“To be an American is not to be somebody, but to believe in something,” said Pulitzer Prize-winning author and historian Gordon S. Wood as he encouraged more than 200 students and faculty to recognize the importance of our American heritage.
On Feb. 17 Wood gave the first lecture of what will be the annual Presidential Lecture Series instituted by President Matthew Holland.
Wood spoke about the American Revolution and its unparalleled prominence in our country’s legacy. “There can be no more significant event in our history,” said Wood.
In the midst of his presentation Wood acknowledged that there were others that would not agree.
“Such an important event is bound to be a source of historical controversy, and every generation has reinterpreted [the Revolution] to fit its own needs,” said Wood. “We are the only generation, however, that has emphasized how much of a failure the American Revolution was.”
Historical prowess at the ready, Wood refuted such assertions. It is “an anachronistic statement,” said Wood. It “suggests a threshold of success that no 18th century revolution could have possibly obtained, and perhaps tells us more of the political attitudes of historians who make such statements than they do about the Revolution itself.”
Wood continued on; explaining his views of the Founding Fathers, the comparison of the early American and Scottish colonies, as well as the creed that many early Americans shared, discussing our “responsibility to bring democracy to the world.”
The author ended his lecture by answering questions from students and held a book signing at the Bookstore following the lecture.