The 5000 year leap a mir.., p.1
The 5000 Year Leap: A Miracle That Changed the World, p.1W. Cleon Skousen
The 5000 Year Leap Bundle
Table of Contents
The 5000 Year Leap
United States Constitution
The Declaration of Independence
The Federalist Papers
Democracy in America
This Collection was created by American Documents Publishing
The 5,000 Year Leap
A Miracle That Changed the World
W. Cleon Skousen
Table of Contents
Foreword: by Glenn Beck
The Founders' Monumental Task: Structuring a Government with All Power in the People
The Founder's Basic Principles
About the Author
Appendix A: The Mystery of the Anglo-Saxons
Appendix B: The Secret to America’s Strength
The Five Year Leap
28 Great Ideas That Changed the World
W. Cleon Skousen
© 1981, 2009 W. Cleon Skousen; C&J Investments
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THIS WORK IS DEDICATED TO that generation of resolute Americans whom we call the Founding Fathers. They created the first free people to survive as a nation in modern times. They wrote a new kind of Constitution which is now the oldest in existence. They built a new kind of commonwealth designed as a model for the whole human race. They believed it was thoroughly possible to create a new kind of civilization, giving freedom, equality, and justice to all.
Their first design for a free-people nation was to encompass all of North America, accommodating, as John Adams said, two to three hundred million freemen. They created a new cultural climate that gave wings to the human spirit. They encouraged exploration to reveal the scientific secrets of the universe. They built a free-enterprise culture to encourage industry and prosperity. They gave humanity the needed ingredients for a gigantic 5,000-year leap!
– W. Cleon Skousen
The publication of this book is the fulfillment of a dream gestated over forty years ago at the George Washington University Law School in the nation’s capital.
As I studied Constitutional law, there was always a nagging curiosity as to why someone had not taken the time and trouble to catalogue the ingredients of the Founding Fathers’ phenomenal success formula so it would be less complex and easier to digest. It seemed incredible that these gems of political sagacity had to be dug out of obscurity by each individual doing it piecemeal and never really knowing for certain that the whole puzzle had been completely assembled.
All of this introspective cogitation was taking place during the Great Depression, while this writer was working full time at the FBI and going to law school at night.
A short time before, a brand new majority in Congress had been swept into power, and our professor of Constitutional law was constantly emphasizing the mistakes these newly elected “representatives of the people” were making. He would demonstrate how they were continually seeking answers to the nation’s ills through remedies which were not authorized by the Constitution, and in most cases by methods which had been strictly forbidden by historical experience and the teachings of the Founders.
As I talked to some of these enthusiastic new Congressmen, it soon became apparent that their zeal was sincere and that any mistakes they might be making were the results of ignorance, not malicious intent. In fact, all of us belonged to a generation that had never been taught the clear-cut, decisive principles of sound politics and economics enunciated by the Founders. Somebody had apparently decided these were not very important anymore.
To this extent it could be said that, ideologically speaking, we were a generation of un-Americans. Even those of us who had come up through political science had never been required to read the Federalist Papers, John Locke, Algernon Sidney, Montesquieu, Adam Smith, Cicero, or the original writings of the men who put it all together in the first place. One of my undergraduate professors had even said that the Constitution was obsolete. He said it wasn’t designed for a modern industrial society.
Nevertheless, one of my friends in Congress said he would like to study the Founders’ ideas. What he wanted was a simple, easy-to-understand book. So did the rest of us. My text on Constitutional law was three inches thick and was so cluttered up with complex, legalistic rhetoric that it would only confuse a farmer, businessman, or real estate broker who had just been elected to Congress. It was even confusing to those of us who were trying to get a handle on “the system” so we could pass the bar examination. The fact that some of us did pass the bar “the very first time around” was always counted within our secret circle as a providential miracle!
As the years went by, I continued to look for a book which laid out the great ideas of the Founders so that even a new Congressman could “read as he ran” and get a fairly good comprehension of the Founders’ ingenious success formula. I did find a number of writers who seemed to come within striking distance of the target, only to back away and never complete the task. Often their tomes were long, tedious conglomerates of abstract complexity. Of course, there were lots of books on Constitutional “nuts and bolts,” or the mechanics of government, which were similar to my texts in political science. However, none of these ever portrayed a philosophical comprehension of why it was all supposed to be so great.
Eventually, circumstances were such that this writer overcame a prevailing sense of apprehension and undertook the task of trying to do something along these lines just as a matter of personal insight. Now, a hundred digested volumes later, and after a most gratifying visit with many of the Founders through their letters, biographies, and speeches, this book has been assembled.
It may appear to some to be a very modest contribution, but it has been a monumental satisfaction to the author. Never before have I fully appreciated the intellectual muscle and the quantum of solid character required to produce the first modern republic. I have gained a warm affection for the Founders. I have learned to see them as men imbued with all of our common weaknesses called “human nature,” and yet capable of becoming victorious at a task which would have decimated weaker men. I have learned to glory in their successes and have felt an overtone of personal sorrow when they seemed to attain less than they had hoped. It has been a marvelous adventure in research to perceive the ramifications of the Founders’ formula for a model commonwealth of freedom and prosperity which became the United States of America.
When it comes to acknowledgments, I find myself, like other wr
How can one thank a thousand researchers and writers on at least three continents who have spent much of their lives digging up and recording the detailed treasures concerning the lives and thoughts of those distinguished nation-builders whom we are pleased to call our Founding Fathers?
At closer range, the task of expressing appreciation is not so difficult, provided that this author can be forgiven for not including all who deserve meritorious thanks.
First and foremost, I must do what so many writers seem to be admitting lately, and that is expressing a frank confession that their books would never have been written without the patient and enduring support of a loving wife. This is particularly true in my case.
Her task of assisting an author-husband has been intermingled with raising eight children, trying to run a household with more than 5,000 books scattered about, answering dozens of telephone calls each day, and trying to locate her husband in time to eat dinner or meet a group of visiting dignitaries. All this and much more has been the continuous routine of my beautiful and patient helpmeet who was appropriately named by her parents, “Jewel.”
Also involved in a most significant way with the completion of this book has been the working staff of the National Center for Constitutional Studies (NCCS). Going the eleventh mile, I appreciate Glenn J. Kimber, vice president in charge of our nationwide operations, Andrew M. Allison, editor of monthly publications, and my son, Harold Skousen, in charge of layout and graphics. To these and the many others not specifically mentioned, I am eternally grateful.
And to the student who has a longing to appreciate the pioneers who built the American commonwealth, this book is offered. It is hoped that it will be helpful and understandable, and will to some degree provide the stimulating inspiration which the research and writing of it brought to the author.
W. Cleon Skousen
Why it is Important to Study the Founders' Success Formula Today
“The American people are now two centuries away from the nation’s original launching. Our ship of state is far out to sea and is being tossed about in stormy waters, which the Founders felt could have been avoided if we had stayed within sight of our initial moorings.
“They also felt that each ingredient set forth in their great success formula was of the highest value. They would no doubt be alarmed to see how many of those ingredients have been abandoned, or have been allowed to become seriously eroded.”
--The Making of America: The Meaning and Substance of the Constitution
by W. Cleon Skousen
Foreword: by Glenn Beck
A Hard Beginning
Why Jamestown Was Different
Two Hundred Years Later
Can we lose it?
The 28 Great Ideas That Helped Change the World
I Want Your Solemn Promise
This is a story you won’t believe.
It starts with a hundred famished, starving people so desperate for food they had to eat their milk cows, slaughter their plough horses, and kill their dogs. When that ran out they hunted birds and squirrels, and then trapped rats and mice, and finally boiled the leather of their shoes to chew. When that was gone, they turned to each other, waiting on the dying for their next meal.
It’s an ugly tale of starvation and desperation that didn’t happen at some far away place, it happened right here in our own backyard—Jamestown, Virginia.
A Hard Beginning
By Christmas day of 1607, more than two thirds of those first colonists in Jamestown were dead. The next year, more settlers arrived but most of them died that winter. The year after that came additional arrivals and more deaths—from starvation. It was an experiment in failure that repeated its deadly tally for seven terrible years.
The plan was simple, really: plant the first English settlement in America—more of a business venture than a colonization—and gather up all that gold. You know, all that gold that lies around everywhere?
When word of the colony spread around England, hundreds more crossed the ocean to Virginia, each anxious to out-perform the dead who preceded them and prove that a fresh load of strong backs and keen minds could stand the rigors of the wilds—after all, English settlers had been colonizing faraway places for ages, all over the world, why should the Americas be any different?
But the “starving times” kept killing them off. Of the estimated 9,000 who sailed to Virginia, only 1,000 survived.
There were two main reasons why Jamestown wasn’t working, and this is my point.
The first was the problem of habit—everybody had been doing things the same old way for more than 5,000 years.
Okay, we made some improvements since the pyramids, but not many. The Jamestown settlers traveled in boats not much better than those that sailed the Nile. Their farm tools consisted of a shovel, a stick plow and a scythe—about the same as you could pick up at your local Baghdad Hardware and Feed back in 3000 B.C. And even though there was an early form of China, there was still no Walmart, so their clothing had to be handspun and hand-woven. Transportation was by cart and oxen, and their medicine was more superstition than substance—and worst of all, most of them died young.
The second reason the colony wasn’t working was that the leadership didn’t bother updating the way they ran the place. They started off with communalism—every man could take from the general storehouse what he needed and was supposed to give back what he could. In theory, everybody would give back enough so they all could survive. After all, shouldn’t the welfare of the colony be more important than individual welfare? While people would like to believe otherwise, the real answer is a resounding no.
The Jamestown experiment backfired. Worse than that, it was a pure disaster—uglier than Plato had promised.
It was in fact pure socialism in action.
The men were divided into threes—a third to start the farm, a third to build the fort, and a third to head off into the woods and find gold. Naturally everybody slipped away to go hunt for gold and they neglected the fort and the farm. Oh yes, some of them bothered the local Indians and were shot with arrows—back in those days the welcome wagon was nowhere in sight.
The big fix didn’t come until 1614. That’s when the colony leadership realized it wasn’t a lack of food that kept killing off the settlers—it was a famine of knowledge of correct principles.
Sir Thomas Dale spotted it immediately that year when he first stepped off the boat and into a stagnated mass of unmotivated colonists. It seemed obvious what the problem was—the men were lazy because they had no investment in the land—they had no private property.
Without asking permission from the colony’s shareholders, Dale went ahead and gave three acres of land to the old timers, less to the newly arrived, and asked only that in return they provide two barrels of corn for the store house at harvest time.
It’s amazing what a little freedom can do for the downtrodden!
The colonists were thrilled. They dropped what they were doing and hurried about clearing their land, plowing their ground, planting, dunging, watering—whatever they could to have their own food for the winter. By that fall, the storehouse was full thanks to the two-barrel tax, and the people were alive. Tobacco came later, and suddenly the colony took root and started on the road to prosperity.
Why Jamestown Was Different
Jamestown was different from other colonies because it finally shed its failing ways and started practicing free enterprise principles—the freedom to own and control property, and enjoy its fruits. Years later these ideas worked their way into Adam Smith and his famous book, The Wealth of Nations.
The blood of these pioneers started the groundswell that brought us the first popular assembly of legislative representatives in the western hemisphere. Their descendants included many of the foremost intellects who built the framework for our future United States of America: Thomas Jefferson, author of the Declaration of Independence; James Madison, “Father of the Co
Two Hundred Years Later
What’s two hundred years in the history of the world? Nothing really—maybe an average Chinese dynasty—it’s a blink. Two hundred years after the Constitution was signed, the great “noble experiment” of America’s Declaration of Independence and free-enterprise economics had produced phenomenal results.
The United States started accumulating a fantastic list of achievements in technology, politics and economics never before witnessed in the history of humankind. The spirit of freedom infected people all around the globe, and free-market economics unleashed creativity and brilliance in nations everywhere. A literal explosion of progress crackled wherever freedom could reach. Electricity, the internal combustion engine, nuclear energy, aircraft, electronics, communications, travel to the moon or the bottom of the sea—suddenly, nearly anything seemed possible.
People started living longer—double the average lifespan of a few centuries before. Our homes, quality of food and clothing, the luxuries of central air and heat, running water and flushing toilets, common-day travel around the globe, tens of millions of books, increased capacity to invent and understand, educational advances for the average student, cures, entertainment, and non-stop movies on TV or your iPod—all came about not just in America but to benefit the entire world.
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