“pretended.” Thus, we may learn a lesson from history, as the original “just” cause of the fight for American independence is not in dispute. But have we really learned anything from history?

In December 1775, "An American Guesser" anonymously wrote, in part, to the Pennsylvania Journal on the matter of why the rattlesnake had found its way into such popular usage as an American symbol. This “guesser” noted that "...the rattlesnake is found in no other quarter of the world besides America." He also observed that the rattlesnake has sharp eyes and "...may therefore be esteemed an emblem of vigilance."  This astute “guesser” continued by observing "She never begins an attack, nor, when once engaged, ever surrenders: She is therefore an emblem of magnanimity and true courage...”  He further wrote “...she never wounds 'till she has generously given notice, even to her enemy, and cautioned him against the danger of treading on her." The “guesser” went on to note "I confess I was wholly at a loss what to make of the rattles, 'till I went back and counted them and found them just thirteen, exactly the number of the Colonies...and I recollected too that this was the only part of the Snake which increased in numbers...” Continuing on the matter of the animal’s rattles, the writer to the Pennsylvania Journal opined “'Tis curious and amazing to observe how distinct and independent of each other the rattles of this animal are, and yet how firmly they are united together, so as never to be separated but by breaking them to pieces. One of those rattles singly, is incapable of producing sound, but the ringing of thirteen together, is sufficient to alarm the boldest man living." Most historical scholars agree that the “American Guesser” was none other than Benjamin Franklin.

Mr. Franklin, as did many others, sensed that enough was enough. At the time, the American colony was being taxed to death and people were literally living in fear of the British and German mercenaries (hired by the British) to keep us in line. America would be a free and independent nation. Franklin’s analogous description of the rattlesnake speaks volumes as to how a future free and independent America should behave. Have we been behaving that way since then? Do we provoke war, or do we only strike when provoked and give due notice? After the inevitable war for independence was fought, there was still the matter of settling on an American form of government. Few realize it took many years after the war for independence to establish a Republican form of government. As part of the effort to convince people of the type of government that should be established, a series of articles, published under the  pseudonym “Publius” appeared in a New York journal, in 1787-88. These articles became known as the Federalist Papers and later on it was discovered that “Publius” was in fact three men: Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay. Their objective was to sell the American people on a proper form of government for the newly free 13 colonies. I wish to offer quick analysis of Federalist Paper Number Four, entitled “Relations With Foreign Powers,” later attributed to John Jay, as this ties in with the observations made by Franklin concerning the “Don’t Tread On Me” rattlesnake symbol.

In Federalist Paper Number Four, Jay begins by explaining that a union would be best positioned “...against the danger exposed to by
just causes of war given to other nations; and those reasons show that such causes would not only be more rarely given, but would also be more easily accommodated by a national government than either by the State governments or the proposed little confederacies.” John Jay, American Patriot and Revolutionary was trying to explain to the former colonies that there was safety in numbers and in unity. However, Jay goes on to make some keen observations about the true nature of war and the allures often leading to unjust conflict. Mr. Jay had a conscious and he hoped that America would also have one.

To wit he wrote “But the safety of the people of America against the dangers from foreign force depends not only on their forbearing to give
just causes of war to other nations, but also on their placing and continuing to place themselves in such a situation as not to invite hostility or insult; for it need not be observed that there are pretended as well as just causes of war.” It is not a light matter expounded upon by Jay, as America has repeatedly demonstrated, subsequently, a willingness to send American troops into battle to protect corporate rather than national interests. Take the example of the United Fruit Company (one of many).

It is nearly impossible to find a Latin American nation where American troops have not been sent at various times throughout the 20th century to protect...well...fruit, and of course the American companies operating in these nations under the protection of various (often CIA-installed) human meat packing glitterati (dictators) posing as human beings who were more than willing to accept the slaughter of thousands of their citizens to preserve American business interests. You see, every time a rival (non-American) fruit company tried to get started in say, the Dominican Republic, or any other nation, this would be a bad thing for American-owned (Rockefeller) United Fruit. Leaders were bribed. Lands were seized. Competition was crushed the old fashioned way; naturally, we would send troops. Do you think John Jay would have approved?

In Federalist Paper Number Four, Jay continues “It is too true, however, disgraceful it may be to human nature, that nations in general will make war whenever they have a prospect of getting anything by it; nay, absolute monarchs will often make war when their nations are to get nothing by it, but for purposes and objects merely personal, such as a thirst for military glory, revenge for personal affronts, ambition, or private compacts to aggrandize or support their particular families or partisans.” Jay warns that we need to pay attention to such situations as “...there are others which affect nations as often as kings; and some of them will on examination be found to grow out of our relative situation and circumstances.” Can you think of a few such groups or individual today who might fall into the category of “others” cited by Jay? How about international bankers? How about war profiteers? How about anyone with influence and money who stands to benefit from war? Face it: War sells a lot of  newspapers and magazines. War or the prospect thereof keeps people watching that useless brainwashing device known as TV, whereupon millions are conditioned to purchase products and support limited, poorly explored viewpoints. War makes a lot of money for a lot of powerful people.

When you look at America today, do you see a trend towards the noble behavior of the rattlesnake who does not wound others unless trampled upon or do you see a creature who attacks when it sees fit to do so, with or without warning, with or without just cause? John Jay concludes Federalist Number Four with some prudent insight. In referring to how foreign governments will view us (should we have been divided or a United States—a question still not decided at the time), Jay notes that “...foreign nations will know and view it exactly as it is; and they will act towards us accordingly. If they see that our national government is efficient and well administered, our trade prudently regulated, our militia properly organized and disciplined, our resources and finances discreetly managed, our credit re-established, our people free, contented, and united, they will be much more disposed to cultivate our friendship than provoke our resentment. If, on the other hand, they find us either destitute of an effectual government...what a poor, pitiful figure will America make in their eyes! How liable would she become not only to their contempt, but to their outrage; and how soon would dear-bought experience proclaim that when a people or family so divide, it never fails to be against themselves.” What words of wisdom from John Jay!

How do foreign nations view us today? Are we viewed as “efficient and well administered” for example? Given the limitless number of scandals that have rocked our government in the past couple generations—and continue to do so—I cannot imagine that this is so. Is “our trade prudently regulated” in your opinion? Or, do we suffer a huge trade deficit and rely upon the rest of the world for nearly every item upon every shelf in every store in America?  Are “our resources and finances discreetly managed” in your mind? Well, since we have been legally operating under the War Powers Act since June 1933 when FDR officially declared America bankrupt (and in debt to the Federal Reserve, of course), how discreet and prudent might that be regarded? Are “our people free” do you think? Well, if you have no problem with Congress and the president marching in lockstep to completely and utterly destroy the fabric of our Constitution and Bill of Rights via such unconstitutional and execrable “laws” such as the hideous monstrosity known as the USA PATRIOT Act and the Homeland Security Act, designed to enforce the same unconstitutional laws, then, yeah, I guess you are “free.” Congratulations!

However, if, for starters, you are a big fan of the 1st, 2nd, 4th and 5th amendments to the Constitution, key aspects of The Bill of Rights, you are probably not feeling so “free.” After all, if the government can “peek and sneak” inside your home or office at any time, no longer needs probable cause upon which to cause a warrant for search to be issued, can label anyone it feels like (including American citizens) “enemy combatants,” (and hold these people without charge, with no right to an attorney, and no right to even be told of what one is being accused), can happily monitor your every purchase, and peruse your personal medical history, then you are probably not feeling too “free.” Folks, this is the “law” right now! (You cannot even go to the public library without worrying that what you read will fall under the scrutiny of newly, unconstitutionally-empowered federal employees.) If you are one of those “paranoids” who still believe in the Constitution and Bill of Rights, then you are, in fact, probably not looking forward to the USA PATRIOT Act II (

Ludwig von Mises notes in the Preface to the Second German Edition, of his famous book, Socialism, originally published in 1936, that “The incomparable success of Marxism is due to the prospect it offers of fulfilling those dream-aspirations and dreams of vengeance which have been so deeply imbedded in the human soul from time immemorial. It promises a Paradise on earth, a Land of Heart’s Desire full of happiness and enjoyment, and—sweeter still to the losers in life’s game—humiliation of all who are stronger and better than the multitude. Logic and reasoning, which might show the absurdity of such dreams of bliss and revenge, are to be thrust aside. Marxism is thus the most radical of all reactions against the reign of scientific thought over life and action...It is against Logic, against Science and against the activity of thought itself...Marxism is indeed opium for those who might take to thinking and must therefore be weaned from it.”

Our country has been purposely weaned from its true roots, from the noble attitude of the rattlesnake—once our national symbol. We have chosen to ignore the words of those who founded this bastion of freedom and we have never known true fear or poverty....yet. Marxism, Fascism, Communism, Socialism, and, yes, Democracy all have one thing in common: Ultimately, an elite few run the show. (Different names, same game.) That is not the way it is supposed to be in America! Where are we? Where are we heading? Surely we are no longer the Republic we once were. How deeply troubling for Americans and what a tremendous loss to the world!

As an American, I suggest we figuratively transform ourselves into “just and thinking rattlesnakes” and reject the mind-deadening pap of the controlled media; that we reject the draconian, unconstitutional legislation designed to do one thing and one thing only, specifically, to steal our freedom, inch by inch, line by line. Make no mistake about it. Do you think freedom lost is easily regained? Consider the words of President Ronald Reagan, who stated “Freedom is a fragile thing and is never more than one generation away from extinction. It is not ours by inheritance; it must be fought for and defended constantly by each generation, for it comes only once to a people. Those who have known freedom, and then lost it, have never known it again." In what small or large way are you willing to fight for your freedom?

For starters, maybe we need to start flying the original rattlesnake American flag once again—this time at home, on our cars, on our desks at work... I would like to see those who are wittingly or unwittingly destroying our country’s core values vividly imagine the millions of Americans who have and who are growing in knowledge of the truth each day as very traditional American rattlesnakes. What do you think? Then, perhaps, at least some of the so-called leaders of our nation, and the world for that matter, who are collectively embracing tyranny will get the message: Don’t Tread On Me.

You can contact Chris at
iamnotanumber@hushmail.com. Visit his website at http://www.americanachievementseminars.com/
Permission to reprint this article is granted providing the original author is cited and a link to
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Don’t Tread On Me!

By Christopher Mark

In the former American colonies, the rattlesnake symbol was appearing everywhere, in response to British tyranny. Paul Revere printed it in newspapers. It appeared on coins and paper money. It was on banners and flags. Today, I wish to further explore this uniquely American symbol (actually the North American Timber Rattlesnake—not found anywhere else in the world).

In doing so, I shall seek to demonstrate that this symbol actually served to underlie the just cause of fighting tyranny and demonstrated the distinction between what is “just” and what is