Prophetic Voices Concerning America

It is one thing to declare independence from something or someone. It is quite another thing to succeed. Why did the founders believe this experiment of “all men being created equal” would succeed!?

A few years ago, while in Vermont for the fall colors Linda and I stumbled on a used bookstore where we found some treasures. One was a gem entitled Prophetic Voices Concerning America by Charles Sumner that was printed in 1874. With special interest I noted that pages 51-62 were devoted to none other than the prophecies of John Adams from 1755-1818.

In John Adams’ preface to his “Defence of the American Constitution” written while in London in 1787 he said, “A prospect into futurity in America is like contemplating the heavens through the telescope of Herschel. Objects stupendous in their magnitudes and motions strike us from all quarters and fill us with amazement.”

I don’t believe anyone could argue with this prophecy now 236 years old. He similarly wrote to Thomas Jefferson dated November 15, 1813, “Many hundred years must roll away before we shall be corrupted. Our pure, virtuous, public-spirited, federative republic will last forever, govern the globe, and introduce the perfection of man.” How are we doing with our pure, virtuous, and public-spirited republic? Let’s trace this prophetic history that Adams laid down.

Transfer of Power to America

As a young schoolteacher of nineteen years of age in Worcester in 1855, while speaking of the rise and fall of Carthage and Rome Adams noted. “England began to increase in power and magnificence, and is now the greatest nation of the globe. Soon after the Reformation, a few people came over into their New World for conscience sake. Perhaps this apparently trivial incident may transfer the great seat of empire to America. It looks likely to me;…..according to exactest computations will in another century, become more numerous than England itself…..since we have all the naval stores of the nations in our hands it will be easy to obtain the mastery of the seas; and then the united force of all Europe will not be able to subdue us. The only way to keep us from setting up for ourselves is to disunite us.”

The Hand of Providence

In Adams’ dissertation on Canon and Feudal Law from the Boston Gazette in August of 1768, “I always consider the settlement of America with reverence, 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.”

The Declaration of Independence and Two Countries Forever Separated

In a letter to his wife Abigail dated July 3, 1776 he wrote, “Yesterday the greatest question was decided which ever was debated in America, and a greater, perhaps, never was nor will be decided among men…. I am surprised at the suddenness as well as greatness of this revolution. Britain has been filled with folly, and America with wisdom. At least this is my judgment. Time must determine. It is the will of Heaven that the two countries should be sundered forever…The day is past. The second day of July, 1776, will be the most memorable epocha in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be commemorated, as the day of deliverance, by solemn act of devotion to God Almighty.”

America is a Blessed Land

“The United States of America are a great and powerful people, whatever European statemen may think of them. If we take into our estimate the numbers and the character of her people, the extent, variety, and fertility of her soil, her commerce, and her skill and materials for shipbuilding, and her seamen, excepting France, Spain, England, Germany, and Russia, there is not a state in Europe so powerful. Breaking off such a nation as this from the English so suddenly, and uniting it so closely with France, is one of the most extraordinary events that ever happened among mankind.”

America Capable of Being the Most Independent Country Upon Earth

America had no credit and no money. How could she survive a war of 6, 8 or 10 years was the question posed by the Dutch as Adams asked for a loan for the war effort. His reply: “This is an extreme case….I have heard the common farmers in America reasoning upon this….if Great Britain could build a wall of brass a thousand feet high all along the sea-coast, at low-water mark, we can live and be happy. America is most undoubtedly capable of being the most independent country upon earth. It produces everything for the necessity, comfort, and convenience of life, and many of the luxuries too. So that if there were an external separation between Europe and America, the inhabitants of America would not only live but multiply, and, for what I know be wiser, better and happier than they will be as it is.”

English to be the Universal Language

“English is destined to be in the next and succeeding centuries more generally the language of he world than Latin was in the last of French in the present age. The reason of this is obvious,—because the increasing population in Americas, and their universal connection and correspondence with all nations, will, aided by the influence of England in the world, whether great or small, force their language into general use, in spite of all the obstacles that may be thrown in their way, if any such there should be.”

America to Give the Law to Europe and be the Breadbasket of the World

“Yes, but if America becomes free, she will some day give the law to Europe…..”

“America for many centuries to come will be landed, and her chief occupation agriculture….”

The Experiment is Made and Has Completely Succeeded!

“The United States of America have exhibited, perhaps, the first example of governments erected on the simple principles of nature…..Thirteen governments thus founded on the natural authority of the people alone, without a pretense of miracle or mystery, and which are destined to spread over the northern part of that whole quarter of the globe, are a great point gained in favor of the rights of mankind. The experiment is made and has completely succeeded.”

Unity around the principles of life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness and equality, have produced astonishing results. Many are still clamoring to come here. Will we continue in unity to honor these highest of all principles or will we relegate them to the ash heap of destruction as with Greece, Carthage, Rome, and Europe? These were Adams’ prophetic thoughts on this beautiful land we call America.

Take one of his revelatory principles and use it. As you celebrate the 4th of July, a solemn act of devotion to God Almighty for his superintending Providence over this land and an expression of gratitude for men like Adams and Jefferson—who both died on July 4th, 1826—may also be in order.

Published by Dean Forman

I am co-founder and CEO of the John Adams Academies, an institution that is perhaps the most unique charter school system in America today. The Academies’ curriculum is designed to give its students an American Classical Leadership Education®. This is an education that pursues truth, beauty and goodness and turns its scholars outward in search of those whom they can serve in becoming servant leaders. This website is dedicated to sharing the concepts of an American Classical Leadership Education with its readers so that more citizens can benefit from the truth, virtue and wisdom of the past. The thoughts and opinions I share on this page are my personal views.

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