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Book Review: The Faith That Built America by Lee Vrooman

FEBRUARY 01, 1956 by GERALDINE FITCH

New York: Arrowhead Books, Inc. 193 pp. $3.50.

If all who are troubled by the confused issues and complex problems of today would go back and study the beginnings, the roots of America’s greatness, it might mean a revolution of private morals and public virtue. We have missed the great opportunity of sharing more fully with all newcomers to our shores the ideas that dominated the minds of the pioneers, the American faith which overcame all difficulties: the principles of self-government, religious toleration, temperance, and virtue, based on the belief in God.

We might learn from the colonial leaders how to deal with the moral and the materialistic trends of our times. We often forget that the poverty of the early settlers, the hardships of the frontier, the lack of churches and schools, left their mark on the second and third generations.

The spirit with which the early settlers faced their difficulties found embodiment in some great documents: the Mayflower Compact, the Articles of Confederation, the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, Franklin’s “Almanac,” Bradford’s “History,” Cotton Mather’s “Essays To Do Good,” Roger Williams’ and Lord Baltimore’s theories of religious toleration, Penn’s speeches to the Indians, and many others. Lee Vrooman has gone through a lot of this early material and culled the most significant excerpts for us.

There is instruction and inspiration in this book, and many choice bits of Americana. We learn, for instance, that God and man had Yale trouble in colonial days too! Yale once expelled its highest ranking student because he preached to the Indians!

The text is embellished with more than 100 pen sketches by Jaquelin Smith.

Geraldine Fitch

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February 1956

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