Old Hickory’s Axe

Andrew Jackson nearly lost everything in 1795… He had worked tirelessly to build himself up from frontier orphan to respected lawyer and public servant.  Jackson was the epitome of the self-made man, a true American success story.  By 1795, Jackson was one of Tennessee’s elite, acquiring the bulk of his wealth through land speculation.  Jackson’s gambles in this speculation laid the foundation for his war on the National Bank.

02Young-Andrew-Jackson

Looking to acquire a trading post on the Cumberland river… Jackson accepted bank notes for payment on land he sold in Philadelphia.  When the creditor went bankrupt in 1795, Jackson was libel for the notes- a debt he could not afford.  For the next two years Jackson scrambled to pay the debt- selling large tracts of his estate to satisfy the banks.  Old Hickory blamed the banks and their paper money for his troubles- a simplistic view of the complex financial game that had made him rich.

bankwar

Jackson’s views on finance were largely unique to the frontier… westerners historically were in favor of paper currency due to shortages of coin in the wilderness.  Jackson was able to fuse his own prejudices to the western tradition of distrusting eastern elites.  The Second National Bank would serve as a suitable target for Jackson’s rage.  It stands as one of the great political maneuvers in US history- convincing westerners to go along with his policies despite of their own economic interests.  The people loved Old Hickory, not necessarily his policies.

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The Neo-Nationalist Creed

Progressive historians like Charles Beard… went to great lengths to discredit the work of America’s first published historian, George Bancroft.  The Nationalist school of American history revered our Founders and proclaimed American exceptionalism.  Beard argued that America’s founding ideals were nothing more than a clever disguise for our true inspiration, greed.  The New Left revisionism that pervades historiography today is a mere continuation of Beard’s fundamentally flawed concept- America really isn’t that great….

Great men, not demigods

Great men, not demigods

Neo-Nationalism is a historical school of thought… that strives to reconcile two wildly opposed views of America’s past.  Common ground is sought within the discipline- social, political, military historical study working in concert to preserve the common threads that bind all Americans together…

womens-history-collage_112

  • America’s founding ideals are exceptional- and are standards that are difficult to attain- our history is comprised of the struggle to uphold these ideals.
  • The Founders were extraordinary men- but not infallible… we have to learn from their example- good and bad.
  • The history of America is not the story of class struggle- the silent masses played a vital role in our history and their stories should be told- but not through Marxist constructs.
  • History should be popular.  Our past must be understood by the citizenry- historical studies targeted only at academics cannot be how we measure the discipline.  There is a way to make history insightful and enjoyable.
We cannot escape history...

We cannot escape history…

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Confusing Heritage and Hate

Decedents of Confederate soldiers should be allowed… to celebrate their heritage and honor the bravery of their ancestors free of accusations of racism and hatred.  Those who are quick to criticize Confederate reenactors(friends don’t let friends reenact Confederate)  and heritage groups have deluded themselves with the simplicity found in a politically correct view of history.  Few Confederate soldiers actually fought to perpetuate slavery– the defense of hearth and home compelled many to the ranks.   The romantic notion of fighting for the “lost cause” seems to entice living historians to this day–  but which cause, and why was it lost?  Just as critics prematurely judge the concept of Confederate heritage, participants are too quick to romanticize that “lost cause.”

Fattin fir rats

Fattin fir rats

States rights has become the generic term for… the justification of secession, thus the Civil War.  Apart from slavery, proponents are unable to enumerate these rights which were in such danger. The Constitution explicitly gives Congress the power to levy tariffs and collect taxes; in addition, all territories are under the jurisdiction  of the Federal government.  Slavery was the obvious concern of secessionists and the Confederate government.  The Vice-President of the Confederacy surmised its construction better than anyone…

Cadaver in office

Cadaver in office

“Our new government is founded upon exactly the opposite idea; its foundations are laid, its corner- stone rests, upon the great truth that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery subordination to the superior race is his natural and normal condition. This, our new government, is the first, in the history of the world, based upon this great physical, philosophical, and moral truth.”   

 

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The Cavalry

Originally posted on nebraskaenergyobserver:

US Cavalry Branch Insignia

US Cavalry Branch Insignia (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Jess titled her post this morning Here Comes the CavalryIt’s the perfect title because this is a perfect cavalry mission, it could have sprung full-blown from John Ford’s brow. It takes no imagination at all to see them as starving settlers in Indian country, does it?

I saw a tweet yesterday afternoon, while the rumors of air strikes were circulating, it went something like this, “Somebody is bombing IS forces, maybe it’s the Americans. God, I hope it’s the Americans”. We’d be wise to remember what the world really does think of us. They know we’re not perfect, we’ve told them so enough. They also know that we are the last hope of people in bad trouble. We are the cavalry.

Because in all those westerns we all knew who was going to rescue the settlers, nobody but the US Cavalry…

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Weekly History News Roundup

Richard III had a rich diet… analysis reveals he feasted on strong wine and swans

 

Mexican Jesus statue has gruesome secretxrays reveal real human teeth

 

European Parliament has a Hitler problem… member tells young politicos to emulate Nazi madman’s style

 

Study links humans to Neanderthalstwo groups may have coexisted for 5,000 years

 

Rubenstein donates funds to restore Arlington House… well known philanthropist gives $12.3 million to fix Robert E. Lee’s home

 

Much needed preservation

Much needed preservation

 

 

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Self-Importance Gone Bad

There must be a special rung of hell… for college professors who assign their own books to a class.  On the off-chance that they actually teach the class personally(grad assistants do the dirty work) students are then forced to pay far too many pennies for the professor’s thoughts in hardback.  Boosting sales, all for the sake of disseminating knowledge.

YES, MY BOOK !

YES, MY BOOK !

There are few, if any… colleges that closely scrutinize assigned texts.  Academic discretion is granted the tenured professors- exactly enough latitude to allow egomaniacs the opportunity to pad book sales and boost the height of their soap boxes.  Rebecca Schuman correctly points out in Slate that these tenured academics are in fact double dipping- taking department money to research and write the books, then royalties from the poor undergrads forced to buy it.  Someone paying more than $1,000 per credit hour should receive more consideration.

 

 

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Something More than a Cow

Cultural relativism teaches that atrocities…  committed by American Indians during the decades long conflict with the US government are acceptable because of the quasi-noble status bestowed upon them by academia.  Postmortem mutilations and beheadings  are seen as cultural oddities in our history, though we abhor them in other societies today.  No doubt, academics feel that Americans deserved the barbarous treatment because of the “crimes” that we carried out against “innocent” peoples.

Grattan Massacre site

Grattan Massacre site

The First Sioux War is a surprising case-in-point… the typical New Left interpretation holds that the noble Lakota were simply pushed too far by the broken promises of the US government.  Lost in all the politically correct gibberish is the fact that the US military was actually keeping the peace between the Sioux and the Cheyenne.  Sioux villages had migrated south to the Platte River basin, long the home of the Cheyenne- war was imminent.  To add more stress to the situation, long wagon trains of American settlers were traveling through the same region.  The tiny force garrisoned at Fort Laramie was hardly sufficient considering the volatile climate- the Sioux had nearly 2,000 warriors nearby led by the hot-headed, Red Cloud.

Out for blood

Out for blood

Lieutenant John Grattan and the 29 soldiers… killed with him on August 19, 1854 were victims.  Historians put words into Grattan’s mouth trying to vilify him, but his murder was a  complex event.  The Sioux villages, prepared for war against the Cheyenne(or Americans, whichever provoked them first) targeted the wagon trains during the hot summer months.  Lt. Gratten was forced to solve a civil dispute between a US citizen and a Sioux warrior who stole the man’s cow.  No Indian agents were available to mediate as required by the first Fort Laramie treaty.  Gratten wanted to stand his ground, Red Cloud was out for blood- 30 minutes later, Gratten and his men were dead.  Far from some preordained lesson handed down to the US Army- the Grattan massacre is a testament to the convoluted  and violent struggle for the future of western expansion.

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