History Highlight—Week of May 21

“Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord; and the people he hath chosen for his own inheritance.” —Psalm 33:12

“Now therefore, O kings, show discernment; take warning, O judges of the earth. Worship the LORD with reverence and rejoice with trembling. Do homage to the Son, that He not become angry, and you perish in the way, for his wrath may soon be kindled. How blessed are all who take refuge in Him.” —Psalm 2:10-12

The Constitutional Convention, May 25, 1787

Asecret cabal of rich white men — mostly slave-drivers — met secretly behind locked doors in Philadelphia to overthrow the new American government, and create a new document designed to protect their own economic interests and give themselves supreme power over the people… or so goes the current view of the Constitutional Convention from both the radical neo-Marxists and the conspiracy-theory revisionists of the right. Their constitutional convention was a coup d’état. One might find it difficult to credit their theories when the document and government they produced, although not perfect, were products of several thousand years of English common law, Christian republicanism, states’ rights and experience — not to mention the enshrinement of liberty, order and justice.


Scene at the Signing of the Constitution of the United States,
by Howard Chandler Christy (1873-1952)

Representatives of seven states met to amend the document that had guided the United States since its coming into force in 1783, The Articles of Confederation; it had exhibited weaknesses they feared were fatal to the survival of the Republic. Before the conclave finished their work, twelve states were represented—some of the most patriotic, brilliant and able men ever assembled in one place in America—and they had created a new instrument to guide the thirteen states, and those which would be added, for generations to come. The result has been the wonder and admiration of the entire world.


The Assembly Room Inside Independence Hall, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania


Detail of the Signatures Section on Page 4 of the United States Constitution

The Constitution resulted from a bundle of compromises that kept the smaller states happy with equal representation, the larger ones with proportional representation based on population, the states in general kept happy by possessing all the rights not mentioned as exclusive to the central government, as well as the power to select the Senate—a federal system. The founders built in checks and balances so one branch of government could not tyrannize over another.


Independence Hall in Philadelphia, by Ferdinand Richardt, c. 1858-63

Men such as Patrick Henry of Virginia, who opposed ratification, foresaw the possibility of liberty so dearly won in eight years of war, being taken away by a unitary state. The Bill of Rights was added to guarantee those liberties, prohibiting the new central government from establishing a state church or restricting the people from gun ownership, or preventing fair and swift trials etc. The founders established a government of laws, not of men, so a tyrannical mob, “the majority,” could not force their will on the minority, a glorious Republic and not a democracy.

Through the amending process, through the Court granting itself extraordinary power over the states, and the Congress forfeiting its responsibilities to the President as well as the President acting without consent of the governed, the Constitution of the Fathers has been ignored, battered, and overpowered at various times in American history, but the foresight of the founders, and the original intentions of their wisdom, have enabled the Republic to survive till now. The nation as it was created was designed for “a virtuous people” and the purpose of the Constitution still stands, though at times feebly so—to establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for a common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to posterity.

Learn more about the signing of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, as well as other key events in America’s struggle for liberty in the Cradle of Liberty Tour (MP3 Album), just $9.99 for over 5 hours of tour audio in the Landmark Events download store!


Watch for our Philadelphia Tour coming in 2018!

2017-05-22T21:16:15+00:00 May 22nd, 2017|History Highlights|

History Highlight—Week of May 14

“There the ships move along, and Leviathan, which You have formed to sport in it.“ —Psalm 104:26

“Those who go down to the sea in ships, who do business on great waters…” —Psalm 127:3

The Death of St. Brendan, May 16, 587

As the patron saint of sailors and travelers, superstitious people have appealed to Saint Brendan for help and safety for more than 16 centuries. Known as “Brendan the Bold” or “Brendan the Navigator,” his epic voyages and the mythology that goes with them have inspired songs, stories, and adoration in Ireland, Scotland, and America. How much of Brendan’s life can be substantiated by original documents from his day remains nil; the first references to his life came about two hundred years after he lived and the first references to his voyages, two hundred years after that. Lack of evidence from his own time, however, does not preclude the reality of his existence or some of his basic story. Oral tradition is often based on facts and in a closed community such as a monastery, where there may have been scribes, and which may have suffered barbarian attack and subsequent destruction of material evidence, the written story could be lost but the oral account still passed down.


“St. Brendan of the Gael” in Fenit, County Kerry, Ireland

Brendan was born near Tralee in County Kerry, Ireland in the 5th century. “St. Erc” trained him at Clonfert and ordained him as a priest in A.D. 512. As one of the “twelve apostles of Ireland” Brendan founded monasteries at Ardfert and Shanakeel, training other monks to preach the Gospel and live ascetic lives devoted to God’s service. The Celtic Church was known for its evangelical zeal, not just in the Emerald Isle and surrounding islands, but Scotland and Britain as well. According to later tales, copied and retold many times, Brendan’s travelogue exceeded all the other missionaries. Although there is no hard proof, centuries of tradition assert that he embarked on a seven-year voyage with fellow adventurers searching for “Terra Repromissionis” or Paradise Island — a land of lush vegetation. He allegedly set sail aboard a Curragh, a boat of wood frame covered by hides. He and his mariners visited many islands including a fake one that turned out to be a sea monster! Eventually he found the Island of Paradise and made it home to Ireland again.


St. Brendan’s Voyage


Ardfert Cathedral, Ardfert, County Kerry, Ireland

Mythology aside, it is reasonable that Brendan may have landed in the Azores and other small islands in the Atlantic. Celtic runes and biblical passages from the early centuries have been found in various places in North America, indicating the presence of Celtic Christians long before the coming of the Spanish in the 15th century. It is possible that missionaries arrived on the American shores bringing the Gospel to the native tribes, the history of which is entirely lost and now only hinted at in mountain carvings of ancient origin. Legends are often given birth by real-life events.

There are traces of Brendan’s visits to Wales and Iona and it is believed he founded a few more monasteries in Ireland before he died in the mid-sixth century. Whether he braved the oceans and found his fair isle or not does not detract from the impact Brendan probably had in a day of daring missionary expeditions.

Listen to the Mick Moloney & Eugene O’Donnell Rendition of
“St. Brendan’s Fair Isle“, by Jimmy Driftwood

You are invited to tour the Emerald Isle with a small group of fellow Christians exploring the vibrant scenery and tumultuous history of this unique land. We will be traversing a wide range of history from the Stone Age to the early 20th century and you’ll be encouraged and amazed as we reveal the remarkable ways God has used these fiery-spirited people to change the world.

2017-05-16T16:58:08+00:00 May 16th, 2017|History Highlights|

History Highlight—Week of May 7

“There are six things that the LORD hates, seven that are an abomination to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that make haste to run to evil, a false witness who breathes out lies, and one who sows discord among brothers.” —Proverbs 6:16-19, ESV

The Sinking of the RMS Lusitania, May 7, 1915

The headlines were as lurid as any in the 20th Century, and the tragedy rivaled only by the sinking of RMS Titanic three years earlier:

 

The United States had declined to enter the world war raging in the trenches of Europe and now the dirty Hun had torpedoed an innocent passenger ship, with many Americans aboard. Many in the press and the numerous Anglophiles of the United States began baying for war against Germany.

Until this tragic incident, Americans had remained sharply divided on who were the good guys and who the bad in the madness that was World War I. The millions of Americans of German or English ancestry, (very often a combination of both) believed America should remain neutral and the Wilson administration agreed. The following year, in fact, Wilson would stump for reelection on the slogan “He kept us out of war.” At least until after the election.


Postcard c. 1910 of RMS Lusitania at Chelsea Piers, New York


RMS Lusitania Arrives in New York
on Her Maiden Voyage

The war on the high seas had gone badly for the Germans. England still ruled the oceans of the world, upon which her empire was dependent. Germany had geared up for war on the high seas, but her surface raiders had been swept from the oceans and the fleet was bottled up in harbor. They would venture out for a test of strength with Britain in 1916 but the Battle of Jutland that resulted proved inconclusive, and they returned to sulk out the rest of the war. The use of submarines against allied merchants assumed first place importance for the blue water navy.

As a declared neutral, the United States — according to international law and precedent — was not permitted to supply war materials to any of the belligerents. Nonetheless, the Americans were sending a steady supply of armaments to England, and the Germans were made well aware of it from their spies in the U.S. and Britain. Germany issued stern warnings to the Wilson administration and were given assurances that the country would comply with the international rules of neutrality. Frustrated at non-compliance, Germany declared unlimited submarine warfare in the waters around the United Kingdom. Violators would suffer the consequences.


William Thomas Turner (1856-1933)
Captain of the RSM Lusitania


The Sinking of the RMS Lusitania
May 7, 1915

RMS Lusitania of the Cunard Line had been launched in 1906 and competed in the trans-Atlantic passenger trade with the German companies and with the White Star Line of Britain, of which the RMS Titanic was the Queen for the briefest of time. When the war began in 1914, Lusitania had secret compartments constructed to carry munitions as a merchantman but remained in service as a passenger liner. In the first year of the war, the German submarines complied with the old “Cruiser Rules” which included warnings before attack, and neutral ships would be left alone. In 1915, all merchants of the allied nations became fair game in the waters around the U.K.


Two Divers Prepare to Explore the Wreckage of the Lusitania, 1935

Lusitania left New York on her 102nd trans-Atlantic voyage on the first of May. Although the United States and Britain denied her having any war materials, the Germans claimed she was loaded with munitions and took out ads in newspapers across the United States warning people not to sail on Lusitania. Eleven miles off the south coast of Ireland, U-20 struck her with one torpedo and then a secondary explosion inside the ship occurred. The ship’s bow struck the ocean floor 18 minutes later. Almost 1,200 people were lost, including 128 Americans. The outrage in America and Britain drowned out all discussion of the cargo, which both nations claimed was passengers only. In 2008, divers found 4 million U.S. manufactured Remington rounds of .303 ammunition still in the hold designated for the killing of German soldiers on the western front. In 1917, Congress declared war on the Central Powers, citing in speeches but not the actual declaration, the unprovoked sinking of the passenger liner Lusitania as one of the reasons.

Journey with Landmark Events to Cobh, Ireland to see the Lusitania Memorial and learn how the people of the town rose to the huge challenge of rescue, comforting the shocked and injured survivors, and identifying, repatriating and burying the dead.

2017-05-13T01:03:43+00:00 May 8th, 2017|History Highlights|