The “MTSU On the Record” radio program went behind the scenes of America’s beginnings with one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence, thanks to a nationally recognized expert on our nation’s founding documents.
Host Gina Logue’s interview with Dr. John Vile, dean of the University Honors College and a prolific author of multiple books on America’s Founding Fathers and their work, first aired May 28 on WMOT-FM Roots Radio 89.5 and online at www.wmot.org. You can listen to their conversation above.
Vile’s new book, “A Constellation of Great Men: Exploring the Character Sketches of Dr. Benjamin Rush of Pennsylvania of the Signers of the Declaration of Independence,” focuses on Rush, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, and the character sketches he wrote to describe his 18th-century colleagues.
Rush, a physician from Pennsylvania, described the oratory, personalities, assets and shortcomings of all the signers, including such legendary figures as Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson and John Adams.
Vile said that while Rush believed his own contributions to the Declaration were largely overshadowed by others’ accomplishments, his observations of his colleagues are remarkably accurate and uncolored by pettiness or spite.
“The fact that he can be friends both with Jefferson and Adams when they are at loggerheads suggests that he had a pretty easygoing personality,” Vile said.
Of himself, Rush was succinct, writing only, “He aimed well.”
You can read the full text of the Declaration of Independence here at the USHistory.org website.
Vile’s previous book, published last November, also featured the document that created America: “The Declaration of Independence: America’s First Founding Document in U.S. History and Culture.”
The month before, he published “The American Flag: An Encyclopedia of the Stars and Stripes in U.S. History, Culture and Law,” the first encyclopedia dedicated solely to the American flag.
The constitutional law expert and political science professor has ventured into first-person stories of the framers of the Constitution, too.
The 2015 book he edited, “The Wisest Council in the World: Restoring the Character Sketches by William Pierce of Georgia of the Delegates to the Constitutional Convention of 1787,” presented more observations of the Founding Fathers by a fellow delegate.
To hear previous “MTSU On the Record” programs, visit the searchable “Audio Clips” archives at www.mtsunews.com.
For more information about “MTSU On the Record,” contact Logue at 615-898-5081 or WMOT-FM at 615-898-2800.