America’s founding: Divine Providence?

Our founding fathers believed this to be the case, that America was the result of God’s direct hand in the creation of a land of abundance, and a land of freedom for all people. We find examples of this in the Declaration of Independence, in the U.S. Constitution, and in the Federalist Papers, written to convince the citizens of the new world that the Constitution should be ratified.

The idea that America has a special place and a special responsiblity in the world is one that has been echoed by many great leaders in the history of our country. In his influential 1776 pamphlet Common Sense, Thomas Paine echoed this notion, arguing that the American Revolution provided an opportunity to create a new, better society:

“We have it in our power to begin the world over again. A situation, similar to the present, hath not happened since the days of Noah until now. The birthday of a new world is at hand…”

Many Americans agreed with Paine, and came to believe that the United States had embarked upon a special experiment in freedom and democracy—and a rejection of Old World monarchy in favor of republicanism—an innovation of world historical importance. President Abraham Lincoln’s description, in his December 1, 1862 message to Congress, of the United States as “the last, best hope of Earth” is a well-known expression of this idea. Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, in which he interpreted the Civil War as a struggle to determine if any nation with America’s ideals could survive, has been called by historian Robert Johannsen “the most enduring statement of America’s Manifest Destiny and mission” (Haynes, Sam W. and Christopher Morris, eds. Manifest Destiny and Empire: American Antebellum Expansionism. College Station, Texas: Texas A&M University Press, 1997.).

Today, we hear commentators like Glenn Beck speak about the divine providence of America this in the attached video clip. He also talks about the importance of being prepared for the difficult times that lay ahead of us in this country.

My fellow Americans, I feel we should be prepared for the tough times that are ahead of us. And we should take the individual responsiblity to be involved and watchful of what ‘our’ government is doing. God gave the United States great resources, great power, and with that power also comes great responsibility. If we just sit back and allow ‘our’ government to continue to take more and more individual liberties away, if we allow the government more and more control over our lives, and we let that happen, we get what we deserve. If ‘our’ government is really ‘ours’, then we can make it what we want.


© 2009 Paul Rohricht


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