The settlers and the founders of this country spoke a lot about their posterity — the generations that would follow them. For example, the Constitution begins, “We the People of the United States, in Order to…secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution” (emphasis added).
Long before the Constitution was written, Rev. John Winthrop, the founder of Boston and leader of the first major migration of the Puritans from England, told his followers in the famous “City on a Hill” speech (actually called, “A Model of Christian Charity”): “Now the only way to avoid …shipwreck and to provide for our posterity, is to follow the counsel of Micah, to do justly, to love mercy, to walk humbly with our God.” That was in 1630.
When the Puritans founded Harvard in 1636 for the sake of ministerial training and later named it in honor of Rev. John Harvard because of his generous donations, they mentioned posterity as part of their raison d’etre. Their goal was “to advance Learning and to perpetuate it to Posterity; dreading to leave an illiterate Ministry to the Churches, when our present Ministers shall lie in the Dust.”
The Massachusetts Congress in 1775 declared, “Resistance to tyranny becomes the Christian and social duty of each individual. Fleets, troops, and every implement of war are sent into the province, to wrest from you that freedom which it is your duty, even at the risk of your lives, to hand inviolate to posterity.”
On December 16, 1796, President George Washington wrote to Congress about the need to “secure to ourselves and to posterity that liberty which is to all of us so dear.”
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