The Faith of Our Fathers: An Anthology Expressing the Aspirations of the American Common Man, 1790-1860

The Faith of Our Fathers: An Anthology Expressing the Aspirations of the American Common Man, 1790-1860

The Faith of Our Fathers: An Anthology Expressing the Aspirations of the American Common Man, 1790-1860

The Faith of Our Fathers: An Anthology Expressing the Aspirations of the American Common Man, 1790-1860

Excerpt

This book is an anthology expressing the democratic aspirations of the American common man. The "faith of our fathers" is presented through writings, speeches, resolutions, and petitions that exemplify the ideals of political, social, and economic betterment of the American plain people. These expressions represent much that is good in the American way of life.

Today, more than ever before, Americans invoke their democratic heritage for guidance in political action. Even those whose practices identify them with intolerance and bigotry claim the sanction of American tradition. Since this tradition is inadequately understood by many, this volume may serve to clarify its meaning. These statements from the American past should cast light upon the present period of deepening doubt and confusion, and they should serve as well to hearten the friends and confound the enemies of the people today.

The materials in this anthology show the democratic character of our Revolutionary heritage. They depict the struggles of ordinary men and women to fulfill the promise of the Declaration of Independence. The sources encompass the period 1790-1860, when these strivings molded the American pattern into a definite form.

Some may suggest that the American faith ought to be described by more selections in praise of our achievements. But those who enjoy democratic rights usually take them for granted, rather than passionately expound them. Clearly, the democratic faith is a tradition of struggle and not of self-congratulation. It is affirmed best by those who strove towards its fulfillment, for they of necessity advanced the now forgotten arguments that won rights now enjoyed.

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