I’ve got a 47 hour stretch with no work and with nobody else at home.
Here is how I have spent the first six hours of this time alone.
First—I got a can of clam chowder for dinner at Walgreens as I drove home from work.
Below you see the food aisle from where I got the chowder at a local Walgreens. They got everything you need in that aisle so long as you don’t need very much.
I also stopped at Memorial Park here in Houston on the way home and took a 3 mile walk on the jogging trail.
While walking I read Mayflower by Nathaniel Philbrick. I’ve been walking and reading on the Memorial Park trail for 14 years so far and have not bumped into anything yet.
There certainly is wickedness at the core of our national history when you read how we double-dealt the native population at every turn in the 17th century.
I’m reading Mayflower to study up for Thanksgiving.
I’m sure that Thanksgiving is not all about food and then rushing out to buy stuff as soon as your meal is over.
Once home I fell asleep for 2 hours and had a dream that I was walking along the ocean in Corpus Christi, TX, and that I saw a seal.
I suppose I had the dream about Corpus Christi because I was recently looking at some pictures of a trip I took to Corpus in 2008.
Visit Corpus Christi for a good time. All the Texas coast has interesting things to see.
Below is the picture I took four years ago that formed the central image of my dream.
There was once a Caribbean Monk Seal that had a range just south of Texas. But people killed them all. There are no seals in the Gulf of Mexico.
Click here to read about this seal and where it lived before they were all killed.
After waking up from my dreamy nap, I busted open the clam chowder for a fine dinner and have now moved on to writing a blog post.
With six hours down and 41 hours to go, who knows what more will happen with my excellent time alone.
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.)
In the picture above, I have sought to recreate what it must have been like for a Puritan ready to board the Mayflower.
Such a person would have packed a bag, put on his Pilgrim hat, left home and headed over to the port for the long voyage ahead.
I feel the picture above shows exactly what that departure must have looked like back in the 17th century.
It is as if you were there.
When the Pilgrims reached Cape Cod, the Mayflower Compact was signed to provide a framework and guidelines for the task ahead.
At the bottom of this post is the text of the Mayflower Compact.
As is well-known, the arrival of the Mayflower was not good news for the native population.
As well-known as this fact is, it always merits repeating. Where we live today was quite possible land once occupied by someone who did not wish to leave.
As our day-to-day lives go on, it easy to forget the larger context in which we exist.
Here is the link the excellent C-Span broadcasts about Mayflower Compact author William Bradford. If you click the video archives link on the left of the screen, you’ll be able to learn about Mr. Bradford and what it was like to live in Plymouth after the arrival of the Mayflower.
If you know history, you will have a better understanding of who you are and why the world is as it is.
The Mayflower Compact—-
- In the name of God, Amen. We whose names are underwritten, the loyal subjects of our dread Sovereign Lord King James, by the Grace of God of Great Britain, France and Ireland, King,Defender of the Faith, etc.
- Having undertaken, for the Glory of God and advancement of the Christian Faith and Honour of our King and Country, a Voyage to plant the First Colony in the Northern Parts of Virginia, do by these presents solemnly and mutually in the presence of God and one of another, Covenant and Combine ourselves together into a Civil Body Politic, for our better ordering and preservation and furtherance of the ends aforesaid; and by virtue hereof to enact, constitute and frame such just and equal Laws, Ordinances, Acts, Constitutions and Offices, from time to time, as shall be thought most meet and convenient for the general good of the Colony, unto which we promise all due submission and obedience. In witness whereof we have hereunder subscribed our names at Cape Cod, the 11th of November, in the year of the reign of our Sovereign Lord King James, of England, France and Ireland the eighteenth, and of Scotland the fifty-fourth. Anno Domini 1620