Friday, May 21st, 2010
Today my 12-year-old daughter read Federalist Paper No. 18 to me as I was driving her to ballet class after school. As she was reading, she would stop to look up words she didn’t know and yet had some understanding of the culture because she has been studying Latin and Greek this year. Her first comment was, “Wow, he knew all this and he didn’t even have Google!”
I agree with our guest Constitutional scholar, Mr. Andrew Langer, (I thank you for blessing us with you scholarly insights again today, Mr. Langer!) that one of the Providential aspects of our country’s founding and birth of the United States Constitution is that the deliberators and creators were so well read and prolific in their knowledge.
In the book I mentioned earlier this week, Miracle at Philadelphia, it recounts how James Madison asked Jefferson for a few books, “Whatever may throw light on the general constitution and droit public of the several confederacies which have existed.” Jefferson sent some, by the hundreds. Madison instantly threw himself into the study and wrote essay after essay in preparation for the challenge that lay ahead.
Thus, coupled with extreme knowledge and intellect was another most needed ingredient, passion. Carolyn Attaway quoted Churchill in her blog today about how people don’t rise to the occasion until it is too late.
In this regard I actually have a spark of hope. I see and sense an awakening of the American patriotism, passion and practicality. Americans are taking action, speaking out and yearning for truths and our founding American principles – just like all of you great patriots who are dedicating your time to join our “90 in 90.”
Americans have a keen sense of right and wrong, justice and injustice. It is in our blood. We will rally and rise to the occasion. The prevailing theme of these Federalist Papers – union – stimulates our cause and fortifies us with knowledge and inspiration.
I thank you for joining us. Please continue to spread the word and please reach out to your children and/or a child you know and teach them about the history of our great country. History proved to be a beacon for Publius and our American history will prove to be the beacon for us.
9 Responses to “May 21, 2010 – Federalist No. 18 – Janine Turner”
May 21, 2010 at 8:08 pm
Well said, Janine! Your point about the depth of learning and knowledge of the Founders is something I was pondering just the other day. These were men who did not have the equivalent of today’s High School diploma, and yet they were scholarly, well read, most well informed and excellent critical thinkers. I think we would do well to look at not only how these men thought, but also how they learned: as you said, by extensive reading for “extreme knowledge and intellect” plus that potent catalyst; passion.
Marc W. Stauffer says:
May 21, 2010 at 11:45 pm
Actually, they were very well educated, with most of the founding fathers having degrees, many in law. Many also held degrees in Ministry. The educational philosophy of the time included religion, morality and knowledge and was far more rigorous and demanding than today’s. Have you ever read The New England Primer? This was the introduction book to reading…a first grade equivalent book. Spelling was up to six syllables and there was much memory work. By fourth grade, complex math problems were calculated without the use of pen and paper (head math). Webster’s “Blue Back” speller was being used; creating the first “spelling bee’s” competitions. It was not uncommon for young people to enter the university system at the young age of 14. Fisher Ames (First Amendment creator) entered Harvard at 12, Charles Carroll of Carrolton (a Declaration signer) entered college at 12, Benjamin Rush (Declaration signer) graduated from Princeton at 14, Jonathan Trumbull (Con. Supreme Court Justice) passed the Yale entrance exam at 7 1/2 but was held back to enter with his peers at 13. James Iredell (Supreme Court Justice) was appointed to the North Carolina office of the Treasury as their Secretary at 17, the list goes on and on.
When you read about the lives of the Founders you suddenly realize what extraordinary men they were.
May 22, 2010 at 10:10 am
Thanks Marc for making me feel really stupid:) I remember reading a letter of Thomas Jefferson to a friend discussing a course of study for this friend’s son. Jefferson listed the required reading list and thought that with a modicum of dedication the son should finish the course of study in about three years. How did Jefferson define “a modicum of dedication?” Fourteen hours of reading a day! Contrast that with the results of a study done in 2003 of the reading activity of any kind done by 15- to 24-year-olds. This age group, our future leaders, read a whopping 8 minutes per day. Source: The Dumbest Generation by Mark Bauerlein.
Barb Zakszewski says:
May 24, 2010 at 6:41 pm
I have a book I bought a couple years ago, called “The constitutional Convention”, which is comprised of James Madison’s detailed notes of the proceedings, including many of the arguements for and against each article and phase of the Constitution. I started reading it, then put it aside, but guess what, I’ve picked it back up again!!
Carolyn Attaway says:
May 24, 2010 at 7:20 pm
I think it is up to the parents to instill the love of reading into their children, it is not a natural pasttime for most. When our children were born, Sunday became reading day, first to them, then later by themselves. The TV could not be turned on before 6pm, and only after 2 hours minimum of reading was done and discussed. Now our children are avid readers, and read everything. We still have table discussions on what we read, and debate our point of views. They have an immense vocabulary and can talk knowingly on most topics. And now, reading is done daily, their choice.
Susan Craig says:
May 24, 2010 at 7:58 pm
I saw an 8th grade graduation exam from back in the late 1800′s and if most ‘College’ graduates didn’t flunk it, I’ll eat my hat.
barb Zakszewski says:
May 24, 2010 at 8:19 pm
Shameful, isn’t it?? What isn’t being taught in our schools anymore. I remember having to memorize the Preamble to the Constitution in my 7th Grade History class. Now the kids are barely aware we even has a governing Constitution. Most kids think our Constitution is what the Supreme Court and Obama says it is..Sad indeed..That is why this site is SOO important!!
Mireille Cantrell says:
June 8, 2010 at 2:46 pm
Researching the trend toward homeschooling is growing year by year to become the fastest trend in education. The government is controlling what is taught in public schools and parents are concerned about the truths in our history that is being left out of our textbooks.
If America’s history is removed from the minds of its people, not only honor and pride will be lost, but the very freedoms for which our founding fathers fought and died for. Without liberty there remains only slavery and the will of the people will be removed by the government. We need to remember the past in truth because we are the result of this past.
Clarity Brown says:
June 8, 2010 at 4:33 pm
I think more people would do home-schooling if they weren’t so afraid of ‘how’ to. I know when my kids were just about ready to start school, I didn’t even consider it an option at the time. I was too afraid, and assumed there was no way I could teach my kids. Plus, I had no idea on where to get the information to know how and what to home-school them with.
Of course at the same time, I had no idea that the government was using schools in most places to push an agenda. If I had known that, I probably would have gone out of my way to find out this information.
They’re both in high school, now. I wouldn’t think of pulling them out, since they’ve been in the system too long. But I did make sure to keep them informed on everything happening, and fortunately for me, they both have an open mind on politics and what’s going on.