Celebrations of a Nation: Early American Holidays



Book: Celebrations of a Nation: Early American Holidays

Author: Lucile Johnston

Publisher: Candel Pub LLC, Revised 5th Edition published in 2001

ISBN-13: 978-0962034305 Hardcover

ISBN-10: 0962034304 Hardcover

ISBN-13: 978-0962034312 Paperback

ISBN-10: 0962034312 Paperback

Language level: 1

(1=nothing objectionable; 2=common euphemisms and/or childish slang terms; 3=some cursing or profanity; 4=a lot of cursing or profanity; 5=obscenity and/or vulgarity)

Recommended reading level: Ages 12-16 and up

Rating: ***** 5 stars (EXCELLENT)

Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker

Disclosure:  Many publishers and/or authors provide free copies of their books in exchange for an honest review without requiring a positive opinion.  Any books donated to Home School Book Review for review purposes are in turn donated to a library.  No other compensation has been received for the reviews posted on Home School Book Review.

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Johnston, Lucile.  Celebrations of a Nation: Early American Holidays (originally published in 1987; first edition by Biword Publications, Willmar, MN, second edition by Year of Thanksgiving Bicentennial Foundation).    Author Lucile Johnston, a noted scholar, writes at the beginning, “As a member of my State Ad Hoc Textbook Committee on Social Studies, I came to agree with Dr. Paul Vitz, who was given a $70,000 grant by the Department of Education and, after researching many textbooks, reported that there was no mention of Protestantism and no mention of our Judeo-Christian heritage.  He is a Catholic, but concerned over the distortion of our history.”  Why has this situation occurred?  “A few humanists in our courts, congress, media, bureaucracy, and educational system, like termites, began to eat away at our foundations, while most of us have not realized the freedoms we all enjoy so much are being stolen from us.”  Concerning the Pilgrims, she quotes from Daniel Webster’s speech on December 22, 1820, to celebrate of the 200 year anniversary of the Pilgrims’ landing at Plymouth Rock: “Finally, let us not forget the religious character of our origin. Our fathers were brought hither by their high veneration for the Christian religion. They journeyed by its light, and labored in its hope. They sought to incorporate its principles with the elements of their society, and to diffuse its influence through all their institutions, civil, political, or literary. Let us cherish these sentiments, and extend this influence still more widely; in full conviction that this is the happiest society which partakes in the highest degree of the mild and peaceful spirit of Christianity.”

Leftist progressives today try to leave the impression that our Founding Fathers were primarily secularists whose ultimate goal was to establish a firm separation between religion and government.   Benjamin Franklin was probably one of the more “secular” of our Founding Fathers, yet at the Constitutional Convention in 1787, he said, “In the beginning of the Contest with Great Britain, when we were sensible of danger, we had daily prayer in this room for the divine protection.  Our prayers, Sir, were heard, and they were graciously answered. All of us who were engaged in the struggle must have observed frequent instances of a Superintending providence in our favor. To that kind providence we owe this happy opportunity of consulting in peace on the means of establishing our future national felicity. And have we now forgotten that powerful friend? or do we imagine that we no longer need his assistance?  I have lived, Sir, a long time, and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth–that God governs in the affairs of men. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without his notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without his aid? We have been assured, Sir, in the sacred writings, that ‘except the Lord build the House they labour in vain that build it.’ I firmly believe this.”  And George Washington?  In his “Farewell Address,” he said, “Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of patriotism, who should labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness, these firmest props of the duties of men and citizens. The mere politician, equally with the pious man, ought to respect and to cherish them. A volume could not trace all their connections with private and public felicity. Let it simply be asked: Where is the security for property, for reputation, for life, if the sense of religious obligation desert the oaths which are the instruments of investigation in courts of justice? And let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion. Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.”

This book, identified as “Christian history,” relates the story of three uniquely American holidays — Thanksgiving, The Fourth of July, and Washington’s Birthday, using the words of the Pilgrims who gave us the First Thanksgiving, the Revolutionaries who gave us Independence Day, and our first President George Washington, to show how our freedoms were created and secured, and why we celebrate these meaningful holidays.  Illustrated with copious reproductions of paintings, Celebrations of a Nation explores the education, vision, struggles and triumphs of our forefathers, and ties them together in a colorful narrative that is both informative and inspiring as the reader learns how the Christian values of charity, equality, and freedom were built into the foundation of our American democracy.  I understand that the Revised 5th Edition had added material about Abraham Lincoln for “Presidents’ Day.”   Carefully documented, Celebrations is the kind of book used in public school history classes before the secular, leftist progressives hijacked our country’s educational system.  The publisher notes, “Home Schoolers have praised the readable style and quality of scholarship of the book.”

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