Monday, November 18, 2013


The very first Americans, of course, were the indigenous population later known as “Indians”. From the very beginning, the Indian population was conflicted over the arrival of the Europeans and their colonization of Indian homelands. Some resented their coming, while others welcomed the newcomers, perceiving them as just another tribe with whom to share the bounties of nature. Ultimately, it became obvious to the Indians that the Europeans were there to stay and would eventually become the dominate culture. Some fought the inevitable and others embraced it. Sacajewea, whom I salute in this installment of my Profiles of Leadership in America, embraced it.

c. 1784—December 20, 1884?

Americans, living today, owe much to our exploring pioneer forefathers. But, what of our exploring pioneer foremothers? In 1804, Lewis and Clark set out, with a company of some fifty men, to explore the Louisiana territory. The President of the United States, Thomas Jefferson, had purchased the huge territory from France with very little knowledge of what it contained. He enlisted Meriwether Lewis and William Clark, who had never set foot in that part of the land, to undertake this dangerous expedition and bring back that knowledge. Luckily for President Jefferson, and even more so for Lewis and Clark, the explorers met a young Indian woman on the way, who guided them through the most difficult and potentially perilous part of their journey. That Indian woman was Sacajewea.

Sacajewea was born a Shoshone around the year1784 in the area now known as the state of Idaho and was named Boinaiv (Grass Maiden in the Shoshone language). While still a child, she was stolen away from her family by the Minnetarres (an enemy tribe) and renamed Sacajewea (Bird Woman in the Minnetarre language) by her new tribe. Her Minnetarre captor later gambled her away to a French trapper named Toussaint Charbonneau. She became Charbonnea’s wife and was living with him in the Dakotas in the autumn of 1804 when Lewis and Clark reached there. Sacajewea and her husband agreed to act as guides for the team of explorers. The group wintered at Fort Mandan where Sacagawea gave birth to her son Baptiste.

The Frenchman, Charbonneau, possessed marginal abilities as a guide, but his young Indian wife proved to be an excellent guide, showing exceptional courage and resourcefulness. On one occasion, Sacajewea risked her own life to rescue the records of the expedition and other valuables from an overturned canoe. She accurately directed the Lewis and Clark expedition to her own country, which she had not seen since she was a child. She also taught the company how to gather food and live off the land to survive when supplies began to run short.

When they arrived at the Shoshone tribal camp, she renewed her associations with old friends and family. It was here that she very likely saved the lives of the whole party of explorers. Sacajewea’s brother Cameahwait was now the chief of the tribe. His first inclination was to kill the white men for their belongings. But, because of Sacagawea’s influence, Lewis and Clark were able to procure food and horses from the Indians and were allowed to go on their way unharmed.

Sacajewea, finding that the rest of her family was dead, except her brother and her dead sister’s son, adopted her sister’s child (she named him Basil) and took him, along with her own child, on the Lewis and Clark trip. With her two children in tow, she continued as guide, leading the explorers to the Pacific Ocean, arriving on November 7, 1805. On the way back, they explored the Yellowstone region, which she also knew well. Upon returning to the Dakotas, Charbonneau refused all inducements to go back to civilization and Sacajewea remained with him. Little more is known about the rest of her life, but Sacajewea is believed to have married into Comanche Indian for an extended time and living  to the age of 100 years, dying around 1784 in the Shoshone Indian Agency.

The white men of the Lewis and Clark Company had great respect and affection for this young Indian woman, who, while mothering two small children, was able to lead, teach, and even protect tough explorers on a very difficult journey. She created good will and trust, for at least a short while, between Indians and white Americans. Without her help and guidance, the Lewis and Clark expedition would likely have experienced disaster, and President Jefferson would not have received the wealth of information that he desired. Sacajewea’s roll in the Lewis and Clark exploration exemplified peaceful cooperation between Indians and white Americans. Sadly, that peaceful cooperation was seldom repeated in American history. Still, Americans that live west of the Mississippi River today, like the men in the Lewis and Clark expedition and President Thomas Jefferson, owe Sacajewea a lot.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Samuel Adams

The American Revolution produced quite a few extraordinary leaders: brave and spiritual men and women who were willing to sacrifice all they had to create a country and government where freedom would reign, and where all people could pursue their individual life, liberty, and happiness (private property).  However, for the revolution to be successful, many at the time believed that faith in God and His endorsement of the colonists’ efforts to confront the greatest military power in the world would be paramount. Perhaps the most vocal exemplary proponent of this idea was Samuel Adams.
Samuel Adams, September 27, 1722 October 2, 1803

Samuel Adams, like his second cousin, John Adams, the second president of the United States, was born into a religious and politically active family and was a graduate of Harvard College. Adams was generally unsuccessful in his business affairs.  His father’s attempts to create a “land bank” for the farming community had been impeded by the royalists in Massachusetts government and left the older Adams with substantial personal debt at his death, which in turn fell to Samuel to deal with.  Samuel never was particularly successful in business, but he flourished in politics.  In his masters thesis of 1743, Adams argued the case for colonial rights, that it was "lawful to resist the Supreme Magistrate” to preserve the Commonwealth.

By the1760s, Adams had become an influential member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives and was vocal in his opposition to the efforts of British Parliament to tax the American colonies without American consent.  His publicized call for cooperation between the colonies was a contributing factor in the British order to have British soldiers occupy Boston, which in turn aggravated the Bostonians to the point of violence, culminating in the famous ‘Boston Massacre’ of 1770, where British soldiers responded to rock-throwing from a Boston mob with gunfire.  Ironically, it was Samuel’s cousin, John Adams, an equally vociforous voice for American liberty, but defender of law and order, who would defend the British soldiers in court for using deadly force to defend themselves against the angry Bostonian mob. A couple years later, Samuel Adams and other like-minded American colonial patriots organized links between their fellows throughout the other twelve colonies. The “Boston Tea Party” of 1773 and other later efforts by Adams and his fellows, who became known as the “Sons of Liberty”, resulted in further reprisals by the British government to quell the American rebellion in the form of the occupation of Boston by British troops, the “Coercive Acts” of 1774 which was akin to marshal law. Adams and his fellow patriots responded by convening a Continental Congress in 1775.  Adams was considered a traitor by the British at this point and they sent troops to both capture Samuel Adams and John Hancock and seize the military arms which the British had learned were stored in Concord. The battle of Lexington and Concord and the successful defense put forth by the “Minutemen” essentially began the American Revolutionary War and eventually resulted in the Declaration of Independence in 1776 at the Second Continental Congress. Thomas Jefferson said of Samuel Adams that he steered the Congress toward independence.

During and after the Revolution, Adams served on numerous committees. He promoted paying bonuses to the Continental soldiers for reenlisting when their enlistment was ended. He also called for the punishment of Loyalists to the British crown, banishing them and confiscating their property. His harsh approach to loyalists continued even after the war, opposing their return to Massachusetts, believing that they would work to thwart the new republican form of government. He was on the committee which drafted the articles of confederation with his emphasis on strong state sovereignty. Along with his cousin, John Adams and James Bowdin, Samuel drafted a new constitution for Massachusetts in 1779.

After the Revolutionary War, and under the Confederation, economic troubles began to trouble the new republic. The uprising known as “Shay’s Rebellion” and other difficulties with taxation led many to believe that the confederation needed revision. In 1786, delegates met in Philadelphia to try to revise the Articles of Confederation but ended up creating a new United States Constitution with a stronger federal government.  Adams had misgivings about a strong central government and was initially counted among the Anti-Federalists, but eventually he agreed to support the new constitution, with the proviso that amendments would be added later, which resulted in first ten amendments now known as ‘The Bill of Rights’.  With this ability to amend it, Adams became a staunch supporter of the new constitution.

Adams attempted to be elected a representative to the new House of Representatives but lost the election. However he was elected Lieutenant Governor of Massachusetts and then Governor. Samuel, unlike his cousin John Adams, aligned himself with the Thomas Jefferson and the anti-federalist party. He left office as governor in 1797 and retired from politics. He suffered from essential tremors and was unable write effectively during the last ten years of his life and he died at the age of 81 years on October 2, 1803. He was considered by his contemporaries, both friends and advisories as one of the greatest personalities among the founding fathers and a firebrand personality for individual freedom. In fact, much to his chagrin, John Adams, while serving abroad as a diplomat was often referred to as “the other Adams. Indeed, Samuel Adams was at the forefront of the revolutionary movement and with a loud voice for independence, ever vigilant, willing to sacrifice his own wellbeing for what he believed in, and was convinced that he was doing God’s will by creating a republican form of government.  The Boston newspaper, The Independent, Eulogized him as the “Father of the American Revolution”. There were many founders of our nation who could claim that they did their all for the birth of the United States of America, but few who were the equal of Samuel Adams.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

I'm Sorry You Were So Gullible!

I really did not think I would ever see Barack Obama apologize for anything, let alone his “Affordable Care Act” (aka-Obamacare).  But today he sort of did, though he made it plain that he had been misunderstood--wink, wink, nod, nod--when he placed a “period” behind every outrageous promise he made while he was selling the public on it.  Of course he could not take full responsibility, because he is not capable to do that. It is much easier for him to say that he was misunderstood than to say, “I bald-faced lied to everybody about what they could expect, like being able to keep your insurance if you like it, or the average family will save $2,500 a year on insurance cost, when the average family will spend $7,500 more per year”.  The fact is that he, like the lovable Sergeant Schultz, of Hogan’s Heroes fame knows nothing: He did not know about ‘Fast and Furious’, He did not know that we were spying on our allies; He did not know that the IRS was targeting conservative organizations; He did not know that terrorists were involved in the murder of four Americans in Benghazi—in fact, we still do not know where he was that night and who told our military and CIA to stand down when those Americans were screaming for help; And, he does not seem to know that he has no constitutional authority to grant waivers to his supporters on Obamacare, or pick and choose which laws congress passes to enforce. But then, if we look at all of these things from Hillary Clinton’s perspective, what difference does it make at this point?  

Well, it makes a lot of difference to people of principle. I did not like it when Nixon lied. I did not like it when Bill Clinton lied. I did not like it when Carter was inept. And I do not like it when Obama is both inept and a liar, which is pretty much all of the time. He owes an apology for deceiving the electorate to get elected.  He knew that if he allowed the truth to be told in any degree, whether it be that it was not a stupid video that got four Americans murdered, or that Obamacare is an ill-conceived attempt to turn our healthcare system into a single-payer socialist monstrosity, that the public would not have gone for it. If he had been honest, which frankly is beyond his ability, we would have a president who actually understands business and economies, instead of a socialist nincompoop.  

I apologize if I hurt anyone’s feelings and my apology is every bit as sincere as Obama’s, PERIOD!