Seeds of Freedom: A Vision for America
The James Phinney Baxter Vision Expanded
[A Documentary Film and Call to Action by The Baxter Project Team]
Film Premiere and Forum: Boston Public Library November 10, 2016 6-8 pm. Meet the elders and filmmakers 5-6. Mohawk elder Tom Porter and Pilgrim Scholar Gary Marks will present insights into the Iroquois Great Law and the Pilgrim vision for humanity as they apply to life today and the future.
Eminent philanthropist/historian James Phinney Baxter (1831-1921) believed that America must embody the high ideals of New England’s original settlers if it is to become a global exemplar of liberty, equality and justice. In 1921 he left a bequest instructing Boston to build a Pantheon to perpetuate the founding ideals and principles. Baxter’s great-great-granddaughter Connie Baxter Marlow adds a missing piece – the role of the American Indian in the evolution of American democracy, mind and spirit.
Watch the 4 minute teaser: SEEDS OF FREEDOM: A Vision for America
See related post: UNITY 2020! The Third Great Synthesis
The James Phinney Baxter Vision
James Phinney Baxter (1831-1921), pre-eminent New England historian and philanthropist, had a grand vision for humanity. He saw that the core ideas expressed in The Mayflower Compact, written in the cabin of the Mayflower before landing in 1620, of a “civil body politic [formed] to enact, constitute, and frame just and equal laws for the general Good” and other principles and ideals of the early settlers of New England were foundational “to develop a form of government in which the best aspirations of men could find free play.*“ He proposed that America could be an “inspiration to the world if we are able to live up to the ideals of our forefathers*“ which he believed are the “self-evident truths of the human mind. *”
These ideals included“the creation of a commonwealth in which all men loyal to God and the brotherhood of man should enjoy, under His providence, civil liberty and the exercise of the rights of private conscience. *“
The vision of James Phinney Baxter has yet to be realized: that the United States of America “lead as the exemplar of Liberty, Justice and Brotherhood among the nations of the world.*”
*Quotes taken from James Phinney Baxter’s 1920 address to the New England Historical Genealogical Society on the occasion of the 300th anniversary of the landing of the Mayflower.
The Baxter Project Team
James Phinney Baxter’s great great grand daughter Connie Baxter Marlow, her daughter Alison Baxter Marlow and her partner Andrew Cameron Bailey, believe that this is because America’s Origin Story has never been told accurately. First it glorified the Pilgrim and left out the Indian, now it demonizes the Pilgrim in an effort to honor the Indians.
The Baxter Project Team is producing a film that will set the record straight, bring balance to the story, and honor both the Pilgrim and the Indian for their role in the evolution of American democracy and the American mind and spirit. The film will premiere in the fall of 2016 to inaugurate The James Phinney Baxter Lecture Series at the Boston Public Library.
In order to inspire America and the world to actualize these ideals, James Phinney Baxter felt there must be a New England Pantheon or Temple of Honor to house a pictorial record of the deeds and ideals of the founders of New England. He was well aware of “the persistent attempt to defame and belittle the Pilgrim and the Puritan” before and during 1920, the 300th Anniversary of the landing of the Mayflower.
In 1921 Mr. Baxter bequeathed money to the City of Boston with the specification that in the future it would be used to build the Pantheon. His son, ex-Governor of Maine Percival P. Baxter, augmented the fund in 1969. However, the Pantheon was never built. In 1997 the trust was broken. Some money was allocated to the City of Portland, Maine. The remainder sat in the coffers of the City of Boston until June 2013 when it was allocated to the Boston Public Library. A portion of the fund had been used to create The Mayor’s Office of New Bostonians. The Boston Public Library intends to honor the original vision of James Phinney Baxter with programs leading up to and including 2020, the 400th anniversary of the landing of the Mayflower.
The Baxter Project Team has produced books, films, photography exhibitions and talks over the past 15 years to bring the Native American voice, heart and spirit forward. We believe there is a core wound in the heart of America. The inspiring story of The First Fifty Years is shrouded in misinformation and misbelief, leading to anger, blame, shame and guilt. Consequently, this nation is morally paralyzed. America was founded by visionaries who articulated a vision for humanity in its freedom documents: The Mayflower Compact, The Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution. What is not known or understood is that it was a synthesis between the European settlers and the Native Americans that evolved into democracy and the American mind and spirit.
Call to Action
There is a high road to realizing the true American Dream of freedom, justice and abundance for all. James Phinney Baxter recognized the universal importance of this dream. To get there, we must first understand the significance of the Pilgrim, the Indian and the principles that guided them.
The Baxter Project Team believes a new perspective on the important intercultural synthesis that occurred in Plymouth Colony during the life-times of Governor William Bradford and Pokanoket Wampanoag Sachem Massasoit, coupled with the next synthesis 100 years later during the Constitutional Convention when aspects of the Great Law of the Iroquois Confederacy were incorporated into The Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution will bring to light the need for a new Anglo American/American Indian dialogue in the present time.
To that end, the Baxter Project team is proposing the formation of a “Healing Council” series of talks to express thoughts and feelings and to develop strategies that will encourage a 3rd great synthesis between Anglo Americans and American Indians to unfold.
“When we come together with the indigenous peoples as equals, as family, and we each open our hearts and our minds to the other, the melding of our gifts will bring a new perspective that is invisible at this time. This new perspective will allow us to see the path to true unity, peace and freedom.” Connie Baxter Marlow