“A unique and insightful analysis of the power of freedom . . .”
Senator Thomas Daschle, former U.S. Senate Majority Leader

“Mendis changes the way we look at our history, policy and trade.”
Dr. Paula Stern, former chairwoman of the U.S. International Trade Commission

“A stunning exposition . . . for remaking America’s role in the world.”
Professor Laurence Simon, Brandeis University, Boston

“Most intriguing . . .”
Professor Ronald Heifetz, Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government

This book picks up where Dan Brown’s The Lost Symbol left off, giving readers a consummate guide to America and its secret mission in the world. In his foreword to the book, Professor Stephen Joel Trachtenberg, president emeritus of the George Washington University, writes: “Unlike Dan Brown in The Lost Symbol, Patrick Mendis has a serious scholarly purpose . . . seen through the eyes of the Founding Fathers and the Masonic Architect of the Universe.” The architectural design of our nation’s capital triangle is symbolically connected to the Arcturus, Leo, and Spica stars around the Virgo constellation in the Washington, D.C., sky above. In astrology, Virgo is ruled by Mercury—the Roman god of commerce, innovation, and communication. With this knowledge, the Founding Fathers discreetly but firmly located America’s “Special Providence” within the powerful notion of commerce. This concept binds not only the 13 original colonies together, but also connects the United States to the rest of the world—and acts as a conduit for America to realize its global destiny. Akram Elias, past Masonic grand master of Washington and co-producer (with Academy Award winner Richard Dreyfuss) of Mr. Dreyfuss Goes to Washington, offers this description: “Professor Mendis goes beyond Dan Brown’s Lost Symbol to disclose the true story of the fictional narrative. . . . The professor is a mind-reader of the Founding Fathers, a judge of ancient symbols, a lover of his adopted country, and a seer of America’s secret destiny.” Other accolades include:

“Mendis . . . reveals the secret . . .”
Congressman Robert Livingston, Jr., former Speaker-elect, U.S. Congress

“Eye-opening . . .”
Ambassador Frank Loy, former undersecretary of state under President Bill Clinton

“Incisive, optimistic, and innovative . . .”
Ambassador Paula Dobriansky, former undersecretary of state under President George W. Bush

“Original and fascinating . . .”
Journalist James Fallows, The Atlantic Monthly and National Public Radio

“A masterful analysis of the role of international trade . . .”
Distinguished McKnight Professor C. Ford Runge, University of Minnesota

Author Patrick Mendis grew up in Sri Lanka and Minnesota. For almost a quarter-century, he was a protégé of the legendary late assistant secretary of state and NATO Ambassador Harlan Cleveland who characterized him “a budding leader if I ever saw one” when Mendis received the Hubert Humphrey Leadership Award at the University of Minnesota along with U.S. Vice President Walter Mondale and Ambassador Max Kampelman (under Presidents Carter and Reagan) at his graduation in 1986.

As the founding Dean of the Humphrey Institute, Ambassador Cleveland reflectively observed: “All real-world problems are interdisciplinary, inter-professional, and international. Policy analysis means combining the rigors of different disciplines, the insights from multiple professions, the work ways of multiple cultures. But remember that a committee of narrow thinkers doesn’t produce integrative outcomes. The best interdisciplinary instrument is still the individual human mind.” Since then, Dr. Mendis—with his academic training in geography, economics, management, public policy, and international affairs—served as a military professor in the NATO and Pacific Commands through the University of Maryland, an American diplomat in the Clinton and Bush administrations, and a lea der and professor at various institutions along with working at the World Bank, the United Nations, the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and the Minnesota House of Representatives. Professor Trachtenberg emphasizes: "History reveals that real world problems are not bound by academic disciplines or formal occupations. Author Patrick Mendis brings an unbounded career and a unique background to his investigation. He was born in Sri Lanka, came to the United States as an AFS exchange student, was adopted by Minnesotans when the civil war erupted in Sri Lanka in 1983, and is now a naturalized American citizen. Through a career spanning academe, government, and the private sector, Mendis has been exposed to an eclectic group of world leaders and scholars. His distinctly American experience adds insight to his perceptive analysis; this book is a testament to what he represents as an American."

Commercial Providence is an insightful commentary on America, wherein Dr. Mendis combines his Washington experience with having traveled, lived, and worked in more than 75 countries and visited all 50 states. Three distinguished Americans—Ambassador Michael Retzer, Orville Freeman Professor Robert Kudrle, and Rear Admiral William Sizemore—independently called him “Alex de Tocqueville.”

Dr. Patrick Mendis explores the unseen forces that have guided America to global dominance and details how the creation of Madison’s “Universal Empire” through Hamilton’s “Federalism” realizes Jefferson’s “Empire of Liberty.” He provocatively depicts President Barack Obama as the latest testament to Commercial Providence like the birth of new nation began its rendezvous with destiny from the intimate relationship between Thomas Jefferson and his African-American slave Sally Hemings, and their descendents. Finally, the author unveils America’s Masonic endgame of universal brotherhood: E Pluribus Unum, “out of many, one.” To narrate this American saga, Dr. Mendis postulates a captivating new Theory of Commercial Providence to explain America’s “invisible attraction” and its grand founding strategy for national identity and global supremacy by the calculus of predestiny and free will.

As the ancient philosopher Confucius once said, “Study the past if you would divine the future.” After locating the Chinese lawgiver discreetly yet purposefully displayed on the sunrise-facing eastern pediment of the U.S. Supreme Court Building along with Moses and Solon, Dr. Mendis looks into America’s Masonic past to navigate the nation’s future history. In doing so, he explains:

1. Why historical knowledge has become a prime requirement for enlightened leadership to govern America at these turbulent times;

2. How the American Project was inspired by Sir Francis Bacon’s fabled New Atlantis and guided by Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations and Theory of Moral Sentiments;

3. Why Americans are inherently Hamiltonians, conveniently Jeffersonians, and overtly Washingtonians;

4. Who is behind the so-called “high priest of America,” for whom science trumps religion;

5. What the forces behind the “culture wars” in America are, and their impact on U.S. foreign relations from the Middle East to Africa and elsewhere;

6. How the United States was transformed from a nation of E Pluribus Unum to “In God We Trust”—as a feature of U.S. currency and our national motto—and why God fails even as the dollar succeeds globally;

7. How the United States can inspire other nations (including China) to emulate America’s founding vision for economic progress and human freedom everywhere.

In detailing WHY China is paying for America’s wars in Afghanistan and Iraq as well as our national debt, Commercial Providence speaks at once to Washington and Beijing elites, and outlines the connections between the author’s astute discoveries to arrive at a highly unexpected conclusion—only privy until now to Masonic brethren like George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, and Paul Revere.

Table of Contents

The Secret Destiny of the American Empire

Table of Contents

Praise for Commercial Providence
Praise for the works of Patrick Mendis
Foreword by Professor Stephen Joel Trachtenberg

Preface: Providence and Empire
1. A Rendezvous with Destiny
2. E Pluribus Unum: Out of Many, One
3. Freemasonry as a Catalyst and High Priest
4. Worldviews of Pilgrims and Colonists
5. Adam Smith on Founding America
6. Hamiltonian Means to Jeffersonian Ends
7. The Commerce Clause as the Force for Unity
8. The Pythagorean Potomac Delta
9. The Anatomy of Commercial Providence
10. The Mercurial Ruler and Sacred Constitution Avenue
11. Altar of Empire: The Virgoan Federal Triangle
12. Novus Ordo Seclorum and the New World Order
13. Madison’s Grand Strategy for a Universal Empire
Epilogue: God’s Crucible Nation: Predestiny or Free Will?

Selected Bibliography
About the Author

University Press of America, Inc.
A member of the Rowman & Littlefield Publishing Group
Publication Date: October 2010
ISBN: 978-0-7618-5243-8 hardcover
ISBN: 978-0-7618-5244-5 paperback
39 illustrations288 pages


“Inspired by the Founding Fathers and their vision, Patrick Mendis, an adopted Minnesotan, narrates America’s ancient hope, promise, and performance as manifested in our increasingly pluralistic democracy. His is a unique and insightful analysis of the power of freedom and the globalizing spirit of our republic, which is ingrained in the Constitution’s commerce clause and in symbols in the nation’s capital. Mendis’ own history resonates globally: similar to the Kenyan father of President Barack Obama, this former exchange student from Sri Lanka married a white Minnesotan at the University of Minnesota over two decades ago. Having learned from Patrick’s interdisciplinary investigation, I recommend it to you very enthusiastically.” ~Senator THOMAS DASCHLE, former U.S. Senate Majority Leader, Distinguished Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress, and author of Like No Other Time: The Two Years That Changed America

“Our forefathers, who came from all sorts of backgrounds, gave us a philosophical republic to self-govern our diverse states. When Chancellor Robert Livingston of New York, a Founding Father, administered the oath of office for President George Washington, he may not have imagined how far we could progress as a union. Yet today, I now see a more diverse nation than ever; one in which the enduring founding vision continues through leaders like Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal of Asian heritage, Austrian-born Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger of California, and most importantly, President Barack Obama, who has both African and American roots. In this carefully researched and perceptive book, Patrick Mendis, who was born in Sri Lanka and educated in Minnesota, reveals the secret of America’s success story. In doing so, he identifies the reason for its magnetic appeal and its inspirational role as the beacon of hope for the world. Every American should read this book to appreciate the wisdom of our Founding Fathers and their prophetic vision.” ~Congressman ROBERT LIVINGSTON, Jr., former Speaker-elect, U.S. House of Representatives and the founder of The Livingston Group, Inc.

“By carefully examining the influence of Freemasonry on the Founding Fathers, Commercial Providence provides valuable insights for the student of history and the modern political leader alike. . . . Unlike Dan Brown in the Lost Symbol, Patrick Mendis has a serious scholarly purpose when he explores the ancient symbols impressed in the architecture of the American capital city. . . . Mendis presents an optimistic view of the American experiment and a useful framework for leaders in contemporary crisis situations. . . . Aspiring leaders, students of history, and visitors to the nation's capital alike will find Commercial Providence an intriguing look at the origins of our American identity, seen through the eyes of the Founding Fathers and the Masonic Architect of the Universe” [From the foreword]. ~Professor STEPHEN JOEL TRACHTENBERG, President Emeritus and University Professor of Public Policy, The George Washington University

“In this well-balanced book on America’s founding vision and its freedom march, Patrick Mendis explores the pivotal role played by Freemasons like brethren George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, and Paul Revere. Like Alexis de Tocqueville, Mendis perceptively observes our cherished democratic ideals and dynamics of freedom, and judiciously integrates the original documents and Freemasonry rarely mentioned in history textbooks. As an award-winning military professor, he supports the task of defense forces as champions of freedom and advocates the primacy of the commercial mission inculcated in the American story. This is an optimistic book about America’s destiny and a needed antidote to the current pessimism and historical conspiracy we often read in the media. I commend it highly.” ~Rear Admiral WILLIAM SIZEMORE (Ret.), U.S. Navy, the Grand Executive Director of the Supreme Council 33° of the Scottish Rite Freemasonry, and author of Dynamic Freedoms: Our Freedom Documents

“Patrick Mendis has produced an original and fascinating interpretation of the political, cultural, and even religious roots and corollaries of America's historic policy toward trade. His account puts current policy discussions in a new light. I enjoyed reading this book and think it will prove valuable to anyone interested in this topic.” ~Journalist JAMES FALLOWS, The Atlantic Monthly and National Public Radio, founding chairman of the New America Foundation and former chief speechwriter for President Jimmy Carter

“I got to know Patrick Mendis (long-time protégé of the late Harlan Cleveland, a former Marshall Plan administrator and NATO ambassador) at the State Department and was astounded by how much I could learn from this outsider as well as insider: his infectious optimism about the future of this country, and, more important, the rigorous analysis and close reasoning that underlies that optimism. Particularly eye-opening is his essential thesis that the founding fathers believed that trade and commerce, rather than religion, would be the glue that held this nation together. Amidst all the other exciting bits of history and analysis, this one has enormous relevance for today.” ~Ambassador FRANK LOY, former Undersecretary of State for Global Affairs under President Bill Clinton and President of the German Marshall Fund of the United States

“With his unyielding patriotic sentiments, Harvard alumnus Patrick Mendis proffers compelling perspectives on Jeffersonian inspiration for democracy promotion and human rights in a hard-edged Hamiltonian world of commerce and finance. His thoughtful analysis of America's founding vision is incisive, optimistic, and innovative. In support of the founding vision, Mendis convincingly illustrates that a Madisonian empire is not only desirable, but also needed to realize an empire of liberty. This naturalized U.S. citizen has a clear and cogent message to our foes as well as our friends: America will succeed; it is embedded in our destiny.” ~Ambassador PAULA DOBRIANSKY, former Undersecretary of State for Democracy and Global Affairs under President George W. Bush and Senior Fellow at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government

"In his detailed analysis of the Founding Fathers’ ethos imprinted in every corner of our nation’s capital and the Constitution, Patrick Mendis unveils a part of history unknown to most Americans. He reminds us of the commercial roots entrenched in the making of the United States and presents Commercial Providence as the true notion of Manifest Destiny. In this well-researched book, we will find historical facts thought only plausible in fictional literature and conspiracy theories; Mendis changes the way we look at our history, policy and trade. Most importantly, he clearly illustrates that the inspiration of this country’s ideals was E Pluribus Unum, 'Out of many, one.'" ~The Honorable Dr. PAULA STERN, chairwoman of The Stern Group, Inc. and former Chairwoman of the U.S. International Trade Commission

“The adaptability of America has relied from the start on a central faith in distributed intelligence, initiative, and ingenuity. The founders built an architecture for diversity. This book posits in the most intriguing way the roots of that design.” ~Professor RONALD HEIFETZ, co-author of The Practice of Adaptive Leadership, Harvard Kennedy School and Cambridge Leadership Associates

"Patrick Mendis has provided a masterful analysis of the role of international trade as a critical bond tying the welfare of nation-states together, a concept clearly reflected in The Federalist Papers but too often overlooked in the face of nationalism and factionalism today." ~Professor C. FORD RUNGE, Distinguished McKnight Professor of Applied Economics and Law, University of Minnesota

“Like many who come to the United States, Patrick Mendis felt in his youth the magnetism of the American Project. When his adopted-grandparents hosted two 4-H exchange students from Iowa and New Hampshire in their three-acre rice farm with thirteen water-buffaloes, Mendis too dreamt about a similar adventure in America. A decade later, the eighteen-year old farm boy arrived in northern Minnesota as an AFS high school exchange student from Sri Lanka and learned to speak English from his host family; now he presents us a stunning exposition of the roots of our democracy and freedom with profound implications for remaking America’s role in the world. Certainly, this book will positively contribute to the current national discourse and beyond.” ~Professor LAURENCE SIMON, Professor of International Development, Brandeis University, Boston

“Dr. Patrick Mendis, a consulting professor of international relations at our Center, is a perceptive scholar of Sino-U.S. relations. As alumni of Harvard University, we both share a great interest in global affairs. He has lectured at prestigious universities in Beijing, Chengdu, Nanjing, Shanghai, and Xian. His previous book is widely praised by Chinese scholars, leaders, and media as it brilliantly connects American founding vision and China's ‘Peaceful Rising’ in the world's stage. I strongly recommend this book to you as a valuable contribution to mutual understanding of ‘Chimerican’ relations.” ~Professor TANG XIAOSONG, President, Center for International Security and Strategic Studies, Guangdong University of Foreign Studies, Guangzhou, China

“Dr Patrick Mendis deepens our understanding of the American spirit by bringing back Washington, Jefferson and Hamilton, then showing us how these forefathers laid down the philosophical foundation for the future superpower through a confluence of human values including morality, justice, achievement and freedom. His analysis on the providential destiny of the United States and the birth of a commercial civilization is both powerful and enlightening. Mendis forcefully demonstrates how the instruments of soft power are crucial to U.S. national interests, and provides insight into the close association of American power with the principles of Freemasonry. His detailed depiction of how Masonic ideas influenced the planning of Washington, D.C., is revealing.” ~Professor TING WAI, Department of Government and International Studies, Hong Kong Baptist University and president of the Hong Kong Association for European Studies

“Patrick has unfolded a panoramic dimension by interpreting America's growth through commerce. His unique insight remains meaningful for contemporary America and the world.” ~Professor SHEN DINGLI, Dean of the Institute of International Studies, Fudan University, Shanghai, China

“Professor Patrick Mendis goes beyond Dan Brown’s Lost Symbol to disclose the true story of the fictional narrative, and the meaning of symbolism in Freemasonry and the American Experiment. The professor is a mind-reader of the Founding Fathers, a judge of ancient symbols, a lover of his adopted country, and a seer of America’s secret destiny. Every visitor to Washington, D.C., must read this book to clearly understand and deeply appreciate the wondrous nature of our freedom and the promise extended by American innovation for the rest of the world to enjoy.” ~Masonic Grand Master AKRAM ELIAS, President and co-founder of Capital Communications Group, and co-producer—with Academy Award winner Richard Dreyfuss—of Mr. Dreyfuss Goes to Washington
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