Then again, didn't Spain actually restore its monarchy after Franco finally died in the 1970s? Which would be even odder considering all the European monarchies that were deposed in teh aftermath of either World War 1 or 2.
And never mind visiting the Netherlands seven or eight times, I was born there...
IIRC Juan Carlos served as a rallying point for his countrymen after the death of Franco.
The US is unique in that, rather than having a figurehead monarch to serve as a national rallying point, it has a document to which we swear loyalty.
What often is forgotten is that the Constitution is actually the second effort. We lived under the Articles of Confederation for a decade, and that experience caused us to draft a new Constitution in order to form a more perfect union.
Perceived flaws in the Articles of Confederation included the lack of an executive and judicial branch. Under the Articles the US had a parliamentary form of government. Having fought a war against rotten King George and his rotten taxes, we set up a government with no executive and no means of collecting taxes. After a few years of this we realized that it was darned hard to run a country that way.
A copy, yes. A full-size copper replica of the original (and not turned green). It's located in a corridor of the statue's pedestal. Used to be part of an exhibit, but I doubt if it's accessible nowadays.
But when reading Churchill, you must always take into account that he was a little little bit on the chauvinist side.
It still points out Paine's influence, and deservedly so, but Churchill LOVED emphasizing something like an alleged importance of an Englishman over (blech) 'intellectuals like Adams'.
Personally, I sometimes think John Adams may still be slightly underrated, while Jefferson once called him the "Colossus of Independence". (Perhaps he's only underrated in the history as told on this side of the Atlantic. I cannot really judge how he's seen in the US today. My apologies if I'm wrong.)
Common Sense is discussed in McCullough's book on Adams.
In fact, when passing through New York one time, Adams purchased two copies of the pamphlet and sent one home to Abigail.
While it certainly roused the populace to consider independence from the "royal brute" King George, McCullough makes the case that Adams was quite affected by it as friends came to him saying the case for independence was never more strong or clear.
But the author also says Adams had several major problems with Common Sense: that it declared monarchy to be a "sin of the Jews", predicted a swift war with Britain, and made a call for a unicameral legislature.
Walter Isaacson's biography of Ben Franklin directly links the powerful response of the public to Common Sense with the motion for independence made before Congress by Virginia's Richard Henry Lee: "These United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent states. Isaacson wrote that Common Sense "paved the way for the Declaration of Independence."
That's a good thing you did, reminding me of McCullough's books. I planned to read several of them some time ago, then somehow forgot it.
Just looked it up at Amazon, and I will order several of them.
(If you happen to perform a search for McCullough on Amazon, don't make the mistake of inadvertently ordering Female Masturbation by Zarina, Sabrina Love-Cox, Nicole Moore, Saki, & Shanna McCullough Keisha and Dr. Perry (DVD - Aug 1, 2006). It may be related to the very concept of Independence, but, in the first place, that's not a book and in the second place that's Shanna McCullough, not David. Also, I distrust the names of the authors Sabrina Love-Cox and Nicole Moore.)
John Adams and 1776 are both wonderful, Cees...as is his biography on Truman. McCullough has a terrific way of writing and presenting the material that makes it very accessible and the farthest thing from dry and boring. Once you've read the books you really feel like you've got a sense of knowing and understanding the people/events you've just read about.
No recommendation for a Jefferson biography, but I couldn't resist ordering McCullough's 40 minutes speech on CD The Course of Human Events, which he held as the 2003 Jefferson Lecture. The review also mentioned that one of his favorite points (like yours and Dennis's above) to stress is the Founding Father's love of books and literature.
PS: Not a recommendation either, because I didn't read it, but here's an intriguing looking book about Thomas Jefferson, by Joseph J. Ellis, more aimed at his character than his Icon Status. It seems to be even rather critical and compares TJ to JA - with an outcome mainly in favour of the latter. Anybody read this? Mike? Do you think I might like it too? C.
1.) Books were so highly prized during those times. Yet, today, they are taken for granted and ignored by such a large percentage of the public.
Franklin's creation of a public library system was so innovative and practical (and simple). And yet, unfortunately, so many public libraries fight to stay open and/or have become a refuge for the homeless.
Of one thing I am sure, I don't read enough books. I read more than my fair share of newspapers and magazines. But I need to read more books.
2.) Will look into the Ellis book. I'm sure the amazon reviews will also yield further suggestions. Thanks!