Ohio History Journal

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A long time ago Pericles once said in a memorial day ad-

dress outside the walls of Athens that it was fitting to remember

the dead who had fallen on the fields of battle, but also Athenians

must never forget by what principles of action and deeds of valor

Athens had risen to power and become great. When we turn to

our own history we can discover principles of action, and deeds

of valor to defend them, that stir our souls. It's that thrill that

constitutes the glamor of our history.

I have been reading anew the story of our Revolution, and

I have felt as never before that our emergence from that struggle

as a free and independent people is one of the miracles in the

long, long narrative of human progress. And I am afraid that

in the teaching of the history of that period and of later times,

also, we have turned away from any real glorification of our

achievements, as if to display such enthusiasm was unscholarly

and unscientific. We have even leaned so far over backwards

in that attitude that some of our historians have displayed more

zeal in debunking trifles than in magnifying greatness. Under a

worked-up feeling of disillusionment following the outcome of

the Great War, plus the havoc of the lean years of the Great

Depression, speakers, teachers, preachers, writers have been in-

clined to lament how capitalism, poverty, lack of opportunity

were robbing us of our birthright as a free people. Our books

of history, civics, and political and social economy were quick to

reflect this and were streaked with pessimism, not to say social-

ism and radicalism. To own up quickly to being a Son of the

American Revolution was regarded as naive, for the causes of

that struggle were now discredited; our War of 1812 was unneces-

sary and ill-advised, and a retired admiral has recently said that

we lost it; and one may hear from the pulpit that before we pour