As a child, I used to play a game with my family called, “Masterpiece.” Each player acts as an art collector, buying and selling famous paintings with the goal of amassing the highest cash earnings. Among the available options, I especially fancied Georges Seurat’s, A Sunday on La Grande Jatte, which is one of the most famous examples of “pointillism,” a technique of applying individual paint spots to form a single grand image. Years later, I had an opportunity to view the painting in person during a visit to The Art Institute of Chicago and wondered at the detail. My tour guide encouraged us to inspect it closely, then to step back and admire the accomplishment as a whole. Every single dot played an instrumental role in creating the seven-by-ten foot image. Seurat, like all painters, understood the importance of details. A misplaced spot, color, or slip-of-the-hand corrupts a portion of the final piece.
We don’t have to ignore the faults of important historical figures in order to celebrate their accomplishments. In fact, those failings often help us see men and women in history correctly and understand the power of ideas in action, both for good and ill.
The same is true for history. Details matter—especially when it concerns a topic as divisive as the founding of the United States of America. New York Times bestselling author and radio show host Eric Metaxas takes on that very subject in his latest book, If You Can Keep It: The Forgotten Promise of American Liberty…
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Cover image by Page & Palette.