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June 6, 2015

Empire Of Liberty

I've just finished Empire of Liberty: A History of the Early Republic, 1789-1815 by James S. Wood which is both thorough and well written. My knowledge of the details of that period when we went from being 13 former British colonies to the point where we graduated into the adulthood of nations is scanty because, you know, every public school teacher is in a hurry to get the students from the Revolution to the Civil War. The War of 1812 got short shrift in my school.

I think the most useful thing I got out of it is the confidence to laugh like a jackass the next time I hear some Tea Partier (or Justice Scalia) refer to "our forefathers" and what they thought. To know what our forefathers thought, you first have to ask which forefather and which day of the week. All of them changed their position on just about every issue at some point, including religion (or the lack thereof). The only thing you can say for sure is that Jefferson was never a Federalist and Washington was never a Republican. Beyond that, there no soundbites for the forefathers.

Filed under History | permalink | June 6, 2015 at 08:29 PM


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