The Practical Idealist

Pursuing Happiness

Purusing Happiness: The Organizational Culture of the Continental Congress

Cover for Pursuing Happiness: The Organizational Culture of the Continental CongressHow the Philosophy Behind “the pursuit of Happiness” created America

“Of all the dispositions and habits, which lead to political prosperity, Religion and Morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of Patriotism, who should labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness, these firmest props of the duties of Men and Citizens…. A volume could not trace all their connections with private and public felicity.” George Washington, Farewell Address, 1796.


The Vector of the American Enlightenment

Beginning as an attempt to discover where idea behind the phrase “the pursuit of Happiness” comes from, Olsen investigates how it came into The Declaration of Independence. Using data-driven analysis, software tools, and models borrowed from management theory, combined with a seminal use of organizational culture methods, Olsen uncovers the values and norms of 106 men who contributed to the “instrument of democracy” in the Continental Congress between September 1774 and July 4, 1776. In addition to documenting the personal demographics of the contributors, he uncovers two unexpected conclusions:

  • The organization of the Continental Congress was a success, and an example for today.
  • The success of the Continental Congress was based on a domestically created and taught American Practical Idealist moral philosophy.

Organizational Culture combined with History

At turns a history of moral ideas and at times a organizational culture management analysis, the surprising result is that the creation of the American Mind can be traced from the vector of its introduction at Yale in Saybrook Point in October of 1714, to its flowing in the minds and hearts of all Americans by 1776. And that one man, the ” Founding Grandfather”and “Founding Teacher” American President Dr. Samuel Johnson, founder of Columbia University, created and taught his philosophy of Americal Practical Idealism to the the generation of Founding Fathers.

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