In 1850, Ralph Waldo Emerson (pictured bottom left) published a book of essays titled Representative Men. Emerson’s title seems appropriate for this essay of mine as it is meant to elucidate, in part, the philosophical and political views of four representative men (i.e., William Leggett, Walt Whitman, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and Henry David Thoreau)—men who were representative of the views of many Americans in antebellum America and, more broadly, of what I have referred to elsewhere as the philosophy of Americanism.
My opinion of Whitman, Emerson and Thoreau just improved a thousand percent. I never knew anything about their political positions so am quite happy to find out such prominent men were fully on board with a laissez faire government. I had known generally (from Ayn Rand) that 19th Century America was the closest humanity had come to ever having a proper government, but this is terrific to get some history and details of just how the intellectuals and the people of that time thought about government and tried to put those thoughts into practice.
"Not Yours to Give" Davy Crockett's Speech before the House of Rep
I'm glad you opened this to commenting. Lots of people write lots of things on substack, but those authors want to charge people to share their opinions on posts. I know, writing takes time, and time isn't free. I was talking to my boss today about the fact, the FACT, that the USA is not the same country, or Nation, that our government as what was Founded in 1776 or 1787. We can write essays about what the Founders did or did not do, but America in 2023 is not that place. And, moreover, the people living here, nor the politicians care two sh!ts about those principles. Is everyone waking up, yet? Are y'all like grabbing onto reality, yet? The Founding was nearly 250 years ago. I like it. I love it, but if you think the majority of people living in the USA know about it or even care, well ... c'est la vie.
So...being from Tennessee and a devotee of Crockett since childhood (thanks to WALT Disney) I just listened to this. So should the rest of you!
Love this history lesson C. Bradley! I'm a little stunned at how I had absorbed poor information about these Representative Men. Happy to have four more heroes. Keep 'em comin'!