1776: Mission Accomplished Essay

879 words - 4 pages

In David McCullough’s historical book “1776” he outlines the entire year of 1776 in a way that is very eloquent and informative. McCullough is a renowned author of many books pertaining to American history. Other popular titles including “John Adams” and “Truman” are examples of the dedication to portraying American history accurately. Within his book “1776”, McCullough’s thesis and concentration on what he is trying to argue for in this book is best worded exactly by himself at the National Book Awards in 1985: ”History shows us how to behave. History teaches, reinforces what we believe in, what we stand for, and what we ought to be willing to stand up for. History is-or should be-the bedrock of patriotism, not the chest-pounding kind of patriotism but the real thing, love of country.” By analyzing the outcome and actions of individuals throughout the year of 1776 McCullough wants us to learn what true patriotism is.
The book outlines all of the year of 1776 by focusing on the war itself and the consequences of it. He does a fantastic job of citing his sources by referencing journals, manuscripts, books, and newspapers. Touching on the selection of George Washington to lead the Continental Army, Washington expresses his concerns with his lack of capacity to carry out the task. Even before he finds out that his army is made up of both old men and very young men that were inexperienced. As he begins the Continental Army expresses false confidence in their power as they win battles against British soldiers that are relatively small. That confidence was quickly crushed when Britain chose to invest more soldiers into the war, quickly taking back lost land and pushing the Continental Army back, state by state. This wide range of sources allows him to portray an accurate story that is captivating. Even covering both sides of the war he scrutinizes the actions of both sides and the effects of them. Much of the book has an emphasis on politics, thus focusing more on the leaders in command of the army since they had the most effect overall on the outcome of the war.
While McCullough does a great job focusing on the strengths and weaknesses of Washington, he also focuses equally on the leaders beneath him. This was one of the strengths of McCullough because the war was not one simply based off of one man but due in part to Washington’s officers beneath him. McCullough explains how by selecting great officers that made for the most part smart decisions, it aided in Washington’s ability to focus on larger and...

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