“For them, living their lives in peace means they would have the opportunity to fulfill their responsibility to do something important for God. They understood that freedom was not merely the freedom to be left alone; it was the freedom to do what was right.”
So writes Eric Metaxas in his enlightening and exciting book If You Can Keep It: The Forgotten Promise of American Liberty. Metaxas takes readers through important events and introduces us to some lesser-known heroes who helped shape America’s founding principles. The book is easy to read in part because each chapter is a stand-alone story.
Metaxas draws our attention to the founding idea of America as a melting pot of people from different backgrounds, races and religions bound together by the desire for liberty. Liberty can be achieved through what Metaxas describes as the golden triangle of freedom: freedom requires virtue, virtue requires faith, and faith requires freedom. As the book progresses, it becomes evident how conscious our forefathers were of this notion. The reader also receives much practical knowledge for keeping our Constitutional republic in good standing. Metaxas explains our responsibilities through the examples of those that lived before us, giving a clear vision of what our duties as citizens entail.
While most historical authors focus on well-known figures such as George Washington and Benjamin Franklin, Metaxas dives into the lives of lesser-known American heroes such as Paul Revere, George Whitfield and Squanto. Each of these men lived significantly different lives from one another, yet they all advanced a similar goal: American exceptionalism. They showed that dedication and determination could change the course of history at any moment, even in the face of long odds. Their actions deeply moved the Founding Fathers’ hearts and influenced America’s governmental structure which still stands today. They are the reason why it is “we, the people” who determine the leaders of our country.
If You Can Keep It gives us an exciting read for this challenging time and reminds us of our unique national history and the opportunities we still have on the horizon. Metaxas closes the book with a reminder of how important it is to love America. With all of its setbacks and triumphs, America is a beautiful country filled with many different thoughts, cultures and religions held together by the belief that America is great because it is good. We can strive with and learn from each other in order to create new stories to share. His expert writing style leaves the reader completely enthralled with the many inspiring stories of American heroes.