Truth is hard to establish and to support.
Then to justify expressing it openly is often as hard.
There you have the problem of the historian:
just when returning from proving an event,
you are assailed by those who would deny it,
yet in warding them off, you are called upon to say
whom you've helped by vouchsafing verity.
Notwithstanding, I will try
to establish, to defend and to justify
major truths of American history.
And that amounts often to re-discovering it,
actually perforce to reconstruct it,
convinced that whoever
wins the construction of its history
reconstructs the country.
Many new theories occur, and, around them
flock facts in all their guises
No fact is merely a fact.
It exists in all of its facets
by virtue of its every use,
while it is we who determine uses,
whether we know so or not.
A reverence of fact, like true love,
must embrace its every facet,
for better or worse.
When in 1999 the United States and its
North Atlantic Treaty Organization partners
were spoiling Serbia's drive to destroy the Kosovars,
they had to deal with an obsessed psychopath
with a compulsion to repeat a disastrous defeat
of Serbian history, four centuries earlier,
who possessed sufficient charisma to carry along with
him on his path to suicide an effective government
and in consequence the whole Serbian people.
And he had been given leave by a large fraction of
the informed public and masses of the world,
dupes of the myth of "national sovereignty,"
to wreak havoc upon two million people.
Psychology pervades history, and begs to be taken
into account, to enable deeper understanding -
of defined good people and beneficial events,
as well as of defined evil. Personal development
results from exercising one's deoxyribonucleic acid
upon multitudes of interpersonal transactions,
whereupon the multitude of persons interact to make history.
Examples close to home may stir up thought.
George Washington could not conceive a child, and
rued the fact. Does this help explain why
Alexander Hamilton became a "second son" to him?
And, in the end, how Hamilton, a bastard,
It helps explain, but, also, the social and political
genius of Hamilton were continually manifested,
and he was personally engaging, though elitist.
George Washington was formal and careful in manner
(notwithstanding his outbursts of rage).
Does this help explain why he got along with
the polite and aristocratic French,
without whose help independence could not be won?
Yes, and the Marquis de Lafayette bridged
the larger relationship brilliantly for Washington.
Besides, Washington had combat experience,
stellar qualities as a manager;
and great personal wealth including many slaves.
If not a Duke, he was the next best thing.
The smallest fact connects with the infinite world.
Although I cannot chase my facts that far,
I aim to give them a good run.
Should you be inclined to keep going,
you might be perplexed to find yourself
perusing a vast epic poem. You might, too,
agree that the subject - research into American essences -
is worthy of the infinite hypotheticals of poetry.
Six hundred years of
American beliefs and practices -- intertwined processes --
will be continuously scanned for what they provided
to everyone of welfare; culture; and governance,
(Playing with ancient Greek roots, I once called these
Emos, Pneumos, and Dikeos.)
Defining, achieving, and distributing the contents
of welfare, culture, and governance in America
are the essence of its organic movement over ages.
Included in welfare are affection, well-being,
diet, health, housing, income, wealth, medical care,
and working conditions.
Within our circumscribed idea of culture are
contained schooling, knowledge, religion, science,
travel, entertainment and the arts.
Governance refers to power and influence,
authority, respect, prestige, deference, warfare,
politics, organization and law.
Welfare, culture, and governance are intakes and outputs,
of all people as they act by themselves
and through all institutions; hence all institutions
are pertinent: churches, armies, football leagues,
fraternal orders, political parties,
street corner gangs, courts, circuses, and more.
The three avenues of energy are perceived
by us as the constant concerns of everyone,
greatly varying and differently distributed.
As I pave substantially the historical process,
I shall continually note how major values
were sought and shared.
Even though statistics may not be forthcoming,
my style will often be quantitative,
concerned, for instance, with how much the people
have cared for and loved, and neglected and hated,
one another from their beginnings until now.
The answers may be provided by
ancient voices dimly heard,
by anthropologists and psychiatrists,
by politicians and jurists,
by statistical trends of care of the old,
of divorce, of child labor, of sexual activity, etc.
By censuses. By pictures.
They may be afforded by outside observers, foreigners.
Still, given all of this, historians usually
must deduce and conjecture.
Alone and in throngs, humans have been motivated,
and their history may be traced, along the three paths
of welfare, culture, and governance.
A fairly large sum of the values, well-distributed,
might give us the measure of
"A happy people!"
Have Americans been happy?