To me, history ought to be a source of pleasure. It isn't just part of our civic responsibility. To me, it's an enlargement of the experience of being alive, just the way literature or art or music is.; NEH 2003 Jefferson Lecturer interview profile]
Let the children have their night of fun and laughter. Let the gifts of Father Christmas delight their play. Let us grown-ups share to the full in their unstinted pleasures before we turn again to the stern task and the formidable years that lie before us, resolved that, by our sacrifice and daring, these same children shall not be robbed of their inheritance or denied their right to live in a free and decent world. Winston Churchill Christmas Eve Message, 1941 as printed in In the Dark Streets Shineth.
The more Adams thought about the future of his country, the more convinced he became that it rested on education. Before any great things are accomplished, he wrote to a correspondent, a memorable change must be made in the system of education and knowledge must become so general as to raise the lower ranks of society nearer to the higher. The education of a nation instead of being confined to a few schools and universities for the instruction of the few, must become the national care and expense for the formation of the many.
Indeed, bribery, favoritism, and corruption in a great variety of forms were rampant not only in politics, but in all levels of society.
When a friend of Abigail and John Adams was killed at Bunker Hill, Abigail's response was to write a letter to her husband and include these words, My bursting heart must find vent at my pen.
To me, history ought to be a source of pleasure. It isn't just part of our civic responsibility. To me, it's an enlargement of the experience of being alive, just the way literature or art or musi
You've got to marinate your head, in that time and culture.You've got to become them.(Speaking about researching, and reading, and immersing yourself in History)
To his own children he was at once the ultimate voice of authority and, when time allowed, their most exuberant companion. He never fired their imaginations or made them laugh as their mother could, but he was unfailingly interested in them, sympathetic, confiding, entering into their lives in ways few fathers ever do. It was a though he was in league with them.
Measurements are never enough. The artist's eye and desire to breathe life into the subject must be the deciding factors.
...it is always easier to deal with things than with men, and no one can direct his life entirely as he would choose. -Wilbur Wright, 1911
We who are residing in a foreign country, away from the immediate scene of action, perhaps can feel more deeply than those at home the evil effects of the present distracted condition of our country.
The evil of technology was not technology itself, Lindbergh came to see after the war, not in airplanes or the myriad contrivances of modern technical igenuity, but in the extent to which they can distance us from our better moral nature, or sense of personal accountability.
A man who will steal for me will steal from me. Theodore Roosevelt, dismissing on the spot one of his best cowhands who was about to claim for his boss an unmarked animal.
The source of our suffering has been our timidity. We have been afraid to think....Let us dare to read, think, speak, write.
Government is nothing more than the combined force of society or the united power of the multitude for the peace, order, safety, good, and happiness of the people... There is no king or queen bee distinguished from all the others by size or figure or beauty and variety of colors in the human hive. No man has yet produced any revelation from heaven in his favor, any divine communication to govern his fellow men. Nature throws us all into the world equal and alike... The preservation of liberty depends upon the intellectual and moral character of the people. As long as knowledge and virtue are diffused generally among the body of a nation it is impossible they should be enslaved. Ambition is one of the more ungovernable passions of the human heart. The love of power is insatiable and uncontrollable... There is a danger from all men. The only maxim of a free government ought to be to trust no man living wth power to endanger public liberty.
A veteran artist counsels a less experienced one to start a painting using colors in the middle range so that the painter can move to more extreme colors as the work progresses.
The author perceives nuances of Abigail Adams' character in the occasional errors she makes in readily quoting John Milton. Rather than giving the observer a reason to quibble, they are evidence that she had absorbed Milton's works enough to feel comfortable quoting them from memory.
The reason is, because it’s of more importance to community, that innocence should be protected, than it is, that guilt should be punished.
We learn much by tribulation, and by adversity our hearts are made better. -Bishop Milton Wright to Orville Wright, 20 Sept. 1908
On a medical school professor noted for slowly, carefully interviewing the patient: He taught the love of truth.
The author perceptively outlines what might be an underrated aspect of his subject and of many others whose public achievements are of note – a gift for friendship. McCullough says Adams, despite his towering intellect and curmudgeonly demeanor, had a soft heart for other people and a genuine interest in their particulars.
Rather than literally burning the midnight oil, which he judged to be unhealthy, John Adams advised his son to make the most of college by developing an inquisitive outlook that would prompt him to get to know the most exceptional scholars and question them closely. Ask them about their tutors, manner of teaching. Observe what books lie on their tables. Fall into questions of literature, science, or what you will.
My next book is also set in the eighteenth century. It's about the Revolution, with the focus on the year 1776. It's about Washington and the army and the war. It's the nadir, the low point of the United States of America.
To me history ought to be a source of pleasure. It isn't just part of our civic responsibility. To me it's an enlargement of the experience of being alive, just the way literature or art or music is.
History is a guide to navigation in perilous times. History is who we are and why we are the way we are.