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Liberty Tree Graphic
FOR LIBERTY

U.S PRESIDENTIAL INAUGURATION:
A PROCLAMATION TO THE WORLD


William Brahms

NOTES ON SOURCES

 
     

   
 

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  2 - 3  

“…the preservation of the sacred fire of liberty, and the destiny of the Republican model of Government, are justly considered as deeply, perhaps as finally staked, on the experiment entrusted to the hands of the American people.”

From the First Inaugural Address of President George Washington, April 30, 1789

   
 

       
  4 - 5  

“…ordained and established…”

 From the Preamble to the United States Constitution:  “We the People of the United States…do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

   
           
  5  

“…ensured with a love of liberty planted in our hearts...” 

From a speech given by Abraham Lincoln in Edwardsville, Illinois, September 11, 1858:  “Our reliance is in the love of liberty which God has planted in our bosoms.”

   
         
  5 - 7  

“…by our Creator by Whom all men are created equal and all endowed with certain inalienable rights, among which are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness..” 

From the Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776:  “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”  The words “all men are created equal” are among the Declaration’s most famous.

   
           
  7  

“To secure these rights…”

From the Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776:  “That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”

   
           
  7  

“We the People of the United States…” 

From the opening words of the Preamble to the United States Constitution:

  We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
   
         
  7- 8  

“To secure these rights We the People of the United States made an appeal to Heaven in a revolt against the rule of a tyrant...” 

From the Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776:  “We, therefore, the Representatives of  the united States of America, in General Congress Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions…”  From a resolution of the Provincial Congress of Massachusetts, April 26, 1775:  “Nevertheless, to the persecution and tyranny of his cruel ministry we will not tamely submit -- appealing to Heaven for the justice of our cause, we determine to die or be free...”  The phrase “appeal to heaven” was used by John Locke in his Second Treatise of Civil Government.  This inspired the use of the phrase as a slogan by the American revolutionaries who, because they could no longer obtain justice from Great Britain, would appeal not to a king but to heaven and rise in revolt.  During the War of Independence the phrase “AN APPEAL TO HEAVEN” was used as a motto on the flags of Washington’s Cruisers and on the flags of the Massachusetts State Navy.

   
         
  8 -9  

“…by the providence of the Supreme Judge of the World, out of thirteen colonies, out of many peoples, we became one nation, one people…” 

From the Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776:  “We, therefore, the Representatives of  the united States of America, in General Congress Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions…” 

A reference to the belief that by Divine Providence the American colonies became an independent nation and America a nation of immigrants.  From the First Inaugural Address of President George Washington, April 30, 1789:

  No people can be bound to acknowledge and adore the Invisible Hand which conducts the affairs of men more than those of the United States.  Every step by which they have advanced to the character of an independent nation seems to have been distinguished by some token of providential agency…
   
           
  8 -9  

“…out of thirteen colonies…we became one nation…” 

The motto on the obverse of the Great Seal of the United States, E Pluribus Unum, “Out of many, one” refers to the union of states.  In the Journal of the Continental Congress, June 20, 1782, Remarks and Explanation of Charles Thomson,  Secretary, on the Device of a Great Seal, the following is recorded

  The escutcheon is composed of the Chief and pale, the two most honorable ordinaries. The pieces, paly, represent the several States all joined in one solid compact entire, supporting a Chief which unites the whole and represents Congress. The motto alludes to this Union. The pales in the Arms are kept closely united by the Chief and the Chief depends on that union, and the strength resulting from it for its support, to denote the Confederacy of the United States of America, and the preservation of their Union through Congress.
   
           
  9  

“…one people reliant on the protection of Divine Providence…”

From the Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776:  “…with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.”

   
           
  9  

“…and on our own virtue…” 

From the Journal of the Continental Congress, June 20, 1782,   Remarks and Explanation of Charles Thomson,  Secretary, on the Device of a Great Seal“The escutcheon is borne on the breast of an American Eagle without any other supporters, to denote that the United States of America ought to rely on their own virtue.”  The Founding Fathers were aware that history shall judge the United States of America as an independent nation.  A major concern of theirs was the rise and fall of nations throughout history. Despite their theological differences, virtually all the founders maintained that morality depended on religion and were convinced that a new republic, no matter how well constructed, could only succeed if its citizens were virtuous.  From the First Inaugural Address of President George Washington, April 30, 1789:

  …there is no truth more thoroughly established than that there exists in the economy and course of nature an indissoluble union between virtue and happiness; between duty and advantage;  between the genuine maxims of an honest and magnanimous policy and the solid rewards of public prosperity and felicity; since we ought to be no less persuaded that the propitious smiles of Heaven can never be expected on a nation that disregards the eternal rules of order and right which Heaven itself has ordained…
   
         
  9 - 10  

“…for the greatness of a Union that now shines as a new constellation of fifty stars in the firmament of nations.” 

From the Journal of the Continental Congress, June 14, 1777:  “Resolved, That the flag of the United States be thirteen stripes, alternate red and white: that the union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field, representing a new constellation.”  From the Journal of the Continental Congress, June 20, 1782, Remarks and Explanation of Charles Thomson, Secretary, on the Device of a Great Seal:  “The Constellation denotes a new State taking its place and rank among other sovereign powers.”  The word union also refers to a device on a flag or ensign, occupying the upper inner corner or the entire field, that signifies the union of two or more sovereignties.

   
         
  10 - 11  

“The Eagle bearing the Arrows of War and the Olive Branch of Peace…” 

The design on the obverse of the Great Seal of the United States, the heraldic arms of the United States of America.  The final designs of the obverse and reverse of the Great Seal were accepted by the Continental Congress when it approved the official blazon of the Great Seal on June 20, 1782.

   
           
  11  

“…is recognized on every continent…” 

Refers to diplomatic recognition.

   
           
  11  

“…the last best hope of earth…” 

From the concluding remarks of President Abraham Lincoln in the President’s Annual Message to Congress, December 1, 1862:

  Fellow-citizens, we cannot escape history. We of this Congress and this administration, will be remembered in spite of ourselves. No personal significance, or insignificance, can spare one or another of us. The fiery trial through which we pass, will light us down, in honor or dishonor, to the latest generation. We say we are for the Union. The world will not forget that we say this. We know how to save the Union. The world knows we do know how to save it. We—even we here—hold the power, and bear the responsibility. In giving freedom to the slave, we assure freedom to the free—honorable alike in what we give, and what we preserve. We shall nobly save, or meanly lose, the last best hope of earth. Other means may succeed; this could not fail. The way is plain, peaceful, generous, just—a way which, if followed, the world will forever applaud, and God must forever bless.
   
         
  13  

“With praise to the Power that has made and preserved us a nation…”

From the lyrics of the “Star-Spangled Banner,” the National Anthem of the United States.  The lyrics come from the poem “Defence of Fort McHenry” written by Francis Scott Key in 1814.  This is the fourth stanza::

O! thus be it ever when freemen shall stand,
Between their lov'd home, and the war's desolation,
Blest with vict'ry and peace, may the Heav'n rescued land
Praise the Power that hath made and preserv'd us a nation!
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto—"In God is our Trust,"
And the star-spangled Banner in triumph shall wave,
O'er the Land of the free and the home of the brave.

   
         
  16 - 17  

“And our inalienable rights remain soundly secure…” 

From the Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776:  “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights…”

   
           
  17  

“(reassumed)” 

Applies to those occasions when the president is being returned to office for a second term.

   
         
  18  

“Our government is a government of laws, not of men.”

John Adams used the phrase “government of laws, and not of men” in “Novanglus,” Essay No 7 published in the Boston Gazette on March 6, 1775.  In 1780 this phrase was incorporated by Adams into the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Part the First, Article XXX.  Adams credited the line to James Harrington (1611-1677), who wrote “the empire of laws and not of men” in The Commonwealth of Oceana (1656).

   
         
  18 -19  

“Our country is a country where those who govern rule by the consent of the governed.” 

From the Consent Theory of Government, which is cited in the Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776:  “…Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed…”

   
           
  19  

“To prove this, let facts be submitted to a candid world.” 

This sentence is in the Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776.

   
         
  21  

“…blessings of liberty…” 

From the Preamble to the United States Constitution.

   
         
  21 - 22  

“…the strength and duration of the experiment…” 

From the Journal of the Continental Congress, June 20, 1782,   Remarks and Explanation of Charles Thomson, Secretary, on the Device of a Great Seal, referring to the design on the reverse of the Great Seal of the United States: “The Pyramid signifies strength and duration.”

   
         
  22 - 23  

“…the purity and innocence of the cause that gave birth to it, the vigilance, perseverance and justice of the nation that undertakes it, the hardiness and valor of a people who defend it…”  

From the Journal of the Continental Congress, June 20, 1782,   Remarks and Explanation of Charles Thomson, Secretary, on the Device of a Great Seal, referring to the design on the obverse of the Great Seal of the United States: 

  The escutcheon is composed of the Chief and pale, the two most honorable ordinaries. The pieces, paly, represent the several States all joined in one solid compact entire, supporting a Chief which unites the whole and represents Congress….The colours of the pales are those used in the flag of the United States of America. White signifies purity and innocence. Red hardiness and valour and Blue the colour of the Chief signifies vigilance perseverance and justice.
   
         
  24 - 25  

“…the inspiration to generations of the world’s oppressed who followed it and found the path to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness…” 

From the Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776:  “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”  Some found the path to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness by following the example of generations that emigrated to the United States and became Americans.  Others who remained in their native countries found the path by following America’s example when they altered or abolished old systems of government in favor of a new system of government that adopted the republican principles of the American Revolution.

   
           
  25  

“…by the glow of a sacred fire that truly enlightens the world…” 

These words are inspired by the colossal neoclassical sculpture Liberty Enlightening the World (French: La Liberte eclairant le monde) designed by the French sculptor, Frederic Bartholdi.  Since its dedication in 1886 on Liberty Island in New York Harbor, the Statue of Liberty has become an iconic symbol of the United States of America.  From the Inaugural Address of President John F. Kennedy, January 20, 1961:  “The energy, the faith, the devotion which we bring to this endeavor will light our country and all who serve it—and the glow from that fire can truly light the world.”

   
         
  26  

“Fellow citizens of the world!” 

From the Inaugural Address of President John F. Kennedy, January 20, 1961:  “My fellow citizens of the world, ask not what America will do for you but what together we can do for the freedom of man.”  The vocative sentence, “Fellow citizens of the world!”, is used three times and following each instance is a declarative sentence in the first person plural which in turn is followed by a sentence that is imperative in structure but declarative in function because it declares facts about how America chooses its leader that are evidence America is a country that enjoys rule by the consent of the governed.

   
           
  26  

“…do solemnly declare…” 

From the Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776:  “We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America…dosolemnly publish and declare…” 

   
         
  27  

“… land long liberated from the iron rod of tyrants and the galling chains of slavery… 

From the lyrics of “Chester” composed by William Billings and published in 1770 and in 1778 with revisions.  Second in popularity to “Yankee Doodle”, this song with its fiercely patriotic lyrics and defiant tone was the unofficial anthem of the American Revolution:

Let tyrants shake their iron rod,
And Slav'ry clank her galling chains,
We fear them not, we trust in God,
New England's God forever reigns.

   
         
  31  

“…land of the free and the home of the brave…” 

From the lyrics of the “Star-Spangled Banner,” the National Anthem of the United States.  The lyrics come from the poem “Defence of Fort McHenry” written by Francis Scott Key in 1814.  This is the first stanza:              

O! say can you see by the dawn's early light,
What so proudly we hailed at the twilight's last gleaming,
Whose broad stripes and bright stars through the perilous fight,
O'er the ramparts we watch’d, were so gallantly streaming?
And the Rockets' red glare, the Bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our Flag was still there;
O! say does that star-spangled Banner yet wave,
O'er the Land of the free and the home of the brave?

   
         
  32 - 33  

“…in bravely building upon what our Founding Fathers began in 1776 under the watchful Eye of Divine Providence, Who has favored our undertakings and remains at the apex of our highest aspirations…” 

The design on the reverse of the Great Seal of the United States features an unfinished pyramid and in the zenith the Eye of Providence in a triangle surrounded by a glory.  Over the Eye is the motto, Annuit Coeptis, “He (Providence) has favored our undertakings.”  Underneath the pyramid is the motto, Novus Ordo Seclorum, “A New Order of the Ages.”  At the base of the pyramid are inscribed the Roman numerals MDCCLXXVI, the year of the Declaration of Independence.  In the Journal of the Continental Congress, June 20, 1782, Remarks and Explanation of Charles Thomson,  Secretary, on the Device of a Great Seal, the following is recorded:

  Reverse:  The Pyramid signifies strength and duration.  The eye over it and the motto allude to the many signal interpositions of providence in favour of the American cause.  The date underneath is that of the Declaration of Independence, and the words under it signify the beginning of the new American Era, which commences from that date.
   
         
  33 - 34  

“…a more perfect union.” 

From the Preamble to the United States Constitution.  The phrase “our highest aspirations to a more perfect union” has both a secular and a spiritual meaning here.

   
         
  34  

“…in God we trust.” 

The National Motto by a joint resolution of Congress July 30, 1956.

   
         
  35 - 36  

“…and see a land where freedom rings…” 

From the lyrics of  “America” also known as “My Country, 'Tis of Thee" written by Samuel Francis Smith in 1831:

My country, 'tis of thee,
Sweet land of liberty,
Of thee I sing,
Land where my fathers died,
Land of the pilgrims' pride,
From ev'ry mountainside
Let freedom ring!

   
         
  36  

“…from sea to shining sea…” 

From the lyrics of  “America the Beautiful” written by Katherine Lee Bates in 1893:

.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .
America!  America!
God shed His grace on thee,
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea!

   
         
  36 - 38  

“…where the voice of the American people has again spoken…and where a call has gone forth from the American people to an American chosen by the nation...” 

Inspired by words of George Washington in his first inaugural address of April 30, 1789: “…I was summoned by my country, whose voice I can never hear but with veneration and love…” “…the magnitude and difficulty of the trust to which the voice of my country called me…” “Such being the impressions under which I have, in obedience to the public summons, repaired to the present station…”  Such sentiments reflect Washington’s great personal integrity, a deeply held sense of duty, honor, and patriotism.  For placing the welfare of the new American republic above his own needs and ambitions he has been called “the American Cincinnatus.”

   
         
  42  

“… to the pursuance of the unfinished work of the great Experiment.”

 Inspired by the official blazon of the Great Seal approved by the Continental Congress on June 20, 1782 which makes reference to “A Pyramid unfinished.”

   
         
  43  

“We the People of the United States do solemnly proclaim, publish, and declare…” 

From the opening words of the Preamble to the United States Constitution: “We the People of the United States…” and from the opening words of the closing paragraph of the Declaration of Independence:  “We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America…do…solemnly publish and declare:” 

   
         
  43 - 44  

“…throughout all the world unto all the inhabitants thereof…”   

From Leviticus 25:10 (King James Bible): “Proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof.”  These words are among those inscribed on the Liberty Bell at Independence Hall, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania:

PROCLAIM LIBERTY THROUGHOUT ALL THE LAND UNTO ALL THE INHABITANTS THEREOF LEV.XXV. V X.
BY ORDER OF THE ASSEMBLY OF THE PROVINCE OF PENSYLVANIA FOR THE STATE HOUSE IN PHILADA
PASS AND STOW
PHILADA
MDCCLIII

   
           
  44  

“…to preserve, protect, and defend…” 

From the Presidential Oath of Office in Article II Section I of the United States Constitution.

   
           
  44  

“…the New Order of the Ages…” 

The English translation of the motto on the reverse side of the Great Seal of the United States, Novus Ordo Seclorum, referring to the New American Era which began in 1776 when the United States declared its independence.

   
 
44 - 45
 


“…with our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor…”
 

From the Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776:  “And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor.

   
         
  46 - 47  

“…who has answered the call to the service of his (her) country…” 

From the First Inaugural Address of President George Washington, April 30, 1789:  “When I was first honored with a call into the service of my country, then on the eve of an arduous struggle for its liberties…”

   
         
  47 - 48  

“…an American who will stand before his (her) fellow citizens as the Father of Our Country did…” 

These words have three meanings.  In one sense they refer to the presence of the president-elect who stands before the assembly gathered to witness the inaugural ceremony as George Washington stood before the people assembled at the first inauguration in 1789.  In another sense the words refer to the leadership role of the U.S. President who stands before and above his fellow countrymen as chief executive, commander-in-chief, and head of state.  Finally, in a third sense the words refer to the fact that the U.S. President stands before the people as one stands before a judge and is subject to the authority of a court of law.  Hence, the words are a reference to the sovereignty of the American people who shall “judge” the U.S. President’s record of service to the nation and have the power to return or remove the head of state from office, a power that was denied to Americans when they lived as subjects of a king who ruled by divine right.  George Washington was well aware of his role in American history as the nation’s first president and exercised caution throughout his presidency so as to set precedents that acknowledged and respected the sovereignty of the people and avoided the trappings and appearances of kingly rule.

   
           
           
      William Brahms    
           
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