A New Look at Grant

Frank P. Varney, General Grant and the Rewriting of History, California, Savas and Beatty, 2013 A critical examination of Grant’s memoirs and their effects on the historical record.    Professor Frank Varney’s first book is a bold effort to right historical wrongs…. and the wrongs were perpetrated by none other than US Grant.   Varney proposesContinue reading “A New Look at Grant”

Kennedy and Cuba- A Lingering Trouble

JFK addressed the National Security Council following the Cuban Missile Crisis Kennedy appears less than optimistic about the future of the Caribbean Notes on Remarks by President Kennedy before the National Security Council Tuesday, January 22, 1963 I will start by reviewing areas of policy which will be before us in the coming months andContinue reading “Kennedy and Cuba- A Lingering Trouble”

Chancellorsville By the Numbers

Chancellorsville is often called Lee’s “perfect battle”… facing the longest odds, using the boldest tactics, and winning the ultimate triumph- but a closer examination of the battle’s casualty statistics reveal a very different picture.  Far from perfect, Lee’s victory over Hooker was a costly, bloody gamble with marginal payoff. Twice dividing his outnumbered force beforeContinue reading “Chancellorsville By the Numbers”

Confederacy and Freedom

For too long defenders of Confederate heritage… have associated it with freedom and individual rights for all whites. The specter of the conquering Yankee invading the homeland to oppress the yeoman and steal his acre was the rallying cry.  Policy makers in the Confederacy used this propaganda to dupe poor whites  to defend the landedContinue reading “Confederacy and Freedom”

Jefferson on Education

“We shall have our follies without doubt. Some one or more of them will always be afloat. But ours will be the follies of enthusiasm, not of bigotry … bigotry is the disease of ignorance, of morbid minds; enthusiasm of the free and buoyant. Education & free discussion are the antidotes of both. We areContinue reading “Jefferson on Education”

Context for Historic Monuments is Subjective

Mayor Muriel Bowser of Washington DC has submitted a list of Federal monuments in her city which should be “removed, relocated, or contextualized.” She recently formed a commission to study this highly contentious issue. These recommendations come at a crucial time in our analysis of American remembrance. Bowser’s commission actually lists the Washington Monument andContinue reading “Context for Historic Monuments is Subjective”

Jefferson and the Press

Jefferson was a champion of the free press, but never considered freedom of speech as blanket protection for slander. Throughout his career, he struggled with the contradictory nature of politics and media. “Yet I fear such a paper would find few subscribers. It is a melancholy truth, that a suppression of the press could notContinue reading “Jefferson and the Press”

The Great Dissent

Justice John Marshall Harlan, a former slave owner, issued the only dissent in the 1896 Supreme Court ruling, Plessy v. Ferguson. This case declared the doctrine of “Separate but equal” to be Constitutionally protected. Harlan’s scathing dissent exposed segregation laws for what they were- But in view of the Constitution, in the eye of theContinue reading “The Great Dissent”

Jefferson’s Birthday

  Further proof that the trend of combining different commemorations into banker’s holidays… is truly foolish, look no further than Thomas Jefferson. Upon entering the executive mansion… citizens began petitioning him for the use of his birthday as a holiday, he gently reminded them, ‘The only birthday I ever commemorate, is that of our Independence,Continue reading “Jefferson’s Birthday”

Unintended Consequences

The Senate of the United States was designed… to give equal representation to the States- a more disciplined, stable, and experienced legislative body.  Madison saw the dangers in the popularly elected House, for people were often, “subject to the [periodic] infection of violent passions… that such an institution may be sometimes necessary as a defenseContinue reading “Unintended Consequences”