Category: The Historical Muse

Thoughts on history and the historical profession. Clio is the muse of history–this category title is a play on that concept.

American Character: Samuel Adams

If Patrick Henry was the voice of American resistance to the policies of Great Britain, Samuel Adams was the organizer. His contributions to American independence are immense. Far ahead of his contemporaries, he believed that independence was inevitable. When others thought everything between the colonies and the Mother Country had been ironed out, Adams understood that the truces were essentially temporary peace arrangements. The problem, he knew, was that both operated from differing principles. To keep his fellow citizens informed… Read more »

American Character: Patrick Henry

Nearly everyone knows the name Patrick Henry. But we are a nation of people only barely acquainted with our Founders. There is little depth to that knowledge. Henry was a man who was motivated by his Christian faith, something some historians try to deny. As a young boy, he was taken to the revival meetings of the First Great Awakening by his mother. It was at these meetings that he learned his method of public speaking, an approach that made… 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 »

I Remember

I was 18 at the time as I watched Neil Armstrong take “one giant leap for mankind” live on TV. I also remember someone later commenting how we should now begin renumbering the years since this was the most monumental feat in human history. I’m glad we didn’t take that piece of advice. As great as this was, it can never hope to measure up to the most amazing feat in human history: God becoming man to show us His love by sacrificing Himself… Read more »

Tell Me Again Why the Cold War Ended?

On Tuesday, President Obama spoke to some students in Moscow. He was talking about the end of the Cold War. Here’s his analysis of how it came to an end: Within a few short years, the world as it was ceased to be. Now, make no mistake: This change did not come from any one nation. The Cold War reached a conclusion because of the actions of many nations over many years, and because the people of Russia and Eastern… Read more »

The Right Type of Independence and Dependence

Yes, I know I missed the day. Today is July 5th, but that’s okay. In actuality, the Continental Congress voted for independence on July 2nd anyway. The 4th was when they approved the Declaration’s wording. Whatever day we celebrate, the key is that what we are celebrating is national independence. There are Christians who don’t like that word but they misunderstand the context. The Declaration of Independence did separate the colonies from Britain, but it did not separate them from… Read more »

American Character: George Whitefield

George Whitefield Preaching He was a sensation. He was not even strictly an American, but a traveling evangelist from Britain. Yet America was on his heart. When George Whitefield arrived in America in 1740, he started in Georgia and traveled up the coast, preaching in all the colonies. The result was the climax of what we call the First Great Awakening. Whitefield’s voice boomed, and he dramatized his sermons. Thousands traced their conversion to his messages. Ben Franklin became his… Read more »