Tuesday, December 04, 2007

"What Hath God Wrought"

The Oxford History of The United States has a new volume, What Hath God Wrought: The Transformation of America, 1815-1848, by Daniel Walker Howe. I have great respect for Howe's work (I've mentioned him in the past) and look forward to reading the book. Here's a teaser from an NRO interview:
JOHN J. MILLER: Why did you choose the text of Samuel F. B. Morse’s first telegraphic message as the title for your book?

The quotation “What Hath God Wrought” works well for me in three ways. In the first place it calls attention to the dramatic technological changes characteristic of the years between 1815 and 1848, revolutionizing communication and transportation. In the second place, this quotation from the Bible (Numbers 23:23) illustrates the importance of religion in the history of the period. And in the third place, it calls attention to the idea that in rising to transcontinental power, the United States was fulfilling a divine providential destiny, a self-image that America shared with ancient Israel, to which the phrase originally applied.
I already like the triple-threat, er,-themed approach. Now all I have to do is clear my desk of about 5 other books I need to read and review!

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