1776

1776 by David McCullough

While I know a lot about different cultures outside the USA, I have a huge gap in my knowledge and understanding of American History. I decided to change that, so I’m reading ‘1776’ by David McCullough.

I’m enjoying it. I really like the American Revolution Era, so I think I will focus on this part of history for awhile. I hope to find some British history books about this period so that I can get a more complete understanding of what was going on in the world.

I’m only about one third of the way through, but I noticed something pretty amazing: Young men played significant leadership roles in the American Revolution. George Washington was about 45 years old during this time. Thomas Jefferson was in his early thirties. Nathanial Greene and Henry Knox were in their late twenties and thirties. Benjamin Franklin, from what I can tell, was the oldest of the lot by far (I think he was in his 70s by this time – I’d have to check)! Some of these guys ran their family business by the time they were 18 or 19!

I wonder if we expect too little out of the younger generations? I wonder if we let them be children too long? I wonder if we worry too much about making mistakes and forget that handling mistakes often makes men out of boys?

Thomas Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence in his thirties. Am I writing anything significant? Thomas Paine wrote Common Sense and changed the way Americans thought of the war with the British – he was 29. George Washington, the first president of the United States, read it and recognized its significance. Are we writing anything significant today?

Lot’s of questions, but I think that is what good books do.