Founders Corner

An Actual Founding Father’s Inaugural Address – No Egos Here

todayJune 10, 2013 4

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Mandeville, LA – Exclusive Transcript


Begin Mike Church Show Transcript

Mike: Let me read to you how a Founding Father accepted his inauguration. This will come as a shock to you people, but I actually have here in my hands the text of Thomas Jefferson’s first inaugural address. Yes, even back then those old fuddy-duddy guys in white stockings and powdered wigs gave addresses when they were inaugurated. The striking thing about Jefferson’s inauguration is the humility and the humble attitude that he approached it as. Which you’ll hear here in the text when I get into it.


Now, I want to just let you know that this – I have already posted, or have already compiled today’s Surf Report of today’s Pile of Prep. Did you people do your show prep today? Did you? You can do your show prep after the program, and prep your own little show here. I have already posted the links to the Avalon Project where you can go and download or go read Jefferson’s entire inaugural address. I’m not going to read the whole thing because we don’t have time. So I’m just going to read the pertinent parts here. But here’s what you’re listening for. Number one, the humility of the whole thing. And Jefferson going out of his way to say, I am not a king, and I don’t want to be. We have rejected kings. Listen up, you people. This is also a refutation of John Adams.

By the by, that reminds me. There was a time in American history when presidents didn’t hang around for the next inaugural, when they didn’t go on national television or the equivalent thereof and wish their successor the greatest success in the world, when they didn’t dawdle over what had just transpired. As a matter of fact, John Adams is famously known to have left town at 3:00 a.m. the morning of Jefferson’s inaugural. They portrayed this in the HBO miniseries “John Adams.” They showed Adams getting on the stagecoach and getting the hell out of Dodge. He left. He didn’t want anything to do with it. And Jefferson didn’t want him to have anything to do with it. After the passage of the Alien and Sedition Acts, and after all the transgressions that the Adams administration had visited upon the people in violation, in clear violation of what Federalists said the new federal government would do, and there were Federalists doing exactly the opposite of what they had said that they would do. So it was good riddance to get rid of John Adams and kick him, basically embarrass him into leaving Washington without telling anyone goodbye, and certainly without hanging around to wish Jefferson well. He just didn’t do it. You know why, because the transfer of power there was a ceremonial thing. We were not transferring one king to another here. Well, let me get to Jefferson’s inaugural address, March the 4th, 1801. The words of the man that authored, principally authored the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson.

“Called upon to undertake the duties of the first executive office of our country, I avail myself of the presence of that portion of my fellow citizens which is here assembled to express my grateful thanks for the favor with which they have been pleased to look toward me, to declare a sincere consciousness that the task is above my talents, and that I approach it with those anxious and awful presentiments which the greatness of the charge and the weakness of my powers so justly inspire.”

Mike Church Show Transcript: Human Scale – Big Government Equals Big Power Equals Big Tyranny

Did you hear that? Did you catch that? The weakness of his powers? [Blustery voice] This is a pres- what do you mean, the weakness? Why, they tell everybody what to do. Well, they didn’t used to. You really want to talk about a constitutional presidency, well, here is one.

“A rising nation, spread over a wide and fruitful land, traversing all the seas with the rich productions of their industry, engaged in commerce with nations who feel power and forget right, advancing rapidly to destinies beyond the reach of mortal eye – when I contemplate these transcendent objects, and see the honor, the happiness, and the hopes of this beloved country committed to the issue, and the auspices of this day, I shrink from the contemplation, and humble myself before the magnitude of the undertaking. Utterly, indeed, should I despair did not the presence of many whom I here see remind me that in the other high authorities provided by our Constitution I shall find resources of wisdom, of virtue, and of zeal on which to rely under all difficulties.”

In other words, what he’s saying there is, if I have any problem executing this office, I can always yank out my handy-dandy C-SPAN Constitution and read it. Did you catch that part? Jefferson may actually have read Article II, Section 2 of the Constitution. This is shocking, here, folks. And no, I don’t think Bush read it, either.

“To you, then, gentlemen, who are charged with the sovereign functions of legislation, and to those associated with you, I look with encouragement for that guidance and support which may enable us to steer with safety the vessel in which we are all embarked amidst the conflicting elements of a troubled world.”

Wait a minute, now. I thought this was a world of trouble unlike any ever encountered in the history of man. Have you noticed the pimping up of the dire situation that we’re all in here today? Why, only someone of Obama’s magnitude can come in here and save us all from ourselves, and save us all from international destitution and international despotism. It’s bad. It’s never been this bad. This is the worst economy since Plato. This is the worst economy since Ramses I. No one’s ever seen economic conditions like this before. Raise the bar here. Because if Obama makes any progress or has any success whatsoever, why, this is proof that he’s the Messiah and what have you. Now, you listened the words of Jefferson here as he humbly accepts the office. What a striking contrast, ladies and gentlemen. All right. Now, I’m reading to you the inaugural address of Thomas Jefferson, 4 March 1801. Back to the text.

“We have called by different names brethren of the same principle. We are all Republicans. We are all Federalists. If there be any among us who would wish to dissolve this Union or to change its republican form, then let them stand undisturbed as monuments of the safety with which error of opinion may be tolerated where reason is left free to combat it. I know, indeed, that some honest men fear that a republican government can not be strong, that this Government is not strong enough; but would the honest patriot, in the full tide of successful experiment, abandon a government which has so far kept us free and firm on the theoretic and visionary fear that this Government, the world’s best hope, may by possibility want energy to preserve itself? I trust not. I believe this, on the contrary, the strongest Government on earth.”

Mike Church Show Transcript: Richard Henry Lee’s Resolution, Catalyst for Declaration Of Independence

Now, can you wrap your hands, your heads around this at this time? 1801. None of the things that you know to exist as federal government today existed, they hadn’t even concocted yet. No one had even dreamed of these things. And yet there’s Jefferson with the meager, limited constitutional government of the United States in 1801, saying this is the strongest government on earth. You have no idea what you created, sir.

Back to Jefferson’s inaugural address, 4 March 1801. I’m reading from it. I hope you’re enjoying it. Telephone number, if you’d like to be on the program, toll free anywhere in America here on Patriot 144, America Right XM 166 in rebroadcast, here’s my phone number: 866-957-2874. 86695PATRIOT. Back to Jefferson.

For more on Ben Franklin, pick up your copy of The Spirit of 76 right here!
For more on Ben Franklin, pick up your copy of The Spirit of 76 right here!

“I believe it the only one where every man, at the call of the law, would fly to the standard of the law, and would meet invasions of the public order as his own personal concern. Sometimes it is said that man can not be trusted with the government of himself. Can he, then, be trusted with the government of others? Or have we found angels in the forms of kings to govern him? Let history answer this question.

“Let us, then, with courage and confidence pursue our own Federal and Republican principles, our attachment to union and representative government. Kindly separated by nature and a wide ocean from the exterminating havoc of one quarter of the globe; too high-minded to endure the degradations of the others; possessing a chosen country, with room enough for our descendants to the thousandth and thousandth generation; entertaining a due sense of our equal right to the use of our own faculties, to the acquisitions of our own industry, to honor and confidence from our fellow citizens, resulting not from birth, but from our actions and their sense of them…..”

That’s a repudiation there of the idea of monarchy, by the way, aristocracy. “Resulting not from birth” means you have actually earned it.

“…enlightened by a benign religion, professed, indeed, and practiced in various forms, yet all of them inculcating honesty, truth, temperance, gratitude, and the love of man; acknowledging and adoring an overruling Providence, which by all its dispensations proves that it delights in the happiness of man here and his greater happiness hereafter. With all these blessings, what more is necessary to make us a happy and a prosperous people? Still…another, shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned. This is the sum of good government, and this is necessary to close the circle of our felicities.”

Mike Church Show Transcript: Mike Tells The Story Of June 1788 and The First Peaceful Transfer of Power

Now, listen to this. He just said I’m not going to tax anything that has anything to do with labor. Because it’s your earnings. How refreshing that would be in 2009, would it not, ladies and gentlemen. Back to Thomas Jefferson. Perhaps you’ve heard of him. His inaugural address, 4 March 1801. This is the meat-and-taters portion. This is where he lays out what an actual constitutional government would look like and what his view of it was.

“About to enter, fellow citizens, on the exercise of duties which comprehend everything dear and valuable to you, it is proper you should understand what I deem the essential principles of our Government, and consequently those which ought to shape its Administration. I will compress them within the narrowest compass they will bear, stating the general principle, but not all its limitations. Equal and exact justice to all men, of whatever state or persuasion, religious or political; peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations, entangling alliances with none…”

republican-shirt-ifyouhavetoask1Can you imagine that? Entangling alliances with none? Back to Jefferson.

“…the support of the State governments in all their rights, as the most competent administrations for our domestic concerns and the surest bulwarks against anti-republican tendencies; the preservation of the General Government in its whole constitutional vigor, as the sheet anchor of our peace at home and safety abroad; a jealous care of the right of election by the people – a mild and safe corrective of abuses which are lopped by the sword of revolution where peaceable remedies are unprovided; absolute acquiescence in the decisions of the majority, the vital principle of republics, from which is no appeal but to force, the vital principle and immediate parent of despotism; a well disciplined militia, our best reliance in peace and for the first moments of war, till regulars may relieve them…”

Can you imagine that? Did you catch that part? He’s saying here, at this time in 1801, that Hamilton’s army must be disbanded. Alexander Hamilton had rallied an army, called it constitutional, used it to collect taxes in the Whiskey Rebellion and what have you, was ready to march on those that were not accepting of the Adams administration’s decrees. And here’s Jefferson saying, eh-eh. We only need a militia. We’re not at war, sir. And if we do go to war, we’ll then raise an army. Meanwhile, the Minutemen out there with their muskets and what have you, they can do the first line of defense. They’re perfectly capable of it. Boy, this just blows holes throughout the entire Second Amendment debate, does it not? All you idiots out there that think that you know something about the right to keep and bear arms, and oh, no, the Founding Fathers didn’t mean it to be an individual right, they didn’t mean it like that, no, that’s been misinterpreted. Well, then read this inaugural and tell me that I’m wrong. Back to Thomas Jefferson, his inaugural address, 1801. He’s talking about the well-disciplined militia.

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“…our best reliance in peace and for the first moments of war, till regulars may relieve them; the supremacy of the civil over the military authority…”

There it is again.

“…economy in the public expense, that labor may be lightly burthened; the honest payment of our debts and sacred preservation of the public faith…”

In other words, balanced budgets.

“…encouragement of agriculture, and of commerce as its handmaid; the diffusion of information and arraignment of all abuses at the bar of the public reason; freedom of religion; freedom of the press, and freedom of person under the protection of the habeas corpus, and trial by juries impartially selected. These principles form the bright constellation which has gone before us and guided our steps through an age of revolution and reformation. The wisdom of our sages and blood of our heroes have been devoted to their attainment. They should be the creed of our political faith, the text of civic instruction, the touchstone by which to try the services of those we trust; and should we wander from them in moments of error or of alarm, let us hasten to retrace our steps and to regain the road which alone leads to peace, liberty, and safety.

“Relying, then, on the patronage of your good will, I advance with obedience to the work, ready to retire from it whenever you become sensible how much better choice it is in your power to make. And may that Infinite Power which rules the destinies of the universe lead our councils to what is best, and give them a favorable issue for your peace and prosperity.”

Thomas Jefferson, 4 March 1801.

End Mike Church Show Transcript


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