Friday, December 10, 2010

American History Pop Quiz

I imagine my great-grandfather administering this quiz to his assembled children in the breakfast room of the manse in Cincinnati. It is three type written pages, undated, but marked with the Cleinview address. Here's a sample: 
  • I was called "the incarnate of the peddling penny Yankee," by Jefferson Davis.
  • "Antiquity would have raised altars to this genius who was able alike to restrain thunderbolts and tyrants," said Mirabeau about me.
  • I was called the "high priest of prudence" by Robert Louis Stevenson.
  • A printer, I wrote my own epitaph . . . "The body of A B Printer (the contents torn out and stripped of its lettering and gilding) lies here; but the work shall not be lost, for it will (as he believed) appear once more in a new and elegant edition, revised and corrected by the Author."
  • "He snatched the thunderbolts from heaven, the sceptre from tyrants," was said of me, at which I replied, "Notwithstanding, the thunderbolt continues to fall under our noses."  (Benjamin Franklin)
 And then this one:
  • Though I said, "I would rather be right than be President." a modern historian says, "He was neither." 
  • I was called the "Mill Boy of the Slashes" and the Great Pacificator. (Henry Clay)
And this:
  • "The boy orator of the Platte," I gained the Democratic nomination in 1896 by saying "I shall not help crucify mankind upon a cross of gold."
  • My support of Woodrow Wilson won for him the Democratic nomination in 1910, though in 1907 he said he wished to "do something both dignified and effective to knock me into a cocked hat."
  • My last efforts were made to defeat the teaching of evolution in schools and I engaged in a trial at Dayton, Tenn., when Clarence Darrow was counsel for the defense. "I have seventeen LL.D's, but they will call me an ignorant man." (William J. Bryan)

No comments: