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On July 4, 1776, the Declaration of Independence was read aloud to a crowd gathered outside the Pennsylvania State House. It was engrossed on vellum later in the month, and delegates began signing the finely penned document in early August. The man who read the Declaration and later embossed it—the man with perhaps the most famous penmanship in American history—was Timothy Matlack, a Philadelphia beer bottler who strongly believed in the American cause. A disowned Quaker and the grandson of an indentured servant, he rose from obscurity to become a delegate to Congress. He led a militia battalion at Princeton during the Revolutionary War; his unflagging dedication earned him the admiration of men like Thomas Jefferson and Richard Henry Lee. Also in 1776 Matlack and his radical allies drafted the Pennsylvania Constitution, which has been described as the most democratic in America. This biography is a full account of an American patriot.
Everywhere in America, the forces of digitization, innovation, and personalization are expanding our options and bettering the way we live. Everywhere, that is, except in our politics. There we are held hostage to an eighteenth century system, dominated by two political parties whose ever-more-polarized rhetorical positions mask a mutual interest in maintaining a stranglehold on power. The Declaration of Independents is a compelling and extremely entertaining manifesto on behalf of a system better suited to the future--one structured by the essential libertarian principles of free minds and free markets. Gillespie and Welch profile libertarian innovators, identify the villains propping up the ancien regime, and take aim at do-something government policies that hurt most of those they claim to protect. Their vision will resonate with a wide swath of frustrated citizens and young voters, born after the Cold War's end, to whom old tribal allegiances, prejudices, and hang-ups about everything from hearing a foreign language on the street to gay marriage to drug use simply do not make sense.
Pauline Maier shows us the Declaration as both the defining statement of our national identity and the moral standard by which we live as a nation. It is truly "American Scripture," and Maier tells us how it came to be -- from the Declaration's birth in the hard and tortuous struggle by which Americans arrived at Independence to the ways in which, in the nineteenth century, the document itself became sanctified. Maier describes the transformation of the Second Continental Congress into a national government, unlike anything that preceded or followed it, and with more authority than the colonists would ever have conceded to the British Parliament; the great difficulty in making the decision for Independence; the influence of Paine's []Common Sense[], which shifted the terms of debate; and the political maneuvers that allowed Congress to make the momentous decision. In Maier's hands, the Declaration of Independence is brought close to us. She lets us hear the voice of the people as revealed in the other "declarations" of 1776: the local resolutions -- most of which have gone unnoticed over the past two centuries -- that explained, advocated, and justified Independence and undergirded Congress's work. Detective-like, she discloses the origins of key ideas and phrases in the Declaration and unravels the complex story of its drafting and of the group-editing job which angered Thomas Jefferson. Maier also reveals what happened to the Declaration after the signing and celebration: how it was largely forgotten and then revived to buttress political arguments of the nineteenth century; and, most important, how Abraham Lincoln ensured its persistence as a living force in American society. Finally, she shows how by the very act of venerating the Declaration as we do -- by holding it as sacrosanct, akin to holy writ -- we may actually be betraying its purpose and its power. From the Hardcover edition.
Winner of the National Book Award A brilliant literary portrait, Isak Dinesen remains the only comprehensive biography of one of the greatest storytellers of our time. Her magnificent memoir, Out of Africa, established Isak Dinesen as a major twentieth-century author, who was twice nominated for the Nobel Prize. With exceptional grace, Judith Thurman's classic work explores Dinesen's life. Until the appearance of this book, the life and art of Isak Dinesen have been--as Dinesen herself wrote of two lovers in a tale-- "a pair of locked caskets, each containing the key to the other." Judith Thurman has provided the master key to them both.
In this engaging history, the author demonstrates handwriting in America from colonial times to the present. Exploring such subjects as penmanship, pedagogy, handwriting analysis, autograph collecting, and calligraphy revivals, Thornton investigates the shifting functions and meanings of handwriting. 57 illustrations.
In this powerful historical work, Stanley Yavneh Klos unfolds the complex 15-year U.S. Founding period, revealing, for the first time, four distinctly different United American Republics, beginning with the United Colonies of North America. These United Colonies formed a Congress that elected a President; declared its “Necessity for Taking up Arms;” formed an army; commissioned a commander-in-chief & generals; funded & waged war; appointed a treasurer, a postmaster general & an ambassador to France; and even issued a national currency, thus creating the first republic in a progression that ultimately formed the United States of America. This is history on a splendid scale that keeps the reader engaged, asking such questions as: Was New Hampshire or Delaware the first State? Did Congress move the Capital to recruit a Foreign Secretary? Did a President-elect actually decline the Presidency? Was the original First Amendment sabotaged by James Madison?

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