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|The Role of Spies|
in Early U.S. History
by Beverly Schmitt
The course of history was changed on
September 17, 1787—the day the U.S.
signed by 39 men. Fifty-five delegates
attended the Constitutional Convention, but
dared to sign. They risked a great deal,
their lives, their fortunes, and their
sacred honor, for our freedoms.
"We the people of the United States, in Order
to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice,
insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the
defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure
the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our
do ordain and establish this Constitution for the
United States of America." – Preamble
to the U.S. Constitution
There are so many fascinating stories that
led to this fateful date. Yet there is also
the unknown, secret history of the history
for the War of
counterintelligence, and espionage. In a
A great deal of risk was incurred by
Patriot spies. Twenty-one-year-old
Nathaniel Hales famous statement before his
execution for his patriotic spying was, "I
only regret that I have but one life to lose
for my country!
Thomas Jefferson had successful
privateering enterprises. Spies learned the
semaphore code which helped them to falsely
identify themselves as British ships and
smuggle in weapons, munitions, and other
important goodsfrequently from the Dutch
Republic. They listened to secret Tory war
Spies risked all.
The Commission for Detecting and Defeating
Conspiracies was a counterintelligence
and the forerunner of the secret service.
Their mission was to uncover enemy spies and
traitors to the Patriot cause. The 1776
Articles of War gave them their rules of
Covert operations like blockade running
were imperative to the struggling government
waiting to operate freely. Spy saboteurs
targeted munitions factories, shipyards, and
weapons storage facilities. Some were caught
and executed; others continued this dangerous
Goods contaminated with small pox and
other dangerous diseases were traded back and
forth between Tories and Patriots with the
goal of infecting the other side.
Complex codes, ciphers, secret writing,
invisible inks, and cryptology were used.
Tory and Patriot spies worked hard to capture
the code books of their opponents, so many
committed these codes to memory.Lydia Darragh
In British-occupied Philadelphia, Lydia
Darragh, like Betsy Ross, supported the
General Howe was quartered in the home of
her neighbor, John Cadwalader, and sent a soldier
to tell Quaker Lydia Darragh she had to move
out of her home so British officers could use
informed him that she had two children to
care for and had no place to go. Her two
were already living with relatives.
Captain Barrington, her cousin from
Ireland, intervened with Lord Howe on her
behalf. Lydia would be allowed to stay in her
home if she kept a room available for British
officers to hold meetings.
Darragh risked everything to overhear the
ultra-secret plans of Lord Howe to attack
and, hopefully, capture Washington at
Whitemarsh by hiding in a linen closet in
another room. If all went well, the British
held, the war would soon be over.
Through extraordinary courage, Lydia
Darragh warned Washington of his impending
Secret List of Spies
Many today do not realize that a secret
list of spies, Patriot and Tory, existed in
the city of divided loyalties, Philadelphia.
Both sides wanted this list destroyed. We
know it exists, but we do not know what
happened to it.
British General Sir William Howe
astonished all when he occupied the city.
Washington was baffled at Howe's move and
relocated to Valley Forge. Seemingly,
confusion reigned on the Patriot side.
Intrigue was everywhere—I spy, you
spy, he spies, she spies, they spy, we all
Learn about this mysterious time in C.D.
riveting, meticulously researched story that
integrates historical facts in an interesting
and easy-to-follow plot.
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He Got the Last Part
After our 5-year-old son had learned about
money, we began giving him an allowance.
We carefully explained our guidelines:
give at least the first nickel to God, save
some for a rainy day, and then the rest you
may spend wisely.
We stressed the importance of being
faithful to God as we use the money He gives
us. To make sure he understood, we asked,
"What are you supposed to do with your
William said with enthusiasm, "Spend it
Submitted by C. Balan, Texas
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Copyright 2007 The Teaching Home
Constitution Week, September 17- 23
1. President's Comments on
2. Studying Our Constitution
3. Studying Our Government
4. Biblical Principles: Basis for America's
• Doorposts: Applying Scripture
in Your Home
• How Great Thou Art (Christian
• AVKO Multi-Sensory Language Arts
Constitution Day commemorates the signing
of the U.S. Constitution on September 17,
It is important to teach your children
about our nation's Constitution and how it
affects our lives. Constitution Week,
September 17-23, is also a great time to
study our government and our Christian
heritage with your family!
May the Lord bless you and your family for
The Pat Welch Family, Publishers
Pat, Sue, Heather, Holly, and Brian
Home is a home-school, family-run
business operated in our home since 1980.
1. President's Comments on the Constitution
by George W. Bush
President of the United States of America
The following are excepts from a former
Citizenship Day and Constitution Week
Today, we marvel at the wisdom of the
Framers who toiled through a long summer of
learned and contentious debates.
Their work produced a document that
upholds high ideals, while answering the most
practical questions of governance. The
charter they crafted — with its separate
branches of Government, enumerated powers,
checks and balances, and later the specific
protections provided by our Bill of Rights
guides our Nation and inspires others around
As the delegates to the 1787
Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia
began working on what would become the United
States Constitution, they grasped that a
great democracy must be built on the twin
National consent to a Federal Government
Respect for individual rights.
Balance of Powers
In creating our Nation's Constitutional
framework, the Convention's delegates
recognized the dangers inherent in
concentrating too much power in one person,
branch, or institution.
They wisely crafted a Government that
balanced the functions and authority of a
Federal system among three separate but equal
As a further check on central power, the
Framers granted citizens the right to vote,
giving them the power to express their
political preferences peacefully and thereby
to effect change in the Government.
The Convention delegates ratified the
Constitution on September 17, 1787, and
submitted it to the States for approval.
Bill of Rights
After much deliberation and discussion at
the State level, the following two concerns
emerged from among those who feared the
Constitution's proposed centralization of
The threat of tyranny
The loss of local control.
To address these fears, our Founders
amended the Constitution by adding a Bill of
These ten amendments provided a series of
clear limits on Federal power and a litany of
protective rights to citizens.
Today, our Nation celebrates the
longest-lived written Constitution in world
End of Summer Sale at Doorposts.
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• Order for Oct. 31: A
Night of Reformation.
2. Studying Our Constitution
The Constitution of the United States is
the foundation of our American Government. As
the supreme law of the land, no law may be
passed that contradicts its principles, and
no person or government in the nation is
exempt from following it.
Read, study and discuss the Constitution.
Read the Constitution along
Guide to U.S. Government for Students.
The First Amendment
The First Amendment to the Constitution
does not include the phrase "separation of
church and state." Nowhere does it suggest
that Christianity cannot be heard in the
In fact, the first act of the United
States Congress was to authorize the printing
of 20,000 Bibles for the Indians. Read
Judicial Interpretation of the
The subject of constitutional
interpretation is a valid and practical
concern today that will reach into many areas
of our lives for years to come.
Two competing viewpoints have emerged:
To follow the original intent of the
To allow judges to interpret the Constitution
as they will.
Tale of Two Constitutions" by David
Barton as well as a variety of articles from
Builders on the moral, religious, and
constitutional foundation on which America
Can We Do About Judicial Activism?"
Free Online Lessons
The Center for Civic Education offers
free lessons for Constitution Day and
These are beautifully produced pdf files
with illustrated stories, questions,
worksheets, activities, and teacher's guides.
You may download
and print them. Audio guides are also
Kindergarten - study of
authority. (30 pages)
Level 1-2 - study of
authority. (34 pages)
Level 3-4 - Preamble to the
Constitution. (10 pages)
Level 5-6 - Preamble to the
Constitution. (12 pages)
Level 7-8 - the federal system of government.
Level 9-10 - the Constitution as a framework
for the government. (14 pages)
Level 11-12 - involves students in critical
thinking exercises involving fundamental
principles of the Constitution. (17 pages)
Give Your Children
an Excellent Art Education
with How Great Thou Art
Choose from 14 curriculums that teach
students of all ages the fundamentals of
drawing, painting, color theory, and art
appreciation. Written by Christian artist and
art instructor Barry Stebbing.
See quality supplies,
art gallery, sample lessons, and class
schedules at www.HowGreatThouArt.com.
3. Studying Our Government
The Teaching Home Newsletters #66-68
(which you can read online or print for
personal use) addressed the topic of teaching
your children about governments in general
and the United States government in
This series offers much practical
information, Internet links for further
study, and application for Christians. It
would make an excellent study for
Following is an outline of what each issue
#66: Introduction to Government
1. What and How To Teach
2. The Biblical Basis of Government
3. Forms of Government
#67: United States Government
1. We are a Republic, not a Democracy
2. The Constitution
3. The Three Branches of Government; Checks
4. Distribution of Government Powers
5. How a Bill Becomes a Law
6. Our Heritage of Freedom; Our Christian
#68: Our Responsibilities in
1. The Spiritual Aspect of Political Action
2. Political Action
3. Guidelines for Any Lobbying Effort
AVKO (Audio, Visual,
Kinesthetic, and Oral)
Offers a Multi-Sensory Approach
to Language Arts through Phonics
and Word Families.
Individualized Keyboarding teaches
reading and spelling skills as your child
masters the keyboard.
Let's Write Right teaches
reading/spelling as the alphabet is
Sequential Spelling builds
To Teach a Dyslexic is the readable
and enjoyable autobiography of Don McCabe, a
dyslexic who has become a widely recognized
expert on dyslexia and head of AVKO.
To try it before you buy it, or for
information on dyslexia, visit our website.
Complimentary samples and downloads. www.spelling.org
4. Biblical Principles: Basis for America's Laws
Excerpted and reprinted by permission from
an article by Charles and Cindy Meek, Faith
Christians believe that the Bible offers
ultimate, objective, and absolute truth.
There was a general consensus on this point
in America from the earliest settlers until
only very recently.
Thus it was natural for the early
Americans to turn to the Bible for guidance
as to how to make civil law. This was the
standard for law beginning with the Mayflower
Compact all the way through the constitutions
of all 50 states.
For example, the first state constitution
was the Fundamental Orders of Connecticut
(1639). Read this document.
The framers of this document desired that
every aspect of it be based on the Bible.
This document was a model for other
constitutions including the U.S. Constitution
which followed it. (See other Preambles
to State Constitutions.)
Rule of Law
Another aspect of our system of government
is that it is based on the Rule of Law. This
concept is a direct descendant of Hebrew law
and the Ten Commandments.
Together with the concept of inalienable
rights from God, these concepts helped ensure
a way of life that respected the dignity of
The True Nature of Man
Another important aspect of America's
constitution is that it has as its basis the
distinctly Christian idea that man is
basically sinful. Every one of our founding
fathers understood this truth. The result was
that the founders built into the Constitution
an elaborate system of checks and balances.
This is evident in the horizontal plane of
executive, legislative, and judicial branches
of government. It is also evident in the
vertical plane of federalism - states' powers
versus federal powers.
See a chart
of the influence of Biblical thought on
America's legal system with Bible
Constitution Day Package
"A More Perfect Union," DVD, depicting the
Federal Convention of 1787 ( See a preview online).
Beautiful reproductions of the U.S.
Constitution and the painting depicting the
30 student booklets including the founding
documents plus quotes;
A miniature version of the 24-image Freedom
$49.95 (reg. $140) 1-877-917-1787. Roots
Civics Education Courses
School Legal Defense Association.
Includes: Founding Fathers, Introduction to
Constitutional Law, The Federalist Papers,
Declaration of Independence, and more.
The Federalist Papers Online
One of the most important works on political
theory ever written.
America's Godly Heritage
clearly sets forth the beliefs of many of the
famous Founding Fathers concerning the proper
role of Christian principles in education, in
government, and in the public affairs of the
A Nation Adrift
"A Chronicle of America's Providential
is the true story of how God's sovereign
hand guided the founders of America.
by Tara Ross. Understand the Constitution
and the basic tenets that undergird America's
republican democracy. Free Study Guide. Colonial
Naturalization Self Test
Could your children (or you) pass the test
to become a citizen? Test your knowledge of
United States History and the structure of
our government on this easy-to-use online
question and answer interactive site.