Over the last few decades, appreciation of the importance of the American Revolution as the foundation of modern free society has declined. As a result of changing priorities in schools, many students no longer learn much about the principles of the American Revolution, the personal sacrifices of thousands of ordinary people that made the revolution a success, or the leadership of George Washington and his contemporaries in the founding of the first great republic of modern times.
To combat this trend, the Society of the Cincinnati commissioned Why America Is Free: A History of the Founding of the American Republic, 1750-1800 (Mount Vernon, Virginia, 1998). The book was written for the Society by Kenneth E. Hamburger, Joseph R. Fischer, and Steven C. Gravlin, with the assistance of some of the leading modern scholars of the revolutionary era. Why America Is Free was published for the Society of the Cincinnati by the Mount Vernon Ladies' Association, which is acting as a partner in distributing the book across the United States.
Why America Is Free is intended for use in fifth grade American history classes, but is appropriate for use as a supplemental classroom textbook or as part of an enrichment program for students in grades five through eight. It is an ideal book for home schoolers.
Why America Is Free is part of the Society of the Cincinnati's effort to revive thoughtful patriotism in the United States - patriotism based on the simple idea that Americans are indebted to the men and women of the revolutionary generation for the freedoms we enjoy. Its purpose is to introduce students to the story of the American Revolution in a way that will enrich their appreciation of our free system of government.
Why America Is Free is based on the premise that the revolutionary generation enunciated the fundamental principles of liberty and constructed the foundations upon which American freedom has grown for more than two centuries. The great accomplishments of later generations - the abolition of slavery, the recognition of the civil liberties of women and minorities, and the spreading of American principles of natural rights and representative government throughout the world - were based on the achievements of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and the thousands of individual men and women whose sacrifices made the American Revolution a success.
Why America Is Free teaches that the American Revolution is an ongoing revolution, and its ultimate fulfillment is the civic responsibility of all Americans. The future of liberty is in our hands, and ultimately the hands of our children. This is why the Society of the Cincinnati has dedicated itself to restoring the principles of the American Revolution to their rightful place in American education.
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