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Founding Fathers greatest hits!

Founding Fathers greatest hits! Source: jimbowen0306 hide caption

toggle caption Source: jimbowen0306

I know this serves as further evidence that I am decidedly simple, but here it is anyway: I'm not much of a history buff. Sure, I have an intellectual appreciation of the importance of studying the past to understand the present, and I know American history is jam-packed with interesting and important events. I'm just not terribly good at remembering the details. Standard retellings of facts and dates and chronologies just never grab me. I was a lousy American history student in high school*, but I was fortunate in college, when a class called "American History Through Fiction" was an absolute lifesaver — I never would've earned my degree without it! The problem is, without a good story, I'm not apt to remember what exactly was so important about this day in American history. Enter Joseph Ellis. Sure, his is a literary career touched by scandal, but man can he tell a good story. Reviewing transcripts of his prior appearances on NPR, I found more juicy, pithy bits (like a pomegranate!) than I could cram into the show — for instance, these George Washington gems: "As a young man, he is a physical specimen. He's a head taller than anybody else in his time. He's a natural athlete, the best rider. I sort of think of him like John Wayne circa 1939 in Stagecoach," and "Washington, when he applies to become a British officer in the 1750s and is rejected, does not take that as a sign that he's unworthy. He takes it as a sign that the British are stupid." Now those are nuggets I'll remember! Today he takes on all the founding fathers — who's your favorite, and do you have any good stories about them?

*File this under "life's funny that way:" My roommate of more than six years is a high school history teacher. For the record, though, she's a fantastic educator — I learned more in one day spent observing her classes than I did in all of AP History.



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Water Boarding is torture and they do it IN SERE School, I completed SERE in 1982 while in the NAVY

Sent by michael | 3:59 PM | 11-5-2007

Hearing part of this story today on WVXU, I was driven to comment on the segment about religious freedom. While the guest related a story about the founding fathers being christian and thats why we have the freedom of religion guaranteed in the Consitution not The Absence of Religion. So many times I hear the expression "separation of Church and State" and that is why we take religion out of schools, remove the 10 Comandments from Court Houses and say "Seasons Greetings" rather than "Merry Christmas". To me, we don't have the freedom of religion but are forced into an absence of religion.

Sent by Robert Bragg | 5:49 PM | 11-5-2007

Favorite Founding Father-Benjamin Franklin. A first rate mind in science, business, politics and diplomacy--Franklin intellectually anchored his youthful counterparts and singlehandedly saved the American Revolution by bringing in dollars and support from France. As for all this talk about the Founding Fathers being Christians and making this country a "Christian Nation"--it is clear that that is not true. Shame on people who think about their wishes first and the truth second.

Sent by David Fusselman | 4:08 PM | 11-6-2007

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