The Chain of Liberty Links
The Chain of Liberty is the timeline which serves as our backdrop for studying history. It divides history into ten individual links. Each link highlights principles of liberty, key events and people within the context of world history. It sets the stage for the course of events and places individuals within the context of the times in which they lived. It presents the students with the big picture, and then places individuals and events within the context of the big picture. Context is key to understanding the significance of individuals and events in history and the course of liberty.
The Chain of Liberty emphasizes God’s use of individual men and of nations to move liberty westward and to effect change; first internally in the individual, and then externally into the civil sphere. The chain of liberty has several themes;
Who? The individuals used to advance liberty and those who actively opposed liberty.
What? Events that advance the cause of liberty.
Where? Geography-the stage for man’s activities.
Why? In order for individuals and nations to live in liberty.
There are two main questions we will revisit throughout our history studies;
1. What does man believe about God and the purpose of His existence?
2. How were individuals and nations uniquely used to advance liberty on earth?
The Creation Link
“In the beginning, God…
“In the beginning, God created the heaven’s and the earth.”
In the Creation Link, we begin with the book of Genesis. Genesis means beginning or head. It is probably the most important book ever written because it is the book of origins and foundations. It gives vital information concerning the origin of all things, and therefore, the meaning of all things.
One’s belief concerning his origin will inevitably determine his belief concerning his purpose and his destiny. “For since the creation of the world, God’s invisible qualities–his eternal power and divine nature–have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.” Romans 1:20 Through creation, God reveals Himself to man. He calls out to man and draws them to Himself. Through unchanging principles, He teaches man about His character and His plan for mankind.
Within the Creation Link, students become familiar with the foundational principles of life, liberty, individuals and nations. The Principle of Individuality, Divine Attributes of God; His character and His person, and the Divine Origin of Liberty. The Principle of Self-Government and the providential worldview are identified in Genesis 1 and 2. In addition, we identify the Principle of Property; man made in God’s image, the fall of man and need the origin of civil government. What God planned and promised and prepared in Genesis, He accomplished, and is now, today, applying and fulfilling in the lives of men and nations.
Dawn of Nations Link
“From one man He made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth;
and He determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live.”
In the Dawn of Nations Link, we continue with our study in the book of Genesis. God continues to reveal Himself to man as Righteous and Judge. The origin of nations are traced through ancient civilizations.
This link reveals the origins of races, religions, languages, and civilizations. We look at the establishment of government, the dispersion of humans across the globe, and the centralization of powers in ancient governments.
Moses and the Law Link
“We have staked the whole future of American civilization,
not upon the power of government, far from it.
We staked the future of our political institutions upon our capacity…
To sustain ourselves according to the 10 Commandments of God.”
During the Moses and the law link, we zoom in on theIsraelites in Egypt and the Sinai Desert. Egypt was a placeof captivity. The Sinai Desert was a place of liberation, as Moses received the Ten Commandments and established representative government. Liberty and self-government are demonstrated within the confines of just law.
Later, the Israelites exchanged liberty for the illusion of security in a monarchy. The concept of individual liberty and the governing of conscience were only flickering lights in a few instances during ancient times. Israel; the Hebrew Republic was a nation founded on laws, not men. Greece and Rome’s form of governments are studied as we compare and contrast ancient governments with principles of liberty.
The Church Link
“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free.” Galatians 5:1
The church link spans the time of the Roman empire and Ancient Greece. The focus is on the key figure of Jesus and the liberating message of the Gospel. We study the providential setting and course of events to prepare the world for Jesus. Christ’s birth, death, and resurrection, and His eternal effect on history are emphasized.
The early church established a small, local, self-governing church model and moved westward into Europe. Persecution of Christians coincided with church growth. Finally, an emperor in Rome revolutionized Rome and Christianity. There is an inextricable connection between a person’s beliefs and the form government in a nation.
Other points of emphasis are: Christ’s character; Christ fulfillment of the Law; God’s Law now “written upon the heart,” as the basis for the principle of self-government; as well as Christ’s teachings on civil government.
When Jesus came and offered liberty to the individual, as well as principles of civil liberty, it increased the desire to restrain the civil government over those it governed. The concept of government on the Chain of Liberty reveals more liberty for the individual as the Gospel continues moving westward
The Reformation Link
“The liberty which the truth brings is not for individuals only: it affects the whole society.”
The reformation link begins at the fall of the Roman Empire. This ushered in the Dark Ages, which included the feudal system and corruption in the church.
During this time, there were some lights of liberty throughout the dark continent. These included the Magna Carta establishing just laws and the reformers battling for the principle of conscience.
The history of civil liberty, and the history of the Bible in English are inextricably linked. Liberty for the individual is directly proportionate to the individual’s possession and ability to read the Bible in his own language. Supporting this leading idea is: the Magna Charta; how the Bible in the hands of the individual gives rise to an internal reformation and then reformation in the civil sphere: the European Reformation, its reformers and Bible translators including Wycliffe, the “Morning Star of the Reformation,” Tyndale, Calvin and other reformers as well as the transformation of nations as men read the Bible in their own language.
We look at the heroic age of the church, with it’s intense growth, persecution and martyrdom. The events and councils leading to the canonization of the Bible and it’s authority for governing men and nations.
First Colonies Link
“As one small candle may light a thousand….” William Bradford
As the Bible in the language of the people spread throughout the European continent people and nations were transformed. In time, people began to govern themselves and their churches. This set up a model for civil government in the colonies of America.
America is and has been unlike any nation in history, from the time of colonization, through obtaining independence, to being established as a constitutional republic. America is the most free and prosperous nation to have ever existed because of the principles it was founded upon.
The primary settlers of the American colonies were English people and other Europeans who were products the Protestant Reformation. They had a firm belief in God and the Bible. Their desire to establish a land of civil and religious freedom and to propagate the Gospel was evident in their lives, laws, and words. Individuals of character were compelled to colonize the New World. Captain John Smith in Jamestown and William Bradford in the Plymouth Colony are two examples.
I always consider the settlement of America
with reverence and wonder,
as the opening of a grand scene and
design in Providence.
First Constitutional Republic Link
“We the People…..” Preamble of the United States Constitution
In this link, there are significant individuals, events, and documents that secured liberty for generations. Some of these are the role of the church clergy in propagating liberty; Samuel Adams, the “Father of the American Revolution” and the Committee of Correspondence; John Adams; Thomas Jefferson and the Declaration of Independence; and James Madison and other Founding Fathers, along with the Constitution. The influence of the early colonists and their form of church government are reflected in the Constitution. Also important were Noah Webster and the education of early Americans in order to preserve the republic.
The Expansion & Erosion Link
“From sea to shining sea…” Katharine Lee Bates, in “America the Beautiful”
The expansion and erosion link begins with Jefferson’s presidency. It includes the expansion of the border of the United States from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean, known as Manifest Destiny. Events include the Louisiana Purchase, the Lewis and Clark Expedition, and the Oregon Trail.
Also, the countries expansion as a world power as an example of liberty to the world. Expansions of innovation and invention exploded as individuals pursued happiness.
Legislation following the Civil War served to expand and erode liberties. Liberties were expanded with the Emancipation Proclamation and eroded by drifting from the Constitution has the final authority of the land and the decline in the educational system.
As the nation “flowered,” the Era of Enterprise and Invention is highlighted. Other topics covered are: westward expansion, the Civil War, erosion of unity, and reconstruction. The character and contributions of such men as Noah Webster, Matthew Maury, Abraham Lincoln, and Robert E. Lee are identified.
The World at War Link
“Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom.
There will be famines and earthquakes in various places.”
Each nation has distinct characteristics, a special role to play and contributions to make. The World at War Link covers the 20th century and the World Wars, The Korean War, The Vietnam War and the Persian Gulf War.
Key individuals include such Presidents as President Woodrow Wilson, President Franklin D. Roosevelt, President John F. Kennedy and President Ronald Reagan and their contributions to securing liberty.
Additionally, contrasting individuals such as Stalin and Hitler and the forms of government with despotic regimes. The influence of Islam on government and nations is emphasized. The World at War Link contrasts American liberty to other forms of government.
The Restoration Link
“An immense effect may be produced by small powers, wisely and steadily directed.”
The restoration link is our present time. It is here and now. Educating the individual and applying principles of liberty is the first step in restoring American liberty. We must take personal responsibility and change our thinking. It starts with me, and it starts with you. Each of us is a link in the chain of liberty.
By reforming our thinking and applying the principles of liberty to our individual lives, families, and communities, the nation will naturally be reformed. We begin individually and act locally.
America’s founders were very much aware of the relationship between education and liberty. They knew that the people could not be ignorant and free. It is imperative that we teach the next generation the principles of liberty that the United States is founded on.
If a nation expects to be ignorant and free,
in a state of civilization,
it expects what never was and never will be.
A nation of well-informed men
who have been taught to know and price the rights
which God has given them
cannot be enslaved.
It is in the region of ignorance that tyranny begins.