The Lion of the Union, Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain… remembered the significance of the Confederate flag years after the conflict that defined his life, and the lives of millions of his fellow Americans:
” The sight of the Confederate battle flag always reminded me of the immense bravery of the soldiers who served under it.”
–Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain
Madison and Hamilton created the Electoral College for specific reasons… and suppressing minority voters was not one of them. Plurality is part of the Federal electoral process, but integrated to meet the needs of federalism. States matter in our compound republic. Madison wanted them involved in the process of choosing the executive.
Madison said, “The executive power will be derived from a very compound source. The immediate election of the President is to be made by the States in their political characters. The votes allotted to them are in a compound ratio, which considers them partly as distinct and coequal societies, partly as unequal members of the same society.” – Federalist #39
Hamilton saw the dangers in misguided passions leading the electorate astray, “The choice of several, to form an intermediate body of electors, will be much less apt to convulse the community with any extraordinary or violent movements, than the choice of one who was himself to be the final object of the public wishes. And as the electors, chosen in each State, are to assemble and vote in the State in which they are chosen, this detached and divided situation will expose them much less to heats and ferments, which might be communicated from them to the people, than if they were all to be convened at one time, in one place” – Federalist #68
Think of the electoral vote this way… In the 1960 World Series, the New York Yankees outscored the Pittsburgh Pirates 55-27 and out-hit the hapless Pirates 91-60. Using the rationale of plurality as demanded by the national popular vote crowd, the Yankees were clearly world champs that year. But runs are integrated into games, and in 1960, the Pirates won 4 games, the Yankees 3. Runs and hits are part of a process, but the process integrates all parts of the sport into choosing a winner
Realizing that Grant was moving sufficient troops to flank his right, General Lee decided to launch an attack against the troops of the Union V Corps, holding a section of the White Oak Road and preventing the linking of the Confederate right under Pickett with the rest of Lee’s army. The Union left was in the air, separated by three miles from Sheridan’s troopers at Dinwiddie Court House and Lee intended to take full advantage of this fact, massing four brigades to make the attack.
The Confederates routed two Union divisions, chasing them south of Gravelly Run. At 2:30 PM the Union V Corps counterattacked across Gravelly Run, the attack spearheaded by the First Division of the V Corps. The spearhead of the spearhead was Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain’s brigade, still led by Chamberlain although he had been seriously wounded at the battle of Lewis Farm on March 29, 1865. The Union…
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George Washington died in late 1799, two months shy of his 68th birthday.
The Health of George Washington
Anyone who had seen George Washington a few weeks before his death would have remarked how well the General looked. They would have been right.
With little exception, Washington enjoyed robust health throughout his lifetime. He survived the normal childhood ailments. He contracted and survived a mild case of smallpox when he was in his late teens. He managed to avoid contracting tuberculosis (consumption), a highly contagious disease, despite close contact with his afflicted older brother, Lawrence, whose Mount Vernon estate came to George after the older man died.
The eight years he spent in the Virginia militia toughened him inside and out, and left him relatively free of injury or recurring camp fevers. Fifteen years later, during the eight years Washington spent as General of the Continental Army…
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Jefferson struggled with his love for Maria Cosway…. going as far as to illustrate his emotional agony to her in a letter- the letter detailed the tug-of-war between Jefferson’s head and his aching heart. Jefferson was perfectly content to remain within his head, buried in his books and letters. Maria Cosway was a special woman, he knew he would never find another like her:
Head: In fine, my friend, you must mend your manners. This is not a world to live at random in as you do. To avoid these eternal distresses, to which you are for ever exposing us, you must learn to look forward before you take a step which may interest our peace. Everything in this world is matter of calculation. Advance then with caution, the balance in your hand. Put into one scale the pleasures which any object may offer; but put fairly into the other the pains which are to follow, and see which preponderates…The most effectual means of being secure against pain is to retire within ourselves, and to suffice for our own happiness. Those, which depend on ourselves, are the only pleasures a wise man will count on: for nothing is ours which another may deprive us of. Hence the inestimable value of intellectual pleasures.
Heart: This world abounds indeed with misery: to lighten it’s burthen we must divide it with one another. But let us now try the virtues of your mathematical balance, and as you have put into one scale the burthens of friendship, let me put it’s comforts into the other….In a life where we are perpetually exposed to want and accident, yours is a wonderful proposition, to insulate ourselves, to retire from all aid, and to wrap ourselves in the mantle of self-sufficiency! For assuredly nobody will care for him who cares for nobody.
Great men with larger-than-life personalities … do not always make the best Presidents. Too much of their focus is directed inward, and the needs of the electorate are overlooked (see Jackson.) Consistency is required when dealing with momentous issues.
A top ten President
James Knox Polk was the right man… in the right place, at the right time. He was not flashy, brilliant, cagy, or diabolical as many have charged. Polk was steady, determined, erudite, and conscientious; some might even call him boring. His presence demanded respect, but did not inspire awe. He possessed a keen mind and was an excellent administrator. Simply put, he got things done, with nearly no regard for his own legacy.
For too long revisionists in academia… have kept the real Polk from us. Hopefully this blogger has been able to shed new light on an important figure long shrouded by academic misdeeds. Polk now sits comfortably in the top ten lists of most Presidential historians…where he belongs.