Congress and David McCullough

Republicans and Democrats with book by David McCullough
Republicans and Democrats with book by David McCullough

Sen. Susan Collins with Sen. Bob Casey as Sen. Chris Coons talks with Sen. Roy Blunt photo ©Bruce Guthrie

In show of bipartisan cooperation Senators Blunt, Casey, Coons and Collins gather to receive inspirational book by David McCullough

On November 8, 2017 the United States Capitol Historical Society completed its project to deliver of a copy of David McCullough’s book of speeches, The American Spirit to every member of Congress.  The New York Times best seller concludes with Mr. McCullough’s acceptance remarks on receiving the U. S. Capitol Historical Society’s Freedom Award in 2016.  Sens. Roy Blunt and Bob Casey, who are Trustees of the U.S. Capitol Historical Society joined Donald G. Carlson, Board Chair and the Hon. Ronald A. Sarasin, President, as they delivered the book to Sens. Chris Coons and Susan Collins.

“I am thrilled about this wonderful event of every member of Congress getting a copy of my book.”  commented McCullough. “It means worlds to me”

McCullough declared “I still have faith in Congress, as strange as that may sound, in this moment in our story as a country, but I really do”.  He continued “I think the country tends to forget how much of what we take pride in came about because of Congress. It was Congress that voted for the railroads and Congress that voted for the interstate highway system and the Marshall Plan and the GI Bill, one of the greatest accomplishments in higher education in the whole history of the country, Congress did that!”

“I hope that what will be found in the book that I’ve written and from the talks I have given is that words matter and that history matters and the knowledge of who we are and where we have come from and

what we have achieved through suffering and hard work and faith in what we stand for, matters.  How that is achieved is what we all too often have taken for granted.  To be ignorant of history is to show gross ingratitude. “

Senator Casey remarked “I’m excited to celebrate Pennsylvania native David McCullough. For years, his work has inspired us to dive deeper into and think more critically about our Nation’s history. I look forward to discussing The American Spirit with my colleagues.”

Sarasin stated, “We presented Mr. McCullough with our Freedom Award because of his ability to enhance the public’s understanding of people who have shaped our nation and his commitment to inspire the informed citizenship that is the foundation of true freedom.  The respect he garners from both sides of the aisle was evident in the warm words of congratulations from Leaders Kevin McCarthy and Nancy Pelosi, who both participated in the Freedom Award presentation.  We are thrilled that Mr. McCullough’s speech from that program appears in this book and of course we are delighted to share it with every Member of Congress.”

Carlson added “Mr. McCullough is a renowned author and historian who reminds us that although there has been great conflict in the halls of Congress for more than 200 years, our Constitution is built to foster principled debate. His spirit and words inspire both parties and we are proud to facilitate this show of scholarship and bi-partisanship in honor of all that Members of Congress have in common.”

Each book contains a bookplate with this inscription:  “This book is presented to all Members of Congress in appreciation for your leadership and service to our country. This gift was made possible by a donation from Simon & Schuster in honor of David McCullough with this dedication: ‘It is a rare opportunity to put the chief cause of one of our most beloved, respected historians directly in the hands of people who can enact change and help close the gap to common ground.”

USCHS volunteer Valerie Crotty and her friends affixed the bookplates to more than 500 books before staff and volunteers delivered a book to every Member of Congress.

Many members of the U.S. Capitol Historical Society attended the Freedom Award presentation where McCullough delivered the last speech in the book.  You can watch a recording of the program and speech on C-SPANYou can also purchase your own copy of the book The American Spirit from the USCHS website.

Board Chair Don Carlson, Sens. Susan Collins, Chris Coons, Roy Blunt, USCHS Pres. Ron Sarasin and Sen. Bob Casey with book by David McCullough photo ©Bruce Guthrie


USCHS Trustee Congressman John Larson with volunteer Chuck Beck who delivered hundreds of books to Members of Congress


David McCullough making remarks upon receiving Freedom Award in 2016 photo ©Katie Garlock