America's First Run-in With the Media

America’s First Run-in With the Media

America’s first run-in with the media did not occur at the beginning of the twenty-first century, but in its struggle against the tyranny of King George III, at the beginning of her national life. In recent years, the mainstream media (CBS, NBC, ABC, CNN, etc.) has been bent on defending liberal causes and defaming conservatives and the historical Christian moorings of America. They now routinely avoid those stories that embarrass and cause public doubt for their liberal irreligious agenda. But this is not the first time in American history when truth has been smothered or swallowed by those in control of public information. When colonial Americans were faced with the need for truth in the press, Christians stepped forward to devise a plan of response that helped to birth a new nation.

Article Contents

The Birth of Committees of Correspondence

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Samuel Adams

The first informal efforts at mutual correspondence in the American colonies began in 1764,[1] but the first formal efforts to develop a network of communication began in November 1772 with Christian leader Samuel Adams, “Father of the American Revolution.” Adams initially formed a committee to protest the decision to have the King pay for the salaries of royal governors and judges rather than the colonial assemblies. Adams and others regarded this as a loss of influence and self-direction of the colonies. The purpose of the Committee was to communicate to the public “the rights of the colonists, and of this province in particular [Massachusetts], as men, as Christians, and as subjects; to communicate and publish the same to the several towns in this province and to the world as the sense of this town”.[2]

In the months that followed, more than 100 Committees of Correspondence were formed in the towns and villages of Massachusetts. His intent was to circumvent British control of communications and information by initiating Committees of Correspondence that would communicate the written word from town to town, and colony to colony. The Committees were responsible to commit particular concerns to written form and then dispatch that information to other neighboring members of the organization. Many individual members of the Committees were members of colonial assemblies and were also active in the secret Sons of Liberty.

[ I ] have a thorough contempt for all men . . . who appear to be the irreclaimable enemies of religion.
-Samuel Adams[3]

Usually, American colonists living along the Atlantic seacoast were more informed of rising developments in the struggle against King George and the British Parliament than those living in the interior of the colonies. Through the efforts of Samuel Adams and others who joined him, Committees of Correspondence spread rapidly across urban centers, including towns in the interior.

Their Important Work

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Boston Tea Party

The Committees of Correspondence were bold enough to use the British controlled postal service as one means of communication with other committees. Often, the disbursement of hand-written information from the Committees was conducted on horseback or aboard ships. The Committee of Correspondence in Boston placed its blessing upon the raid of the Dartmouth and the destruction of its tea, which was subsequently known as the Boston Tea Party (December 16, 1773). As the agitation between the colonies and Great Britain increased, the Committees formed the backbone of communication between the colonies.

Their Development

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Elias Boudinot

Following the lead of Samuel Adams, the Virginia House of Burgesses established a Committee of Correspondence as a standing committee in 1773 and wrote to the other colonial assemblies encouraging them to form permanent Committees as well. Before the crisis of the Boston Tea Party in December of 1773, each colony had established a central committee whose responsibility it was to communicate with the other twelve colonies. In addition, smaller towns and villages joined the network which expanded the influence of the Committees throughout the colonies.

One of the members of the Committee of Correspondence was Elias Boudinot–a president of the Continental Congress and founding president of the American Bible Society. To read more about this important Founding Father, please click this box.

Their Prominence in Mature Developments

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First Prayer in Continental Congress–Jacob Duche

The effective communication that was facilitated by the Committees of Correspondence resulted in the convening of the First and Second Continental Congresses. The Committees were an important part of the planning for the First Continental Congress that convened in September of 1774. The First Continental Congress sought God’s guidance as its chaplain, Anglican clergyman Jacob Duche, led it in prayer. The Second Continental Congress seized upon the success of the Committees and created its own Committee of Secret Correspondence (on November 29, 1775) to convey the interpretation of events occurring in the colonies to sympathetic foreign powers. Appointed to this Committee were Benjamin Franklin, Benjamin Harrison, Thomas Johnson, John Dickinson, and John Jay, who were subsequently joined by Robert Morris. As the responsibilities of this Committee grew, it was subsequently renamed the Committee of Foreign Affairs on April 17, 1777.

Further Efforts

[T]he only true basis of all government [is] the laws of God and nature. For government is an ordinance of Heaven, designed by the all benevolent Creator.
-Samuel Adams[4]

The Committee of Foreign Affairs was responsible for enlisting foreign support in Revolutionary War against Great Britain. Drawing extensively on his European contacts, Benjamin Franklin became the most active member of the Committee. The Committee, from various foreign sources, secured clandestine shipments of gunpowder, war material, and numerous forms of support for the American cause. As the war progressed the members of the Committee were overtaxed with various responsibilities and began to neglect its work. At the suggestions of James Lovell, now a Committee member, Congress established a Department of Foreign Affairs (February 6, 1781) to handle the day-to-day business of conducting foreign diplomacy, and elected Robert Livingston as Secretary of Foreign Affairs (August 10, 1781).[5] From a small beginning in the heart of Samuel Adams that would serve the American people with truth had emerged an important office in a fledgling nation.

Samuel Adam’s Christian Legacy

For decades, liberals have been attempting to marginalize, disparage, and deny the Christian influence that was exercised over the founding of America. They seek to dress America’s Christian Founding Fathers in the garb of various forms of irreligion, particularly deism. But the fact of the matter is that the Founding Fathers of America were overwhelming Christian! In numerous, often unseen ways, the influence of America’s Christian Founding Fathers extends into the twenty-first century. Of the fifty-six signers of the Declaration of Independence, only two-or possibly three-were not associated with a Christian denomination. Samuel Adams, founder of the Committees of Correspondence, was a devote Christian, as may be seen in his last will and testament:

Principally and first of all, I recommend my soul to that Almighty Being who gave it, and my body I commit to the dust, relying upon the merits of Jesus Christ for a pardon of all my sins.[6]

Conclusion

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King George III

Before average citizens were aroused against the grievous government of King George III and the English Parliament, Christian pastors began to alert the American Colonies to the disparity between the teachings of the Bible and the policies of King George.[7] Under the influence of biblical teaching, American colonial leaders sought to correct the abuses of the King’s government, but with little or no success. Rather than sacrifice their biblical convictions, Americans chose to live out the principles of Scripture rather than submit to the passions of a tyrannical King and his Parliament. The cost was enormous, but their resolve has blessed the world for more than two centuries.

Contemporary Americans are now faced with the tyranny of secularism because many pastors have lost their conviction concerning the truthfulness of the Bible. If Americans will not fight for the biblical principles that produced the greatest nation in world history, they—like most other people groups around the world—must content themselves with mere existence under the heel of contemporary secular tyranny! Those who will not fight to maintain their liberty are not entitled to live under the blessings bequeathed to them by America’s Christian Founding Fathers!

America, this is our Christian heritage!

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For Further Consideration

Christian Heritage Fellowship, Inc., Christian Quotes from the Founding Fathers. Christian Quotes from the Founding Fathers is a brief summary of some of the most important Founding Fathers concerning their Christian convictions and public life. Businesses, churches, organizations, and individuals may help correct the deception of the Left with primary quotations. Get your brochures today and help share the truth concerning America's Christian heritage. This product is available in bulk pricing for mass distribution.  Read more...
Stephen A. Flick, Ph.D., America's Founding Fathers and the Bible. Contrary to the contemporary mantra that America was birthed as a secular nation, the historical evidence demonstrates that America was founded by Christians who wished to enjoy the liberty to freely express their Christian faith. Lamentably, Christians have forgotten and neglected the Christian heritage bequeathed to them by America's Founding Fathers and have allowed secularists to disparage and deny what was given to them at such a great price. America's Founding Fathers and the Bible briefly describes a portion of America's Christian heritage, particularly during the rise of nationalism when America was shaping its national government.  Read more...
Stephen A. Flick, Ph.D., When the United States Capitol Was a Church. So deep and strong was the relationship of government to the Christian faith in America that the relationship was recognized in a variety of ways. Few realize that the United States Capitol was used as a church for years before it was used to convene the United States Congress. For nearly three-quarters of a century, the United States Capitol was used for church services. In fact, it became a meeting place for a number of churches in Washington, D. C. While secularists wish to keep this and many other similar historical facts quiet, the sincere Christian will wish to celebrate the spiritual heritage our Founding Fathers have bequeathed to us.  Read more...

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Anchor Elements

“Anchor Elements” are concepts, events, individuals, terms, or other important components that are featured in this article and which act as authoritative reference points for use in other articles throughout our site.

Committees of Correspondence

Article Notes and Sources

[1] In 1764, a committee was charged with rallying opposition to the Currency Act. The following year, New York called upon its neighbors to respond to the Stamp Act, and Massachusetts responded by urging other colonies to send delegates to the Stamp Act Congress that fall.

[2] Page Smith, A New Age Now Begins (McGraw-Hill, 1976), 368.

[3] David Barton, Original Intent: The Courts, the Constitution, & Religion (Aledo, TX: WallBuilder Press, 1996): 145.

[4] Barton, Original Intent, 182.

[5] U.S. Department of State, Office of the Historian, “Secret Committee of Correspondence/ Committee for Foreign Affairs, 1775-1777” (http://history.state.gov/milestones/1776-1783/SecretCommittee, June 10, 2013).

[6] Barton, Original Intent,134.

[7] For a summary of this important fact, see the work of Yale University professor, Sydney E. Ahlstrom, A Religious History of the American People (New Haven, Connecticut: Yale University Press, 1972), 260-384.

Written by Dr. Stephen FlickNumber of posts: 216
Stephen Flick heads Christian Heritage Fellowship, a national organization dedicated to reclaiming America’s Christian Heritage and celebrating the life-changing influence of the Gospel around the world. Concerned with the cultural decay of America, Dr. Flick has sought to provide answers to fellow Christians (and unbelievers) concerning the questions and objections to Christianity often posed by secularists and the irreligious. Dr. Flick is a writer and speaker and has authored numerous articles and books on America’s Christian heritage. He earned his Ph.D. from Drew University in history and Christian theology and has taught at the graduate level as full professor. He has been a licensed minster for nearly forty years and resides in East Tennessee with his wife, Beth. They have two grown, married children and five grandchildren.

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