As to the history of the revolution, my ideas may be peculiar perhaps singular. What do we mean by the revolution? The war? That was no part of the revolution; it was only an effect and consequence of it. The revolution was in the minds of the people, and this was effected from 1760 to 1775, in the course of fifteen years, before a drop of blood was shed at Lexington.
History is what happened, not what we wish it happened or what a theory says should have happened.
Ours was the first revolution in the history of mankind that truly reversed the course of government, and with three little words: ‘We the people.’ ‘We the people’ tell the government what to do, it doesn’t tell us. ‘We the people’ are the driver, the government is the car. And we decide where it should go, and by what route, and how fast. Almost all the world’s constitutions are documents in which governments tell the people what their privileges are. Our Constitution is a document in which ‘We the people’ tell the government what it is allowed to do. ‘We the people’ are free. This belief has been the underlying basis for everything I’ve tried to do these past eight years.
We’ve got to teach history based not on what’s in fashion but what’s important. If we forget what we did, we won’t know who we are. I’m warning of an eradication of the American memory that could result, ultimately, in an erosion of the American spirit.
We shall not grow wiser before we learn that much that we have done was very foolish.
More whites were brought as slaves to North Africa than blacks brought as slaves to the United States or to the 13 colonies from which it was formed. White slaves were still being bought and sold in the Ottoman Empire, decades after blacks were freed in the United States.
The American Founders drew on an astonishingly wide range of historical sources and an appropriately jaundiced view of human nature to craft the world’s most stable and free republic. They invoked lessons learned from the Greek city-states, the Carolingian Dynasty, and the Ottoman Empire in the Constitution’s defense. And they assumed that the new nation’s citizens would themselves be versed in history and political philosophy. Indeed, a closer knowledge among the electorate of Hobbes and the fragility of social order might have prevented the more brazen social experiments that we’ve undergone in recent years. Ignorance of the intellectual trajectory that led to the rule of law and the West’s astounding prosperity puts those achievements at risk.
The average age of the world’s greatest civilizations has been two hundred years. These nations have progressed through this sequence:
Continue reading “The path of civilization”
[Counter-history’s] function is polemical. [Its] method consists of the systematic exploitation of the adversary’s most trusted sources against their grain — ‘die Geschichte gegen den Strich kommen.’ [Its] aim is the distortion of the adversary’s self-image, of his identity, through the deconstruction of his memory.