Category: American Character

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

Defusing the Newburgh Conspiracy

The American Revolution was essentially over. British General Cornwallis had surrendered at Yorktown in October 1781. Yet George Washington still had to keep his army together until a peace treaty was concluded. That didn’t happen until 1783. Many of his officers were angry with Congress. They hadn’t been paid for a long time and were contemplating open mutiny, even to the point of marching on Congress, guns in hand. They knew Washington wouldn’t approve their potential plans, so they turned… Read more »

Individual Choices, Not Impersonal Forces, Determine History

I’m teaching my American Revolution course this semester. Every time I do, I’m impressed with how character shapes history. In this case, the character of George Washington comes to the forefront. As 1776 drew to a close, it seemed more likely than not that the fledgling nation was in jeopardy and that the Declaration of Independence was destined to be a silly footnote in history, another testament to man’s folly. Washington’s army, such as it was, composed primarily of untested… Read more »

Who Was Harry Freeman? And Why Should You Care?

Harry Freeman is not a household name; most Americans have no idea who he was. Why should anyone care? Well, Harry Freeman was an example of just how devoted someone can be to a political party regardless of the drastic changes that might occur. Whittaker Chambers knew Harry Freeman. When Chambers joined the open Communist Party in America in the late 1920’s, he worked alongside Freeman at the party’s newspaper, The Daily Worker. Allow me to draw from what I’ve… Read more »

Rockefeller the Christian?

A couple days ago, I posted about Booker T. Washington—the fruit of the preparation I’m doing for a course called “The Emergence of Modern America, 1877-1917.” I hope I showed in that post that he is someone to be admired for his character. Another figure from that time period who needs his reputation reexamined is John D. Rockefeller. Historians typically castigate this man for supposedly destroying other companies by buying them out. Another presumably evil thing he did was to… Read more »

Reclaiming Booker T. Washington

What occupies professors when they are on summer vacation? I imagine some may think we do nothing. Those would not be the professors I know; we stay busy. For instance, I’ve been working diligently on a new upper-level history course for the fall semester: American history from 1877-1917. For me, though, that’s hardly “work”—it’s an enjoyable experience putting my thoughts together and giving them life through my PowerPoint presentations. I’m the type of historian who concentrates quite a bit on… Read more »

Tweeterdumb

One of my main objections to the Trump nomination during the primaries last year was his character. I feared that as president he wouldn’t be able to control himself because he had never manifested self-control in his life. Whatever Trump wanted to do, Trump did, regardless of the consequences. I was told by many not to worry about that since he would be surrounded by people who could rein him in. So how’s that going? My fears have been realized… Read more »

Chambers: The Meaning of Witness

Every couple of years, I’m privileged to teach my course on Whittaker Chambers. As this semester nears its end, students are also getting near the end of Chambers’s masterful autobiography entitled Witness. Why that title? Chambers, as he shared what he knew about the communist underground of which he had been a part for many years, was a witness. Another word for a witness is a martyr—one who is willing to lay down his life for what he knows to… Read more »