I am often asked about the people in history that I revere or otherwise hold in high esteem. Today's column is an attempt to answer that question. Bear in mind, this list is by no means complete. I know I am omitting several people that should truly be included. However, time and space limitations require me to condense my list. So, here goes.
I'll begin with Old Testament history. David, Nehemiah, and Elijah are my heroes here. Despite his one moral lapse, David's heart and character are unsurpassed. Along with Abraham and Moses, David is one of the three greatest men of the Old Testament. And he is my personal favorite.
Nehemiah is the personification of leadership. The Book of Nehemiah is the quintessential textbook on leadership. Nothing written since equals it. Elijah is the personification of courage. He faced down 850 false prophets. His like was not seen until the arrival of John the Baptist.
A lesser-known Old Testament man by the name of Jehonadab is probably the greatest father in the Bible. His children and grandchildren, for many generations, remained loyal to his instruction. His familial example has never been equaled.
In the New Testament, my heroes are Peter, John, and Paul. Paul was probably the greatest intellectual of his day. He did more to bring Christianity to the world than any other single individual. Only King David had a heart equal to John's, and only Elijah had the spirit and courage to match Peter's.
The Reformers hold a dear place in my heart: John Wycliffe and John Hus come to mind. Add, of course, Huldrych Zwingli, John Calvin, Martin Luther, and John Knox. Of these, I think Zwingli is my favorite. And while my attention is on European history, I confess to a strong sense of appreciation for the great Scottish freedom fighter, William Wallace.
I also confess to a strong penchant for American heroes. In this respect, I regard all of America's Founding Fathers as heroes of the highest order. My favorite in this group might be Patrick Henry, but George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, John Jay, John Adams, Sam Adams, and James Madison must also be included. Daniel Webster also makes my list.
I must also include great colonial preachers such as John Leland, John Witherspoon, and Jonathan Edwards in my list of heroes. And the nineteenth-century Baptist pastor in London, England, Charles Haddon Spurgeon, is no doubt my all-time favorite preacher. I have tried to read everything he ever wrote.
Among nineteenth-century figures, none stand out more to me than Robert E. Lee and Thomas Jonathan "Stonewall" Jackson. For that matter, practically all of the generals from the Old Confederacy were probably the greatest assembly of military leaders to ever live. Their combined character on and off the battlefield is the stuff of legend. It will never be matched.
My favorite Presidents would include George Washington, Andrew Jackson, James Garfield, Theodore Roosevelt, and Ronald Reagan. Washington is far and away the greatest President America has ever had. I like Jackson's rugged individualism and the way he stood up to the bankers of his day.
James Garfield grabs my respect, as he is the only minister to win the White House. In fact, he is quoted as saying, "I resign the highest office in the land to become President of the United States." He was assassinated less than four months after assuming office. I believe he would have been a great President had he lived.
How can anyone not like Teddy Roosevelt? He is an American legend, the hero of San Juan Hill, and an American icon.
I believe Teddy Roosevelt had a noble reason for his conservation policies, and in some ways, those policies were worthwhile. Obviously, however, those very same policies have evolved into little more than additional tools for Big Government in modern America.
For the record, I score Abraham Lincoln and Woodrow Wilson as being America's worst Presidents. On one hand, I credit Lincoln with breaking up the two-party monopoly prevalent in his day. We have not seen a Whig in a while. In this respect, I wish someone today could be another Lincoln and somehow break up the current two-party monopoly that plagues our country, because the party that replaced the Whigs (the Republican Party) is worse than the Whigs ever were. As President, however, Lincoln was a disaster. I encourage anyone wanting an honest, objective analysis of Lincoln's Presidency to read Thomas DiLorenzo's two masterpieces, "The Real Lincoln" and "Lincoln Unmasked."
Woodrow Wilson continued the collectivist, Big-Government policies of Lincoln and helped usher in the Sixteenth Amendment, the IRS, the Federal Reserve, and many other monstrosities. He also paved the way for the United Nations and other entities designed to steal America's liberty and independence.
I realize that Ronald Reagan's second term in office was riddled with inconsistencies and compromises. This was largely due to his foolish decision to surround himself with the George Bush Neocons that have dominated Washington, D.C., ever since. That said, however, Ronald Reagan's infectious patriotism, along with his willingness to face down the Soviet Union, carved out a great deal of respect for him in my heart.
Other people of note who I regard as heroes are people such as George Washington Carver, Booker T. Washington, General Douglas MacArthur, General Daniel "Chappie" James Jr., and, yes, even John Wayne. And I must also include Will Travis, David Crockett, and all those boys at the Alamo in my list of heroes.
Again, I realize that I have left off many names that--if space had permitted--I would have included. But there is my short list of history's heroes. How does it stack up to yours?
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