American Patriots: Answering the Call to Freedom by Rick Santorum

Most everyone is somewhat familiar with the leadership and execellency of George Washington, the inspired work of Thomas Jefferson, the bravery of Nathanael Greene, and the other ‘big names’ of the Revolution.But what of the lesser known American Founding Fathers, the patriots who achieved amazing feats in the name of the American cause but are, today, largely forgotten?Generations past have widely known the names of Peter Francisco, John Laurens, Nancy Morgan Hart, Francis Marion, Haym Salomon, Phillis Wheatley, and Richard Allen, to name a few. Now their stories are largely lost to lesser known books.Perhaps it is not such a radical conclusion to say that the fewer Americans who know of the labors and sacrifices of these hero’s stories – that is, the less civic education is taught – the more Americans question the exceptionalism of the American Experiment. The less we know about who we are and where we came from, the more America becomes “broken” and “divided.”Former Senator and 2012 Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum wrote a book to tackle this very problem. In his new book, American Patriots: Answering the Call to Freedom (Tyndale, 2012), Santorum addresses the American ideals that are the fabric of our country, while at the same time telling the inspiring stories of the unsung American legends who fought for those ideals and our rights.“While our nation faces some serious issues, they can be solved by the time tested principles our founders instilled while fighting for our freedom,” Santorum said. “In order to move forward from some difficult times, we must take some time to remember where we came from.”In an easy-to-digest fashion, Santorum starts the book by explaining, with depth of thought, his understanding of the principles that animated the Founding Fathers, viz. the God-given rights of “Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness."While these rights were articulated in the Declaration of Independence, primarily by Thomas Jefferson, Santorum points out that it was also the average citizen who breathed life into the American cause. The Declaration is the written sentiment that is deep in every American.The book then goes on to relate and highlight the stories of 25 heroes – be they an enlisted soldier, a wife and mother, or merchant – who exemplified, in some way, the sacrifice it took to secure those blessed rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Santorum introduces the fundamental three rights, then ties about seven stories each to the rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. He includes the stories of folks such as:

  • Peter Francisco, the giant soldier said to have decapitated eleven enemy dragoons in one charge;
  • Nancy Morgan Hart, a rough women who personally captured several enemy troops who invaded her home;
  • Christopher Ludwig, the “gingerbread man” who saved the Continental army at Valley Forge when he took over as Baker General;
  • Haym Salomon, the financier of the Revolution who gave his fortune for the American cause.

These examples, and the twenty-one other stories in the book, along with the plethora of other noteworthy heroes, “provide stirring reminders of the extraordinary faith, courage, and determination that set this country on the path to greatness centuries ago, as well as continued inspiration for generations of American patriots to come,” says Santorum.Santorum challenges the reader to remember, learn, and be awed by their heroism. The burden now falls on us to remember what these highlighted Patriots sacrificed to accomplish; to tell their stories, because they are the American story. With all the political upheaval in the world today, we can be inspired by the people in Rick Santorum’s book, of average Americans who answered the call to freedom, fighting for their rights for themselves and for the sake of future generations. Book Review by Benjamin Kafferlin

FeaturedMark Rodgers