Tag: American history

New Online Course on US History from Hillsdale


As I know many of our colleagues are devotees of that premier institution of higher education Hillsdale College, and in the probably unlikely event that those of us who love that College and everything it stands for may not already know this, I would like to share the good news that it is now offering a new course, based on Wilfred McKay’s new text, on the actual, not the product of Marxists like Howard Zinn, history of  America.

Here is the course description:

Podcast: Colored Patriots of the American Revolution


I’ve been kicking around the idea of doing a podcast for some time now and I’ve finally got around to doing it. Apropos of Black History Month, I’m going back through a book I read years ago by William C. Nell called Colored Patriots of the American Revolution.

Nell is basically the reason we’re familiar with Crispus Attucks. He and several others asked the Massachusetts legislature to erect a monument to Attucks as an honor to the first martyr of the Revolution. The committee handling the petition said someone else, a boy, had died earlier so their claim wasn’t valid.

At this point, the mid-18th century, the story about Attucks had been nearly forgotten. Nell began an intensive research effort to interview survivors and relatives to compile a record of these black patriots for posterity. His book is the product of that research.

Impeachment as Congressional Contempt of the Constitution


The Framers did not intend the impeachment power to give Congress supremacy, in the form of being able to harass and paralyze the Courts or the president over policy differences, let alone raw political will. Nevertheless, Congress has acted, almost from the beginning, with selective contempt for the Constitution, both legislatively and in its employment of the impeachment power. There is really nothing new under the sun, including what the current majority party in the House of Representatives is doing…and it is still contemptuous of the Constitution.

Take a step back from the current tempest in the Congressional teapot and consider the facts laid out in 1992 by Chief Justice William Rehnquist in Grand Inquests: the Historic Impeachments of Justice Samuel Chase and President Andrew Johnson. The Chief Justice published this very approachable book the year that William Jefferson Clinton beat President Bush the First. Taking his book as a guide to the subject and the actors, some focused searching on the internet yields plenty of historical data and documents. Consider just the first major impeachment, along with a prelude, at the dawn of the 19th Century.

As soon as two parties formed and fought for the presidency, upon President Washington declining to run for a third term, they set about violating the Constitution with the Alien and Sedition Acts, outlawing political speech that the party in power disliked. In that context, with factions at each other’s throats, Congress impeached, tried, and removed a federal judge, then targeted a Supreme Court justice, Samuel Chase.

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“Is the country more divided than ever,” asks a poll today (December 7th) on Laura Ingraham’s LifeZette website. During the House Judiciary Committee hearings on the impeachment of Donald Trump this week, the estimable law professor, Jonathan Turley, delivered one of the more notable if humorous lines of an otherwise forgettable event: “I get it. […]

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Don’t Know Much About History: Veterans Day Edition


This is page one of the “Intermediate Level U.S. History since 1900” workbook, used to prepare for the citizenship exam. What, if anything, do you think current 8th-12th graders and college students would put down in each block, before peeking or asking Siri or Alexa? If you let either of those spirits into your home, what do they say about these wars?

Citizenship Study Guide page

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I heard a story about something called “Deep Equity” and decided to research. I have a couple of pet peeves. They involve the hearts and minds of children. My peeves extend to drag queens in full regalia reading to children at libraries. I’m ok with anyone reading. I love books. I loved story time as […]

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In the Newsmaker Interview, Cara talks with Wilfred McClay, University of Oklahoma Professor and author of Land of Hope: An Invitation to the Great American Story, a new high school history textbook that seeks to provide an account of this nation’s rich and complex story that puts it in proper perspective, and that is both honest and inspiring.

Stories of the Week: Are retirement benefits that are crowding out spending on current teachers’ priorities a “hidden driver” of union strikes like the one announced last week in Chicago? In California, there’s a rise in “due process” settlements in legal battles over access to special education services – but who benefits?  In Rhode Island, Providence’s Mayor plans to allow a charter school network to open one additional school, but then to ask the state to limit the expansion of all other charters in that beleaguered school district.

Losing the ‘Narrative’ Narrative?


Foucault mis readerIn the process of critically assessing the New York Times’ “1619 Project,” an author at The Spectator managed to misread Foucault. Please hang in there! I promise this is worth your while. I offer some helpful context for the “1619 Project,” and show that it is very vulnerable to attack from a post-modern icon. You need not trot out conservative arguments that fall on deaf ears. You can turn Foucault on the New York Times.

John Hinderaker, of Power Line Blog, offered a commonsense analysis of the NYT “racism” narrative:

A normal person might wonder why the Democratic Party, in the person of the New York Times, is so obsessed with slavery, which was abolished 154 years ago. Isn’t it time to move on? Forty or fifty years ago, that is what just about everyone thought. But the Times, on behalf of the Democratic Party, is trying to stir up race hatred. Democrats think racial hostility is essential to defeating President Trump in 2020–their paramount goal, next to which everything else is an afterthought. They face a problem, in that Trump has been the best president for blacks, certainly since Reagan, maybe forever. So, they say, let’s focus on 1619. And then go out and vote for Democrats, the party of slavery and Jim Crow.

Leftist History over American Herstory


Just where does an American-based corporation and their rich, male, former jock, brand representative get off imposing history over the narrative of a woman? I had thought we were past powerful privileged men silencing, dismissing, and trivializing herstory. Yet here we are, with another patriarchal pack mansplaining a woman’s original work. The corporate leadership of Nike, following the lead of Colin Kaepernick, have branded Betsy Ross’s original flag design a white supremacist symbol.

Leftist propaganda organs have amplified this slander, claiming white supremacist groups use the original flag design to signify rejecting the post-Civil War constitutional amendments. The left’s real objection, of course, is to the actual history, the Declaration of Independence that they despise, assigning to it the same strained and stained meaning claimed by the black-robed bigot, Chief (In)Justice Taney in the fraudulent Dred Scott decision. Instead of supporting herstory, and taking back a woman’s original creative work from some knuckle-dragging mouth-breathers, the leftist elite privileged this attack on women, thus banishing a woman’s art as shameful.

All people of good will should push back, rejecting such a shameful assault on a woman’s work and her important place in America’s story. Reject Nike’s leftist hate. True history must include her story. Fly the Betsy Ross flag with pride, as President Obama did at both of his inaugural ceremonies, as did his predecessors and successor. See the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies. See, also, the New York Times on President Obama’s 2013 inauguration:

Johns Hopkins’s Blooming Ideas


http://welcometobaltimorehon.com/images/johnshopkins.jpgJohns Hopkins was born on this day, May 19, 1795. A Marylander, his Quaker parents lived out their religious beliefs by freeing their slaves. This cost them greatly and led them to put their son into their tobacco fields at age 12, ending his formal education. Yet, Johns Hopkins not only overcame the economic disadvantages imposed on him by his parents, but also overcame the natural human impulse to hate the “other,” the people with darker skin who society and his personal experience would tell him to blame. From a poor start in his parents’ tobacco fields, after transplantation to the merchantile field, Johns Hopkins blossomed into a business leader, then grew other businesses through investment, finally creating seedbeds from which amazing new ideas bloomed.

Johns Hopkins started life with a very unusual first name. As Johns Hopkins Medicine explains:

Johns Hopkins’ peculiar first name was simply a family affair; it had been his great-grandmother’s maiden name.

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[T]he great Ulysses—the Yankee Generalissimo, surnamed Grant—has expressed his intention of dining in Vicksburg on Saturday next, and celebrating the 4th of July by a grand dinner and so forth. When asked if he would invite Gen. Jo Johnston to join he said. ‘No! for fear there will be a row at the table.’ Ulysses […]

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I commend to your attention this article by Jaspreet Singh Boparai, which appeared in the web-zine Quillette on March 10. It looks back on a forgotten episode in modern history, but one that reverberates to this day. “The French Genocide That Has Been Air-Brushed From History” Preview Open

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Why Conceal Weapons?


Despite not carrying a gun, I’m a 2nd Amendment extremist, which is to say I respect the US Constitution as written.

It says “the right to keep and bear Arms” — not the right to bear only “firearms,” nor only the right to “keep” arms in the home. The Constitution’s authors clearly meant the public carrying of weapons, as evidenced by plain language and history.

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John Marshall is one of the most consequential figures in the history of the United States, yet too little is known about him. In John Marshall : The Man Who Made The Supreme Court, journalist and author Richard Brookhiser seeks to help us know more about this man. In life Marshall was an unimposing character. Early […]

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The American Zeal for Punching Up


Red-blooded, real Americans are sick of America’s elites punching down on them. Authentic American politics, like authentic American comedy, roots for the underdog and punches up, not down. The problem with today’s elites is their down is up and their up is down: Our elites believe they’re signaling their superior virtue by “punching up” when they ridicule heartland America, but of course what they’re really doing is using their privileged social status to punch down on heartland America instead. Or that’s how it seems to many of us. For those unfamiliar with this punchy lingo, comedian Ben Schwartz explains,

“Punching up” and “punching down” are relatively new pop-political terms, often found not far from words like “mansplaining,” “problematic,” and “trolling.”

‘Turncoat’ Offers a Fresh Look at Benedict Arnold


Benedict Arnold has become synonymous with treason. Yet few today know his story. Turncoat: Benedict Arnold and the Crisis of American Liberty, by Stephen Brumwell is a fresh look at the man and his times.

Arnold was a brilliant general, probably only second to George Washington in talent. Next to Washington, he may be most responsible for the survival of the patriot cause. His dogged defense on Lake Champlain in 1776, and his spirited attacks in the Saratoga campaign in 1777, defeated Britain’s northern offensive and led France to enter the revolution on the American side. Absent Arnold, Britain would likely have won by 1778. Three years later, he tried to give Britain the war by betraying West Point to them.

Brumwell traces what led Arnold to switch sides. It was more complicated than many believe.

The War of 1812


The Korean War is often referred to as “The Forgotten War,” but in many ways, the War of 1812 is also forgotten. Sandwiched between the Revolutionary War and the Civil War, most Americans’ knowledge of the subject is relegated to the burning of the White House, Francis Scott Key, and the Star-Spangled Banner, and, if you’re really knowledgeable, something about Andrew Jackson and the Battle of New Orleans. To be sure, there aren’t as many memorable battles in the War of 1812, but its consequences shaped the modern world in ways that very few realize.

In the years after the Revolutionary War, many in the British government held animosity toward the crown’s former colonies. They refused to abide by the Treaty of Paris and left troops behind in many of their North American forts. The interdicted American ships, interfering with trade and engaging in a practice known as impressment. In this practice, officers of a British ship would board an American ship, single out members of her crew, identifying them as British subjects and forcing them to serve in the British Navy. President James Madison entreated the British government to put an end to this practice, but his words fell on deaf ears. With Napoleon wreaking havoc on the European continent, Madison saw an opening to declare war on June 18, 1812.

In early 1812, Napoleon looked invincible. His troops won so many battles so quickly, it appeared that world domination was within his grasp. Toward the end of the year, he set his sights on conquering Russia, which most military experts thought would be accomplished easily. Once Russia was under his control, almost everyone felt he would turn his attention to the tiny island nation of England. Madison thought if he harassed the British enough, they would be quick to settle on neutral trade and impressment so they could turn their full attention to a defense against Napoleon. The American Navy, though small, won some early victories against the vastly superior British Navy which, at the time, was the most powerful navy the world had ever seen. Madison ordered an invasion of Canada, which ended up being a series of blunders and half measures. But after Napoleon’s retreat from Russia and eventual exile to Elba, the British government was able to turn its full attention to the American theater.

Unlikely General: “Mad” Anthony Wayne and the Battle for America


They called him “Mad” Anthony Wayne. The book Unlikely General: Mad Anthony Wayne and the Battle for America by Mary Stockwell tells his story. A flawed, often-despised man, Wayne rose above his weaknesses to save the United States.

Stockwell frames Wayne’s biography around Wayne’s greatest achievement: his 1794 victory at the Battle of Fallen Timbers. It permitted the United States to grow into a nation, which spanned the North American continent. Fought at rapids on the Maumee River, Wayne’s Legion of the United States defeated a coalition of Indian tribes battling to keep settlers out of today’s state of Ohio.

The stakes could not have been higher. The Indians got support from the British (then still occupying forts in the Old Northwest Territory the British had ceded to the United States at the end of the American Revolution). The Native Americans had defeated two previous United States armies, including a massacre of the last army sent into the Ohio Territory in 1791. Had Wayne’s army lost, the United States would likely have been constrained east of the Appalachians, with British-sponsored Indian nations controlling the lands between the Appalachian Mountains and the Mississippi River.