Plymouth Rock and Stepping Stones

Landing-BaconPlymouth Rock and Stepping Stones – By Daniel W. Sheridan (Twitter: @DanielWSheridan)

On This Day, December 21, 1620, the Mayflower Pilgrims land at Plymouth Rock.

Jamestown was settled in 1607, the Colonists declared independence in 1776. That means the Colonial period lasted 169 years. If we take into account the previous unsuccessful settlement attempts we can say the Colonial period lasted around 200 years.

From 1776 till now (2017), 241 years have rolled by. That means the period of time from the Declaration of Independence to today, where you and I now sit reading this, is only around 41 years longer than the Colonial times. Ponder that for a minute.

This is extremely important. The Colonial period covered about eight or nine generations and their experiences shaped the future of the nation. The colonists were small bands of people on isolated settlements near the Atlantic; slowly they increased in number and, with a Bible in one hand and an axe in another, made their way further inland. They brought their English Heritage to America and molded it to conform to their new circumstances.

The Pilgrims, including men like John Carver and William Bradford, arrived on the Mayflower in 1620. Before Bradford and his brethren went ashore they met in the cabin of the ship to draw up their governing document, it was a compact called the Mayflower Compact. It’s short and concise:

“In the name of God, Amen. We, whose names are underwritten, the loyal subjects of our Mayflower Compactdread Sovereigne Lord, King James, by the grace of God, of Great Britaine, France and Ireland king, defender of the faith, etc. having undertaken, for the glory of God, and advancement of the Christian faith, and honour of our king and country, a voyage to plant the first colony in the Northerne parts of Virginia, doe by these presents solemnly and mutually in the presence of God and one of another, covenant and combine ourselves together into a civill body politick, for our better ordering and preservation, and furtherance of the ends aforesaid; and by virtue hereof to enacte, constitute, and frame such just and equall laws, ordinances, acts, constitutions and offices, from time to time, as shall be thought most meete and convenient for the generall good of the Colonie unto which we promise all due submission and obedience. In witness whereof we have hereunder subscribed our names at Cape-Codd the 11. of November, in the year of the raigne of our sovereigne lord, King James, of England, France and Ireland, the eighteenth, and of Scotland the fiftie-fourth. In the year of our Lord. 1620.”

John Carver was chosen as governor. More than half the colony died that first winter, including Governor Carver! William Bradford was chosen as his replacement and served in that position every year for the rest of his life except for five, and that’s because he declined those years. Bradford governed wisely and saw the colony slowly grow from a handful in 1620 to about 3,000 in 1640. He wrote an account of the Plymouth Settlement, one of the first American History books ever written, called “Of Plymouth Plantation. Here’s what he said:

“…a great hope and inward zeal they had of laying some good foundation, or at least to make some way thereunto, for the propagating and advancing the gospel of the kingdom of Christ in those remote parts of the world–yea, though they should be but even stepping stones unto others for the performing of so great a work.”

This gives us some insight into their motivations, especially Governor Bradford. The Colonists were concerned about the future. Believing they were merely stepping stones for their children and grandchildren, they not only lived their lives for themselves, but in view of generations to come. Bradford’s history book is an example of this kind of thinking. He wanted us to know what they did hoping we’d learn from them and improve their work. This attitude gave the Colonists the courage to endure the sufferings of the new world; it was through generational family love they withstood those early days of death and disease.

The colonists were preparing the way for us, their posterity, creating institutions and ways of doing things that are still with us today. We don’t agree with everything they did or said, but we are thankful for their labors.

The history of America is how we got from Jamestown and Plymouth to where you and I sit right now.

Are we planning for the future of our children? Are we willing to be stepping stones to future generation?

***Below is a page from the Geneva Bible, the version the Pilgrims used.

Geneva OT

Noah Webster Teaches America’s Youth about an Un-American Vice…

Blue Back SpellerNoah Webster Teaches America’s Youth about an Un-American Vice: Avarice

In 1824 Noah Webster published a school-book, the “Blue Back Speller,” designed to teach kids American English. The book concludes with lessons on virtues and vices. For instance, “avarice” is considered an un-American vice. Read this very carefully. Is it still considered a vice today? Or has avarice become something we look for in our leaders and something we emulate? Have our morals changed? What would modern Americans call Noah Webster if he published the following message about avarice today? Have we become “Un-American” Americans? Here’s what American children learned about avarice:


Q. What is avarice?
A. An excessive desire of possessing wealth.

Q. Is this commendable?
A. It is not; but one of the meanest vices.

Q. Can an avaricious man be an honest man?
A. It is hardly possible; for the lust of gain is almost always accompanied with a disposition to take mean and undue advantages of others.

Q. What effect has avarice upon the heart?
A. It contracts the heart – narrows the sphere of benevolence – blunts all the fine feelings of sensibility, and sours the mind towards society. An avaricious man, a miser…is wrapped up in selfishness, like some worms, which crawl about and eat for some time to fill themselves…

Q. What injury is done by avarice to society?
A. Avarice gathers together more property than the owner wants, and keeps it hoarded up, where it does no good. The poor are thus deprived of some business, some means of support; the property gains nothing to the community; and somebody is less happy by means of this hoarding of wealth.

Q. In what proportion does avarice do hurt?
A. In an exact proportion to its power of doing good. The miser’s heart grows less, in proportion as his estate grows larger. The more money he has, the more he has people in his power, and the more he grinds the face of the poor. The larger the tree and the more spreading the branches, the more small plants are shaded and robbed of their nourishment.

Poor Richard’s Almanac

Poor Richard’s Almanac – By Daniel W. Sheridan (Twitter: @DanielWSheridan)
800px-Oliver_Pelton_-_Benjamin_Franklin_-_Poor_Richard's_Almanac_IllustratedOn this day, December 19, 1732, Benjamin Franklin began publishing a magazine called Poor Richard’s Almanac. This was a delightful magazine filled with wise and witty sayings which made Franklin an international celebrity. The title page read:
“By Richard Saunders, Philomat. Printed and sold by B. Franklin.”
Here are a few samples of his proverbial sayings:
“Sloth, like rust, consumes faster than labor wears…”
“Lost time is never found again; and what we call time enough always proves little enough.”
“A life of leisure and a life of laziness are two things.”
“What maintains one vice would bring up two children.”
“Experience keeps a dear school, but fools will learn in no other.”
Franklin made good money off this magazine, which he invested wisely and honestly. Franklin believed that those who were fortunate enough to get to a place in their life where they didn’t have to work to make a living were duty bound to devote a good portion of their time to make life better for mankind, a principle which he lived.
Imagine if Doctor Franklin after having made his fortune by the age of 42 had gone on a permanent vacation. We would Franklin Meme Live Usefullyprobably have never heard of him, and there probably wouldn’t have been an America! Imagine what our lives would be like today if Franklin lived out the rest of his days for his own pleasure.
Can you see into the future? Look at your life now and ask this question: How will future generations benefit from me?
Let this be our motto:
“So the years roll round, and the last will come; when I would rather have it said He lived usefully, than He died rich.”
May we have more Franklin’s today.

Thanksgiving In December?

Washington's Order for a Day of Thanksgiving after SaratogaAfter America’s victory at Saratoga in October of 1777, the Continental Congress suggested we observe a day of thanksgiving. General Washington gave the order setting aside Thursday, December 18, 1777, as a day for Americans to give “Solemn Thanksgiving and Praise” to God.

The Story of Thanksgiving – By Daniel W. Sheridan (Twitter: @DanielWSheridan)

Thanksgiving and the Fourth of July are my two favorite holidays because they are about people – families, neighbors, our fellow-countrymen, and the human race at large. You don’t have to worry about shopping for presents at busy malls on these two awesome holidays.

—Why We Celebrate It In November Today

According to Abraham Lincoln Online, “Sarah Josepha Hale, a 74-year-old magazine editor, wrote a letter to Lincoln on September 28, 1863, urging him to have the ‘day of our annual Thanksgiving made a National and fixed Union Festival.’ She explained, ‘You may have observed that, for some years past, there has been an increasing interest felt in our land to have the Thanksgiving held on the same day, in all the States; it now needs National recognition and authoritive fixation, only, to become permanently, an American custom and institution…Prior to this, each state scheduled its own Thanksgiving holiday at different times…President Lincoln responded to Mrs. Hale’s request immediately…”

The Proclamation made Thanksgiving a yearly national holiday celebrated on the last Thursday of November. It encourages us to be grateful for our many benefits and prays for peace, harmony, and tranquility among the American people. This is a message we dearly need today.

Washington, D.C.
October 3, 1863

By the President of the United States of America.

A Proclamation.

The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful abraham_lincolnfields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God. In the midst of a civil war of unequalled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theatre of military conflict; while that theatre has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union. Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defence, have not arrested the plough, the shuttle or the ship; the axe has enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege and the battle-field; and the country, rejoicing in the consciousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom. No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy. It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American People. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity and Union.

In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Seal of the United States to be affixed.

Done at the City of Washington, this Third day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the Independence of the United States the Eighty-eighth.

By the President: Abraham Lincoln
William H. Seward,
Secretary of State

—A Short History of Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving celebrations didn’t originate with the American colonists, they have a long history. Among the ancient Hebrews the Feast of Tabernacles was an occasion to be thankful for the harvest. In 1346 England, during the hundred year’s war, under Edward the Third, a national thanksgiving was celebrated after the battle of Cressy. Henry the 5th celebrated one soon after that.

Like many of our customs, Thanksgiving celebrations were carried over from Europe and adapted to new circumstances. The Puritans, on December 11, 1621, grateful for a good harvest, celebrated the first thanksgiving on American shores. In 1630 they held another one to celebrate the safe arrival of Governor Winthrop, then again the following year because they received fresh provisions. Thanksgivings were spontaneous among the Colonists, having no annual set dates, being celebrated on specific occasions as a response to some sort of blessing or success.

It was on October 3, 1789, that President George Washington issued the first “Thanksgiving” proclamation under our current Constitution. Part of it reads as follows:

“Whereas it is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to Washington Thanksgiving October 3obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favor– and whereas both Houses of Congress have by their joint Committee requested me to recommend to the People of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness.”

Washington was calling for a day of thanksgiving as America was embarking on a new experiment in a hostile world. Recognizing the historical significance of the event, Washington especially wanted the American people to be thankful for the FORM of Government which is designed to promote our safety and happiness.

Why is the form of Government under which we live so important that Washington would single it out as a special object of thanksgiving? Do you know what makes our form of Government so special?

Why is the form of Government under which we live so important that Washington would single it out as a special object of thanksgiving? Do you know what makes our form of Government so special? Learn about it here in this extremely important, yet short and fun video:

Cable Across The Pacific

On this day, December 14, 1902, work begins one what would become one of the greatest accomplishments in the history of commercial and industrial America. Here’s the story:

Cable Across The Pacific – By Daniel W. Sheridan (Twitter:@DanielWSheridan)

The laying of the Commercial Pacific Cable was one of the greatest accomplishments of the commercial and industrial history of America: crossing the Atlantic with a telegraphic cable.

The Silverton_Pacific CableOn this day, December 14, 1902, the cable ship Silvertown, of the India Rubber Gutta-percha and Telegraph Company, sailed from San Francisco on a mission to lay telegraphic cable across the Pacific.

They laid 17 nautical miles on the 15th, they were up to 259 on the 16th, increasing their output to average about 200 miles of laid cable per day. These brave men worked through the holiday having laid a total of 2,109 nautical miles by the end of Christmas day. After two weeks of intense labor they made were close to Honolulu having laid 2,277 miles of cable. Check out this graph:


From that beautiful island paradise, on January 1, 1903, they sent a successful test message. A few days later the system was up and running and available to the public. Later that summer cables were extended from Honolulu to Midway, from Midway to Guam, and finally from Guam to Manila.

Silverton Cable DeckA contemporary writer wrote praised the work saying it “speaks volumes for the energy and resources of the Commercial Pacific Cable Company. And it is particularly gratifying that this great enterprise has been achieved by private capital and without aid from the Government.”

On July 4 of 1903 President Roosevelt sent the first message from Long Island, New York, to Governor Taft at Manila. It read,

“I open the American Pacific cable with greetings to you and the people of the Philippines.”

Taft Responded congratulated the President saying the cable “will certainly lead to closer union and a better mutual understanding of each other’s aim and sympathies and of their common interest in the prosperity of the Philippines and the education and development of the Filipinos.”

Harnessing The Forces Of Nature Of Meet Human Needs

Mankind Should Be Our Business! Scrooge was right! I think Tesla would agree!
Nikola Tesla: Harnessing The Forces Of Nature Of Meet Human Needs– By Daniel W. Sheridan nikola_tesla(Twitter:@DanielWSheridan)
Nikola Tesla was an immigrant who brought to America inventions which changed the world. People like Thomas Edison resented Tesla’s ideas; Marconi capitalized on his inventions; Westinghouse created his electric company with Tesla’s patents; JP Morgan first supported and then later abandoned Tesla.
On this day, December 13, 1892, Patent #487,796, describing a SYSTEM OF ELECTRICAL TRANSMISSION OF POWER, is issued to Tesla.
Tesla Patent“Be it known that I, NIKOLA TESLA…have invented certain new and useful Improvements in Systems for Electrical Transmission of Power…wherein are employed motors having two or more independent energizing-circuits, through which are passed alternating currents differing in phase that are produced by a magneto-electric machine having independent induced circuits, or that are obtained from any other suitable source or by any other suitable means.”
Tesla was an inventive genius. One time he captured the power of Niagara Falls with his automated current system making it possible to provide electricity to the world. Tesla also patented the technology for wireless communications which made radio and TV broadcasting possible.
Here’s the great irony: Tesla’s inventions helped build America and billion dollar corporations, yet Tesla himself didn’t die rich. Tesla did make money from his inventions; however, he wasn’t business savvy, having little interested in that aspect of things. Tesla’s real passion was coming up with a way to provide the world with an unlimited supply of energy – “to harness the forces of nature to meet human needs.” Tesla’s primary interest was improving the lot of humanity, not getting rich. He said,
“Money does not mean to me what it does to others. All my money has been invested in inventions to make man’s life a little easier.”
Some, unfortunately, who were more interested in the money aspect, seemed to have taken advantage of Tesla’s philanthropic spirit.
One of Tesla’s shining moments was at Chicago’s Great Fair in 1893, a celebration of the year Columbus discovered the Americas (a year late, I might add). The fair was to be the first lighted by electricity, and Tesla, who was with Westinghouse at the time, won the contract to light the event (Edison, having lost the bid, engaged in some unsportsmanlike like conduct after this loss, but that’s a part of the story for another time – the show went on successfully in spite of Edison). In May of 1893, 100,000 people converged on the fairgrounds to witness mankind’s latest inventions. The night began to fall as the people anxiously awaited the lighting spectacular. Then President Cleveland, at the appointed time, pressed a button, and to the thrill of the spectators tube lighting and search lights magically lit up the fair and the night sky. This was the greatest display of lighting the world had ever seen!
Tesla made history in Chicago. His generators provided the electricity for the fair thus proving, to the chagrin of his detractors, that AC could provide power on a large scale.
Get to know Tesla. Look up Tesla’s Egg of Columbus.