It is often said that one man can change the course of history. Presidents like Washington, Lincoln, and the two Roosevelts have undoubtedly put their mark on American history—but, great as they were, their achievements weren’t realized single-handedly. Something—or someone else also helped push that change.
Washington was one of the founding fathers, but it’s important to remember that this was a group== a collection of what we would call political activists who initiated the revolution that created a new, powerful nation. And, since the founding fathers, it’s been civil activists who’ve driven significant change in the United States. In Engines of Liberty, we take a look at some of the accomplishments these activists have made in the last few decades.
Contrary to what some people believe, politicians and leaders actually care a lot about what the public thinks of them. And in this regard, activists can have a huge impact on the decisions that get made in society. They can draw much needed attention to specific causes and create pressure on governments to come up with good solutions.
Engines of Liberty (2016) is an exploration into the influence citizens can have on government, and the changes that can be brought about through activism, the spreading of information and the mobilization of one’s peers. When it comes to the big issues of our time, like gay marriage, guns and human rights, it’s passionate citizens who are speaking up for what they believe in and bringing about change.
The author, David Cole, is a professor of Law and Public Policy at Georgetown University Law Center and an advocate for civil liberties. In addition to being a contributor to publications such as the New York Times, the Washington Post, and the Wall Street Journal, he is also the author of multiple books, including No Equal Justice and Enemy Aliens.
I would recommend this book to activists passionate about civil liberties, lawyers and politicians who are interested in the history of civil rights, and concerned citizens who want to become more active.