History

Thinkin’ about “Lincoln”

Featured image As we celebrate the anniversary of Lincoln’s birth today, I want to take a look back at the 2012 film Lincoln. Until reading David Brooks’s obtuse column about the film, I was unsure that I knew enough to comment intelligently about it. Brooks persuaded me that I know at least as much as he does, however, and accordingly prompted me to offer the following in the way of notes for »

Remembering Mr. Lincoln

Featured image Today is of course the anniversary of the birth of America’s greatest president, Abraham Lincoln. As a politician and as president, Lincoln was a profound student of the Constitution and constitutional history. Perhaps most important, Lincoln was America’s indispensable teacher of the moral ground of political freedom at the exact moment when the country was on the threshold of abandoning what he called its “ancient faith” that all men are »

William McKinley’s triumph in Karl Rove’s words

Featured image Yesterday, in recommending Karl Rove’s book The Triumph of William McKinley, Why the Election of 1896 Still Matters, I mentioned Rove’s discussion of the book at AEI. As a devotee of C-SPAN’s Booknotes, I’ve heard countless authors discuss their babies (I mean books). I can’t recall a better such presentation than Rove’s. Scott found the event on YouTube and you can watch it below. The question about the role of »

Long Live the King

Featured image I’ve been expecting the day would come when the identity politics Left would turn on Martin Luther King Jr, and that day has arrived. Students at the University of Oregon (and surely elsewhere) are demanding that one of King’s most famous phrases, “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin »

Karl Rove: the master strategist as master story teller

Featured image I normally don’t recommend books on Power Line unless I’ve read them from beginning to end. However, I’m making an exception for Karl Rove’s The Triumph of William McKinley: Why the Election of 1896 Still Matters. Why? First, because I’m in the early-middle of a long history of Austria and probably won’t make any headway on Rove’s book (beyond the first chapter, which I have read) for some time. Second, »

Vacuous Vox Boxes Itself

Featured image It was only a few days ago that I took note of the sorry Politifact people for jumping on Marco Rubio for supposedly distorting the role Ronald Reagan played in the denouement of the Iranian hostage crisis back in January 1981, and now Vox has weighed in also with the purpose of disputing Rubio and denigrating Ronaldus Magnus. Except that Vox makes a total botch of it. Here’s the lede »

They Don’t Make Liberals Like They Used To

Featured image In our Picks section yesterday we linked to Fred Siegel’s recent City Journal article, “The House Divided,” which is a 25-year retrospective on Arthur Schlesinger’s 1991 attack on leftist “multiculturalism.” As it happens, I’ve been reading one of Schlesinger’s older books, The Vital Center: The Politics of Freedom (published in 1949), as background for the book project I have under way. And also as it happens, I’ve had dinner with »

Forrest McDonald, RIP [with comment by Paul]

Featured image Sad news yesterday of the passing of one of the great conservative historians of our time, Forrest McDonald, at the age of 89. He taught for many years at the University of Alabama, and was the author of several important revisionist works on American history, including a favorable biography of the great electric utility executive Sam Insull (one of the “economic royalists” that FDR hunted down with mixed success during »

“13 Hours” revisited

Featured image We went to see the film 13 Hours at the Grandview Theater in St. Paul this past Saturday evening. Paul Mirengoff gave a good account of the film here. Paul’s post states what I have to say in greater detail and more articulately than I will. I only want to urge readers to see the film in a theater while you still can and to add these comments. The movie »

The prophetic voice

Featured image When Martin Luther King, Jr., brought his nonviolent campaign against segregation to Bull Connor’s Birmingham, he laid siege to the bastion of Jim Crow. In Birmingham between 1957 and 1962, black homes and churches had been subjected to a series of horrific bombings intended to terrorize the community. In April 1963 King answered the call to bring his campaign to Birmingham. When King landed in jail on Good Friday for »

When black lives mattered

Featured image Don’t miss Jason Riley’s review of Black Silent Majority: The Rockefeller Drug Laws and the Politics of Punishment, by Michael Javen Fortner. Riley’s review bears the perfect title “When Black Lives Mattered.” During the period chronicled in Fortner’s book, black lives mattered enough to try to protect them by vigorously fighting drug-related crime. Fortner, an African-American who teaches at City University of New York, was raised in Brooklyn during the »

The Perils of Leuchtenburg

Featured image When I heard a few weeks ago that there was a new history of the presidency, The American President, by William Leuchtenburg, my first thought was—Leuchtenburg is still alive?? Indeed he is, 92 years old now. It was over 30 years ago that I read one of his best-known books, The Perils of Prosperity: 1914-1932, published in 1958! It was a smug and lazy liberal narrative of entirely typical of »

Worst movies of 2015

Featured image I didn’t see enough movies in 2015 to make a ten-worst list, but I saw enough to make a five-worst list. My moviegoing is limited mostly to serious films aimed at an adult audience. Scouts Guide to the Apocalypse was therefore not in the running. Neither was Zombeavers nor a host of others you either never heard of or don’t need to be warned away from. I avoided several films »

Maryland under pressure to change its state song

Featured image A state advisory panel is calling on Maryland to change its state song (“Maryland My Maryland,” sung to the tune of “Christmas Tree, My Christmas Tree”) because the lyrics “do not reflect the feelings of all Marylanders at the time they were written or today.” Actually, the lyrics, which called on Marylanders to rise up against the Union during the Civil War, don’t reflect the feelings of anyone in the »

Power Line’s Chart of the Week: The Achievement of Capitalism

Featured image Herewith a new Power Line feature: Chart of the Week. Because data. Also innovation. Scheduled to appear on Monday or Tuesday each week. I have been looking forward for a long time to the last in Deirdre McCloskey’s trilogy about capitalism (a term she dislikes) that began with Bourgeois Virtues: Ethics for an Age of Commerce, and Bourgeois Dignity: Why Economics Can’t Explain the Modern World. The third volume, coming »

Rewriting History In Minnesota

Featured image The Dakota uprising of 1862 is one of the major events in Minnesota’s history. It began with a series of spree killings by young Dakotas and grew into a slaughter that extended up and down the Minnesota River. Hundreds of white men, women and children were massacred by the Dakota, who descended on their homes without warning and slaughtered the whites without mercy. Minnesotans organized a militia to resist the »

The Mapes miasma [Updated With Schadenfreude]

Featured image Variety has opened its pages to former CBS News producer Mary Mapes for an intransigent declaration of her righteousness in the Rathergate affair as portrayed in the film Truth (based on her memoir Truth and Duty). She writes: “Truth” is an uncannily accurate film about what happened when Dan Rather and our team reported an absolutely true story about then-President George W. Bush’s hit-and-miss Vietnam-era military service. We aired an »