Tag: History

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FYI, adapted and crossposted from my personal blog. If you don’t subscribe to Milt Rosenberg’s Ricochet feed, I highly suggest doing so! Last week I listened to Milt Rosenberg‘s interview with Gary Saul Morson about the value of what they called “Encapsulated Wisdom”: the “aphorisms, maxims and wise saws [that] are the stuff of conversation and argument.” What grabbed my attention was the discussion […]

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Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by Editors Created with Sketch. The Clintons of 2016 Will Not Be The Clintons of 1992

 

In 1992, Bill Clinton ran as a “new kind of Democrat,” one who would “end welfare as we know it” and craft a society that would reward those who “work hard and play by the rules.” Clinton knew that he could not win as a traditional liberal, so he crafted the now-famous “Third Way” approach, and campaigned and governed under a Third Way banner.

Of course, the Third Way was reinforced by the disastrous (from the Democrats’ perspective) 1994 Midterm Elections. Clinton accepted a Republican welfare reform bill (after two vetoes), balanced the budget (after much Republican prodding) and expanded free trade. At the same time, he proposed a bevy of micro-reforms that won bipartisan approval, in part because they were cleverly crafted so that Republicans could not vote against them. Through a combination of circumstance, accident, and design, Clinton became the Third Way president he had promised.

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This article was re–published a few years ago in Central Utah’s Richfield Reaper newspaper, as a retrospective. I thought it was apropos of some of our recent discussions here. Originally published Saturday, April 29, 1916. Volume XXVII number 21. DEPUTY MARSHAL SHOT IN EARLY MORNING RAID More

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The Poles of 1939 deserve better than this. The Russian invasion of Poland is a non-event in news coverage of current events in Eastern Europe. Russia is currently invading Ukraine in a post-modern fashion. They put unmarked uniforms on their troops and sent them into southern Ukraine (i.e. Crimea) and later into eastern Ukraine with […]

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Ricochet Friday Essay Assignment

 

shutterstock_148152845In a column in yesterday’s New York Times titled “Bring Back the Party of Lincoln,” Boston College professor of history — history, mind you! — Heather Cox Richardson offers this as her very first sentence:

For all the differences between establishment Republicans and Tea Party insurgents, their various efforts to rebrand the Grand Old Party tend to start from a common premise: the belief that Ronald Reagan was the quintessential Republican, and that his principle of defending wealth and the wealthy should remain the party’s guiding vision.

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The parallels between Kennedy’s first year as president and Obama’s entire first term are eerie: presidencies preceded by divisive campaigns against the “old way of doing things,” rejections of lessons already learned about the use of power, and the dangers of a rudderless America trying to retreat from the world stage. There is no doubt […]

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As Jonah Goldberg noted recently, President Barack Obama likes to hold forth on the arc of history as his reason for doing little concrete in the face of today’s crises. As Goldberg put it, two of [Obama’s] favorite rhetorical themes: 1) the idea that in the end the good guys win simply because they are […]

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I write a weekly book review for the Daily News of Galveston County. (It is not the biggest daily newspaper in Texas, but it is the oldest.) My review appears Sunday. When it appears, I post the previous week’s review on Ricochet. More

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A Historical Primer on Modern Oregon Politics So in the “What’s Happening in Your State” post, Troy asked if electing a Republican was possible again, considering that our last Republican Senator, Gordon Smith, left the office only six years ago. I gave as brief an answer as I could within 200 characters, but I think […]

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Some Ricochet members have expressed interest in astronomy and others in games, so I thought y’all might be interested in this brief interview concerning the environmental art of the upcoming game Destiny. The story takes an old sci-fi trope about alien technology miraculously accelerating humanity’s capacity for space travel and planetary settlement. Bungie’s artists, hoping […]

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Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by Editors Created with Sketch. Book Review: Warships of the Great Lakes

 

American History textbooks rarely spend much time on the Great Lakes; their importance as the barrier between the original thirteen colonies and French Canada — and later the barrier between the United States and British Canada — is seldom mentioned, nor is their roll in the calculations of power and trade in the early American interior given its just due. If the lakes are even mentioned, it is only to note that Commodore Perry won a famous battle and secured the lakes for us in the War of 1812. Theyrarely discuss is just why securing the lakes was vital, which is exactly what Warships of the Great Lakes: 1754 – 1834 by Robert Malcomson does so well.

Screen Shot 2014-08-08 at 12.23.17 AMThere were only three main arteries into the American interior in colonial times: up the Mississippi River, up the Saint Lawrence River, or overland through the Appalachians. The latter option was treacherous for lack of roads, while the other two were under French control. The Saint Lawrence drains Lake Ontario and the other lakes beyond, but also drains — by way of navigable feeder rivers — Lake Champlain which, in turn, gives access to the interior of upstate New York and New England. The Great Lakes, however, allow access to the entire interior of North America as far as the Mississippi.

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Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by Editors Created with Sketch. Who Were You Named After, And What Has That Meant In Your Life?

 

I was named after my father. He was named after his uncle. His uncle was a Redemptorist Priest, a member of one of the Teaching and Missionary Orders. When my uncle, who was also a Redemptorist Priest, and as far as I could tell a very effective Missionary who impacted a lot of lives in Puerto Rico, died, he was buried in the same Redemptorist graveyard near Albany. We looked for, and found, Uncle Ed’s grave.

I share a name with a lot of English kings, both Normans and Anglo-Saxon. In fact, I have a Silver Penny (not a minor sum when it was minted) from the reign of Edward I (“Longshanks”). Longshanks is particularly interesting. He tried to be a Lawgiver, but suffered from much of the impetuousness of the Angevins. He was also very devoted to his wife, and I have read that she help keep his worse impulses in line.

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That was fun, Mark. Now let’s be serious. In just a short few years in the 1970s, a handful of American oil companies invested over 8 billion dollars to construct a pipeline that spanned 800 miles across the mountains and permafrost of Alaska. Men braved winters that reached 60 degrees below zero and welded from […]

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This vacation was a near thing, it very nearly did not happen, and it ended far too soon under the cloud of family tragedy. Daughter 1 had a planned visit to Great Grandma for several weeks, Daughter 2 had dance tryouts in June, choreography boot camp in July, and practices starting in early August. Throw […]

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Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by Editors Created with Sketch. Totalitarian Democracies and Cloistered Kings

 

shutterstock_141024430When President George W. Bush and many others were trumpeting the need for democracy throughout the world, some conservatives were keen to remind us that “democratic” is only an adjective in the USA’s formal identity as a democratic republic. The noun — the republic — is primary. Still, it has become normal to cite democracy as the fundamental principle on which any free society is built.

Yet, as has become increasingly evident in Western governments, democracy and the totalitarian impulse are not mutually exclusive. Expansion and centralization of power seem to be the natural inclination of any government, regardless of how that power is derived. The emergence of the nanny state in America did not slow with the Amendment affording citizens the direct election of Senators or with improved communication between voters and representatives.

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Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by Editors Created with Sketch. How Do You Teach the Warts of American History?

 

trailoftears-432x330The United States has its fair share of skeletons in the closet. Racist, imperialist, sexist skeletons. While conservatives may be annoyed at how much liberals like to harp on (and occasionally exaggerate) those particular stories, they are still historical facts — and conservatives aren’t scared of facts.

Here’s my question: what is the right way to teach the “unsavory” parts of American history? There has to be a way to avoid the two extremes of stupidity: on one hand, the “God’s Chosen Nation” model, in which George Washington is practically canonized and no one who carries the stars and stripes can ever do wrong. And, on the other hand, the cesspool of self-loathing that liberals seem to prefer, in which we belabor every injustice ever perpetrated in this country and George Washington gets less coverage than Squanto.

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Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by Editors Created with Sketch. Not a Good Week for Hillary Clinton

 

HillFirst, there was this. Then, there was the fact that Diane Sawyer of all people laid into Clinton over Benghazi (which, lest you forget, is not a scandal, so don’t worry your pretty little heads about it, darlings). And then, there is the fact that her book . . . well . . . isn’t so good:

Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton’s new memoir “Hard Choices” officially launches Tuesday morning, but it’s already being savaged by critics for being overly cautious and, as a result, uninteresting.

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An abundance of WWII documentaries in recent decades have left many feeling like we’ve seen and heard it all. Admittedly, it’s a huge subject with incalculable perspectives and considerations. I could only guess until recently why the Army had my grandfather stationed in India, an area completely overlooked by both high school history professors and […]

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. . . for one of my fictional characters who lived in the early Eighteenth Century. I need a real noblewoman, preferably Danish, who was born around 1698, so I start cruising through the years in the Danish version of Wikipedia. Wikipedia depends heavily on volunteers to provide content, and there are many more English-speaking […]

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