Cover image for We hold these truths-- : and other words that made America
We hold these truths-- : and other words that made America
Publication Information:
Lanham, Md. : Rowman & Littlefield Publishers : Distributed by National Book Network ; Williamsburg, Va. : In association with the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, c2008.
Physical Description:
xiii, 242 p. : ill. ; 23 cm.
Subject Term:


Material Type
Call Number
Item Available
Book 973.3 ARO 1 1

On Order



Remember the ladies. A Republic if you can keep it. I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country. If this be treason, make the most of it. Don't fire till you see the whites of their eyes. I can't tell a lie. These words and words like them, whether written or spoken, had a profound importance during America's Founding period. These are the words of legend and gravitas, referenced by generations of teachers, politicians, and commentators. These are the words that still inspire revolutionary changes in the United States and elsewhere. But what do they mean? What's the real story behind them? Why do they inspire us today, more than two centuries after first spoken or written? We Hold These Truths. . . . answers these questions about fifty-four of the best-known quotes from the Founding period. This book covers two hundred years of early American history and highlights quotes from both the founders and the founding documents. Combining each quote with a rich narratives that highlights its astounding, and generally unknown, origin. History buffs of all ages will love We Hold These Truths. . . .

Author Notes

Paul Aron is a senior editor and writer for Colonial Williamsburg. He is the author of several books, including Unsolved Mysteries of American History, Unsolved Mysteries of History, More Unsolved Mysteries of American History, and Did Babe Ruth Call His Shot'.

Reviews 1

Booklist Review

How Thomas Jefferson reluctantly yet speedily composed the Declaration of Independence, that Paul Revere never said, The British are coming, and that George Washington did not cut down the cherry tree are just a few of the examples here of historic stories that probably aren't true. There are 54 quotes that Aron scrutinizes, seeking the real stories behind them. The book covers 200 years of early American history and describes quotes from the nation's founders and their documents. So, here we have Benjamin Franklin's Early to bed and early to rise, makes a man healthy wealthy and wise.  Or William Prescott's Don't fire 'till you see the whites of their eyes. Aron points out that these are some of the words that changed the course of history. We Hold These Truths is a skillful, ingenious work that is entertaining to read.--Cohen, George Copyright 2008 Booklist

Table of Contents

Prefacep. ix
Acknowledgmentsp. xiii
1 Abigail Adamsp. 1
Remember the Ladies
2 John Adamsp. 9
Facts are stubborn things
The most insignificant office that ever the invention of man contrived
The Revolution was in the minds and hearts of the people
Thomas Jefferson survives
3 Anonymousp. 21
E Pluribus Unum
Yankee Doodle went to town
4 John Dickinsonp. 27
By uniting we stand, by dividing we fall
United, we stand-Divided, we fall
5 Olaudah Equianop. 33
The shrieks of the women, and the groans of the dying
6 Benjamin Franklinp. 41
Early to bed and early to rise
Let the experiment be made
Join, or Die
Don't tread on me
We must ... all hang together, or most assuredly we shall all hang separately
A republic if you can keep it
7 Nathan Halep. 57
I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country
8 Alexander Hamiltonp. 65
I never expect to see a perfect work from imperfect man
Your people is a great beast
9 John Hancockp. 73
I write so that King George III may read without his spectacles
10 Patrick Henryp. 81
If this be treason, make the most of it
Give me liberty, or give me death
11 Thomas Jeffersonp. 89
We hold these truths to be self-evident
a wall of separation between church and state
I like a little rebellion now and then
a government without newspapers or newspapers without a government
We have the wolf by the ears
Is it the Fourth?
12 John Paul Jonesp. 105
I have not yet begun to fight
13 Francis Scott Keyp. 113
O! say can you see
In God is our Trust
14 James Madisonp. 121
If men were angels, no government would be necessary
Congress shall make no law
15 John Marshallp. 131
An act of the legislature, repugnant to the Constitution, is void
The government of the Union is, emphatically and truly, a government of the people
The people made the Constitution, and the people can unmake it
16 George Masonp. 139
All men are by nature equally free and independent
17 James Otisp. 147
Taxation without representation is tyranny
No taxation without representation
18 Thomas Painep. 155
We have it in our power to begin the world over again
These are the times that try men's souls
19 William Prescottp. 165
Don't fire till you see the whites of their eyes
20 Paul Reverep. 173
One, if by land, and two, if by sea
The British are coming
21 Tachnedorusp. 181
Who is there to mourn for Logan? Not one
22 George Washingtonp. 189
I can't tell a lie
I heard the bullets whistle
Their marches might be traced by the blood from their feet
If their citizens should not be completely free and happy, the fault will be entirely their own
My movement to the chair of government will be accompanied by feelings not unlike those of a culprit who is going to the place of his execution
entangling alliances with none
First in war, first in peace, and first in the hearts of his countrymen
23 Phillis Wheatleyp. 205
In every human breast, God has implanted a principle, which we call love of freedom
24 James Wilsonp. 213
We the people
Bibliographyp. 221
Indexp. 235
About the Authorp. 242