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The Bergen County Historical Society Remembers Pamphleteer Thomas Paine

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the staff of the Ridgewood blog
River Edge NJ ,“These are the times that try men’s souls.” This simple quotation from Founding Father Thomas Paine’s The American Crisis not only describes the beginnings of the American Revolution, but also the life of Paine himself. Throughout most of his life, his writings inspired passion, but also brought him great criticism. He communicated the ideas of the Revolution to common farmers as easily as to intellectuals, creating prose that stirred the hearts of the fledgling United States.
From the Bergen County Historical Society at Historic New Bridge Landing a posting for remembering pamphleteer Thomas Paine’s birthday, (Jan 29, 1737-June 8, 1809), he thought it was important to describe in detail events in Bergen County Nov 20, 1776 to rally the troops and citizens in “The American Crisis”:

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What the Founders Did About Slavery

Stock Photo of the Consitution of the United States and Feather Quill

Kyle Murnen
Director of Online Learning
Hillsdale College

Ridgewood NJ, the Left has been busy convincing Americans that our Founding Fathers did not believe in the principle of equality set forth in the Declaration of Independence.

Continue reading What the Founders Did About Slavery

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The History of the Fourth of July, also known as Independence Day


the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood NJ, the Fourth of July, also known as Independence Day or July 4th, has been a federal holiday in the United States since 1941, but the tradition of Independence Day celebrations goes back to the 18th century and the American Revolution. On July 2nd, 1776, the Continental Congress voted in favor of independence, and two days later delegates from the 13 colonies adopted the Declaration of Independence, a historic document drafted by Thomas Jefferson. From 1776 to the present day, July 4th has been celebrated as the birth of American independence, with festivities ranging from fireworks, parades and concerts to more casual family gatherings and barbecues. The Fourth of July 2021 is on Sunday, July 4, 2021; the federal holiday will be observed on Monday, July 5, 2021.

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Happy Independence Day : What Would the Founding Fathers Say?


the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood NJ, most Americans consider the Fourth of July one of our nation’s most important holidays, and recognize it celebrates signing of the Declaration of Independence. Far fewer, however, think the Founding Fathers would be happy with the current condition of the country they created.

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Happy Constitution Day!

Stock Photo of the Consitution of the United States and Feather Quill

On this day in 1787, the United States Constitution was signed by 39 delegates in Philadelphia as it was sent on its way to the thirteen states for ratification. After rigorous debate in the states, this incredible document was ratified, officially creating a government that was based on the rule of law, not the rule of man. Today we celebrate this important moment in American history as a day when the revolutionary ideas of liberty and freedom, and a government by the people, overcame tyranny and oppression. Today we celebrate the Constitution.

Happy Constitution Day!

Rep. Scott Garrett

7 Things You May Not Know About the Constitutional Convention

SEPTEMBER 17, 2012 By Christopher Klein

For four months during the summer of 1787, the Constitutional Convention met “in order to form a more perfect union.” With the country’s legal framework finally drafted, the framers of the Constitution signed the document on September 17, 1787, before sending it to the states for ratification. Explore seven surprising facts about the delegates to the Constitutional Convention and their work in Philadelphia.

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Congressmen Scott Garrett : That is what July 4th means to me


Every Fourth of July our country comes together to celebrate the signing of the Declaration that would enshrine the principles of what it means to live as free people. But the signing of the Declaration of Independence was not the end of the pursuit for freedom and liberty—it was just the start.

The Revolutionary War was a long, bloody affair that endangered the property, family, and very lives of the Patriots who knew that they had no choice but to fight to defend their rights. And the subsequent years after the American Revolution were filled with many questions for this new fledgling country. It would be 11 years after July 4, 1776 until the United States Constitution was finally adopted to guarantee the rights of all Americans.

The lesson of Independence Day is that freedom is not something you declare one time and hope for the best. It’s a commitment we must, as Americans, fight for just as diligently in 2016 as the revolutionaries in 1776.

Freedom is fought for by the brave members of our armed forces who put their lives on the line to defend us. It’s fought for by our first responders who risk everything to serve their communities right here at home. And it’s fought for by everyone who is proud to live in a country that fights to end tyranny and oppression both here and abroad.

Herein lies the beauty of America. Few of us can trace our heritage in this country back to the colonial days, yet we continue to celebrate the achievements of early America. That’s because the Founders’ cries for freedom and liberty have been adopted by everyone who has made this country their home. This is the American Dream.

Our dream is about more than a place on a map or any specific of group of people. Our dream is a promise that the government is beholden to the people, and it’s a promise that every person is born free and deserves to pursue their own happiness.

That is what July 4th means to me.

Congressmen Scott Garrett

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Kurt Russell to ‘The View’: Founding Fathers Had ‘Very Strong Reason’ for Second Amendment

Kurt Russell

by PAM KEY18 Dec 20151,629

Friday on ABC’s “The View,” actor Kurt Russell explained his view on the reasoning for the Second Amendment, saying in part it was established by the Founding Fathers for certain protections of its people.

Russell said, “In reality, when we’re dealing with things like, terrorism, whatnot, we’re all going to have different opinions on how to do it. How to deal with it. Mine happens to be that, I think there’s a very strong reason the Founding Fathers had for the Second Amendment. And that is that no government ever hasn’t had to fight its own people, and its own people hasn’t had to fight its own government. We had our civil war. If that Second Amendment hadn’t have been there, those people wouldn’t have had the opportunity to do what they considered defending their life, their way, their style of living. So I agree with that. I think that’s an important part of our existence. It’s basically that simple.”

Co-host Joy Behar said, “I think people more object to the excesses of the Second Amendment. Not the Second Amendment. It’s the boom, boom, boom, boom, boom guns.

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The Founders’ Model of Welfare Actually Reduced Poverty


Thomas West / May 30, 2015

Writing the Declaration of Independence, 1776 by jean Leon Gerome Ferris, 1863-1930. (Photo: World History Archive/Newscom)


Thomas West

Thomas G. West is Paul Ermine Potter and Dawn Tibbetts Potter professor of politics at Hillsdale College.

Which approach to welfare policy is better for the poor: that of the Founders or that of today’s welfare state?

The more we spend on the poor, the harder it seems for them to attain decent, productive lives in loving families. The federal government has spent $22 trillion on anti-poverty programs since the beginning of the War on Poverty in 1965, but the poverty rate is nearly the same today as in 1969, fluctuating between roughly 11 and 15 percent over that time period.

As I argue in a new essay on “Poverty and Welfare in the American Founding,” these results are bound to continue unless we rethink welfare policy from the perspective of our Founders. Neither the contemporary left nor right in America properly understands their approach.

The left often claims the Founders were indifferent to the poor—suggesting that New Deal America ended callousness and indifference. Indeed, high school and college textbooks frequently espouse this narrative. Many on the right think the Founders advocated only for charitable donations as the means of poverty relief.

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Neither is correct. America always has had laws providing for the poor. The real difference between the Founders’ welfare policies and today’s is over how, not whether, government should help those in need.

The Founders

Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin believed government has an obligation to help the poor. Both thought welfare policies should support children, the disabled, widows and others who could not work. But any aid policy, they insisted, would include work-requirements for the able-bodied.

Rather than making welfare a generational inheritance, Franklin thought it should assist the poor in overcoming poverty as expediently as possible: “I am for doing good to the poor.…I think the best way of doing good to the poor, is not making them easy in poverty, but leading or driving them out of it.”

Moreover, local, rather than federal, officials administered this welfare, since they were more likely to know the particular needs of recipients and could distinguish between the deserving poor (the disabled and involuntarily unemployed) and the undeserving poor (those capable of work but preferring not to).

The Founders sought to provide aid in a way that would help the deserving poor but minimize incentives for recipients to act irresponsibly. They wanted to protect the rights of taxpayers by preventing corruption and abuses in welfare aid.

Above all, the Founders saw the family and life-long marriage as the primary means of support for everyone, rich and poor alike.

Modern Welfare

By the mid-20th century, intellectual opinion began to peel away the stigma attached to the behavioral aspects of poverty, and progressive politicians increased the benefits and number of welfare recipients.

During the New Deal, despite major expansions of welfare programs, the Founders’ approach remained intact at least to this extent: These programs still distinguished between the deserving and undeserving poor—a distinction based on moral conduct.

Until the mid-1960s, free markets, secure property rights, strong family policy and minimal taxation and regulation supported a culture of work and entrepreneurship. But through the rise of modern liberalism’s redefinition of rights and justice, welfare was officially reconceived as a right that could be demanded by anyone in need, regardless of conduct or circumstances.

Among the most destructive features of the post-1965 welfare regime has been its unintentional dismantling of the family. By making welfare wages higher than working wages, the government essentially replaced fathers with a government check. The state became many families’ primary provider.

Even more perverse, for many single mothers, marrying a working man may actually be a financial burden rather than a support because the marriage can diminish government benefits.

Though modern welfare programs grant more benefits to a greater number of individuals than the Founders ever fathomed, the Founders’ approach to welfare policy was effective in providing for the minimal needs of the poor and dramatically reducing poverty over time. Based on today’s living standards, the poverty rate fell from something like 90 percent in the Founding era to 12 percent by 1969.

If the goal of welfare is to provide for those in need while respecting the rights of all, Americans would do well to ponder the Founders’ outlook on welfare as a limited system, concerned with helping the poor who truly are in need and encouraging those who are able to work to leave their poverty behind as soon as possible.

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One of the myths surrounding the Declaration of Independence involves the signing


One of the myths surrounding the Declaration of Independence involves the signing

The Signing

One of the myths surrounding the Declaration of Independence involves the signing. It was not signed on July 4th by anyone except John Hancock, the president of the Second Continental Congress, and Charles Thomson, the secretary to congress. They signed the working copy which was then sent to the printer, John Dunlap.

The rest of the Signers did not have the opportunity to add their names until August when the engrossed copy was ready. The Committee of Five hired Timothy Matlack, a Philadelphian who was well known for his excellent penmanship, to hand write the Declaration. On August 2, 1776 it was ready.

One tradition which is correct was the John Hancock stepped forward to be the first to sign it. Another tradition has it that afterwards Hancock explained the reason for the size of his signature saying, “so that fat King George can read it without his glasses.” The remaining members of congress took turns signing by geographical order beginning with New England and working south to Georgia. Having finally received orders, even the members from New York were able to sign though their state had abstained from the vote on independence. A few men were absent from congress during the signing and so had to add their names at a later date. Some of those could not find room to sign with the others from their state. A few who voted for independence never had the opportunity to sign while others who were not present for the vote requested and received permission to affix their signatures.

One thing that is not a myth is that these men were committing treason, a crime punishable by death. 

The following is a list of the signers in the order that they added their names. How many are you familiar with? How many people are willing to take the time to learn about them?

The 56 signatures on the Declaration appear in the positions indicated:

Column 1

Georgia: Button Gwinnett, Lyman Hall, George Walton 

Column 2

North Carolina: William Hooper, Joseph Hewes, John Penn
South Carolina: Edward Rutledge, Thomas Heyward, Jr., Thomas Lynch, Jr., Arthur Middleton

Column 3

Massachusetts: John Hancock
Maryland: Samuel Chase, William Paca, Thomas Stone, Charles Carroll of Carrollton
Virginia: George Wythe, Richard Henry Lee, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Harrison, Thomas Nelson, Jr., Francis Lightfoot Lee, Carter Braxton

Column 4

Pennsylvania: Robert Morris, Benjamin Rush, Benjamin Franklin, John Morton, George Clymer, James Smith, George Taylor, James Wilson, George Ross
Delaware: Caesar Rodney, George Read, Thomas McKean

Column 5

New York: William Floyd, Philip Livingston, Francis Lewis, Lewis Morris
New Jersey: Richard Stockton, John Witherspoon, Francis Hopkinson, John Hart, Abraham Clark

Column 6

New Hampshire: Josiah Bartlett, William Whipple
Massachusetts: Samuel Adams, John Adams, Robert Treat Paine, Elbridge Gerry
Rhode Island: Stephen Hopkins, William Ellery
Connecticut: Roger Sherman, Samuel Huntington, William Williams, Oliver Wolcott
New Hampshire: Matthew Thornton

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DoD Training Manual: ‘Extremist’ Founding Fathers ‘Would Not Be Welcome In Today’s Military’


DoD Training Manual: ‘Extremist’ Founding Fathers ‘Would Not Be Welcome In Today’s Military’

Manual lists people concerned with “individual liberties, states’ rights, and how to make the world a better place” as potential extremists

Adan Salazar
August 24, 2013

Conservative watchdog group Judicial Watch recently obtained a Department of Defense training manual which lists people who embrace “individual liberties” and honor “states’ rights,” among other characteristics, as potential “extremists” who are likely to be members of “hate groups.”

Marked “for training purposes only,” the documents, obtained Thursday through a Freedom of Information Act request submitted in April, include PowerPoint slides and lesson plans, among which is a January 2013 Air Force “student guide” distributed by the Defense Equal Opportunity Management Institute simply entitled “Extremism.”

Judicial Watch’s FOIA request asked for “Any and all records concerning, regarding, or related to the preparation and presentation of training materials on hate groups or hate crimes distributed or used by the Air Force.”

As the group notes, “The document defines extremists as ‘a person who advocates the use of force or violence; advocates supremacist causes based on race, ethnicity, religion, gender, or national origin; or otherwise engages to illegally deprive individuals or groups of their civil rights.’”

The manual goes on to bar military personnel from “active participation” in such extremist organization activities as “publicly demonstrating,” “rallying,” “fundraising” and “organizing,” basically denying active-duty military from exercising the rights they so ardently fight to defend.

It begins its introduction of a section titled, “Extremist ideologies,” by describing the American colonists who sought independence from British rule as a historical example of extremism.

“In U.S. history, there are many examples of extremist ideologies and movements. The colonists who sought to free themselves from British rule and the Confederate states who sought to secede from the Northern states are just two examples,” according to the training guide.

In a section drawing inspiration from a 1992 book titled “Nazis, Communists, Klansmen, and Others on the Fringe: Political Extremism in America,” the manual also lists “Doomsday thinking” under “traits or behaviors that tend to represent the extremist style.”