George Washington achieved iconic status during… his lifetime. His peers held him in such esteem that by the time of his death most Americans were left unaware of the life he led. Washington quickly faded in the collective memory- he became a statue, figuratively as well as literally. This dehumanization has caused Washington’s name and reputation to plummet in our national remembrance. Recent polls of some 600 historians show Washington ranking #3 behind Lincoln and FDR. Many of the same writers cite unwarranted “hero worship” as the reason for the decline.
Myth or man?
What troubles many delusional historians… is that Washington was aware of his image as the great patriot-hero. This was an image he went to great lengths to protect. This type of self-awareness irks 21st century sensibilities, but was common and accepted in the 18th century. Washington was not as well read, educated or worldly as his peers, but he always acted appropriately, worked efficiently, and governed wisely.
Washington should still be first… in the hearts and minds of his countrymen. His great strength was character- the ability to lead men without ruling them. The example he set has endured through the trials and tribulations of our republic- he is truly, the essential American.
A continuing examination of the Presidency of Barack Obama… partisanship is kept to a minimum, but the issues raised are the opinions of Practically Historical and its staff.
The clean energy conundrum: Obama’s attempts to be the first “Green President” cost the tax payers hundreds of millions of dollars in bogus subsidies and crippled traditional industries(costing thousands of jobs) with an undeclared war on the coal industry. Considering that the United States accounts for less than 15% of the world’s CO2 emissions, Obama’s policies were decidedly ideological and at odds with the majority of the American people.
Minding the store: The 24 hour news cycle brings local stories national attention, completely skewing proper perspectives. Obama’s seeming need to insert himself in local and state matters often blurred the lines of Federalism and confounded attempts at reforming law enforcement. The “beer summit” and professed paternal bond with Trayvon Martin did more to divide the public than promote understanding. Obama’s image evolved into that of lecturer-in-chief, castigating the public for what he considered their ignorance. on matters of race, religion, and tolerance.
Selective Enforcement Syndrome: Despite being declared “scandal-free” by partisans, Obama’s Justice Department was plagued by insidious ideological application of the law. The half-hearted investigation of IRS officials targeting Conservative groups with audits and denying non-profit status based on ideology concluded without a single indictment; conversely, Attorney General Loretta Lynch promptly responded to Congressional Democrats demanding an investigation into secret videos of Planned Parenthood officials leaked by a pro-life group. The DOJ refused to pursue any charges in the botched DEA operation called “Fast and Furious.”
Another round was needed
Next time– The Ugly
Executive orders were once referred to as “memorandum, notes, or letters”… issued by the President. Many Americans equate the process with the creation of law, but typically the orders are written to enforce, not write laws. Recent Presidents have used the authority to implement policies which are not part of a legislative agenda. Historically, the American people are uncomfortable with an overly-active executive. The practice has only been officially documented since 1936.
Some perspective on the issuing of Executive Orders is needed….
Ge0rge Washington- 8
James Madison- 1
Andrew Jackson- 12
James K. Polk- 18
Abraham Lincoln- 48
US Grant- 217
Theodore Roosevelt- 1,081
Woodrow Wilson- 1, 803
*Calvin Coolidge- 1,203
Franklin Roosevelt- 3,721
Richard Nixon- 346
George W. Bush- 291
Barack Obama- 276
Donald Trump- 12…. and counting
Presidential History Blog
Louisa Catherine Adams: A Brief Medical History
Louisa Catherine Adams was the well educated and cultured wife of John Quincy Adams.
Louisa Catherine Adams (1775-1852), London born and Paris educated, was raised to be exactly what she would become: a perfect consort for a man of distinction. John Quincy Adams was the US minister to the Netherlands and the son of the Vice President of the United States when he met and married her. His potential distinction was certain, but marital felicity was not. JQ was a cold, controlling man. Emotional stress always takes its toll.
Add to this low-grade strain was Louisa’ fifteen pregnancies. She miscarried chronically, sometimes fairly late in her term. There was a stillborn. Another died before she was a year old. Only three sons would be born and live to maturity. It took its toll as well.
When Louisa was in her late thirties, she…
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Emerging Civil War
We are pleased to welcome back guest author Doug Crenshaw, who shares with us today a bit of original research.
It’s something that has puzzled me for years. The wounding of Joe Johnston was an event that changed the course of the Civil War, yet nowhere could I find the exact location where it occurred. I had attempted half-heartedly over the years to locate it, but to no avail. That changed the day Chris Mackowski asked me to see if I could find the spot. A trip to the fabulous yet under-appreciated library of the Richmond National Battlefield Park seems to have provided the answer.
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History Myths Debunked
The National Museum of Civil War Medicine in Frederick, MD, tries to debunk the widespread medical myth that anesthesia did not exist during the Civil War.
Gaseous ether and chloroform were both widely available and their therapeutic impact was well known in both Union and Confederate medical services. (Both had been used since the 1840s.) Major surgery was carried out using these anesthetics if they were available. It is estimated that greater than 90% of all major surgery was carried out with anesthetics. See http://www.civilwarmed.org/articles/myth_busters/
But neither ether nor chloroform was available before the 1840s, so Revolutionary War-era medical practices did not include the use of anesthetics.
Other medical misconceptions from the pre-anesthesia era abound. Ben Swenson, a historian and re-enactor who worked at Yorktown, VA, a Revolutionary War site, says visitors often approached him with incorrect assumptions. Something “we heard all the time that was patently false was that…
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