Zero Week Ohio Internship

Greeting from Shaker Heights, Ohio.

I’ve titled this “Zero Week” because I’m accomplishing this internship for college credit and the quarter doesn’t begin until Monday, June 26th.
I didn’t fly here. I drove. I left Washington in the morning on Friday, June 16th. I arrived in Shaker Heights in the evening on Monday, June 19th. The area where I’m staying is cute. There are a lot of old Tudor homes. Here is what I have done since arriving.

Tuesday: I began establishing a routine. I woke up at 5 am and went for a run. Not only did it give me a chance to see more of the surrounding area, but it also helped me adjust to the time difference. Later, I went to Target to pick up a few items I had forgotten to pack, such as a microwave. I also called the Shaker Historical Society (SHS) and set up my orientation for Wednesday.

Wednesday: Orientation. I looked at everything in the museum, and then we did the usual administrative paperwork and photo activities. I meet the other interns and the only other staff member. There are only two staff members, the director, and the administrative assistant. I will be working Mon-Fri bankers hours. I’m going to have two projects. The first is cataloging the 2017 collection. It’s not very large, so it’s something I should be able to do fairly quickly once I understand the process. The second is a little more detailed and still needs to be shaped. It has become a shared understanding in the community that Shaker Heights was kept as a white community with the use of restrictive covenants. Even the little movie that they show in the museum said something about it. However, the director isn’t convinced. She wants me to investigate. I told her the deeds might be online because we had a bunch online in Spokane. It took all of 5 minutes for her and me to Google the Assessor’s office and located the original dead for the house the museum is in. She thought that was the bee’s knees. I think, rather than going house by house for the last 100 years I’m going to try crowdsourcing. There are nine neighborhoods, and I think if I can get all the deeds for just a few in each neighborhood then I could be on my way to seeing what happened. I’m not sure if or how this information could become an exhibit. The museum currently has a cool show on 20th-century domestic servants in Shaker Heights. Maybe my research will be the foundation for the presentation that takes its place.

Thursday: Drafted and launched the social media campaign to crowdsource the deeds. I researched old maps of the neighborhoods and called the assurers office. I will go on Monday to use their computers to get the deeds I need. Began Acquisitions & Accessions training. There is reading to do. I hope to get it done on Friday. Once I’m done, I’ll receive hands-on training with Past Perfect. I’m looking forward to photographing the items. The 2017 collection is slowly moving to the area surrounding the computer with the Past Perfect program. In the evening there was a gallery opening. I stayed and met some of the board members and people from the area. I took pictures of the people at the event for use on the SHS website and social media. I also learned how to run the gift shop.

Friday: Most of the day was spent on the Acquisitions & Accessions reading. I spent two hours in the gift shop and about two hours on the deeds project.

Thoughts: The staff does everything! They even keep the grounds. There were walls to patch and paint. I didn’t help with that, but I did help with watering the garden Thursday morning. The mix of tasks is stimulating, and I’m glad for my time management skills.
Friday afternoon they received news that they will have a grant for next year’s programs. They talk a lot about money; the board members talk a lot about money, it seems to be a stressor for them all. I think news of the grant was a good way for them to start their weekend. On the topic of programs; they launch a new program on Monday that will run for the week. It’s an archaeology day camp for kids. They go out to a site where a Shaker building once stood and dig. Last year they found a broken tea-cup from the Shaker era. I hope to see the program in action next Tuesday.

Superintendent Norris

I Sing In Songs
I Sing in songs of gliding lays
Of forest scenes in border days;
Of rippling rills in valleys green,
And mirrored hills in lakelet sheen;
Of mountain-peaks begirt with snow,
And flowery parks, pine-girt below;
On dashing steeds, to gory graves;
Of brawny breast ‘neath painted plume,
On warrior’s crest, in dash to doom;
Of light canoe on dashing shore,
And daring crew, who’ll row no more;
Of goblins grim and canons grand,
And geysers spouting o’er the strand;
Of Mystic Lake, of Wonder-Land.
                                                                   P.W. Norris1)Philetus Walter  Norris, The Calumet Of The Coteau, And Other Poetical Legends Of The Border : Also, A Glossary Of Indian Names, Words And Western Provincialisms : Together With A Guide-book Of The Yellowstone National Park,(Philadelphia, PA: J. B. Lippincott & CO., 1883), 7, accessed February 7, 2017, https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=mdp.39015024241682;view=1up;seq=9.

     I Sing In Songs, a poem by P.W. Norris is as much a poem about Yellowstone’s beauty as it is a love poem. Superintendent Norris loved the park for all the beautiful reasons he wrote about and for the adventure it gave him at work and play.

     An interesting way of investigating the early history of national parks is by learning about the people who cared for these majestic places on behalf of all Americans. Shortly after Yellowstone became the nation’s first National Park, the Department of the Interior realized a need for a park manager, and the position was given the title Superintendent. From 1872 – 1916 there were seventeen Superintendents but the first one to be paid and to live in the park was Philetus Walter Norris, Yellowstone National Park’s second Superintendent.2)Aubry L. Haines, The Yellowstone Story: A History of Our First National Park, Revised Edition, V. 2, (Niwot, CO: University of Colorado Press, 1996), 448-58.  

     Before he became the second Superintendent of Yellowstone National Park from 1877-1882, Norris had lived an adventurous and prosperous life. He was born in New York on August 17, 1821.3)Haines, Yellowstone Story,V.2, 449.  At the tender age of eight, he was charging visitors ten cents a person to guide them to the Genesee River Falls. By the time Norris was seventeen, he was ready to set out into the world alone. He went to Manitoba to work for the Hudson Bay Company as a trapper.4)Lee H. Whittlesey, Storytelling in Yellowstone: Horse and Buggy Tour Guides, (Albuquerque, NM: University of New Mexico Press, 2007), 109.

     Norris enjoyed the outdoors. His work as a trapper allowed him to save enough money to purchase a large tract of land in Pioneer, Ohio, a town he founded, where he lived with his wife and children. Norris became the area’s first postmaster in 1851. By 1853 he realized the profitability of real estate.5)Haines, Yellowstone Story,449.  He sold sections of his land at first and learned the tricks of the real-estate trade. Norris would go on to establish two more towns, Norris and Michigan, both in Ohio.6)Whittlesey, Storytelling, 109.

     In May of 1862, Norris joined the Union Army. The Civil War was already a year old. Norris’ new adventure had only just begun when he was injured in a small skirmish. The injury was severe enough that he had to leave the Army in early January of 1863.7)Haines, Yellowstone Story,V.2, 449.

     After a successful run in the real estate game, Norris had the capital to start his newspaper, the Norris Suburban. It wasn’t long before the paper was turning a profit. With two sources of income to finance his livelihood, Norris decided it was time to go adventuring. He set out west to Yellowstone. He wrote about his travels for his newspaper.8)Haines, Yellowstone Story,V. 2, 449-50.

     In the summer of 1870, Norris was excited at the prospect of being the first to report on Yellowstone’s “Sulphur Mountains and  Mud Volcanoes.”9)Aubry L. Hines, Yellowstone National Park: Its Exploration and Establishment, (Washington D.C. : United States Department of the Interior, National Park Service, 1974), 60. He met Truman Everts and his companions on the ride to Fort Ellis. Evert invited Norris to his party’s exploratory mission into a different part of the park. Norris declined, but the two spoke of plans for another mission in the fall. Norris met an old man who claimed to have been a trapper back in the 1860s in the area Norris and Everts were considering exploring. Norris used the man’s directions to make a map, then gave the map and notes to Everts. The two parted ways. Norris would not hear of his new friend’s disappearance or miraculous rescue until months later.10)Hines, Yellowstone National Park, 61-2.

Norris, The Calumet Of The Coteau, 243.

     Yellowstone became a national park in 1872. Nathanial Langford was the first superintendent. Langford served for five years and visited the park only three times during his tenure. Congress didn’t provide park improvement funds while Langford was superintendent.11) Haines, Yellowstone National Park, 146.  It wasn’t from a lack of effort on Langford’s part. He had tried to lobby congress for funds. Additionally everything he did for the park, his travel to the park and to Washington was at his own expense as he received no salary, travel pay, or per diem as superintendent.12)H. Duane Hampton, “The Early Years In Yellowstone,” in How The U.S. Cavalry Saved Our National Parks (Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 1971) accessed February 28, 2017, https://www.nps.gov/parkhistory/online_books/hampton/chap3.htm. Everts had been offered the job but, after having barely survived being lost  in the park for more than a month, turned it down leaving the position to be filled by Langford. But with no funding and Langford not living in the park, no road or trail projects were accomplished in Yellowstone. When Langford was ready to step down from the position, Norris applied.13)Haines, Yellowstone Story,V.2, 450. Among Norris’ reference letters was one from Everts. Norris excitedly took the job in 1877.14)Whittlesey, Storytelling, 109-10.

    Norris was adamant about the necessity of roads and trails in Yellowstone. He made grand plans for both. According to a local Bozeman newspaper, Norris, at a reception with “the citizens of Bozeman… in a very forcible and felicitous manner, showed his own maps and sketches the points and locations of interest, the probable boundaries, the outlets and approaches to this extraordinary region of curiosities…” The people of  Bozeman were very excited. A road from their town directly to an attraction within the park would draw tourists.15)“Reception to Col. P.W. Norris,” Bozeman Avant Courier, August 01, 1878, accessed February 20, 2017,  http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn84038123/1878-08-01/ed-1/seq3/#date1=1877&index=10&date2=1883&searchType=advanced&language=&sequence=0&lccn=&words=NORRIS+Norris+P+W&proxdistance=5&state=Montana&rows=20&ortext=&proxtext=&phrasetext=&andtext=P.W.+Norris&dateFilterType=yearRange&page=1.  Norris was able to secure funding from Congress in the amount of, “ten thousand dollars for the protection and improvement of the park.”16)Norris, The Calumet Of The Coteau, 239.  According to Norris, “the first [road] improvements ever made in the Park were commenced at Mammoth Hot Springs during the Bannock raid of 1878.”17)Norris, The Calumet Of The Coteau, 239.  The appropriation was not enough to fund Norris’ roads and trail works vision. Rather than scaling back on the number of roads, he cut back on the quality of the roads. Some of the park’s visitors and Norris’ political enemies noticed and speculated that Norris might have been embezzling or, at best, incompetent.18)Haines, Yellowstone Story,150.

Figure 2, Map by P.W. Norris. Courtesy of P.W. Norris, The Calumet Of The Coteau, 255. 

     On the other hand, most Yellowstone visitors who encountered Norris thought highly of him. He rode around the park with only a blanket bundle and an ax.19)Jane Galloway Demaray, Yellowstone Summers: Touring With the Wylie Camping Company In America’s First National Park, (Pullman, WA: Washington State University Press, 2015), 20 and 23.  He had long hair and a long beard. Norris often worked on the roads and trails himself. This effort brought him into contact with tourists. 

     In his 1879 annual report, Norris wrote about an encounter with people Yellowstone. He had been out exploring the park for possible trail routes. 

Returning, I opened a trail from the cascades to Old Faithful, at the head of the upper                     Fire Hole Basin, there finding several parties of tourists. One of these… is deemed                         worthy of special record : as, though many ladies had for years visited the geysers upon      horseback, and the Smith and Woodworth party, with ladies, had recently visited them                      in wagons from Virginia City, these were the first ladies to reach Old Faithful by wagon                 upon our road from Bozeman, and who upon horseback—August 27—were positively the                first ladies who, by any mode or route, ever visited the cascades of the upper Fire Hole               River, 3 miles above Old Faithful.20)P.W. Norris, Report Upon the Yellowstone National Park To the Secretary Of the Interior For the Year 1879, (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1880), 6.

     When he didn’t just come upon visitors, Norris would meet with parties and give them long talks about Yellowstone. One tourist reported that Norris was, “A most entertaining talker.”21)Whittlesey, Storytelling, 9, 10 and 109.  His reports convey the same entertaining excitement when he wrote about a park find.

Another of the season’s discoveries is a rustic fall upon the West Gardiner, near the summit               of nature’s rocky fence to our pasturage. This small snow-fed stream, from its bridge on our         road to the geysers, flows quietly through a grassy margin in an open sage plain nearly a                 mile to its border, and then glides some 40 or 50 feet down a mossy rock, so smooth, so             placid, and so noiselessly as to present to one standing afoot or astride, as can easily and             safely be done upon its very margin of mist-nourished ferns and flowers, a contrast unique             and matchless, to the succeeding 1,500 feet of its dashing, foaming descent adown a                 yawning canon waterway, in magnitude out of all comparison to that now flowing there.22)Norris, Report 1879, 10.  

His knowledge of the Park and gritty appearance left people admiring the hardworking Norris. However, members of the nineteenth-century American government operated differently than today. 

     Norris came of age in an era where it was not uncommon for a government employee to use his office to make extra money. Norris had done just this in his past. Shortly after giving up his commission in the Union Army, Norris worked with the Army’s Sanitary Commission. He then went on to be responsible for one of its prisons. His close ties to the Army kept him in proximity to the information he would need to later offer his services as estate guardian for soldiers killed in the war. In one case Norris was able to turn swampy estate land into dry, desirable, profitable land. He was the first to buy. Furthermore, before becoming the Park’s superintendent, Norris had been speculating in real estate near Yellowstone. During his published trips he had been closely following and even talking with the railroad companies about their plans for laying track.23)Haines, Yellowstone Story,V.2,31.

     At the time of Norris’ tenure, Bozeman and Virginia City were competing. Both wanted tourists, roads, and railroad lines. In late 1879 Norris provided a map to the Union Pacific Railroad that highlighted a possible route from Virginia City into the park. Virginia City was happy, and Norris might have stood to gain from his earlier land speculations. Bozeman stood to benefit from The Northern Pacific Railroad reaching the park from the west and was decidedly dissatisfied with Norris.24)Aubry L. Haines, The Yellowstone Story: A History of Our First National Park, Revised Edition, V. 1, (Niwot, CO: University of Colorado Press, 1996), 263-4.

     The Northern Pacific Railroad was also dissatisfied with Norris. He was not a company man. Norris would not use his position to lobby Congress on the railroad’s behalf in matters that would advance their agenda in Yellowstone. The railroad’s primary goal was earning tourist dollars. Norris’ main ambition was protecting Yellowstone. The railroad wanted Norris replaced with a superintendent they could manipulate.25)Haines, Yellowstone Story,V.1, 315.  By 1882 a number of questionable events gave the Northern Pacific Railroad the kindling required to start the firestorm needed to lobby for Norris’ removal.26)Haines, Yellowstone Story,V.2, 31 and 150.

    The largest and most controversial was the Stare Rout Scandal, a mail delivery conspiracy. The federal government contracted with outside agencies to move mail from one post office to another, or from the railroad station to the post office.27) George Bliss, Star Route Conspiracy: United States against Thomas J. Brady and others. Opening address of George Bliss, Washington, D.C., June 2 and 5, December 14, 15, 18, and 19, 1882, ( Washington, D.C.: U.S. G.P.O., 1882), 111, accessed  Feb 18, 2017, https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=uc2.ark:/13960/t58c9t868;view=1up;seq=5. It was one of these companies that negatively impacted Norris. The company wanted to move mail through the park, Norris helped to plan the route and build a road. Both were advantageous for Virginia City, which made the people from Bozeman angry. The company overcharged the government and failed to fulfill the contract. Norris wrote to his boss that he was using his workforce to move mail. The people of Virginia City were mad at Norris for not defending the mail contractor against allegations of conspiracy. Though Norris himself had no connection to the mail conspiracy, he had alienated himself from any local allies who might have come to his defense. Once the enormity of the conspiracy was understood and the government began indicted conspires, though no formal charges were ever filed against him, Norris was eyed with suspicion.28)Haines, Yellowstone Story, V.1, 256-7.

     Had it been the only incident that brought the judgmental eye of the public on Norris he might have been Superintendent until the day he died, but there was yet another event that raised questions about his integrity. The Yellowstone Park Improvement Company helped push the questions. Monopolies were the most efficient form of money making. Norris was not able to get on board with the idea. While he supported licensed park guides and some tourist services within the park, he was against the leasing of parkland for hotels and other corporate held interests. The Yellowstone Park Improvement Company was made up of wealthy, politically connected men who wanted what Norris was unwilling to help them obtain. Specifically, land for the only hotel inside the park.29)Haines, Yellowstone Story, V.1, 263-4.

    The Yellowstone Park Improvement Company launched a campaign to save Yellowstone from vandals and the park’s game from slaughter.30)Haines, Yellowstone Story, V.1, 263.  Though it’s unclear how a hotel would accomplish these objectives,  the Yellowstone Park Improvement Company came across as not another money hungry capitalistic company, but rather as an environmental partner for the park. With his land interests in the area of the Union Pacific Railroad, the perception of his misappropriation on the roads and trails project, the accidental entanglement in the Star Route conspiracy, and lack of support for the Yellowstone Park Improvement Company Norris had nothing but political enemies.31)Haines, Yellowstone Story, V.1, 263.

     After five years as the park’s superintendent, Norris returned to Ohio. Norris died January 14, 1885.32)Haines, Yellowstone Story,V.2, 31 and 150.  

Before his death, Norris published a book about Yellowstone, The Calumet of the Coteau. In the book, he wrote,

Farewell to my business, farewell to my home;

Adieu to my loved ones, my fate is to roam

  ‘Mid the pure crystal fountains and geysers below

     The wild-circling mountains, white-glistening with snow.33)

Norris, The Calumet Of The Coteau, 86.

Read more

References

↑ 1. Philetus Walter  Norris, The Calumet Of The Coteau, And Other Poetical Legends Of The Border : Also, A Glossary Of Indian Names, Words And Western Provincialisms : Together With A Guide-book Of The Yellowstone National Park,(Philadelphia, PA: J. B. Lippincott & CO., 1883), 7, accessed February 7, 2017, https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=mdp.39015024241682;view=1up;seq=9.
↑ 2. Aubry L. Haines, The Yellowstone Story: A History of Our First National Park, Revised Edition, V. 2, (Niwot, CO: University of Colorado Press, 1996), 448-58.
↑ 3, 7. Haines, Yellowstone Story,V.2, 449.
↑ 4. Lee H. Whittlesey, Storytelling in Yellowstone: Horse and Buggy Tour Guides, (Albuquerque, NM: University of New Mexico Press, 2007), 109.
↑ 5. Haines, Yellowstone Story,449.
↑ 6. Whittlesey, Storytelling, 109.
↑ 8. Haines, Yellowstone Story,V. 2, 449-50.
↑ 9. Aubry L. Hines, Yellowstone National Park: Its Exploration and Establishment, (Washington D.C. : United States Department of the Interior, National Park Service, 1974), 60.
↑ 10. Hines, Yellowstone National Park, 61-2.
↑ 11. Haines, Yellowstone National Park, 146.
↑ 12. H. Duane Hampton, “The Early Years In Yellowstone,” in How The U.S. Cavalry Saved Our National Parks (Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 1971) accessed February 28, 2017, https://www.nps.gov/parkhistory/online_books/hampton/chap3.htm.
↑ 13. Haines, Yellowstone Story,V.2, 450.
↑ 14. Whittlesey, Storytelling, 109-10.
↑ 15. “Reception to Col. P.W. Norris,” Bozeman Avant Courier, August 01, 1878, accessed February 20, 2017,  http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn84038123/1878-08-01/ed-1/seq3/#date1=1877&index=10&date2=1883&searchType=advanced&language=&sequence=0&lccn=&words=NORRIS+Norris+P+W&proxdistance=5&state=Montana&rows=20&ortext=&proxtext=&phrasetext=&andtext=P.W.+Norris&dateFilterType=yearRange&page=1.
↑ 16, 17. Norris, The Calumet Of The Coteau, 239.
↑ 18. Haines, Yellowstone Story,150.
↑ 19. Jane Galloway Demaray, Yellowstone Summers: Touring With the Wylie Camping Company In America’s First National Park, (Pullman, WA: Washington State University Press, 2015), 20 and 23.
↑ 20. P.W. Norris, Report Upon the Yellowstone National Park To the Secretary Of the Interior For the Year 1879, (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1880), 6.
↑ 21. Whittlesey, Storytelling, 9, 10 and 109.
↑ 22. Norris, Report 1879, 10.
↑ 23. Haines, Yellowstone Story,V.2,31.
↑ 24. Aubry L. Haines, The Yellowstone Story: A History of Our First National Park, Revised Edition, V. 1, (Niwot, CO: University of Colorado Press, 1996), 263-4.
↑ 25. Haines, Yellowstone Story,V.1, 315.
↑ 26. Haines, Yellowstone Story,V.2, 31 and 150.
↑ 27.  George Bliss, Star Route Conspiracy: United States against Thomas J. Brady and others. Opening address of George Bliss, Washington, D.C., June 2 and 5, December 14, 15, 18, and 19, 1882, ( Washington, D.C.: U.S. G.P.O., 1882), 111, accessed  Feb 18, 2017, https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=uc2.ark:/13960/t58c9t868;view=1up;seq=5.
↑ 28. Haines, Yellowstone Story, V.1, 256-7.
↑ 29. Haines, Yellowstone Story, V.1, 263-4.
↑ 30, 31. Haines, Yellowstone Story, V.1, 263.
↑ 32. Haines, Yellowstone Story,V.2, 31 and 150.
↑ 33.

Norris, The Calumet Of The Coteau, 86.

The Unknown Nobody

 

 

 John Muir

     

   Figure 1. John Muir. NPS photo. John Muir NHS.

 John Muir was born April 21, 1838, in Dunbar, Scotland.1)“John Muir: A Brief Biography,” Sierra Club, accessed January 20, 2017, http://vault.sierraclub.org/john_muir_exhibit/life/muir_biography.aspx. Muir’s father owned and operated a successful grain and produce business out of the first floor of the family’s three-story home.2)James Mitchell Clarke, The Life and Adventures of John Muir, (San Francisco, CA: Sierra Club Books: 1980): 4. From an early age, Muir had wandered the landscapes near his home.3) John Muir, “A Boyhood in Scotland,” in John Muir; The Eight Wilderness Discovery Books, (Seattle, WA: The Mountaineers, 1995), 27. The boy was always up for an adventure.
     Muir wrote that as a child he, “was fond of everything wild.” His first wild adventure was at the age of three hunting for the source of a mysterious new sound in a haystack. There he was, a tiny little boy with his grandfather in a hayfield pulling apart the haystack until at last, he found the tiny creatures making the nose; it was a field mouse with her newborn babies. Muir was ecstatic, remembering “No hunter could have been more excited on discovering a bear and her cubs in a wilderness den.”4)Muir, “Boyhood in Scotland,”27.
     In 1849, the Muir family emigrated to the United States.5)“A Brief Biography,” Sierra Club. Muir was eleven years old and was excited by the prospect of new adventures in America.6)Charles R. Van Hise, “John Muir,” Science, no. 1153 (February 2, 1917): 104, accessed January 18, 2017, http://www.jstor.org/stable/1641544 ; John Muir, “A Boyhood in Scotland,” in John Muir; The Eight Wilderness Discovery Books, (Seattle, WA: The Mountaineers, 1995), 27-42. The family first set up a farm in Fountain Lake, Wisconsin.7)Sierra Club, “A Brief Biography.” Muir wrote that he and his siblings would run down to the lake in their limited free time on Sundays. They loved the waterfowl and other animals that called the ecosystem home. They particularly liked the water-lilies which they would collect by the arm full and take home.8)John Muir, “Life on a Wisconsin Farm,” in John Muir; The Eight Wilderness Discovery Books, (Seattle, WA: The Mountaineers, 1995), 62.
     Over time crop yields at the Fountain Lake Farm diminished significantly, and after only eight years the family moved.9)John Muir, “Life on a Wisconsin Farm,” in John Muir; The Eight Wilderness Discovery Books, (Seattle, WA: The Mountaineers, 1995), 53. They named the new location Hickory Hill Farm.10)“A Brief Biography,” Sierra Club. During the day Muir worked outdoors with his family, and in his free time, he studied, alone, to further his education. Muir was obsessed with learning. He borrowed books from neighbors. When Muir wanted more books, he hunted and sold muskrat pelts to earn money needed for the books his parents wouldn’t buy for him.11)Clarke, Life and Adventures of John Muir, 21.
     In 1860, Muir entered the University of Wisconsin. While he was a dedicated student and earned good grades, Muir didn’t follow a prescribed degree path. Instead, he took classes that fit his varied interests and covered the many sciences.12)“A Brief Biography,” Sierra Club. Muir’s father had raised all of his children in a strict Christian home, but Muir had no difficulty accepting Darwin’s new evolutionary theory. 13)Clarke, Life and Adventures of John Muir, 35. Science did not erode Muir’s faith in creation, and the two ideas lived peacefully in his heart.
     Like many young people today, Muir left college looking for an occupation that would pay his way through life. He took a job in a small factory and in 1867, an accident blinded Muir for a month. When his sight returned, he chose to leave the company and follow his passion rather than a paycheck. It was the beginning of Muir’s wandering the American wilderness.14)“A Brief Biography,” Sierra Club.
     After a year of exploring the nation’s backwoods, Muir arrived in the Sierra Nevada and began a lifelong love affair with Yosemite.15) “A Brief Biography,” Sierra Club. By the time Muir had arrived Yosemite had already been placed in a trust, for all people, under the care of the state of California. President Abraham Lincoln had signed the landmark law in 1864 blazing the way for what would grow into America’s national park system. 16)The National Parks: America’s Best Idea, episode 1, “The Scripture of Nature,” directed by Ken Burns and Dayton Duncan, (Public Broadcasting Station, September 27, 2009).                                                                                                                                               Muir wanted to see every tree and flower in Yosemite. He climbed cliffs and discovered glaciers. Muir accomplished this by spending consecutive days out in nature. He traveled light, often with only starvation rations and his journal. This meant that “he was cold… [and] frequently hungry; yet to these discomforts… Muir appeared oblivious.”17)Van Hise, “John Muir,” 107. In his journal Muir recorded everything he saw down to the number of clouds in the sky over various landmarks.18)University of the Pacific, Digital Collections, John Muir Journals 1867-1913, accessed February 19, 2017,  http://www.pacific.edu/Library/Find/Holt-Atherton-Special-Collections/ Digital-Collections/John-Muir-Journals.html.
     Muir was able to claim trees and mountain because he was strong. His youth on the farm had given him years of manual labor. Plowing, hoeing, and cutting down trees. When he was just fifteen years old, he was able to cut a tree flat across the bottom. The pointed bottom was more common. Muir’s trees were flat because he possessed the tremendous strength from his shoulders down to his hands that were required.19)Clarke, Life and Adventures of John Muir, 15 and 20. The backbreaking work of his youth had given his muscles the power needed to take Muir were he wanted to go. After years of fresh air and beautiful scenery, Muir fell in love with a woman.
     In 1880, Muir married Louie Wanda Strentzel. The newlyweds moved to Martinez, California. Soon they had a prosperous fruit ranch and two daughters. For ten years Muir focused on his family, business, and writing. Muir was a prolific author. Over the course of his life, in addition to his personal journals, he wrote and published 300 articles and ten books.20)“A Brief Biography,” Sierra Club.

Figure 2. John Muir and family on the front steps of the Martinez home. NPS photo. John Muir NHS. JOMU 1732.
     Muir ‘s relentless publications helped shape public opinion on the importance of making Yosemite a National Park. In 1890, much to the jubilation of Muir and others, Congress created Yosemite National Park. But Muir wasn’t finished with one park. He continued to advocate for and helped to found Sequoia, Mount Rainier, the Petrified Forest, and the Grand Canyon national parks. It is because of his hard work that Muir is remembered as “Father of Our National Park System.”21)“A Brief Biography,” Sierra Club.
     Even with the congressional act protecting Yosemite, Muir worried that the park could still be a target for entrepreneurs who could pay powerful lobbyists and change the laws. In 1892, Muir created the Sierra Club to lobby for the government’s protection of America’s wilderness. Muir was the organization’s first president and remained in the office until his 1914 death.22)“A Brief Biography,” Sierra Club. He understood the powerful ally the government could be. On the topic of forests Muir wrote, in 1897, “Through all the wonderful, eventful centuries since Christ’s time-and long before that-God has cared for these trees, saved them from drought, disease, avalanches, and a thousand straining, leveling tempests and floods; but he cannot save them from fools,-only Uncle Sam can do that.”23)John Muir, “The American Forests,” The Atlantic Monthly, no. 4 (May 2006): 57, accessed January 18. 2017, http://search.proquest.com.ezproxy.library.ewu.edu/docview/223088458/fulltextPDF/E8DD9F9320B24437PQ/1?accountid=7305.  

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References

↑ 1. “John Muir: A Brief Biography,” Sierra Club, accessed January 20, 2017, http://vault.sierraclub.org/john_muir_exhibit/life/muir_biography.aspx.
↑ 2. James Mitchell Clarke, The Life and Adventures of John Muir, (San Francisco, CA: Sierra Club Books: 1980): 4.
↑ 3. John Muir, “A Boyhood in Scotland,” in John Muir; The Eight Wilderness Discovery Books, (Seattle, WA: The Mountaineers, 1995), 27.
↑ 4. Muir, “Boyhood in Scotland,”27.
↑ 5, 10, 12, 14, 20, 21, 22. “A Brief Biography,” Sierra Club.
↑ 6. Charles R. Van Hise, “John Muir,” Science, no. 1153 (February 2, 1917): 104, accessed January 18, 2017, http://www.jstor.org/stable/1641544 ; John Muir, “A Boyhood in Scotland,” in John Muir; The Eight Wilderness Discovery Books, (Seattle, WA: The Mountaineers, 1995), 27-42.
↑ 7. Sierra Club, “A Brief Biography.”
↑ 8. John Muir, “Life on a Wisconsin Farm,” in John Muir; The Eight Wilderness Discovery Books, (Seattle, WA: The Mountaineers, 1995), 62.
↑ 9. John Muir, “Life on a Wisconsin Farm,” in John Muir; The Eight Wilderness Discovery Books, (Seattle, WA: The Mountaineers, 1995), 53.
↑ 11. Clarke, Life and Adventures of John Muir, 21.
↑ 13. Clarke, Life and Adventures of John Muir, 35.
↑ 15. “A Brief Biography,” Sierra Club.
↑ 16. The National Parks: America’s Best Idea, episode 1, “The Scripture of Nature,” directed by Ken Burns and Dayton Duncan, (Public Broadcasting Station, September 27, 2009).
↑ 17. Van Hise, “John Muir,” 107.
↑ 18. University of the Pacific, Digital Collections, John Muir Journals 1867-1913, accessed February 19, 2017,  http://www.pacific.edu/Library/Find/Holt-Atherton-Special-Collections/ Digital-Collections/John-Muir-Journals.html.
↑ 19. Clarke, Life and Adventures of John Muir, 15 and 20.
↑ 23. John Muir, “The American Forests,” The Atlantic Monthly, no. 4 (May 2006): 57, accessed January 18. 2017, http://search.proquest.com.ezproxy.library.ewu.edu/docview/223088458/fulltextPDF/E8DD9F9320B24437PQ/1?accountid=7305.

What Does Religion Have To Do With It?

The Impact of Pennsylvania, Maryland and Virginia’s Religious Diversity on America’s Constitution

     On Tuesday, April 30, 1789, a crowd gathered at the Federal Hall Building in New York City. General George Washington had taken his place near the banister of the second-floor balcony. Those gathered below had come to witness the inauguration of America’s first President.  Washington looked down on the people, a microcosm of the nation’s multitude of religious faiths. Those who stood shoulder to shoulder in the street were Quakers, Congregationalists, Catholics, Jews, and others from more than a dozen faiths. A hushed crowd strained to hear the presidential oath of office. Yet, the multi-religious crowd heard no profession of Washington’s faith. Article Six of the new Federal Constitution ensured there would be no religious test required of any leader in the new republic.1)Article Six, in part, reads, “The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the members of the several state legislatures, and all executive and judicial officers, both of the United States and of the several states, shall be bound by oath or affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.” A short time later, the First Amendment would protect the religious practice of all American’s and ensure no one religion would dominate government power.2)[National Archives, “George Washington’s First Inaugural Address, April 30, 1789,” Records of the United States Senate, accessed October 31, 2015. https://www.archives.gov/legislative/ features/gw-inauguration/ ; Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies, “Inaugural Weather,” accessed 31 October 2015, http://www.inaugural.senate.gov/swearing-in/weather ; David L. Holmes, The Faiths of the Founding Fathers, (New York: Oxford University Press, 2006): 16.

     As a result of the religious diversity of Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Virginia, the new Federal Constitution had to include Article Six and the First Amendment in the Bill of Rights in order to protect the religious freedom of all. The religiously persecuted sects (Catholic and Quaker) had fled to the American colonies to avoid ill-treatment, only to then perpetrate the same oppression on others.

     In the past, most kings and clergymen in most of Europe had sought to keep people from other faiths out of power. Catholics wanted to prevent Protestants, and Protestants wanted to keep Catholics from gaining power. Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Virginia’s experience with religiously-motivated power struggles and the oppression of minority groups gave the authors of the Constitution a clear picture of the necessity of the “no religious test” clause and the First Amendment’s free exercise and anti-establishment clauses in the Federal Constitution.

      In the literature on the issue of what drove Article Six and the First Amendment’s inclusion in the Constitution and Bill of Rights was an influential man, Joseph Story. In 1833, Story, an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, published Commentaries on the Constitution of the United States, which dissects the Constitution and Bill of Rights. Story argued that the religious history of both England and the colonies made those at the Constitutional Convention uneasy. Without the “no religious test” clause in Article Six, it would not be difficult for one religion to gain enough power at the national level to institute religious test requirements and secure absolute power. Therefore Article Six, “cut off for ever every pretense of any alliance between church and state in the national government.”3)Joseph Story, Commentaries on the Constitution of the United States, vol. 3, (Boston: Hilliard, Gray, and Company, 1833): 705 ; Jenny S  Martinez, The Slave Trade and the Origins of International Human Rights Law, (New York: Oxford University Press, 2012): 56.

     As for the First Amendment, Story used transcripts from the constitutional convention’s debates on religion’s bloody past, both international and domestic, as the primary motivator for the Amendment’s ability to “cut off the means of religious persecution.”4)Thomas Lloyd in Joseph Story, Commentaries, vol. 3, 728.

      Taking the opposite position to Story was Garrett Ward Sheldon’s essay “Religion and Politics in the Thought of James Madison.”  Sheldon argued that the intent of the First Amendment was the promotion of all forms of Christianity, not protecting non-Christians from persecution.5)Garrett Ward Sheldon, “Religion and Politics in the Thought of James Madison,” in The Founders on God and Government, ed. Daniel L. Dreisbach, and Mark D. Hall, and Jeffry H. Morrison (New York: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc., 2004), 97-98 ; Holmes, Faiths, 59.

     Others like Howard L. Lubert see the Founders’ choice of church-state separation as a way of preserving the dignity of faith. In Lubert’s essay “Benjamin Franklin and the Role of Religion in Governing Democracy,” he revisits the conundrum that Pennsylvania’s Quaker government found itself in during the Revolutionary War. The pacifist Quaker colony chose to support the war effort by providing money for food. This, Lubert said, meant that “the Quakers appeared hypocritical,” because they claimed to be pacifists yet supported a war. For this reason, according to Lubert, church-state separation is important for preserving the reputation of the faith.6)Howard L. Lubert, “Benjamin Franklin and the Role of Religion in Governing Democracy,” in The Founders on God and Government, ed.Daniel L. Dreisbach, and Mark D. Hall, and Jeffry H. Morrison (New York: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc., 2004), 169 ;  Margaret H. Bacon, The Quiet Rebels: The Story of the Quakers in America. (New York: Basic Books, Inc., 1969), 18.

     However, Sheldon and Lubert both fail to engage the religiously diverse backgrounds of the states fully. Since their colonial establishment, the states had been impacted by religious diversity. The religiously diverse population of the nation necessitated the protection of the federal government from religious ideology with Article Six and the First Amendment’s free exercise and anti-establishment clauses. Without these checks in place, those in power could easily preserve the mistreatment of people from minority religious groups. The delegates were aware of the failures of the states. Sadly, Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Virginia were guilty of the abuse of religious minorities.

     Pennsylvania was the first state examined for its religious diversity and intolerance. William Penn founded the colony of Pennsylvania in 1681. Penn’s father was an Admiral in the Royal Navy and a war hero. During Admiral Penn’s commission, he paid out of his pocket for supplies with the understanding that he would be reimbursed. The repayment did not come in the Admiral’s lifetime.

     For a long time Admiral Penn’s son, William Penn, had been living beyond his means. Over a million pounds in debt, Penn needed a way to raise capital. He petitioned King Charles II in 1681 for repayment of the debt owed to his father with a charter for a colony.  Once granted the charter, Penn launched a hugely successful marketing campaign. At the time immigration to the American colonies was down, yet Penn was able to entice enough investors and immigrants to place almost fifty ships of people and supplies in the new colony from 1682 to 1683.7)Richard S. Dunn, “William Penn and the Selling of Pennsylvania, 1681-1685,” Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society 127, no. 5 (October.1983):322-323.

     Penn’s motives for establishing the colony were not strictly financial. He wanted to establish a religiously tolerant colony. Penn’s vision was of many religions living in peace; He called this a “Holy Experiment.” Pennsylvania soon became home to large numbers of Quakers and Catholics. While Penn was a savvy businessman and interested in religious liberty, part of his success was the fact that many Quakers left England due to heavy persecution. The jailing of Quakers was common, as was corporal punishment that included whipping, tongue mutilation or branding. The jailing was so rampant that up until 1698 an estimated 15,000 suffered incarceration, and more than 400 died while imprisoned. In spite of the poor treatment, not everyone wanted to leave England. Those Quakers who stayed behind did so because they thought the persecution was a sign that they were “God’s chosen people.”8)Holmes, Faiths, 5 ; Bacon, The Quiet Rebels: The Story of the Quakers in America, 19 ; Dunn, “Selling Pennsylvania,” 322 ; Edwin Scott Gaustad, A Religious History of America, (New York: Harper & Row, 1966), 92.

     Penn established the religiously tolerant colonial government in tandem with Quaker religious beliefs. Penn’s 1682 Frame of Government of Pennsylvania stated, “Government seems… a part of religion itself, a thing sacred in its institution and end.” In other words, in his view, religion had an important place in government.

     However, Pennsylvania legislators made changes over the years to the Frame of Government. In 1696, the Frame of Government of Pennsylvania added a residency requirement for voting, an attempt to keep the growing non-Quaker population from the polls. Additionally the Frame mandated that elected people “will make and subscribe the declaration and profession of Christian belief…” with an exemption for Quakers, who “instead of an oath make their solemn affirmation or declaration.” By 1698, all political offices were held by Quakers. Minority faiths had their rights suppressed, including the right to petition for the chance to exercise their religion.

     The religious power struggle did not end with the war for independence. The 1776 Constitution of the state of Pennsylvania required elected officials to make a declaration of belief in the God of the Holy Bible. This requirement was not taken lightly by the Jewish population who in 1783 and 1787 attempted to have the religious requirements for office removed from the state’s constitution. These religious tensions would not have gone unnoticed by Pennsylvania’s delegates to the Constitutional Convention.9)The Federal and State Constitutions: Colonial Charters, and Other Organic Laws of the States, Territories, and Colonies Now and Heretofore Forming the United States of America, vol.5, edited by Frances Newton Thorpe, Washington: Government Printing  Office, 3053, 3072, and 3085 ; Isaac Kraminck and R. Laurence Moore, The Godless Constitution: The Case Against Religious Correctness, (New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 1996), 30 ; Gray B. Nash, Quakers and Politics: Pennsylvania, 1681-1726, (New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1968), 206-207.

     Maryland was the next state examined for its religious diversity and intolerance. When the colony was first envisioned, Sir George Calvert wanted Maryland to be a Catholic refuge. Earlier, Calvert had worked for King James I from 1609 to 1620 as royal commissioner to the Virginia colony. During a visit to Virginia, he explored the Chesapeake Bay. In 1625, Calvert resigned his position in the King’s court because he had converted to Catholicism. James I accepted the resignation and gave Calvert the title of Baron of Baltimore. Calvert then petitioned King Charles I for a charter establishing the colony of Maryland in the Chesapeake Bay area, the area he had explored many years earlier. Calvert, however, died before receiving the charter. Therefore, it was granted to Calvert’s son Caecilius Calvert, Lord Baltimore, in 1632.10)The Federal and State Constitutions: Colonial Charters, and Other Organic Laws of the States, Territories, and Colonies Now and Heretofore Forming the United States of America, vol.3, edited by Frances Newton Thorpe, Washington: Government Printing  Office, 1909, 1669; Francesca Ditifeci, “The Charter of Maryland (June 20, 1632) A Model of Propriety Charter,” Il Politico 68, no. 3 (Sep – Dec, 2003): 511 ; Maria A. Day, “George Calvert First Lord Baltimore: Extended Biography,” Archives of Maryland, March 18, 2010, accessed November 27, 2015,http://msa.maryland.gov/megafile/msa/speccol/sc3500/sc3520/002100/002167/html/2167extendedbio.html.

     The Catholics left England because, like the Quakers, they suffered persecution. King Henry VIII had broken with the Catholic Church, confiscated the church’s land, and established himself as the head of the Anglican Church. During the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, Catholic nobility and statesmen had to give an oath, swearing allegiance to the queen over the pope.11)Mark Nicolls, “Strategy and Motivation in the Gunpowder Plot,” This Historical Journal, 50 no. 4 (Dec., 2007): 111, and 802.

      Lord Baltimore had a second motive for establishing the colony: money. As a result, the colony marketed itself as religiously tolerant. The premise was that a religiously tolerant colony would attract more immigrants who wanted to buy land, than if the colony limited immigration to Catholics. Maryland passed a Religious Toleration Act and was also home to a large number of Quakers.12)[Holmes, Faiths, 18-30 ;  Robert K. Wright Jr. and Morris J. MacGregor Jr., “Soldier-Statesmen of the Constitution: Daniel Carroll: Maryland,” Center of Military History. United States Army, 1987, accessed October 17, 2015, http://www.history.army.mil/books/RevWar/ss/ carroll.htm.

     However, in spite of the Calvert’s best efforts to maintain religious harmony, on two separate occasions the Religious Toleration Act was repealed. The first repeal was in 1654 when the Protestant controlled-government was able to rescind the act. At the same time, the legislators attempted to ban Catholics from living in the colony. Maryland’s colonial government reinstated the act in 1658. The second repeal was a the succession of Protestant co-rulers King William and Queen Mary to the throne.13)[Sergey Tokarev, “Maryland Toleration Act (1649),” Civil Liberties, July 30, 2012, accessed November 27, 2015, http://uscivilliberties.org/legislation-and-legislative-action/4106-maryland-toleration-act-1649.html.

     Finally, the crown took Maryland from the Calvert family. In 1692, the colony’s new royal governor effectively removed all Catholics and Quakers from office by imposing a religious test and an oath. Early in the 18th century, Maryland officially adopted the Church of England as the colony’s sponsored church. In 1718, anyone who would not take the Oath of Supremacy (Catholics and Quakers) lost the power to vote. It was not until 1776 that Maryland’s new government changed its laws, making it possible for Catholics to vote and hold public office.14)Tokarev, “Act (1649),” http://uscivilliberties.org/legislation-and-legislative-action/4106-maryland-toleration-act-1649.html ; Robert, J. Burgger, Maryland: A Middle Temperament (1634-1980), (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press,1988), 56.

     Virginia was the last state examined. Unlike Maryland and Pennsylvania, the colony of Virginia was an economic enterprise. This is evident in Virginia’s first charter granted by King James I in 1606. The charter makes no mention of spreading the Christian faith.  It is not until the 1612 Third Charter of Virginia that Christianization of the native population is mentioned. However, by 1607 the first Anglican Church opened to parishioners in Jamestown. It soon became Virginia’s established church and remained so until 1786. “[Virginia’s] General Assembly legislated for…[the established church to be]…supported… through taxation, and protected against competition.” Quakers and Baptists were the religious people Virginian Anglican’s most often took issue with. By 1662 Virginian laws imposed fines on ship captains if they brought Quakers immigrants into the colony. Additional laws against dissenters (Baptists and Quakers), ranged from fines for not attending the established church to banishment if apprehended, for a third time, in groups larger than five.15)The Federal and State Constitutions: Colonial Charters, and Other Organic Laws of the States, Territories, and Colonies Now and Heretofore Forming the United States of America, vol.7, edited by Frances Newton Thorpe, Washington: Government Printing  Office, 1909, 3802; Holmes, Faiths, 34-35 ; Wendy Dackson, “Richard Hooker and American Religious Liberty” Journal of Church and State 41, no. 1 (Winter1999):127, accessed February 20, 2016, http://www.jstor.org/stable/23919626 ; Henry R. McIlwaine, The Struggle Of Protestant Dissenters For Religious Toleration In Virginia, vol.4. (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins Press, April 1894), 21-22.

     Without change, the delegates believed, the cycle of religious persecution and power monopolies like those seen in Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Virginia would continue. In 1787, at the Constitutional Convention, Charles Cotesworth Pinckney, a delegate from South Carolina, suggested an addition to the constitution, “no religious test or qualification shall ever be annexed to any oath of office under the authority of the United States.” The clause went to the committee of five. Ten days later the clause read, “no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the authority of the United States.” The delegates voted to include the clause in the Constitution.16)The Records of the Federal Convention of 1787, vol. 2, ed. Max Farrand, (New Haven: Yale University Press 1923), 334, 335, 340, 460, and 461.

     Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Virginia’s delegates to the Constitutional Convention knew of their states’ religiously turbulent past and continued religious tensions within the states. Daniel Carroll was among Maryland’s delegates to the Constitutional Convention. Carroll came from a catholic family. Under the limiting property laws in England, Carroll’s ancestors had turned over their property to the Crown, rather than convert to Protestantism. In colonial Maryland, the family endured the suppression of their rights. In Carroll’s own lifetime he had gone from not having the right to vote to holding an elected office and representing Maryland at the Constitutional Convention. Maryland was the only state to split their vote on Article Six.17)[Robert K. Wright Jr. and Morris J. MacGregor Jr., “Soldier-Statesmen,” ; Max Farrand,  review of Daniel Carroll: A Framer of the Constitution, by Mary Virginia Geiger, American Historical Review 50, no. 1 (Oct., 1944): 39-40 ; Kramnick and Moore, Godless Constitution, 29 ; Mary Virgina Geiger, Daniel Carroll A Framer of the Constitution, (Washington, D.C.: The Catholic University of America, 1943): 2-3.  

     Pennsylvania voted unanimously in the affirmative for Article Six. The state’s keystone delegate was Benjamin Franklin. Franklin’s parents raised him in a faith-based tradition. Franklin’s father sent him to the Latin School for a year with aspirations of his son growing up to be a Puritan minister. The schooling did not take. At the time of the Constitutional Convention Franklin was an old man. In his lifetime Franklin had witnessed the mistreatment of minority faith groups within his own state. He was also aware of the ongoing fight to remove the state constitutional requirement for elected officials to declare belief in the God of the Holy Bible. Franklin and his fellow state delegates united in their support of Article Six.18)Benjamin Franklin, ed. Leonard W. Labaree, and Ralph L. Ketcham, and Helen C. Boatfield, and Helene H. Fineman (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1964), 71 ; David L. Holmes, The Faiths of the Founding Father, (New York: Oxford University Press, 2006): 53; The Federal and State Constitutions: Colonial Charters, and Other Organic Laws of the States, Territories, and Colonies Now and Heretofore Forming the United States of America, vol.5, edited by Frances Newton Thorpe, Washington: Government Printing  Office, 3085 ; Isaac Kraminck and R. Laurence Moore, The Godless Constitution: The Case Against Religious Correctness, (New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 1996), 30 ; Gray B. Nash, Quakers and Politics: Pennsylvania, 1681-1726, (New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1968), 206-207.

     The last state examined was Virginia. One of Virginia’s delegates at the Constitutional Convention was the aforementioned-James Madison. Raised in an Anglican home, Madison had a strong personal faith. After graduating Princeton University, he briefly considered becoming a minister before deciding to study law. In 1776, Madison was elected to the Virginia Convention, where he worked to ensure church and state separation. In 1786, Madison and Thomas Jefferson secured the passage of the Statute for Religious Freedom that dissolved Virginia’s established religion. In 1787, Madison’s work on the Constitution ensured that those who represented the nation could be as religiously diverse as the nation’s population.19)Gray Kowalski, Revolutionary Spirits: The Enlightened Faith of America’s Founding Fathers (New York: BlueBridge, 2008): 157-169.

     In spite of Article Six passing so easily, the Constitution was not without criticism. In The Godless Constitution, Isaac Kramnick and R. Laurence Moore remind the reader that in 1787, “one of the most powerful criticisms of the Constitution… was [its indifference] to Christianity and God.” Article Six of the Constitution also establishes the Constitution as the “supreme law of the land.” At the convening of the Constitutional Convention, nine state constitutions had a religious prerequisite for those elected to office, and nine had an established church. After the ratification of the Federal Constitution states began to slowly follow the precedent and changed their constitutions to be more like the Federal Constitution.20)Kramnick and R. Moore, Godless Constitution, 23, and 29; Akhil Reed Amar, America’s Constitution: A Biography, (New York: Random House, 2005), 166.

     Where Article Six ended in the separation of church and state, the First Amendment picked up. Madison crafted the opening of the First Amendment carefully. He wanted to make clear that Congress did not have the ability under the enumerated powers, or the necessary and proper clause to change what followed, “Congress shall make no law.”21)Amar, Constitution, 319-320.

     Madison understood religions fickle interpretations, “… religion… may become a motive to oppression as well as a restraint from injustice.” He had seen for himself, in Virginia, how those in power were able to strip the rights of others away. Madison knew if enough people supported it, a state-sponsored church would be adopted. Therefore, the wording had to be clear; the government would never be able to establish a church or infringe on the rights of citizens to exercise their faith.22)Letters and other Writings of James Madison, vol. 1, (Philadelphia: J.B. Lippincott & Co. 1867): 327, and 424 ; Holmes, Faiths, 34.

      It was not a need for the preservation of faith’s reputation that religion and government were separated by the constitution. Nor was it to promote all forms of Christianity. If this had been the goal of the constitution, it would have been written with wording as clear as the early colonial documents and state constitutions. The purpose of Article Six and the First Amendment was to prevent power monopolies by faith groups that could then wield the nation’s power to persecute its citizens based on faith. The religious power struggles that bloodied most of Europe had followed immigrants to the colonies and lasted, in most states, until the ratification of the Federal Constitution. Clearly the states understood the intention, because states followed the precedent of Article Six by removing religious oaths and the First Amendment by dismantling state sponsorship of churches.23)Sheldon, “Religion and Politics,” 97-98 ; Holmes, Faiths, 59 ; Lubert, “Benjamin Franklin,” 169 ;  Bacon, The Quiet Rebels, 18 ; Story, Commentaries, 705 ;  Thomas Lloyd in Joseph Story, Commentaries, 728 ; Kramnick and R. Moore, Godless Constitution, 23, and 29; Amar, America’s Constitution, 166.

     Before stepping out onto the Federal Hall balcony in April of 1789, to become America’s first president, George Washington had been the president of the Constitutional Convention. The states had grown from colonies that had failed to accomplish interfaith religious harmony, the goal of Penn’s “Holy Experiment.” Washington knew of the religious tensions within the states that had created a need for Article Six and knew of Madison’s drafting of the Bill of Rights. Article Six and the First Amendment made religion an establishment separate from the government, allowing Washington, born and raised in the Anglican Church, to hold the highest office in America.24)Holmes, Faiths, 5, and 59 ; Story, Commentairies, 705.

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References

↑ 1. Article Six, in part, reads, “The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the members of the several state legislatures, and all executive and judicial officers, both of the United States and of the several states, shall be bound by oath or affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.”
↑ 2. [National Archives, “George Washington’s First Inaugural Address, April 30, 1789,” Records of the United States Senate, accessed October 31, 2015. https://www.archives.gov/legislative/ features/gw-inauguration/ ; Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies, “Inaugural Weather,” accessed 31 October 2015, http://www.inaugural.senate.gov/swearing-in/weather ; David L. Holmes, The Faiths of the Founding Fathers, (New York: Oxford University Press, 2006): 16.
↑ 3. Joseph Story, Commentaries on the Constitution of the United States, vol. 3, (Boston: Hilliard, Gray, and Company, 1833): 705 ; Jenny S  Martinez, The Slave Trade and the Origins of International Human Rights Law, (New York: Oxford University Press, 2012): 56.
↑ 4. Thomas Lloyd in Joseph Story, Commentaries, vol. 3, 728.
↑ 5. Garrett Ward Sheldon, “Religion and Politics in the Thought of James Madison,” in The Founders on God and Government, ed. Daniel L. Dreisbach, and Mark D. Hall, and Jeffry H. Morrison (New York: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc., 2004), 97-98 ; Holmes, Faiths, 59.
↑ 6. Howard L. Lubert, “Benjamin Franklin and the Role of Religion in Governing Democracy,” in The Founders on God and Government, ed.Daniel L. Dreisbach, and Mark D. Hall, and Jeffry H. Morrison (New York: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc., 2004), 169 ;  Margaret H. Bacon, The Quiet Rebels: The Story of the Quakers in America. (New York: Basic Books, Inc., 1969), 18.
↑ 7. Richard S. Dunn, “William Penn and the Selling of Pennsylvania, 1681-1685,” Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society 127, no. 5 (October.1983):322-323.
↑ 8. Holmes, Faiths, 5 ; Bacon, The Quiet Rebels: The Story of the Quakers in America, 19 ; Dunn, “Selling Pennsylvania,” 322 ; Edwin Scott Gaustad, A Religious History of America, (New York: Harper & Row, 1966), 92.
↑ 9. The Federal and State Constitutions: Colonial Charters, and Other Organic Laws of the States, Territories, and Colonies Now and Heretofore Forming the United States of America, vol.5, edited by Frances Newton Thorpe, Washington: Government Printing  Office, 3053, 3072, and 3085 ; Isaac Kraminck and R. Laurence Moore, The Godless Constitution: The Case Against Religious Correctness, (New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 1996), 30 ; Gray B. Nash, Quakers and Politics: Pennsylvania, 1681-1726, (New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1968), 206-207.
↑ 10. The Federal and State Constitutions: Colonial Charters, and Other Organic Laws of the States, Territories, and Colonies Now and Heretofore Forming the United States of America, vol.3, edited by Frances Newton Thorpe, Washington: Government Printing  Office, 1909, 1669; Francesca Ditifeci, “The Charter of Maryland (June 20, 1632) A Model of Propriety Charter,” Il Politico 68, no. 3 (Sep – Dec, 2003): 511 ; Maria A. Day, “George Calvert First Lord Baltimore: Extended Biography,” Archives of Maryland, March 18, 2010, accessed November 27, 2015,http://msa.maryland.gov/megafile/msa/speccol/sc3500/sc3520/002100/002167/html/2167extendedbio.html.
↑ 11. Mark Nicolls, “Strategy and Motivation in the Gunpowder Plot,” This Historical Journal, 50 no. 4 (Dec., 2007): 111, and 802.
↑ 12. [Holmes, Faiths, 18-30 ;  Robert K. Wright Jr. and Morris J. MacGregor Jr., “Soldier-Statesmen of the Constitution: Daniel Carroll: Maryland,” Center of Military History. United States Army, 1987, accessed October 17, 2015, http://www.history.army.mil/books/RevWar/ss/ carroll.htm.
↑ 13. [Sergey Tokarev, “Maryland Toleration Act (1649),” Civil Liberties, July 30, 2012, accessed November 27, 2015, http://uscivilliberties.org/legislation-and-legislative-action/4106-maryland-toleration-act-1649.html.
↑ 14. Tokarev, “Act (1649),” http://uscivilliberties.org/legislation-and-legislative-action/4106-maryland-toleration-act-1649.html ; Robert, J. Burgger, Maryland: A Middle Temperament (1634-1980), (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press,1988), 56.
↑ 15. The Federal and State Constitutions: Colonial Charters, and Other Organic Laws of the States, Territories, and Colonies Now and Heretofore Forming the United States of America, vol.7, edited by Frances Newton Thorpe, Washington: Government Printing  Office, 1909, 3802; Holmes, Faiths, 34-35 ; Wendy Dackson, “Richard Hooker and American Religious Liberty” Journal of Church and State 41, no. 1 (Winter1999):127, accessed February 20, 2016, http://www.jstor.org/stable/23919626 ; Henry R. McIlwaine, The Struggle Of Protestant Dissenters For Religious Toleration In Virginia, vol.4. (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins Press, April 1894), 21-22.
↑ 16. The Records of the Federal Convention of 1787, vol. 2, ed. Max Farrand, (New Haven: Yale University Press 1923), 334, 335, 340, 460, and 461.
↑ 17. [Robert K. Wright Jr. and Morris J. MacGregor Jr., “Soldier-Statesmen,” ; Max Farrand,  review of Daniel Carroll: A Framer of the Constitution, by Mary Virginia Geiger, American Historical Review 50, no. 1 (Oct., 1944): 39-40 ; Kramnick and Moore, Godless Constitution, 29 ; Mary Virgina Geiger, Daniel Carroll A Framer of the Constitution, (Washington, D.C.: The Catholic University of America, 1943): 2-3.
↑ 18. Benjamin Franklin, ed. Leonard W. Labaree, and Ralph L. Ketcham, and Helen C. Boatfield, and Helene H. Fineman (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1964), 71 ; David L. Holmes, The Faiths of the Founding Father, (New York: Oxford University Press, 2006): 53; The Federal and State Constitutions: Colonial Charters, and Other Organic Laws of the States, Territories, and Colonies Now and Heretofore Forming the United States of America, vol.5, edited by Frances Newton Thorpe, Washington: Government Printing  Office, 3085 ; Isaac Kraminck and R. Laurence Moore, The Godless Constitution: The Case Against Religious Correctness, (New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 1996), 30 ; Gray B. Nash, Quakers and Politics: Pennsylvania, 1681-1726, (New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1968), 206-207.
↑ 19. Gray Kowalski, Revolutionary Spirits: The Enlightened Faith of America’s Founding Fathers (New York: BlueBridge, 2008): 157-169.
↑ 20. Kramnick and R. Moore, Godless Constitution, 23, and 29; Akhil Reed Amar, America’s Constitution: A Biography, (New York: Random House, 2005), 166.
↑ 21. Amar, Constitution, 319-320.
↑ 22. Letters and other Writings of James Madison, vol. 1, (Philadelphia: J.B. Lippincott & Co. 1867): 327, and 424 ; Holmes, Faiths, 34.
↑ 23. Sheldon, “Religion and Politics,” 97-98 ; Holmes, Faiths, 59 ; Lubert, “Benjamin Franklin,” 169 ;  Bacon, The Quiet Rebels, 18 ; Story, Commentaries, 705 ;  Thomas Lloyd in Joseph Story, Commentaries, 728 ; Kramnick and R. Moore, Godless Constitution, 23, and 29; Amar, America’s Constitution, 166.
↑ 24. Holmes, Faiths, 5, and 59 ; Story, Commentairies, 705.

Winter Brake

Hello Reader,
Thank you for spending the last three months with me. I hope you had as much fun reading my blog posts as I had writing them.
The class that drove this blog’s content is over. Now I need to think about the future of this blog.
I paid $35 to have my own name. I wonder if I should keep it. The blog, I’m keeping my name for sure.
While I contemplate the future you can see my latest videos on my YouTube channel.
Enjoy the winter. Maybe I’ll see you in January 2017. 🙂

A Town No More

Click here to read the final draft of this article. 

Beneath the blue-green waters of Lake Roosevelt lies a half-dozen drowning victims–the towns that were flooded by the rising waters behind the Grand Coulee Dam. Gifford, Washington, was one of those towns.

Town founder James Gifford was born in 1843 in the frontier town of Lansing Michigan. His parents moved from New York to Michigan to support what would become a large family with nine children. It is from them that Gifford got his westering nature.

When the Civil War broke out young James Gifford, just 19 years old, enlisted in the Union Army. In 1863 he was part of a week-long assault on the Confederate Army that is remembered as The Mine Run campaign. On the fourth day of fighting, he took a bullet to his left leg, which was amputated. He was officially discharged June 15, 1864.

 

 

On July 4th, 1873, James married Sarah Elizabeth Williams. The couple had four children before deciding, in 1889, to move to the Washington Territory. The family loaded up a covered wagon with all their possessions, including a china cabinet, and set out to the west.

 

 

By 1890 James owned a farm near the river in Stevens County. His four brothers and two sisters settled frames near by. As the Gifford family grew in number so did the community that would bear the name. James and Sarah build a store and a post office where Sarah was the postmistress, a position she would hold until her death in 1918. The town’s population peaked in 1910 then slowly declined to just thirty-nine people when it came time to move.

The dam’s construction forced the tiny village of Gifford to relocate to its current location. The post office and Independent Order Of the Odd Fellows Hall were the only two buildings moved. Everything else was destroyed and the debris removed. Even the trees were cleared away. The last tree was cut down on July 19th, 1941. The original town of Gifford is now ninety feet below the surface of the water. James Gifford died October 28th, 1926. Some of his descendants still live in Stevens County.

 

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Mic Check

This week my class focused on learning about podcasts. I produce one. It’s on Sound Cloud. It is the product of a challenge I made for myself. Each episode’s about a dozen minutes long and I talk to people with whom I enjoy talking. The beautiful part about the podcast is that no one I’ve asked to be a part of it has said no. The bad bit is that it takes more time than I ever thought it would. Because of this, I don’t release episodes on a regular basis, and that makes it difficult to generate a following other than my husband and parents who always support me.

What I didn’t realize until this week was that podcasts have waxed and waned in their popularity. In the article Podcasts are back — and making money  I learned that the driving force behind the renewed interest in podcasts is the widespread use of smartphones that make accessing and listening to podcasts easier. Additionally, many cars are now Bluetooth enabled which makes it possible to hear the podcast on a sweet upgraded sound system. 

There are history podcasts out there. Not all podcasts are created equal. That’s not a dig on podcasts made in one’s free time with money found in the couch cushions. Did you hear my podcast? However, the people who make history podcasts aren’t always experts in history or even a field that vests the podcaster with research skills. This is a point Dr. Cebula wrote about in his blog post, Public History Has to Get the History Right, where a self-taught historical enthusiast stepped up to the mic and made a podcast about an event that was, well, told in a way that one might have heard on Edison’s Talking Machine rather than in the modern age. Dr. Cebula thinks that novice historians are filling a need that could and should be filled by professionals, “But we fail to embrace the new opportunities to reach a public…” 

There are some quality history podcasts out there. The Best History Podcasts is a list compiled by the UK-based Telegraph of a few. But just because something is well produced by experts doesn’t mean the information is always complete and error free. It’s important to be active media consumers at all times regardless of the medium. Question the storyteller’s sources, motives, and biases. Even in history: nullius in verba. 

Is There A Copyright Lawyer In the House?

This week I attempted to unravel the heaping hot mess that was my understanding of copyright law. Under the mass of confusion was a black hole that tugged at logic and reason, and then crushed those ideas at the event horizon.
I’d like to start with what went wrong with copyright law. The only reasonable answer is the government. As Mark Helprinmay points out in his article,  A Great Idea Lives Forever. Shouldn’t Its Copyright? the federal “Constitution states unambiguously that Congress shall have the power,” to determine the length of copyright protection. But the Constitution also reads that any treaty the nation enters becomes the law of the land and as Steven Seidenberg reminded readers in his article A Trove of Historic Jazz Recordings has Found a Home in Harlem, But You Can’t Hear Them, “international treaties” have impacted domestic copyright laws. See? Government.  

As an undergrad and now as a first quarter graduate student my biggest concern has been plagiarism. I’ve spent a lot of hours with my inanimate best friend and manual “Chicago Style” to ensure my footnotes were right, rechecking quotation marks, and rewriting summaries and paraphrases until I balled everything so tight that one more edit might cause the words to exploded into a new universe. But that’s part of who I am. I want to make sure that my ideas are clearly shown to be mine and the people who have helped shape my world view are given their due credit. But copyright is a horse of another color. This is where I run into conflict with my friend, Chicago.

In Daniel J. Cohen and Roy Rosenzweig’s, Digital History: A Guide To Gathering, Preserving, and Presenting the Past on the Web, in the chapter “Owning the Past” the men cover fair use rules. They compile an argument agent being “too cautious” with fair use rules because, ” ‘Without being exercised,’ Stowe argues, ‘the right to fair use will simply atrophy.’ Even the more cautious Chicago Manual warns against seeking permission where there is the slightest doubt because ‘the right of fair use is valuable to scholarship, and it should not be allowed to decay because scholars fail to employ it boldly.'” First, “too cautious” is ambiguase and each author and publisher needs to make the call based on the advice given to them by their lawyers. Second, the “atrophy” and “decay” of laws is a necessary part of the advancement of our civilization. This is where the black hole’s gravity starts to distoret everything. 

I think it’s fair to pause and ask if my blog posts have violated copyright laws. Uhm? I don’t think so. But, then again my understanding of the law is still as convoluted as the law itself. Just to be safe, this web page has been set to self-destruct on the first day of winter brake. Chicago might be cringing, but scholarship gains nothing by my being “bold” and I lose nothing by taking everything down at the end of the class.         

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