Quintessential Americans is a series of dramatic monologues about significant and representative Americans from pre-Revolutionary times to the present. Each monologue is available free of charge for download and use by history and drama students.
The dates, places, and events in all of them are accurate, but individual scenes have been embellished, and the dialogue, for the most part, is invented. Those who use these monologues for performance are responsible for any questions that arise concerning their content. It is also the user's responsibility to obtain permission from living subjects to portray them in the monologue productions.
Why are these monologues relevant today?
The purpose of this series is to help us meet the challenges of today by showing how significant figures of the past met, or failed to meet, similar challenges. As the philosopher George Santayana remarked, "Those who do not know history are condemned to repeat it." All of these Quintessential Americans were reacting against the status quo of the previous generation and wanted to overthrow it. But many in turn were overthrown by the next generation as time moved on. Moreover, they were often at war with themselves about what course to take. To give but one example: Theodore Roosevelt was an avid advocate of protecting the environment where wildlife flourished; on the other hand, he liked nothing better than hunting, shooting, killing, and stuffing animals. To understand these Americans, we must appreciate their contradictions.