Alexis de Tocqueville: The French Man Who Saw America’s Past, Present and Future

TweetShareShare “[It’s] the most comprehensive and penetrating analysis of the relationship between character and society in America that has ever been written.” That’s how one historian described Alexis de Tocqueville’s Democracy in America; a work considered among the most influential books of the 19th century. Published in two volumes between 1835 and 1840, Alexis de…

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The Pain of Thomas Paine

Thomas Paine

TweetShareShareIn 1776 Thomas Paine was a “rock star” among American patriots. His writings inspired a loosely united thirteen colonies to revolt against the great British Empire. But Paine lived down to his name. He’d die a “penniless drunk in Manhattan,” scorned by most of the Founding Fathers. Only six people attended his funeral.   Thomas…

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Molly Pitcher: The Revolutionary Woman Behind the Name

Molly Pitcher

TweetShareShare   Betsy Ross. Martha Washington. Dolly Madison. These were all great women of the American Revolution. But have you heard of Mary Ludwig Hays? She might be the bravest, strongest and most patriotic woman of them all.   During the Revolution women were cut from a different cloth. Many women refused to stay home,…

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Washington’s Farewell: What America Still Hasn’t Learned

TweetShareShareGeorge Washington warned us in his Farewell Address of 1796. But we didn’t listen. We’re still deaf to his final words. George warned us of how political partisanship seeks to “acquire influence” and “misrepresent the opinions.” Washington eloquently admonished that the “fatal tendency” of any democracy is replacing the national will with “the will of…

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John Marrant: America’s First Black Preacher

John Marrant

TweetShareShareHe was among America’s first black preachers. A fiery Methodist who converted thousands—blacks, Indians, whites—to Christianity in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. His life story–of only 35 years–has inspired millions. John Marrant was born a free black June 15, 1755 in New York City. When his father died, at four, his mother moved…

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James Forten: A Liberator and Leader for Abolition

TweetShareShareHe was a wealthy Philadelphia businessman…and a leading voice for abolitionism. He was a sailmaker, author and political activist…a free black in a white world. One biographer noted he was “one of the most powerful African-American voices…he knew how to use the press and the speaker’s podium. He knew about building alliances…[and] the nature of…

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Paul Cuffe: The Shipper Who Shaped a Nation

TweetShareShare“Let me pass away quietly.” These were the last five words of PAUL CUFFE (1759-1817). He was the son of a freed Ghana slave (father) and a Wampanoag Indian tribe (mother). He taught himself to read and write and do math. He also self-learned marine navigation. In 1772, Cuffe inherited his family farm (due to…

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The American Revolution Begins!

TweetShareShare Today was the day that America had enough. A single shot set off a revolution that changed thirteen colonies into thirteen “united states of America.” It also changed the world. In a year dozens of founding fathers would gather to formally declare independence from Great Britain (July 4, 1776). The American story was just…

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