George Washington warned Americans "… to steer clear of permanent alliances with any portion of the foreign world..." "Peace, commerce and honest friendship with all nations; entangling alliances with none," our third President, Thomas Jefferson, would phrase the same sentiment. Europe, in particular, had long been immersed in the cynical balance of power politics which brought nations to join together to block the hegemony of other nations.  

One hundred years ago last week, on March 23, 1912, Japan gave America a gift that keeps on giving: more than 3,000 cherry trees, whose blossoming beauty is celebrated each year. Japan desired friendship with America and our Founding Fathers urged us to reciprocate with all nations that desired amiable relations with our republic.

Patrick HenryLord Byron called him the “Forest-born Demosthenes.” Others called him the “Lion of Liberty.” Whatever the title, Patrick Henry (left) was never one to mince words in the defense of freedom. The silver-tongued orator was never at a loss for words, and he spoke with a ready arsenal of logic. Biographer William Wirt said of him in 1817, “Tis true he could talk — Gods how he could talk!”

James MadisonToday, March 16, is the 261st anniversary of the birth of the “Father of the Constitution,” James Madison, Jr. At Montpelier, the home Madison grew up in and then shared with his wife, Dolley, for the rest of his life, the staff throwing Mr. Madison a little shindig. From the official website:

Is technology and industry good or bad? There is no moral answer to the question. Certainly there are happy men and women who worked in old trades exchanging the material benefits of technology for the comfort and emotional satisfaction of keeping alive old ways of work. The delightful town of Williamsburg in Virginia or the equally happy Silver Dollar City in the Ozarks are filled with folks whose joy is preserving the making of horseshoes, candles, rock candy, and many other products whose manufacture is a part of our history.