Micheal Medved Part II: The Most Important Cigars in American History

In Part II of Glenn's interview with Michael Medved, author of the new book The American Miracle: Divine Providence in the Rise of the Republic, the two radio hosts discuss the role divine providence played in Lincoln's presidency, how Sam Houston went from humiliated drunk to Texas statesman and President-elect Trump's pick for Secretary of State.

"With so many outstanding people that could have been appointed by President-elect Trump, where people would say, terrific, whether it's John Bolton or Mitt Romney, I don't know, even arguably Bob Corker or any of the other people he was talking about, why he has to pick someone who won a friendship award from Vladimir Putin . . . I think this will come out in the confirmation hearings, and that's a good thing," Medved said.

The American Miracle: Divine Providence in the Rise of the Republic, is available in bookstores everywhere.

Listen to Part II of this segment from The Glenn Beck Program:

Below is a rush transcript of this segment, it might contain errors:

GLENN: Michael Medved is with us. He has a new book out called The American Miracle: Divine Providence in the Rise of the Republic.

Michael, you were just going to talk a little bit about Abraham Lincoln.

MICHAEL: Well, Abraham Lincoln was one of the most unlikely people. In fact, probably the most up likely person to ever become president of the United States. He wasn't a billionaire. He wasn't a celebrity. He was a politician locally in southern Illinois, who had never won statewide office. Had only won one single term, a two-year term in the Congress of the United States. And he saw his own rise to the presidency as -- as an act of Providence, as something remarkable. His contemporaries saw it that way.

And he was haunted with looking for signs of the divine will. And I tell the story in the book of the most important cigars in American history, which were the three cigars that were discovered by a 42-year-old corporal, whose name was Barton K. Mitchell, who's reclining in September 17th, 1862, in an open field in Frederick, Maryland. Reaches out. Finds these cigars in the middle of a field. Has no idea why they're there. Opens them up.

And then his buddy says, "Wait a minute. What are those papers?"

The papers were the lost dispatch, general orders number 181 from Robert E. Lee, which falling into the hands of the Union allowed the Battle of Antietam to happen, which Lincoln told his cabinet was the sign from God he had been waiting for, to free the slaves with the Emancipation Proclamation.

GLENN: Isn't humility required for all of this? Because I think that's what scares people when you talk about signs from God. Because Adolf Hitler, he talked a lot about God. He was anti-God. But he used all the rhetoric. And he wasn't a humble man, obviously.

Isn't humility -- you just said, he was haunted by this. He saw it as not him, but as a sign from God. All of the great statesmen, presidents, patriots in our -- in our history have all been deeply humble.

MICHAEL: That's exactly correct. And Lincoln used the term, and he used it more than a dozen times in his public statements and his private correspondence, that he was an instrument. That he wasn't the author of what he was doing. He was the instrument of -- of basically the will of history. Hegel and Tolstoy and great thinkers in the past, who, again, are religiously unconventional, nonetheless say that, "Look, if you look at human affairs and you look at some of the amazing things that have particularly surrounded this incredibly blessed country -- and in terms of America's unique blessings, it's not just Americans who think that.

I cite Goethe, the great German poet, who said very early on in our history, right after America was launched, that there was something special, destined, different about America. That's what America's exceptionalism means. It doesn't mean American perfectionism.

What it means is a very special status for this country, in terms of influencing the rest of humanity.

GLENN: Real quick, tell me one last story. It's in The American Miracle, Michael Medved's new book.

Tell me the story of Sam Houston.

MICHAEL: Well -- well, here, if -- if -- this guy whose Indian name was derisively Big Drunk, who was a Big Drunk. He may have been 6-6.

If he has a successful wedding night and he doesn't go into exile and resign as governor of Tennessee because of the embarrassment surrounding his wedding night -- he never goes to Texas. And where you are today in Dallas, Glenn, is now one of the biggest cities in Mexico.

GLENN: Hang on just a second. I don't know about his wedding night. Can you tell me about his wedding night?

MICHAEL: Yeah. He's Andrew Jackson's protÈgÈ. And he's a hero who miraculously survives battle. And he becomes a young governor of Tennessee. He's a US congressman. He's on the road to the presidency. And he marries the most beautiful young woman in Tennessee whose family is very politically prominent. Something happened on their wedding night where she told a friend the morning after, "I want to kill him." It's something -- and historians have different theories about what actually happened in privacy. In any event, his wife leaves him.

He is so humiliated by that, that he has to resign as governor. He goes into a drinking binge. Goes off to live with the Cherokees. Develops a relationship to native American spirituality. Starts seeing eagles and ravens. His Indian name was Colonneh, the raven. And all of this leads him to Texas.

This is a former governor of Tennessee. And in Texas, he becomes commander of the Texas army fighting for independence. People are slaughtered at Goliad. They're slaughtered at the Alamo, where all the prisoners, everyone is killed. The last chance for that rebellion, which, by the way, was representing a population that was 90 percent American. It was not a Mexican population, though there were Mexican people who were Spanish speakers who were fighting alongside Houston. He wins in 18 minutes this battle of San Jacinto, which remains one of the most remarkable, astonishing, illogical military victories in all of human history and gives Texas ultimately to the United States.

GLENN: He refuses to let Texas join the United States during the civil war though, does he not?

MICHAEL: No. It's quite the contrary. He was opposed to secession. He was -- he was the governor of Texas, at the -- at the time of secession. And he predicted to the South -- he said exactly what was going to happen. He said, "If you secede, you are going to see the destruction of all of your dreams."

And Houston actually was selected by John F. Kennedy as one of his profiles on courage because at the end of his life, he stood up, even though he himself was a southerner. He was from Virginia originally and then from Tennessee and then from --

GLENN: Why did he -- why did he do that? Why did he say, "You have to stay with the United States?"

MICHAEL: Because he believed that America was a God-anointed country. And that to take up arms against this country -- he was a unionist above all else. And that, it seems to me -- one of the great heroes in the Civil War, the Rock of Chickamauga, George Thomas, a Union hero, who right along with Sherman and Grant was one of the most successful generals. He was in Virginia. And, again, a people of conscience in the South understood that the union -- America was the greatest cause worth fighting for.

GLENN: Michael Medved. I'd love to have you down sometime and have you into our vault. We have about 8,000 items from American history that is just -- it's pretty mind-blowing. And I'd love to just take a tour with you and have you tell stories of the things that you find. Because you've proven yourself to be too smart for this program.

All of us are looking at each other -- you're mentioning names. We're all like, of course, that's -- yes, I know exactly who you're talking about.

PAT: I was talking about that yesterday.

GLENN: Yeah. Anyway, Michael, one last question. Can I get your thought on Tillerson? What do you think about Rex Tillerson being Department of State?

MICHAEL: Well, I look forward to the confirmation hearings. Look, I don't understand it. With so many outstanding people that could have been appointed by -- by President-elect Trump, where people would say, "Terrific," whether it's John Bolton or Mitt Romney, I don't know, even arguably Bob Corker or any of the other people he was talking about, why he has to pick someone who won a friendship award from Vladimir Putin, I think this will come out in the confirmation hearings. And that's a good thing.

GLENN: Are you as perplexed as I am on how the right is suddenly fine with Vladimir Putin and we're buddies with Vladimir Putin and, of course, Russia is not doing anything wrong and trying to disrupt our system? I mean, that's crazy talk.

MICHAEL: It is completely crazy talk. And this is not an issue of partisanship. It's an issue of patriotism. Whether you're left, right, or center, people who love America cannot abide with the idea of any foreign nation interfering or attempting to interfere with our election.

And if Mr. Trump were to do the smart thing, it would also be the right thing, which is get out in front of this and say, "Yes, I want as much evidence as I possibly can." And Putin involving himself in American elections and American policy is not legitimate.

And Trump above all saying he puts America first has to put that priority first.

GLENN: Michael Medved, thank you so much. Good friend of the program.

MICHAEL: I appreciate it, my friend. Thank you. And thanks for all of your great work. And I really mean this from my heart: Letting Americans understand that the issues here in our country today go very, very deep and deep into our history.

GLENN: Thank you very much, Michael. I appreciate it.

Michael Medved. The name of the book is The American Miracle.

PAT: Jeffy and I were just talking about the Rock of Cucamonga yesterday or the day before.

JEFFY: Oh, my gosh.

GLENN: Were you talking with Goethe?

PAT: Yes.

GLENN: Yeah, me too.

PAT: Well, I mean, the Gertrude quotes are prevalent on the Rock of Cucamonga.

GLENN: Yeah. I've never heard of the Rock of Cucamonga.

PAT: That's not even what he said.

GLENN: That's not what he said? He said something like that, that I have never --

PAT: It was Chickamauga?

GLENN: I have no idea.

JEFFY: I mean, the former German chancellor Otto von (mumbling). I mean, we quote him all the time.

PAT: Who?

GLENN: He's a brilliant guy. And I will tell you, the stories we will save for another time and maybe after we cross to the other side. Michael Medved is one of the more brave people in America today.

PAT: He's a good guy.

GLENN: He is a very good guy and extraordinarily brave. Extraordinarily brave. And I am appreciative that there are people like him in the world today. Pick up his new book. The American Miracle.

Featured Image: Abraham Lincoln by Daniel Chester French

From the moment the 33-year-old Thomas Jefferson arrived at the Continental Congress in Philadelphia in 1776, he was on the radical side. That caused John Adams to like him immediately. Then the Congress stuck Jefferson and Adams together on the five-man committee to write a formal statement justifying a break with Great Britain, and their mutual admiration society began.

Jefferson thought Adams should write the Declaration. But Adams protested, saying, “It can't come from me because I'm obnoxious and disliked." Adams reasoned that Jefferson was not obnoxious or disliked, therefore he should write it. Plus, he flattered Jefferson, by telling him he was a great writer. It was a master class in passing the buck.

So, over the next 17 days, Jefferson holed up in his room, applying his lawyer skills to the ideas of the Enlightenment. He borrowed freely from existing documents like the Virginia Declaration of Rights. He later wrote that “he was not striving for originality of principle or sentiment." Instead, he hoped his words served as “an expression of the American mind."

It's safe to say he achieved his goal.

The five-man committee changed about 25 percent of Jefferson's first draft of the Declaration before submitting it to Congress. Then, Congress altered about one-fifth of that draft. But most of the final Declaration's words are Jefferson's, including the most famous passage — the Preamble — which Congress left intact. The result is nothing less than America's mission statement, the words that ultimately bind the nation together. And words that we desperately need to rediscover because of our boiling partisan rage.

The Declaration is brilliant in structure and purpose. It was designed for multiple audiences: the King of Great Britain, the colonists, and the world. And it was designed for multiple purposes: rallying the troops, gaining foreign allies, and announcing the creation of a new country.

The Declaration is structured in five sections: the Introduction, Preamble, the Body composed of two parts, and the Conclusion. It's basically the most genius breakup letter ever written.

In the Introduction, step 1 is the notificationI think we need to break up. And to be fair, I feel I owe you an explanation...

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another…

The Continental Congress felt they were entitled by “the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God" to “dissolve the political bands," but they needed to prove the legitimacy of their cause. They were defying the world's most powerful nation and needed to motivate foreign allies to join the effort. So, they set their struggle within the entire “Course of human events." They're saying, this is no petty political spat — this is a major event in world history.

Step 2 is declaring what you believe in, your standardsHere's what I'm looking for in a healthy relationship...

This is the most famous part of the Declaration; the part school children recite — the Preamble:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

That's as much as many Americans know of the Declaration. But the Preamble is the DNA of our nation, and it really needs to be taken as a whole:

That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

The Preamble takes us through a logical progression: All men are created equal; God gives all humans certain inherent rights that cannot be denied; these include the rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; to protect those rights, we have governments set up; but when a government fails to protect our inherent rights, people have the right to change or replace it.

Government is only there to protect the rights of mankind. They don't have any power unless we give it to them. That was an extraordinarily radical concept then and we're drifting away from it now.

The Preamble is the justification for revolution. But note how they don't mention Great Britain yet. And again, note how they frame it within a universal context. These are fundamental principles, not just squabbling between neighbors. These are the principles that make the Declaration just as relevant today. It's not just a dusty parchment that applied in 1776.

Step 3 is laying out your caseHere's why things didn't work out between us. It's not me, it's you...

This is Part 1 of the Body of the Declaration. It's the section where Jefferson gets to flex his lawyer muscles by listing 27 grievances against the British crown. This is the specific proof of their right to rebellion:

He has obstructed the administration of justice...

For imposing taxes on us without our consent...

For suspending our own legislatures...

For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us...

Again, Congress presented these “causes which impel them to separation" in universal terms to appeal to an international audience. It's like they were saying, by joining our fight you'll be joining mankind's overall fight against tyranny.

Step 4 is demonstrating the actions you took I really tried to make this relationship work, and here's how...

This is Part 2 of the Body. It explains how the colonists attempted to plead their case directly to the British people, only to have the door slammed in their face:

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury...

They too have been deaf to the voice of justice... We must, therefore... hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

This basically wrapped up America's argument for independence — we haven't been treated justly, we tried to talk to you about it, but since you refuse to listen and things are only getting worse, we're done here.

Step 5 is stating your intent — So, I think it's best if we go our separate ways. And my decision is final...

This is the powerful Conclusion. If people know any part of the Declaration besides the Preamble, this is it:

...that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved...

They left no room for doubt. The relationship was over, and America was going to reboot, on its own, with all the rights of an independent nation.

And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

The message was clear — this was no pitchfork mob. These were serious men who had carefully thought through the issues before taking action. They were putting everything on the line for this cause.

The Declaration of Independence is a landmark in the history of democracy because it was the first formal statement of a people announcing their right to choose their own government. That seems so obvious to us now, but in 1776 it was radical and unprecedented.

In 1825, Jefferson wrote that the purpose of the Declaration was “not to find out new principles, or new arguments, never before thought of… but to place before mankind the common sense of the subject, in terms so plain and firm… to justify ourselves in the independent stand we are compelled to take."

You're not going to do better than the Declaration of Independence. Sure, it worked as a means of breaking away from Great Britain, but its genius is that its principles of equality, inherent rights, and self-government work for all time — as long as we actually know and pursue those principles.

On June 7, 1776, the Second Continental Congress met in Philadelphia at the Pennsylvania State House, better known today as Independence Hall. Virginia delegate Richard Henry Lee introduced a motion calling for the colonies' independence. The “Lee Resolution" was short and sweet:

Resolved, That these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent States, that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain is, and ought to be, totally dissolved.

Intense debate followed, and the Congress voted 7 to 5 (with New York abstaining) to postpone a vote on Lee's Resolution. They called a recess for three weeks. In the meantime, the delegates felt they needed to explain what they were doing in writing. So, before the recess, they appointed a five-man committee to come up with a formal statement justifying a break with Great Britain. They appointed two men from New England — Roger Sherman and John Adams; two from the middle colonies — Robert Livingston and Benjamin Franklin; and one Southerner — Thomas Jefferson. The responsibility for writing what would become the Declaration of Independence fell to Jefferson.

In the rotunda of the National Archives building in Washington, D.C., there are three original documents on permanent display: the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and the Declaration of Independence. These are the three pillars of the United States, yet America barely seems to know them anymore. We need to get reacquainted — quickly.

In a letter to his friend John Adams in 1816, Jefferson wrote: “I like the dreams of the future, better than the history of the past."

America used to be a forward-looking nation of dreamers. We still are in spots, but the national attitude that we hear broadcast loudest across media is not looking toward the future with optimism and hope. In late 2017, a national poll found 59% of Americans think we are currently at the “lowest point in our nation's history that they can remember."

America spends far too much time looking to the past for blame and excuse. And let's be honest, even the Right is often more concerned with “owning the left" than helping point anyone toward the practical principles of the Declaration of Independence. America has clearly lost touch with who we are as a nation. We have a national identity crisis.

The Declaration of Independence is America's thesis statement, and without it America doesn't exist.

It is urgent that we get reacquainted with the Declaration of Independence because postmodernism would have us believe that we've evolved beyond the America of our founding documents, and thus they're irrelevant to the present and the future. But the Declaration of Independence is America's thesis statement, and without it America doesn't exist.

Today, much of the nation is so addicted to partisan indignation that "day-to-day" indignation isn't enough to feed the addiction. So, we're reaching into America's past to help us get our fix. In 2016, Democrats in the Louisiana state legislature tabled a bill that would have required fourth through sixth graders to recite the opening lines of the Declaration. They didn't table it because they thought it would be too difficult or too patriotic. They tabled it because the requirement would include the phrase “all men are created equal" and the progressives in the Louisiana legislature didn't want the children to have to recite a lie. Representative Barbara Norton said, “One thing that I do know is, all men are not created equal. When I think back in 1776, July the fourth, African Americans were slaves. And for you to bring a bill to request that our children will recite the Declaration, I think it's a little bit unfair to us. To ask our children to recite something that's not the truth. And for you to ask those children to repeat the Declaration stating that all men's are free. I think that's unfair."

Remarkable — an elected representative saying it wouldn't be fair for students to have to recite the Declaration because “all men are not created equal." Another Louisiana Democrat explained that the government born out of the Declaration “was used against races of people." I guess they missed that part in school where they might have learned that the same government later made slavery illegal and amended the Constitution to guarantee all men equal protection under the law. The 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments were an admission of guilt by the nation regarding slavery, and an effort to right the wrongs.

Yet, the progressive logic goes something like this: many of the men who signed the Declaration of Independence, including Thomas Jefferson who wrote it, owned slaves; slavery is evil; therefore, the Declaration of Independence is not valid because it was created by evil slave owners.

It's a sad reality that the left has a very hard time appreciating the universal merits of the Declaration of Independence because they're so hung up on the long-dead issue of slavery. And just to be clear — because people love to take things out of context — of course slavery was horrible. Yes, it is a total stain on our history. But defending the Declaration of Independence is not an effort to excuse any aspect of slavery.

Okay then, people might say, how could the Founders approve the phrase “All men are created equal," when many of them owned slaves? How did they miss that?

They didn't miss it. In fact, Thomas Jefferson included an anti-slavery passage in his first draft of the Declaration. The paragraph blasted King George for condoning slavery and preventing the American Colonies from passing legislation to ban slavery:

He has waged cruel war against human nature itself, violating its most sacred rights to life and liberty in the persons of a distant people who never offended him, captivating and carrying them into slavery in another hemisphere... Determined to keep open a market where men should be bought and sold, he has prostituted his negative for suppressing every legislative attempt to prohibit or to restrain this execrable commerce.

We don't say “execrable" that much anymore. It means, utterly detestable, abominable, abhorrent — basically very bad.

Jefferson was upset when Georgia and North Carolina threw up the biggest resistance to that paragraph. Ultimately, those two states twisted Congress' arm to delete the paragraph.

Still, how could a man calling the slave trade “execrable" be a slaveowner himself? No doubt about it, Jefferson was a flawed human being. He even had slaves from his estate in Virginia attending him while he was in Philadelphia, in the very apartment where he was writing the Declaration.

Many of the Southern Founders deeply believed in the principles of the Declaration yet couldn't bring themselves to upend the basis of their livelihood. By 1806, Virginia law made it more difficult for slave owners to free their slaves, especially if the owner had significant debts as Jefferson did.

At the same time, the Founders were not idiots. They understood the ramifications of signing on to the principles described so eloquently in the Declaration. They understood that logically, slavery would eventually have to be abolished in America because it was unjust, and the words they were committing to paper said as much. Remember, John Adams was on the committee of five that worked on the Declaration and he later said that the Revolution would never be complete until the slaves were free.

Also, the same generation that signed the Declaration started the process of abolition by banning the importation of slaves in 1807. Jefferson was President at the time and he urged Congress to pass the law.

America has an obvious road map that, as a nation, we're not consulting often enough.

The Declaration took a major step toward crippling the institution of slavery. It made the argument for the first time about the fundamental rights of all humans which completely undermined slavery. Planting the seeds to end slavery is not nearly commendable enough for leftist critics, but you can't discount the fact that the seeds were planted. It's like they started an expiration clock for slavery by approving the Declaration. Everything that happened almost a century later to end slavery, and then a century after that with the Civil Rights movement, flowed from the principles voiced in the Declaration.

Ironically for a movement that calls itself progressive, it is obsessed with retrying and judging the past over and over. Progressives consider this a better use of time than actually putting past abuses in the rearview and striving not to be defined by ancestral failures.

It can be very constructive to look to the past, but not when it's used to flog each other in the present. Examining history is useful in providing a road map for the future. And America has an obvious road map that, as a nation, we're not consulting often enough. But it's right there, the original, under glass. The ink is fading, but the words won't die — as long as we continue to discuss them.

'Good Morning Texas' gives exclusive preview of Mercury One museum

Screen shot from Good Morning Texas

Mercury One is holding a special exhibition over the 4th of July weekend, using hundreds of artifacts, documents and augmented reality experiences to showcase the history of slavery — including slavery today — and a path forward. Good Morning Texas reporter Paige McCoy Smith went through the exhibit for an exclusive preview with Mercury One's chief operating officer Michael Little on Tuesday.

Watch the video below to see the full preview.

Click here to purchase tickets to the museum (running from July 4 - 7).

Over the weekend, journalist Andy Ngo and several other apparent right-leaning people were brutally beaten by masked-gangs of Antifa protesters in Portland, Oregon. Short for "antifascist," Antifa claims to be fighting for social justice and tolerance — by forcibly and violently silencing anyone with opposing opinions. Ngo, who was kicked, punched, and sprayed with an unknown substance, is currently still in the hospital with a "brain bleed" as a result of the savage attack. Watch the video to get the details from Glenn.