FOUNDING WRITINGS


Yet stones have stood for a thousand years, and pained thoughts found
The honey of peace in old poems.
Robinson Jeffers, “To the Stone Cutters”


George Washington
(1732-1799)

The period for a new election of a citizen to administer the Executive Government of the United States being not far distant, and the time actually arrived when your thoughts must be employed in designating the person who is to be clothed with that important trust, it appears to me proper, especially as it may conduce to a more distinct expression of the public voice, that I should now apprise you of the resolution I have formed to decline being considered among the number of those out of whom a choice is to be. . .
(Continue reading the Farewell Address)

Thomas Jefferson
(1743-1826)

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. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government. . .
(Continue reading the Declaration of Independence)

 
 

James Madison
(1751-1836)

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, 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.
Article I. Section 1. All legislative powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives. . .
(Continue reading the Constitution of the United States and Bill of Rights)

 
Ralph_Waldo_Emerson_ca 1857_retouched.jpg

Ralph Waldo Emerson
(1803-1882)

I read the other day some verses written by an eminent painter which were original and not conventional. The soul always hears an admonition in such lines, let the subject be what it may. The sentiment they instil is of more value than any thought they may contain. To believe your own thought, to believe that what is true for you in your private heart is true for all men, — that is genius. Speak your latent conviction, and it shall be the universal sense; for the inmost in due time becomes the outmost. . .
(Continue reading “Self-Reliance”)

 

Abraham Lincoln
(1809-1865)

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. . .
(Continue reading the Gettysburg Address and Other Speeches)

 

Margaret Fuller
(1810-1850)

This great suit has now been carried on through many ages, with various results. The decisions have been numerous, but always followed by appeals to still higher courts. How can it be otherwise, when the law itself is the subject of frequent elucidation, constant revision? Man has, now and then, enjoyed a clear, triumphant hour, when some irresistible conviction warmed and purified the atmosphere of his planet. But, presently, he sought repose after his labors, when the crowd of pigmy adversaries. . .
(Continue reading The Great Lawsuit)

 

Henry David Thoreau
(1817-1862)

I wish to speak a word for Nature, for absolute Freedom and Wildness, as contrasted with a freedom and culture merely civil,—to regard man as an inhabitant, or a part and parcel of Nature, rather than a member of society. I wish to make an extreme statement, if so I may make an emphatic one, for there are enough champions of civilization: the minister and the school committee and every one of you will take care of that. I have met with but one or two persons in the course of my life who understood the art. . .
(Continue reading “Walking”)

 

Frederick Douglass
(c.1818-1895)

The subject announced for this evening's entertainment is not new. Man in one form or another, has been a frequent and fruitful subject for the press, the pulpit and the platform. This subject has come up for consideration under a variety of attractive titles, such as "Great Men," "Representative Men," "Peculiar Men," "Scientific Men," "Literary Men," "Successful Men," "Men of Genius," and "Men of the World;" but under whatever name or designation, the vital point of interest in the discussion has ever been. . .
(Continue reading “Self-Made Men”)

 

Walt Whitman
(1819-1892)

Selection to be published.

 

Emily Dickinson
(1830-1886)

Selection to be published.

 

John Muir
(1838-1914)

Selection to be published.

 
Charles Eastman-in-1916.jpg

Charles Eastman
(1858-1939)

“We also have a religion which was given to our forefathers, and has been handed down to us their children. It teaches us to be thankful, to be united, and to love one another! We never quarrel about religion.” Thus spoke the great Seneca orator, Red Jacket, in his superb reply to Missionary Cram more than a century ago, and I have often heard the same thought expressed by my countrymen. I have attempted to paint the religious life of the typical American Indian as it was before he knew the white man. . . (Continue reading The Soul of the Indian)