Category: American Character

Individuals who have exhibited Biblical character qualities and have had a positive impact on American history.

On Bad Times: A Historian’s Perspective

As I survey the current state of America—the spiritual/moral, political, and cultural aspects [what does that leave?]—I have grave concerns. But I’d like to offer a historian’s perspective on bad times. Since I teach American history, I have a more in-depth knowledge of what has transpired previously. I can imagine myself transported back into earlier eras and think about how I might have felt about current events at those times. Bad moral climates, disunity, and devastating government policies have cropped… Read more »

The Great Confrontation

Seventy-one years ago yesterday, one of the most intense political confrontations in American history occurred in the US House of Representatives. August 25, 1948, was the day that the man on the right in this photo, Alger Hiss, was asked publicly whether he had ever known the man standing on the left side of the photo. His name was Whittaker Chambers. What was the controversy all about and why did it captivate the public for the next two years? Chambers,… Read more »

On Honoring Government

Let me clarify something today. I can almost hear some readers of this blog thinking, “He criticizes the president and Congress so much that he can’t really have any respect for the government.” The opposite is true. I have the highest regard for the federal government. This comes from a reading of the Constitution, the debates over its ratification, and the character of many of those who helped bring it to pass. I believe the form of government set up by… Read more »

D-Day, Rangers, & Reagan

June 6–the 75th anniversary of Operation Overlord, better known as D-Day–the beginning of the liberation of Europe from the Nazis. I do my best in my American history survey course to impress on the students the sacrifices made that day. The current generation has so little sense of history and the impact it still makes on us now. My duty as a professor is to help them see that connection. They have freedom, but it has been bought at a… Read more »

The Loss of History Is Our Loss

I remember it was back around 1980, when I was teaching some high school students, that I first encountered the realization that I was older and they were unbelievably young. What do I mean? I was talking about the JFK assassination and was stunned to learn that they were too young to have had firsthand knowledge of it. Of course, if I had been thinking clearly, I would have understood that ahead of time; after all, even if I’m not… Read more »

Thoughts on Presidents’ Day

So, it’s Presidents’ Day. It didn’t used to exist. In my younger years, we had instead separate days to honor George Washington and Abraham Lincoln specifically, on their respective February birthdays. I’m not even all that sure what the current Presidents’ Day is supposed to focus on. People from my generation probably still consider it a commemoration of Washington and Lincoln, but what about the new generation? Is the intent to honor anyone and everyone who ever served as president?… Read more »

American Character: Noah Webster

The name “Webster” sounds familiar to most people. They think for a minute and then say, “Oh, yeah, he’s the dictionary guy, right?” Right. But he’s more than that. Noah Webster is a prime example of someone who exhibits the character trait of diligence. A native of Connecticut  and descendant of Pilgrim governor William Bradford, Webster was raised in the Congregational church, graduated from Yale, and even was awarded a master’s degree—unusual for the time. In 1783, he got the nation’s… Read more »