I recently enjoyed a class taught by Norma Jean Remington, a local school teacher and history master. She taught an interactive group about the Constitution of the United States. She reminded us of the historical roots of our country and the information that maybe we aren’t told of in school classes. These facts aren’t printed in most history books now days. The facts of God’s hand in the details of our American history are some how being lost. Those early pilgrims and founders recognized God’s hand and help and used his name in their diaries and on all work they did.
The American Revolution, also called the Revolutionary War began in 1775, after about a decade of tension between Great Britain and the American Colonies. The final straw was the raising of taxes without the consent of the Colonists. Small groups began the rebellion, which quickly turned into war for all of the Colonists. The American Colonists were mostly humble farmers and small business owners. There were no organized armies or navies. They were mostly unprepared for war. They had neither the military discipline nor the equipment. George Washington, a wealthy Virginia land owner and former military officer was appointed “Commander”.
It is a miracle when you think about how many valiant and intelligent people were here, in these American Colonies, and that within the year, they pulled together a fighting group and a well- written and thought-out “Declaration of Independence”. On July 4, 1776, the US Congress adopted it and they declared that they were free of British rule. The signers were amazingly brave. Had the war gone the other way, they each knew they would be put to public indignities and death, as traitors to England.
The founding fathers were all impressive men in their own rights; however, as signers of the Declaration of Independence, they went through some difficult times in their decisions to do so. According to Thomas Jefferson’s accounts: “For a time my countrymen seemed to fall into a state of insensibility to our situation. We could not come to a united agreement of action.
A day was appointed for fasting and praying, imploring heaven to advert from us the evils of civil war and to inspire us with firmness in support of our rights. When they returned, there was a change in their countenances. It was like a shock of electricity arousing every man and erecting them solidly upright!”
As for General Washington, What kind of man was he? He was a successful military and business minded man. “The Crossing of the Delaware” is a memorable painting. I investigated more about the history of that battle and the man who would become our first President of the United States: After a year of battling with England and the professional troops they hired to fight for them, the American Colonist forces were weak and nearly defeated physically and mentally. They had been surviving on “firecakes”. A tasteless mix of flour and water shaped into biscuits and cooked in the hot ashes of the fire. George Washington’s decision to cross the dangerous frozen Delaware River in the dead of night on Christmas was a complete surprise to the Hessian soldiers, who were known for their heavy drinking on holidays. They were probably drunk and tired. The battle lasted only 45 minutes. The Colonial soldiers took 900 Hessian prisoners. They found food and supplies. Invigorated and refueled, they marched forward and proved victorious in the battles ahead.
There are always those with negative stories about every person, but as for the heart of the man, I was touched by an incident I read in this book called, “Diary and Remembrances”, of Rev Nathaniel Randolph Snowden: He says he saw Gen’l Washington alone in the woods at prayer near Valley Forge, where the army lay during the war of ye Revolution.
“I saw the great George Washington on his knees alone, with his sword on one side and his cocked hat on the other. He was at prayer, beseeching God to impose his Divine aid. Such a prayer I never heard from the lips of man. I felt much impressed in his presence and reflected upon the hand and wonderful Providence of God in raising him up and qualifying him with so many rare qualities and virtues for the good of this country and the world. Washington was not only brave and talented, but a truly excellent and pious man of God and of prayer. He always retired before battle and in any emergency for prayer and direction.” The picture of Washington praying at Valley Forge was inspired by this story.
The more you read about the finding and founding of this Great American Continent, the more you see the hand of God in the details. The more complicated Constitution of the United States was finished and adopted on Sept. 17, 1787, after 55 dedicated men, selected throughout the States, worked through the hot summer to complete it.
I hope the word “God” always stays on our money and in our pledges and in our Constitution. They are the reminders of “How we came about to be a free and great country!”