Once More Into the Breach, Dear Friends?

Originally posted on nebraskaenergyobserver:

On 26 September 1580, a ship docked in Portsmouth, England. That wasn’t unusual, then as now it was one of England’s great ports. But this particular docking would echo through history. For this was the Golden Hind, returning from the first circumnavigation of the world by a non-Spaniard. Soon the captain, Francis Drake, would be knighted on the ship’s deck, by Queen Elizabeth I, and in a few years he would play a key role in the Battle with the Armada.

Elizabeth’s father Henry VIII, did some things that are important to this story, he established the Royal Navy, for the first time it became a force that was always ready. And he took England out of the Roman Church, which allowed her to go her own way, mostly looking outward, and not being involved with European politics as much as before.

But the reason this echoes…

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Revisited Myth #24: Ceiling medallions were placed above chandeliers to keep the soot from showing.

Originally posted on History Myths Debunked:

A reader wrote: “While on vacation my husband and I visited a circa 1880s stick style home. The docent pointed to the ceiling medallions and said they were there to keep the soot from candliers or gasoliers from showing. Ever heard that one? I would have let it go except someone staying in the B&B we were at said the same thing.”

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Ceiling medallions were popular decorative elements in 19th-century middle and upper class homes. According to G. C. Winkler and R. W. Moss in Victorian Interior Decoration 1830-1900, they could be made of wood, plaster, plaster of Paris, or paper mâché, with paper mâché the most common. Styles were usually based on a single flower, a circle of acanthus leaves, or a molded, plain disk like this one: 

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They were popular during the 1830s through the 1890s. According to period advertisements, the ceiling medallions that were meant for…

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Movie Review- Black Robe

Black Robe- 1991; Directed by Bruce Beresford

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Too often great films are overshadowed… by inferior productions with slicker marketing, more funding, and appearances by A-list stars.  Such is the case with Bruce Beresford’s moving tragedy, Black Robe.  Released the same year as the stunningly inferior Kevin Costner vanity piece, Dances with Wolves, Beresford’s haunting epic is now relegated to bargain bins and syllabi of Colonial American history courses.

 

Black Robe tells the tale of a 17th century… French Jesuit and his journey deep into the Niagara frontier to a Huron mission.  Cultures clash as the Priest struggles with his own faith during the difficult process of converting the natives.  Father LaForgue (Lothaire Bluteau) is trusted into the care of Algonquins who must guide him on the dangerous mission.  The ensuing journey tries the beliefs of both the indigenous cultures and the Europeans-  exposing their vulnerabilities with the harshness of pre-colonial North America.

Father LaForgue explains the written word

Father LaForgue explains the written word

The film is meticulously researched …presenting authenticity in everything from weapons, customs, to native dialects.  Whereas,  Dances with Wolves portrays the laundry list of politically correct platitudes and simplistic mythology presented as all-too-convenient fact-  Black Robe is  frank; both brutal and poignant in its interpretation of a wondrous and tragic period of history.  Few films have so accurately captured indigenous culture.  Beresford’s underrated masterpiece stands as a testament to the historical and cultural potential of film.

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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.

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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.

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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…

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  • 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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