By Edmund S. Morgan
“A clever, humane and fantastically written book.”―Bret Stephens, Wall road Journal
From the best-selling writer of Benjamin Franklin comes this notable paintings that may support redefine our proposal of yank heroism. american citizens have lengthy been captivated with their heroes, however the women and men dramatically portrayed listed here are no longer celebrated for the common banal purposes contained in Founding Fathers hagiography. without difficulty difficult those that persist in revering the yankee background establishment and its tropes and falsehoods, Morgan, now ninety-three, keeps to think that the prior seriously isn't how it turns out.
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Extra info for American Heroes: Profiles of Men and Women Who Shaped Early America
The Caribs lived on islands of their own and met every European approach with poisoned arrows, which men and women together fired in showers. They not only were fierce but, by comparison with the Arawaks, also seemed more energetic, more industrious, and, it might even be said, sadly enough, more civil. ” Columbus had no doubts about how to proceed, either with the lovable but lazy Arawaks or with the hateful but industrious Cannibals. He had come to take possession and to establish dominion. The Arawaks of Española would obviously make good subjects.
The story moves us, offends us, but perhaps the more so because we have to recognize ourselves not in the Arawaks but in Columbus and his followers. The Spanish reaction to the Arawak was Western civilization’s reaction to the barbarian: the Arawaks answered the Europeans’ description of men, just as Balboa’s tiger answered the description of a tiger, and being men they had to be made to live as men were supposed to live. But the Arawaks’ view of man was something different, and they were unable to recognize themselves as men in the role in which the invaders cast them.
I was used to Quakers who endured their sufferings stoically. This one was the son of an admiral and a friend of the royal family, someone who was not to be meddled with lightly. It was refreshing to observe his behavior when he was arrested in London for preaching in the streets. Instead of appealing to the “inner light,” he patronized the judges, lectured them on the law, and left the court with a sneer when sentenced to a term in Newgate Prison, where he knew he could not be kept for long. He was a strange sort of leader for a humble people.