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Anna's Letter to David McCullough
By Anna Johnson
Genre: Non-fiction Level: High School 10-12
Year: 2006 Category: Letters About Literature

Dear Mr. McCullough,

To begin this letter I'd like to make a confession. The confession is: I usually don't read books on history. After reading your book, 1776, I've suddenly become more interested in books on history, especially those books that have to do with American history.

For me, 1776 demonstrated that history does repeat itself in many interesting ways. For example, as I write this letter, the United States is involved in a war in Iraq. We also have many people without a home and without food because of the hurricanes and tropical storms. During 1776, many families in the colonies were without home and food because of the war.

Honestly, I never thought history was that important, but after reading your book I've begun to realize just how important it really is. I also think more people should read 1776 because there is a lot to learn about the early history of the United States. If more people read your book, people would know what happened in the past so they'd be less likely to repeat past mistakes. In regard of Machiavelli's quote is very appropriate, "Whoever wishes to foresee the future must consult the past; for human events ever resemble those of preceding times. This arises from the fact that they are produced by men who ever have been, and ever shall be, animated by the same passions, and thus they necessarily have the same results."

Another interesting thing I learned from reading your book is that there were many people who agreed with the war of Independence - but there were also many people who disagreed with the war. It's just like today where many people support the war against terrorism, but there are many people who disagree with the war. Some believe today's war is a waste of money, human life and resources. Until I read 1776, I thought that everyone at that time would have wanted independence from Great Britain, as well as individual freedoms, but not everyone did. In 1776, people had a very big decision to make. The decision they finally made had a tremendous impact on the future of the United States as we know it today.

Last spring, our family visited Washington, D.C., and one of the things we wanted to see while we were there was the Declaration of Independence. Until that visit I never knew that it took so much time and effort to write it. And, for the many people that helped to write it. how many sacrifices they had to make; some even sacrificed their lives or put their entire family in jeopardy. Back then many people lived by the September 22, 1776 quote of Nathan Hale, "I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country." Many common people of the day also sacrificed a great deal for their beliefs and ideas. After reading 1776, I now realize that without all these people, and the risks they took, we wouldn't have the freedoms we enjoy today. Perhaps, more importantly, without the Declaration of Independence fewer people in the world would truly believe that all men are created equal.

Again, the book has many important points, especially all the sacrifices people had to make to change things for the better. The book also proves that if you don't learn history you will more likely repeat it. The people of 1776 had many decisions to make. Each of these decisions had a huge impact on how the United States would turn out. The Declaration of Independence is the document that states that all men are created equal. Your book had some really good points about the history of the United States and how we are impacted by the decisions of our forefathers.

Mr. McCullough, thanks to you and 1776, the next time someone asks me to read a book on history, I'll be happy to do so.

Anna Johnson

Anna Johnson
10th Grade
J.T. Hutchison High School, Fairbanks, Alaska
Teacher: Tammi Rego

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