Religion, morality and knowledge, being necessary to good government and the happiness of mankind, schools and the means of education shall forever be encouraged. ~U.S. Law, Northwest Ordinance, 1787
In the summer of 2012, I had the privilege of attending a conference at Hillsdale College. One of the keynote speakers was Dr. Rufus Fears. His talk that evening is here.
I had never heard of Dr. Fears, and candidly, I was not able to pick him out in the crowd during the introduction. He was dressed casually and would not stand behind the podium, preferring to walk up and down the aisles of the auditorium.
Dr. Fears’ talk was outstanding, though it left me feeling a little inadequate. Somehow or another, I have managed to NOT learn way too much history. And as is the point of this talk, not knowing history can have needless, devastating consequences.
Dr. Fears was so gentle, so grandfather-ly, that I rushed to speak with him at the reception that followed. He was kind and asked several questions about my family. I hurried our conversation knowing that others wished to speak with him.
Sadly, Dr. Fears passed away several weeks ago. But not before he produced this lecture series on American history. If you need a refresher, I believe you will enjoy these lectures.
I regret that I did not spend more time with Dr. Fears. He has touched thousands, and his life’s thesis is worth telling: he encouraged his students to live historically. That is, to use the knowledge of the past to make decisions in the present, and to plan for the future. He had unique gifts, and he will be deeply missed. We need more men and women who, like Dr. Fears, know history and can communicate it in an elegant, persuasive way.