inspiring-america-nathan-hale-1The year 1776 is well known in American history. Obviously, it is directly associated with the signing of the Declaration of Independence, but it is also the year Nathan Hale gave his life for America. [1] A simple schoolteacher, he wanted to serve his country. [2] Military intelligence about the British was badly needed, which meant doing undercover work as a spy. [3] He volunteered for this assignment. His friends warned him that he would fail, for he did not know how to lie — often a requisite trait for a good spy. [4]

He seemed to be succeeding in his mission and was returning to the American Army, when one of his relatives turned him in to the British, who captured him 239 years ago today, September 21, 1776.  [5] The British executed him the following day, denying his last request for a Bible to comfort him. His last words before he was hung were, “I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country.” [6]
inspiring-america-nathan-hale-2These words have inspired generations of Americans, and were regularly taught to school students. But in recent years, Nathan Hale and heroes like him have largely disappeared from American public education as well as many history books. We need to reintroduce American students (and even adults) to our forgotten heroes and thus ignite the patriotic spirit in younger generations. As children across the nation have now returned to school, help inspire a child that you know with the amazing legacy left us by those who have come before.

One way to do this is through uplifting books designed for youth. For example, Patriots, Redcoats, & Spies is an historical novel tracing the efforts of two teenage boys fighting for the American cause by carrying out a secret mission as spies. Just like Nathan Hale, these fourteen year old boys also fight hardships and discovery at every turn. Find out what happens to them in Patriots, Redcoats, & Spies!

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We also have some two dozen biographies designed for young Americans in our American Heroes series. Give your child — or children you know, or even yourself — a chance to learn about some of the greats in American history, including Abigail Adams, the Wright Brothers, George Washington Carver, and so many others. Get inspired with accounts of the heroes who made America great.

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[1] Dictionary of American History, James Truslow Adams, editor (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1940), Vol. III, p. 5.

[2] I. W. Stuart, Life of Captain Nathan Hale, The Martyr-Spy of the American Revolution (Hartford: F.A. Brown, 1856), pp. 28-44.

[3] Benson J. Lossing. Seventeen Hundred and Seventy-Six, or the War of Independence; A History of the Anglo-American, From the Period of the Union of the Colonies Against the French, to the Inauguration of Washington, the First President of the United States of America (New York: Edward Walker, 1847), p. 206 note.

[4] Mrs. Maria Campbell, Revolutionary Services and Civil Life of General William Hull (New York: D. Appleton & Co., 1848) p. 35. See also, Benson J. Lossing, The Two Spies: Nathan Hale and John Andre, (New York: De. Applerton and Company, 1886), p. 14.

[5] Dictionary of American History, James Truslow Adams, editor (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1940),  Vol. III, p. 5. See also, I.W. Stuart, Life of Captain Nathan Hale, the martyr-spy of the American revolution (Hartford : F. A. Brown; 1856), p. 110; and George Dudley Seymour, Documentary Life of Nathan Hale, Comprising All Available Official and Private Documents Bearing on the Life of the Patriot (New-Haven: Privately Printed for the Author, The Tuttle, Morehouse & Taylor Company, 1941), p. 158, “Colonel Greene’s Picture of Nathan Hale as a School-Teacher: Testimony of Samuel Green respecting Nathan Hale given to me [Isaac W. Stuart]; and by me taken in the historical hall January, 1847.”

[6] Dictionary of American History, James Truslow Adams, editor (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1940), Vol. III, p. 5, see also George Dudley Seymour, Documentary Life of Nathan Hale, Comprising All Available Official and Private Documents Bearing on the Life of the Patriot (New-Haven: Privately Printed for the Author, The Tuttle, Morehouse & Taylor Company, 1941), p. 310.

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