Tag Archives: History

Stop Being So Literal

Desperate to legitimize the rudderless “Black Lives Matter” movement…  and further the destructive hubris found in attacking our Founding and early history;  left-leaning, Howard Zinn inspired agitators have turned their attention to our National Anthem.

Dawn's early light

Dawn’s early light

Backup Quarterback extraordinaire, Colin Kaepernick… chose not to stand during the Anthem at a recent preseason football game, citing the oppressive history of our government.  Social media erupted with appropriate criticism, citing his luxurious lifestyle and modest upbringing.  His defenders were few in number, but immediately championed his cause by attacking the context, rather than the substance of his protest.  The Star Spangled Banner is racist, moreover, it advocates the KILLING of slaves!! 

 

An obvious and poor attempt at being provocative…  the author of this nonsense should have consulted an historian before publishing such a foolish error.  Francis Scott Key’s third verse uses the image of slavery in a rhetorical flourish to remind the country of the impositions the British had pressed upon us(literally at sea.)  In the verse he proclaims that we avoided the fate of hirelings and slaves- sudden and unjust death.  Our bravery had repulsed the invader and his cowardly minions(Federalists, mercenaries etc..)

Between their loved homes and the war's desolation

Between their loved homes and the war’s desolation

This is the state of historical study today… even a grammatical reference to slavery in a poem written 202 years ago deserves our righteous scorn.  This is just the latest example of the hubris that will be our undoing.  Mr. Kaepernick is entitled to make his deliberately provocative gestures, but he is not excused from the criticism.  Take responsibility, sir…. and get used to the bench.

 

 

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The American Spirit

Madison argues that oligarchy is difficult in America because of our size and diversity… but critics consistently cited the House of Representatives as the most susceptible institution in the new government.

james-madison

Anti-Federalists argued that the Representatives would have the least amount of sympathy… with the masses of people; focusing exclusively on the narrow interests of their few electors, ignoring the will of the majority.  Madison first counters with a historical analysis of the British system and the necessary role of states in the Federal system.  But he concludes his argument in Federalist #57 by appealing to what he describes as the American Spirit:

 

“If it be asked, what is to restrain the House of Representatives from making legal discriminations in favor of themselves and a particular class of the society? I answer: the genius of the whole system; the nature of just and constitutional laws; and above all, the vigilant and manly spirit which actuates the people of America — a spirit which nourishes freedom, and in return is nourished by it.”

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Defense of Citizenry

Fans of the musical “Hamilton” enjoy hearing the Framer rap… about issues dealing with our Constitution.  A novel approach that has undoubtedly peaked the interest of the notoriously cynical millennial generation.

 

Practically Historical encourages young audiences to read Hamilton… as his political writings are some of the most valuable in the American canon.

I do more than rap

I do more than rap

Americans have granted power to a most dangerous demagogue… and he appears willing to sacrifice almost anything for what he defines as “security.”   Hamilton cautioned his people in Federalist #8

 

“But in a country, where the perpetual menacings of danger oblige the government to be always prepared to repel it, her armies must be numerous enough for instant defence. The continual necessity for his services enhances the importance of the soldier, and proportionally degrades the condition of the citizen. The military state becomes elevated above the civil. The inhabitants of territories often the theatre of war, are unavoidably subjected to frequent infringements on their rights, which serve to weaken their sense of those rights; and by degrees, the people are brought to consider the soldiery not only as their protectors, but as their superiors.”

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Cousin vs. Cousin

Thomas Jefferson battled with his cousin, John Marshall… over the role of the federal judiciary, but also over the direction of our young republic.  Jefferson long feared an unchecked judicial branch during the ratification crisis- Marshall’s decision in Marbury v. Madison only deepened his distrust.

Keep legislating to a minimum

Keep legislating to a minimum

The Court determined at once, that being an original process, they had no cognizance of it; and therefore the question before them was ended. But the Chief Justice went on to lay down what the law would be, had they jurisdiction in the case, to wit: that they should command delivery . . . . Besides the impropriety of this gratuitous interference, could anything exceed the perversion of law?
Yet this case of Marbury and Madison is continually cited by bench and bar, as if it were settled law, without any animadversion on its being an obiter dissertation of the Chief Justice. like gravity by night and day, gaining a little today and a little tomorrow, and advancing its noiseless step like a thief, over the field of jurisdiction, until all shall be usurped from the states, and the government of all be consoli¬dated into one.” Jefferson 1804

Keeping it in the family

Keeping it in the family

Marshall answered:

“For Mr. Jefferson’s opinion as respects this department, it is not difficult to assign the cause. He is among the most ambitious, and I suspect among the most unforgiving of men. His great power is over the mass of people, and this power is chiefly acquired by professions of democracy. Every check on the wild impulse of the moment is a check on his own power, and he is unfriendly to the source from which it flows. He looks of course with ill will at an independent judiciary.”  Marshall 1807

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On Tariffs

Globalism and free trade have been US policy since the Reagan administration… Donald Trump attempts to turn back the clock on trade policies- his critics are quick to attack any position he takes.  America has a long tradition of protective trade policies, but Trump’s critics are unwilling to acknowledge the historical context.

Listen to this rap

Before rapping about his life on Broadway… Alexander Hamilton was one of the earliest advocates for protectionist trade policies.  Hamilton considered tariffs an essential part of government investment in economic growth.  He did not want the United States to remain a tiny agricultural nation beholden to the European grain markets.  Protecting our young industry was an important first step.  Hamilton argued:

“Taxes are never welcome to a community, [but] an increase of duties shall tend to second and aid this spirit [of manufacturing], they will serve to promote essentially the industry, the wealth, the strength, the independence, and the substantial prosperity of the country.”  1791

Strangest bedfellows

Alexander Hamilton and Donald Trump sharing tariff policies?….  I’m not sure the crowds at Hamilton!  the musical will approve this political alliance.

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Crisis in Command

During the battle of Antietam… George McClellan was concerned with prudence.  He was managing his resources carefully that day, he would not allow his army to fail.  His insistence on preventing the Army of the Potomac from being defeated cost it the chance at decisive victory.   McClellan claimed in his report of the battle that his army was outnumbered and overcame great odds to achieve a minor tactical victory.  A closer examination of the facts reveals McClellan was presented with three separate chances to strike a decisive blow against Lee between 6am- 1pm on September 17.

An indelible mark upon the battle

  • A tactical reserve?  McClellan kept the V & VI Corps of the army on the East side of the Antietam all day.  The addition of one division from either Corps could have had a devastating impact on Lee’s army, especially his weakened center and southern wing.
  • Foolish odds- Most historians now agree that McClellan withheld such a  significant portion of his army because of fear.  He feared being outnumbered (Lee was actually outnumbered 2-1).  He feared a massive Confederate counterattack routing his forces.  He feared defeat….
  • Fighting blindly- Also massed in the Union rear was nearly all of McClellan’s cavalry force.  The mounted wing was vital to Civil War armies for gathering intelligence.  The troops sent against Lee were moving blindly through the country side with nearly no tactical guidance.  Cavalry could have located fords on the Antietam easily.
  • A guiding hand?  McClellan never crossed the Antietam that day and had little trust in any of the commanders he sent into combat.  The Union assaults lacked a firm hand to direct the many massed assaults.  This allowed Lee (never far from the fighting) to coordinate his reinforcements.  Union headquarters was nearly three miles from the fighting.  McClellan’s lack of timely information and failure to grasp key tactical situations cost the Union a decisive victory.

A terrible cost

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Weekly History News Roundup

Black Lives Matter vandalize Jefferson Statue at UVAschool President condemns  misguided protest

 

Virginia Military Institute will not remove Confederate statues… governing board agrees to add historical context

 

CIA file on Lee Harvey Oswald is officially “missing”….  Other JFK assassination files to be released Oct. 26

 

Navy to investigate 99 year old shipwreck… USS San Diego’s sinking may assist ship design

 

Blood-stained ice axe that killed Trotsky to go on displayInternational Spy Museum in Washington DC will display long lost artifact

 

Go to community college, kiddies…

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