“Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness?”
You know that phase, right? It comes from the Declaration of
Independence. However, the phrase “pursuit of happiness,”
was not in the original draft. The original draft read Life,
Liberty, and Estate.” In the language of the time, Estate meant
Our founders understood that freedom was not complete unless
citizens were able to own property. Property is essentially
anything of value which may be owned, bought, or sold. Property can
be many things:
estate is property.
and wills are property to the parties involved.
transferable license or award is property.
name, reputation, or goodwill is property.
business, trade, profession, or occupation is
stocks, patents, bonds, and copyrights are property.
The men who crafted this declaration lived in a time where the
government controlled who could buy, sell, or own property. Since
property was the best avenue for attaining wealth, the signers knew
that true lasting freedom could not occur unless all citizens had
the right to own property. It was their fervent belief that neither
life nor liberty would lead to prosperity without the right to own
The original clause stating the right of property created a
firestorm of debate. While they were debating, George Washington’s
army was facing a massive force of British troops in New York.
Washington demanded that the Declaration be issued immediately so
his troops would have the incentive…to fight…and to win. So, at the
insistence of Thomas Jefferson, a compromise was made, changing the
right of “Property” to the “Pursuit of Happiness” and
the Declaration was issued.
The founders knew then, as we do now, that the ability to improve
one’s self and his family financially, depended on the freedom to
own property. In order to pursue happiness, it was necessary for
them to benefit from their own hard work and initiative. That was
not possible living in a system controlled by kings and rich
property owners. Today, we have many laws protecting this right,
because we know, that when only the powerful own property then the
God-given rights of life and liberty and the pursuit of happiness
will be no more.
And, that is today’s Morning Minute.
“You must be a recovering alcoholic!”
That statement from my boss stunned me.
Having family members who struggled with that disease, I was
puzzled as to why my he made that assumption. But, I am getting
ahead of myself.
After facilitating the successful opening of a new vehicle
dealership in one city, and leading that team to much greater than
expected success, I was recruited to run a multiple point
dealership operation in another city. After 3 months, we determined
that my vison and the owner’s vision were incompatible. Leaving a
great operation for one that did not work out left me somewhat
disillusioned. Since I knew that God had other plans for me, I
searched for and found a prayer that helped put my situation in
Soon after, I was hired as the General Sales Manager at an upscale
used vehicle dealership. A few months later my boss informed me
that I would be handling the finance function for 2 weeks since our
Finance Manager would be on vacation. There was no one else trained
in finance so that role fell to me in addition to my other
To help me stay focused on the dual jobs that I was tasked with,
the prayer that I learned earlier seemed perfect for me. That
prayer became my computer screen saver during my tenure in the
finance office. My boss made the above statement when he discovered
the prayer on my screen. He shared that he was a recovering
alcoholic and that this particular prayer, was one they used at
every Alcoholics Anonymous meeting. After sharing with him that I
had never been an alcoholic, he inquired as to why I chose that
prayer. It was then I related my failed situation in the other city
and my need to find the best words to stay in good with the
Here is the Serenity prayer: God, please grant me the
serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to
change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the
This is hanging next to the mirror in my bathroom so I may can see
and use it several times daily.
All of us here at Bonorato Creative Group hope you and your family
have a Happy Thanksgiving!
And, that is today’s Morning Minute.
(11/25/22) Morning Minute:
“The real story of Thanksgiving?”
Most of us have never heard the real story of Thanksgiving. We were
taught that this event was held to thank the Indians for helping
the Pilgrims prosper. While it is true that these Pilgrims learned
much from the Indians, that is not where the tradition of
John Bradford led a group of religious travelers who wanted a place
to live where they could practice their religion without
persecution. They contracted with a merchant company for the
journey. Much of what they produced in America would be sent back
to the company as payment for the trip.
During the voyage these Pilgrims signed an agreement called the
Mayflower Compact. After sending the required amount to the
merchant company, each person would receive a share of what was
left. “From each according to their ability; to each according
to their need.” All agreed that was the only “fair way”
for the new colony to operate.
The Pilgrims landed in November, 1620 in Massachusetts. Winter had
set in so there was no chance of planting anything. There was no
shelter except on the ship or some hastily built crude huts. Half
of these Pilgrims died that winter. In Spring, the survivors set
out to develop the colony. Using this community agreement, no one
owned anything. Everything was divided equally. Because there was
no incentive for the settlers to produce, they produced very
little. Much of it was shipped out to pay back the company. The
second Winter was as bad as the first with many dying before
Spring. Something had to change.
Bradford scrapped the Mayflower Compact deeding each family a plot
of land to use as they wanted. They would keep what they earned.
Some sold their property. Some harvested the timber. Others built
stores, opened businesses, or build houses. Many planted crops and
tended livestock. The settlers and the community prospered under
this new system.
In the Fall, they had a bountiful harvest. There was plenty of food
to last through the harsh New England winter. To give thanks to God
for this they held the first Thanksgiving.
These Pilgrims discovered that when people benefit from their own
initiative and hard work, there is a greater incentive to produce
more. The compact/community system provided no incentive so people
produced little. When these people began to benefit directly from
their own efforts, everyone prospered. This was the beginning of
the Capitalist Economic System in America that we still benefit
And that is today’s Morning Minute.