Southern Faction- Election of 1860

John C. Breckinridge served as Buchanan’s Vice President and was a leading voice in the “Fire Eater” movement which dominated the US Senate. The Southern faction of the Democratic party nominated him for President rather than support Stephen Douglas in 1860. Douglas was seen as a weak on the issue of slave owning rights. TheContinue reading “Southern Faction- Election of 1860”

Fighting Words- Brooks and Sumner

Shortly after the violent sacking of Free State Headquarters in Lawrence, Kansas, Massachusetts Senator Charles Sumner stood before the Senate and lambasted the primary authors of the Kansas/Nebraska bill, Stephen Douglas of Illinois and Andrew Butler of South Carolina. Sumner was especially malevolent to Butler, who he saw as the leader of the pro-slavery block,Continue reading “Fighting Words- Brooks and Sumner”

Tariffs Did Not Cause the Civil War

Historians, politicians, and neo-secessionists who argue that the Civil War… was caused by the Federal government’s manipulation of tariffs are at best terribly deluded, at worst, they are scurrilous ideologues with a shameful political agenda. A brief history lesson for Tom DiLorenzo, Governor Greg Abbott, President Donald Trump, the Freedom Caucus, Ron and Rand Paul, Continue reading “Tariffs Did Not Cause the Civil War”

Polk’s Rise

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 theContinue reading “Polk’s Rise”

Douglass Out of Context

Armchair historians like Colin Kaepernick often quote Frederick Douglass when making disingenuous points about civil rights history. Douglass is too often misquoted or valuable context is ignored, most persistently in regards to Abraham Lincoln and emancipation. In history, context does matter.   Frederick Douglass is often cited as proof that slaves never cared for LincolnContinue reading “Douglass Out of Context”

Remarkable Restraint

Abraham Lincoln could have curried much political favor in the West had he ordered the executions of 303 Dakota Sioux – Instead, he reviewed each case. Despite the crushing defeat at Second Bull Run, the horrific carnage of Antietam, and the political fallout of issuing the Emancipation proclamation Lincoln still listened to the facts ofContinue reading “Remarkable Restraint”

History News Roundup

Click on links below Very different responses to Impeachment acquittals House passes bill to create women’s history museum The forgotten history of the Presidential Medal of Freedom Scholars continue to question the 1619 Project New Jersey Bill would remove statue of Union General from US Capitol.

Essential Civil War Reading

Battle Cry of Freedom, by James McPherson.  Winner of the Pulitzer Prize, this is the best one volume account of the War told by its greatest storyteller.  It traces the conflict from Free Soil to the assassination of Lincoln in an authoritative voice that has yet to be rivaled. To the Gates of Richmond, byContinue reading “Essential Civil War Reading”

Uncommon Valor- Fredericksburg

Lt. Colonel Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain describes the horrific night of December 13th, 1862 at the base of Marye’s Heights. Fredericksburg, Virginia- December 14, 1862 “But out of that silence rose new sounds more appalling still; a strange ventriloquism, of which you could not locate the source, a smothered moan, as if a thousand discords wereContinue reading “Uncommon Valor- Fredericksburg”

Memorials to War Dead

Virginia’s Governor, his past indiscretions aside, celebrated the triumph of his party in the State legislative election by promising more iconoclasm in the Old Dominion.       There are over 660 Confederate monuments across the United States.  A scholarly study conducted in 1982 found that nearly half of these are specifically memorializing Confederate war dead.  AnotherContinue reading “Memorials to War Dead”