By Charles Bogle:
A timely reminder of America’s Enlightenment origins
31 August 2006
In Washington’s Crossing, published by Oxford University Press as part of its Pivotal Moments in American History series (series editors, David Hackett Fischer and James M. McPherson), Fischer describes how Enlightenment thinking informed the character and decision-making of George Washington at a critical point in the American Revolution.
Fisher argues that although this same Enlightenment thinking molded the outlook of the British commanding officers and their charges, the exigencies of an imperialist policy resulted in brutal treatment of the colonists and spoliation of their property.
The author concludes by calling on his American readers to remember and embrace their Enlightenment origins at the present critical point in their history.
The masterpiece is itself evocative of the Enlightenment and the revolutions it engendered.
In the introduction to his book, Fischer writes that the artist, a German-American named Emanuel Leutze, undertook the painting to encourage the Europeans, who were engaged in the revolutions of 1848, to follow the example of the American Revolution.
American revolution and slavery: here.
Myths of the American Revolution: here.
Today’s Enlightenment perceptions and imperialism: here.