Oct 13, 2019 - Uncategorized    Comments Off on Baptized with Blood at Manassas

Baptized with Blood at Manassas

“Jackson believed in the Southern cause, as if it had been a revelation from God . . . Jackson believed that the war of invasion was a heartless crusade against mankind and womankind, and the civilization of the South, and the higher law proclamation was the aftermath of the pernicious broadcasting of seed sown by Horace Greeley, Gerritt Smith and Joshua R. Giddings.

Jackson believed that the “Grand Army” in holiday attire, with flaunting banners and careering squadrons, were an aggregation of iconoclasts, fierce destroyers of images, creeds, institutions, traditions homes, country. So believed he when the “Anaconda” with panting sides drew back to strike.

Man to man, bayonet to bayonet, cannon to cannon, bosom to bosom, here was challenged the asserted right of coercion, of frenzy against frenzy, patriotism, anger, vanity, hope, despair; each facing and meeting the other like dark clashing whirlwinds.

Eleven o’clock, twelve o’clock, and Jackson with folded arms, occupies the plateau near the “Henry House.” Just beyond is a dark confused death wrestle. Forty thousand athletes against eighty thousand athletes; two hundred odd iron throats perpetually vomiting an emetic of death.

There is . . . the order given, and the “old Stonewall Brigade” is hurled like an immense projectile against ranks of human flesh. There is a halt, a recoil; cannon spit out their fire, their hail, their death upon bosoms bared to the shock. “There stands Jackson like a Stonewall.” Under that name he was baptized with blood at Manassas.

Everywhere that faded coat and tarnished stars were the oriflame of battle and the old brigade followed them as if they had been the white plume of Navarre.

This incomparable leader never failed in a single battle from the day when with 2800 men at Manassas, where he cut their communications and decoyed their columns into the iron jaws of Longstreet’s reserves. Such achievements were not accidental. No maneuver could mislead the clear judgment that presided serenely in that soul of fire.

Lifeless eyes and voiceless lips now, had cheered these flags with the same joy that once greeted the eagles of Napoleon. Withered skeleton hands now, had borne them at the head of charging squadrons and battalions, the guidons of victorious armies – the guerdon of a nation’s trust and faith.

If out of the cold, dead white stars could come again the old gleam of light as it lighted up the line of direction over the mountain passes of Virginia and the valley of the Shenandoah, what a halo of glory would encircle Winchester and Gordonsville and Chantilly!

How dramatic the narrative; how truthful the history; how inspiring the reminiscence; how fully and completely vindicated the Old South – the lost cause! But there is no light in the stars, and the broad bands of blue upon the blood-red field are disfiguring scars upon the face of an incident long since closed, and closed forever, full of tragedy and patriotism.”

(The Broken Sword; Or, a Pictorial Page of Reconstruction, D. Worthington, P.D. Gold & Sons, 1901, excerpts pp. 104-107)

Oct 12, 2019 - Uncategorized    Comments Off on Black Hills Not For Sale

Black Hills Not For Sale

After conquering Americans with a scorched-earth strategy in 1865, Northern generals turned their sights on the Plains Indians who stood in the way of railroads, expanding industrialism and gold. Sherman, pressed by his mentor Grant, presided over the relocation and extermination of thousands of Indians, as well as the virtual annihilation of the wild Buffalo those Indians depended upon for food.

As Lincoln instigated his war to protect the tariff income of the US Government, Grant would do the same to retrieve prosperity at the expense of the Indians.

Black Hills Not For Sale

“Mysterious and remote . . . the Black Hills were sacred to the Sioux and – until Custer’s expedition – almost unknown to the whites, save for rumors of gold.

In 1873, a financial panic gripped the country. With the national debt over $2 billion, the Grant administration was in desperate need of way to replenish a cash-starved economy. As had been proven in California back in 1849 and more recently in the Rockies, there was no quicker way to invigorate the country’s financial system than to discover gold.

Despite the fact that it required them to trespass on what was legally Sioux land, General Philip Sheridan, commander of the Military Division of the Missouri, which extended all the way west to the Rockies, ordered Custer and the Seventh Cavalry to escort an exploring expedition from Fort Lincoln, just down the Missouri River from Bismarck, in modern North Dakota, to the Black Hills.

The supposed aim of the Black Hills Expedition of 1874 was to find a suitable site for a fort. However, the makeup of the column suggested that another, far more exciting goal was being considered. Included in Custer’s thousand-man expedition were President Grant’s eldest son, Lieutenant-Colonel Frederick Dent Grant; three newspaper reporters; a photographer; and two experienced gold miners.

Much to Custer’s surprise, the Indians proved few and far between once the regiment entered the Black Hills. On August 2, after several weeks . . . the expedition discovered gold “right from the grass roots.” Over the next hundred years, more gold would be extracted from a single mine in the Black Hills (an estimated $1 billion) than from any other mine in the continental United States.

In the beginning, the government made only nominal efforts to prevent miners from intruding on the Black Hills. But by the summer of 1875 there were so many US citizens in the region that the Grant administration decided it must purchase the hills from the Sioux. When the Sioux refused to sell, the administration had no choice but to instigate a war.”

(The Last Stand: Custer, Sitting Bull and the Battle of the Little Big Horn, Nathaniel Philbrick, Viking Press, 2010, excerpts pp. 3-4)

Oct 8, 2019 - Uncategorized    Comments Off on “Better Patriots, Madam”

“Better Patriots, Madam”

“While President Jefferson Davis was preparing his “History of the Rise and Fall of the Confederate States,” he made a visit to the home of Hon. Henry Loevy, at Pass Christian, Mississippi. With these friends he had left [earlier in Abbeville, SC] a collection of very valuable papers, including letters from Gen. Lee and other prominent Confederate officials.

When Mrs. Loevy brought out the papers and a Confederate battle flag . . . Mr. Davis took the battle flag, and he held it in one hand and the [model of a] gun [he invented while Secretary of War] in the other, he seemed to stand the representative at once of the United States and the Confederate States governments.

As he gave the history of the flag, the memory of the war, in which Mrs. Loevy had lost three brothers, and during which her father had been banished from his Kentucky home and she from New Orleans, the True Delta, a paper owned by her husband, had been confiscated, rushed over her with such force and vividness as to cause tears to flow down her cheeks and her to exclaim:

“Mr. Davis, I have not gotten over the war yet! I believe the ladies were worse rebels than the men anyhow!”

“Better patriots, madam,” was the energetic and instantaneous reply from the man who had served faithfully in the army and Congress of the United States, and then, believing the States were sovereign, and that sovereigns could not rebel, and that his allegiance was due, first to his State, served his State and country with equal fidelity and ability, when Mississippi had become a member of the Confederate States Government.

It is well for our children to remember that their fathers never admitted that they were rebels and traitors, and to know that, though Mr. Davis was arrested on the charge of treason, no attempt was ever made to prove the charge, because lawyers knew it could not be sustained.”

(A Beautiful Reply, by Mr. Davis. Rev. W.C. Clark, Shelbyville, Tenn. Confederate Veteran, December 1894, Volume II, Number 12, excerpt pp. 354)

Sep 28, 2019 - Uncategorized    Comments Off on Zeb & Sam on Liberty

Zeb & Sam on Liberty

Zebulon Vance, governor of NC, stood up for civil rights in 1862 when he learned that forty North Carolina citizens had been taken from their homes and put into a military prison on suspicion of disloyalty. He wrote to President Jefferson Davis:

“As Governor, it is my duty to see that the citizens of this State are protected in whatever rights pertain to them, and, if necessary, I will call out the State Militia to protect them and uphold the principles of Anglo-Saxon liberty – trial by jury; liberty of speech; freedom of the press; the privileges of Parliament habeas corpus; the right to petition and bear arms; subordination of the military to civil authority; prohibition of ex post facto laws.”

Sam J. Ervin, Jr., . . . stood up for the rule of law and Bill of Rights in his dealings with President Richard M. Nixon and his aides in 1973-74. In a speech to the student body of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1973, Ervin said: “So long as I have a mind to think, a tongue to speak, and a heart to love my country, I shall deny that the Constitution confers any arbitrary power on any President, or empowers any President to convert George Washington’s America into Caesar’s Rome.”

(Seeking Liberty and Justice, A History of the NC Bar Association, 1899-1999, J. Edwin Hendricks, NC Bar Association, excerpt pg. 115)

Sep 22, 2019 - Uncategorized    Comments Off on Barry Goldwater and States’ Rights

Barry Goldwater and States’ Rights

“The Governor of New York, in 1930, pointed out that the Constitution does not empower the Congress to deal with “a great number of . . . vital problems of government, such as the conduct of public utilities, of banks, of insurance, of business, of agriculture, of education, of social welfare, and a dozen other important features.” And he added that “Washington must not be encouraged to interfere” in those areas.

Franklin Roosevelt’s rapid conversion from Constitutionalism to the doctrine of unlimited government is an oft-told story. But I am here concerned not so much by the abandonment of States’ Rights by the national Democratic Party – an event that occurred some years ago when the party was captured by the Socialist ideologues in and about the labor movement – as by the unmistakable tendency of the Republican Party to adopt the same course.

The result is that today neither of our two parties maintains a meaningful commitment to the principle of States’ Rights. Thus, the cornerstone of the Republic, our chief bulwark against the encroachment of individual freedom by Big Government, is fast disappearing under the piling sands of absolutism. The Republican Party, to be sure, gives lip service to States’ Rights.

We often talk about “returning to the States their rightful powers”; the Administration has even gone so far as to sponsor a federal-state conference on the problem. But deeds are what count, and I regret to say that in actual practice, the Republican Party, like the Democratic Party, summons the coercive power of the federal government whenever national leaders conclude that the States are not performing satisfactorily.

I have already alluded to the book, A Republican Looks at His Party, which is an elaborate rationalization of the “Modern Republican” approach to current problems. Mr. Larson devotes a good deal of space to the question of States’ Rights, thanks to the Tenth Amendment . . . and Mr. Larson [suggests] the concept that “for every right there is a corresponding duty.” “When we speak of States’ Rights,” he writes, “we should never forget to add that there go with those rights the corresponding States’ responsibilities.”

Therefore, he concluded, if the States fail to do their duty, they have only themselves to blame when the federal government intervenes.

The trouble with this argument is that it treats the Constitution of the United States as a kind of handbook in political theory, to be heeded or ignored depending on how it fits the plans of contemporary federal officials.

The Tenth Amendment is not “a general assumption, “but a prohibitory rule of law. The Tenth Amendment recognizes the States’ jurisdiction in certain areas. State’ Rights means that the States have a right to act or not to act, as they see fit, in the areas reserved to them. The States may have duties corresponding to these rights, but the duties are owed to the people of the States, not to the federal government.

Therefore, the recourse lies not with the federal government, which is not sovereign, but with the people who are, and who have full power to take disciplinary action. If the people are unhappy with say, their States’ disability insurance program, they can bring pressure to bear on their State officials and, if that fails, they can elect a new set of officials.

And if, in the unhappy event they should wish to divest themselves of this responsibility, they can amend the Constitution. The Constitution, I repeat, draws a sharp and clear line between federal jurisdiction and State jurisdiction. The federal government’s failure to recognize that the line has been a crushing blow to the principle of limited government.

There is a reason for its reservation of States’ Rights. Not only does it prevent the accumulation of power in a central government that is remote from the people and relatively immune from popular restraints; it also recognizes the principle that essentially local problems are best dealt with by the people most directly concerned.

Who knows better than New Yorkers how much and what kind of publicity-financed slum clearance in New York City is needed and can be afforded? Who knows better than Nebraskans whether that State has an adequate nursing program? Who knows better than Arizonans the kind of school program that is needed to educate their children?

The people of my own state – and I am confident that I speak for the majority of them – have long since seen through the spurious suggestion that federal aid comes “free.” They know that the money comes out of their own pockets, and is returned to them minus a broker’s fee taken by the federal bureaucracy.

They know, too, that the power to decide how that money shall be spent is withdrawn from them and exercised by some planning board deep in the caverns of one of the federal agencies. They understand this represents a great and perhaps irreparable loss – not only in their wealth, but also in their priceless liberty.

Nothing could so far advance the cause of freedom as for State officials throughout the land to assert their rightful claims to lost State power; and for the federal government to withdraw promptly and totally from every jurisdiction which the Constitution reserves to the States.”

(The Conscience of a Conservative, Barry Goldwater, Victor Publishing Company, 1960, excerpts pp. 24-30)

Sep 22, 2019 - Uncategorized    Comments Off on What Congress is Doing to Curb the Supreme Court – July 1957

What Congress is Doing to Curb the Supreme Court – July 1957

“Congress is starting to strike back at the Supreme Court. A score of bills have been introduced to curb the Court’s power and to sidestep the effects of controversial decisions. The House Judiciary Committee, “as a matter of the highest urgency,” has appointed a special subcommittee to look into this year’s decisions.

The group is to investigate particularly the decisions that limited the power of congressional investigating committees; that weakened the laws against subversives, and that made enforcement of criminal laws more difficult.

A special subcommittee in the House is expected to come up with proposals to strike down or at least weaken the effect of three other [Court] decisions [including one holding] that communists were free to preach their subversive doctrine so long as they didn’t openly advocate action to apply it.

It is clear that a growing number of Congressmen are convinced that new laws must be passed to overcome the effects [of recent Court decisions]. Other Congressmen propose to go much further and trim the powers of the Court itself.

Senator Herman Talmadge (Dem.) of Georgia, for example, proposes to amend the code of laws to remove public schools from the jurisdiction of federal courts. Others have offered amendments to the Constitution giving States the exclusive power to regulate schools and all other matters relating to health and morals.

Behind all of the proposals affecting appointment of Justices is the objection in Congress that recent decisions have been more political than judicial in purpose and in effect.

Senator Talmadge also is sponsoring a bill to require the Court to give a full hearing, with oral argument, on any case that it decides. His contention is that the Court acted in at least 10 cases during the recent term without hearing arguments.

All of these bills, in effect, are telling the Court that it is asserting too much power over Congress, the President, and the States.”

(What Congress is Doing to Curb the Supreme Court, US News & World Report, July 12, 1957, pg. 50)

Sep 22, 2019 - Uncategorized    Comments Off on Policemen in School Corridors?

Policemen in School Corridors?

In late 1948, New York City School Superintendent William Jansen authorized investigations of teachers suspected of radical communist leanings, among them Abraham Lederman who served as president of the city’s radical, activist Teachers’ Union.

Lederman and his union criticized Jansen and the Board of Education on many issues, including alleged racism in textbooks, and especially an article by Superintendent Jansen which asserted that “the native people of Africa, who belong to the Negro race, are very backward.” The Teachers’ Union published materials on African American history and the struggle for school integration.

Policemen in School Corridors?

US News and World Report, December 5, 1957, pg. 94.

“Juvenile crime in New York public schools now becomes so serious that a grand jury wants to put police inside each school. “Blackboard jungles,” mostly in Negro and Puerto Rican areas, give most difficulty. Crime complaints exceed 2,100 this year. Must schools be policed? A top official says: “We do not want a Little Rock in New York City.” Yet trouble is mounting.

New York City —  Serious trouble in the public schools of the nation’s largest city broke into the open last week, with a recommendation for drastic action. Delinquency of all kinds has been growing, with 1,280 arrests made on New York school grounds thus far during the year. These had been for offenses ranging from petty thievery to rape and murder.

A special grand jury, investigating lawlessness in Brooklyn’s public schools, came up on November 25 with this terse recommendation: “Be it resolved that the grand jury proposes an interim recommendation, based on testimony heard from witnesses to date.

The grand jury recommends that a uniformed New York City policeman be assigned to all schools throughout the city to patrol the corridors, the stairways and the recreation yards as a preventive measure.”

Reaction to this proposal to keep police inside of New York schools was swift. New York’s Superintendent of Schools, William Jansen, called it “unthinkable.” He added, “We do not want a Little Rock in New York City.” “When the schools need police help, they get it promptly and efficiently,” Dr. Jensen said.

Nevertheless, there was agreement that the situation in the city’s public schools was serious and close to being out of hand. Discussions between police and school officials on the problem of providing adequate police protection to the public schools has been underway for some time.

The judge who presided over the grand jury’s investigation [said that] “grand jury has evidence before it to establish that conditions are alarming and that the school authorities have been utterly incapable of coping with the situation.”

Most of these “difficult” schools, as listed by the city’s Board of Education, are situated in predominantly Negro and Puerto Rican neighborhoods. Student “achievement levels” there are generally far below the average for the city. Discipline often is a major problem.

Teachers are reported to be frequently defied by pupils and, in some instances, to be threatened with physical harm by gang members who invade the classrooms. The facts now coming to light about New York’s school problem indicate that troubles here run deep. Serious school problems, it appears, is not confined to the South.”

(Policemen in School Corridors? US News and World Report, December 5, 1957, pg. 94)

Sep 7, 2019 - Uncategorized    Comments Off on Athenian Democracy

Athenian Democracy

Plato has described for us how democracy, after a time, degenerates into tyranny, and that the group most numerous and powerful is “the mass of the people . . . and possess very little. They come to the assembly to get their share of the loot: “their leaders deprive the rich of their property, give some to the masses, keeping most of it for themselves.”

James Madison held views typical of the American founders, writing that “democracies have even been spectacles of turbulence and contention; have ever been found incompatible with personal security or the rights of property; and have in general been as short in their lives as they have been violent in their deaths.”

Athenian Democracy

“The place to start a description of Athenian democracy is with a definition of the term. Developments in the modern world, however, make that a difficult task, for the word has become debased and almost meaningless.

Few modern states will admit to being anything but democratic. States as different as the United States, the Soviet Union, Great Britain, China, Switzerland, Cuba, South Africa and Nigeria all assert they are democracies. That is confusing enough, but there are further complications.

Many people today would insist that to qualify as a democracy a state must offer full constitutional and political protections and opportunities to all who have legal permanent residence within its borders and desire citizenship.

But the Athenians limited the right to vote, hold office, and serve on juries to adult males who were citizens. Slaves, resident aliens, women, and male citizens under the age of twenty were denied these privileges. It is useful to remember that what has been called Jacksonian democracy in America co-existed with slavery, that women everywhere were denied the right to vote until this century, and that we continue to limit political participation to those of a specified age.

[No] contemporary Greek doubted that Athens was a democracy . . . The Athenians, on the other hand, would have been astonished at the claims of modern states to that title, even such states as the United States and Great Britain, for to them an essential feature of democracy was the direct and full sovereignty of the majority of citizens.

Government by elected representatives, checks and balances, separation of powers, appointment to important offices, unelected bureaucracies, terms for elective office of more than one year – all these would have seemed clear and deadly enemies of what reasonable people might understand as democracy.”

(Pericles of Athens and the Birth of Democracy: The Triumph of Vision in Leadership, Donald Kagan, Touchstone Books, 1991, excerpts pp. 48-49)

Aug 16, 2019 - Uncategorized    Comments Off on Whipping Up the People’s Righteous Wrath

Whipping Up the People’s Righteous Wrath

After promising that no American boys would die on Europe’s battlefields, Woodrow Wilson’s War inspired insufficient men to fight for the cause of England and France. After Lincoln manufactured the clash at Fort Sumter, Northern men did join his army for the better part of a year, and until the casualty numbers and Northern military setbacks brought enlistments to a near halt. Both Lincoln and Wilson had to resort to conscription to fill the ranks; both controlled the press in order to demonize the enemy.

Whipping Up the People’s Righteous Wrath

“Even when war had been declared, the American people showed a marked reluctance to take up arms. Enlistments were so poor – in the first six weeks only 73,000 men volunteered – that it became necessary for the government to raise a conscript army.

To inspire the nation to fight, a new, home-grown propaganda campaign was needed in order to whip up what President Wilson’s private secretary, Joseph Tumulty, called “the people’s righteous wrath.”

To this end, President Wilson set up, on April 14, a Committee on Public Information, under the chairmanship of a journalist, George Creel, which was financed to the extent of $5 million from a $100 million fund granted to the President for the general defense of the country.

Hatred of Germans was now whipped to a fever pitch. All the propaganda stories that had worked best in Europe were revived: Germany’s sole responsibility [for the war], the rape of Belgium, the outraging of nuns, the unmentionable atrocities, the criminal Kaiser.

New stories were created; one, a book called Christine, by Alice Cholmondeley, a collection of letters purporting to have been written by a music student in Germany to her mother in Britain until her death in Stuttgart on August 8, 1914, mingled a damning catalogue of German character faults with emotional gush about music and filial feeling. The book had a wide circulation, and the Germans rated it as perhaps the best individual piece of propaganda during the war.

The Creel committee sponsored 75,000 speakers, who . . . in 5,000 American cities and towns, aroused the “righteous wrath” of the people against the Hun and the Boche.

The influence of the barrage of propaganda on the American public cannot be overemphasized. The war historian J.F.C. Fuller writes of a “propaganda-demented people” and says flatly that there can be little doubt that President Wilson would have remained neutral “had it not been for the octopus of propaganda, whose tentacles gripped him like a [vise].”

Raymond B. Fosdick, in an article titled “America at War,” summarized the ecstasy of hate that gripped the American people. “We hated with a common hate that was exhilarating. The writer of this review remembers attending a great meeting in New England [church] . . . A speaker demanded that the Kaiser, when captured, be boiled in oil, and the entire audience stood on chairs to scream its hysterical approval. This was the mood we were in. This is the kind of madness that had seized us.”

(The First Casualty. From the Crimea to Vietnam: The War Correspondent as Hero, Propagandist, and Myth Maker, Phillip Knightly, Harcourt, Brace Jovanovich, 1975, excerpts pp. 322-323)

Aug 15, 2019 - Uncategorized    Comments Off on Embattled Democracies

Embattled Democracies

The Western Allies in the First World War framed the conflict in ideological terms, as Lincoln did in the mid-1860s. The content of the latter’s short Gettysburg speech, probably not delivered as later written by his secretaries and published, was that of the triumph of good over evil – and portrayed as an embattled democracy fighting for its existence.

The leaders of the Western democracies in 1917 were determined to crush an assumed German militarism which they viewed as an evil, while Russians were involved in a political crisis of their own and could care less about the trenches, death and destruction of the World War. Their leadership was practical and local, while the West was messianic globalism.

Embattled Democracies

“How different this was in the Western countries! Here, war fervor had by 1917 attained a terrific intensity. The Western democracies had by this time convinced themselves, as embattled democracies have a tendency to do, that the entire future of civilization depended on the outcome of the military struggle.

There is, let me assure you, nothing in nature more egocentrical than the embattled democracy. It soon becomes the victim of its own war propaganda. It then tends to attach to its own cause an absolute value which distorts its own vision on everything else.

Its enemy becomes the embodiment of all evil. Its own side, on the other hand, is the center of all virtue. The contest comes to be viewed as having a final, apocalyptic quality. If we lose, all is lost; life will no longer be worth living; there will be nothing to be salvaged. If we win, then everything will be possible; all problems will become soluble; the one great source of evil – our enemy – will have been crushed; the forces of good will then sweep forward unimpeded; all worthy aspirations will be satisfied.

It will readily be seen that people who have got themselves into this frame of mind have little understanding for the issues of any contest other than the one in which they are involved. The idea of people wasting time and substance on any other issue seems to them preposterous. This explains why Allied statesmen were simply unable to comprehend how people in Russia could be interested in an internal Russian political crisis when there was a war on in the West.

There was, to be sure, an effort on the Allied side . . . to portray the contest as one of political ideology: as a struggle between democracy and autocracy. To this, I think, we Americans were particularly prone.

Wilhelminian Germany at its worst was much closer to Western parliamentarianism and to Western concepts of justice than was the Tsarist Russia whose collaboration the Western Allies so gladly accepted in the early stages of the war.

The truth is that the war was being waged against Germany, not because of the ideology of her government but because of her national aspirations. The ideological issue was an afterthought.”

(Russia and the West under Lenin and Stalin, George F. Kennan, Little, Brown and Company, 1960, excerpts pp. 5-7)

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