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.
North Carolina – the 12th State Admitted to the Union on November 21, 1789
The Constitution of the State of North Carolina, adopted in 1776, stated:
ARTICLE XXXII. That no person who shall deny the being of God, or the truth of the Protestant religion, or the divine authority of the Old or New Testaments, or who shall hold religious principles incompatible with the freedom and safety of the State, shall be capable of holding any office or place of trust or profit in the civil department within this State.
In 1835, the word “Protestant” was changed to “Christian.”
In 1868, among the persons disqualified for office were:
All persons who shall deny the being of Almighty God.
Today’s North Carolina Constitution, Article VI, Section 8 “Disqualifications for Office,” states.
The following persons shall be disqualified for office:
First, any person who shall deny the being of Almighty God.
Presidential Quote of the Week
Zachary Taylor (1784-1850), 12th President of the United States
We are at peace with the other nations of the world, and seek to maintain our cherished relations of amity with them. During the past year we have been blessed by a kind Providence with an abundance of the fruits of the earth, and although the destroying angel for a time visited extensive portions of our territory with the ravages of a dreadful pestilence[cholera epidemic], yet the Almighty has at length deigned to stay His hand and to restore the inestimable blessing of general health to a people who have acknowledged His power, deprecated His wrath, and implored His powerful protection. – Annual Message to Congress, December 4, 1849
Zachary Taylor was born on a farm in Virginia in November 1784. He was the youngest of three sons in a family of nine children. His father, a prominent planter, had served with George Washington during the American Revolution. He lived most of his youth on the Kentucky frontier in a log cabin. Since there were no schools there, he had only a basic education provided by tutors his father hired from time to time. He was reportedly a poor student; his handwriting, spelling and grammar were described as crude and unrefined throughout his life.
In 1808 Taylor joined the U.S. Army, receiving a commission as a first lieutenant of the Seventh Infantry Regiment from his cousin, James Madison. He was ordered west into Indiana Territory, and was promoted to captain two years later. He assumed command of Fort Knox when the commandant fled, and maintained command there until 1814.
The nation was embroiled in wars during this time and each campaign he endured brought him higher military ranking. During the War of 1812, he successfully defended Fort Harrison from an attack by Indians under the command of Shawnee Chief Tecumseh. In 1832 he personally accepted the surrender of Chief Black Hawk. In Florida, he defeated the Seminoles in a Christmas Day battle. By 1841 he was commander of the southern division of the United States Army.
During his 40-year career in the Army, he earned the nickname “Old Rough and Ready.” In 1845, he was engaged in conflict again with the eruption of the Mexican-American War over Texas. He led forces in the Battle of Monterey and the Battle of Buena Vista, from which he returned as a hero and was compared to George Washington and Andrew Jackson in the American popular press.
Three years later, he received the Whig party nomination for President. He was fiercely independent politically, and ran his administration with the same zeal he had used in fighting Native Americans. Foreign affairs with Europeans and other countries in the Americas caused no lack of consternation; and the slavery issue dominated his term.
Taylor married Margaret Smith, and they had five daughters and one son. He was an Episcopalian. President Zachary Taylor died July 9, 1850, after consuming a snack of milk and cherries at an Independence Day celebration. There was speculation that he had been poisoned with arsenic, and the dispute over that possibility exists to this day. He is interred in a mausoleum in Louisville, Kentucky, at the Zachary Taylor National Cemetery.