土曜日, 4月 02, 2005

Late to the Party

I have been spending spring break with my roommate Yi-An in Baltimore. We had a full day at UMCP yesterday, and Arash rather selflessly (Ayn Rand would have issues with how selfless Arash is) drove us back through the pouring rain. Since I slept all the way back to Baltimore, I ended up wide awake at 12:30 a.m. in a half-empty house with strange creaking sounds. (See Grudge, the).

Fortunately, David McCullough's John Adams had staring at me from James's bookshelf for the last week. I started from the end--there's a fascinating story behind Adams and Jefferson's reconciliation that never made it into the high school textbooks--then continued with the beginning. It was heartening to learn that Adams was often assailed by feelings of self-doubt and a sense of futility, that he had trouble concentrating, that he daydreamed often and thought far too much about women. Alas, these human failings were before he somehow straightened himself out, delved into the study of the law, and emerged as the most prominent lawyer in Boston. McCullough's writing for citizen-scholars, not ambivalent college students, so he never quite explains how Adams did it.

On the other hand, McCullough did cover the issue of declaring independence. Contrary to the picturebook view of the American Revolution, independence was scarcely a majority position. It's interesting to learn that the greatest outcry for independence was in occupied New England, not in the wealthy Southern colonies. Also, that Adams et al. had to ensure that they did not push for independence too fast yet manage to grasp the opportunity when it presented itself. The same numbers show up again and again: a third of the delegates too conciliatory, a third too timid, but a third of them "true blue." Sometimes, the passionate 30% truly can change history.

1 Comments:

Anonymous southern oregon speedway said...

Thanks for a marvelous read, Michelle! I often wonder about these things when I start to get back into southern living home parties. Where do you think the desire comes from? Doesn't it seem like a natural human thing to want something like southern living home parties?

2:41 午後  

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