Monday, September 24, 2012
In 1803, America was just a small collection of states from what had once been the original 13 colonies. At that time, Europe was embroiled deep in war. Napoleon Bonaparte had conquered much of Europe and had won the Louisiana Territory from Spain three years earlier. Americans, seeing how powerful France was becoming, feared that France would invade them, too. But in 1803, Napoleon began to feel the costs of war. Napoleon had just lost a major battle and wanted to take over Great Britain. To gain money for his new strategy, Napoleon sold the Louisiana Purchase to the United States. President Thomas Jefferson paid $15 million for the land---about 5 cents per acre! Why did Napoleon give the U.S. such a deal? Like many tyrants, Napoleon wanted to conquer the world. Just because he sold the Louisiana Territory to the U.S., didn't mean he could not conquer it later. Fortunately for us, Napoleon lost his war, and thanks to him, the U.S. was well on its way to becoming a great nation.
What might have happened if the French did not sell us this land? Can you imagine this area being a French-speaking country and the U.S. being very small? It is hard to imagine, isn't it?
Sunday, September 9, 2012
Get ready for heart-pounding action, as Drake and Cindy-Lee inherit a formula so powerful that it has been the demise of scientists for over a century.
Drake Craven is a slow-talking country boy who just can’t fit the city mold at his new home in Memphis with his cousin, Cindy-Lee. Drake hates science, but loves his dad, which is a strange mix because his dad was a backyard scientist before the accident. While packing up his parent's belongings, Drake finds a formula, but he's not the only one who knows about it. After a strange series of events shakes his new home, everyone blames Drake. Running from shadowy men, Drake and his cousin end up as far south as the Rio Grande Valley, where they meet a runaway who carries a load of dark secrets. As he finds out more about his father's formula, Drake must decide what and who to protect. His life is spinning out of control, but he doesn't know how to stop it. What will he sacrifice to guard the Freedom Formula?
Available in Kindle for $2.99 or FREE to Amazon Prime members.
Saturday, December 10, 2011
Have you ever wished you knew more about American history but never had the time? In less than 150 pages, the American Liberty Primer will give you a concise, yet profound glimpse at American history from the founding of our country to the Civil War. It is now exclusively available on Kindle, and is offered FREE to Amazon Prime members. Click here to order or view a portion of the book: http://www.amazon.com/The-American-Liberty-Primer-ebook/dp/B006K6QV2O/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1323583330&sr=8-3 .
The American Liberty Primer is organized into a series of essays on the following topics that document the course of not just American history, but of American Liberty.
Preface: What is American Liberty?
Chapter 1: How the Revolution was Nearly Lost After it Was Won
Chapter 2: Did America Become More Democratic?
Chapter 3: How the North and South Became Two Separate Cultures
Chapter 4: The Democratization of American Religion
Chapter 5: History of the Baptists and How they Shaped America
Chapter 6: The Truth About Abraham Lincoln
Chapter 7: America's Quest for Liberty
Chapter 8: How the Local Church has been Beheaded
Thursday, July 28, 2011
Tuesday, March 8, 2011
I mentioned in a previous post about the Mexican-American War. In Mexico, there are still strong feelings against America's alleged aggression of their weaker country. Americans are still being decried for acting as war-like aggressors in areas such as Iraq. Perhaps the insults come with the territory of being one of the most powerful nations in the world.
Well, in our age of diversity and multiculturalism, many don't have a problem with admitting America was wrong. After all, Americans are always wrong, aren't they? Yet, let us not be like the park ranger I met in Brownsville who maintained “my country right or wrong.” Reasonableness requires that we examine the true nature of any conflict and decide who is right or wrong based upon unequivocal laws of right and wrong---the laws nature is governed by. If our country was wrong, we should own up to it. The only problem is that the unequivocal laws become very blurry in the Mexican-American War.
Mexico did not gain independence from Spain until 1821, and this late birthday must be kept in mind when considering that Mexico's government was still very unstable twenty years later. Additionally, the northern state of Tejas y Coahuila, with its sparsely populated and unproductive land, was very different from the Mexican interior. Its residents were American immigrants (mostly Southerners who brought their States' Rights doctrine) and very independent Mexican natives. In 1835, Santa Ana federalized the Constitution and took away the rights of Mexican states, causing the residents of Texas to separate just as Mexico had done from Spain.
The confusion around the end of the Texas War for Independence is what led to the Mexican-American War. Santa Ana, the Mexican dictator, signed the Treaty of Velasco, ending the war and ceding to the Texans all the land they desired. The problem was this: Santa Ana was deposed from power a few months before. Therefore, the Mexican government saw the treaty as void. This is how the “disputed territory” that would fuel the Mexican-American war came about. After Santa Ana signed the dotted line, hostilities stopped. While the Mexicans did not continue to fight, they maintained a spirit of “we will get you later.” The Texans lauded the end of the war. In 1845, however, Mexico arose to dispute the territory granted to the U.S. in Santa Ana's Treaty.
Do you get it? I admit that it is complicated. In the Mexican-American war, both sides fought for what they believed to be their rightful territory. By viewing the above map, you can see just how much territory was disputed by the Treaty of Velasco. Only then will you realize just how big of a deal the war was. In fact, the disputed territory was more than the whole state of Texas originally was!
So, how do we decide who was right and who was wrong? First off, the Texans had a right to do whatever they wanted to do with their state and territory. Did they want to separate to form their own country? Fine. Did they want to join the U.S.? Who can tell them what they can and cannot do? Mexico, however, refused to accept the democratic aspirations of the Texans, and even threatened to invade Texas should they become part of the United States! Even though the Mexicans had just seceded from Spain in a bloody war for racial equality, they denied the Texans the same rights of self-government and self-decision. Sound familiar? Yep, that's exactly what our government did to the South during the Civil War. It was wrong and belligerent for Mexico to forbid a sovereign nation (Texas) from entering the United States. Indeed, Mexico was trying to coerce a small country (Texas) and then complained about being coerced by the U.S. Funny how we are blind to our own faults.
It was, after all, Mexican troops who fired on a small body of men between the Rio Grande and the Nueces. This was disputed territory, after all---not universally accepted Mexican territory. The U.S. soldiers had just enough right to be there as the Mexicans did. It is also fair to say that the Mexican government was short on integrity when it stopped fighting in 1836 but wanted to push the issue again in 1845 after nine years of R&R. Does silence constitute agreement to Santa Ana's treaty terms? The Mexican governments were full of corrupt dictators during these times who rose quickly and fell quickly. Was it America's fault that Santa Ana was declared an illegitimate ruler only a few months before the treaty was signed? You may judge.
Mexican proponents claim that America took advantage of a small nation. My reply is that Mexico holds just as much blame as America did for starting the war. IT WAS NOT AMERICA'S FAULT THAT MEXICO HAD WEAK AND CORRUPT GOVERNMENTS any more than it is America's fault that Mexican governments remain weak and corrupt today. If Mexico was weak, she sure matched her weakness with pride when she refused to see an American diplomat to negotiate terms. When reading many Mexican defenses of the war, one cannot help but think the authors are whining about their own calamities. It was not America's fault that their own Mexican governments had let them down or that the Mexican people suffered because of their own rulers.
That said, the American government was not free from the war-guilt. The Texans back in 1836 should have made sure all their t's were crossed and i's were dotted before they claimed victory. Additionally, the 1840's was a time of romanticism and excitement about obtaining new lands for the U.S. and expanding “democracy.” America believed it had a Manifest Destiny to spread liberty to the rest of North America. This doctrine included taking other people's land, which in reality, is not liberty at all. Many people wanted to make Mexico or portions of it part of the U.S. in order to expand American dominance and Southern slavery. There was much opposition to the war, even in the U.S., because war is never something to be taken lightly. In the end, war could have been avoided if people cared enough to try!
Tuesday, January 18, 2011
It was June 1, the dawning of a new month. I had been out of school for several weeks, but had been looking forward to the trip to Honduras for months. I would travel from Memphis to Atlanta on board Delta flight 1982, switch onto a connecting flight to San Pedro Sula, and from there meet up with missionary Ronnie Doss. You could say that I was a little nervous. Sure, I had been away from home before, but Honduras was more than 1,400 miles away, and I would be staying for two weeks with a missionary I never met.
I awoke early and weighed my over-stuffed U.S. Army bag one last time to make sure it was not over the weight limit. I unlatched it to add a few last minute articles, then made sure the zip-lock bags of candy were on top. The candy was a tactic I learned from my American contact. When my bag arrived in Honduras, the airline workers would hopefully take a bag of candy and not my shoes.
My parents and I loaded up while it was still dark, and they drove me to the airport. After they helped me check-in, I gave them a hug and left them at security. It was invigorating to be up and about at such an early hour. I was full of purpose. I was embarking on the adventure of my life. Even Bro. Ronnie had warned me that Honduras “is another world.” He had warned me not to stay for more than a week, the demarcation line when visitors start craving American hamburgers. Never pushy, I told him I would risk two weeks.
I passed my hiking boots through security. When I put them back on, my tickets fell out of my breast pocket and scattered on the white terrazzo. I looked back to see if my parents could see. It was the start of my trip that I hoped would not prove equally clumsy. Click to see whole article.
Tuesday, December 28, 2010
Yesterday, I went to Barnes and Noble and purchased a bilingual edition of our Declaration of Independence and Constitution. My purpose was to share these documents with Spanish speakers in hopes to help them understand our form of government.
I was surprised with what I found.
You remember where our Declaration of Independence declares, “...and to assume among the Powers of the Earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and Nature's God entitle them...”? Well, the Spanish version, translated by the Cato Institute, decides to take God out. Instead, they substitute, “Leyes de la Naturaleza y de la Naturaleza Divina.” A literal translation of Cato's phrase is, “the laws of Nature and of Divine Nature.”
What? Not only does this translation take away the idea that our rights come from God, but it insists that somehow nature is god! This is not what our Declaration of Independence says! And that's not all. In the preamble of our Constitution, the Cato Institute substitutes the word “blessings” (bendiciónes) for the word “benefits” (beneficios). Clearly, the word “blessings” implies a Supreme Power while the word “benefits” does not.
Lastly, let's take a look at Cato's translation of one of my favorite clauses of the Declaration. Our's says, “...that whenever ANY Form of Government becomes destructive of these Ends, it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it, and to institute new Government...” The Cato institute says, “que el Pueblo tiene el derecho de cambiar o abolir CUALQUIER OTRA Forma de Gobierno que tienda a destruir estos Propósitos....” The translation substitutes “any” for “cualquier otra” (any other). According to Cato, it is not our form of government that we can abolish, but another form. This is a dangerous sentiment which will lead us to serving tyranny in our own country while abolishing other people's forms of government. In the light of Mexican public opinion toward the Mexican-American war, this phrase will doubtless be interpreted as a manifest destiny to capriciously invade sovereign nations---a right our Declaration does not give us. The Cato Institute has deceptively left out two of America's foundation stones:
It changes Nature's God into Nature as a god.
It changes the idea that we can abolish ANY form of government destructive of liberty.
What is going on? Who is trying to keep the Hispanic people from understanding our TRUE form of government?
For a better version of the Declaration, see the National Archives: http://www.archives.gov/espanol/la-declaracion-de-independencia.html (It still substitutes "benefits" for "blessings" in the Constitution.)