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American Beginnings, Issue #002 -- Understand Your Rights, John Adams, American History Book Club
April 16, 2012

The Newsletter about America's Founding
by Revolutionary War and Beyond

Let us aspire to the greatness our Founding Fathers imagined for us.

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Issue #2 - April 16, 2012

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Welcome back to our second issue of "American Beginnings!" We hope you enjoy the interesting tidbits from the American Revolution that we share with you here, as well as the latest updates from our site.

This has been a big month for Revolutionary War and Beyond. We put out the first issue of our newsletter at the end of March and already have a load of subscribers. Hopefully the trend will continue! If you enjoy the newsletter or have suggestions or comments, you can contact us here.

Monday April 16th is the launch day for our American History Book Club. We will be reading through books about American history together with our visitors. Readers can then join in a discussion about the books on our website. A number of people have already let us know they will be reading together with us. More on this below.

The weekend of April 15th also saw the release of our first book! Understand Your Rights Because You're About to Lose Them! teaches the basic rights guaranteed to all Americans in the Bill of Rights. It explains the history of each amendment and shows how they are under threat today. More on this below too!

If you haven't already subscribed to this newsletter, you can Subscribe here - American Beginnings Newsletter.

Quote of the Week

What did John Adams think about America?

"I always consider the settlement of America with reverence and wonder, as the opening of a grand scene and design in providence, for the illumination of the ignorant and the emancipation of the slavish part of mankind all over the earth." - John Adams from A Dissertation on the Canon and Feudal Law, 1765

John Adams
Some thoughts about the quote...

Why would John Adams think the creation of America would lead to the spread of knowledge and the emancipation of the oppressed throughout the world?"

Some people believe the opposite about America, seeing it as a tyrannical and oppressive nation. Why would they view it this way?

How do YOU view America? What is its purpose and destiny? Why was it created?

Share your comments and answers to these specific questions on our Facebook page here.

American History Facts

John Adams Home

John Adams Homestead
Quincy, Massachusetts

More on John Adams

Did you know the family of President John Adams was one of the most influential in early American history, with many famous and powerful people on all sides?

  • John Adams' son, John Quincy Adams, became 6th President of the United States (John Adams was the 2nd President)
  • Charles Francis Adams, Sr., grandson of John Adams and son of John Quincy Adams, served as a Representative to the US Congress from Massachusetts and was a state senator in Massachusetts. He ran for vice-president twice and was a prolific author and historical editor. Charles Francis produced a ten volume series about the work of his grandfather called The Works of John Adams, Esq. He served as Abraham Lincoln's Ambassador to Great Britain during the Civil War. He was very instrumental in maintaining British neutrality during the war and in monitoring and mitigating Confederate diplomatic activity in England. Charles Francis built the first presidential library to honor his father John Quincy Adams. The Stone Library is located on the premises of the Adams National Historic Site, the homestead of John and Abigail Adams and contains over 14,000 volumes.
  • Henry Adams, son of Charles Francis, grandson of John Quincy and great-grandson of John Adams, became a well known journalist and academic historian. He worked for a short time for Judge Horace Gray in Boston, a future Supreme Court Justice. Henry served as his father's secretary in London during the Civil War. He was a professor of medieval history at Harvard for several years. After moving to Washington DC, he settled in a house on Lafayette Square across from the White House where he and his wife held many social functions for the elite of the town. His works include, The History of the United States of America and The Education of Henry Adams. Henry had a ticket for the return voyage of the RMS Titanic to Europe. Fortunately for him the ship sank on the way to America and not on the way back! Unfortunately, Henry was an anti-Semite.
  • Abigail Adams

    Abigail Adams

    One of Charles Francis Adams' great-grandfathers was Nathaniel Gorham, a signer of the United States Constitution.
  • John Adams' wife, Abigail Adams, was the daughter of Elizabeth Quincy Smith, who was a cousin of Dorothy Quincy, the wife of signer of the Declaration of Independence and Governor of Massachusetts John Hancock.
  • Abigail Adams was also the great-granddaughter of the Rev. John Norton who was the founding minister of the Old Ship Church in Hingham, Massachusetts. This is the only remaining 17th-century Puritan meetinghouse in Massachusetts.

Question of the Week

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Which British flag were most (though not all)
of the early American flags based on?

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You can find the answer at our American Revolution Flags page.

Share your answer with us here on Facebook or Twitter...

And look for the answer to the question here in the next issue!

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Last week's question was: What right does the 2nd Amendment to the US Constitution protect?

The answer? The right to keep and bear arms

Have you visited a Revolutionary War site, such as Valley Forge, Boston, Philadelphia, Yorktown, Mount Vernon or the Liberty Bell? Share your experience and photos here!

Our First Book is Finally Here!

Understand Your Rights by Revolutionary War and Beyond

We are proud to announce that our first book is finally out! Understand Your Rights Because You're About to Lose Them! teaches about the basic rights guaranteed to all Americans in the Bill of Rights. We go through each of the first ten amendments to the Constitution and explain their history and why each of them were important to the Founding Fathers. We also show how many of these rights are under fire today.

The Founders designed a system where the federal government had a small list of defined powers in the Constitution and all other powers were left to individuals and to the states. Today we have the opposite. We have a gigantic federal government and an all powerful Supreme Court that believe their role is to tell the rest of us how we ought to live.

Understand Your Rights shows how this change occurred gradually over the years and more importantly, what we can do to reverse this trend and return things to the design of the Founders - with a small federal government that is the servant of the states and of the people.

Right now Understand Your Rights is available in ebook format only. We have it available in many different formats, such as mobi, epub and pdf, so it is viewable on most e-reading platforms such as the Kindle, Nook, iPad and on your personal computer.

Understand Your Rights will also be available in print on Amazon by (we expect) the end of April.

If you would like to learn more about the book or think you would like to order one, please go to Understand Your Rights on our website.

American History Book Club!

American History Book Club

It's finally time for the start of our new American History Book Club! You are invited to join with us as we read books about the Founding Fathers and early American history.

As we read, our notes, comments and reading guide will appear on our website and you are invited, not only to read along with us, but to join in the discussion and place your own comments about the books we're reading on our discussion board.

We are reading these books in real time along with you, so the full reading guide will not be posted all at once. Instead, we will make a post for each chapter as we read. With new chapters being added every few days.

You can read the posts as a guide while you read and leave your own comments and questions about the readings using the Facebook comments on the discussion page. You could post about what you learned from the chapter or how a particular reading affected you personally, for example.

If you have a Facebook account, your comments will appear on our website and on your own Facebook page as well, so your friends can join in the discussion. If you do not use Facebook, don't worry, the comments will still work for you, too.

Once we complete a book, the full notes will be posted and anyone can read the books and join in the discussion at any time.

If you would like to read along with us, please go to our American History Book Club page for more information.

We have a short description of our first two books below.

Paul Revere's Ride

Paul Revere's Ride by David Hackett Fischer

Paul Revere's Ride by David Hackett Fischer is probably the most well known and thorough account of the life of this popular figure from the American Revolution. The book describes the forces at work in the years prior to the Revolution and tells about Revere's personal life and how he got involved in the Revolutionary cause. It describes the events of April 18, 1775 and the war that began at Lexington and Concord and Paul Revere's role in it. This will be an enjoyable read and will teach you not just about Paul Revere's life, but also about the circumstances and political winds leading up to the Revolution.

For more information about this book's discussion guide, please go to the Paul Revere's Ride Book Discussion Guide here, where you can also order the book from Amazon if you like.

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Stories of Faith and Courage from the Revolutionary War

Stories of Faith and Courage from the Revolutionary War

Stories of Faith and Courage from the Revolutionary War by Jane Hampton Cook is a devotional that follows the Revolutionary period chronologically and focuses on the spiritual roots of the Founding Fathers. Ms. Cook was the official webmaster for President George W. Bush and designed his government websites when he was Governor of Texas and as President, including his and websites.

The book looks at the events of the times through the eyes of many of the key players, including George Washington, King George III, Samuel Adams, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Abigail Adams, Martha Washington, Benjamin Franklin and others. Excerpts of their own writings, diaries and letters are interspersed with historical subjects to show how they viewed the events they were living through and how those events affected their lives personally.

This book is set up as a daily devotional to be read over the course of a year. Each day's reading is quite short though and we will be reading through it more quickly than a year!

You can order a copy and learn more about this book at our Stories of Faith and Courage Book Discussion Guide page.

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The Prayer at Valley Forge

The Prayer at Valley Forge is the best selling patriotic item on our website. This iconic painting by Arnold Friberg is one of the most well-known paintings of the American Revolution. It depicts George Washington on his knee in prayer during the terrible winter at Valley Forge in 1777.

According to verbal legend passed down in the area, the scene depicted was a true event. Washington was seen praying by local Tory Isaac Potts. According to Potts' family, he was so moved by Washington's prayer that he came home and told his family that he had no doubt the Americans were going to win the war.

If you would like to order your own copy of the painting, please go to our The Prayer at Valley Forge page. You can learn more about the events that happened at our History of Valley Forge page here.

We also have a personal account from one of our visitors who visited the Isaac Potts home in Valley Forge, PA, which you can read here - My Trip to Valley Forge.

Advertise in this newsletter, and be seen by people interested in the American Revolution - and beyond!

Check out these new and updated pages on our site

Stamp Act - Tells about the history and events leading up to and including the Stamp Act and its aftermath, one of the leading causes of the Revolutionary War.

Freedom of Speech Clause - Freedom of Speech is one of the most important rights protected by the 1st Amendment. Learn about the history of this right and how it is viewed by modern courts.

American Flag Jewelry - American Flag lapel pins, American Flag earrings, American Flag rings, American Flag watches, American Flag cufflinks and more!

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Thanks for reading American Beginnings with Revolutionary War and Beyond.

Until next time...

The Minuteman

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