When Freedom Finally Came to America

Dear Reader:

I have started reading David McCullough’s The Pioneers and as usual, am riveted to all the history of our country told in good old storytelling fashion.

I love learning new things about the one subject I have adored since a child…history! The story of the settlement from the Northwest Ordinance has kept me shaking my head…saying “I didn’t know that…or I didn’t realize that?” 

And “That” person who teaches me every time I pick up one of his novels is “that great” historian author David McCullough! My “A-ha” moment while starting this book was contained in the three major segments of the Northwest Ordinance that changed our country’s ideals. They  were three remarkable conditions: freedom of religion, free universal education, and most importantly, the *prohibition of slavery.

*The prohibition of slavery: “There shall be neither slavery nor involuntary servitude in the said territory,” (this being agreed to in Congress when slavery existed in every one of the thirteen states!) It was almost unimaginable that throughout a new territory as large as all of the thirteen states, there would be no slavery. God’s miracle for this new land!

The Northwest Ordinance of 1787 would prove to be one of the most far-reaching acts of Congress in the history of our country. Historians today place it alongside the Magna Carta and the Declaration of Independence as a bold assertion of the rights of the individual.

Based on John Adams’ Massachusetts constitution…the ordinance was quite clear…“Religion , morality, and knowledge, being necessary to good government and the happiness of mankind, schools and the means of educations shall forever be encouraged.”

At a time when there were no state-supported schools of any kind in most of the United States and the few areas that had these schools were poorly supported and supervised…plans were now being made for a section in each township to be reserved for common schools and ultimately a university for all.

Manasseh Cutler, a minister and top planner for this new massive settlement consisting today of five states…Wisconsin, Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, and Ohio…believed strongly that “Wisdom is the principal thing…therefore get wisdom and with all thy getting…get understanding.” (Proverbs)

Isn’t that true about everything in life? Wisdom alone is not enough, unless accompanied by understanding and compassion!

Of the first pioneers in the Northwest Territory, forty-eight men in all…a few were as young as teenagers…the oldest at 67. Obviously there were mixed feelings among the families left behind with many prayers uttered as the husbands, sons, and relatives departed.

*I remember reading one time in sample diaries written by early pioneer women that one woman begged her husband not to leave her behind at a fort with the children (in relative safety) while he, alone, explored new lands…she was afraid for him and all the unknown dangers in a new frontier. He looked at her quietly and said: “Stopping me from living isn’t going to stop me from dying.”

Wow! That’s pretty powerful isn’t it? I think about it a lot these days…even though my energy might not be quite as ‘up to speed’ as I would like with this darn “elevator” white cell count…lying around and doing nothing is absolutely no way to live.

So until tomorrow…As Theodore Roosevelt said: …“Let us rather run the risk of wearing out than rusting out.”

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

When I walked outside Saturday I noticed this plant blooming in the garden and couldn’t figure out where it came from? I texted Doodle and she replied:
“Butterfly weed. It’s a host plant for the Monarch butterfly. It lays eggs on it and when they hatch, the caterpillars eat the plant.” 

(New meaning for “Eating yourself out of house and home” 🙂

*Up close the bloom are so intricate and delicate…lovely!

*Had a text from Betsy, Libby’s daughter….Libby fell going back in her house after the holidays at the beach with family. Betsy and Robby took their mom to the hospital emergency room where they checked her thoroughly…thank goodness her neck and back were okay (area from the surgery) but she broke her right wrist.

*Today she was returning to the surgeon to get the official “OK” to start driving again…so (as you can imagine) this set-back is definitely a little hard to swallow…even though we all realize it could have been a lot worse. If any of you have had to go without driving for quite awhile you know how much you crave that independence again…so please keep Libby in your prayers! Thank you!

About Becky Dingle

I was born a Tarheel but ended up a Sandlapper. My grandparents were cotton farmers in Laurens, South Carolina and it was in my grandmother’s house that my love of storytelling began beside an old Franklin stove. When I graduated from Laurens High School, I attended Erskine College (Due West of what?) and would later get my Masters Degree in Education/Social Studies from Charleston Southern. I am presently an adjunct professor/clinical supervisor at CSU and have also taught at the College of Charleston. For 28 years I taught Social Studies through storytelling. My philosophy matched Rudyard Kipling’s quote: “If history were taught in the form of stories, it would never be forgotten.” Today I still spread this message through workshops and presentations throughout the state. The secret of success in teaching social studies is always in the story. I want to keep learning and being surprised by life…it is the greatest teacher. Like Kermit said, “When you’re green you grow, when you’re ripe you rot.”
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1 Response to When Freedom Finally Came to America

  1. bcparkison says:

    Libby…I am so sorry .Just roll with the flow and surely things will get back to nornal some day soon.
    Another funny about driving. Once when my cousin was in the hospital for a while and we came to get her back home I said,” Let him drive your car home” NO she said…”.I Need to Get Behind the Wheel”. There is more to this crazy story but not for today.


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