“Rather than trying to understand the past on its own terms, these historians want the past to be immediately relevant and useful; they want to use history to empower people in the present, to help them develop self-identity, or to enable them to break free of that past.”
“In their well-intentioned but often crude efforts to make the past immediately usable, these scholars undermine the integrity and the pastness of the past.”
Gordon S. Wood on many cultural historians from:
Wood, Gordon S. The Purpose of The Past: Reflections on the Uses of History. (New York: The Penguin Press, 2008).p8
“Remember the days of old,
consider the years long past;
ask your father, and he will inform you;
your elders, and they will tell you.”
Deuteronomy 32:7 NRSV
“The omission of such events as the Mexican War from the American consciousness does history injustice.”
“The cost in American lives was staggering. Of the 104,556 men who served in the army, both regulars and volunteers, 13,768 men died, the highest death rate of any war in our history. The period between 1844 and 1848 was a significant time, not something to be regulated to the attic of memory.”
Eisenhower, John S.D. So Far From God: The U.S. War With Mexico 1846- 1848. (New York: Random House, 1989). p. xviii
It was very cold when we visited Vienna. However, we had an excellent time. While we enjoyed everything about the trip, these are pictures from three things we found special.
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A Few Print Books Accumulated for This Project
As one of the more formative events in the establishment of the United States as one of the world’s great powers, it is strange that the Mexican- American War has been so willingly forgotten. Sandwiched as it was between America’s two Wars of Independence (the American Revolution and the War of 1812) and the American Civil War, the Mexican war’s significance is little considered on its own. It is little considered at all. A Military History of the United States course I completed spent remarkably little time on the subject. I spent more time reading about the war in one of my Spanish Language classes. Granted, I have lived my life in the East and have only visited the states involved in the war. Had I lived there I may have been exposed to more of the history.
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“Nor were they just like we are. Their present was part of a different time, and because of that, they were different from us. We have to take into consideration, for example, all they had to contend with that we don’t even have to think about- all the inconveniences, discomforts, and fears. And the hard, hard work.”
McCullough, David. The American Spirit: Who We Are and What We Stand For. (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2017). p. 87.
“History, I like to think, is a larger way of looking at life. It is a source of strength, and inspiration. It is about who we are and what we stand for and is essential to our understanding of what our role should be in our time. History, as can’t be said too often, is human. It is about people, and they speak to us across the years.”
McCullough, David. The American Spirit: Who We Are and What We Stand For. (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2017). p. xii
David McCullough, The American Spirit: Who We Are and What We Stand For. (New York, NY: Simon & Schuster, 2017).
Defining “The” American Spirit is a challenging proposition given America’s current division. History has been weaponized in support of political positions. Many in the academy have fostered social division to further a political philosophy. With little remnant of a common history remaining we stand at a critical juncture. Is there a common history in which we can rediscover “the” American spirit? If so, can that history heal our present fracture and nurture a promising future? A definition that brings us together, that drives us to our better nature. Few historians have the necessary cache to take on such a challenge. David McCullough is one of only a few historians with enough courage to take on that challenge. He is also one of a few with enough respect for his definition to garner serious consideration.
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One of the greatest rewards of blogging is the people you meet and the stories they tell. Bringing exceptional people and their experiences to life. MB Henry is such a person, and Dan Wescott- On Another Battlefield is such a story. MB and her husband are special people. Please read this story. We must remember Dan Westcott and the other men of the 17th Airborne Division.