It's called "The Pioneers" and the subtitle is its theme: "The heroic story of the settlers who brought the American ideal west" (
Nowadays, while students at universities and public schools are learning a history often tainted by political correctness and revisionism, McCullough writes of a young country that might have been stillborn were it not for these pioneers.
The Founder Fathers about whom most are familiar --
The land on which McCullough mostly focuses was called The Northwest Territory, the initial boundaries of which included the
McCullough details the enormous sacrifices of men, women and children, who cleared trees, endured harsh weather and conquered lands, expanding the boundaries of the new nation. Yes,
As with his other books, McCullough's writing style makes one feel a part of it all. What astounds is how much New Englanders were willing to sacrifice to explore foreign and hostile land and expand America's borders. Many died of disease, accidents, bad weather and war with Native American tribes. Living conditions were harsh compared to what they had known in
In summing up the contributions of these pioneers, McCullough writes: "(they) had finished their work, each in his or her own way, and no matter the adversities to be faced, propelled as they were by high, worthy purpose. They accomplished what they had set out to do not for money, not for possessions or fame, but to advance the quality and opportunities of life -- to propel as best they could the American ideals."
What do we consider to be our American ideals in 2019? The pioneers would likely see them in conflict with their own. Many of our forebears had a strong faith in G od and were motivated by what they believed was His will in establishing a nation in which religious freedom and education were paramount. Most believed the Bible was the foundation of a good education.
These pioneers also believed America had a purpose, sanctioned by God, which the world might wish to emulate. Slavery was abolished in
"The Pioneers" is a rebuke to the entitlement mentality of the 21st century. It should be mandatory reading for all seeking a better understanding of the way we were and how far we have departed from the ideals of those great and heroic men and women of the late 18th and early 19th centuries.
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