Academic journal article Naval War College Review

To America: Personal Reflections of an Historian

Academic journal article Naval War College Review

To America: Personal Reflections of an Historian

Article excerpt

Ambrose, Stephen E. To America: Personal Reflections of an Historian. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2003. 288pp. $24

The United States is the richest and most powerful country in the world. Yet over two hundred years ago it began as thirteen colonies at the edge of a continental wilderness. Stephen Ambrose, an eminent historian and skilled writer, has used this short, readable book to explain how the United States made this amazing transformation. He attributes its success as a nation to the American spirit.

The American spirit originated with the founding fathers and was further developed by presidents Andrew Jackson, Ulysses S. Grant, Franklin and Theodore Roosevelt, and Dwight D. Eisenhower.

It is based on the notions of justice, equality, and the rule of law and fundamental fairness, and embraces the ability to recognize and correct the ills of society.

At home the American spirit has been the driving force behind the U.S. Constitution, civil rights, women's rights, the rights of Native Americans, the denouncing of imperialism, the end of racial segregation, and concern for the environment. Abroad, it has brought democracy to former enemies.

This slim, modest volume is an autobiography as well as an interesting summary of Ambrose's thesis. …

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