Philippians 4:8, "Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things."

Saturday, February 24, 2007

In Dale Van Every's Forth to the Wilderness we saw the first identifying characteristics of the American spirit as a desire for freedom and a wondrous land in which to express it. However there was a daunting challenge to that fervent desire, the frontier wars of 1750-1783. There were the French and Indian War, Pontiac's War, Lord Dunmore's War, and the frontier war that was a part of the War for Independence. All of these, plus innumerable small scale massacres and retributions were brutal, no quarter expressions of deep hatred. From this came another characteristic: self-reliance borne of suffering, and leading to a growing self-identification. As Van Every writes, "Again and again during these last ten bitter years they had been driven from their homes and as often they had returned to the ashes. What they had so far lacked was an identification of themselves as a people. And it was this, after years of brooding and mourning, that they were now beginning to gain. They were beginning to realize that they were a people set apart. Their hatred of their Indian enemies and their mistrust of their own governments were only the outward signs of this growing awareness that they were separate. They were beginning to realize that it was their suffering that distinguished them, that was drawing them together, that was singling them out, that was cutting them off from their unthreatened neighbors to the east who had been made alien by their inability to understand what the frontier had endured. Ten years of misery had taught frontier people that they were not to be saved by waiting upon the efforts of those neighbors, or upon the acts of their governments, or upon the occasional march of armies. They were beginning to realize that if they were to be saved they must save themselves. Bouquet had called them the Frontier People. That, at last, they were about to become."

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