I have also been reading The Greater Journey: Americans in Paris by David McCullough. My sister-in-law bought me the book for my birthday and it has been fun reading about the Americans who went to
in the early 1800’s to learn/improve their skills at the center of art and medicine. (I know I am being redundant but must say again that I admire the French expression for relative-by-law. I think belle soeur – beautiful sister – is so much more friendly than our legal term.) But I digress… Paris
David McCullough is a great writer. He weaves together the stories of so many famous, adventurous Americans from their correspondence with families and friends in the states and historical events. He writes about artists, writers, architects and doctors including the artist Samuel Morse (also of Morse code fame.) I have been struck by the adventurous nature of these men and women and by the beautiful style of their writing.
I was also struck by his references to Democracy in America by Alexis deTocqueville which the author described “as clear-eyed and valuable a study of
as any yet published…” To me, the most striking observation that deTocqueville wrote was about education: “the originality of American civilization was most clearly apparent in the provisions for public education.” America
Given what appear to be the prevalent attitudes and direction of our country, I am guessing that a 21st century deTocqueville would now say that