5 things America got right

“I know my own principles to be pure and therefore am not ashamed of them. On the contrary, I wish them known and therefore willingly express them to everyone. They are the same I have acted on from the year 1775 to this day, and are the same, I am sure, with those of the great body of the American people.”

Thomas Jefferson in a letter to Samuel Smith, 1798

1. Separation of powers

The regular distribution of power into distinct departments; the introduction of legislative balances and checks; the institution of courts composed of judges holding their offices during good behavior; the representation of the people in the legislature by deputies of their own election… They are means, and powerful means, by which the excellences of republican government may be retained and its imperfections lessened or avoided.

Alexander Hamilton

2. Dual form of government

Seldom today do we hear mentioned one of the most unique aspects of our Constitution—our dual form of government—the state and the nation. This refers to the national-federal structure of our Constitution. There is not a country today on the face of the globe that embodies this Christian principle of government—and we ourselves have allowed it to deteriorate.

Slater, R. J., & Hall, V. M. (1975). Teaching and learning America’s Christian history (American Revolution Bicentennial ed.) (242). San Francisco: Foundation for American Christian Education.

3. Negative rights Wikipedia

The Constitution is not an instrument for the government to restrain the people, it is an instrument for the people to restrain the government – lest it come to dominate our lives and interests.
— Patrick Henry

4. Religious liberty

It cannot be emphasized too clearly and too often that this nation was founded, not by religionists, but by Christians; not on religion, but on the gospel of Jesus Christ. For this very reason, peoples of other faiths have been afforded asylum, prosperity, and freedom of worship here.

Patrick Henry

5. Representative Republic

Modern times have discovered the only device by which the equal rights of man can be secured to wit: government by the people, acting not in person, But by representatives chosen by themselves…

Thomas Jefferson

A representative government, responsible at short intervals of election, produces the greatest sum of happiness to mankind.

Thomas Jefferson

We are history

History to many people seems like a dusty book that you bring out and teach your kids when you have to meet state requirements or because you “have to.” History is not that at all. It is not a stale timeline or disjointed facts from long ago. It’s alive and it’s happening all around you right now.

girlonpath3547128317_04b011457fHistory, or His Story, is going on every second the clock is ticking. Yesterday is history, is it not? History is a record of all that has happened since God created time. But it really has always been because God’s story has always been. So we focus on man’s history but really it’s God’s story.

Why do I say we are history? Because we are in time, we are God’s story, we help further His story. One day my family, if no one else, will look back on what I’ve done and hopefully they will see that I furthered His Story in some way. I want them to be able to say that I had some hand in God’s plan for mankind, that I made a difference–even in only one life.

I know God is the only one that can truly know what impact my life has had here, and I look forward to those words, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant.” But I think there should be a trail behind me for others to follow. My history, intertwined with God’s, can lead others to the Truth long after I am gone.

Why all the American history?

In the younger grades I emphasize American His Story for several reasons:

American Revolution - History of the American Flag, Betsy Ross showing the United States flag to George Washington and others

  •  We strive the think governmentally. Even young children can understand the principles inherent to America’s founding. We can discuss cause to effect, internal to external and expand the principles as they grow. These principles apply to many things, but they are expressed in our form of government, so we can look there.
  • Symbols of America are in all of society. We are surrounded with flags, portraits on money, sayings, holidays and more that lend themselves to curiosity and teachable moments.
  • To restore America’s Christian history.
  • Children enjoy learning about their country. They want to know all about it; the geography, the founding, the Pilgrims and Presidents. We are all naturally curious to know about where we live.
  • It is easy to find good literature related to American history.
  • It can be easier for young children to relate to than ancient history.
  • Because we are Americans. No matter what our family’s heritage, we are Americans and should know our own heritage. This seems to cause a problem for a lot of people. If they were to hear about French or Peruvian children studying their histories they would encourage that. But somehow if we want to learn about our own country’s Christian His Story, something is wrong.
  • They can trace God’s Providence readily, so it can be applied to other areas of their lives. They can follow it straight to themselves and see that they fit into God’s plan for His Kingdom, America and the world.

To make myself clear, we follow the Chain of Christianity each year, so we do talk about all time periods from Creation to today, I simply choose to spend a little more time on American His Story in the younger grades.

When they are older we discuss the Greeks, Romans and other ancient history in depth when they are able to reason as we are thinking governmentally. I look forward to those days. I just hope I can keep up! lol

PA does talk about more than just American history

In T&L, Rosalie Slater discusses every link on the chain of Christianity (beginning on p. 158) and she goes into detail about civilizations all along the Chain of Christianity. The CoC demonstrates God’s Providential history through the lives of men on Earth’s stage. That means as you plan your studies each year you find things along that Chain to highlight. My kids learn something from every era, in different cultures and countries, in history every year. Yes, we appreciate and study the Pilgrims and Founding Fathers, but we also view the whole of history as “Christ, His Story,” which began long before the idea of America was ever planted by God in the hearts of His children.

And you can’t talk about America without discussing what’s going on outside our borders. Every country in the world has touched our shores. Immigrants came here for a better life and we have to recognize their contributions as well. And life doesn’t happen in a vacuum. You must discuss what’s happening at a certain time in history all over the world to get a complete picture. Look at different cultures along with your history studies. No need to feel isolationist. It’s not exclusively American history. It’s America’s Christian History. And we must again make ourselves aware of the sacrifices made and the reason for America being here in the first place. We must emphasize it because our parents and grandparents have fallen asleep and our true history has been taken away from us. It is with humility and a contrite heart that we ask God’s forgiveness for our ignorance and that we take up the cause to restore America’s true heritage. How do we know our full purpose if we don’t know where we came from? You don’t have to be born here to claim it. Being American is in your heart, not in your bloodline.

Some people struggle with the idea of American Christian history. What about other countries? That seems arrogant or slighting to other countries. I have to say I don’t see it that way at all. God set this nation here for a purpose, to be an example of the fullest expression of a nation founded on Biblical Principles. We are here to be a beacon to to the nations, to shine God’s light and take His principles to a dark world. I don’t see anything to get offended about. Take this example to the world. Show them that Hid Word really is true, that His principles work because you have seen them at work here. Tell them about Providence and how He used geography to keep a nation until it’s proper time. Tell them how God is using you, the 10th link on the Chain of Christianity, to further the Gospel and if there were no America you would not be here to tell them the Good News.And it’s your curriculum. Do what you like and what you think God is telling you to do. Focus any country any time. It’s the Principles that are important.

The more my children see God’s Providence in the whole of history, from creation to them as individuals, the more faith they will have that God is also performing His Providential care over them. He isn’t just a God of the Bible or a God of antiquity. He moves through the lives of fallible men and women throughout time to further the Gospel and He will use them too. In my opinion it doesn’t get any more missions-minded and world-focused than that. Glory be to God!

Some thoughts on the Red Books

I was doing my Rudiments class last night and found some WONDERFUL (shock!) information in T&L. Those of you who have been around for a while know all about this, I’m sure, but I’ll share anyway.

  1. She has listed in there the seven principles (starting on p. 111) and shows how to expand them through the grades. I know this book is about teaching ACH but it was so neat to see it in such detail. The first link, Individuality, (p. 113) detailed even the links in the chain of Christianity so you can highlight that Principle throughout the year in each link. And she broke it down to primary, elementary, jr. and sr. high, so you can just go by her detailed list. I’m sure that must be where Mr. Rose got his chart on the same topic. It’s so great to have this for planning lessons.
  2. She also gives the keys to expanding the principles (beginning on p. 137), which gives even more help. I loved her discussion about geography (p.142-157) in the key to God’s Principle of Individuality. It was so insightful. I know it will help tremendously in my preparation.
    I saw so many things last night that I recognized from the NP lessons. It just strengthened my courage to do my own lessons. If they can get their ideas from the Red Books, so can I. I am thankful they showed me how to do that.
  3. Her discussion on “How Can the Same Principle be Taught in Every Grade?” (p. 108-110) is also insightful.
  4. This is the way I come to learn things with PA. I keep looking and looking and reading and reading and eventually it starts to make sense. The Holy Spirit helps me apply what I’m learning to what I’m doing. So I get a lot of “revelation” and “aha!” moments just flipping pages and seeing things I never knew were there.

I am enjoying my Rudiments course so much. I will update the next part of Lesson one soon.