Weekly History News Roundup

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Archaeologists discover Hephaestion’s tomb… evidence indicates tomb contains Alexander’s dearest friend


South Carolina community salvages Civil War cannons…. Pee Dee cannons were underwater for 150 years


Secret Nazi tunnels discovered in Poland… treasure seekers rushing to investigate newly found passageways


Terrorism being funded by sale of stolen artifacts… ISIS funnels plundered treasure to private auctions


Broadway musicals helping fuel revisionist history“Hamilton” is latest attempt to rewrite our past through music


Best friends and lovers

Best friends and lovers

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Often Repeated- Never True

Despite the fraudulent efforts of academic hucksters like… the resoundingly discredited Ward Churchill  – there is still no evidence that the US government ever tried to infect American Indians with smallpox.  As stated in a previous post, the myth of the smallpox blankets stems from a British, not American plan- an unsuccessful plan all-the-same.  Churchill manipulates this myth into his misguided and perverse theory that the United States committed genocide against American Indians.  The core of his argument is the 1837 outbreak among the Mandan tribe near Fort Clark- according to Churchill, the US Army shipped quarantined blankets from St. Louis to Fort Clark and then distributed them to the Mandan.


Now about that pesky historical evidence-

  • Fort Clark was not a US military post- it was owned and operated by a private fur trading company.
  • There were no US military personnel within 800 miles of Fort Clark in 1837
  • There is no evidence of US Army blankets infected with smallpox at St. Louis(or any post.)
  • None of the witnesses- including an Indian Affairs agent – distributed blankets to the tribe.
  • All of the witnesses record the same event- a Mandan sneaking onto a steamer with sick passengers and stealing a blanket.  Churchill never acknowledges this event despite its prominence in the historical record.
  • Nearly all scholars agree- the 1837 outbreak was likely caused by human-human contact and not airborne transmissions from blankets(there is evidence of Mandans socializing with some of the infected passengers.)
Devaluing the term "genocide" since 1978

Devaluing the term “genocide” since 1978

Hucksters have a story to sell and books to peddle… even if that means falsifying sources, fabricating evidence, and creating historical figures – all to push a political agenda.  There are still academics who defend him and see him as a hero of academic freedom. Protecting free speech and academic freedom is a noble(and necessary) endeavor, but Ward Churchill is a spurious choice for such an important cause.

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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…


  • 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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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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More than a Big Stick

Theodore Roosevelt spelled out a clear foreign policy… built on strength, defending interests, and standing with allies.  People rarely look past Roosevelt’s quoting  an old African proverb to describe his foreign policy approach.  However, TR not only carried a big stick, but altered American foreign policy forever.  Later Presidents would use the example set in 1904 to help maintain America’s place in the world.  Roosevelt explained it best:

Always be ready to use the Big Stick

“All that this country desires is to see the neighboring countries stable, orderly, and prosperous. Any country whose people conduct themselves well can
count upon our hearty friendship. If a nation shows that it knows how to act with reasonable efficiency and decency in social and political matters, if it
keeps order and pays its obligations, it need fear no interference from the United States. Chronic wrongdoing, or an impotence which results in a general
loosening of the ties of civilized society, may in America, as elsewhere,  ultimately require intervention by some civilized nation….”

With our embassies under attack… our diplomats murdered, and our sovereignty challenged throughout the Middle East; are we dealing with civilized nations?  Is there chronic wrong doing in Egypt, Yemen, and Libya?  Should our President wield a big stick now?

What, me worry?


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Comparisons Must Make Sense

Edward Coles freed his slaves… and was a neighbor(at one time) of Thomas Jefferson.  Paul Finkelman wants to know why Jefferson couldn’t follow the example of this “contemporary.”   Professor Finkelman’s analysis suffers a fatal case of contrariwise-  Coles was following the examples set by his illustrious neighbor.

Just a kid

Jefferson and Coles were not contemporaries… Jefferson was 43 years older than Coles-  an overlooked distinction in Finkelman’s interrogatory.  Coles grew up and matured in a Virginia largely crafted by Jefferson.  The anti-slavery spirit so many associate with Coles was made possible by the liberal society Jefferson helped reform(we should also note that Coles freed his slaves in Illinois territory, not Virginia.)

You have done well, my son.

You have done well, my son.

Edward Coles was the perfect representation… of the generation Jefferson predicted would have an impact on slavery.  Much ink has been spilled about Coles writing Jefferson encouraging emancipation.  While Jefferson never emacipated all his slaves- his anti-slavery views and actions have been documented.  Coles’ activism was the next step forward in the cause, while Jefferson’s were becoming a footnote.  Jefferson said as much in response to one of Coles’ letters:

“The sentiments breathed through the whole do honor to both the head and heart of the writer. Mine on the subject of slavery of negroes have long since been in possession of the public, and time has only served to give them stronger root…. I had always hoped that the younger generation receiving their early impressions after the flame of liberty had been kindled in every breast, & had become as it were the vital spirit of every American, that the generous temperament of youth, analogous to the motion of their blood, and above the suggestions of avarice, would have sympathized with oppression wherever found, and proved their love of liberty beyond their own share of it….Your solitary but welcome voice is the first which has brought this sound to my ear; and I have considered the general silence which prevails on this subject as indicating an apathy unfavorable to every hope. Yet the hour of emancipation is advancing, in the march of time. It will come…”  Jefferson to Coles; Aug. 25, 1814

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Historical Double Standard

Stephen Ambrose committed clerical errors that ruined his reputation… they were technically plagiarism, in the way  jaywalking is technically disturbing the peace; both, largely regrettable and easily remedied.  His peers, jealous and vain, never accorded him the opportunity to make amends.  The subtle absence of quotation marks reverberated through the historical profession as if Ambrose   had falsified research or fabricated his sources….

Keep piling on the dead man

Keep piling on the dead man

Michael Bellesiles did that and more… he falsified evidence, manufactured sources, and misrepresented his actual research.  All of these transgressions were committed to further a modern political cause- gun control.  Bellesiles went as far as to use his book to bait Charlton Heston, then President of the NRA.  During the heated gun control debate following the Columbine and Sandy Hook school shootings, Liberals redoubled their efforts, including historical analysis.  Emory university professor Michael Bellesiles published the notorious Arming America: The Origins of a National Gun Culture.  His thesis contended that America’s gun culture developed after WW2, prior to which there was no consistent history of gun ownership in America.  Infamy was achieved by the unprecedented level of fraudulent research Bellesiles cited to arrive at his conclusions.  He fabricated evidence, distorted statistics, and misquoted historical figures to prove the highly contentious assertion that gun ownership was never part of individual rights in American history.

When you can't prove it, make it up

When you can’t prove it, make it up

Bellesiles paid a price for his book… a Bancroft Prize and tenured position removed, he is still publishing books.  Ambrose resides in the ground- his reputation forever ruined.  The inconsistencies present in the self-policing attempted by the historical profession leaves much to be desired.  Clearly, political bias and petty jealousy unjustly influence the process.

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