The Lamp of Experience: Whig History and the Intellectual Origins of the American Revolution
I have but one lamp by which my feet are guided, and that is the lamp of experience. I know of no way of judging the future but by the past.
- Patrick Henry
Written as an intellectual history, The Lamp of Experience explores how Colonialists studied the past, employed it to the present, and adapted it to the future. The role of historical interpretation in shaping the foundation of the United States is impossible to overstate. Only once armed with a thorough understanding of its political and historical heritage could a new nation survive. John Adams posited, “How can any man judge, unless his mind has been opened and enlarged by reading?”