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The 5000 Year Leap by W. Cleon Skousen
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Nov 24, 2011

it was amazing

The 5,000 Year Leap
By W. Cleon Skousen

This remarkable book covers much forgotten or neglected history of our nation's founding, including the Godly and moral principles on which America began.

Some of these principles trace back to the ancient Anglo Saxons, who considered themselves a commonwealth of free men and had a tradition of being highly involved in local government. Our Founders realized the similarities between Anglo Saxon laws and those governing Israel during Biblical times.

They also subscribed to the ideas of the Roman political writer Cicero, who wrote extensively about Natural Law, which he described as the rules of right conduct established by the Creator of the universe. The architects of the American nation studied the various types of government that had existed through the ages to determine what would be the best methods of governing.

The book points out that the Founders were God fearing people. Days of prayer and fasting were common and leaders sought their Maker both publicly and privately. They were also quick to thank him for intervention in their personal lives and for sparing our country from one peril after another. The book notes that George Washington faced at least sixty-seven different occasions where he felt God's intervention saved Americans in their struggle for independence.

James Madison, the father of our Constitution, Ben Franklin and many others felt Americans needed to be a virtuous and moral people in order for our republic to properly work.

In the early United States citizens considered community offices as positions of honor rather than a way to enrich or empower themselves. Many leaders served with little or no compensation. As president and commander in chief George Washington declined his $25,000 annual salary (equivalent to a healthy six-figure income today), determined to somehow get by without it.

Shedding further light on the character of early America was French jurist Alexis de Tocqueville, who extensively toured our country in 1831, a couple generations after its founding. He wrote "Democracy in America", at that time one of the best definitive studies on the American culture and Constitution. He wrote of Americans' religious faith: "All sects of the United States are comprised within the great unity of Christianity and Christian morality is everywhere the same. There is no country where the Christian religion maintains a greater hold on the soul than in America."

He declared how the clergy helped fan the flame of freedom, stressed morality and alerted the citizens to dangerous trends. The Founders felt religious principles undergirded good government.

De Tocqueville wrote that faith was so common that a county court judge in New York was shocked to learn a witness did not believe in the Deity. He disallowed the evidence, feeling the non-believer had thus destroyed all confidence in what he was about to say.

The book elaborates on 28 founding principles that helped set America on the right course. One such value was maintaining an educated population as a way of keeping our freedoms. Among other subjects, teachers taught from the Bible.

Some of the other principles included governmental checks and balances, peace through strength, the importance of a written Constitution, strong state and local government, limited federal government with well-defined responsibilities, the need for strong families, majority rule and minority rights, and a three-fold federal government with powers and responsibilities divided among executive, legislative and judicial branches. A three-headed eagle depicted these three divisions of government. The book does not use this analogy but this reminds me of the Trinity, three persons in one God.

The book says John Adams dreamed of the day when our nation's founding ideals would govern two or three hundred million people. America's population is now over three hundred million. But what would that generation of leaders think of today's America? Prayer founded our nation. Prayer can revive and save it.

The author, Dr. W. Cleon Skousen spent many years researching American history and teaching it at public meetings. The book was originally published in 1981 and was revised in 1991 and 2006, the year in which the author passed away. In 2009, the volume was in its fourteenth printing.

-- Frank Lewandowski

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