- Historic Sites
The Wild Freedom Of The Mountain Men
The imagined liberty of Rousseau’s primitive individual was actually attained by the free trappers who helped America gain a continent
August 1955 | Volume 6, Issue 5
Curious parallels can be found between the compulsive, unmuzzled life of such a man as Old Bill Williams and the riotous lives of some of the men of the early Renaissance. Perhaps a line could be drawn from Renaissance humanism to the American idea—the idea of revolutionary America, supporting human dignity by placing authority on the side of individual liberty and the pursuit of happiness—and the line continued to the mountain men.
It is eminently suitable that they were instrumental (all unknowing, while they hunted beaver) in accomplishing a continental America before they vanished.
Copyright, 1955, by William Brandon.