One of the only photo’s in existence of Lincoln at Gettysburg before delivering his address
I don’t know what the name Gettysburg conjures up in your mind, if anything, but in my mind I get an overwhelming sense of sadness at the loss suffered by the Confederacy; for Gettysburg, along with the fall of Vicksburg probably turned the tide, which had been decidedly in favor of the Confederate Army, and eventually led to Lee’s surrender at Appomattox.
But it is not the town of Gettysburg, nor the battle which saw over 50,000 men die that I wish to talk about; it is the speech given by Abraham Lincoln after the battle that I wish to discuss. I can’t speak for most of the younger generations, whose history teachers have eliminated, or distorted much of our nation’s history, but anyone over 40 probably could tell you where the words, ‘Four score and seven years ago…‘ come from; Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address. Continue reading
Well, we are now into February–the beginning of Black History Month, which should end sometime around the latter part of Spring. Yesterday was Abraham Lincoln’s birthday, with all the attendant legends and myths posing as history that always accompany that. As always we will be fed all the historical bovine fertilizer that goes along with that notable event.
This brief commentary would normally have been posted on the “Great Emancipator’s” birthday. I roughed it out the previous evening, only to discover that, when I went to print it off, the printer attached to my computer had suddenly developed a case of IDS (ink deficiency syndrome). Having been able to obtain another print cartridge late on the day of his birth I am now posting this, but the date on it will be tomorrow, the 13th. In this case a day doesn’t make that much difference, seeing that we all have already been treated to 150 plus years of historic swill. Continue reading
The mark of an advanced civilization is the rule of law, with the highest being the rule of law that protects life, liberty and property. Based upon this standard, the Confederate States of America embodied an advanced Christian civilization.
Accepting this truism goes a long way in understanding why the Confederacy has been demonized to the point of eradicating it from historical memory, as the current campaign against Confederate monuments and memorials make clear. However, it should be understood that the attacks against the Confederacy are battles in the larger war against liberty, property, and, if need be, the lives of individuals. It goes without saying that the above mentioned rule of law is disdained by those preferring the rule of men; a rule designed to curtail the liberty and expropriate property of individuals to the benefit of the ruling class. Continue reading
In 1917 Lyon Gardiner Tyler picked up a copy of the New York Times and grew angry. What so incensed Tyler was an editorial suggesting that Southern slaveowners were akin to the Hohenzollern autocrats then plaguing the world. The editorial insisted that slaveowners were arbitrary and oppressive and that they had sought to extend slavery. When the North and the Republican Party resisted, the South declared war, characterizing it as defensive, just as the Hohenzollerns described their aggression as defensive in nature. Tyler responded that it was Abraham Lincoln who more closely resembled Prussian militarists in his grotesque flaunting of the Constitution while offering the excuse that necessity forced him to act in a dictatorial manner. Eleven years later, Tyler was provoked again when the Virginia House of Delegates decided to honor Lincoln’s birthday by adjourning, for Tyler contended that Lincoln was no hero and did not merit the honor. Continue reading
A few years after General Lee accepted the presidency of the then Washington College, I was sent to be entered in the preparatory department, along with an older brother who was to enter college. The morning after we reached Lexington we repaired to the office of General Lee, situated in the college building, for the purpose of matriculation and receiving instructions as to the duties devolving upon us as students. I entered the office with reverential awe, expecting to see the great warrior, whose fame then encircled the civilized globe, as I had pictured him in my own imagination. General Lee was alone, looking over a paper. He arose as we entered, and received us with a quiet, gentlemanly dignity that was so natural and easy and kind that the feeling of awe left me at the threshold of his door. General Lee had but one manner in his intercourse with men. It was the same to the peasant as to the prince, and the student was received with the easy courtliness that would have been bestowed on the greatest imperial dignitary of Europe. Continue reading
One of the problems we have today is we don’t teach about our government much at all and virtually nothing about the Constitution and the Bill of rights.
These courses, what little that is taught, are taught usually in high school. After the Revolutionary War we began teaching the history of our nation in early elementary school. Noah Webster stated: “Every child in America should be acquainted with his own country. He should read books that furnish him with ideas that will be useful to him in life and practice. As soon as he opens his lips, he should rehearse the history of his own country.” We were teaching catacisims out of the Constitution in 1828 to elemenatary students that Justices on the Supreme Court today couldn’t answer.
George Mason considered a bill of rights so important that he refused to sign the Constitution and led the opposition to its ratification without one.
George Mason, “the father of the Bill of Rights.”
Mason wrote the Virginia Declaration of Rights, which Clinton Rossiter called “among the world’s most memorable triumphs in applied political theory,” which The Declaration of Independence echoed a few weeks later. Charles Maynes wrote that,
Mason’s revolutionary step was…reversing, in writing and in a supreme governmental document, the traditional relationship between citizen and state. Throughout history it had been the citizen who owed duties to the state, which in turn might bestow certain rights on the citizen…Mason argued that the state had to observe certain citizens’ rights that could not be violated under any circumstances. Mason thus set the United States apart from past constitutional practices. Continue reading
Dickinson recognized that the essential purpose of government was to maintain liberty against others’ predatory acts.
John Dickinson was among America’s most important founders. He was a colonial legislator, member of the Stamp Act, Continental, and Confederation Congresses, chief executive of both Delaware (by a 25 to 1 vote; his being the only opposed) and Pennsylvania, president of the 1786 Annapolis convention that led to the Constitutional Convention, and among the most informed and seasoned statesmen to attend it. Historian Forrest McDonald wrote that, but for Dickinson and a few others, “the resulting constitution would not have been ratified.” Continue reading
Grainy 1843 image of America’s sixth president, John Quincy Adams was expected to fetch up to $250,000 at auction after it was discovered by descendant of Vermont representative.
A March 1843 image of John Quincy Adams sitting is to be sold at an auction at Sotheby’s in New York, potentially going for $150,000 to $250,000
The photo has even had Emily Bierman, head of the auction house’s photographs department, call it ‘without a doubt the most important historical photo portrait to be offered at auction in the last 20 years.’ Continue reading
Gen. Charles Corwallis
When Cornwallis surrendered at Yorktown, that officially ended the war, but the hostilities continued until word made its way to all those still engaged in combat. Yet as soon as word reached Philadelphia, the Congress realized that they would need to choose delegates to negotiate a treaty of peace between themselves and the Crown. They chose John Adams, Henry Laurens, Benjamin Franklin, David Hartley, Richard Oswald and John Jay to represent them in the negotiations.
You have to remember one thing, back then they couldn’t just hop on a plane and be there in 10-12 hours; they had to board a wooden ship and travel across the Atlantic; a journey that could take from six to eight weeks, depending upon weather conditions on the open seas. Continue reading
While all these plans for independence and the establishment of a confederation were well and good for the Colonists; they all hinged on their defeating the most highly trained and well equipped army in the world. When it was suggested that a Continental Army be raised to fight the British, the obvious choice to lead it was right there in the room with them; George Washington.
Washington was a Virginian, so it appeased the Southern States who were somewhat distanced and detached from the troubles going on in Boston. Washington commanded respect wherever he went so when his name was put forward to lead this Continental Army it was a way of saying that this wasn’t just Boston’s problem to deal with, it was a problem all 13 Colonies must deal with together. Continue reading
“Lincoln is theology, not historiology. He is a faith, he is a church, he is a religion, and he has his own priests and acolytes, most of whom . . . are passionately opposed to anybody telling the truth about him . . . with rare exceptions, you can’t believe what any major Lincoln scholar tells you about Abraham Lincoln and race.” ~ Lerone Bennett, Jr., Forced into Glory, p. 114.
President Abraham Lincoln
The author of the above quotation, Lerone Bennett, Jr., was the executive editor of Ebony magazine for several decades, beginning in 1958. He is a distinguished African-American author of numerous books, including a biography of Martin Luther King, Jr. He spent twenty years researching and writing his book, Forced into Glory: Abraham Lincoln’s White Dream, from which he drew the above conclusion about the so-called Lincoln scholars and how they have lied about Lincoln for generations. For obvious reasons, Mr. Bennett is incensed over how so many lies have been told about Lincoln and race. Continue reading
On April 13, 1743 a young child was born into the world that would change the course of American history. This child was the third of ten eventual siblings. His father was born in the Colonies and his mother was born in England and migrated to the Colonies where she met her future husband.
At the age of 5 this child was enrolled in school and at age 9 he began studying Latin and Greek; which led him to also learn French. At the age of 17 this young man began attending college at William and Mary, where he studied mathematics, natural philosophy, and political philosophy. It was at this time this young man was introduced to the writings of those responsible for the Age of Enlightenment. By the time this young man finished his formal education he would read and write in Latin, Greek and French, and had become more than proficient with the violin. Continue reading
“. ..that the Lord may behold us as a people, offering praise and thereby glorifying Him. ..”
Charlestown, Mass., June 20, 1676 – The American tradition of Thanksgiving, first celebrated by our Pilgrim Fathers more than half a century ago, was proclaimed today in formal statement for the first time from the steps of the Council House.
It was on December 20, 1620, that Governor John Carver gathered around him the small band at Plymouth, to thank God in the midst of overwhelming adversities for the great gift of life itself, in the wilderness of the first colony . Continue reading
Cecil John Rhodes 1853-1902
“The Rhodes Scholarships, established by the terms of Cecil Rhodes’s seventh will, are known to everyone. What is not so widely known is that Rhodes in five previous wills left his fortune to form a secret society, which was to devote itself to the preservation and expansion of the British Empire. And what does not seem to be known to anyone is that this secret society was created by Rhodes and his principal trustee, Lord Milner, and continues to exist to this day.
To be sure, this secret society is not a childish thing like the Ku Klux Klan, and it does not have any secret robes, secret handclasps, or secret passwords. It does not need any of these, since its members know each other intimately. It probably has no oaths of secrecy nor any formal procedure of initiation. It does, however, exist and holds secret meetings, over which the senior member present presides. At various times since 1891, these meetings have been presided over by Rhodes, Lord Milner, Lord Selborne, Sir Patrick Duncan, Field Marshal Jan Smuts, Lord Lothian, and Lord Brand. They have been held in all the British Dominions, starting in South Africa about 1903; in various places in London, chiefly Piccadilly; at various colleges at Oxford, chiefly All Souls; and at many English country houses such as Tring Park, Blickling Hall, Cliveden, and others. Continue reading
In 1913, Woodrow Wilson was the newly elected president. Wilson and his fellow progressives scorned the Constitution and the Declaration. They moved swiftly to replace the Founders’ republic with a new regime.
There is widespread agreement that Wilson did not always show good judgment – for example, in his blunders in international relations – but in the project of overturning the Founding, he and the movement he led selected their targets shrewdly. By the time he left office, the American republic was, as they say, history. The fundamentals of the new regime were in place, and the expansion of government under FDR, LBJ, and Obama was made easy, perhaps even inevitable. Continue reading
Nearly a month after the conflicts at Lexington and Concord, delegates gathered together in the city of Philadelphia for the Second Continental Congress. Their goal was to resume where the First Continental Congress had left off the following year, and although independence may have been on the minds of many, it was still a subject that had yet to be openly discussed by the Congress.
Who were these men who put aside their lives and came together to alter the course of America’s history? Some of them you know, some you don’t. For instance, three future presidents were in attendance; George Washington, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson. Adam’s cousin Samuel was also in attendance as was Benjamin Franklin. Are you aware that there were at least two physicians in attendance as well; Benjamin Rush and Josiah Bartlett? Continue reading
As to the history of the revolution, my ideas may be peculiar, perhaps singular. What do we mean by the Revolution? The war? That was no part of the revolution; it was only an effect and consequence of it. The revolution was in the minds of the people, and this was effected before a a drop of blood was shed. ~ John Adams to Thomas Jefferson (August 24, 1815)
As I have already stated, the Colonists lived in relative peace as subjects of the King of Great Britain for a pretty lengthy period before they decided to separate and form their own country. I have also discussed the Stamp Act, which led to open acts of civil disobedience to the King’s Laws. But for a moment I’d like to backtrack a bit; but before I do there is something you need to know.
By today’s standards, most Colonists would be considered drunks. That’s right, I said drunks. The amount of alcohol they consumed is mind boggling by today’s standards. Part of this is due to the fact that water was considered unsanitary and unsafe for human consumption; as they did not have water treatment plants like we do today; so they turned to libations. Continue reading
Builders of the American republic in the decades either side of 1800 grasped and employed new philosophical and ideological tools for its construction. The revolutionary idea of inherent political equality – “all men are created equal” with “inalienable rights” – however limited its reality then seems looking back from now, was the Next Big Thing of the day. Also critical were economic analyses originating with Adam Smith and his British colleagues. “Free market” arguments asserted that self-interested actors uncontrolled by authorities combine to create the greatest good for the greatest number.
John Lauritz Larson, in a recent presidential address to the Society for Historians of the Early American Republic, notes a couple of important similarities between the political theories and the economic theories of America’s revolutionary era. Both sets of ideas demanded that the king’s government get off people’s backs, especially by stopping its interference in commerce. And both sets of ideas asserted, based 18th-century “scientific” analysis, that state rule distorted the God- or Providence- or Nature-given order of things. Men, advocates argued, were naturally equal and self-governing; similarly, markets were naturally productive and self-governing. Continue reading
These Do Not Mean What You Think They Do.
By April of 1775 the tensions between the Colonies and the Crown had reached a breaking point, and when the Kings men arrived at Lexington and Concord to confiscate the arms stored there they were met with locals who had grabbed whatever guns they had and assembled to prevent the Redcoats from taking their cache of arms. So it was that on that early April morning, just as the sun was rising, that America’s War for Independence began. So it was that on that early April morning a ragtag group of farmers, shopkeepers and merchants faced off against 500 of the most well trained and disciplined fighters on the planet. So it was that on this early April morning, that although these men were technically committing treason, they would go down into history books as patriots and heroes.
Why is that? Continue reading