'Glenn Beck': Founders' Friday

This is a rush transcript from "Glenn Beck," April 30, 2010. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GLENN BECK, HOST: We are trying something for a month and we'll see if I have single viewer left: "Founders' Fridays."

We're going to do George Washington next week, and you don't want to miss that. And then we have, I think, in two weeks, I'm going to show you the American heroes that are African-Americans. Why would we have these amazing African-American heroes and not learn about them in school? Why?

Today, we're going to start here.

And, Ira, you are here because of your book. It changed my course. Ira Stoll wrote "Samuel Adams: A Life."

And I read this and I remember bringing it in and saying, my gosh, I bring it in to work every day and read it to people and I go, did you know this? And those are my paintings. There are copies of them. But that is the reason why Samuel Adams is faith is because of your book. It's amazing.

We also have David Barton here from WallBuilders.

And I want to just — I want to spend some time just getting to know this guy a little bit.

First of all, did you know who you were going to find when you started doing research for your book?

IRA STOLL, "SAMUEL ADAMS: A LIFE" AUTHOR: Well, I had a vague idea he was one of the most steadfast of the Founding Fathers, but I really didn't know what motivated it. And you're right, it really was the faith. As I got into it, I saw that Samuel Adams really believed that God was on the side of the Americans. And that they were like the Israelites fleeing slavery in Egypt.

BECK: Yes. It was — it was amazing, David. But he wasn't unique in that, was he? But he was probably the leader at the time? Or the most —

DAVID BARTON, "LIVES OF THE SIGNERS" AUTHOR: He was probably the leader. The British actually called him the "puppet master" and they knew that he was behind things and that's why they wanted his body. I mean, that order you read was go find him, find Hancock and kill them. If we can get these guys killed, we're going to save this thing.

BECK: No, he is a guy — we're separation of church and state, where not the religious, and that is the big lie here.


BECK: We are not. They guys all defended religion.


BECK: They would go, because people would say, well, no, you're not going to be that religion.


BECK: But they said, no, no. You can be as religious as you want.

BARTON: That's right.

BECK: You don't go after another religion. It's not about one religion. We need to be religious people. But hero of the Massachusetts Constitution, he was involved in the Massachusetts Constitution.

BARTON: He was one of the foremost writers, he and his second cousin John Adams and Hancock were really the principal guys behind that. John Adams is the one who wrote the foreword for all of this, but Sam had his fingers all over this.

BECK: OK. So, give me, just — just summarize a couple of things that people — you go online and look this up. You think separation of church and state. This is in the Constitution of Massachusetts. Give a couple things.

BARTON: The first, declaration of rights, item number two, item number three. It is the right as well as the duty of all men in society, publicly and at stated seasons, to worship the Supreme Being, the great governor and creator and preserver of the universe. And no subjects shall be hurt, molested or restrained in his person, liberty, or state, for worshipping God in the manner and season most agreeable to the dictate of his conscience or for his religious profession or sentiments provided he does not disturb the public worship or peace of others in their religious worship.

BECK: So those words, what this is, is this the beginning of our Constitution and it's really — unless God is telling you to blow somebody up —

BARTON: That's it.

BECK: — you're cool.

BARTON: That's it.

BECK: Right?

BARTON: Yes. That's it. Unless you hurt somebody else, you go anyway you want after your religious worship and you have freedom to express it.

BECK: Right.

The other thing I found interesting was that they say it's the duty of the government.

BARTON: Let me take that a step farther in the next one. Because here's the duty of government, too: As the happiness of a people and the good order and preservation of civil government, essentially depend upon piety, religion and morality; and as these cannot be generally diffused through a community but by the institution of public worship of God and public instruction — public instruction in piety, religion and reality, therefore, to promote this happiness, the legislature is invested to be able to authorize teachers to go out and publicly teach religion, et cetera.

That's their constitution. This is so important. We're going to pay the legislature just to teach religion.

BECK: This is how perverted this has become. Barney Frank would tell you that's nonsense and unconstitutional.

BARTON: Well, he hasn't read the U.S. Constitution or his own state constitution.

BECK: This is in his state constitution.

BARTON: Exactly.

BECK: And this is — correct me if I'm wrong — this does two things. First of all, are the dates right, David?

BARTON: That's it. Yes, sir.

BECK: Yes, OK. This is — this is progressive movement. Undermine the Constitution, which you just see here.

BARTON: Right.

BECK: You don't know the Constitution because they've undermine faith and religion and Founding Fathers. They do it all in one —

BARTON: Altogether.

BECK: — all together in one fell swoop.

BARTON: Altogether.

BECK: What was the — what was the most stunning thing that you — besides faith — that you any you got out of Samuel Adams? The one that you'd say, this is so important I can't belief I don't know this. Do you have?

STOLL: Well, just — it wasn't clear that they were going to win. I mean, you said at the beginning that Washington lost all these battles. And if they lost —

BECK: They're all dead.

STOLL: Exactly, they were going to be killed. And one of Samuel Adams' close friends, his personal doctor actually, was decapitated by the British at the Battle of Bunker Hill. So, they knew it could happen to them.

BECK: It's amazing to me how we have diminished these people. They were so amazing, so strong and they all — they all knew. I'm a dead man.


BECK: The more I learn about them, you know, I'm telling you, there's a reason why our teachers are saying, OK, memorize the date, kids. What date did it happen?

I don't care about the dates. Who cares about the dates?


BECK: The character is what was amazing.

BARTON: With Sam Adams, he was so amazing because talking to another signer of the declaration, Benjamin Rush, he was good friend with him in Congress, the question is: how much are we willing to sacrifice to secure liberty?

And the British general tried to bribe Adams before they tried to kill him, they tried to bribe him. He said, no, no. He said, I've already made my peace with the king of kings, you're not going to buy me and you're not going to destroy my country. So, after that, they said, all right, we'll kill him.

So, he knows what's happening. He knows what's coming. And, interestingly, he was in the minority. I mean, we look now at the American Revolution like everyone was on board. No, one-third of the Americans wanted independence and one-third of the Americans fought with the British against the other Americans, and one-third didn't care as long as it didn't affect them. So, he's in the minority.

BECK: It sounds like today.

BARTON: You know, he's in a definite minority. And he told Benjamin, how much are you willing to pay? He said, this revolution cost Americans 999 lives out of every 1,000 in the war. He said, that's still not too high a price to pay to secure our liberty. He said, and the one remaining will breed a new race of courageous leaders.

BECK: Here is — here is the amazing thing, America. I mean, if you get down, if you look to these guys — that's why we have to have them erased if you are a progressive. You got to erase these guys because they will give you hope and they will also show you that — I'm going to share with you how rich this guy was in a second — because remember, they're all rich white men — how rich this guy was and how he was willing to give everything up, not for a dollar.

How many people in Washington — how many people do we talk to now — it's all about the money. These guys knew that it was about the rights of the individual. Not human rights. There's a huge difference — the right of the individual and willing to lose everything for it because it was important.

Back in just a second.




BECK: Tonight, we're kicking off our very first in "Founders' Fridays." This week, it is Samuel Adams. If you want more on Samuel Adams, go to GlennBeck.com and sign up to become member of "Insider Extreme." You'll get the five things you didn't know about Samuel Adams from David Barton and find out why Ira Stoll decided to write the story of Sam Adams, an incredible, incredible tale.

Next Friday, we'll talk about George Washington. Log on to GlennBeck.com. Sign it for the "Insider Extreme." Continuing education.

With me now, David Barton, author of "The Lives of the Signers of Declaration of Independence" and founder of Wall Builder, an organization dedicated to presenting America's forgotten history and heroes. And Ira Stoll, former managing editor of the New York Sun. He is also the author of a great, great book "Samuel Adams: A Life."

All right. Everybody learns these were rich, white slave owners. First of all, staunch anti-slavery, Samuel Adams.


BECK: Right?

BARTON: Absolutely.

BECK: Rich? We know he was white. Rich?

STOLL: When he went off to the First Continental Congress in Philadelphia, the people of Boston had to take up a collection to buy him a new suit. That's how poor he was.

BECK: Yes, David you said earlier to me before we went on the air, this red suit — this was the only suit he had.

BARTON: That happened in 1770 — that's the Boston massacre. John Hancock had that painting commissioned by Copley to show what Hancock looked like that. Well, that's a suit that Hancock owns. That's what he was about to wear years later to the first Congress.

BECK: You mean Adams?

BARTON: Excuse me. My fault — Adams.


BARTON: Adams going off to the first Congress which convenes at the latter part of August, first part of September '74. And there is a painting of Sam Adams in the first Congress. It's the first Congress in prayer.

And if you look at Sam Adams there, standing there, he's got a brand-new suit on, and it's not red. It's different. This is really cool. This is an old textbook called "Wives of the Signers."

We used to study the ladies, too. And it has in here talking about Sam's wife and how much poverty they went through and poverty didn't scare them. And they were very poor.

BECK: She actually made the money for the family.

BARTON: She made money for the family by doing embroidery work on the side. So she — Sam was so busy saving the continent —


BECK: That is practically Enron.


BARTON: Yes, exactly. Yes, exactly. It is funny what happened because — and this letter talks about her and what the friends did for her and Sam. The letter is August 11th, 1774. He has just been elected to Congress and about to go.

And it said that his house has been leaking, the roof has been leaking, the barn is falling down. So here is what the neighbors did. This letter says, "Some persons, their names unknown, sent and asked Sam's permission to build him a new barn, the old being decayed, which is executed in a few days."

"A second was sent to — asked to repair a house which was soon effected. A third sent to ask the favor of him to call on a tailor shop to be measured for a suit of clothes and chose his cloth which was finished and sent home for his acceptance. A fourth presented with a new wig. A fifth with a new hat. A Sixth with six pairs of the best silk hose. A seventh with six pairs of the fine thread ditto."

"An eighth with six pairs of shoes. And a ninth modestly inquired of him whether his finances were not rather low. He replied that they were." And so the guy gave him a purse with 15 coins in it. Now, that's charity. That's what the neighbors did for poor Sam Adams, because he was dirt poor.

BECK: So not a slave owner.

BARTON: Not a slave owner.

BECK: White, Christian —

BARTON: When slaves came in his house, he freed the slaves.

BECK: Right.

BARTON: When they came in, they were freed.

BECK: And he was poor. Now, we — I am going to ask this question in the audience here. How many of you have learned — how many of you have at least doubled the knowledge you had on Samuel Adams in the last half an hour? OK. I mean, that's amazing. That's amazing.


BECK: The question is why? Why don't we learn about Sam Adams? I have — well, I know what they did in the progressive movement and why they did it.


BECK: But I think one of the important things is — and this is why it needs to be repeated. You know, sometimes you have to put things — the Israelites used to put their temple up on the hill is you could see it, you know. And your tent had to be built, you know, so it opened up, so you could see the temple.

It was to remind you all the time. I think these people need to be put on the hill. We need to see them, because right now, our leaders are corrupt. Business, corrupt. Our church leaders appear corrupt. Everybody is corrupt.

And so, it lowers your standard because everybody is doing it. Everybody is doing it. And there is nobody to strive for. These people were flawed and you read, you know, any of the history, they were flawed.

They weren't — you know, they weren't in spades everything. But they were amazing to today's standard. Now, we have people today saying, well, character doesn't matter. It does.

And so, what I want you to do — we're going to come back and we're going to participate with the audience here in just a little bit and share some more with you. But what I want you to do in the next few weeks is I want you to take some of the virtues of these guys and I want you to examine yourself against them.

Learn about them and then examine yourself. Find out if they have something that you don't. Find out if they have something that maybe you are missing. Find out if they have something or they thought something was important that our whole society is missing.

And then put them up on the hill so you can see them all the time. His virtue obviously is faith, a profound belief that God is on your side, as long as you're on his side and you're doing the right things.

Back in just a second.




BECK: "Founders' Fridays." Today, Sam Adams. But first, before we go back to it, earlier this week, I told you about the Puerto Rico vote that would put them on the possible path to statehood. I told you it was a power grab.

Last night after my show, that measure passed. It passed the House. Next week, we'll tell you more about the Tennessee plan, and it still has to go through the Senate. A new progressive plan for power beyond your wildest imagination. Plus, more on Crime, Inc. All next week.

But, today, Sam Adams. David Barton, author of "Lives of the Signers of Declaration of Independence." And Ira Stoll — he is former managing editor of The New York Sun, author of a fascinating book "Samuel Adams: A Life."

And I have to, real quick, say, Russ, you are in the audience. You were a guy who came up to me, I believe, at a book signing. Where were we? Where were we?


BECK: Book signing —

MURPHY: Yes, sir.

BECK: And you handed me a book and you said to me, if I'm remembering — you said to me, "You are our Sam Adams." And I said, "Thank you." And I was bluffing because I knew very little about Sam Adams.


And I was thinking he must be an alcoholic because (UNINTELLIGIBLE).


Yes, I am, Russ. And I read it because of you. Now, I didn't know you were going to be in the audience today. You bring me this book, real quick, because we have to get back to Sam Adams. You asked me to sign it. Who is this that signed this?

MURPHY: Bill Ayers.

BECK: William Ayers signed the book?


BECK: I'd love to buy this from you.


Somebody did this to Van Jones and I've auctioned it off for charity. But I'd like to talk to you. I pay well.


Thank you very much. I'll give it back to you in a second. All right.


OK, Rafiq, let's start with you about Sam Adams.

RAFIQ JENNINGS, DATA SPECIALIST: I haven't been a fan of the Founding Fathers because they said, you know, racist, white males. For liberty — for racists, white males and everything. But coming here, I've kind of did a little reading and realized that Sam Adams is not just a beer.


JENNINGS: My question is, historians said that Sam Adams was like, incited mob violence, was a master of propaganda. Is any of that true? Do you have any comments on that?

BECK: He did the — I know the egg incident, right?

BARTON: Several.

BECK: OK. Tell me.

BARTON: He's not directly involved. Again, he is behind. And he is able to help people move in a direction. He didn't always condone the violence. And you know, things got out of hand at the time. Ira, go ahead.

STOLL: Well, I think he was afraid that wanton violence was going to discredit the revolutionary cause.


STOLL: And in fact, after the Boston Tea Party, one of the first things he did was write letters to people all over the colonies saying, "We dumped the tea, but no other property was destroyed. No one was hurt."

And you know, his critics, the British, used to try to put that label on him, that he was violent, just like they do to the tea party people today.

BECK: Right.

STOLL: But, you know, eventually, there was a war. And yes, it was violent. But until then, he was pretty careful.

BECK: Propagandist?

BARTON: One thing that I think is really key is after that incident where you had people killed at the Boston massacre, they made sure that that was not a show trial. They took John Adams, Josiah Quincy and the best attorneys available to defend the British.

They took Robert Treat Paine, signer of the Declaration, prosecution for the state with the best guys out there. And John Adams the British essentially off for the shootings except a couple of them got branded on the hand. But I mean, this was no kind of show trial. And Sam wanted to make sure justice was done.

BECK: Right.

BARTON: So he is behind a lot of stuff (UNINTELLIGIBLE).

BECK: Tell me a little bit about — I can't wait to do the show on African-Americans in the Revolutionary War, because they're amazing.
They're heroes.

BARTON: They are.

BECK: But completely — I mean, this is all white. That's all you see in the American Revolution. Tell me about Sam Adams and where he stood on slavery. I know he was an abolitionist, but can you — is there any story you can tell or anything that —

BARTON: One of things that shows where he was is that people back then — if they wanted to give you a gift, they would give you expensive gifts. One of the gifts you might get was a slave. Someone might say, "Here is, you know, some of my property."

And Sam Adams, given slaves, instantly freed on the spot. And actually, the lady who was given to him stayed and loved him and served him. When he said, "Well, we officially need to give you emancipation papers," she said "Don't trifle with me. I've been part of this family for too long."

And so there was such a love and equality and an attachment there with Adam's relations. But what was significant is, there never was a time in Massachusetts' history when blacks could not vote.

You also find throughout the revolution that's where many of the black patriots came from. So many black founding fathers that don't get talked about today were out of Massachusetts.

And one of the best examples of how America is so different from what we hear is the Dred Scott decision, because the dissent in that decision — they said — now, the court has just said blacks are property.

The dissent written by Curtis over here said this is nonsense. Look what blacks did in the founding. Look at what blacks did in Massachusetts. Look, blacks elected to office 1768 in New Hampshire. That dissent in Dred Scott —

BECK: Say it again. Say it again. Blacks elected to office in New Hampshire in -

BARTON: 1768, and patriots. The guy who rode with Paul Revere that night — there were several. But one was a black patriot, Wentworth Cheswell, rode side-by-side with Paul Revere, then went in different directions. But they're doing the same thing. Black and white, side-by- side.

When you had the Battle of Lexington, 18 shot down, Americans — they were black and white, laying on the ground together. They all went to the same church together, Rev. Jonas Clark's(ph) church.

You get to Battle of Bunker Hill, over on the right side of the screen, the two heroes, Thomas Groebner(ph) and Peter Salem, black and white, fighting side-by-side. Salem got 14 commendations for what he did down Bunker Hill. You never hear that kind of stuff. But that was Massachusetts, that's Sam Adams and John Adams and those Massachusetts guys.

BECK: You will hear more on that in the coming weeks on "Founders' Fridays." We'll be right back in just a second.


BECK: "Founders' Fridays" — today, Samuel Adams. David Barton, Ira Stoll are still here. And David, you have a question?

DAVID, AUDIENCE MEMBER: Was Continental Congress a paying job back then or did they just do it for love of country?

BARTON: They got paid for their expenses. They had per diems that they were given and travel expenses. Sam's income merely came from being the clerk of the Massachusetts assembly.

He was a great writer. He was not a great orator but he was a great writer. And so he got 100 pounds a year for the job, which was not much, but that helped with the embroidery work that went on with his wife.

BECK: You also have to understand that that wasn't a full-time job. None of them wanted it to be a full-time job. I mean, Benjamin Franklin was very clear. You don't do this full-time. We're going to meet for a while — I guess the closest really now is Texas? Is that probably the closest to what it was? In Texas, the legislature only meets every (UNINTELLIGIBLE).

BARTON: One hundred and forty days.

BECK: Every other year?

BARTON: Every other year, 140 days.

BECK: Yes. I mean, you know how much damage the United States government could do if they were only here 140 days out of every two years? How sweet would that be? That was the idea. Who is next? Right behind you, yes.

SAMUEL ADAMS, FILMMAKER AND MODEL: I am Samuel Adams. I was named after the boy prophet and I'm related to him. And every day I get told, "Oh, you're related to that beer guy."

And it infuriates me. There is never really a good quick answer, like, what is, like, the defining thing that he did? Because nobody knows. People say he was the president. Which is — people don't know the history at all in America.

So what is it? What is the one thing I say to these people? What did he do?

BARTON: A couple things. One, can I respond to the beer thing? He owned what was called a malt house. And malt back then is not beer today.

And by the way, that didn't do well. He didn't do well in any business he had. He had a malt house. But according to Founding Father Benjamin Rush, who is called the father of temperance, he said neither malt nor wine nor beer could you get drunk on in the Founding Era.

Just enough alcohol to kill the bugs in the water and that was it. So it wasn't even beer that we consider today. That's a complete misnomer. They've stuck his name on something that really was not his.

The thing you say about him is there is no America as United States without the leadership of Sam Adams. That's why they called him the Father of the American Revolution, hands down.

BECK: You know what? There is somebody else that I want to — we'll start to introduce here in the coming weeks. George Whitfield.


BECK: Correct me if I'm wrong, George Whitfield and Sam Adams — America doesn't exist without those two guys. George Whitfield and Sam Adams — one was a preacher from England and this one just had a profound belief in God.

And it was, like I said at the very beginning in the story with George Washington, when continental Congress came in and they had no faith, these guys stood up. They did two things. They gave other people the confidence and said, "Stand up. Stand up. God is telling us right now. This is his land. Stand up and fight for these rights."

The other thing that they did — and this is critical — they explained to the American people the difference between rights in Europe and the rights here. And we're having the same discussion.

BARTON: Yes, problem.

BECK: It's human rights. How many people you're seeing now down at the border saying, "I'm a human. I have human rights." No, no. In America — that's European. That leads to slavery.

These guys understood individual rights. It's your choice, your life. You do it. Don't talk to me about human rights. That leads to Europe and that is the key and the difference. Would you agree?

BARTON: Absolutely. That's what the whole philosophy of government summarized in 45 words of the Declaration. There is a Creator. He gives rights to man, and government exists to secure the rights He gives us.

BECK: I think I said this on the air one time — I don't remember. Some pinhead — maybe a time or something that said, "Glenn Beck — he doesn't even know about individual rights. God gives — creators. No. Congress creates rights."

Oh, my gosh. Read your history. Sam Adams was the key. Back in a minute.


BECK: Everybody in the audience today gets one of the T-shirts, the faith Samuel Adams T-shirt. You can get yours online at GlennBeck.com. Sign up for the "Insider Extreme" there at GlennBeck.com. Continuing education. More information like this, documentaries and so much more — GlennBeck.com.

From New York, good night, America.

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