Govt 101 – Exceptionalism

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How do you answer, when someone asks, “What is so exceptional about America?

For several generations the answer has not been taught. Today, few can give a sound answer. Rather, we have emphasized that America is just another nation in the family of nations.

My previous three posts to this column have presented “Separation of Powers”, “Democracy” (should have been named “Representation”), “Federalism”. None of those forms of government are unique to America. Each had been tried before with varying results.

Our founding fathers exhibited astounding wisdom and creativity by incorporating the advantages of each – while seeking to impede the defects of each. Amont the most unique attributes of American government –

For the first time in human history –

· Separation of Powers

· Representation

· Federalism

Were incorporated into a single governmental structure.

Our Constitution creates three Departments, Executive, Legislative, Judicial. Each is intended to be independent of the other two. Separation of Powers.

Our Constitution specifically requires that National and State governments must be “republics” i.e. by representation (as opposed to “majority rule” i.e. “democracy”.) Representation.

Our Constitution creates a vertical (national) and horizontal (state) relationship among our citizens. Federalism.

Our founders understood that there will always be a conflict between individual will (I want my space – back off) and corporate will (We have to go along to get along). “Internal vs. External.” “A conflict within and without.” [Neander – 1852]

The positive results of that combination of principles speaks for itself. The exponential shift away from those results is attributable to our failure to understand what our founders understood. We have permitted the external forces for ever more centralized power to overcome individual internal liberty.

Government created by “We the People” for the purpose of protecting our individual internal and external liberty is now challenging it!

By the way – Beside being sound history and reason, these principles are also Biblical!

The bottom line

Liberty is as evangelical as it is political!!!”

[Rosalie Slater – Co-founder,

Foundation for American Christian Education (FACE)]

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Govt 101 – Federalism

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Definitions –

GOVERNMENT – direction …, regulation …, control …, restraint ….

[Webster 1828 (my paraphrase)]

FEDERAL, a. […]

1. Pertaining to a league or contract; derived from an agreement or covenant between parties, particularly between nations.

The Romans, contrary to federal right, compelled them to part with Sardinia. Grew.

2. Consisting in a compact between parties, particularly and chiefly between states or nations; founded on alliance by contract or mutual agreement; as a federal government, such as that of the United States.

3. Friendly to the constitution of the United States. [See the Noun.]

FEDERAL, FEDERALIST, n. An appellation in America, given to the friends of the constitution of the United States, at its formation and adoption, and to the political party which favored the administration of President Washington.

FEDERARY, FEDARY, n. A partner; a confederate; an accomplice. [Not used.] Shakespeare.

FEDERATE, a. […] Leagued; united by compact, as sovereignties, states or nations; joined in confederacy; as federate nations or powers.

FEDERATION, n. The act of uniting in a league.

2. A league; a confederacy.

[Webster 1828]

Back to basics –

1. A guy and a gal get together and make a baby. That is a “family”, the “building block” of every society.

2. Several families federate to share the tasks of life. That is a tribe. Ultimately the tribe grows to become a society.

3. Every society develops a dominant concept of a higher power (a god, or God).

4. That vertical concept will always determine the horizontal concept of relations with other families and societies.

· The vertical relationship between families and God is called “church”.

· The horizontal relationship between families and families is called “state”.

· It is a Law of Nature all through human history – A society’s corporate concept of the vertical relationship will ALWAYS determine its concept of horizontal relationship. NEVER the other way around!

Our founding fathers were wary of an all-powerful central government. The recognized and honored the individuality of America’s various societies. They chose a federal system of government. It is difficult to be a citizen of the “United States of America” without ALSO being a citizen of one of the states. We have a vertical relationship, together with our fellow citizens, to the USA. At the same time, we have a horizontal relationship with citizens of the other states.

Master, which is the great commandment in the law?

Jesus said unto him, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. [vertical] This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it – Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. [horizontal] On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.

[Matthew 22:36-40]

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Ben Gilmore 1929-2023

On March 30, 2023 Ben Gilmore, the co-founder of ACHStudyGroups (co-founded with his wife Fran), went to be with the Lord in Glory.

A Memorial: https://www.mykeeper.com/profile/BenGilmore/