The Basis of American Exceptionalism Is True Freedom and Individual Liberty

Jay Lehr,

When I was finishing my Ph.D. studies, I heard about an amazing history teacher who welcomed grad students in other departments to audit his course for pure enjoyment.

I took advantage of his offer and audited his Revolutionary War course. He sat on the edge of his desk and hypnotized the class into joining him centuries before on the ground and in the woods and houses where the tale was unfolding.

He had to bring us out of our trance and back to the classroom at the end of the period so we students could begrudgingly move on to another class. Passing tests was a cinch, as no real memorization was required: We had been there! The Rush Revere series of history books by Rush Limbaugh (written with help from his wife and friends) recreates that very same learning experience I enjoyed so many years ago.

Discovering Exceptionalism

Main character Rush Revere is a substitute history teacher for a middle school who chooses students to accompany him and his talking horse, aptly named Liberty, as they time-travel through history.

freedomandliberty_small The Basis of American Exceptionalism Is True Freedom and Individual Liberty Freedom

In Rush Revere and the Brave Pilgrims, the first of the five books in the series, Rush and students Tommy and Freedom join a shipload of brave families on the Mayflower in 1620. The reader experiences exactly what they did on that rough and dangerous ocean crossing. The students ask the pilgrims why they left and what they expect in the New World. The time travelers then join the pilgrims at the very first Thanksgiving, once their small community had been established after several long and arduous months. The seeds of a new nation have been planted.

In the second book, Rush Revere and the First Patriots, the reader experiences firsthand interviews with the likes of Benjamin Franklin, King George III, and Patrick Henry, who discuss the important issues of the period, including the Stamp Act, Townsend Acts, and Quartering Act of 1765. Among the “interviews” conducted in England and the American colonies, Limbaugh manages to insert marvelous humor and teenage tomfoolery that make the history a truly enjoyable, exciting, and fun read for those of any age.

Adventure and Intrigue

On the adventure with Patrick Henry, Rush Revere takes along a young African-American student named Cam. He is a new friend of Tommy, who learned to duel with a sword from Myles Standish in the first book. Cam is taken for a slave by three Redcoats and arrested. Between Tommy dueling with one Redcoat, Liberty the talking horse kicking another, and a crowd of colonists outnumbering the enemy to rescue Cam, an amazing adventure plays out.

The reader also witnesses the important events at the Boston Tea Party, joining Revere and his students aboard the Dartmouth to empty 342 crates of tea into Boston Harbor.

First Patriots includes color portraits of most of the historical characters and facsimiles of the official documents that were the subject of debate leading up to the Revolutionary War.

When I met George Washington on the pages of the book, I literally got goosebumps. It felt as though I was there.

For History Lovers of All Ages

Although the target audience is schoolchildren of all reading levels, I challenge any history-loving adult not to find these books exciting.

Unfortunately, some school systems have shunned these books, evidently fearing their students will be exposed to Limbaugh’s political ideas.

The books do not preach politics at all. Instead, they explain that American exceptionalism and greatness do not mean there is something uniquely different about Americans as human beings, but rather that America is different from other nations because it was founded on a fundamental respect for true freedom and individual liberty.

Jay Lehr, Ph.D. (Jlehr@heartland.org) is science director at The Heartland Institute.

Review of Rush Revere and the Brave Pilgrims: Time-Travel Adventures with Exceptional Americans, by Rush Limbaugh

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