Tuesday, 24 March 2020 13:28

America the Beautiful, Part II

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Our vision is to reawaken the genuine American spirit of living in a good, great, and growing nation of free-born individuals.

Our mission is to uphold American liberty, prosperity, constitutional law, and humble government.

America the Beautiful, Part II

Barry MacDonald, Editorial

“O beautiful for spacious skies,
For amber waves of grain,
For purple mountain majesties
Above the fruited plain!
America! America! God shed His grace on thee,
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea!”

These lyrics were written by a poet, Katharine Lee Bates; and the music was composed by a church organist and choirmaster, Samuel Augustus Ward. The two never met. The poem was originally written in 1893, was revised in 1904, and revised again in 1913. The lyrics were sung to many tunes for a time until they were combined with Ward’s melody. Ward wrote his tune for the words of a 16th century hymn: “O Mother Dear, Jerusalem” in 1882.

The inspiration for the vision of “America the Beautiful” can be found at the Library of Congress. Katharine Bates writes:

“We strangers celebrated the close of the session by a merry expedition to the top of Pike’s Peak, making the ascent by the only method then available for people not vigorous enough to achieve the climb on foot nor adventurous enough for burro-riding. Prairie wagons, their tail-boards emblazoned with the traditional slogan, ‘Pike’s Peak or Bust,’ were pulled by horses up to the half-way house, where the horses were relieved by mules. We were hoping for half an hour on the summit, but two of our party became so faint in the rarified air that we were bundled into the wagons again and started on our downward plunge so speedily that our sojourn on the peak remains in memory hardly more than one ecstatic gaze. It was then and there, as I was looking out over the sea-like expanse of fertile country spreading away so far under those ample skies, that the opening lines of the hymn floated into my mind.”


The poet’s words are from a bygone era, when many American were proud of America, and when Americans were vigorous and confident. They were innocent of the corrosive and pervasive anti-American spirit that we are inundated with today. They could not have imagined the attacks on American initiative and enterprise coming from our universities and politicians. They would not recognize America in the various portrayals of dystopia that Hollywood dreams up, often projecting our nation after its collapse — the consequence of American aggression and nuclear warfare. And today the words “Make America Great Again” emblazoned on red baseball caps provoke some Americans — poisoned by propaganda — to violent reaction.

The vast landscape of America, encompassing prairies, salt flats, river valleys, everglades, deserts, mountains, costal inlets, beaches, and the cultivated fields of farming country, is not the flyover country. Americans of all political persuasions are in love with our extraordinarily varied and bountiful countryside. The environmental movement campaigning for clean water and pure air has indeed righteous motivations — it’s just a shame that socialistic radicals are hijacking our love of nature to assault America’s prosperity, as if a technologically sophisticated nation couldn’t also grow its economy and protect the environment at the same time.

Jigs Gardner writes two columns for The St. Croix Review under the headings “Writers for Conservatives,” and “Letters from a Conservative Farmer.” His “Letters” column is a memoir describing his transition away from his youthful and enthusiastic support for socialism towards conservatism. He was inspired with the ’60s “back to country,” hippy homesteader movement. He left his teaching position at college, and he and his wife, Jo Ann, rented a farm in Vermont. Instead of using modern mechanized equipment they decided to experience nature in the raw using only horsepower and brawn. They experienced the essential American frontier life: it is a grueling and lonely business to wrest a living from the wilderness. Jigs and Jo Ann Gardner were forced to summon the utmost of their intelligence and resolve to survive. The hardships of working the farm and of keeping the weeds at bay taught them an invaluable lesson — the steady accumulation of knowledge and technique shared among vigorous homesteaders opened the way to a more prosperous and, possibly, a more humane society.

After farming in Vermont the Gardners moved to Cape Breton Island in Nova Scotia, where they found conditions vastly different and much more difficult. By this time they had outgrown the sentimental ignorance embodied by the hippy homesteader movement:

“In 1971 . . . we bought the last farm recognizable as a farm off a side road in the heart of the Backlands. Working early and late, reconstructing fences, felling trees for lumber, rebuilding the barn, planting gardens, haying, cutting firewood, it was at least a year before we realized what we were up against. We had not had to build barns to withstand one hundred miles per hour winds, nor had we plowed fields of sour cold clay where topsoil was no more than a dark smear at grass roots; we had not lived is such a wild place where owls, ravens, weasels, foxes, hawks, mink, eagles, and bobcats rioted and feasted on our flocks. We had been spoiled by Vermont; now we would be put through a far harder school.


“Growing in a marginal environment is wholly unlike farming and gardening elsewhere. Weeds, adapted to a low fertility regime, grow much faster than cultivars, which give much but require much. There is hardly any spring in Cape Breton; the cold clay soil barely warms until late June; it can’t be worked when wet and breaks hoes when it’s dry; it tenaciously shelters weed roots and drains very poorly. Pests and diseases find a happy home in marginal environments, fostering slugs and blights and cutworms, hornworm, earworms, and fungi in their thousands and tens of thousands. It took tons and tons of manure, lime, and eelgrass to rejuvenate the fields, but in 1976 our hay had the highest protein content of any tested in the Province.


“And without quite realizing it at first, we were turning an abandoned property into a beautiful farm. The gardens, grown for use — Jo Ann developed an herb business and we sold plants — as well as beauty, were photographed for national magazines, and thanks to the hard lessons she learned there, Jo Ann became a garden writer. But we failed to reverse the local fortunes: the few people here when we came left, and except for our place, the Backlands was empty. Insensibly, we became part of its history, the Last Stand.”


America beckons to the nations of the earth, as a light of liberty amidst a world history that is typified by a depressing chronicle of multifarious forms of tyranny. America has demonstrated how to create liberty and prosperity. Our Declaration of Independence, Constitution, and Bill of Rights serve as a shield protecting the American people from the arrogant and aggressive agents of a ruthlessly self-interested governing class. The governing class and their partners, the crony corporations, would subject the working and middle classes to crushing taxation and regulation if our Constitutional protections were ever overcome.

Our continuing prosperity depends upon the maintenance of our liberties as established by our Constitutional framework. The American dream appears as a vision of opportunity, enticing the vigorous and enterprising to create for themselves, through the virtue of their own labor, a home, a garden, a farm, a livelihood, a fellowship, a neighborhood, and a city out of wilderness.

American liberty preceded American prosperity. A broad-based and sustainable American prosperity will not long survive the subjection of American liberty.

American liberty is a fragile and precious experiment. American liberty is so fragile because its precious quality is not recognized and given the preeminence it deserves in our educational system. And politicians are constantly tempting the American people to relinquish their freedoms and opportunities in exchange for fraudulent promises and visions that are impossible to fulfill without eventually impoverishing the nation.

The St. Croix Review is dedicated to preserving and honoring the prerequisites of American liberty. Some of these prerequisites are included in the following:

  • The intellectual ferment of millennia
  • Judeo Christian faith
  • Greco Roman traditions
  • Concepts of English common law
  • The European ages of Reason and Enlightenment
  • The courage involved in the American Revolution
  • The exceptional character and intellectual prowess of America’s Founders
  • The Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, the Bill of Rights
  • God-given rights to independence and property
  • The separation of powers
  • The presumption of innocence
  • Free speech     *

Read 3124 times Last modified on Tuesday, 24 March 2020 13:31
Barry MacDonald

Editor & Publisher of the St. Croix Review.

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