"As we enjoy great advantages from the inventions of others, we should be glad of the opportunity provided to serve self-interest when Al Gore created the internet; and we should also thank Mark Zuckerburg and Jack Dorsey for creating Facebook and Twitter out of the kindness of their big hearts and not the thinness of their small wallets."
-Ben Franklin, Autobiography (1742)

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Liberty Smith!

Liberty Smith

Though our research rarely affords us the opportunity to see anything outside of our office or a few select congressional libraries, I had the pleasure last night of attending a play at the historic Ford's Theater in Washington, D.C - once made famous as the site where Lincoln was shot, and now home to numerous productions both entertaining and educational.

The theater's current production (running March 23 - May 21, 2011 - still not too late to catch a show) is a musical retelling of the early life of one of our nation's most unsung heroes, a man by the name of Liberty Smith. Though we here at Lost and Founders are generally in the business of providing as much historic detail as possible in our posts, I will for once avoid giving away too many "spoilers" in appreciation for the fine folks who have worked to make this program a reality.

I will say however that I am immensely pleased that someone is finally telling this true story. Creators Marc Madnick, Eric Cohen, Adam Abraham, and Michael Weiner have done an excellent job of bringing to life one of the real heroes of the American Revolution.

For readers not familiar with Mr. Smith's role in history - this unrivaled patriot was a child-hood friend of George Washington, even pursuing during his teenage years the same miss Martha Dandridge who eventually married Washington. As a spirit a revolution began to foment in the hearts of the then British colonists, Liberty's life story consistently found him fighting alongside and often influencing the actions of the men and women we now praise as American Founders. Little known facts about Liberty Smith include:

- He helped G.W chop down the infamous cherry tree when they were kids.
- He coined the phrase "No taxation without representation" that became an anthem for revolution.
- He was the inspiration for the illustrious The Sons of Liberty and their famous Boston Tea Party.
- He was the once-unnamed apprentice of Ben Franklin struck by lightning in the famous kite experiment.
- He played an integral role in helping Thomas Jefferson pen the Declaration of Independence.
- He once fought and defeated Benedict Arnold in a swordfight to save a damsel in distress.

The list goes on, but the truly inspiring characteristic of Liberty is that while his role in these formative years of our nation was obviously incredible, you will never read about him in a history book because he continually chose to remain behind the scenes, therefore sharing none of the glory of his peers. Indeed, Liberty Smith considered his duty to be for the sake of his country and not for his own fame, an ideal that we should all aspire to in this day and age. As such we are proud to finally see him recognized as a true American hero.

While we typically shy away from promoting anything in this blog, we do encourage readers in the DC area to attend one of the final showings of Liberty Smith at Ford's Theater and pay tribute to one of history's greats.  http://www.fordstheatre.org/event/liberty-smith

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