I've found the most amazing books about history. I always loved when President Hinckley talked about history and especially the Reformation. I wanted to learn more about the Reformers he mentioned. Well I found a book that does that.
The Story of Liberty (Charles C. Coffin)was written in 1879 and tells the story of how freedom developed from the time of the Magna Carta in 1215, until the time of the pilgrims coming to America. From the perspective of Protestants, this book shows how the people were oppressed by the alliances formed between Catholic Popes and church men and the Kings of Europe. The story of how the Bible was allowed to be accessible to the average person, how those who tried to reform the church were persecuted, how the kings used the church and how the church used the kings are all detailed here. I was fascinated by the idea that God had been working on this project for over 500 years before the Declaration of Independence was signed! How patient he is with us! I was surprised at all the history that I hadn't been taught or even read about in the books I'd found. The subtitle of this book is "so you will comprehend what liberty has cost... and what it is worth" and it definitely lives up to that goal! There has not been a better time to read this book.
I next started reading Winston Churchill's four volume History of the English Speaking People. It starts back further with the Romans coming to Britain and how they affected the people already there. It goes through the history of Kings and ministers and rulers of England, their territorial squabbles, how they rose to power, who they married and why, their mistakes, their endeavors, and their passions. Because England so often interacted with Europe, it is a fairly good history of European countries as well. It tells the history from a political view, but none the less it tells the story of freedom's development for centuries before flowering in America. I am currently on the third volume about The Great Democracies.
Because of the mention of Roman rule in England, I started reading The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. I am not very far into this yet, but already I can tell that I will love it. It's much easier to read than I thought it would be, being written so many years ago.
So many people crammed into these stories tends to make my eyes glaze over, but I figure I can go back and research the people individually later. I'm in it for the history of freedom. My next goal is to read the Old Testament for an understanding of the system of government that the Hebrews used before their Kings. At a seminar in January put on by the Nation Center for Constitutional studies, I learned that the Founders knew this system quite well and worked it's principles into our government. The workbook we received had references to many scriptures in Deuteronomy, so I plan on looking those up and studying them. It should go nicely with my study of all scriptures mentioning liberty, agency or choice. (which is another eye opening experiment)
This is the kind of learning that I absolutely love. It sends my brain on fire!
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