Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Quote of the Day: Neighbor, How Stands the Union?

 

The stranger grinned, kind of happily, and shook his head. “The future’s not as you think it,” he said. “It’s dark. You have a great ambition, Mr. Webster.”

“I have,” said Dan’l firmly, for everybody knew he wanted to be President.

“It seems almost within your grasp,” said the stranger, “but you will not attain it. Lesser men will be made President and you will be passed over.”

“And if I am, I’ll still be Daniel Webster,” said Dan’l. “Say on.”

“You have two strong sons,” said the stranger shaking his head. “You look to found a line. But each will die in war and neither reach greatness.”

“Live or die, they are still my sons,” said Dan’l Webster. “Say on.”

“You have made great speeches,” said the stranger. “You will make more.”

“Ah, ” said Dan’l Webster.

“But the last great speech you make will turn many of your own against you,” said the stranger. “They will call you Ichabod; they will call you by other names. Even in New England some will say you have turned your coat and sold your country, and their voices will be loud against you until you die.”

“So it is an honest speech, it does not matter what men say,” said Dan’l Webster. Then he looked at the stranger and their glances locked.”One question,” he said. “I have fought for the Union all my life. Will I see that fight won against those who would tear it apart?”

“Not while you live,” said the stranger grimly, “but it will be won. And after you are dead, there are thousands who will fight for your cause, because of words that you spoke.”

“Why, then, you long-barreled, slab-sided, lantern-jawed, fortune-telling note shaver!” said Dan’l Webster, with a great roar of laughter, “be off with you to your own place before I put my mark on you! For, by the thirteen original colonies, I’d go to the Pit itself to save the Union!”

And with that he drew back his foot for a kick that would have stunned a horse. It was only the tip of his shoe that caught the stranger, but he went flying out the door with his collecting box under his arm.

~ “The Devil and Daniel Webster,” by Stephen Vincent Benet

How many schoolchildren today read this excellent little fiction, or learn that our forebears were men of honor and strength? As we stand today on the brink, how many politicians can say that they would go to the Pit itself to save the Union, and how many are guilty of tossing the Union into the Pit itself in order to justify their politics of destruction and power?

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  1. CarolJoy, Thread Hijacker Coolidge

    You ask us: How many schoolchildren today read this excellent little fiction, or learn that our forebears were men of honor and strength?

    I doubt many inside a public school system learn these words that illuminate greater truths.

    But perhaps those here who homeschool, or else who have grandchildren who’ re home schooled, will include this wisdom as part of a lesson plan.

    • #1
    • October 4, 2019, at 3:19 PM PDT
    • 12 likes
  2. CB Toder aka Mama Toad Member
    CB Toder aka Mama Toad Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Well, I already include it in 9th grade American history for my homeschooled students.

    Public schools don’t teach history. They teach “social studies,” which is the opposite of history.

    History teaches us that all men have interesting lives and faced their own struggles in their varied and different ways. We can learn what is Good and True in the study of history.

    Social studies teaches us that everyone is just like us and that morality is relative. There is no Good or True, just Different.

    I never teach social studies. 

    • #2
    • October 4, 2019, at 3:23 PM PDT
    • 20 likes
  3. Dr. Bastiat Member

    CB Toder aka Mama Toad (View Comment):

    Well, I already include it in 9th grade American history for my homeschooled students.

    Public schools don’t teach history. They teach “social studies,” which is the opposite of history.

    History teaches us that all men have interesting lives and faced their own struggles in their varied and different ways. We can learn what is Good and True in the study of history.

    Social studies teaches us that everyone is just like us and that morality is relative. There is no Good or True, just Different.

    I never teach social studies.

    Oh, amen! So, so true!

    I hope you are not the only one who sees such truths!

    • #3
    • October 4, 2019, at 3:28 PM PDT
    • 10 likes
  4. Chuck Thatcher

    Dr. Bastiat (View Comment):

    CB Toder aka Mama Toad (View Comment):

    Well, I already include it in 9th grade American history for my homeschooled students.

    Public schools don’t teach history. They teach “social studies,” which is the opposite of history.

    History teaches us that all men have interesting lives and faced their own struggles in their varied and different ways. We can learn what is Good and True in the study of history.

    Social studies teaches us that everyone is just like us and that morality is relative. There is no Good or True, just Different.

    I never teach social studies.

    Oh, amen! So, so true!

    I hope you are not the only one who sees such truths!

    Four!

    • #4
    • October 4, 2019, at 3:48 PM PDT
    • 7 likes
  5. Seawriter Contributor

    CB Toder aka Mama Toad (View Comment):
    They teach “social studies,” which is the opposite of history.

    Like jumbo shrimp and Congressional ethics, social studies is an oxymoron.

    • #5
    • October 4, 2019, at 3:49 PM PDT
    • 9 likes
  6. Arahant Member

    Nice quotation.

    • #6
    • October 4, 2019, at 4:11 PM PDT
    • 8 likes
  7. Vectorman Member

    CB Toder aka Mama Toad: “Why, then, you long-barreled, slab-sided, lantern-jawed, fortune-telling note shaver!”

    Note shaver – A person who discounts promissory notes at an exorbitant rate; a usurer.


    The Quote of the Day series is the easiest way to start a fun conversation on Ricochet. There are many open days on the October Signup Sheet. We even include tips for finding great quotes, so choose your favorite quote and sign up today!

    • #7
    • October 4, 2019, at 4:26 PM PDT
    • 10 likes
  8. Mark Camp Member

    Slow on the uptake (View Comment):
    Four!

    For those who are counting the number who see such truths: Four + the number of Likes on Comment #4.

    • #8
    • October 4, 2019, at 4:56 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  9. CB Toder aka Mama Toad Member
    CB Toder aka Mama Toad Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    I’d like to add that Stephen Vincent Benet’s poems are also an essential part of my homeschool curriculum.

    Like this one, “Christopher Columbus“: “There are lots of queer things that discoverers do/ but his was the queerest I swear/he discovered our country in one-four-nine-two/by thinking it couldn’t be there!”

     

    • #9
    • October 4, 2019, at 4:57 PM PDT
    • 9 likes
  10. GLDIII Temporarily Essential Reagan
    GLDIII Temporarily Essential Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Mama,

    Not sure what your sources are for teaching the young’ens their history, but I recently purchase a copy of Wilfred M McClay’s Land of Hope. I am only 6 chapters in, but I find it a compelling read for a “US history” book. It reads as narrative and gives rational for the motives of the players at the core of historical events, rather then the typically dry event based texts one find being force fed to our elementary schoolers.

    So far he hide nothing in terms of our less than proud motives, but writes in terms of our all to human nature to explain the passions in the tides of our country.

    It is the antidote to Howard Zinn’s nasty one sided screed. 

    I would recommend it for both the tadpoles and the full fledged frogs floating around Toad Hall. 

    • #10
    • October 4, 2019, at 5:22 PM PDT
    • 5 likes
  11. Chuck Thatcher

    CB Toder aka Mama Toad (View Comment):

    I’d like to add that Stephen Vincent Benet’s poems are also an essential part of my homeschool curriculum.

    Like this one, “Christopher Columbus“: “There are lots of queer things that discoverers do/ but his was the queerest I swear/he discovered our country in one-four-nine-two/by thinking it couldn’t be there!”

     

    I’m a product of the public school system, so I had to check to see if he really did write such a thing.  Just to save some a similar effort, he (and his wife) did.

     

    • #11
    • October 4, 2019, at 5:34 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  12. CB Toder aka Mama Toad Member
    CB Toder aka Mama Toad Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    GLDIII Temporarily Essential (View Comment):

    Mama,

    Not sure what your sources are for teaching the young’ens their history, but I recently purchase a copy of Wilfred M McClay’s Land of Hope. I am only 6 chapters in, but I find it a compelling read for a “US history” book. It reads as narrative and gives rational for the motives of the players at the core of historical events, rather then the typically dry event based texts one find being force fed to our elementary schoolers.

    So far he hide nothing in terms of our less than proud motives, but writes in terms of our all to human nature to explain the passions in the tides of our country.

    It is the antidote to Howard Zinn’s nasty one sided screed.

    I would recommend it for both the tadpoles and the full fledged frogs floating around Toad Hall.

    Thanks. In 4th-5th grades, I did The History of US by Joy Hakim, along with lot of historical fiction books and lots of geography. Since my baby is now in 6th grade, those days are behind me.

    In ninth grade it’s pretty much all reading, and includes Richard Brookhiser’s masterful bio of George Washington, Ben Franklin’s autobiography, Willa Cather’s Shadows on the Rock, and other gems.

    • #12
    • October 4, 2019, at 6:14 PM PDT
    • 5 likes
  13. 9thDistrictNeighbor Member

    My graduate degree is in “The Teaching of the Social Studies,” a specialization that is no longer available at Columbia University. My advisor (yeah, a true leftist) was Hazel Hertzberg, who wrote the original social studies curriculum for the state of New York in the early 60s. Social Studies was originally all of the humanities outside of the true sciences and English. All of history plus Economics, Sociology, psychology etc. I spent a year student teaching American history and economics. Hazel was a taskmaster, and she had that gift of command that very few teachers have. If you couldn’t cut it, you were out. We picked apart Zinn, and plenty of other textbook drivel. History textbooks are largely garbage. We knew that.

    It is extremely telling that I could never get a job actually teaching history. In the NYC/tri-state area, anyone with a Colombia degree was viewed as a rabble-rouser. I had one job interview where the school was looking for a football coach who could teach history on the side. My office was once smashed in with the Drivers Ed. deprtment. I was asked “On a scale of one to ten, how smart would you say you are?” (My deadpan reply, “Some tell me I’m too smart for my own good.”)

    Here in Illinois, teachers are now required to teach pseudo-history of LGBTQetc. I did not teach at a school that offered economics as a separate course outside of student teaching in NYC in the 1980s.

    The Social Studies are not the problem. Secondary academia does not value the liberal arts of history, economics, etc. Everything is political, and socialistic. Because of this, we homeschooled our son for as many years as we could.

    We are intellectually impoverishing our children. 

     

    • #13
    • October 4, 2019, at 8:13 PM PDT
    • 12 likes
  14. Jason Obermeyer Member

    CB Toder aka Mama Toad:

    How many schoolchildren today read this excellent little fiction, or learn that our forebears were men of honor and strength? 

     

    I’ll take the contrary position here. Our forebears where a mixed bag, and it does us no favors to pretend otherwise. A great deal of the criticism of the current president comes with fictionalized comparisons to past politicians that are mostly just nostalgia.

    My favorite example is Bill Weld comparing Trump negatively to Lincoln on the occasion of one of Trump’s criticism of the press. This despite the fact that Lincoln illegally suspended Habeus Corpus in order to put newspaper editors in prison.

     

    • #14
    • October 5, 2019, at 6:56 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  15. CB Toder aka Mama Toad Member
    CB Toder aka Mama Toad Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    I don’t pretend otherwise.

    Original sin was as rampant in my forebears’ day as it is today.

    But simply because you might argue that many of our forebears were wicked and cruel is no reason to say that all of them were. And we can admire great men in history without approving all their choices. 

    • #15
    • October 5, 2019, at 7:02 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  16. Chuck Thatcher

    I don’t know if this passes muster, but as there a number of Ricochetti in the New England area that home school, I thought I would pass on this notice of an event in New Hampshire where a friend of mine, Marc Hayes, will be speaking. Smart, smart, fellow – he & his wife have raised up some really great kids.  Classical Conversations Practicum in Coventry, CT.

    • #16
    • October 6, 2019, at 6:24 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  17. CB Toder aka Mama Toad Member
    CB Toder aka Mama Toad Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Slow on the uptake (View Comment):

    I don’t know if this passes muster, but as there a number of Ricochetti in the New England area that home school, I thought I would pass on this notice of an event in New Hampshire where a friend of mine, Marc Hayes, will be speaking. Smart, smart, fellow – he & his wife have raised up some really great kids. Classical Conversations Practicum in Coventry, CT.

    Totally on-topic and relevant, thank you.

    • #17
    • October 6, 2019, at 12:37 PM PDT
    • 1 like

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