Thursday, October 29, 2009

Parody - The Patriotic Ghosts

Published By: All Right Magazine on July 7, 2009


There was some weeks ago a secret meeting between spirited ghosts of the 18th century and hollow shellmen of the present to which a single fly on the wall was there to witness and mentally record. Though this fly was very resourceful, I am sorry to say he has since met his untimely demise, but not before his testimony was circulated on the Internet and then mysteriously taken down. It was quite by accident that I found his story and was intrigued enough to copy and paste it into a file for later perusal. After some contemplation, I have decided to capture and relay words from the said meeting onto paper for a submission of record.

As his story starts out, the spirited ghosts (SG) of the founding fathers were pointing out with satisfaction the wonders of the Constitution and how it has held up through the past couple of centuries. The hollow shells (HS) were noticeably disgruntled at the arrogance of the framers, at which point Noah Webster directed his words, “In the formation of our Constitution the wisdom of all ages is collected – the legislators of antiquity are consulted, as well as the opinions and interests of the millions who are concerned. In short, it is an empire of reason.”

Alexander Hamilton who had been told most eloquently that the current administration was seeking guidance straight from the horses’ mouths took the floor to add, “If it be asked, What is the most sacred duty and the greatest source of our security in a Republic, the answer would be, An inviolable respect for the Constitution and Laws–the first growing out of the last…A sacred respect for the constitutional law is the vital principle, the sustaining energy of a free government.”

George Washington added, “Here here!….The Constitution in its original meaning is the guide which I never would abandon.”

As the other SG’s applauded, the HS’s rolled their eyes upward in disbelief at the utter ignorance of these ghostly squares. Joe Biden was quick to seize the opportunity and blurt out, “It is dangerous to shove the Constitution down anyone’s throat.” He was about to continue when Obama stood up, and all eyes turned to him as he began to speak:

“What Joe means is that in avoiding the dangerous possibilities of the Constitution, I vow to guard the liberty that the Constitution and laws guarantee to everyone in this country. Our priority now is to protect against unlawful discrimination and extend rights to segments of the population that have traditionally been denied their rights.” He hesitated a moment and then waved toward his VP, “Now Joe, you may continue…if you would.”

“Thank you, Mr. America, for that clarification. As you know, Indians today work at convenience stores and donut shops. To help this situation, we need to repair bridges and bring down energy costs.” Then with a knowing smile, he added, “And should that not work as predicted and the stock market crash, perhaps we can then summon the ghost of FDR to recreate the mood of 1929 when he addressed the nation on television.”

The SG’s silently looked at Biden in confusion while Obama stood once again to gloss over the words of his VP, “In his enthusiasm and great compassion, Sheriff Joe has gotten carried away, so let me interject that I am not unsympathetic to your position that the original understanding of the Constitution must be followed. I see you are fixed in the fundamental faith that if we remain true to the original understanding of the Constitution without question or deviation, then we will be rewarded and all good will flow.”

Having recovered from his initial surprise, John Adams explained that respect for the Constitution does not guarantee that all good will flow but that adhering to intentions of the Constitution protects the democratic decision-making authority that it provides. “Let me remind you that the Constitution as is allows for change but changes are not to be made willy-nilly with each administration. The ability to pursue different courses can be made through democratic processes. Since we could long ago foresee our legislators were bound to make mistakes, mechanisms are in place for citizens to not only influence them, but to replace them.”

Obama shrugged his shoulders and continued, “It is encumbent upon us as leaders to make decisions. We must remember the people cannot understand the reasonings entailed behind a decision and do not always render what is good for them. I am a constitutional scholar but don’t take my word for it. You could ask my good friend and expert on the Constitution Justice Breyer who will tell you the Constitution is not static but is a living document and must be read in the context of an ever-changing world.”

Once again Adams stood up saying that anyone knows this is an ever-changing world and that the Constitution must be read with context of the current situation being analyzed. He continued, “It is, however, in any situation illegitimate for judges to alter the Constitution’s meaning. They do not have authority to impose their own wishes based on their own prejudices upon the people.”

Obama calculated a congenial smile as he replied, “The point I’m trying to make is that we must keep up with changing times. We must balance the Constitution with necessity of the moment. Today the Constitution needs to be interpreted by somebody who’s got the heart, the empathy, to recognize what it’s like to be a young teenage mom. The empathy to understand what it’s like to be poor, or African-American, or gay, or disabled, or old. With all due respect, you people of yesteryear cannot possibly understand about such hardships.”

Justice Ginsberg cleared her throat as she stood. “Surely, Mr. Adams, you cannot expect us to look at the Constitution as a document essentially frozen in time nor rely on 18th century understandings forever. Sometimes the Constitution is virtually useless in making a correct decision, and justices have no choice but to change it. This requires us to overstep the boundaries set by the Constitution. Since American jurisprudence doesn’t have all the answers, foreign laws give us the inspiration we need. Europeans do not all have the same values as Americans and therefore offer a fresh approach as our own voters often get things wrong on certain cultural issues.”

Sotomayor took the opportunity to quickly interject, “There is such a thing as judicial activism to fit current beliefs, but I understand I am to interpret laws, not make them (giggle). If I am called upon to bend or twist the law to shape an agenda, I feel I am up to the task. In order to progress in today’s climate, we must unshackle the government from constitutional restraints.”

Adams turned to George Washington with a look of dismay. In carefully weighed words, Mr. Washington calmly replied, “The basis of our political system is the right of the people to make and to alter their Constitution of Government. But the Constitution which at any time exists, ’til changed by an explicit and authentic act of the whole People, is sacredly obligatory upon all.”

Obama was perturbed by the ignorance of these men who kept saying no to any new idea, but he knew his magical charm and great wit would be enough to win them over. “Flowery words do not a garden make. The shallow rhetoric upon which a kingdom stands shall not strengthen but shall instead weaken the foundation until it crumbles and then we all will suffer. We don’t want that to happen, so we must all pull together in hope and unity until this theory becomes reality. I believe we must rise above divisive politics and act in the interests of our national and economic security. This can only be fixed by putting politics aside and offering a solution that strengthens our security while reaffirming our heritage as a nation of immigrants.”

Adams ignored the gibberish and pressed on, hoping someone’s head had enough energy to support a light, “Preventing enforcement of one’s opinion on others is exactly why the Constitution must be interpreted as is according to original intent. Opinions are one thing, but acting on them in an official capacity against the Constitution is another.”

Al Gore thought Adams was betraying his country, but turned his attention to Obama in praise, saying he was just like Lincoln in his powerful ability to inspire hope in the future at a time of impasse. Continuing, he added, “Today we know the world isn’t flat. If you would have had the Internet in the 1700s, you would have been able to inform everyone about that much more quickly; but you could not have possibly anticipated the Internet or our need to go green in this round world for creating a safer environment and more jobs.”

Adams asked, “Go green?” Al Gore sighed as he looked at Obama who signalled a stop sign to Biden; but it was Howard Dean who got the jump as he popped up with, “Yes, green or blue. Anything but red. Better dead than red!…oh….uh…no offense.”

Obama blinked his eyes slowly before he reacted, “I think you need to be a little more inclusive, Howard, and a little more careful. I understand you are still exuberant about defeating the symbolic color red with your 57-state strategy, but we need to tackle the problem at hand. I have proposed bold initiatives to put America on the path to a clean and secure energy future. I support implementation of a bold market-based cap-and-trade system to reduce dependence on foreign oil and nonrenewable, polluting sources of energy. I will also dramatically increase federal investment in advanced clean-energy technologies and energy efficiency. My plan to create an energy independent America will cut U.S. oil consumption by 2.5 million barrels of oil per day, take 50 million cars worth of pollution off the road, and save American consumers more than $50 billion at the gas pump. To save even more of our limited resources, I also suggest they avail themselves of the free air which fits into their tires.

I believe that we have a responsibility to our children to leave this earth better than we found it. My plan will drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and turn the global warming crisis into a moment of opportunity for innovation and job creation. I will restore America’s promise of a clean and beautiful environment by cleaning up our air and water, building healthier communities with fewer toxins, and preserving our forests and other national treasures. I will make sure that our environmental laws and policies balance America’s need for a healthy, sustainable environment with economic growth.”

Howard Dean applauded, “Here here! This is a struggle of good and evil. And we’re the good. The Constitution is all that stands between us and people we’re fighting against, those who want to poison our heritage in order to have growth. As the Bill of Rights is simply a legal technicality, I’d rather stand with the President than be right. Give me a greener environment and a cooler climate or give me death! uh….er… offense.”

Before this meeting, the SG’s did not think anyone would claim man had control over the climate. They concluded amongst themselves that these leaders were rutterkins who wanted to rob the people of money for a cause that didn’t exist. In order for them to succeed in such mischief, the Obama crew would have to chip away at the Constitution and the liberty it provides. As the SG’s vanished, Thomas Jefferson parted with these words, “In questions of power, then, let no more be heard of confidence in man, but bind him down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution.”

Obama was relieved they were leaving and answered, “Though passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of affection…..” Before he could finish, his attention was diverted to the fly which had a distinctive patriotic stripe down his back. Obama in suspicion watched him jet away and whispered a vow that the fly would soon meet his day of reckoning with one swat. Wistfully, he added, “If only the Constitution were so easy to destroy.”

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Obama is a 'member of a race once officially considered only three-fifths of a person here' - Tom Hanks

Forced labor has raised its tentacles amongst all races at different times throughout man's history. The white race has had its share of woes in this regard. However, their bondage has not shown up with significant tell-tale reminders because descendants of white slaves in a dark society are dark in coloring.

SLAVERY has existed since times Ancient
The ancient Mesopotamians, Egyptians, Greeks, Romans, and Germanics all used slaves to build up their cities and agriculture. For Rome, conquests by war and expansion turned captured prisoners into their foreign slaves.

The Middle Eastern slave traders of Rome--the Moors, the Mongols, the Khazars, the Ottoman Turks, and many others--actively traded in white slaves. To some extent, white nations themselves have betrayed their own in accepting white slaves as a part of their society. Such a trade existed in England in the 16th and 17th centuries where gangs of slave catchers operated against the lowest social classes, very often kidnapping children on the street for indenture to farmers in the colony of Virginia.

The expansion of Whites into Africa, Asia, and America brought forth greater desire for slave labor. From 1530 to 1870, ten million Blacks were sold to the New World with about half of them to the Caribbean islands and the Guianas; 38 percent to Brazil; and 6 percent to mainland Spanish America. The vast majority of the black slaves purchased by white slave traders were sold into slavery by fellow black tribesmen who had captured prisoners while warring with other tribes, or sometimes they would sell people of their own tribe that they deemed unworthy to stay with them.

The Portuguese were the first to start importing large numbers of Blacks from their colonies in Africa in 1444 to work on their plantations. By 1460, they were importing over 1,000 black slaves a year from trading posts established by black peddlers on the African coast. By the end of the 19th century, 12 percent of Portugal's population was black. A significant number of black slaves had had children with white Portuguese people, thus creating the mixed race of a number of Portuguese today. By the time of the 20th century and as a result of multiple factors, Portugal became one of the most underdeveloped states on the European continent.

After Portugal, Spain followed suit and began to import slaves from their African colonies right up to the 20th century, but they imported far fewer Black slaves than did Portugal. England, France, Holland, and Denmark also decided it to their advantage to enter the slave trade competition as well. Spanish colonies in South and Latin America were supplied with African slaves through a British company which had won an exclusive contract in 1713.

Spanish colonists used native Indian tribes to work their mines and farm projects in South America at first; but the physicality required was too much for the Indians, and large numbers died from disease, exhaustion, and poor treatment. Spain then decided to import Blacks from Africa to fulfill their South American labor needs. These black slaves and their descendants physically mixed with the remains of the South American Indians and with some Spanish colonists.

The French had occupied large parts of northern and western Africa and enslaved the labor that they needed. Black slaves were also imported into France where a small degree of intermingling with the white French population took place. In 1848, slavery was abolished in that country.

Holland had imported muslim Malays to work as domestic slaves who were in time absorbed by the white Dutch population. The Dutch abolished slavery in their colonies in 1863.

Between 1519 and 1650, Mexico imported about 120,000 Black slaves, or slightly fewer than 1,000 per year. From 1650 to 1810, Mexico received an additional 80,000 Blacks, a rate of 500 slaves per year. Chile imported about 6,000, about one-third of whom arrived before 1615. Argentina and Bolivia together imported about 100,000 Blacks over the same time period.

Once they had obtained independence, the majority of the new republics of South America and Latin America abolished slavery during the 19th Century. Only in Brazil was slavery not formally abolished until 1888.

The land of America was not immune to the evils of slavery. As the history of man continued in years to march forward and the time came when European nations discovered the new world of America, they brought with them their prejudices, fears, habits, and other sprouts of growth that are part of humanity. America inherited its share of those problems from around the globe. Through its establishment as a Republic and in reflection upon itself in an effort to treat each individual fairly, this country realized errors and moved to turn the tide toward correcting them. Though the nation didn't start on day one to create evils, they did exist within our borders. The founders and their descendants contained amongst them the most brilliant of men who made efforts to ultimately be on the right side of God and His will for the freedom of man with inalienable rights.

I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that his justice cannot sleep forever.
Thomas Jefferson
American Revolution
The black slave population favored the British to win the American Revolution, and thousands of them sought freedom by taking refuge behind British lines. An armed Black unit--the Ethiopian Regiment--was raised by the British to fight the Americans. When the British army evacuated Charleston and Savannah, more than 10,000 former slaves went with them. Some Blacks settled in Nova Scotia; others moved to Sierra Leone in West Africa. On the American side, some Blacks took the opportunity to trade wartime loyalty to the American rebels for eventual freedom: between 1782 and 1790, American Virginia plantation owners freed almost 10,000 slaves as a result of such deals.

Legal Rights
Black slaves did have legal rights in early America, such as support in age or sickness, a right to religious instruction, and the right to bring lawsuits and appear in court in certain cases. Violent behavior on the part of slave owners towards slaves was considered wrong and low-class and was prohibited by law.
Number of Blacks Increase in AmericaWith the inclusion of female Black slaves, there came a significant population boom for the blacks. Their high fertility coupled with our medicine increased their infant survival rates well above what it was in Africa. According to the 1800 census, there were 893,602 black slaves in America. By 1860, the black population in America was counted at 3,953,760. By 1950, it had reached over 20,000,000.

Were all Blacks considered to be only 3/5 of a person?
With the election of Barack Obama, "corner can be turned by the election of the country's first African American president, a member of a race once officially considered only three-fifths of a person here." Tom Hanks
It was in 1869 that the 15th amendment was passed by Congress:

The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.

Were black people in America regarded as three-fifths of a person? No, black people were whole people but since they did not vote at all and did not pay taxes, the vote represented by the population of slaves (not free blacks) was counted as 3/5 of a vote. (Indians who did not pay taxes didn't even get that.) It was politics, nothing to do with a black slave being only part of a person. If the north would have had its way, the vote of each slave (who weren't allowed to vote anyway) would be wholly or 5/5 non-existent.

Why did they count as 3/5? The South was more sparsely populated than the North. This meant the North had an advantage in congressional representation. Therefore, the South insisted that slaves are part of the population and should count as votes to give their views more weight.
So, despite the fact that slaves weren't voters, a political compromise was reached allowing the southern states to count slaves within their borders for the sole purpose of increasing their congressional representation.
However, it didn't seem right to the north to give non-voting people who didn't pay taxes a one-for-one exchange; thus, a compromise was implemented. It allowed southern states to count each slave as 3/5 of a vote.
Counting non-voters as having 3/5 of a vote was not a true representation of the population, but it was not as inflated as it would have been if each slave counted as a full vote. The slave states still got over-represented in the Congress, just not as much.

The non-slave states would just as soon there not be any slaves at all; but failing that, they agreed to the compromise in order to hold the country together. Neither side was strong enough to withstand another war or to break away as its own country.
Once again: Free, non-slave Blacks were counted as whole votes and Indians didn't count at all as a person when it came to voting because they weren't required to pay taxes.

Article 1, Section two of the Constitution reads:
The House of Representatives shall be composed of members chosen every second Year by the People of the several States . . . Representatives and direct taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union, according to their respective Numbers, which shall be determined by adding to the whole Number of free Persons, including those bound to Service for a Term of Years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three fifths of all other Persons.
One Step Forward
The American Constitution gave Congress the power to ban the importation of new black slaves, which it did beginning 1808. It was a first step. The next steps forward would surely cause a war, and no one looked forward to that.

War did come. The Civil War, which pitted White against White and brother against brother and at great loss of life to the white man for the rights of Blacks, brought an end altogether to the cruel foolishness of slavery in America

Blacks Had Slaves
As slaves in America were freed during the 18th century, they found themselves unable to make a living, particularly in the North. They often turned to crime causing some states to restrict the entry of Blacks into their areas. The southern Blacks fared better than those in the North as there were more opportunities for their type of labor. In New Orleans, for example, 753 Blacks owned slaves according to the 1830 census.

Throughout the early 1800's and as consciousness was raised--mostly by those of courage in Christian values such as the Quakers-- there was an ever-increasing amount of freed slaves; and many of them came to the Americas from England and offered themselves as an alternative to slave labor. There were also some 50,000 free Blacks who settled in the British and French West Indies.

In the New Granada provinces of what today are Panama, Colombia, Venezuela, and Ecuador, the free Black population in 1789 was 420,000, whereas the Black slaves were numbered at only 20,000. Free Blacks also outnumbered Black slaves in Peru, Argentina, Puerto Rico, and Brazil. However, in Cuba, Saint-Domingue, and Jamaica, black slaves outnumbered free Blacks.

Thomas Jefferson
"Nothing is more certainly written in the book of fate than that these people are to be free. Nor is it less certain that the two races, equally free, cannot live in the same government. Nature, habit, opinion has drawn indelible lines of distinction between them." from Thomas Jefferson's biography
Abraham Lincoln
As a man living amongst new racial tensions, Lincoln wished the repatriation of all Blacks out of America to Africa. He told a black delegation it would be better for all of us if they should return to Africa and start a free Black colony there:
"You and I are different races. We have between us a broader difference than exists between almost any other races. Whether it be right or wrong, I need not discuss; but this physical difference is a great disadvantage to us both, as I think. Your race suffer very greatly, many of them by living amongst us, while ours suffer from your presence. In a word, we suffer on each side. If this is admitted, it affords a reason at least why we should be separated.

"Your race are suffering, in my judgment, the greatest wrong inflicted on any people. But even when you cease to be slaves, you are yet far removed from being placed on equality with the White race. On this broad continent, not a single man of your race is made the equal of a single man of ours. Go where you are treated the best, and the ban is still upon you. I cannot alter it if I would.

"I need not recount to you the effects upon White men, growing out of the institution of slavery. See our present condition - the country engaged in war! - our White men cutting one another's throats, none knowing how far it will extend; and then consider what we know to be the truth. But for your race among us there would be no war, although many men engaged on either side do not care for you one way or the other. It is better for us both, therefore, to be separated." (The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln, Rutgers University Press, 1953, #V).
From His Emancipation Proclamation Speech"I have urged the colonization of the Negroes, and shall continue. My emancipation Proclamation was linked with this plan. There is no room for two distinct races of White men in America, much less for two distinct races of Whites and Blacks.

"I can conceive of no greater calamity that the assimilation of the Negro into our social and political life as our equal. Within twenty years we can peacefully colonize the Negro and give him our language, literature, religion, and system of government under conditions in which he can rise to the full measure of manhood. This he can never do here. We can never attain the ideal union our fathers dreamed, with millions of an alien, inferior race among us, whose assimilation is neither possible nor desirable."

The assassination of Abraham Lincoln in 1865 put the colonization policy off to the side as other political issues seemed more important at the time. His idea never became legislation but instead Blacks were granted full U.S. citizenship in 1869 by an amendment to the Constitution.LiberiaBy 1822, the American Colonization Society had established Liberia as a former North American Black slave settlement in Africa. They used an almost word for word copy of the American Constitution as the founding charter of that state. Monrovia, the Capital city, was named after President James Monroe who sponsored the project.

Liberia is the oldest independent Black state in Africa, and it is prone to the Third World chaos so typically found in Africa. Even though Liberia started out with all the opportunities and physical assets of the United States, it rapidly descended into Third World status.
Blacks Repatriated From EnglandBy 1772 in England, there were 15,000 Black slaves who had been imported into that country.

In 1787, a society for the abolition of the slave trade was formed and a policy of repatriation was started. (This was the second one in Britain's history--the first had taken place under Queen Elizabeth I.) A large transfer took place in 1787 to West Africa where the town of Saint George's Bay (Sierra Leone) was created as refuge for the "London Black poor."

The emancipated slaves were however unable to sustain the town, and by 1790, it had collapsed. The British then tried a new repatriation settlement in 1792 at Sierra Leone and called it Freetown. This time a number of Whites moved to the town with a large number of former Black slaves, and the town has survived to the present day.
Blacks Repatriated from AmericaThe success of the Freetown settlement served as a beacon to many Blacks and Whites in North America. In 1815, a small group of free North American Blacks was transported to Sierra Leone where they supplemented the British Sierra Leone settlement. Further repatriation ventures were undertaken in the 1850's.HAITI
The Caribbean island of Haiti had been a center of Spanish activity during the early sixteenth century, the time of explorer Hernando Cortez. The majority of Spaniards left Haiti and had moved on to the South American mainland, while a small number of them stayed behind. The locals, subject to the Spanish force of arms, slavery, and diseases from Europe, became insignificant in numbers.

The western part of the Haitian island was settled by French traders in 1697 and renamed Saint-Domingue: the eastern portion remained under Spanish control, known as Santo Domingo , now the Dominican Republic

The island had a population of some 40,000 Whites, mostly French, some Dutch, German, and Spanish as of 1789. Also developed was a mixed-race of about 27,000, many of whom were freemen and property owners themselves. The 450,000 black slaves outnumbered the freemen and were able to engulf not only the Whites but the mixed race population as well. Racial tensions flurried, but the island itself grew in wealth. Its rich soil and ideal climate produced more sugar, coffee, and cotton than all of the other colonies in North America put together, supplying half of the European needs.

Racial flames of the island were ignited ever brighter from the spark of the French Revolution of 1789. Through a series of events, it was decided by decree that Blacks and mixed races in Haiti were to be denied the right to vote. The black population became frenzied, seized a shipment of weapons, attacked Whites and burned down plantations. The mixed race people first sided with the Whites, then with the Blacks, but soon enough learned that neither side wanted or accepted them.

The island, still in chaos, found itself visited by a detachment of 20,000 French troops in 1802 sent by Napoleon. Black insurgents were hunted down and the leaders of the Black rebellion surrendered, pledging allegiance to the new French government.

A twist of fate changed the dynamics when yellow fever attacked the French troops later that year, at one stage killing as many as 160 per day, causing 4/5 of the French troops to die from the disease. The Blacks, seeing the ravages of the disease amongst the French troops relaunched their racial rebellion, and the security situation on the island had once again descended into near anarchy, with Whites and mixed race persons being targeted at random by Black rebels.

The French troops had had it with the rebellious war and, as it turns out, they had the power to bring it to an end in their favor. This time they set about to kill all Black inhabitants, including women, over the age of 12 years as they would always be potential rebels. Female Blacks had proved themselves to be even more vicious and cruel to captured Whites than what the men had been. As the French set about at this task, Blacks and Whites were killing each other and committing atrocities at random and reaction, until the French had completed their mission.

French Withdrawal
Then France found itself at war with Britain as the French colonial possession came under attack from the British navy. The English fleet blockaded the island, not only cutting off supplies to the French garrison from France, but also aiding the Black rebels on the island with guns and ammunition. Black rebels led a number of vicious attacks on isolated French garrisons on some coastal towns, during which all the White inhabitants were put to death. By November of 1803, the French surrendered to the English Fleet off the coast.

With the surrender of the French, the Black rebels immediately set about slaughtering those Whites unfortunate enough not to have left the island (renamed Haiti in December 1803) and declared a Republic - the second in the Western Hemisphere after the United States of America and the first independent Black ruled nation in the Caribbean.

Having disposed of the Whites on the island, the Blacks and mixed race population then turned on each other in yet another race war, ending with the virtual annihilation of the mixed race peoples. The same year, Whites who had left the island were invited back to help rebuild the economy, which had been utterly destroyed as a result of the thirteen years of race war. A surprisingly large number of Whites took up the offer.

Scarcely had the new year of 1805 begun when the racial hatred felt by the Black population once again rose up against the Whites. Whites were once again all slaughtered, the last one being on March 18, 1805.

Haiti is today a shambles of poverty, lawlessness, and chaos, despite being a Republic only 35 years younger than the United States of America.

Friday, October 9, 2009

George Washington, Man of Providence - The Battle at the Monongahela

From the late 17th century and on into the middle of the next century, England and France competed for land in the new wilderness of America while the bewildered Indians were disjointed and no match to stop the progress of Pandora. They had laughed at the white man's ignorance and gladly traded land, which was free, for the trinkets* offered. In return, the Europeans had asked to live peaceably in the wilderness territory and offered payment to settle and call the land their own. Little did anyone know how prosperous the country would become under the direction of the American colonists and that it would some day to later generations appear as though the Indians had been cheated.

The English claimed land by virtue of John Cabot but which they had not yet settled. Conflict began when trading posts established and frequented for years by the English were being visited by the French in competition for the Indian furs. Before England's Ohio Company could occupy the disputed territory permanently, the French dispatched their own group of settlers to nail signs on trees and bury French-inscribed plates of lead to identify the land as their own. The trading posts were destroyed, and the English traders were made prisoners. In return, the English raided French farmers and fishermen and deported them to New Orleans.

Virginia's Governor Dinwiddie drew up a formal document in order to file one final diplomatic objection with the French. He would need to send the parchment with someone to see General St. Pierre stationed at Fort Erie in Pennsylvania. Putting together a small party of men to make the wintry 500-mile trek, he selected 21-year old George Washington to act as ambassador. Having made George a major in the Virginia militia two years earlier, Dinwiddie had confidence in the young man's discipline and abilities to overcome obstacles.

The mission given him by Dinwiddie was carried out successfully with George returning alone after 11 weeks--the others stayed behind to hunt and trap the rich wilderness. Ambassador Washington reported that the French were putting together reinforcements and that St. Pierre indicated it would take war to try to dislodge them from the territory.

The English colonists knew how wild and forbidding the trip must have been and admired that George Washington carried out orders so gallantly. His name as a dedicated young patriot became praised throughout the area.

I may point out to the public that heroic youth Colonel Washington, whom I cannot but hope
Providence has hitherto preserved in so signal a manner for some important
service to his country.
Samuel Davies

It was said that Washington held a great, commanding presence, rivalled only by that of John Witherspoon. He gained admiration just by his carriage and demeanor, and he had an ability to invoke a spirit of confidence in those around him. The star of George Washington rose with great notice surely and steadily day by day. Little known at the time was the fact that George's mother prayed long and often for the soul of his destiny.

The French were busily reinforcing their claim to the disputed land by building Fort Duquesne as a ready defense. Troops were raised in Virginia, and George was made Lieutenant colonel entrusted with a command. When Colonel Washington set out to recapture the site by force, the French were ready. They saw him coming and flew to arms. Their leader Jumonille and ten of his men were killed, twenty-one were made prisoners. Washington returned to a small stockade (Fort Necessity) he had erected in the area and waited for reinforcements. While he waited, he started to clear a path from Fort Necessity to Fort Duquesne. It took a month for reinforcements, but a small group of volunteers from South Carolina showed up.

It was May of 1754 when George Washington set out with a group of about 400 men, including that small group of volunteers, to meet the enemy at Fort Duquesne. After advancing 13 miles, his scouts told him that general De Villiers was approaching with French and Indian fighters, about three times the number of their small army. Washington took his men back to Fort Necessity. As De Villiers surrounded the fort, the Indians found spots amongst the thick foliage of trees while the French fired from tops of the knolls. The battle lasted for nine hours with the French continuously pouring musket balls down upon the fort. The men under Washington seemed tireless, and it was taking longer to win than De Villiers had anticipated. He saw it would take a lot longer unless he offered the English a deal. He told Washington that if they surrendered the land, they would be allowed to go back to Virginia peaceably with all their supplies intact. Having lost 30 of his men, Washington decided it was best to leave rather than risk more lives at such a disadvantage.

The Virginia House of Burgesses voted Colonel Washington a public thanks for handling his men so capably in the face of overhelming odds. The English settlers recognized Washington's bravery; but they were fearful. With so few soldiers, they knew an oncoming war would be their doom. In the meantime, the French continued to ravage and plunder the trading posts and settlements along the inner frontiers.

The separate English colonies had not too long before been very isolated from each other with their own interests and distrust of outsiders. The Great Awakening, particularly through the traveling efforts of George Whitefield, had brought them reason for unity. Through faith in God, they realized their similiarities and the strength of charity. Now the common French threat they shared was bringing them closer together in need for cooperation in self-preservation.

Drawn up was a plan of union known as the Albany Plan to include New York, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Indians of the Six Nations. This agreement professed that its president and council would be able to make purchases of uninhabited lands from the Indians, conduct treaties with Indian nations, regulate trade, and decide when necessary to declare war. For defense purposes, it was understood duties may be imposed in order to raise troops, build forts, and supply armed vessels. This treaty was largely Ben Franklin's idea. It was signed by attending delegates on July 4, 1754, but was rejected by the British Crown and also the colonists, each side thinking the other got too much power.

Franklin is quoted as saying, "I am still of opinion it would have been happy for both sides of the water if it had been adopted. The colonies so united would have been sufficiently strong to have defended themselves, there would then have been no need of troops from England; of course the subsequent pretence for taxing America and the bloody contest it occasioned would have been avoided. But such mistakes are not new; history is full of the errors of states and princes."

When Louis XV sent out a fleet carrying three thousand soldiers to reinforce the French army in Canada, King George III ordered General Edward Braddock to proceed to America with two regiments of English regulars to oust the French. Braddock was a fine General, and he was proud of all his achievements; but now he was over 60 years of age and not looking forward to the prospect of war on the wilds of America with a relatively few men of his own. Just before he left, he wrote his will and gave it to a dear friend. He held the Americans as uncouth and uncivilized, hardly worth the bother of listening to. As he unfolded a map, he complained that he was "going forth to conquer whole worlds with a handful of men, and to do so must cut his way through unknown woods."

In Feb of 1755, the British troops arrived in Virginia. The American colonists were greatly encouraged by the sight, the most beautiful and mighty army in all the world. Many of the colonists were so uplifted by the prowess these men represented, they offered their own services to join them. Braddock was obliged to accept, though with contempt, and figured to find a place for them at the back of his regiment.

He then set about to meet with Governor Dinwiddle and other colonial governors to discuss military strategy. According to plan, the first campaigns were won by the English fairly easily. The fourth and greatest campaign was to be carried out at Fort Duquesne with Braddock in the lead. He had heard much of George Washington and requested his services as an aide in this mission. Washington's mother was afraid and asked him not to go; but he reminded her, "The God to whom you commended me, madam, when I set out upon a more perilous errand, defended me from all harm, and I trust He will do so now. Do not you?"

While waiting for Washington, Braddock had become acquainted with Ben Franklin and found him most polished and well-versed. However, Ben Franklin found himself dancing around the eggshells of Braddock's arrogance as he gently tried to tell him that American warfare might be a little different from what Europeans were used to. Amongst American colonists and Indians, there were no rules of engagement; but Braddock scoffed at American weakness, and the fear of savages did not exist within the ranks of the English military.

When Washington arrived in Alexandra, he was welcomed hardily by Braddock and his two other aides; but an obstacle presented itself when it was found that Virginia did not have enough wagons or horses and saddles and other supplies to outfit an army. Braddock assigned Franklin the task of obtaining horses from the Pennsylvania farmers.

The farmers in Pennsylvania were their own breed. As was the case with other immigrants, they came to America to use their talents and better their lives in freedom, something they could not do anywhere else. They went through many hardships and risks in working the land to finally become prosperous. All their toil and heart and time they poured into the land had paid off. So when Ben Franklin came to them to talk matters of the military, that was something foreign to the nature of life they developed. Franklin understood that. Applying needed pressure, he told them that their loyalty would be seriously questioned if they did not lease wagons and horses with saddles to the British Crown. He encouraged that now is a good time to volunteer and be paid for their goods rather than wait for the Crown to have to seize by necessity. The farmers insisted that Ben back up the promised British gold and silver with his own note so that they could be guaranteed a return on their investment. Poor Ben. Surely, he suspected the possibilities in what he was letting himself in for; but if that was what he had to do, then he did it hoping for the best.

With the wagons and teams now supplied, Braddock set out from Alexandria, Virginia, toward the wilds of Fort Duquesne. An advance party of guides was sent forward, followed by a working party with two hundred and fifty axmen along with tool wagons, two cannons, and rear guard. Braddock and his two aides trailed this detachment with the main body, artillery, and provisions. A body of regulars with the American provincials brought up the rear.

The Battle
Washington said the most beautiful spectacle he ever beheld was when he looked back to see the British troops on the morning of that day in battle (July 9): crimson coats, shining weapons, floating banners, the steady march to the sound of an upbeat war chant. The soldiers were arranged in columns, lined in exact order and total discipline. They had been trained well for stand-up battle. Washington, like Franklin, had earlier warned Braddock that Americans did not fight in any kind of order, but Braddock became enraged that an inferior would try to give him advice.

The French watched them from amidst the trees and thickets as they came into sight with a forward detachment of 350 soldiers and 250 workers and axmen to support them. Braddock and his men were a short distance behind, and another division carrying the heavy supplies were about 40 miles behind them. After calculating how outnumbered they were with their force of 900 against the English 1300, the French knew their best chance was to ambush them by surprise. Their advantage was familiarity with the territory.

As the march continued and the forward detachment crossed a narrow ravine, their guides came running back toward them. An Indian was also running at them and stopped short when he spotted the troops. As soon as the lone Indian waved his hat over his head, an attack came from out of nowhere, blinding the English ranks who were mentally short-circuited and stunned by the unseen muskets. The bullets sprayed furiously from behind trees and rocks, with Indians wildly hooting their loud and hideous noises, while the British fired randomly through the dust, falling one by one. Horses panicked, rearing up and receiving wounds, trampling bodies both living and dead, and dragging wagons behind them. The startled officers never before had encountered such confusion, but they kept a level head trying to control their frenzied men. The axmen fled for their lives while the soldiers tried in desperation to get some control. They were in the open, plainly visible in being fired at with deadly certainty against a foe they couldn't locate.

Upon hearing the intense firing, Braddock rapidly started up the incline toward the ravine; but the first regiment was on the retreat downhill and ran into Braddock's men, mixing the two regiments together and throwing the entire army into disarray. No one was certain where to go or what to do. Men were still being fired at with precision and cluttering the field with the sickness of blood and bodies. The despair of helpless uncertainty made them huddle together looking outward in the midst of the ravine.

The colonists who had joined them found their own trees to hide behind and from which to fire whenever they spotted a moving target. Braddock was appalled by this type of cowardice and ordered them to come out and fight like men of honor. He ordered them into columns according to the rules of English military tactics. Reluctant but forced to join the deadly havoc, they, too, became brightly colored targets easy to pick off.

General Braddock was a lion in battle, fighting ferociously in a contest for life against death. Five horses were shot out from under him, and he kept going with reckless passion. His two aides were wounded, leaving Washington the only aide left to ride over every part of the field carrying the General's orders. Washington was very visible, most certainly an easy target for the French sharpshooters. As a particularly conspicuous mark to the enemy, onlookers expected him to fall any moment; but he kept riding high, to and fro with orders to subordinates, unflinching in the face of duty and disaster. One witness in awe of this unbelievable feat reported, "Nothing but the superintending care of Providence could have saved him." The battle lasted over two hours.

Following the battle, the Indians testified that they had specifically singled Washington out and repeatedly shot at him, but their bullets seemed to disappear without effect. They soon enough became convinced that he was protected by a great spirit. Two horses had been shot from under him; four times his coat had been torn by musket balls; but in the heat of battle and still recovering from a feverish illness, he never noticed. Shielded by God's hand, he was untouched by bullet or bayonet, arrow or tomahawk, even though scores of victims fell around him.

Every mounted officer was slain, except Washington; and when Braddock was wounded, he slumped off his horse to the ground creating a new panic within the troops. Those who could fled to save their lives. Washington now took charge and had Braddock hurried off the blood-bathed field. After the shooting died down, Indians came out from hiding to gather their precious scalps from the dead and wounded. Distracted by the beautiful coats and British weaponry, they had no more interest in the staggering remains of about 200 men trying to struggle back to Virginia.

Triumphant shouts were heard from within the depths of the forest as the Indians returned to Fort Duquesne with scalps and the richness of their plunder. Walking with them were a few prisoners they had found. Colonel James Smith, an English officer captured before the battle, believed the 'infernal regions' must have broken loose as he witnessed the spectacle of the Indians shrieking in boisterous joy.

"About sundown I beheld a small party coming in with about a dozen prisoners,
stripped naked, with their hands tied behind their backs. Their faces, and parts
of their bodies were blackened. These prisoners they burned to death on the
banks of the Allegheny river, opposite to the fort. I stood on the fort walls
until I beheld them begin to burn one of these men. They tied him to a stake and
kept touching him with fire-brands, red-hot irons, etc., and he screaming in the
most doleful manner. The Indians, in the meantime, were yelling like infrnal
spirits. As this scene was too shocking for me to behold, I returned to my
lodgings, both sorry and sore."

Aftermath events:

--Washington wrote to his mother on July 18. In part, the letter read:
Honored Madam:
As I doubt not but you have heard of our defeat, and perhaps
had it represented in a worse light, if possible than it deserves, I have taken
this earliest opportunity to give you some account of the engagement as it
happened......The Virginia troops showed a good deal of bravery and were nearly
all killed; for I believe out of three companies that were there, scarcely
thirty men are left alive. Captain Peyrouny and all his officers down to a
corporal were killed.

Captain Polson had nearly as hard a fate, for only one
of his was left. In short, the dastardly behavior of those they call regulars
exposed all others that were inclined to do their duty to almost certain death;
and, at last, in spite of all the efforts of the officers to the contrary, they
ran as sheep pursued by dogs and it was impossible to rally them.

The General was wounded, of which he died three days after. Sir Peter Halkett was
killed in the field, where died many other brave officers. I luckily escaped
without a wound, though I had four bullets through my coat and two horses shot
under me. Captains Orme and Morris, two of the aids-de-camp, were wounded early
in the engagement, which rendered the duty harder upon me as I was the only
person then left to distribute the General's orders, which I was scarcely able
to do as I was not half recovered from a violent illenss that had confined me to
my bed and a wagon for above ten days. I am still in a weak and feeble
condition, which induces me to halt here two or three days in the hope of
recovering a little strength to enable me to proceed homewards; from whence, I fear, I shall not be able to stir till toward September...
--One famous Indian warrior who was a leader in the attack was often heard to testify, "Washington was never born to be killed by a bullet. I had seventeen fair fires at him with my rifle, and after all could not bring him to the ground."

--Mary Draper Ingels, kidnapped from her home on July 8, 1755, by a band of Shawnee Indians, relates the incident in her biography after a midwinter escape from her captors. She recounts that one day during her captivity the French were talking excitedly to each other. Mary listened to their conversation when she heard George Washington's name. Having personally met Washington, she was curious and inquired about the conversation. She learned the account of Indian Chief Red Hawk who had been in the victory at Duquesne. Red Hawk told of shooting eleven different times at Washington without killing him. He knew there was a Great Spirit protecting him at that point because his gun had never before missed its mark. Out of respect for the Spirit's wishes, he ceased firing at him. When she heard the story about the battle and its grizzly outcome, she doubted the account because surely the mighty British could not have been so completely crushed. After her return to cilization she told what she had heard and was assured that the account was indeed accurate.

--Fifteen years after the battle, Washington and a good friend were exploring uninhabited regions near what is now Ohio and West Virginia. A company of Indians, led by an old chief approached them. They had heard Washington was coming to that part of the country, and so he set out on a long journey to find him. It was important to him to relate:

I am chief and ruler over my tribes. My influence extends to the waters of the
great lakes and to the far blue mountains. I have traveled a long and weary path
that I might see the young warrior of the great battle. It was on the day when
the white man's blood mixed with the streams of our forest that I first beheld
this chief. (Washington) I called to my youhg men and said, 'mark you tall and
daring warrior? He is not of the red-coat tribe--he hath an Indian's wisdom, and
his warriors fight as we do -- himself is alone exposed. Quick, let your aim be
certain, and he dies.' Our rifles were leveled, rifles which, but for you, knew
not how to miss--'twas all in vain; a power mightier far than we shielded you.
Seeing you were under the special guardianship of the Great Spirit, we
immediately ceased to fire at you. I am old and soon shall be gathered to the
great council fire of my fathers in the land of shades, but ere I go, there is
something bids me speak in the voice of prophecy. Listen. The Great Spirit
protects that man, (Washington) and guides his destinies--he will become the
chief of nations, and a people yet unborn will hail him as the founder of a
mighty empire. I am come to pay homage to the man who is the particular favorite
of Heaven and who can never die in battle.

--Eighty years after the battle at Monongahela, a gold seal of Washington, containing his initials, was found on the battlefield. It had been shot off him by a bullet. That gold seal is now in the possession of his family.

*Trinkets: "blankets, kettles, steel axes, knives, and perhaps guns - goods American Indians valued highly and would go to great lengths to obtain..."

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