December 3, 2009, - 2:40 pm

Spirit of ’76: Thoughtful Look Into Framing of America’s Constitution is Great History Lesson

By Debbie Schlussel

Spirit of ’76” isn’t for dummies, but they’re the ones who most need to see it.  And Obama voters.  And people affected by big government interference.  And anyone who’s ever said, “there ought to be a federal law.”  And pretty much all Americans.  Watching this movie made me realize how I’ve missed out on important chunks of American history, and I learned a lot from it.


It’s a new movie, which gives a fascinating, thoughtful look into the crafting of America’s Constitution at the Federal Convention of 1787 in Philadelphia.  The DVD is produced by Sirius Patriot Channel 144 host Mike Church (on whose show I do movie reviews every Friday) and his Founding Fathers production company.  The movie, which premieres tonight, is also directed and narrated by Church, and he also takes part in the acting with his many great impressions and accents.  Also making an appearance in the movie is liberal actor Jay Thomas (also a Sirius host), who does a great job as the voice of Benjamin Franklin.

An animated, historically accurate look at the fight between America’s Founding Fathers who favored federalism and those who favored nationalism, the movie makes you proud to be an American.  The patriotism and genius of our founding fathers–especially those who favored a weak federal government and stronger states’ rights–shines throughout this movie.  And so does the genius and brilliance of Mike Church and his understanding of American history, as he relates it to his two cute daughters, Madison and Reagan Church, in the narration of the movie.

Church narrates the ongoing debate at the Federal Convention between advocates of a monarchy-style, powerful national government (like James Madison) and those who fought for the individualism and state sovereignty that ultimately prevailed in the Constitution (like George Mason).  But he also draws upon sources that would be obscure to the average American, like James Madison’s notes and an interpretation of the Constitution, later written by John Taylor.  No, not John Taylor of Duran Duran, but John Taylor of Caroline, Virginia.  Who was he?  You’ll have to watch the movie and find out.  Church mocks the typical liberal valley girl poli sci major know-it-all who doesn’t know of Taylor, either.  Church does a great job of laying out the battle between those who would have an American Republic and those who would have a national government.

Using the delegates’ own words at the Convention and in notes they wrote of the proceedings, Church enlightens us more on the founding fathers who wanted a monarchy, after we’d just gotten finished fighting one.  I learned about that in school, but I didn’t know that, for instance, Alexander Hamilton literally wrote that he supported a national “dictator” who would be able to use executive privileges for “bribing the legislature.”

And while the states righters won out, as Church points out, today, the nationalists have won.  As we know, Congress and the federal government interfere in all areas of our lives, from the air that we breathe (OSHA) and food that we eat (USDA) to that tag on the pillow we sleep on at night.

Still, the founders–the delegates from several states to the Federal Convention spoke eloquently in their valiant fight against that.    My favorite quote is from George Mason, who said that while he wasn’t against the men of that time who were for a national government,

I doubt we will be succeeded by men of such character.

Ain’t that the truth.  Look at Washington, DC today and those who regulate our lives to death, leaving little rights to the individual states and, ultimately, the individual American.

Another spot on prediction is Benjamin Franklin’s brilliant speech declaring that in a strong national government and legislature.

The bold and violent will thrust themselves into our government.

And sadly that’s what’s happened–people who run for office and create ever-growing fiefdoms and bureaucracies, seeking to perpetuate their hold on office and power.

This movie is long (there’s a lot to talk about), so be prepared. It follows the Constitution through every stage. But it’s an important history lesson that’s great for older teens and college students (as well as adults). It would make a great inspiration for a history report or term paper. . . not to mention establishing your child’s appreciation for the wisdom of the founding fathers and how their victory against a powerful central government has been negated over time. (And I learned that James Madison was only 5’4″, perhaps a Napoleonic reason for his grab for a powerful national government.)

Through this movie and other endeavors, Mike Church has demonstrated his place as an important contemporary American thinker and patriot.


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10 Responses

Mike Church is the best and maybe the only reason to buy a satelite radio subscription. (Certainly didn’t buy one to hear Howard…)

Not only are his shows funny and entertaining (including Debbie’s movie reviews – without which I never would have known about her blog) but they are packed with historical insights.

Mike Church is a league above alternatives liek Sean Vannity and his ilk of wannabes.


Dont Tread On Me on December 3, 2009 at 4:01 pm

I received a 6 month freebie with my new car, and discovered Church. Of the talkers I’ve listened to, he’s certainly the most logical and certainly the most knowledgeable about our constitution. He questions current events in light of founding principles, and is not blindly neo-conservative. Don’t know why all these talkers feel the need to play heavy metal at the breaks, though. Doesn’t anyone have an appreciation for music?

On a side note, Sirius is not exceptional in the talk area. In the AM we get Bush apologist Bill “I never met a foreign war I didn’t like” Bennett–surely one of the lamest talkers on the planet, and I don’t know how Hannity got his satellite gig. You’d think there’d be someone else available so they were not duplicating AM. Oh well, at least Church is spot on. However, I do wish that race topics were not not taboo on the radio, but I guess we can’t ask for the complete truth in America, these days.

Michael on December 3, 2009 at 4:50 pm

I bought the movie and CD combo and have yet to see I cant get the darn thing back from all my friends LOL…. But I cant wait for my kids to see it

Jack on December 3, 2009 at 4:50 pm

I will say it, I lean toward Alex Jones (I have his film Fall of The Republic), despite what some will say about him (Deborah you included).

HOWEVER…I AM MORE THAN WILLING ABLE AND EAGER TO GIVE MIKE CHURCH’S FILM A RUN! I too have sat radio, but do not tune into his program on SIRIUS 144. Can hope for the reruns of course.

I would like to buy this film from Mr. Church…on DVD of course…heh heh heh!

From your review, Obots MUST SEE THIS FILM, but also teachers unions, members of the corporate fascist media, et al.

By the way, when I was in Catholic School in 1987 I dressed up as Ben Franklin. No I do not have a picture of myself decked out as Ben.

I have a new motto that has just the right edge when it comes to the clueless..


Raunchy, maybe. Edgy? YOU BET YOUR LAST MONEY HONEY!

Bob Porrazzo on December 3, 2009 at 5:27 pm

I discovered Mike Church on Sirius just over two years ago. Since then, I’ve purchased all of his audio documentaries, his first feature film (The Spirit of 76) and a subscription to his website. His show is not only entertaining, but unbelievably educational. He’s inspired my to revisit the history of the American Revolution and the writing & ratifying of the U.S. Constitution.

If you’re looking to not only be entertained, but also learn about the founding of our Republic, tune into Church on Sirius 144 from 9AM-Noon EST.

KJ on December 3, 2009 at 7:23 pm

I have to renew my Sirius subscription so I can be entertained. Maybe this DVD should be introduced into our classrooms instead of the Heather has 2 mommies crap being force-fed to our children today which teaches them nothing.

seahawker on December 3, 2009 at 8:43 pm

A great companion book to the “Spirit of ’76” is “Miracle at Philadelphia” by Catherine Drinker Bowen. Here is a quick overview of the book:

Rediscover the timeless story of the Constitutional Convention of 1787 with Catherine Drinker Bowen’s Miracle at Philadelphia. Go beyond the factual details of our Constitution and explore the lives, personalities, prejudices, foibles, and fears of our American forefathers. Miracle at Philadelphia is unquestionably one of the most vivid and fascinating accounts of the Philadelphia Convention and its critical role in American history. Learn about our nation’s historical past so you can help to make a difference in our future! (1986, 346pp., pb)

You can order the book here:

ramjordan on December 4, 2009 at 1:25 am

A Double Find… this DVD and where Debbie is on satellite!
THANKS for the heads-up everyone! 🙂

Stymie on December 4, 2009 at 11:34 pm

Outstanding history lesson!!!!! Our KingDude is America’s #1 patriot defending freedom, liberty and love of country!

karen on December 15, 2009 at 8:26 pm

James Madison did not support a monarchy-style government, that was Alexander Hamilton.

Madison (and Jefferson, who was not at the convention) supported an inert “Empire of Liberty”.

That is what actually happened when the Virginia Dynasty took power, and this basic concept lasted until the Civil War, and even lingered beyond that with presidents like Cleveland and Coolidge.

The commentary here is a little off. Founding Fathers did not prefer stronger or weaker state governments or national govenment, unless put into context what kind of government it was.

Mason voted for the Virginia Plan because he supported Madison’s plan. So Mason supported a stronger government. but when the plan dropped proportional representation for the House and added the 3/5th clause, then he supported a weaker national government.

This type of analaysis could be done on all the Founding Fathers.

For example, William Paterson of NJ was the strongest defender of states rights the first half of the convention.

But when each state got equal representation in the Senate, then Paterson changed to support a stronger Union, because his state was well representaed in the stronger union, despite it being a small state.

So for Paterson, a stronger Union actually meant more state power.

Rolf Lindgren on December 16, 2009 at 5:28 pm

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