papers. A series of 80-some essays by Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay under the signature of "Publius" answered the critics and argued for ratification.

When these words are read today, students and teachers think that they have a reading comprehension level beyond advanced college work. One must ask what kind of education system and literacy rate enabled the common person to be expected to participate in this great public debate?

One of the impressive arguments for unity was II by Publius, James Madison, when he wrote, "With equal pleasure I have so often taken notice that Providence has been pleased to give this one connected country to one united people - a people descended from the same ancestors, speaking the same language, professing the same religion, attached to the same principles, very similar in their manners and customs and who, by their joint counsels, arms, and efforts, fighting side by side throughout a long and bloody war, have nobly established general liberty and independence."

With ratification of the Constitution and the election of George Washington the first modern revolution was complete and the oldest successful Constitution was put into action. The United States would be the model for others that followed. The same ancestors that Madison had referred to were western European and mainly from the British Isles. The same language was English. And the same religion was almost entirely Christian and Protestant denominations.

IX. Comparison to the French Revolution:

The first nation to follow in the path of the American Revolution was France. Some historians have revised the truth and mistakenly credited the French Revolution with the birth of modern democracy. The two Revolutions had many differences and the results were diametrically opposite. Their Revolution was within the same country. They had no legislative experience; the Estates-General had not met in 175 years. France had a absolute monarchy. Most of all France tried to base their revolution on man-made laws and Enlightenment theories where the American Revolution was Christian based and biblically supported for a change in government.

The French abolished Christianity and set up Year One of The French Republic with a non-Christian calendar and a Feast of Reason. The goddess of reason was raised up in the Cathedral of Notre Dame, and the churches were desecrated. France was one nation under the law, while America tried to be one nation under God as a final authority.

The French Revolution resulted in the Reign of Terror with 40,000 guillotined including the King and Queen. Lafayette and Thomas Paine barely escaped with their lives. When Thomas Jefferson observed the "bread riots" and he called it "Great Fear." In the end the French Revolution produced the military dictatorship of Napoleon Bonaparte, who conquered most of Europe. The legacies that follows the French bloodbath is the Russian Revolution and their attempt at a godless society, and the repressive totalitarian societies of the 20th Century.

John Wesley Bready summarized their events best, "in the Reign of Terror when Paris gutters ran red with human blood; when a prostitute was crowned Goddess of Reason; when each new champion of freedom, crying "Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity," rushed his fellow champions to the guillotine, lest they rush him there first. So ended the first French Republic, denying all spiritual values and mocking God."

But nevertheless, the American Revolution can not stand alone and self- righteously claim their greatness without thanking their English examples. The Magna Carta and Petition of Rights established a pattern of democracy in the colonies. The bloodless change of power to William and Mary in 1688 was certainly an inspiration for the right of revolution. And likewise the bloodlines of our independence gave birth to Haiti and the South American's overthrow of the Spanish Empire. They must thank the US for lighting a way in the Western Hemisphere.

One other issue of French influence that must be dealt with is Deism. It was French rationalism that God had created the universe, and he only observes what takes place like a clockmaker. God is silent, he does not reveal any truth, he is impersonal, and does not intervene in the affairs of men.

Some founding fathers are charged with being Deists, and writing Enlightenment philosophies in our documents. Jefferson, Paine, and Franklin were almost expost facto deists when historians look back on their ideas. Other insinuate that Washington, Witherspoon, and John Adams belong to the French persuasion.

Both sides used similar terms, and the Christian and Enlightenment writers interchanged the catch-words of the day. The bottom line is the final authority of a personal God. Deists would never accept that God would intervene in history to die for the sins of mankind as Jesus Christ claims. God would not give His word like the Bible claims. And most assuredly a deist should not waste his time calling for an answer to prayer by a god of indifference.

This evidence condemns some deist claims on Jefferson and especially Ben Franklin. As for Thomas Paine I find him a religious seeker, who never settled on a final opinion and probably would have espoused Unitarianism, if he had lived long enough. I appreciate the evaluation of Catherine Millard, who said that Jefferson didn't show evidence of a born-again Christian, but he did use a Christian value system.

William Johnstone's George Washington: The Christian dispels any deist rumors about the "father of our country." A deist would never get baptized or kneel in prayer at Valley Forge or say as he said to the Delaware Indians, "You do well to wish to learn our arts and ways of life, and above all, the religion of Jesus Christ."

It is almost a historical insult to put the two revolutions in the same ball park. The epitome of their differences is two deaths. While some Frenchmen were jumping out of windows, Maximilien Robespierre, the leader of the Reign of Terror, had his friend Danton executed. Danton predicted that Robespierre would follow him to the guillotine. When Robespierre was arrested, he cried out, "I demand speech!" and began to cough and sputter. Someone said, "The blood of Danton chokes him." Robespierre died on the guillotine with 19 of his friends. The next day 80 more Jacobians were executed and the Reign of Terror ended on July 29, 1794.

On the other hand the most famous death in the American Revolution was a spy on Long Island and a little known schoolteacher named Nathan Hale. His last dying words were, "I have now disposed of all my property to my family. There is one thing more I wish I could give them, and that is faith in Jesus Christ. If they had that and I had not given them one shilling, they would be rich; and if I had not given them that, and had given them all the world, they would be poor indeed. I only regret that I have but one life to give for my country." There was a huge difference between the two revolutions.

W.A. Candler in his classic Great Revivals and the Great Republic offers the very strong opinion "The history of modern France emphasizes the lesson taught by the records of the world's earlier governments. French governments have lacked steadiness and stability because they are not rooted in the depths of religion." Lamartine lamented.. the French people have been the least religious of all the nations of Europe...The republic of these men without a God was quickly stranded. The liberty..did not find in France a conscience to shelter it, a God to avenge it, a people to defend it, against that atheism which was called glory."

X. The Postwar Church:

While these military and political events were happening to the nation, the churches were having similar experiences during the postwar period. Most of the American churches were separating from their Old World organizations. The only indigenous churches the Congregational and the Baptists already had independence from Europe.

The churches were also uniting into national organizations with Constitutions. The Methodists were the first denomination to nationalize, after they accepted Thomas Coke as Superintendent in 1784. The Presbyterians in 1788 and the Episcopalians in 1789 established national lines, too. The pre-Revolution consideration for an American "Episcopacy" was revived and a joint Congregational-Presbyterian venture was discussed.

The decline of the tax-supported, established churches began, when the only religious words in the Constitution forbid "religious tests" in article VI, and the First Amendment in the Bill of Rights included "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof." The tax advantage of the Congregational and the Anglican churches ended state-by-state until Massachusetts was the last in 1833. This still did not prevent the first two Presidents from proclaiming national days of fasting and prayer or "thanksgiving" days.

During the Federalist Era of the 1790's the Washington administration successfully addressed every problem the new government faced. The nation was financially sound thanks to Hamilton's plan and the bureaucracy was operating in New York City. The western Indians problem was addressed. Pinckney had obtained Florida from the Spanish, and the US remained somewhat neutral in another British-French war. A strong central government was at peace and getting on its feet.

But spiritually it was the lowest since the first settler had arrived. Rationalism from Europe permeated the nation in all endeavors including the churches, colleges, and the culture. Among college students it was a fashion to call each other Tom Paine, Rousseau, or Voltaire. Friends of the French ideas greeted each as "citizen" and "citizeness."

Profanity in the classrooms of hallowed Princeton was considered not uncommon. A poll claimed only two believers in the student body. Lyman Beecher, who was a college student at Yale in 1795, said, "The College is a most ungodly state. The college church was almost extinct. Most of the students were skeptical, and rowdies were plenty. Wine and liquors were kept in many rooms: intemperance, profanity, gambling, and licentiousness were common."

Estimates of church membership were as low as one in twenty persons. Most denominations were losing more members than they were gaining. The Methodists in the mid-90's were declining at a rate of 4,000 a year. Devereaux Jarrat wrote to the Episcopalians that, "The state of religion is gloomy and distressing; the church of Christ seems to be sunk very low." The predominant sentiment of the people seemed to be: "We will not have God reign over us."

Emigrants were flowing to the West, and the reputation for lawlessness was widespread. For all the problems in the eastern churches, they at least seemed better than the West. They regarded the West as a mission field. When conditions seemed to be at their worst, Baptist preacher Isaac Backus addressed an urgent plea for prayer for revival to pastors of every Christian denomination in the United States. Many of them followed the example of the British churches and set aside the first Monday of each month to pray. They were called Concerts of Prayer, and revival would begin at the end of the century.

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