Saturday, December 29, 2007

Finding Inspiration in Old Documents

The next document I wrote on was a speech by Carl Schurz before the Massachusetts legislature in the pre-civil war years. The subject of the speech was True Americanism. Although Schurz was from Wisconsin at the time, he travelled to Massachusetts to address the legislature on an issue then before them. He contrasted America to the Roman Empire. I found the speech uplifting and inspiring. I immediately thought of how this could be worked into a Documenting America column, and wrote the piece. Once again it was deemed worthy by the local paper, and was published.

After this came two letters, one from James Madison to George Washington, then Washington’s reply, during the Articles of Confederation era (1783-1789). Madison was concerned that the colonies were going astray from the ideals upon which the Revolution was based, and were not living up to the Treaty of Paris. Washington concurred. I found these letters to have inspiring and informative information, so wrote a pair of articles and they were published.

The program for guest editorials allowed only one per quarter, appearing in the Sunday Op-ed section. About this time the editor who was a friend from church moved away, to Washington state, and continuance of the guest editorial program was in question. I decided to back off this for a while and concentrate on other areas of writing interest. I now wonder if I made a mistake, and should instead have continued to write the columns, and do the research for self-syndication. More on that in my next post.

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