Repercussions from the ignorance of the founding of the United States of America.

Unless you are over the age of 60 years, you apparently have a general lack of understanding when it comes to the extraordinary fete by a handful of men who brazenly set out to form an independent nation by separating the 13 American colonies from the British monarchy.

Strong statement, you say. Not at all. However, one cannot dispute the above statement without first studying and knowing American history and how the United States came into existence, especially the many back stories that provide a more complete appreciation. Without real knowledge of what the Founding Fathers each undertook and contributed, in my opinion, one cannot fully understand the greatness of the accomplishment.

Such an understanding also breeds simple patriotism, nationalism, and an abiding love for the United States of America and what this country should mean to each one of us. In fact, our God-given liberties were cemented by the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States, both hammered out by the handful of representatives in Colonial America. The fundamental freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution are the result of brilliant thinking by so few. Recent cries for Constitutional change in my view are the result of a lack of knowledge, or a diabolical desire by some to unwind our democratic republic altogether.

“…a new report shows that students anywhere from high school to fourth grade are solely lacking in their knowledge of American history. Results from the 2010 gold standard of testing, the National Assessment of Educational Progress, only 13 percent of the nation’s high school seniors showed proficiency in their knowledge of American history, and only 18 percent of eighth grades and 22 percent of fourth graders scoring as well.”  — ( http://townhall.com/columnists/danieldoherty/2011/10/22/the_decline_of_american_history_in_public_schools/page/full )

Writer David McCullough is one of only a handful of Americans to receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom. His novels of American history include “John Adams”, subject of an extraordinary HBO seven part series of the same name, “1776”, and “Truman”, among others. Some say “1776”, “an authoritative text on George Washington and his generals during the most significant year of the American Revolution”, should be required reading in every school in America. Likewise the “John Adams” dramatization series should be required watching. If you have the right tools, one can watch the miniseries on a television or personal computer ( http://www.hbo.com/john-adams#/ ).

Study of the “Federalist Papers”, published explanations of the Constitution for public consumption written before the Constitution was ratified by the 13 states, should be required before high school graduation. The “Federalist Papers” are virtually unknown by most Americans. Unfortunately, McCullough’s books are likewise not encouraged for students.

“Many Americans know U.S. students’ test scores on subjects like math and reading are low. In civics, however, they’re appalling. On the National Assessment of Educational Progress, a respected, voluntary nationwide test, 22 percent of students test proficient in civics, and only 18 percent rate proficient in U.S. history.” — Morgan Sweeney, writing for Heartland.org. ( http://news.heartland.org/newspaper-article/2013/05/13 )

Suffice it to say, I believe a primary reason for the decline in voter participation in the election process, the complete misunderstanding of “God-given rights”, and an expansion of the belief the Federal Government should be the end-all solution to all problems, personal and otherwise, is entirely due to a profound ignorance of American history and civics. The real tragedy is I doubt few can argue my opinion is wrong! — D. C. ‘Dan’ Lee

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