Through the Cornfield

Before dawn on September 17, 1862…. Maj. General Joseph Hooker’s men waited pensively in the woods North of Sharpsburg, Maryland.  Neither Hooker nor his troops knew what awaited them on the other side of the Miller cornfield.  Through the pre-dawn mist, Hooker could barely make out a small white building, that would be their target.  HookerContinue reading “Through the Cornfield”

Gallantly Streaming

The United States needed a national anthem…. since the War of 1812, the de facto anthem had been “My Country, Tis of Thee” – or as it is better known, “God Save the Queen” – The British national anthem.  The march entitled “Hail Columbia” also was considered our anthem for a short period. A brief historyContinue reading “Gallantly Streaming”

A Feud Begins

Following his dramatic victory on Lake Erie, Oliver Hazard Perry submitted his after-action report to the Secretary of the Navy. This report would spark a decade long feud with a querulous subordinate. These events ultimately led to the Naval hero’s death. Perry observed, “At half past two, the wind springing up, Capt. Elliott was enabledContinue reading “A Feud Begins”

They are Ours!

Light winds on September 10, 1813… turned the battle of Lake Erie into a slug fest.  Neither commander could gain any true advantage in weather gauge- the two squadrons lay opposite one another, blasting away.  American Oliver Hazard Perry’s flagship, Lawrence  was taking the brunt of British fire as the rest of his command struggledContinue reading “They are Ours!”

Frontier Feud

Searching for the causes of the War of 1812… will invariably lead to the Indiana frontier.  William Henry Harrison was granted power by President Thomas Jefferson to negotiate with the Indian nations (13 treaties and over 1 million acres.)   Harrison orchestrated the Treaty of Ft. Wayne in 1809, granting US settlers unlimited access toContinue reading “Frontier Feud”

Washington and Vaccination

In a 1777 letter to Continental Congress President John Hancock, George Washington called on the army to be inoculated against smallpox. He feared it every bit as much as the muskets of the British. “Finding the smallpox to be spreading much and fearing that no precaution can prevent it from running through the whole ofContinue reading “Washington and Vaccination”

Carnegie and Protecting Wealth

Andrew Carnegie rationalized his notoriously low wages… in a speech dedicating one of his 2,800 libraries in Pittsburgh in 1895; “The plan suggested does not commend itself as justifiable or wise, because there are higher uses for surplus wealth than adding petty sums to the earnings of the masses. Trifling sums given to each everyContinue reading “Carnegie and Protecting Wealth”

Carry a Big Stick

Theodore Roosevelt spelled out a clear foreign policy… built on strength, defending interests, and standing with allies.  People rarely look past Roosevelt’s quoting  an old African proverb to describe his foreign policy approach.  However, TR not only carried a big stick, but altered American foreign policy forever.  Later Presidents would use the example set in 1904Continue reading “Carry a Big Stick”

Caution with Constitutional Amendment

Routine teaching about the US Constitution… instructs students that its genius is found in the fact that it can be changed.  This dogma can be traced to the influence of Charles Beard’s contention that it was purely an economic document, and well timed amendments rescued our republic from new world feudalism.  Such orthodoxy perfectly definesContinue reading “Caution with Constitutional Amendment”

Truman’s Decision

Historical revisionists cannot win all the debates… but they believed the issue of Hiroshima/Nagasaki was open and shut.  Impressionable undergraduates inundated with nonsense about Japanese intent to surrender and Truman’s secret agenda to begin the Cold War.  Minor Japanese diplomats approaching anonymous Soviet delegates with talk of negotiating conditional surrender to the US hardly constitute seriousContinue reading “Truman’s Decision”