Wednesday, June 19, 2019

We the People, a little history and family

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WE the PEOPLE
Signed in convention September 17, 1787. Ratified June 21, 1788
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We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

The above words are from the Preamble for the Constitution 

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 None of these institutions of government, created or recognized by the Constitution, is superior to the Constitution itself. None is superior to the ultimate power of the people to adopt, amend, and interpret what is, after all, the Constitution ordained and established by “We the People of the United States.” 

from Erwin Chemerinsky, Dean and Distinguished Professor of Law, and Raymond Pryke Professor of First Amendment Law, University of California, Irvine School of Law. 

This is why three branches of government protect and defend the WE.

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James Madison, one of the leading architects of the Constitution, put it best in The Federalist No. 49The people are the only legitimate fountain of power, and it is from them that the constitutional charter, under which the several branches of government hold their power, is derived . . . .  Constitution Center

 So who are WE THE PEOPLE?

In..."1492Christopher Columbus lands on a Caribbean Island after three months of traveling. Believing at first that he had reached the East Indies, he describes the natives he meets as “Indians.” On his first day, he orders six natives to be seized as servants." Native American History  


"There are three main sources of controversy involving Columbus’s interactions with the indigenous people he labeled “Indians”: the use of violence and slavery, the forced conversion of native peoples to Christianity and the introduction of a host of new diseases that would have dramatic long-term effects on native people in the Americas." Columbus Controversy

The above sites gives every American a condensed version with many links to our ancestors abominable treatment of the indigenous peoples inhabiting this FREE land. Today the 570 tribes still existing under our 'spacious skies' are truly members of WE THE PEOPLE.
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"O beautiful for spacious skies,
For amber waves of grain,
For purple mountain majesties
Above the fruited plain!...

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America! America!
God shed His grace on thee
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea!"



We the People... 

and more and more, We came....

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From sea to shining sea.

 WE came on journeys long and hard.
America's first waves of immigration during the 16th to 18th centuries were from the British Isles. WE came for economic opportunities and religious freedom, most often as Protestants. WE were well-to-do with land grants, organized communities, and indentured servants. 

The Spanish settled Florida, what is now our Southern border, and the western coast, the French up the Mississippi Rivery and it's tributaries, and while trappers explored the 'purple mountain' majesties of the Rocky Mountains. 

 Later, during the 1840-50's huge European populations fled famine, religious persecution. and the every changing map of political conflicts.

And still, WE came... the Irish, German, Scandinavians and more with many Catholics. So many were from poorer backgrounds and less skilled, WE arrived with the clothes on our backs, 
 calloused hands, with soul's full of dreams.

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My husband's great-great-great grandparents arrived from Bohemia/Czechslovakia/today it's the Czech Republic in 1851. In the photo above are the sons and daughters of his family grown and their spouses.

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Political turmoil in Czechoslovakia was most likely the reason for  leaving. Hubby's family (both sides) became farmers in Wisconsin. My husband's parents both descended from this Joseph's Father who appears in both family trees generations back.

Arable lands in Europe were worn out from centuries of cultivation. Inheritance laws left lands and property to the oldest male---leaving the rest to find other ways to feed their families. 
The opportunity to farm in the America was more than attractive.
Starting a new life was a necessity.

And, so WE came to a new country needing all sorts of laborers with skills and determination. 

But, WE were also SLAVE LABOR.

"Slavery in America started in 1619, when a Dutch ship brought 20 African slaves ashore in the British colony of JamestownVirginia.  See Black History and Slavery.


Slavery in Georgia.

Throughout the 17th century, European settlers in North America turned to African slaves as a cheaper, more plentiful labor source than indentured servants, who were mostly poor Europeans. Though it is impossible to give accurate figures, some historians have estimated that 6 to 7 million black slaves were imported to the New World during the 18th century alone,...." 
We fought a long and bloody Civil War
  to abolish this abomination.


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from a 1911 print once in my position.

On September 22, 1862, Lincoln issued a preliminary emancipation proclamation, and on January 1, 1863, he made it official that “slaves within any State, or designated part of a State…in rebellion,…shall be then, thenceforward, and forever free.”

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In the name of WE THE PEOPLE, Congress adopted the

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...13th Amendment on December 18, 1865, and officially abolished slavery. But freed blacks’ status in the post-war South remained precarious, and significant challenges awaited during the Reconstruction period.


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WE moved on,  
and a new Patchwork of our Nation sewed the 
colors from old homeland flags 
combined with the shades of OUR skins. 


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Still, laborers were needed for our growing nation. 

Chinese came to work on the railroads, Hispanics from below our southern borders for farming and ranching, followed by more Western and Eastern Europeans from every corner of the continent to build our cities, roads, man our mills, and dig deep in our mines. 


Free source

The Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. 

"“Give me your tired, your poor,

Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,...

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...The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.

Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,

I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”



How many of your ancestors passed through Ellis Island?

My parents' families came from Lithuania and Denmark, 

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escaping failing fishing villages on the North Sea and the devastated farmlands of Lithuania. Constant wars continually changed the map of Europe causing upheaval and economic chaos. 

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Half of all my great-grandparents' extended family left Denmark for the United States. The same for the Lithuanian side. Our last contact with my father's family was in 1953 when the
 Iron Curtain closed tightly on Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia.

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My Danish Great Grandfather on the right was torn and moved back and forth several times, finally settling in Wisconsin and fishing the Great Lakes. 
He and Grandfather (left) opened a Fishmarket in 1921.

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My grandfather at age 14 had a photo taken to look older. He wore a larger suit with layers under it, and the cigar. A hat, and expression denied the fact he had just been confirmed, 
and then he joined the Merchant Marines. 
George was over six-foot and definitely a character.
WWI loomed and since not yet a citizen, he wanted to see the world and be a part of the conflict.

He became naturalized and 
WE the PEOPLE 
in Portland Oregon in 1919 aged 21 between sailings.


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My father enlisted in January 1940 at age 18. We were still in the Depression and despite a partial scholarship to a state college, he could not afford to go. Hubby's dad also served in the South Pacific and fought at Okinawa.

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After almost six years in the Army stationed in the Philippines, New Guinea, Australia with a Medical Surgical Unit, Dad came home the first time, without a fanfare or welcome. 
He was proud to be an American and to serve and WE of him, and all the generations who served in our military to keep us free.

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Honor Flight and Welcome HOME!
RIP Staff Sargent 

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WE...

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FLY the Flag!

WE
Children of Immigrants

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or immigrants ourselves. I have two foreign born daughter-in-laws, bless them. They are my loves and will be added to the WE 
of our United States. 


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WE come from every religious expression,


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and every corner of this earth..


 tightly stitched and woven into  this 

PATCHWORK OF HUMANITY...  

WE THE PEOPLE.


If you comment please list your ancestors' homelands 
and when they arrived on our shores if you can.
I think it would be interesting to see how diverse we are.

























10 comments:

  1. Beautiful.
    www.rsrue.blogspot.com

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    1. Thank you for stopping by Rue. I love your poetry/prose on your blog.

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  2. This is fascinating and an important reminder about separate branches of government and the importance of checks and balances, the power of immigration building a better country than one insulated. My maternal grandfather's side was from Germany and came here in the 1700s. My maternal grandmother's family was English and Welsh and came in the 1850s. My dad's mother's s side was from Denmark and came in the late 1800s and his dad's side I'm still working on. English and German, I think. We'll see!

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    1. Thank yo so much, Jeanie, that was what I was going for. You have a really interesting background---my Dad's side had a sprinkle of Welsh supposedly that we have been unable to verify. Seems, many emigrants from Europe would make it to the British Isles---work intermarry and then eventually come to the US. Denmark is wonderful for tracing family as they have such complete records. Thanks for participating!

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  3. Hi Sandi!Beautiful tribute to your great country!God bless all of you.Hugs!

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  4. Hi Sandi. Beautiful post. My ancestors came from Germany, England and Ireland. We certainly are a nation of immigrants and all have contributed to how great our country is. Too bad things seem to be changing, but if I told you how I really feel, I would get kicked out of blogging I'm sure! Thanks for your visit. I loved this post..Happy Summer Day..Judy

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    1. I know what you mean about how one really feels. I've never been very good about not expressing my opinion. So, I posted a reminder of where we all come from---I appreciate your honesty and your visit. Yes, Happy Summer, lol, as I just closed all the windows for more rain and because it's COLD!

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  5. I love the old photographs. Thanks for sharing your patriotic post at Vintage Charm!

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Thank you for any and all comments. I will reply to any questions!
And great to meet you, Sandi, you are welcome to contact me via my email, also.