Edward Glaeser’s “Triumph of the City”

Meg has a J.D. in Urban, Land Use and Environmental Law. She focuses on political organizing, environmental policy, and sustainable living.

During the second half of law school, I decided to venture outside of our building and take a few classes in the Public Administration program. I met some wonderful people, great professors, and was able to explore new ideas and approaches to looking at public issues. In one of my classes with Adjunct Professor Jim Scott, I read a book called Triumph of the City, where I explored the structure of a city and what it provides for society. At the same time, I was doing some research about micro-lending with one of my manager’s at MARC, so the idea of investing in human capital really jumped out at me.

Here is an excerpt from my 2011 paper on community development ideas (which overall focused on what tools could be used in Kansas City). This section of the paper revolves around Glaeser’s Triumph of the City, and what ideas I derived from reading the book. Enjoy!

I. The Structure of a City and its Indication for Society – A Look at Triumph of the City

In his book Triumph of the City, Edward Glaeser argues that the city is the optimal structure for human interaction because it promotes human relations, innovation, and the necessary investment in human capital to make society thrive. He argues that cities are healthier and more environmentally friendly than living in suburban or rural communities. Even for cities that have suffered economic hardship, Glaeser holds strong to the idea that the people of a struggling city have a better chance of success than those living outside of cities, because cities foster creative thinking, communication, and investment in human capital. Ultimately, human capital is an essential factor for maintaining a successful community.

Glaeser’s primary argument in this book is that the most important investment you can make for a city is in education and innovation, which ties in with his idea that investment in human capital allows the people within the community to be more productive, make more money, and even be happier than those living elsewhere.[1] Using New York as an example of the archetypal city, he shows how the cluster of human capital helped the city remain successful through several different turnovers of the primary industry. From transportation and shipping in the 1800s, to the garment industry in the 1900s, and then the breakthrough of financial entrepreneurs in the 1970s, New York has remained a successful city through constant innovative thinking and implementation of new ideas. We also see the same example of metropolitan success through the education and ideas in Bangalore, the technology of Silicon Valley, the thinkers of Athens, and the collection of scholars in Baghdad.[2]

Cities foster face-to-face interaction, which helps create an efficient means of relaying ideas and other communications by allowing people to explain things to each other in person, rather than over countless e-interactions that inevitably result in misunderstanding and miscommunication. With multiplicity of cultures mixed together within the bounds of a city, this face-to-face communication is also important to respecting each other’s customs and traditions.

One city that did not succeed the way most cities do is Detroit, but Glaeser urges that Detroit’s decline resulted from a single-industry focus and the lack of investment in human capital.[3] With a struggling auto industry, the city was doomed to decline because its leaders failed to attract new minds and innovative ideas the way New York had done in the 1970s. As a city filled with less-skilled workers focused within a single industry, Detroit had no one to pick up the slack of the declining auto industry which consumed the city. There was a detrimental lack of re-education in the community, which meant the city ultimately lacked the resources to entice new industries.

There are several reliable predictors of urban growth that Glaeser emphasizes, including education and the presence of a poor population. Education is important because the productivity of a city is dependent on the level of edUcation of the population living within the city.[4] Glaeser also points to a city’s poor population as an indicator of the city’s success. Great cities attract poor people, and therefore have a more prevalent poor population than those cities which lack public services and amenities that poor people want and need, and are unable to obtain in rural slums.[5]

One distraction I find in his text is Glaeser’s insistence that the level of education and presence of a poor population are two important indicators of a city’s success, yet he also seems to think they provide the greatest obstacles. He describes the U.S. education system as providing too little learning to too many children. He also describes the overwhelming cost of maintaining public services for cities when the poor populations are largely unable to contribute to such cost. For both of the reasons described above, the wealthier populations move out into the suburbs, where private or charter schools employ better teachers, and money put toward public infrastructure benefits those supporting the cost. It seems to me, the very indicators that Glaeser lists as the most reliable predictors of a city’s success are also the very conditions that then push the money outside of the city, which only furthers a city’s decline.[6]

A city is not necessarily the best structure for everyone at every time. While high-density living is a good structure for encouraging new ideas and innovation, there is also something to be said for the importance of fostering stronger, almost family-like relationships within a smaller community. Strong urban neighborhoods can sometimes create their own familial relationships, but that assumes the members of those communities reach out to each other in person. Some of the same problems people face with the ability of modern technology – mostly, the ability to go through an entire day without actually having to deal with anyone face to face – are the same struggles that people face in the big city. People can be anonymous, they can avoid confrontation, and they can be ignored simply because of the sheer mass of people surrounding them. In a large city, a person can become just a number, whereas in smaller communities, everyone has a name.

Overall, Glaeser’s focus on investment in human capital and strengthening urban cities is very important for halting urban decline, however, there are other factors to consider when determining what the best structure is for society. The city certainly promotes productivity, provides a centralized location for innovation and communication, and has many environmental benefits. Additionally, there are a number of reasons why a city may not be ideal, including a decreased sense of safety, rising costs to support declining public infrastructure, and the potential lack of the sense of community.[7]

However, regardless of the structure, the need for education and entrepreneurship is essential for the continued growth and productivity of any local community. Whether in a city or a rural village, investment in human capital will help society as a whole become better education, more productive, and help individuals receiving the benefit of those investments feel more responsible and accountable to their local community.

—————————————-

[1] Glaeser, Edward, Triumph of the City: How Our Greatest Invention Makes Us Richer, Smarter, Greener, Healthier, and Happier, The Penguin Press, New York, 2011,  6-7

[2] Glaeser, 18-22

[3] 53

[4] 253

[5] 70-71

[6] 258; He acknowledges that cities cannot and should not have to bear the burden or cost of urban poverty alone. Urban poverty and rising costs of maintaining urban public infrastructure certainly contributes to urban flight, but those remaining in the urban core should not then have to pick up the slack just because others decided they did not want to pay for or deal with urban challenges anymore. To me, this is why we need economic development tools to encourage activity and investment in the urban parts of the city. As Glaeser later mentions on p. 268 of his book, those who want to live in the suburbs should be able to do so, but not without understanding the true costs of expanding into the suburbs, and helping to pay for those costs.

[7] While I do believe an urban city is an important structure to maintain in our society, my biggest concern with the way cities work today is that they are also the biggest contributors to the suburban movement. I think suburbs as a structure are generally very taxing on society as a whole. They are great places for families to have a safe place for their children, but cause excessive strain by families living in huge houses, driving huge cars, and generally undervaluing the limited resources available. For cities to truly shine, I think suburbs need to be better controlled, and that is a problem I do not know how to solve.

Advertisements

Send me dead flowers

In their 1971 album, Sticky Fingers, Mick Jagger and the Rolling Stones encouraged their audience to “Send me dead flowers”.  Other artists also have written about dead flowers.  There are even bands named Dead Flowers–Joe Getty & The Dead Flowers, David Yellen Band & The Dead Flowers and a fun rock band simply named “Dead Flowers”.

They obviously weren’t talking about this particular flower.  But they could have been!

So dead head your flowers if its time, but don’t forget to stop and appreciate the beauty of a dead flower.

Dr. Sanjay Gupta’s “Chasing Life”

Sanjay Gupta’s book Chasing Life, published in 2007, presents a compelling picture of the ways in which each of us can improve the quality of our lives by diet, significant exercise and other healthy life choices.  Gupta’s focus is on “extending our healthy and active lives longer” while compressing the death process.  He reminds us that chasing life means lowering our risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes.  He also guides us toward health habits that reduce our risk of developing Alzheimer’s and cancer.

Much of the information in his book is information we really already know, even if we try to ignore it:  a diet of junk food reduces the quality, if not the length, of our lives.   Life decisions such as failing to wear seat belts and bicycle/motorcycle helmets increases the likelihood of serious injury and death.  Tobacco kills.  And we have all heard the statistics on obesity.

But if you go beyond the extremely obvious to the merely obvious, he has more to say.  Meeting our daily requirement of vitamins, like vitamins A and C, magnesium, fiber C, really is essential.  Fish is far healthier for us than beef.  Supplements are not all created equal.  Grain, is a great source of fiber. I love granola because it is high in fiber and includes healthy grains, nuts and olive oil. Meg likes to add dried fruit.

Not so obvious is that long-term reduction of our calorie intake, even if we are not overweight, has significant health benefits.  It can extend our productive lives–helping us to avoid significant disease. In addition, regular exercise, walking, jogging, bicycling and stretching, is essential to remaining in good shape.  Physical fitness increases our life spans, and at least as important, helps us to become biologically “younger” and happier.

There is so much more information included in Dr. Gupta’s book about aging and health.  He even includes a section on the impact of happiness in encouraging long and healthy lives.  I encourage you to study his book and adopt the life style he espouses.  In keeping with healthy living, take a walk, play tennis, golf, or be like Meg and run miles every day.

Our family didn’t need Dr. Gupta to tell us about health.  Our dad is the most health conscious person I know.  He spent the last 97 years of his life avoiding alcohol, tobacco and caffeine, limiting his sugar, eating a healthy diet, , and exercising daily.  At age 95, he was invited to throw the first pitch at a Kansas City Royal’s game.x  He practiced his pitch before the big day and even got the ball to the plate, if not over it.  Quite a testament for living a healthy life.  Gee dad.  Dr. Gupta would be proud of you.

For most of the rest of us, we need someone we admire to prod us along, encouraging to make healthy decisions in our lives.  So, I encourage you tomorrow to take a walk or a run.  As a reward for your efforts, have a healthy bowl of fruit, instead of ice cream and water instead of wine or beer.  Not the way most of us spend our evenings.  But a whole lot healthier.

Is this just a little too bland for your lifestyle?  Do you need something more exciting than–water?  How about a glass of 100 % grape juice.  You can put it in your favorite wineglass and feel as festive as your friends.

Here’s to your health.  Here’s to a long and happy life.

_________________________________________________________________________________xOn August 30, 2010, dad was invited to throw the first pitch at a Royal’s game.  He is the oldest Eagle Scout  an event honoring Eagle Scouts.  He was the oldest Eagle Scout in the Kansas City area and was among those given a Kauffman lifetime achievement award.  we all attribute his good health and longevity to the care with which he has lived his life.

I am grateful to the Independence Examiner for the photo of dad. He had lots of family in attendance and we have similar photos.  But this one is better.  I have no idea why it appears in “google” with an All-Star game logo at the bottom.

Shifting the Balance–9 months, 146 posts and 82 countries later

Nine months ago today, Meg posted our first post on Shifting the Balance.  Since that time our lives have moved forward.  Meg has developed a rewarding pattern to her life in Petaluma. I particularly enjoy the times we all spend together and with other close family and friends.

If you aren’t a blogger, you will have missed one of the curious aspects of blogging. WordPress keeps track of visitors to our blog on a country by country–not individual–basis.  We are now up to 82 countries.  We haven’t figured out how to get the attention of any one of Greenland’s 56,000 residents, but we are still trying. In addition to keeping a tally of every country with visitors to our blog, WordPress actually includes a map for Meg and me.  Here is the map for our blog.  Red records this highest number of visitors, which are from the United States, and visitors from every other country are highlighted in orange, indicating a slightly lesser number of hits:

It is to really fun to watch to see which of our posts are the most popular.  Our photographs usually get views within minutes or a couple of days.  Our articles may receive very few views the day they are posted.  But they may continue to receive views for months.  The most popular of our posts are Meg’s 4 posts focused on Natasha’s wedding and my post comparing Madeleine Albright and Condoleezza Rice.  It is also really rewarding to receive notification that someone “likes” our blog or has commented on a post.  Most of those who “like” us are individuals who view our photographs.  (They are a fairly tight community).

One of our most faithful readers is a young man from Romania, Cristian Mihai.  Born in 1990, he is already an author and a very active blogger himself.  Christian, thanks for regularly “like”ing our photographs.  We love your stuff!!  Romanian music is pretty cool.  Thanks and good luck.

Blogging has become a part of the rhythm of our lives.  Most of our posts capture the fun times of our lives: weekends Meg and Jake spend learning about Northern California, and visits Terry and I make to points of interest in Kansas City.  Occasionally, we write about our travels.  When time permits we review a book or write about issues that are of particular interest to us.

There is supposed to be an art to blogging. Among the suggestions made for successful bloggers is to have a blog theme: something like marketing, travel, photography or cooking.  We read some wonderful specialized blogs and follow Sheila’s Lifestyle Solutions and PhotoBotos among others.  So we really appreciate the specialized blogs. But we just keep rolling along as we write about a wide variety of subjects and post photographs we like.

Our lives are, in some small ways, focused on our blog.  We talk to each other about what we are doing on the blog and who has a post ready for publication.  We also continue to look at our lives and our worlds with eyes toward potential blog posts.  When we see a beautiful building, a fascinating book or article, or just visit a park, we want to share it.  Our posts are also a way for us to communicate with each other. That is satisfaction enough for me.

Thank you for following our blog. Clotilda Jamcracker, (another author and blogger), thanks for “like”ing this post.  Thanks to you all.

World War II: They died that others might live

World War II holocaust survivor, Bronia Roslawowski, was born Brucha Kibel, in Turek, Poland, to Tzvi Eliezer (Hersh) Kibel and Bluma Bayrach.  She was born in about 1926 but we were never really sure about her age!  She died July 14, 2010, in her adopted hometown, Kansas City, Missouri, after a long and meaningful life.  She was beloved by all who knew her–and she seemed to know almost everyone.

On September 4, 1939, German armed forces marched into Turek, where Bronia lived with her family.  After two already difficult years, in December 1941, Bronia was sent to Inowroclaw Straflager in Northern Poland.  A “resettlement camp” during the war, it was the first of approximately 5 concentration camps in which Bronia survived the war.  In 1943 she was deported to Auschwitz-Birkenau. She worked in a forced labor camp at Telefunken plant in Reichenbach, escaped the gas chamber in 1944 and was forced on a death march shortly before war’s end. Her right arm was tattooed with the number 57365. Still, despite all that she suffered, she survived.  She was liberated by U.S. servicemen in 1945 and worked briefly in a resettlement camp before moving to the United States.  Only she and a brother survived the war.

Bronia married Mendel Roslawowski, himself a survivor of the camps.  Together they raised his son and her three daughters.  They opened the M & M Bakery at 31st & Woodland.  A popular neighborhood deli, it was a favorite of the local community, medical students and young lawyers.  Her brisket and bagel sandwiches were absolutely priceless.  She had photographs on her walls of children who frequented the deli, many of whom she fed free sandwiches and cookies.  She hugged her customers and seemed to find time to make each of her regulars feel loved.  To Bronia, no one was ever a stranger.

Bronia never forgot her war-time experiences.  She was determined not to let those experiences, or the loss of her family, control her life. She laughed easily and often.  She opened her home to her extended family and her children’s friends–who came to feel like family.  At the same time, anxious to educate her community about the horrors of war, she spoke regularly on behalf of survivors about the holocaust, and worked with the Midwest Center for Holocaust Education.  Her message was a message of love., stating She forgave those who harmed her, insisting they are all God’s children.  She acknowledges the hate and ugliness she saw in the world and she denounced Nazis, but not the German people.  She stated that “you cannot condemn a nation.”  “I don’t hate” she  repeated.   

Prior to her death she was one of 52 Kansas City Holocaust survivors and war refugees whose stories are included in the book From the Heart.  She is also the subject of a children’s book, Love the World, by Maureen Moffitt Wilt focused, obviously on her message of love.  It is beautifully illustrated by Jeff Porter.  The photograph of her family, taken at her granddaughter’s marriage, is an image of a woman who not only survived the war, but thrived.  She lived a rich and full life. Bronia’s life, and her message of love, are reflected in the strength and commitment to family and community of her children, grandchildren and great grandchildren.

For Bronia, her family and all of the other Bronias, the horrors of their early lives gave way, to meaningful lives here in the United States, in Europe and throughout the world.

A victim of hate, she became a messenger for love.  She understand that as she suffered due to the hate and intolerance of others, she also was given a new life by liberation forces.  Neither their sacrifices, nor Bronia’s message of love, should be forgotten.

The Peace Journalist, a Publication of Park University

In April 2012, Park University’s Center for Global Peace Journalism published Volume 1, No. 1 of its new journal, The Peace Journalist.  Dedicated to “disseminating news and information for and about teachers, students, and practitioners of peace and conflict sensitive journalism”.  Wow.  I opened the pages of the new journal and was immediately fascinated.

Page 3 quotes Mahatma Gandhi, the famous Indian humanitarian who used non-violent protest to oppose British colonial rule before and during World War II and who worked for harmony between India’s Muslim and Hindu populations.  His perspective on journalists is that:  The true function of journalism is to educate the public mind, not to stock the public mind with wanted and unwanted impressions.  A journalist has therefore to use his discretion as to what to report and when.  As it is, journalists are not content to stick to facts alone.  Journalism has become the art of intelligent anticipation of events.

As I reflected on Gandhi’s sentiments and wandered through the pages of this journal, I became aware that my view of journalism seems pretty simplistic.  I have asked only that journalists state the facts and let me decide how to feel about the facts presented to me. I still believe that.  But the focus of the articles in this first volume is far more sophisticated in analyzing the role of what are described as “peace journalists”.

For instance, an article by Dr. Ghassan Rubeiz, an Arab American commentator, focuses on ways in which the media can promote  religious tolerance.  She encourage the publication of what she calls “good news” stories, stories about how a Jewish boy saves an elderly Muslim woman or how a Muslim saves the life of a Jew.  She further advocates for free and honest media that discredits what she refers to as “fear-mongering pundits”.

Another article focuses on training peace journalists in Uganda, particularly to support violence free elections.  In an article analyzing the ethics of peace journalism Julie Dolezilek describes the ethics of peace journalists:  1) their first obligation is to the public; 2) they must report the truth; 3) they should avoiding reporting news that is really just propaganda; 4) they should avoid writing articles that will incite violence of further worsen conflict.  She also comments on the obligation of journalists to anticipate the consequences of their articles before they are written.

I have not yet fully absorbed the material in this new publication.  I don’t even know whether I agree with all of it.  Even as I read the discussion of ethics I respected the conflicting ethical challenges touched on by the author, herself a student at Park. But in this era when we complain constantly about the state of civility in the national and international dialogue and complain about media bias to the left and to the right, isn’t it refreshing to have a new journal focused on these important issues.

Park University has long had a focus on international students and global studies.  Park’s focus on preparing its students to be prepared to participate in the global community positions it as a natural center for such a journal.  I applaud Park and Steven Youngblood, Director of the Center for Global Peach Journalism for this fascinating new journal.

Our Founding Fathers

On July 4, 11776, our founders declared in the Declaration of Independence: “we hold theses Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal and that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among them are Life, Liberty,pursuits Pursuit of Happiness.”  With these words, they began the process of shaping a government that obtains its powers from “the Consent of the Governed.” The Constitution continues in a similar fashion, professing the desire of the people of the United States to “establish Justice”, and to “secure the Blessings of Liberty” to ourselves and our posterity.”  These are powerful words, and the goals expressed in them have shaped this nation.  What kinds of men authored these documents?

When I read Madeleine Albright’s book, The Mighty and the Almighty, her brief description of the philosophical and religious perspectives of our first Presidents intrigued me.  Albright’s own belief in religious tolerance may certainly impact her vision of our founding fathers.  Particularly pertinent is her belief that religion should not be  a source of conflict and hate.  It is reasonable that she focuses on similar attributes in our founding fathers.

What were the beliefs of the men who shaped these documents?  What is it that inspired George Washington and others to create our Constitutional form of government?  How is that these men created a government based on concepts of liberty, freedom and democracy?  What caused them to enact a Constitution that gave so much power and dignity to the common man?  Albright believes they considered themselves to be like the Israelites, guided by God through the wilderness, presumably to the promised land, the a United States.

Almost certainly, the vast majority of early colonial leaders were closely associated with clearly defined religious denominations: Primarily Congregationalists, Puritans, and Anglicans. In contrast are the less clear cut beliefs of a small group of pivotal individuals who took center stage as authors of the Bill of Rights, and the Constitution.  Their letters and speeches suggest they were deep thinkers, wise and thoughtful, “primarily political–not spiritual theorists” who focused  on “civil concepts: democracy, liberty, freedom of the press, freedom of religion, jury trial, all of the fundamental rights we hold dear.”

Consistent with their own political and philosophical beliefs, these men were highly respectful of the wide scope of religious and philosophical beliefs found among the citizenry.  What do we know about their beliefs?  Their religious beliefs appear not to have been stagnant.  They grew and changed as they faced the challenges of building a nation.  Historians describe them as very religious, not very religious, atheists or Deists, depending at least in part on the perspective of the various historians who write about the, while relying on whatever quotes fits.  Without question, they seem to have believed that this new nation should welcome people of different beliefs.

Our first President, George Washington, often acknowledged the importance of a supreme being, while advocating “scrupulous support for religious tolerance” including “Mohametans, Jews or Christians of any sect, or Atheists”.  In Washington’s 1790 letter to the Hebrew congregation of Newport, R.I., he wrote: “The government of the United States gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance.”  He made frequent references to a deity, nonetheless, ministers of his time, including the Rev. Bird Wilson, Episcopalian, and Rev. James Abercrombie, Rector of Washington’s church, described him as a “Deist”.  Certainly as Secretary Albright indicates, he was committed to the right of every citizen to worship “according to the dictates of his own conscience”, as he did himself.

Our second President, John Adams, is described by Secretary Albright as a Unitarian who considered liberty “a gift from God” and democracy “a creation of man”.  She describes him as having had little use for the concept of the Trinity.  A prolific writer in the area of philosophical and religious issues, his various writings provide little clarity as to his personal beliefs. Like Jefferson, his religious and philosophical views were intertwined.  His primary concerns appear to have been civil rather than religious.  As a statesman he was dedicated to religious tolerance. Treatises about him quote him as inconsistently stating both that “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people” and in contrast that “This would be the best of all possible worlds, if there were no religion in it.”  I wonder whether this statement was in response to world events of his time.  He expressed concern that people “are often for injustice and inhumanity against the minority”, as demonstrated by “every page of the history of the whole world.” Almost certainly a reference to the French Revolution which occurred almost simultaneously with our own, but with a level of brutality we never experienced.

Albright describes Thomas Jefferson, our third President, as a student of science and ethics.  The controversial nature of his beliefs is evidenced by his opponents’ attacks against him, labeling him an atheist. His own words make this suggestion highly suspect. In his letter to Benjamin Rush, in 1800, he acknowledges God, stating: “I have sworn upon the altar of God, eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man.”  But he certainly ascribes to a very personal system of beliefs: “I never submitted the whole system of my opinions to the creed of any part of men whatever in religion, in philosophy, in politics, or in anything else where I was capable of thinking for myself.  Such an addiction is the last degradation of a free and moral agent.”  He had little good to say about Christian clergy, describing them as the “greatest obstacles to the advancement of the real doctrines of Jesus”.  Ouch, my dad would loudly protest against any suggestion that his life’s work is an obstacle to the teachings of Jesus!!

Jefferson is the primary author of the Declaration of Independence.  He and George Mason, authored the Virginia Declaration of Rights, adopted by the Virginia Constitutional Convention on June 12, 1776.  In addition to codifying rights including freedom from excessive bond, separation of the powers of the three branches of government, the right to freedom of the press, and the right to jury trial, the document states that: all men are equally entitled to the free exercise of religion according to the dictates of conscience”; and that it is the mutual duty of all to practice Christian forbearance, love, and charity toward each other.

Jefferson wrote respectfully of atheists in a letter to Thomas Law in June 1814: “If we did a good act merely from love of God and a belief that it is pleasing to Him whence arises the morality of the Atheist? … Their virtue, then, must have had some other foundation than the love of God.”  In a speech to the Virginia Convention in June 1778, he proclaimed:  “Freedom arises from the multiplicity of sects…For where there is such a variety of sects, there cannot be a majority of any one sect to oppress and persecute the rest.”  Finally he states: “Say nothing of my religion.  It is known to my God and myself alone.”  Letter to John Adams, January 1817.

James Madison, the fourth President, and often identified as the “Father of the Constitution” authored major sections of the Federalist Papers, advocating for the passage of the Constitution.  He was certainly one of the greatest champions of that document. Because his early expressions of his religious views are said to have varied greatly from his private statements late in his life, it is difficult to set forth a concise statement of those beliefs.  Early in his political life he described that the “democratic will” is subordinate to the commands of God, but clarified that those commands are “heard and understood in the individual conscience”. Advocating for the Constitution’s language on the separation of church and state, he stated that “Every new and successful example of a perfect separation between the ecclesiastical and civil matters, is of importance;…in showing that religion and Government will both exist in greater purity, the less they are mixed together.”  Letter to Edward Livingston, July 10, 1822.  Madison spoke and wrote frequently on the issue of religious freedom. He authored Federalist Papers #51, in which he wrote a slight variation of his theme, stating that: “In a free government the security for civil rights must be the same as that for religious rights. It consists in the one case in the multiplicity of interests, and in the other in the multiplicity of sects.”

 Last, but not least, of our best remembered colonial leaders is Benjamin Franklin.  Never a President, and always somewhat apart from the main stream even of the late 18th century, his thoughts about faith, only months prior to his death are witty and plain-spoken: “I believe in one God, Creator of the Universe…That the soul of man is immortal…As to Jesus of Nazareth, my opinion of whom you particularly desire, I think the system of Morals and his Religion, as he left them to us, the best the World ever saw or is likely to see; but I apprehend it has received various corrupt changes, and I have, with most of the present Dissenters in England, some doubts as to his divinity; though it is a question I do not dogmatize upon, having never studied it, and think it needless to busy myself with it, when I expect soon an opportunity of knowing the Truth with less trouble.”
What does it matter? It is apparent that they were respected by their peers, that they were able to define themselves as men of integrity who embraced people of good will where ever they found them.  Certainly, in forging a government of people from such varied backgrounds they were able to shape the original “big tent” of which President Ronald Reagan spoke.  But further, they constructed a government in which people were able to come together as equals, with the interests of the majority and the interests of the various minorities all considered and given worth.  They gave respect to the individual, created a government based democratic values and expectations of liberty.  Most important, they gave our citizens a Constitution and Bill of Rights that became the basis for a government that has thrived for over 200 years.  Sadly, they did not protect us from the inhumanity of  slavery or insure the equal treatment of women and minorities.  But over the course of U.S. History. the concepts of liberty, equality and justice have prevailed and these fundamental rights were extended to all citizens.
                                                                                          Out of Many, One