Sunday, October 24, 2021

The Declaration of Independence Teacher Workshop

“The Declaration of Independence... [is the] declaratory charter of our rights, 
and of the rights of man.” --Thomas Jefferson

The Washington, Jefferson & Madison Institute is pleased to announce its next teacher education workshop on the topic of “The Declaration of Independence: Axioms of a Free Society.” The program will include three x 1 hour class sessions. Along with presentations, the format will include a “roundtable” discussion with participation by all. The outline of the sessions and agenda are as follows:

8:30–9:00 a.m. Registration and Continental Breakfast

9:00–10:00 a.m. First Classroom Session -- “Natural Law and Popular Sovereignty in the Declaration of Independence.” Presentation by Tony Williams followed by discussion and Q&A.

10:15–11:15 a.m. Second Classroom Session -- “All Men are Created Equal: America's Defining Creed." Presentation by J. David Gowdy followed by discussion and Q&A.

11:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m. Third Classroom Session -- “The Declaration's Role in American History."  Presentation by Tony Williams followed by discussion and Q&A.

12:30 - 1:30 p.m. Luncheon

The workshop is designed for public and private Virginia secondary school teachers and home school teachers who teach Social Studies, U.S. Government, Virginia Government, or U. S. History. Teachers from other states are also welcome. The workshop, meals and class materials all complimentary (no cost) to teachers.

The event will be held from 9:00 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Friday, October 29th, 2021 to be held at Prospect Hill Plantation Inn. The Seminar qualifies for four Virginia recertification points or 4 hours. 

Prospect Hill Plantation Inn, Louisa, Virginia

Tuesday, October 5, 2021

“How great a debt we owe to those who went before us”

This letter was written near the beginning of the American Civil War from Sullivan Ballou, a 32-year-old officer in the Union Army, to his 24-year-old wife, Sarah. He was a lawyer and politician from Rhode Island and married Sarah Hart Shumway on October 15, 1855. They had two sons. 

“July 14, 1861 Camp Clark, Washington 

My very dear Sarah: 

The indications are very strong that we shall move in a few days-perhaps tomorrow. Lest I should not be able to write again, I feel impelled to write a few lines that may fall under your eye when I shall be no more . . . 

I have no misgivings about, or lack of confidence in the cause in which I am engaged, and my courage does not halt or falter. I know how strongly American Civilization now leans on the triumph of the Government and how great a debt we owe to those who went before us through the blood and sufferings of the Revolution. And I am willing-perfectly willing-to lay down all my joys in this life, to help maintain this Government, and to pay that debt . . . 

Sarah my love for you is deathless, it seems to bind me with mighty cables that nothing but Omnipotence could break; and yet my love of Country comes over me like a strong wind and bears me unresistibly on with all these chains to the battle field. The memories of the blissful moments I have spent with you come creeping over me, and I feel most gratified to God and to you that I have enjoyed them for so long. And hard it is for me to give them up and burn to ashes the hopes of future years, when, God willing, we might still have lived and loved together, and seen our sons grown up to honorable manhood, around us. I have, I know, but few and small claims upon Divine Providence, but something whispers to me-perhaps it is the wafted prayer of my little Edgar, that I shall return to my loved ones unharmed. If I do not my dear Sarah, never forget how much I love you, and when my last breath escapes me on the battlefield, it will whisper your name. Forgive my many faults and the many pains I have caused you. How thoughtless and foolish I have often times been! How gladly would I wash out with my tears every little spot upon your happiness . . . 

But, O Sarah! If the dead can come back to this earth and flit unseen around those they loved, I shall always be near you; in the gladdest days and in the darkest nights . . . always, always, and if there be a soft breeze upon your cheek, it shall be my breath, as the cool air fans your throbbing temple, it shall be my spirit passing by. Sarah do not mourn me dead; think I am gone and wait for thee, for we shall meet again . . .” 

A week later Sullivan was mortally wounded in the First Battle of Bull Run and died on July 29, 1861.