Historian David McCullough shares some of the speeches he's made over the past forty years. The main theme of the speeches is the importance of history. However, McCullough also highlights eras of American history where politicians worked together to solve problems. He also praises those, like John Quincy Adams, for taking an unpopular stand for the betterment of the country. After serving as President, Adams then served in Congress, representing Massachusetts. In the House of Representatives, Adams fought to have petitions against slavery read before Congress in the 1830's. The 1830's were a time when few northern politicians took a stand against slavery. Unlike other books about current day politics that point fingers at the opposition, The American Spirit shows us we can learn from the past to make us better people.