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A Fourth Of July Reading List—It Is Up To You To Learn Your Past

The Fourth of July will be here soon.

(Above–Black Americans observing the Fourth in 1939 in St. Helena Island, South Carolina.)

What books would be helpful to learn more about the American Revolution and about America?

As I’ve said before, I don’t believe the Revolution was a liberal or conservative event in the sense we think about such things today.

Some of the Founding Fathers were religious. Others were not.  The Revolution had some aspects of a tax revolt. But who can know if folks in the early days of the nation would not have paid more taxes to get all the garbage out of the street or to prevent so many women from dying in childbirth?  Some of the founders believed in government being run from state capitols. Others supported a stronger national government.

Anybody who asserts that the American Revolution was a liberal or conservative victory in the modern sense is more concerned with today’s politics than with historical facts.

At the bottom line, it is up to you to know and understand our shared history. If you allow others to define your past, they will likely use that power to help bring about a future you don’t want.

(Below–1887 Fourth of July picnic in Custer County, Nebraska.)

Here are six book suggestions and a history blog suggestion that are strong sources to learn about the life in North America before colonization, after colonization, at the time of the Revolution, and to learn about the full history of our nation.

* 1491–New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus by Charles C. Mann

There was a whole world here before 1492. 1492 is one marker in history. There is little understanding of who lived in the Americas before Columbus. American history did not begin in 1492 or  in 1620 when the Mayflower arrived.

* Mayflower–A Story of Courage, Community, and War by Nathaniel Philbrick

There are starting points in American history other than the landing of the Mayflower. Yet learning the story of the Mayflower is basic to knowing our history.

Before The Mayflower—A History of Black America by Lerone Bennett.

In many ways, nothing is more central to the American experience than the history of black Americans. So much has turned on the decision to bring black people to America, and on how those unwilling immigrants responded to life in North America.

* American Colonies–The Settlement of North America by Alan Taylor

This book is a good way to learn about the British colonies. It includes chapters about not just the 13 colonies we all know and love, but also has chapters on British Canada and about colonies in the Caribbean.

History of American Women–A blog.

This blog is a useful resource to know more about women of early American history.

* Patriots–The Men Who Started The American Revolution by A.J. Langguth

This book reads like a novel. It is an enjoyable and informative way to learn about the events and personalities of the Revolution.

The Penguin History Of  The United States by Hugh Brogan

The Penguin History is a one-volume non-ideological account of our nation that discusses the events of the Revolution and then goes on to provide the full context of American history. While I do sometimes read history books written from the left or the right, I find I’d rather have a balanced account that leaves ideological judgements up to the reader.

As a liberal, I’m confident that an examination of the facts–In a way both comprehensive, and sympathetic to the strengths and weaknesses of our fellow men and women— will lead to a view that America is best when it is welcoming of people of all kinds, and that government has, in tandem with the hard-work of a free people, a role to play in providing a basic social safety net for its people.

In any case, it is your responsibility to learn your history and to consider what this history means in terms of your beliefs and actions in the world.

Learn the past so you can be a hopeful and relevant part of the future.

(Below–How some see the Fourth of July. It is fine as far is it goes. But there is so much more. The painting–called The Spirit of ’76– is by Archibald Willard.)  

June 25, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Sultry Pilgrim Holds Turkey—Women In Colonial New England

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Above you see a sultry Pilgrim holding a Thanksgiving Turkey.

She’s going to have that turkey beheaded and served up for dinner.

What was the role of women in Colonial Massachusetts and Colonial New England?

From American Colonies—The Settling Of North America by Alan Taylor—

“It took a family to cope with the diverse and constant demands of building and maintaining a farm in New England. English culture expected all adults to marry and divided their labors into male and female responsibilities. Men conducted the heaviest work, including clearing, constructing, tending the livestock, harvesting the hay, and cultivating the grain crops. Women maintained the home and its nearby garden, cared for the numerous children, made clothing and soap, and prepared and preserved foods, including butter, eggs and cheese. But when a husband was away or incapacitated, the wife also had to assume his labors, taking the role of  ” deputy husband” until he returned or recovered….The New English understood marriage as both romantic and economic. Husband and wife were supposed to be both temperamentally and financially compatible…As in the mother country, New English men monopolized legal authority, landownership and political rights….In all this, New England simply replicated the gender hierarchy of the mother country. More noteworthy are the modest ways in which the Puritan faith provided a bit more authority, protection, and respect for women in New England than they enjoyed in the Chesapeake or the old England. … Above all, Puritanism preached the  importance of love and mutual respect as the foundations of Christian marriage.”

American Colonies is a great book.

 Take the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday to learn more about our colonial origins.

A great source to learn this history is the blog History of American Women.

November 10, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

What Google Searches Miss

I was looking up something on Google and typed the letter A. I saw that the word Amazon came up. Because my mind is weak, I then typed in each letter of the alphabet to see what word came up with each letter. Below is the list of what came up and in my view, of what should have come up.

Based on what comes up in these Google searches, it seems that many of us like to shop. It also seems that people like services that are free. 

A—Amazon

What should come up is Arthur Ashe. 

B—Best Buy

What should come up is Book. As in–Get off the computer and go read a book.

C—Craigslist

What should come up is Copley. As in, my favorite painting is John Singleton Copley’s Paul Revere. (Below)

D—Dictionary 

I can’t improve on that. Good to see people looking up the right word to use.

E—ebay

What should come up is Elusive. As in, the true origin of many products sold on ebay can be Elusive.  

F—Facebook

Well–I use Facebook enough so I guess I can’t begrudge folks. Feel free to look me up on Facebook—Neil Aquino—and send me a friend request. My current profile picture is myself wearing a suit and standing in front of a big ice sculpture.  If I had to pick a word for F, it would be Friend in any case. It is good to have Friends.  

G—Google

What should come up is Galveston, Texas. As in visit Galveston, Texas for a nice day at the beach or a nice weekend.

H–Hotmail 

What should come up is History. As in, it is fun and useful to learn History. Or, Alan Taylor’s American Colonies is a great History book.

I—Imdb ( I had to look up what this was. It is a database of movies and movie stars.)

What should come up is Island. As in, I wish I lived on a distant Island.  Or, I wish you lived on a distant Island. 

J—JC Penney

What should come up is Joy Division. Love Will Tear Us Apart is my favorite song.

K—Kohls

What should come up is King. As in Martin Luther King.  (Click here to see the best Martin Luther King Reading & Reference list on the web.)

L—Lowes

What should come up is Liberal. It’s okay that it did not come up though since liberals did so well in the most recent election.

M—-Myspace

What should come up is Martin Van Buren. A founder of the American system of political parties, Martin Van Buren (below) is worth more study and thought than folks realize. (Please consider starting your studies on Van Buren by clicking here.)

Martin Van Buren 

N—Netflix

What should come up is Night Out. As in, forget the Netflix and have a Night Out at a restaurant and movie.  

O—Orkut (This is a social networking site run by Google. I had never heard of it. )

What should have come up is Optimistic. As in, I hope all people are able to remain Optimistic even in these hard times.

P—Photobucket

What should come up is Poetry. Here is a bit of  Chinese Poetry from the 8th century. 

Late autumn strips the distant hills

beyond the city gate.

A huge white cloud interrupts my dreams

and returns me to this world.

And you, old friend?

Flown silent as a crane.

Will you ever return

to your old home again?

Q—Quotes

Okay. I can go with that.  A great quote is  “A trifle consoles us because a trifle distresses us.”  This was by Blaise Pascal. 

R—Runescape  (This is some kind of online game. When I clicked on it, it said that 117,123 people currently playing. I guess no matter how in-touch you think you are, there is big stuff you are missing.)

What should come up is Roses. As in Roses are my wife’s favorite  flower and my wife is the best person in the world.

S—Sears

What should come up is Socialism. With the right in such a lather over the word, why not explore its meanings and see what it can offer in this time of free market failure.

T—Target

What should come up is Texas Liberal. Thanks for reading my blog!  

U—utube

What should come up is Universal. As in, before long we must have government funded Universal health care in America.   

V—Verizon Wireless

What should come up is Vanuatu. Vanuatu is a small Pacific Ocean island nation.

Below is a picture of the parliament building in Vanuatu….

 

…That was modeled upon the old Howard Johnson’s chain.

W—Walmart

What should come up is Wages. As in, raise Wages at Wal-Mart.

 X—Xbox 360

What should come up is Xenial.  Xenial means ” …the friendly relations between a guest and a host, or between a person and a foreign country.”  Xenial is a very good word to know. 

Y—Youtube

What should come up is You. As in, You are not the center of the world no matter how many products and services emphasize the word You.  

Z—Zappos (This is a an online seller of purses and shoes.) 

What should come up is Zebra. As in it is excellent to be able to run a picture of  Zebras on this blog. (Please click here to learn about Zebras.)

March 19, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments