I've been watching John Adams, the series HBO did recently. This might not thrill *you*, but it certainly revved my engine!
It was incredible, go watch it as soon as you have several hours to devote. I learned a lot, and although of course I took most of it with a grain of salt, there were some really interesting facts that I hadn't known before (always a thrill for me).
For example, did you know John Adams & Thomas Jefferson both died on July 4, 1826, 50 years to the day after the final signed version of the Declaration of Independence was issued? That's just crazy.
(Oh, did everyone know that? Ah. Well. Moving on.)
Lots of the stories we've heard in our oral - and subsequently written - history about what they did then were a bit exaggerated (not a shock), but the ones that surprised me most were that a) apparently Ben Franklin was the original hipster doofus and b) there wasn't a big "Signing of the Declaration" moment in Freedom Hall - there was a war going on, and everyone just sort of signed as they came in and out.
What's *truly* amazing, though, is how relevant to our current times the events of nearly 250 years ago really are to today's politics and state of our union... we haven't really changed, we just got bigger.
Some favorite quotes of his:
Liberty cannot be preserved without general knowledge among the people.
(In other words, pay attention.)
I have accepted a seat in the House of Representatives, and thereby have consented to my own ruin, to your ruin, and to the ruin of our children. I give you this warning that you may prepare your mind for your fate.
(Why aren't more politicians this honest?)
Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passions, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.
And my favorite...
Let us tenderly and kindly cherish, therefore, the means of knowledge. Let us dare to read, think, speak, and write.
Watching the series really renewed my respect for the founding of our country; I wonder if any of our politicians today would have the courage to do what they did.