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The American Spirit

Who We Are and What We Stand for

by David McCullough

Hardcover, 176 pages, Simon & Schuster, List Price: $25 |


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The American Spirit
Who We Are and What We Stand for
David McCullough

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NPR Summary

Collects some of the author's speeches delivered throughout the course of his career that celebrate distinctly American principles and characteristics.

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Excerpt: The American Spirit

The American Spirit


Simon Willard's Clock


Washington, D.C.


Mr. Speaker, Mr. Vice President, Senator Dole, Members of the 101st Congress, ladies and gentlemen. For a private citizen to be asked to speak before Congress is a rare and very high honor and I thank you.

Simon Willard was never a Member of Congress in the usual sense. Simon Willard of Roxbury, Massachusetts, was a clockmaker early in the nineteenth century and he did it all by hand and by eye.

"In cutting his wheel teeth," reads an old account, "he did not mark out the spaces on the blank [brass] wheel and cut the teeth to measure, but he cut, rounded up and finished the teeth as he went along, using his eye only in spacing, and always came out even. . . .