Wednesday, April 15, 2009


One of the privileges derived from writing a historical fiction series like Free Men and Dreamers is actually studying wonderful, oft forgotten, oft neglected American history. I've been blessed by the generosity of tireless museum curators who've shared the treasuries of their knowledge with me, and I been blessed by dedicated U.S. Park Service employees who are uncannily enamored with the sacred acreage over which they have stewardship.

I've trudged through colonial forts and battlegrounds, climbed the ramparts of Fort McHenry and Fort Monroe; visited Williamsburg and eaten at one of George Washington's favorite restaurants--Christiana Campbell's. I've sat in Christ's Church in Philadelphia and touched the nameplates of Founding Fathers/worshippers whose names are forever immortalized on the Declaration of Independence. I've been blessed to stand silently in Philadelphia's State House where the Constitution was framed, fought over, and signed.

I've stood at Benjamin Franklin's grave and pondered his great foresight; fallen in love with John Adams' steadfastness, Washington's selflessness, Madison's scrappy tenacity and Jefferson's vision. It's all so easy to do. . .

Today is Tax Day. And Tea Party Day. Ironically, my husband is actually in Boston, the place where the first Tea Party was held, and where the greatest modern-day stand against unfair taxation and government power brokering will likely be held. I wish I could be there. But instead I will attend a small gathering in my own community. I'll stand with my neighbors, none of us knowing exactly what's to be done, but knowing that whatever is done must be done by the voice of the people, firmly fixed to the sacred, inspired Constitution.

As individuals, we know too little about the North star of our government. Why is that, I wonder? If we can download a video, or even email a friend, we can read the Constitution online. I've long worried over the number of Constitutional questions that arise in elections these days, wondering about our individual "Constitutional IQ's" and our readiness to render a choice in defense of this landmark document.

It was the first, you know. There were other nations with governing guidelines, of course, but the infant United States broke ground when it established a written Constitution, creating the first codified law of government on the earth, and establishing a bench mark from which other nations have based their own.

If we don't understand the inspired intentions of the Founding Fathers, and if we don't have a grasp on the Constitution as it currently stands, can we confidently, prudently, and wisely decide its future as well as ours?

There are several good sites listed below that quiz you, providing explanations to the basic elements of our government and its beautiful Constitution. Take a few minutes and test yourself, then pass the link on to friends or your children to hone their own skills. It would make a great Family Home Evening activity.

A link is provided below to get a free copy of the Constitution, and may I suggest that every American should also buy a $3.00 copy of one of the most wonderful and inspiring dvd's I've ever seen"--A More Perfect Union. Here's the link:

Enjoy the quizzes:
1. The U.S. Constitution Test (Used by the Dept. of Immigration and Naturalization)

2. (This one provides scores and great explanations and could make a great family activity)

3. Conversations on the Constitution (This is a quiz sponsored by the American Bar Association explaining recent court rulings and how they affect us.)

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