A MEMORANDUM TO THE HISTORIANS
E. C. BARKSDALE
"These," wrote Thomas Paine one hundred and sixty-six
years ago, "are times that try men's souls. Today again the
soul of the American people is tested in the crucible of
war; the nation faces its gravest hour, its gravest years.
Our ideology, our beliefs, our dreams, the way we think,
do, and eat are at stake.
The history of the United States has been the history of
obstacles overcome. The tiny groups at Plymouth and
Jamestown, the embattled rabble at Concord and Camden,
the bonneted and buckskinned clearers of the forest, the
prairie schooner pushing its way indomitably into the
plains, the tall men who walked down the road to their
Gethsemane in the Alamo and at Goliad-theirs has been
the story of magnificent struggle against almost matchless
odds. That story, written in toil, travail, and tears, is our
predicate for the present and for tomorrow. Our hope for
the future depends upon the strength of the structure we
have builded in the past.
Such observations lead us logically and inevitably to the
question: "What today is the duty of the Texas State His-
torical Association?" This question is best answered, in
the words of a Texas school man when someone objected
to his organization of a chapter of the Junior Historians.
"This," said the critic, "is no time for school expansional
programs; this is no time for historical organizations."
"Surely," replied the educator, "no better time can exist.
If a knowledge of our history is not important now, when,
then, will it be important? We must instill in the minds
and the hearts of every youngster in this republic knowl-
edge, love, and respect for our heroic heritage."
In every official publication released by The University
of Texas are these burning words of the first president of
the Republic of Texas, Mirabeau B. Lamar:
"Cultivated mind is the guardian genius of Democracy.
. . . It is the only dictator that freemen acknowledge, and
the only security that freemen desire."
[ 258 ]
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 45, July 1941 - April, 1942. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth146053/. Accessed May 3, 2015.