As our nation’s Founders designed their plan for a more perfect union, they understood that the success of a modern republic would require more than a political document like the Constitution. From their study of history, the Founders had learned of the pitfalls of republics before this one. They concluded that even the Constitution alone could not curb individual selfishness. They believed that virtues were necessary for sustaining the American experiment. Their fervent prayers were an integral part of the birth of our nation.
Our Nation’s Godly Heritage
Jeremiah S. Black (1810-1883), Secretary of State
As a matter of fact, Jesus Christ died that sinners might be reconciled to God, and in that sense, he died for them; that is, to furnish them with the means of averting Divine justice, which their crimes had provoked. A man who, by any contrivance, causes his own offense to be visited on the head of an innocent person, is unspeakably depraved. But are Christians guilty of this baseness, because they accept the blessings of an institution which their great Benefactor died to establish? Loyalty to the King who erected a most magnificent government or us at the cost of His life – fidelity to the Maker who bought us with His blood – is not the fraudulent substitution in place of the criminal.
Jeremiah Sullivan Black was born in January 1810 in Stony Creek, Pennsylvania. He was largely self-educated and was admitted to the Pennsylvania bar before he was of age. He gradually became one of the leading American lawyers, and as a member of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania, serving as Chief Justice.
He served in the Cabinet of President James Buchanan as Attorney General and was later named as Secretary of State. Buchanan nominated Black for a seat on the Supreme Court, but his nomination was defeated by the Senate by a single vote. He became Reporter of Decisions of the Supreme Court, but after publishing reports for two years, he resigned and devoted himself almost exclusively to his private law practice.
Black was married to Mary Forward Black and they had four children. He died in Pennsylvania in 1883 and was buried in Prospect Hill Cemetery.
Presidential Quote of the Week
Gerald R. Ford (1913-2006), 38th President of the United States
Now I want to speak bluntly. I’ve got bad news, and I don’t expect much, if any, applause. The American people want action, and it will take both the Congress and the President to give them what they want. Progress and solutions can be achieved, and they will be achieved. My message today is not intended to address all of the complex needs of America. … Let us mobilize the most powerful and creative industrial nation that ever existed on this Earth to put all our people to work. - State of the Union Address, January 15, 1975
Gerald Rudolph Ford, Jr. (born Leslie Lynch King, Jr.) was born in July 1913 in Omaha, Nebraska. His mother separated from his father just sixteen days after the infant’s birth. She granted full custody of her son to his paternal grandparents. After two and a half years, his mother married and brought the youngster to live with them. Her new husband was Gerald R. Ford, and they called the boy Gerald, Jr.
Ford was active in the Boy Scouts of America and earned the program’s highest rank, Eagle Scout. He attended Grand Rapids High School. He graduated from the University of Michigan with a B.A. in economics. He was an outstanding collegiate football player, and turned down contract offers from the Detroit Lions and Green Bay Packers to take a coaching position at Yale and apply to its law school. He graduated from Yale Law School and was admitted to the Michigan bar shortly thereafter. He opened a law practice with a friend in Grand Rapids.
During World War II, Ford received a commission as ensign in the U.S. Naval Reserve. He trained as a pilot, but was primarily an instructor of others. He attained the rank of Lieutenant Commander. After the war he returned to Grand Rapids and became involved in local politics, ultimately becoming a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Grand Rapids, a seat he held for 25 years.
In November 1963, President Lyndon B. Johnson appointed Ford to the Warren Commission, a special task force set up to investigate the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. In 1964, Ford was elected the House Minority Leader, and he held that position for eight years. When Vice President Spiro Agnew was forced to resign as President Nixon’s second, Ford was readily chosen to take that spot. It was not long after that when President Nixon resigned, abruptly placing Ford into the position of President of the United States.
Ford served out the remainder of the Nixon second term, invoking the prayers of the people. In a controversial move, Ford issued a Presidential Pardon to his predecessor, even though there had been no confession or indictment of guilt. Ford named Nelson Rockefeller as his own Vice President. One of Ford’s greatest challenges was dealing with the continued conflict in Vietnam. American offensive operations against North Vietnam ended with the Paris Peace Accords.
Ford faced two assassination attempts during his presidency, occurring within three weeks of each other. Ford reluctantly agreed to run for office in 1976, but lost the election to Jimmy Carter of Georgia. He spent his post-White House years as an “elder statesman” and enjoyed golf. He died in 2006 of coronary artery disease. He lived longer than any other U.S. president, dying at 93 years and 165 days. He is interred at his Presidential Museum in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
Ford was married to Elizabeth “Betty” Bloomer Warren, a fashion store consultant, model and dancer in the auxiliary troupe of the Martha Graham Dance Company. The Fords had four children. He listed his religion as Episcopalian.