"In this wonderful read, Carl Cannon has charted how U.S. presidents from George Washington to George Bush-and patriots from Frederick Douglass to John McCain--have used the galvanizing language of the Declaration of Independence to rally Americans to a cause larger than themselves. That cause--that truly noble cause--is the inexorable expansion of Thomas Jefferson's "unalienable rights" to those who do not have them. The book has a strong narrative thread from start to finish, but each of Cannon's dozen chapters comprises an essay that would be worth of the price of the book by itself. Hell, his footnotes alone are worth the price of the book."
Joel Garreau, author of The Nine Nations of North America

"Carl Cannon gives us an elegant tone poem to the purpose of the American idea. Through reflections on leaders historic and contemporary, Cannon delivers a patriotism far more engaging and profound than sticking an Old Glory pin on the lapel. He has captured something essential about the American spirit--at a time we need it most. "
Michael D. McCurry, former White House press secretary to President Bill Clinton

"Ever since Thomas Jefferson wrote the words into our nation's founding declaration, Americans have been debating through words and deeds the meaning of the pursuit of happiness. In this important and compelling book, Carl Cannon follows the phrase through American history, demonstrating both how vibrantly enduring the idea has been for two hundred years and how essential it is to understanding who we are as a people. Here is a history lesson and a contemplation on what it means to be an American in the same book."
Dayton Duncan, author of Out West: A Journey through Lewis & Clark's America

"One of our ablest President-watchers tackles an even bigger subject with grace and originality."
Richard E. Neustadt, Harvard University

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