Reflections on the American Presidency

By |2020-02-15T22:30:13-06:00February 16th, 2020|Categories: Audio/Video, Forrest McDonald, History, Presidency|

“Though the caliber of people who have served as chief executive has declined erratically but persistently from the day George Washington left office, the presidency has been responsible for less harm and more good, in the nation and in the world, than perhaps any other secular institution in history." —Forrest McDonald, The American Presidency: An [...]

“The Speech”: Maintaining Sanity in an Insane World

By |2020-01-10T10:03:34-06:00January 6th, 2020|Categories: Civilization, Culture, Forrest McDonald, Hope, Imagination, Wisdom|

I propose to address the question, how does one survive (and I mean survive as something) in a world that may not? How does one remain sane in a world that is insane; how does one live without fear in a world in which the only certainty is that nothing is certain? Editor's Note: "The [...]

Fellow Miracles, Let Us Rejoice Together!

By |2020-03-23T11:01:46-05:00January 19th, 2019|Categories: American Founding, Forrest McDonald|

The following is the conclusion of Professor Forrest McDonald's 2002 address to the last class he taught as a regular member of the faculty at the University of Alabama—known as "The Speech." Dr. McDonald retired thereafter from teaching.  The other pre-requisite for living sanely in an insane world is an attitude toward life, which I [...]

History on Proper Principles: The Legacy of Forrest McDonald

By |2019-09-24T15:31:53-05:00January 7th, 2019|Categories: Alexander Hamilton, American Founding, American Republic, Federalist Papers, Forrest McDonald, History, Literature, Timeless Essays|

Forrest McDonald demonstrated that the historian above all must be a pragmatist who looks at the reality of the past as it was, who gets his hands dirty by putting in long hours of research, who makes sense of vast quantities of data, and who then communicates what he has found in an understandable and [...]

The Imaginative Historian: Forrest McDonald & the Art of History

By |2020-04-16T10:59:11-05:00July 15th, 2018|Categories: Books, Forrest McDonald, History, Imagination, Stephen M. Klugewicz, Timeless Essays|

Many believe that objectivity is the historian’s goal. But Forrest McDonald believed that history by its very nature entails artifice; the historian is not simply a mere recorder or reporter of events, but also an artist. “History is marble, and remains forever cold, even under the most artistic hand, unless life is breathed into it [...]

Was Alexander Hamilton a Great Man?

By |2020-09-01T13:38:04-05:00February 5th, 2018|Categories: Alexander Hamilton, American Founding, Books, Forrest McDonald, History, Timeless Essays|

Forrest McDonald’s biography of Alexander Hamilton most likely will prove indispensable. What Hamilton thought, and how he came to think it, is nowhere else so plain as here. Alexander Hamilton: A Biography by Forrest McDonald (464 pages, W.W. Norton & Co., 1982) That Alexander Hamilton was among the most luminous and creative of the Founding Fathers [...]

Non-Ideological History: Forrest McDonald’s “Novus Ordo Seclorum”

By |2017-03-10T11:29:15-06:00January 6th, 2017|Categories: Books, Constitution, Featured, Forrest McDonald|Tags: |

Conservatives of every persuasion who are sincerely interested in the truth are in Forrest McDonald‘s debt. If we are to understand the Founders, we should follow McDonald’s example and strive to study our heritage as dispassionately and as reflectively as possible… Novus Ordo Seclorum: The Intellectual Origins of the Constitution, by Forrest McDonald (University [...]

The First Function of Founders of Nations

By |2019-08-06T16:55:41-05:00July 4th, 2016|Categories: American Founding, Forrest McDonald, History, Quotation|

The first function of the founders of nations, after the founding itself, is to devise a set of true falsehoods about origin—a mythology—that will make it desirable for nationals to continue to live under common authority, and, indeed, make it impossible for them to entertain contrary thoughts. Ordinarily the founding, being the less subtle [...]

What Do Conservatives Do with Donald Trump Now?

By |2020-02-07T13:04:44-06:00May 4th, 2016|Categories: Donald Trump, Forrest McDonald, John Willson, Politics, Presidency, Republicans|

Donald Trump has felt the pulse of the people and taken into account the meaning (and limits) of the Constitution and come up with the outlines of a plan that is both reasonably coherent and (dare I say?) conservative. “Keep your friends close, but your enemies closer.” —Sun-tzu, ca. 400 BC; or Machiavelli, 1520 AD [...]

History on Proper Principles: The Legacy of Forrest McDonald

By |2019-09-24T15:32:20-05:00January 28th, 2016|Categories: Alexander Hamilton, American Founding, American Republic, Featured, Federalist Papers, Forrest McDonald, History, Literature, Stephen M. Klugewicz|

Forrest McDonald did not set out to be a historian. Had he been able to hit a curveball, he would likely have been a professional baseball player. “I believed, and believe to this day,” McDonald wrote in 2004, “that as an outfielder I was of major league caliber.”[1] Born in Orange, Texas, on January [...]

Forrest McDonald, RIP, in the Mighty Company of the Founders

By |2016-01-22T01:09:35-06:00January 21st, 2016|Categories: American Republic, Forrest McDonald, History|

Editor's Note: The great American historian Forrest McDonald (1927-2016) passed away this week at the age of eighty-nine. The following remarks by Stephen Klugewicz and Lenore Ealy, former students of Dr. McDonald, were delivered at the April 2010 national meeting of The Philadelphia Society, at a dinner in Dr. McDonald's honor. The event was held [...]

The Role of the “Middle Delegates” at the Constitutional Convention

By |2020-10-18T13:32:36-05:00January 7th, 2016|Categories: American Founding, American Republic, Constitution, Constitutional Convention, Featured, Forrest McDonald, Political Science Reviewer|

The contribution of the middle delegates—from Connecticut, Delaware, North and South Carolina—was crucial to the structural design of the Constitution. Without these these eight men, the Grand Convention might not have succeeded in its undertaking. Oliver Ellsworth Historians of the Constitutional Convention have agreed that there were divisions among the delegates, but [...]

Do We Really Understand What an Economy Is?

By |2019-09-02T10:48:48-05:00September 21st, 2015|Categories: Economics, Essential, Faith, Family, Featured, Forrest McDonald, John Willson, Labor/Work, Timeless Essays|

(Today’s offering in our Timeless Essay series affords our readers the opportunity to join John Willson as he examines an "economy" and what that really means. —W. Winston Elliott III, Publisher) M. Stanton Evans once said, in defense of free markets: “It all depends on how prosperous you want to be.” Prosperity, most of us [...]

Is History Subjective?

By |2016-07-04T20:41:59-05:00September 2nd, 2015|Categories: Forrest McDonald, History, Quotation|

History is a mode of thinking that wrenches the past out of context and sequence, out of the way it really happened, and reorders it in an artificial way that facilitates understanding and remembering…. Historians—whether Everyman, recalling his immediate or distant past, or professionals, attempting to reconstruct the past by studying relics of it—deal [...]

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