Grateful American Book Prize

December 1
December 15
2023

History Matters

Showing our children that their past
is prelude to their future

On Saturday, December 6, 1941, President Franklin Roosevelt advised Emperor Hirohito to withdraw his fleet of warships “for the sake of humanity.” The message was prompted by a Royal Australian Air Force pilot who had detected a formidable throng of Japanese warships headed for Thailand.

Meanwhile, according to History.com, “600 miles northwest of Hawaii, Admiral Yamamoto, commander of the Japanese fleet, announced to his men: ‘The rise or fall of the empire depends upon this battle. Everyone will do his duty with utmost efforts.’ Thailand was, in fact, a bluff. Pearl Harbor in Oahu, Hawaii was confirmed for Yamamoto as the Japanese target, after the Japanese consul in Hawaii had reported to Tokyo that a significant portion of the U.S. Pacific fleet would be anchored in the harbor—sitting ducks. The following morning, Sunday, December 7, was a good day to begin a raid.”

The Grateful American Book Prize recommends Events That Changed the course of History: The Story of the Attack on Pearl Harbor 75 Years Later by Kimberly Sarmiento.

Smoke and flame on the U.S.S. Shaw, an American destroyer.


William Frederick Cody—known as Buffalo Bill– embodied the heroes of the Wild West. He garnered esteem for his service with the Pony Express –and later–as a Civil War hero for the Union. His dexterity with a six-gun was so remarkable that Ned Buntline [born Edward Judson] wrote 550 dime novels featuring Cody. After his The Scouts of the Prairie–was adapted for the stage–he persuaded Buffalo Bill “to abandon his real-life western adventures to play a highly exaggerated version of himself …” [on stage].

On December 11, 1872, Cody made his debut in Chicago.

According to History.com. “Once he had a taste of the performing life, Cody never looked back. Though he continued to spend time scouting or guiding hunt trips in the West, Cody remained on the Chicago stage for the next 11 years. Buffalo Bill Cody was the hero of more than 1,700 variant issues of dime novels [by a variety of authors], and his star shone even more brightly when his world-famous Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show debuted in 1883. The show was still touring when Buffalo Bill Cody died in 1917.”

The Grateful American Book Prize recommends Buffalo Bill Cody: An Autobiography.

Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show 1899 Poster


The American Revolution, which ended in 1783, achieved America’s independence, and the Constitution–ratified on December 15, 1791–underscored freedom, and citizens’ rights.

Today, there are 27 amendments, but the first ten–the Bill of Rights—are the most important.

“Influenced by the English Bill of Rights of 1689, the Bill of Rights was also drawn from Virginia’s Declaration of Rights, drafted by George Mason in 1776,” according to History.com. “Mason, a native Virginian, was a lifelong champion of individual liberties, and in 1787 he attended the Constitutional Convention and criticized the final document for lacking constitutional protection of basic political rights. In the ratification struggle that followed, Mason and other critics agreed to support the Constitution in exchange for the assurance that amendments would be passed immediately.”

The Grateful American Book Prize recommends Carol Berkin‘s The Bill of Rights: The Fight to Secure America’s Liberties

Signing the Bill of Rights


History Matters is a biweekly feature courtesy of The Grateful American Book Prize.

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