03 August 2004


There's a pattern I noticed about fifteen years ago.

1789 George Washington
1861 Abraham Lincoln
1933 Franklin Delano Roosevelt

1789 + 72 = 1861
1861 + 72 = 1933

Historians Neil Howe and William Strauss argue that this isn't just a concidence. They say that American culture moves in a four-generation cycle --- a cycle the Romans called the sæculum, corresponding to the human lifespan. With each turning of the cycle, there's a great national crisis: the Revolution, the Civil War, the Depression / WWII. Given that Howe & Strauss linked the cultural cycle to American crises about a decade ago in their book The Fourth Turning: An American Prophecy, our current crisis makes that book's subtitle eerily, ah, prophetic.

Look again at that list of presidents. Three times, Americans have risen to the occasion.

1933 + 72 = 2005

Dare to hope.

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