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A look at New England's contribution to American civilization through the men whose efforts in the pathways of mind and matter made a difference to us all is inspiring in its integrity and its insights. The working toward a democratic concept of government began with the Mayflower Compact and was carried on by the brilliant and generous Roger Williams, who pitted his principles against the theocratic tyranny of the Massachusetts Colony to found Rhode Island. Along with Thomas Hooker of Connecticut, Beals calls Williams the father of American freedom:- civil liberties and legal constitutional framework.... But there is also the statesmanship of Roger Sherman with the Connecticut compromise of house and senate representation and election; there is Ezra Stiles, Newport pastor and Yale president and scholar whose universality of though opened the doors of the mind; Emerson, who put great European liberal-humanist thought into pithy New England terms. There is Barnes of New Cambridge, where education was for everyone and publicly paid for, and there is Durkee with his Bean Hill tavern and Sons of Liberty who stood against the Stamp Act with a motto of Liberty and Property. There are the tradesmen -- Goodyear, father of New Haven industry; Gideon, the Watchmaker; Buell, symbol of Yankee enterprise; Welch, adept in large scale management. And finally there are the explorers and inventors -- Gray, who sailed the Pacific; Whitney, father of mass production; Charles Goodyear, as impecunious a scientist as ever lived, whose vulcanized rubber vitalized an industry and international trade. There is a full sense of the surrounding personalities and ideas in these lively biographies, and even the most versed of New Englanders is likely to find new facts to add to the treasure of our inheritance here.

Publisher: David McKay