Tag Archives: Founders

Making the Most of a Bad Situation

“Speaking generally, no penance is like having one’s picture done. You must sit in a constrained and unnatural position, which is a trial to the temper. But I should like to sit to Stuart from the first of January to the last of December, for he lets me do just what I please, and keeps me constantly amused by his conversation.”  John Adams on sitting for Gilbert Stuart’s portrait sessions. 

Only for the conversation

Only for the conversation

 

Gilbert Stuart always claimed his depiction of Washington most authentic… speaking about the famous Lansdowne Portrait- famously rescued by Dolley Madison(or her servants) in 1814.   Stuart cited his authenticity-

“When I painted him [Washington], he had just had a set of false teeth inserted, which accounts for the constrained expression so noticeable about the mouth and lower part of the face…”   Gilbert Stuart

Rejecting a third term

Rejecting a third term

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On Loss

The grieving optimist- Jefferson lost nearly everyone dear to him…. so he could relate grief to his dear friend, John Adams upon hearing of the death of Abigail.  Relating grief is not the same as understanding it, however…..

 

“Tried myself in the school of affliction, by the loss of every form of connection which can rive the human heart, I know well, and feel what you have lost, what you have suffered, are suffering, and have yet to endure. The same trials have taught me that for ills so immeasurable, time and silence are the only medi­cine….although mingling sincerely my tears with yours, will I say a word more where words are vain, but that it is of some comfort to us both, that the term is not very distant, at which we are to deposit in the same cerement, our sorrows and suffering bodies, and to ascend in essence to an ecstatic meeting with the friends we have loved and lost, and whom we shall still love and never lose again.”

 

” I have often wondered for what good end the sensations of Grief could be intended.”

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Problem with Popular Politics

The common assumption is that the Founders… disliked popular politics because they were elitists, even aristocratic.  Many Americans grow old believing that the Founding generation opposed popular voting because it didn’t trust working people; going so far as to consider the masses as undereducated sheep.  This overly-simplistic analysis makes for spirited dinner conversation, but couldn’t be further from the truth.  As with most interpretations in history, the true story is more complicated. 

Not common money-changers

Not common money-changers

The Enlightenment ideal of the “disinterested gentleman”… has since been misinterpreted as elitism.  According to enlightened principles, the ideal political leader has removed himself from the intrigues of financial dealings- “disinterested” himself from wage earning to achieve an impartial state of mind.  The Founders were worried that a government controlled by men still worried about acquiring fortune could be used to that end.  Entry into public service was almost always accompanied by a retirement from business, this was considered by the Founders as the proper code of conduct.  Typically, this was accomplished by men who could afford such a radical change.  It was not always attainable, but it was a standard the Founders strove to reach.

 

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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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Making the Most of a Bad Situation

“Speaking generally, no penance is like having one’s picture done. You must sit in a constrained and unnatural position, which is a trial to the temper. But I should like to sit to Stuart from the first of January to the last of December, for he lets me do just what I please, and keeps me constantly amused by his conversation.”  John Adams on sitting for Gilbert Stuart’s portrait sessions. 

Only for the conversation

Only for the conversation

 

Gilbert Stuart always claimed his depiction of Washington most authentic… speaking about the famous Lansdowne Portrait- famously rescued by Dolley Madison(or her servants) in 1814.   Stuart cited his authenticity-

“When I painted him [Washington], he had just had a set of false teeth inserted, which accounts for the constrained expression so noticeable about the mouth and lower part of the face…”   Gilbert Stuart

Rejecting a third term

Rejecting a third term

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Cared and Loved Deeply

Martha Wayles Skelton Jefferson is not likely remembered… on her birthday- it is too close to the sad spectacle that is Halloween and she seems an inconvenient part of a private life  made all too public.  Jon Meacham, Andrew Burstein, and Annette Gordon-Reed view Jefferson’s beloved wife as just another one of his victims- these “experts” crafting the historical image of Jefferson as “an ardent lover” at best, at worst a sex fiend.

 

How else could a beautiful, talented, and educated… young widow be duped so completely; unless the master sexual predator of his day ensnared her in his diabolical web?

"A single event wiped away all my plans and left me a blank which I had not the spirits to fill up."

“A single event wiped away all my plans and left me a blank which I had not the spirits to fill up.”

We know very little of their relationship… because Jefferson wanted it that way.  What we can figure is that they were kindred.  Perhaps, Jefferson had truly found the female incarnation of himself.  Her death changed him forever.  Her life should not be discounted nor pitied.

 

 

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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…

2 Comments

Filed under Ephemera, News