We've been told we can either learn from the past,
or we'll be doomed to repeat it. I've spent six years studying and writing about the War of 1812, whose bicentennial is fast-approaching, and sadly, I think the similarities between then and now are eerie.
Sadly, freedom frequently leads to complacency. We are not passengers on the good ship America, we are the deck hands and the ensigns at the helm. We forget that sometimes. So did they in 1812.
Prejudice, poverty, religious intolerance and immigration concerns weaken our social fiber.
Trade imbalances threaten the economy.
American citizens are targeted and kidnapped off ships and on foreign soil.
The government is so near bankruptcy that improvements to infrastructure are put on hold.
Terror comes to our own shores.
The citizenry rallies and is willing to fight to defend the land, but infighting so fractures our leadership, and the budget is so strapped, that our forces are under-supplied and funded. The result? They are as vulnerable as drops of water on a hot skillet.
Some states sense the depth of the problems in the federal government and they whisper about secession rather than fight to correct Washington's course.
One charismatic leader assures everyone that "all is well" and the voice of reason is silenced.
Our capital is attacked.
And the Constitution--that beautiful, living Constitution is assailed, ignored and sorely tested. It hangs by a thread.
What year am I referring to? 1812? 2009? Both? . . . That's why the story needs to be told.
I'm up to my elbows in final revisions on Dawn's Early Light, book three of my historical fiction series, Free Men and Dreamers, right now. This book is going to be phenomenal! It will surprise and inspire you.
These are the days that tested the mettle of the next generation--they that inherited the democracy from the Founding Fathers. They are the days that prepared America to become the cradle of the Restoration.
This was a unique generation, the first to be American-born. From them would come political leaders like John Quincy Adams and Andrew Jackson who would define this nation's policies for the next fifty years.
They were the generation whose circumstances produced great inventors like Eli Whitney, and great religionists like Joseph Smith.
These issues of their day were grievous, testing the government and defining what it meant to be an American.
These were the days of America's emergence on the world stage, the tipping point of the slavery issue, and the birth of America's love affair with the red-white-and blue.
That's why I began this series. To remind everyone how important events surrounding that neglected, forgotten, maligned war were to us as Americans, and how remarkable that generation was to the world.
Most of us have no idea. I didn't until I began digging.
I've visited most of the cities discussed in the series; climbed around forts, existing and in ruins; met with curators; interviewed historians; read a million books, (well, maybe not quite a million, but I've got bookcases filled with old, dusty books now).
Most exciting were my searches through American historical treasures through the Library of Congress, which I'll be detailing in one of my "God-Bless-America-Monday" posts. I combed through the Congressional records of the inquiries into the war. Fascinating . . . I've read James Madison, James Monroe, Joshua Barney, and the British Admirals' depositions in their own words. You can too! And I've spent hours perusing Dolley Madison's personal correspondence, reading her thoughts, her words as she watched her husband's presidency falter, and her nation's capital burn. Your heart will burn as well.
I'll be posting weekly excerpts of Dawn's Early Light beginning next week. In the meantime, please visit my web site and read excerpts of books one and two, DARK SKY AT DAWN and TWILIGHT'S LAST GLEAMING.
So please join me on this journey.