Adults are big babies.
So says Mark Johnson in his fabulous book, The Meaning of the Body. Johnson says babies are born into the world as squirming creatures. This is how they learn. So do adults – which seems to explain why so many get so little out of their education.
With Steven Spielberg’s film “Lincoln” expected to garner many Academy Awards, it’s worth remembering why the 16th President of the United States proved to be so persuasive. Lincoln’s appeal lies in his use of a rhetorical device – a pattern of speech that’s almost impossible to use anymore.
On this date in 1790, the Religious Society of Friends, better known as Quakers, petitioned the U.S. Congress for the abolition of slavery. They were mostly ignored. Parliament reacted in similar fashion to British Quaker abolitionists. What went wrong?
When a young woman asked Benjamin Franklin what the Constitutional Convention had achieved, he replied: “A republic, Madame – if you can keep it.” Franklin recognized the American experiment in self-government could fail. But it was Thomas Jefferson who recognized what failure might look like.