“America is another name for opportunity. Our whole history appears like a last effort of divine Providence in behalf of the human race” wrote poet Ralph Waldo Emerson.
Born MAY 25, 1803, Ralph Waldo Emerson was friends with writers Nathaniel Hawthorne and Louisa May Alcott. He composed some of the best loved poems in American literature, including The Concord Hymn, written in 1837 for the dedication of the monument where the battle at North Bridge took place April 19, 1775.
Ralph Waldo Emerson’s most recognizable stanza is inscribed on the base of Daniel Chester French’s Minute Man Statue:
By the rude bridge that arched the flood, Their flag to April’s breeze unfurled; Here once the embattled farmers stood; And fired the shot heard round the world. The foe long since in silence slept; Alike the conqueror silent sleeps, And Time the ruined bridge has swept, Down the dark stream that seaward creeps. On this green bank, by this soft stream, We place with joy a votive stone, That memory may their deeds redeem, When, like our sires, our sons are gone. O Thou who made those heroes dare, To die, and leave their children free, -Bid Time and Nature gently spare, The shaft we raised to them and Thee.
The Moral Liberal contributing editor, William J. Federer, is the bestselling author of “Backfired: A Nation Born for Religious Tolerance no Longer Tolerates Religion,” and numerous other books. A frequent radio and television guest, his daily American Minute is broadcast nationally via radio, television, and Internet. Check out all of Bill’s books here.