Myths and Men: Patrick Henry, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson

Myths and Men: Patrick Henry, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson

Myths and Men: Patrick Henry, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson

Myths and Men: Patrick Henry, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson

Excerpt

The role of historian-detective assumed in these lectures stems from years of teaching history through biography and from some chance remarks by William Faulkner and Nancy Hale. When honored by the invitation of the Lamar Lecture Committee I began to mull over possible topics dealing with Southern history-makers. Mr. Faulkner by referring to the Old Dominion as "the mother of all the rest of the South" confirmed my idea of talking on these three Virginians: Patrick Henry, George Washington, and Thomas Jefferson. My decision to report on them as myths and as men took shape from Miss Hale's casual remark contrasting the image of Jefferson she had in her New England girlhood with the image of him she found in a Charlottesville permeated with Jeffersonian hero-worship.

These case histories in hero-worship, miniature critical studies in reputations, are presented with all the limitations of the lecture form. Though brief, they may encourage a more realistic approach to men and events of the present as well as the past. All three cases abundantly illustrate the uses and abuses of history. All three reveal how the flesh-and-blood men, humanly fallible yet with the . . .

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