Features

History the right way

"History the right way" Continued...

Issue: "Memorial Day 2005," May 28, 2005

WORLD: Where does Ronald Reagan rank among American presidents, and why?

Schweikart: I rank Reagan as the third greatest, behind only Washington and Lincoln. To appreciate the gravity of the threat he averted, realize that in 1979, Soviet military journals were openly speaking of the "first strike," and they were building missiles SOLELY for the "first strike." Whether they could have won or not was irrelevant-wars have been started over weaker misconceptions. Reagan righted the ship by building the B-1s, deploying the cruise missiles and MX missiles, and then applying the coup de grace, "Star Wars," which essentially ended the Cold War.

WORLD: How did the Clinton scandals affect the United States?

Schweikart: The depth of the damage done by Clinton was severe, and still remains somewhat concealed by the "hot" economy of the 1990s. His dalliances not only tarnished the presidency itself, but completely distracted Clinton from Osama bin Laden, and, indirectly, contributed to the success of the 9/11 attacks. I know that sounds harsh, but I think the 9/11 commission did us all a disservice by not laying the attacks more clearly at the feet of Bill Clinton for dropping the ball, not once, but a half-dozen times in the 1990s-all because of his libido.

A religious event

An excerpt from A Patriot's History of the United States:

"The Great Awakening had galvanized American Christianity, pushing it even further into evangelism, and it served as a springboard to the Revolution itself, fueling the political fire with religious fervor and imbuing in the Founders a sense of rightness of cause. To some extent, then, 'the essential difference between the American Revolution and the French Revolution is that the American Revolution . . . was a religious event, whereas the French Revolution was an anti-religious event." John Adams said as much when he observed that the 'Revolution was in the mind and hearts of the people; [a] change in their religious sentiments of their duties and obligations.'

Consequently, America, while attaching itself to no specific variant of Christianity, operated on an understanding that the nation would adopt an unofficial, generic Christianity that fit hand in glove with Republicanism. Alexis de Tocqueville, whose perceptive Democracy in America (1835) provided a virtual road map for the future direction of the young nation, observed that in the United States the spirit of religion and the spirit of freedom 'were intimately united, and that they reigned in common over the same country.' Americans, he added, viewed religion as 'indispensable in the maintenance of the republican institutions,' because it facilitated free institutions."

Marvin Olasky
Marvin Olasky

Marvin is editor in chief of WORLD News Group and the author of more than 20 books, including The Tragedy of American Compassion. Follow Marvin on Twitter @MarvinOlasky.

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