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Monday, May 23, 2005

The Spirit of 76'

Tomorrow, David McCullough's new book 1776 hits bookstores. It will be a comprehensive look at George Washington and the events that shaped his military triumphs in the War of Independence. Recently, a revival in interest in the American Revolution has taken place. Such books as Joseph Ellis' Founding Brothers, and His Excellency, Ron Chernow's Alexander Hamilton, and David McCollough's John Adams, have all become overnight best sellers and have been rewarded with Pulitzer prizes.

From the perspective of today's world, it is important for citizens to understand the underlying themes of the American Revolution. These were ordinary men, who took extrodinary risks and through sheer wisdom and hard work created the greatest republic in the history of the human race. As time moves on, and contemporary events throw the Unites States front and center in worldwide conflicts both political, military and commercially, our constitution and works of the Founding Fathers continue to endure as best guide we as Americans have for what should be and what should not be.

The US Constitution, the product of multiple compromises and years of debate, created a framework for democracy and representation unknown to the monarchic world of the 1700s. As revolution spread in Europe throughout the 1800s, it was Thomas Jefferson whose writings were being hailed by students who overthrew the existing order in Europe and forged the modern west. It was also Jefferson and his brother's in arms who inspired the French Revolution and led to the ascension of Napoleon, who is arguably the most important political figure in the history of the world.

The Spirit of 76' still burns inside Americans today. However, we must truly appreciate the revolution and not fall into the trap of using the Founding Fathers words and ideals to promote causes and political agendas that run contrary to the true Spirit of 76'. While Philadelphia was a pivotal center of the American revolution, today, Pennsylvania's Junior Senator Rick Santorum regularly corrupts the meaning of the Revolution with his own rhetoric to serve his political ends. Santorum is not alone. The Republicans in Congress have totally twisted Jefferson, Madison and Hamilton's writings to suit the political agenda they are trying to force on the American people. Shame on them- the Founding Fathers should never be exploited for political purposes by either party. We are all Americans, and we all live the Spirit of 76' every day.

1 comment:

Joe said...

The GOP took it on the chin with the deal Warner made with Byrd. The Founding Fathers wishes survive and Frist and Bush look silly.

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I am the host of the Major League Soccer Talk and EPL Talk Podcasts and am frequent guest on other (world) football shows. I am also the publisher of various other websites including this one. I work in public/government relations in addition to my soccer work and have a keen interest in history, politics, aviation, travel,and the world around us.