Tag Archives: History

New Deal Data Gone Awry

Critics of the New Deal assail the consensus history that… FDR’s social programs helped the US out of the Great Depression.  Their objections are based on two faulty parameters of statistical analysis:

  • First, they use 1929 as a baseline for all New Deal data compiled by the Census Bureau.  —  WRONG. Any elementary study of economic policies in the 1920’s exposes the data as artificially enhanced by rampant speculation, unscrupulous trading, and predatory lending.  These statistics in no way represent typical American economic activity.
  • Second, modern economic indicators are used to examine the progress made during the 1930’s.  — WRONG. Post World War II employment patterns are radically altered by the baby boom.  The statistical sample is completely different from the 1930’s.  The average 5.5% unemployment figure following 1970,  cannot be factored against the data compiled following the grossly inflated figures from the 1920’s.

Skewed Data

The Great Depression presented a crisis never before seen in American economic history… and required measures beyond mere market correction to address the suffering.  The basic indicators of GDP and unemployment rates improve during the New Deal.  The so-called Roosevelt Recession of 1938-39 must be considered an effect of the budgetary restraints forced on FDR by the newly elected Republicans in the 76th Congress.

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Weekly History News Roundup

Lincoln’s legacy under attack at Wisconsin-Madison… Student group protests statue to the Great Emancipator- millennial iconoclasm knows no bounds.

 

Trump’s Chief of Staff calls Robert E. Lee “honorable”… Thought police refuse to tolerate differing historical interpretations

 

More JFK assassination files released13,000 additional documents made public this week

 

NAACP calls for abolishing National AnthemCalifornia chapter believes the song to be racist

 

Ground finally broken on Eisenhower memorial… funding approved on controversial memorial, which will undoubtedly be protested when finished 

 

Lincoln: Defender of the Union or genocidal maniac?

 

 

 

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Honorable Man, Dishonored Legacy

R0bert E. Lee was an honorable man… White House Chief of Staff John Kelly was not wrong making this observation.  Unfortunately, Lee’s honor too often guided him down the wrong paths in life.  It was this misguided sense of honor that led him to fight for one of the worst causes in history.  Once the conflict was over, Lee behaved admirably in helping the Confederate forces put down their weapons and reenter Union society.

Traitor? Noble Warrior?

Lee advised his former countrymen-

It is the duty of every citizen, in the present condition of the Country, to do all in his power to aid in the restoration of peace and harmony…Dismiss from your mind all sectional feeling, and bring [your children] up to be Americans.”

 

As the President of Washington College, Lee often dismissed white students who carried out violence against black residents… and did not tolerate “Lost Cause”  propaganda at the school.  A professor who regularly criticized US Grant received one of the famous, pointed Lee rebukes:

“Sir, if you ever presume again to speak disrespectfully of General Grant in my presence, either you or I will sever his connection with this university.”

 

 

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A Soldier’s Love

George McClellan said goodbye to his beloved… Army of the Potomac on November 11, 1862.  He cared deeply for their well being(much too deeply it turned out) and they repaid him with unwavering affection.  Lincoln had to make the decision- The “Young Napoleon” was fighting like the war could go on for decades.  But to his troops, he would forever be “Little Mac.”  He left them with this thought….

Little Mac

Little Mac

“In parting from you I cannot express the love and gratitude I bear to you. As an army you have grown up under my care. In you I have never found doubt or coldness. The battles you have fought under my command will proudly live in our nation’s history. The glory you have achieved, our mutual perils and fatigues, the graves of our comrades fallen in battle and by disease, the broken forms of those whom wounds and sickness have disabled—the strongest associations which can exist among men—unite us still by an indissoluble tie. We shall ever be comrades in supporting the Constitution of our country and the nationality of its people.”

 

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Facts in Five

The Young Napoleon Edition

 

  • George McClellan’s father was a renowned physician and founder of the Thomas Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia
  • McClellan graduated West Point ranked second in the vaunted class of 1846- his classmates included Thomas J. Jackson, Jesse Reno, Cadmus Wilcox, AP Hill, and George Pickett
  • Jefferson Davis was an influential mentor in McClellan’s life- sending him on secret reconnaissance missions into the Caribbean, and to the Crimea as our official observer during the Crimean War
  • Small victories in western Virginia would pave the way for West Virginia statehood- a profile of him in the New York Herald brought national attention to the “Napoleon of the present War”
  • Winfield Scott cautioned Lincoln against appointing McClellan General-in-chief in addition to his army command- Little Mac’s response was, “I can do it all” 
Not an ideal pairing

Not an ideal pairing

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Lincoln is Next

Progressive iconoclasts will not stop with Confederate monuments and statues… They have already started the campaign against George Washington.  It appears that no historical figure is safe in today’s climate of over-sensitivity, moral outrage, and political correctness.  In this world, historical figures must be judged with our 21st century sensibilities- we know better than our ancestors- backwards, slave owning, racists they were.  The Great Emancipator is next…

 

University of Wisconsin-Madison students want the statue of Lincoln removed from campus… for alleged crimes against humanity- ordering the execution of 38 Dakota warriors who murdered women and children in Minnesota, which violated a binding treaty between the two nations and was a horrific crime.  The complex conflict that resulted in the executions occurred in the middle of the Civil War.

Can we still call upon our better angels?

The iconoclasts will undoubtedly feel moral superiority in attacking Lincoln’s legacy… their misguided and naive reading of the historical record will lack all academic rigor- but they will get on the news and be able to label their opponents “RACISTS”

  • Lincoln wanted all slaves out of the country!  —  Lincoln briefly favored voluntary colonization, but not after the Emancipation Proclamation took effect   Lincoln explained, ” Why should they do any thing for us, if we will do nothing for them? If they stake their lives for us, they must be prompted by the strongest motive–even the promise of freedom. And the promise being made, must be kept.”
  • Lincoln never wanted to free the slaves! —  Foolish attempts to sully Lincoln’s achievements have always cited the Greeley letter of August 1862   but they fail to finish the darn thing, where Lincoln says, “I have here stated my purpose according to my view of official duty; and I intend no modification of my oft-expressed personal wish that all men every where could be free.”
  • Frederick Douglass knew Lincoln was overrated! —  Lincoln is often compared to Douglass and unfairly judged for not being a true abolitionist.  Trouble with this reasoning is that Lincoln was not elected chief abolitionist, he was elected President.  Frederick Douglass’s actual thoughts on Lincoln- “Viewed from the genuine abolition ground, Mr. Lincoln seemed tardy, cold, dull, and indifferent; but measuring him by the sentiment of his country, a sentiment he was bound as a statesman to consult, he was swift, zealous, radical, and determined.”

Infinite wisdom has seldom sent any man into the world better fitted for his mission than Abraham Lincoln.”      

The hour and the man of our redemption had met in the person of Abraham Lincoln.”

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Wolf by the Ears

Jefferson wrote to John Holmes of the Missouri Compromise- “but this momentous question, like a fire bell in the night, awakened and filled me with terror. I considered it at once as the knell of the Union. it is hushed indeed for the moment. but this is a reprieve only, not a final sentence. A geographical line, coinciding with a marked principle, moral and political, once conceived and held up to the angry passions of men, will never be obliterated; and every new irritation will mark it deeper and deeper.”

Wolf by the ears...

Wolf by the ears…

 Missouri’s admission to the Union as a slave state… threatened the tenuous balance- 22 states, 11 with slavery, 11 without.  Missouri was the first territory carved from the Louisiana Purchase to apply for statehood.  Jefferson’s vision of America as a land of small, republican farmers was in danger of devolving further into the plantation gang labor system dominating the tidewater south. 

Henry Clay of Kentucky

Henry Clay of Kentucky

Henry Clay’s solution to the crisis is often reviled… by historians for perpetuating slavery and providing the United States the opportunity to conquer more land.  This New Left interpretation of history overlooks the contributions Clay made to our republic during its formative years.  His American System had revitalized the nation following destructive War of 1812.  Clay had convinced Madison, the National Bank’s most vocal critic, to recharter it in 1816.  He had rewritten the rules of the House of Representatives and established the post of Speaker as the force we know it today.  Firebrands bent on defending slavery at all costs- even peace and prosperity for all- could not be allowed to derail Clay’s vision.  The Missouri Compromise has to be studied from all points of view.

 

Clay’s Compromise saved the republic in 1820… arm-chair historians(like Jamelle Bouie @jbouie at Slate) are quick to condemn the Compromise as an extension of slavery- but what if the Civil War had started in 1820? Was there a leader like Lincoln on hand to defend the Union?  Would the people of the free states supported action against secessionists? If not for Clay, the slave-holding South would have emerged from this crisis in a stronger political position.  The Union may never have recovered and abolition would have been dealt a serious blow.

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