The Joseph Group

Our Better Angels

June 30, 2023

To Inspire:

As we step into this 4th of July weekend, it may be tempting to focus on the tremendous problems we face as a nation: growing violence, deep division; staggering poverty; and the continued breakdown of the family. But lest we move too far towards despair, I much prefer to shift our thinking to the great strength and resiliency of this nation over the many decades since that first July 4th back in 1776. Founded on the principles of religious freedom and the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, we continue to be a bulwark of light for the much of the world, a country that other nations still look to as an example.

I have a book recommendation for all of us – The Soul of America: The Battle for Our Better Angels, by noted historian Jon Meacham. His goal with this book is to revisit periods of U.S. history when the politics of hope prevailed over the politics of fear. Meacham takes us back to critical periods of our history when fear nearly gained the upper hand. From the revolutionary war itself to the great struggle over slavery in the 1860’s, to the isolationism that nearly kept us out of WWI, to the Great Depression and WWII, through the Vietnam War and into the present, Meacham provides a study of the many divisive eras that marked our history and how the “the better angels of our nature” allowed hope and our basic goodness to triumph over fear and madness. The book reassures readers that America’s best qualities can once again prevail over its worst.

That outcome is not a foregone conclusion however; the principles of freedom must be protected and fought for in every generation. How can we in this day and age protect and fight for those rights? Through the many little acts and encounters we have every day. By honoring each and every life and seeing the dignity of every person regardless of their circumstances. By listening more and speaking less; focusing on others and not on ourselves. By becoming a source of lightness and goodness in the world.  In a word, by becoming a person of love.

As we celebrate this 4th of July with family and friends, let’s recommit ourselves to preserving the goodness and the greatness of America and the principles on which it was founded. By living as we want others to live, we will strengthen this nation one person at a time and offer the chance of recovering all that we stand for as a nation. Have a wonderful 4th and may God bless America!





Written by Matt Palmer, Partner & Co-Founder