Tuesday, July 04, 2006

The Real "Greatest Generation"

Josiah Bunting III remembers the Founders.

Like the heroes of the early Roman Republic and ancient Greece (Rome more than Greece) whom they emulated, these Americans discharged their obligations, as they understood them, by answering multiple vocations and duties, all serving a common end. They did not particularly count the cost. They were not concerned to lay up fortunes for themselves. They had small conception of what our own age calls (and is obsessed by) "stress." They were educated in the classics of ancient literature, history particularly, and in the philosophical literature of 17th- and 18th-century Europe--Locke, Sidney, Montesquieu, Hume. Many did not attend college: There were only nine universities and colleges by the end of 1776.

Yet they wrote with a grace and lucidity we cannot match. Their minds seemed clearer than ours. And they had also what was imputed to a great general of a later generation: the imaginations of engineers. They knew how to transform ideas into action, into policies and institutions.

Read the entire article.

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