Guilt by Association

“You will Do well to try to inoculate the Indians, by means of Blankets, as well as to Try Every other Method, that can Serve to Extirpate this Execrable Race. — I should be very glad [if] your Scheme for Hunting them down by Dogs could take Effect; but England is at too great a Distance to think that at present.”  Lord Jeffrey Amherst to Colonel Henry Bouquet- July 16, 1763. 

Let the Yanks take all the blame...

Let the Yanks take all the blame…

A small passage from an insignificant letter…from the Royal Governor of North America to a soldier under his command during Pontiac’s Rebellion- its ramifications are infamous.  The astoundingly befuddled plans of two British officers(most North Americans had already been exposed) has been inexplicably  linked  to American Indian policy of the late 19th century.  There is not a scrap of evidence that any US officer advocated using biological warfare against any Indian nation; yet, popular sentiment holds it as an indisputable fact.  Our government committed many wrongs in its dealings with American Indians- this is not one of them.

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Presidents on the Move

2016 will bring a new President, and thus, new Presidential rankings….

History is constantly evolving and changing…. so is this list.

Can't we all just get along?

Can’t we all just get along?

George W. Bush ^  :  Loathed by modern “progressives,”  any historian worth his/her salt should have suggested patience. Presidents must not be judged immediately following their terms, nor soon after elections.  Many of Bush’s policies are now being viewed as successful- see the Surge, and TARP.  Despite the vitriol still spewed by his critics, W’s historical stock is rising.

Civil Rights Rube...

Civil Rights Rube…

LBJ  v :  Recent release of Oval Office recordings revealed Lyndon Johnson at his worstModern depictions of him in films like “Selma” have also cast doubt on his civil rights legacy.  No other President has experienced this sort of roller coaster ranking,  and this year appears to be a straight drop for “Landslide Lyndon.”

Ike

Dwight Eisenhower ^ :  Soon to be memorialized on the National Mall, Ike is liked once again.  Historians are beginning to appreciate his cool demeanor and bipartisan political record The current Republican party should do some soul searching when viewing its current obsession with ideological purity.

Professor know-it-all

Professor know-it-all

Woodrow Wilson v :   The recent uproar at Princeton over the racist legacy of its most famous history professor has everyone reconsidering our view of the Progressive champion.  Proper scrutiny is now being leveled against Wilson’s policies- many of them created as a result of his distrust of the Constitution and disregard for the Declaration of Independence.

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Facts in Five

Fort Mandan edition

mandan

  • Fort was built approximately 12 miles from present day Washburn, North Dakota
  • The Corps of discovery struggled to find enough cottonwood timber to construct the fort
  • Lewis and Clark utilized the fort for diplomacy- meeting with the Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara nations
  • They were introduced to a French trapper, Toussaint Charbonneau, who Lewis described as “a man of no particular merit.”  The captains were interested in his Shoshone wife, Sacagawea
  • The fort provided relief from a brutally cold winter.  Temperatures were regularly recorded at -40 and lower. 
Not you, HER!

Not you, HER!

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Uncle Joe’s Big Week

“It was not a question of what we would let the Russians do, but what we could get the Russians to do.”   Future Secretary of State James Byrnes commented on the Yalta conference which began on February 4, 1945.

The exhausted three

The exhausted three

Most historians now agree that Yalta… is where Stalin exerted his will upon the European continent.  Theories abound as to how this came to pass- Roosevelt’s illness, Churchill’s weariness, Soviet agents posing as American diplomats (Alger Hiss)- regardless, the Soviet Union came out of the conference a world power.  Byrnes’ observation was optimistic to say the least…

 

What seemed at the time to be reasonable compromise… laid the foundations for the Eastern Bloc.

Iron Curtain descending

Iron Curtain descending

  • Free elections in Poland- clearly stacked in Stalin’s favor, the exiled Polish government in London stood little chance against the Provisional Communist state built by the Red Army in 1945.
  • Red Army occupation of eastern and central Europe was accepted- and despite assurances to Churchill of peaceful intentions, Stalin told Molotov, “Never mind. We’ll do it our own way later.”
  • The Red Army would occupy half of Germany including the entirety of Berlin. The seeds of the Cold War are planted out of what was thought to be military expediency.

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Sour Grapes?

Abraham Lincoln affixed his signature to the Thirteenth Amendment… on this day in 1865.  He had gambled during reelection year supporting the joint resolution, and thrust the full weight of the Presidency behind in the second term. This advocacy befuddles historians who all struggle to claim the definitive portrait of Lincoln- he was a moderate, not an abolitionist….but helped the radicals in his part abolish slavery at long last.  Where is the true Lincoln?

Team of allies

Team of allies

Refusing to acknowledge his role in the passage…Radical Republicans rebuked Lincoln a few days later by legislating a caveat to the Resolution- Lincoln’s signature was not necessary; in other words, we didn’t need him for this great deed.

that it was contrary to the early decision of the Senate and of the Supreme Court; and that the negative of the President applying only to the ordinary cases of legislation, he had nothing to do with propositions to amend the Constitution’.”

hith-13th-amendment-E

Sour grapes, perhaps from ideologues… unwilling to acknowledge the political skill of a President they often viewed as an adversary.

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Can’t Get Enough of James Garfield?!?

Few American presidents were as unknown to me as James Garfield before I started this journey through the best presidential biographies. Even fewer proved as unexpectedly interesting or as potentially compelling. President for just 200 days before succumbing to an assassin’s bullet, Garfield was poised to make a lasting impression on his country…and on the […]

http://bestpresidentialbios.com/2016/01/28/cant-get-enough-of-james-garfield/

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“On Many a Bloody Field”: The Forgotten Story of Daniel Davidson Bidwell

Today, we are pleased to welcome back guest author Kevin Pawlak When I first became interested in the American Civil War at the age of 9, I was living in a small town in western New York sandwiched halfway between Buffalo and Rochester. I lived there under the false impression that in order to find […]

http://emergingcivilwar.com/2016/01/28/on-many-a-bloody-field-the-forgotten-story-of-daniel-davidson-bidwell/

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