Archive | February 2013

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I have no respect for the passion of equality, which seems to me merely idealizing envy… Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.

Language tells you most of what you need to know about this book before you even bother to open it. The Supreme Court decision that legalized racism carries with it the same sort of incitement to anger that calling a defense of civil unions a justification of sodomy would. Not that this sort of tactic […]

There is no week nor day nor hour when tyranny may not enter upon this country, if the people lose their roughness and spirit of defiance… Walt Whitman

Now the drum of war: Walt Whitman and his brothers in the Civil War New York : Walker & Co., 2008 Robert Roper United States History Civil War, 1861-1865 Personal narratives Hardcover. 1st U.S. ed. and printing. viii, 421 p.: ill., ports.; 25 cm. Includes bibliographical references (p. [403]-409) and index. Clean, tight and strong […]

The effect of liberty to individuals is that they may do what they please; we ought to see what it will please them to do, before we risk congratulations which may be soon turned into complaints. Prudence would dictate this in the case of separate, insulated, private men, but liberty, when men act in bodies, is power… Edmund Burke

In a previous age history examinations frequently included two parallel events and called on the student to explain how these things are not alike. The American and French Revolutions would have been high on the list for any review of knowledge of the 18th century. While Washington and Lafayette may have enjoyed some common attitudes […]

Bad as was being shot by some of our own troops in the battle of the Wilderness, – that was an honest mistake, one of the accidents of war, – being shot at, since the war, by many officers, was worse… James Longstreet

The Wilderness campaign Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, c 1997 edited by Gary W. Gallagher Wilderness, Battle of the, Va., 1864 Book. xv, 283 p.: ill., maps ; 25 cm. Includes bibliographical references (p. [265]-267) and index. Clean, tight and strong binding. No highlighting, underlining or marginalia in text. VG    Gary W. […]

No one can be happy who has been thrust outside the pale of truth. And there are two ways that one can be removed from this realm: by lying, or by being lied to… Lucius Annaeus Seneca

This is the third in a series of four reviews that deal with books that show the cultural and ideological divide between the industrialized north and the agrarian South both before and after the Civil War. The first two reviews covered the common ground of Manifest Destiny – at least partially common ground – the […]

Peace, plenty, and contentment reign throughout our borders, and our beloved country presents a sublime moral spectacle to the world… James K. Polk

If John L. O’Sullivan was the voice of the theory of Manifest Destiny then James K. Polk was the man who turned the theory into accomplished fact – it was the basis of his 1844 successful dark horse campaign for the presidency and in order to defeat the better known Henry Clay it had to […]

This is our high destiny, and in nature’s eternal, inevitable decree of cause and effect we must accomplish it. All this will be our future history, to establish on earth the moral dignity and salvation of man — the immutable truth and beneficence of God. For this blessed mission to the nations of the world, which are shut out from the life-giving light of truth, has America been chosen; and her high example shall smite unto death the tyranny of kings, hierarchs, and oligarchs, and carry the glad tidings of peace and good will where myriads now endure an existence scarcely more enviable than that of beasts of the field. Who, then, can doubt that our country is destined to be the great nation of futurity.

There are historians who distill everything to economic urges and dismiss the possibility of ideas informing action and they may do so because ideas generally do not inform their writing.  Charles Austin Beard and his The Rise of American Civilization form the great example of this approach which now stands like an imposing ruin in […]