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The Nation Makers

nation-makers1

American artist Howard Pyle did a series of paintings on the American Revolution in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century.  Pyle had a striking style, combining both romanticism and realism in his paintings.  My favorite of the series is the above painting that depicts an American line of infantry advancing at the battle of Brandywine.  Led by their officer, the common soldiers are dressed in rags, but clearly determined and ready to fight.  A ragged American flag gives a splash of color as it towers over the men below it.  The light of the sun seems to be breaking through a cloudy sky.  The painting is brilliantly entitled The Nation Makers, reminding us that this nation came into being largely through the courage of private soldiers.  Most of them, if they survived and did not die of illness or in battle, would end the War poorer financially then they began it, being paid in worthless currency.  They fought their War usually wearing the ragged remnants of uniforms, often barefoot and living off wretched rations.  Many of them were teenagers, no doubt homesick and frequently worried that no one outside of their fellow soldiers really cared about the sacrifices they were making for the nation they were desperately attempting to bring about.  If they were lucky they left the Army without their health being broken by wounds, illness, or the endless privations they endured daily through the long years of the War.

Washington has been called the indispensable man of the Revolution and so he was;  but there was another:   the common soldier of the Revolution.  In the movie Young Mr. Lincoln (1939) when a wagon with elderly veterans of the Revolution passes by in a Fourth of July parade circa 1840 in Springfield, Illinois, Lincoln, portrayed by Henry Fonda, removes his hat in tribute, the other men he is standing with swiftly following his lead.  It was a moving film moment and a salutary reminder of the unpayable debt owed to those men who prevailed in their lopsided fight against the mightiest empire in their world.

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Donald R. McClarey

Cradle Catholic. Active in the pro-life movement since 1973. Father of three and happily married for 35 years. Small town lawyer and amateur historian. Former president of the board of directors of the local crisis pregnancy center for a decade.

7 Comments

  1. Donald, Surprised there have been so few posts about the GOP primary. Curious about your opinion on the current circus: Huckabee defending Trump and his pro-life switch while claiming Cruz is insincere and less than a Christian, “phony,” because Huckabee lives by Mosaic Law and tithes (10% minimum), Palin’s forfeiture of previous positions to support Trump, and on and on.

  2. I agree with Kyle. Will be faced with a choice between a philandering layboy caricature of a business man (Donald Trump) and a murderous pathological liar (Livia Caesar) or that commie pinko geriatric (Bernie Sanders)? And from that choice who wins, or does it matter?
    .
    BTW, Donald, you did say that Trump would have blown up by now, but that hasn’t happened. And I fear a Bernie Sanders presidency more that a Livia presidency because the commie is a true believer whereas no matter what happens, Livia will ensure that her flesh is protected.

  3. “BTW, Donald, you did say that Trump would have blown up by now, but that hasn’t happened”

    Considering that zip votes have been cast yet that is unsurprising. What I have actually said about Trump:

    “That Bob Dole, the avatar of Establishment Republicanism, who basically sleep-walked his way through the 1996 Presidential race, prefers Trump to Cruz is not surprising. The Establishment knows that Cruz could win and Trump can’t, and the Establishment prefers a Democrat win to either Trump or Cruz winning. More mystifying is Sarah Palin’s endorsement of Trump over Cruz. I think it will have little impact because Palin, eight years after her Vice-Presidential run, is in the category of yesterday’s news, but it is odd. Cruz of course is now the only true opposition to Trump that there is, and I think he will ultimately be the nominee. Most Republicans are not as enamored of the status quo as the crony capitalists who control the money strings of the party today, and I think Trump has a ceiling in the party that doesn’t go much above 35%. A tough and canny candidate like Cruz has a clear path to victory, especially when people begin to consider The Donald as a serious candidate rather than a protest vote.”

    http://the-american-catholic.com/2016/01/21/bob-doles-still-alive/

    Now, could we please discuss the post rather than heading off on goat path discussions that have zero to do with the post?

  4. Now, could we please discuss the post rather than heading off on goat path discussions that have zero to do with the post?

    Actually, it’s the painting that reminded me of the GOP primary. As the men wear their battle scars standing united for what’s right and principled, I wondered which alliances in this race would do the same, which would wear English apparel to avoid confrontation, and which would cut deals with the Crown to avoid the field entirely. Who are the common soldiers today? Sorry the painting inspired tangent thoughts. Resume scheduled programming.

  5. It is a strong work.
    The common soldier. Amen.

    On a lighter side, the nation maker’s are facing an enemy. Interestingly going from right of canvas to the enemies of the left of canvas.
    Not an intended message of course, however in light of today’s battle for our Nation, an observation of little significance. Interesting to me however.

  6. “And I fear a Bernie Sanders presidency more that a Livia presidency because the commie is a true believer whereas no matter what happens, Livia will ensure that her flesh is protected.”

    Paul, I disagree. A Livia presidency will further the corruption of language and the enticement of the voter with halfway steps to the progressive utopia. Bernie will be more honest and it will be easier for Congress to resist.

Comments are closed.