Now that America’s July 4th holiday has come and gone, two questions come to mind; 1. how many Americans took this opportunity to read America’s foundational document of freedom, the Declaration of Independence during America’s freedom holiday? And question 2: did anyone explain to their children the history of America’s unique document of freedom?

These two questions are asked because America’s foundational freedoms named in the First and Second Amendments are under attack. America’s freedom of religion is under attack. America’s freedom of speech is under attack. America’s freedom of the press is self-destructing from within and is under attack from within. America’s freedom to peaceably assemble is under attack via Antifa. America’s freedom to petition the government for redress of grievances is under attack. And finally, America’s second amendment, America’s freedom to keep and bear arms is under attack.

But freedom being under attack is not new. Revelations, chapter 12 tells how Satan was cast out of heaven, along with “his angels” because he had lost that war to destroy mankind’s agency, that divine gift that allows mankind to make choices and then be held accountable for their choices.

Ever since America declared its independence from Great Britain on July 4, 1776 the opponents of freedom have waged war on America’s freedoms. During the 11 years between the signing of the Declaration of Independence and the signing of the Constitution on Sept. 17, 1787 the states were governed by the Articles of Confederation, a document that had no governing teeth in it. The new experiment in self-government would have self-destructed had not James Madison and George Washington called for a convention to create a more workable constitution. But that Constitution did not come easy. Getting 55 men to agree on everything is never easy. But with divine help those 55 men did the impossible, they created the most unique governing document the world has ever known.

Every generation must step up to the plate to protect those freedoms America’s Founding Fathers gave to America — and to the world via America’s unique foundational documents. Most Americans know how Abraham Lincoln stepped up to the plate to maintain America as one nation. But how many Americans know that the 2016 presidential election was a near replica of the 1844 presidential election when James K. Polk, a Democrat, defeated Henry Clay, a Whig, in a race Clay was supposed to win – like Hillary Clinton.

John Bicknell, in his book, “America 1844 – Religious Fervor, Westward Expansion, and the Presidential Election that Transformed the Nation,” describes how events in 1844 transformed not only the 1844 election but what America would become because of the elective choice of the people. As I read this book my mind kept reminding me of the sage advice an ancient leader gave to his people who were embarking on electing a new government. Said he: “Therefore, choose you by the voice of this people, judges, that ye may be judged according to the laws which have been given you by our fathers, which are correct, and which were given them by the hand of the Lord. Now it is not common that the voice of the people desireth anything contrary to that which is right; but it is common for the lesser part of the people to desire that which is not right; therefore this shall ye observe and make it your law — to do your business by the voice of the people. And if the time comes that the voice of the people doth choose iniquity, then is the time that the judgments of God will come upon you; yea, then is the time he will visit you with great destruction even as he has hitherto visited this land.”

As I read this book, I substituted Hillary Clinton for Henry Clay and Donald Trump for James Polk and then visualized in my mind what America would have become had Clinton been elected President instead of Trump. Polk was the one who, like Trump, wanted to “Make America Great” through expansion, from coast to coast and by adhering to the foundational principles upon which America was founded. Clay would have, like Clinton, ignored those founding principles and begun the process of rejecting freedom and going down the road leading to socialism.

This book was a stern reminder that when the people choose badly, as America has in recent years, the Lord is there to help America get back on freedom’s road as happened in both 1844, under James Polk, and in the election of Donald Trump in 2016.

Donald Conkey is a retired agricultural economist who lives in Woodstock.

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