In the Twenty-First Century, is there a role for Heroes in History?
A year or two ago, I was reading a book on the Texas frontier when I came across a quote that sounded familiar. The author was referencing someone from the early nineteenth century, quoting their opinion on the Indian wars and American expansion during the period. I stopped, because the historian had not explicitly named the person he was quoting, but rather identified the sentiment as that of “a southern frontier statesman.” Thinking this was strange, I quickly flipped to the endnotes, where, sure enough, David Crockett was cited as the mysterious source. Since then I have spent some time thinking about how odd it was that the author would be so vague when quoting as notable an American figure as Davy Crockett.
Such a minimization of Davy Crockett fifty years ago would have been unthinkable, either in…
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