Robert Baden-Powell was educated at Charterhouse, London, and joined the English hussars in 1876.
As a soldier for in British Empire, which was the largest empire in world history, Robert Baden-Powell served in India, Afghanistan, and South Africa.
In 1895, he commanded native troops in Ashanti, and later served in the Matabele campaign.
During the South African Boer War, Baden-Powell's 1,200 men were besieged for 217 days by an overwhelming Boer army of 8,000 at Mafeking.
In spite of famine and sickness, his resourcefulness succeeded in defending his position and saving his men until help arrived, May 12, 1900.
He was promoted to the rank of Major General.
In 1912, Robert Baden-Powell married Olave St. Clair Soames, and in 1939 they moved to a cottage in Kenya.
Sir Baden-Powell founded the Boy Scout organization in 1908 to promote morality and good citizenship in the rising generation.
He helped his sister, Agnes Baden-Powell found the Girl Guides in 1910.
Sir Robert Baden-Powell's works include:
Cavalry Instruction, 1885;
The Matabele Campaign, 1896;
Scouting for Boys, 1908;
The Handbook for the Girl Guides (co-authored with Agnes Baden-Powell), 1912;
Boy Scouts Beyond The Sea: My World Tour, 1913;
My Adventures as a Spy, 1915;
Memories of India, 1915;
Young Knights of the Empire: Their Code, and Further Scout Yarns, 1916;
The Wolf Cub's Handbook, 1916;
Girl Guiding, 1918;
Aids To Scoutmastership, 1919:
What Scouts Can Do: More Yarns, 1921:
An Old Wolf's Favourites, 1921;
Rovering to Success, 1922;
Life's Snags and How to Meet Them, 1927;
Scouting and Youth Movements, 1929;
Last Message to Scouts, 1929;
He-who-sees-in-the-dark; the Boys' Story of Frederick Burnham, the American Scout, 1932;
Lessons From the Varsity of Life, 1933;
Adventures and Accidents, 1934;
Scouting Round the World, 1935;
Adventuring to Manhood, 1936;
African Adventures, 1937;
Birds and Beasts of Africa, 1938
Paddle Your Own Canoe, 1939;
More Sketches Of Kenya, 1940.
The Boy Scouts, being originally founded on Christian values, grew into the largest voluntary youth movement in the world, with membership over 25 million.
In a 1917 pamphlet on Scouting, Baden-Powell wrote an introduction, Scouting & Christianity, stating:
"Scouting is nothing less than applied Christianity."
Robert Baden-Powell wrote in Scouting for Boys, 1908:
"We aim for the practice of Christianity in their everyday life and dealings, and not merely the profession of its theology on Sundays ...
There is a vast reserve of loyal patriotism and Christian spirit lying dormant in our nation to-day, mainly because it sees no direct opportunity for expressing itself ...
In this joyous brotherhood there is vast opportunity open to all ... It gives every man his chance of service for his fellow-men and for God."
Baden-Powell wrote in Scouting for Boys, 1908:
"No man is much good unless he believes in God and obeys His laws ... First: Love and serve God. Second: Love and serve your neighbor."
Baden-Powell wrote in Aids to Scoutmastership, 1919:
"Development of outlook naturally begins with a respect for God ... Reverence to God and reverence for one's neighbor and reverence for oneself as a servant of God."
The Scout Handbook, 5th edition (1948) explained "A Scout is Reverent":
"The Scout shows true reverence in two principal ways.
First, you pray to God, you love God and you serve Him.
Secondly, in your everyday actions you help other people, because they are made by God to God's own likeness. You and all men are made by God to God's own likeness.
You and all men are important in the sight of God because God made you.
The 'unalienable rights' in our historic Declaration of Independence, come from God. That is why you respect others whose religion and customs may differ from yours."
The Scout Handbook, 5th edition (1948), in the section "Duty to God," a scout was admonished to be "faithful to God's Commandments":
"You worship God regularly with your family in your church or synagogue. You try to follow the religious teachings that you have been taught, and you are faithful in your church school duties, and help in church activities.
Above all you are faithful to Almighty God's Commandments.
Most great men in history have been men of deep religious faith. Washington knelt in the snow to pray at Valley Forge. Lincoln always sought Divine guidance before each important decision. Be proud of your religious faith.
Remember in doing your duty to God, to be grateful to Him. Whenever you succeed in doing something well, thank Him for it. Sometimes when you look up into the starlit sky on a quiet night, and feel close to Him-thank Him as the Giver of all good things.
One way to express your duty and your thankfulness to God is to help others, and this too, is a part of your Scout Promise."
Many Presidents have addressed the Boy Scouts.
On May 1, 1919, President Woodrow Wilson issued a Proclamation of a National Boy Scout Week:
"The Boy Scout movement should not only be preserved, but strengthened. It deserves the support of all public-spirited citizens ...
Every nation depends for its future upon the proper training and development of its youth."
On July 25, 1924, President Calvin Coolidge addressed a gathering of Boy Scouts in New York headed to Copenhagen:
"The three fundamentals of scouthood are reverence for nature... reverence for law ... The third is a reverence for God.
It is hard to see how a great man can be an atheist. Without the sustaining influence of faith in a divine power we could have little faith in ourselves ...
Doubters do not achieve; skeptics do not contribute; cynics to not create.
Faith is the great motive power, and no man realizes his full possibilities unless he has the deep conviction that life is eternally important, and that his work, well done, is part of an unending plan."
Honoring Sir Robert Baden-Powell, May 1, 1926, before the National Council of the Boy Scouts of America, Washington, D.C., President Calvin Coolidge said a scout binds himself to be "morally straight":
"We are delighted to honor this evening, Sir Robert Baden-Powell. This distinguished British general is now known all over the world ...
It has been dignified by a Federal charter granted by the Congress to the Boy Scouts of America in 1916, and thereby ranks in the popular mind with the only two other organizations which have been similarly honored, the Red Cross and the American Legion ...
The boy on becoming a scout binds himself on his honor to do his best ...
1. To do my duty to God and my country, and to obey the Scout Law.
2. To help other people at all times.
3. To keep myself physically strong, mentally awake, and morally straight."
Calvin Coolidge continued:
"The 12 articles in these Scout Laws are ... affirmative rules of conduct.
Members must promise to be trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent.
How comprehensive this list! What a formula for developing moral and spiritual character! ... It would be a perfect world if everyone exemplified these virtues ...
Boys are taught to practice the basic virtues and principles of right living and to act for themselves in according such virtues and principles. They learn ... self-control ...
We hear much talk of the decline in the influence of religion, of the loosening of the home ties, of the lack of discipline -- all tending to break down reverence and respect for the laws of God and man ...
There is no substitute for the influences of the home and of religion. These take hold of the innermost nature of the individual and play a very dominant part in the formation of personality and character ... Nothing else can ever take its place ..."
"The Boy Scout movement can never be ... a substitute but ... an ally of strict parental control and family life under religious influences ...
The last item in the Scout 'duodecalogue' is impressive. It declares that a scout shall be reverent. 'He is reverent toward God,' the paragraph reads. 'He is faithful in his religious duties, and respects the convictions of others in matters of custom and religion.'
In the past I have declared my conviction that our Government rests upon religion; that religion is the source from which we derive our reverence for truth and justice, for equality and liberty, and for the rights of mankind ..."