I haven't read this throughBut I've always found it heart-warming. The modern conservatives tend to only praise the people who came after, and not those who made the way possible.
These principles of the civilized life were strongly illustrated in our War of Independence. The forerunners of that war were a race of giants. Their like has hardly been seen in any other epoch of that sublime scrimmage called history. Five or six names may be selected from the list of the early American prophets whose deeds and outcry, if reduced to hexameters, would be not the Iliad, not the Jerusalem Delivered, but the Epic of Human Liberty.From James Otis: The Pre-Revolutionist.
The greatest of these, our protagonists of freedom, was Benjamin Franklin. After him it were difficult to name the second. It is always difficult to find the second man; for there are several who come after. In the case of our forerunners the second may have been Thomas Jefferson; it may have been Samuel Adams; it may have been his cousin; it may have been Thomas Paine; it may have been Patrick Henry; it may have been James Otis, the subject of this monograph.