History

Mainstream media “fact checks” Trump’s conjecture about the Civil War

Featured image In an interview yesterday, President Trump speculated that Andrew Jackson might have prevented the Civil War. He’s probably right. Indeed, any Democratic president of that era might well have prevented it. The Democrats were the party that accommodated Southern slaveholders, of which Andrew Jackson was one. Sufficient accommodation in 1861 very likely would have prevented, or postponed, the Civil War. It had done so in the past eight years of »

The Times revisits the old-time religion

Featured image Vivan Gornick exudes nostalgia for The Romance of Communism, as she called her 1978 book documenting the memories of old members of the Communist Party USA. Marion Magid’s unamused review of Gornick’s book for Commentary performs an expert anatomy on a reeking carcass of a book. Anticipating May Day today, the Times turned valuable real estate in its Sunday Review section yesterday over to Gornick for a rerun of her »

When Democrats lose

Featured image Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein both spoke at the White House Correspondents Dinner last night. Time has posted their speeches in case you were otherwise occupied at the time. They had some advice for President Trump. In part they revisited past glories covering the Watergate scandal and taking down President Nixon. They have a few loose ends to tie up. For example, they still haven’t discovered what Nixon’s guys were »

100 days then and now

Featured image USA Today rounded up a panel of observers to grade President Trump on his first 100 days in office. It’s a tough crowd. Five of the 10 contributors award Trump a D or lower. Glenn Reynolds stands out in the crowd. Glenn teaches law, presides over InstaPundit and writes a regular column for USA Today. He awards Trump an A+. Grade inflation has nothing to do with it. His case »

A Deep Dive Into the Founding

Featured image It was 20 years ago that Thomas G. West, nowadays the Potter professor of politics at Hillsdale College, published Vindicating the Founders: Race, Sex, Class, and Justice in the Origins of America. The book was a tour de force against the left’s relentless attacks on and distortions of the American founding, and it is an indispensable reference book for every one of the left’s clichés about the supposed defects, if »

Remembering the first Earth Day

Featured image The date was April 22, 1970. The place (for me) was Hanover, New Hampshire. I don’t think I participated in the festivities. However, I do recall a band playing “Season of the Witch.” Beatniks are out to make it rich; Oh no, must be the season of the witch. Appropriate, as it turned out. The first Earth Day came full of gloomy commentary and predictions from the scientific community. Mark »

A footnote on the Doolittle Raid

Featured image A reader writes to add a comment on my post noting the seventy-fifth anniversary of the Doolittle Raid yesterday: Because it was not at all obvious, reporters asked FDR from where the Doolittle raid bombers were launched. He just smiled and answered: “Shangri-La!” This great answer added to the mystique and psychological impact of the raid and maintained complete secrecy. In contrast, within hours of the killing of Osama bin »

Remember the Doolittle Raid

Featured image If you’ve ever learned the story of Doolittle’s Raid and Doolittle’s Raiders, you remember. After Pearl Harbor, as Japan was racking up victories in the Pacific, then Army Air Force Lt. Col. Jimmy Doolittle led something like a suicide mission to bomb Tokyo. Today is the seventy-fifth anniversary of Doolittle’s Raid. On the occasion Gerald Skoning recalls the story’s highlights in “How Doolittle little did so much for so many »

Another Reminder of Why the 1970s Were So Horrible

Featured image The bill of indictment against the 1970s usually leads with Jimmy Carter, disco, bell bottoms and leisure suits, pet rocks, those Damn Yankees, the bogus “energy crisis,” and stagflation. And did I make sure to mention Jimmy Carter? But maybe we’ve overlooked one key data set with a marker of 1970s weirdness (click to embiggen): You can find more over on Reddit. »

Will Trump adopt a Jacksonian approach to the judiciary?

Featured image President Trump admires Andrew Jackson. He sees himself as Jacksonian. Accordingly, it might instructive to recall how President Jackson is said to have responded when the Supreme Court ruled, in Worcester v. Georgia, that Georgia laws calling for the seizure of Cherokee lands violated federal treaties. Here is the statement Jackson may have made: John Marshall has made his decision, now let him enforce it. Jackson may never have uttered »

Remembering the indispensable man

Featured image Today is the anniversary of the birth of George Washington. Of all the great men of the revolutionary era to whom we owe our freedom, Washington’s greatness was the rarest and the most needed. At this remove in time, it is also the hardest to comprehend. Take, for example, Washington’s contribution to the Constitutional Convention of 1787. Washington’s mere presence lent the undertaking and its handiwork the legitimacy that resulted »

Two worlds of a Soviet spy

Featured image The great Harvey Klehr is best known as a groundbreaking historian of the Cold War, having authored or co-authored over a dozen books on the subject of American Communism. He was one of the first researchers to get into the Venona Papers after the fall of the Soviet Union. His dive in the archives produced Venona: Decoding Soviet Espionage in America in 1999. (These were the Soviet documents that proved »

The trouble with Calhoun

Featured image Having previously declared that the name of Calhoun College was to survive the grand renaming project undertaken by the university, President Peter Salovey was at pains to explain why the university had changed its mind. What was once Calhoun College is now to be Hopper College. What happened? Roger Kimball explores the question in the Wall Street Journal column “Yale’s inconsistent name-dropping” (accessible here via Google). In the column Roger »

Thinkin’ about “Lincoln” again

Featured image Steven Spielberg’s 2012 film Lincoln seems to have dropped from our cultural consciousness. Perhaps the cognitive dissonance it induces on the left suppresses its memory. As we celebrate the anniversary of Lincoln’s birthday today, I want to take a look back at the film with the notes I offered at the time. I put just about everything important that I know about Lincoln into them. Until reading David Brooks’s obtuse »

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 »

What was once Calhoun College is now…

Featured image Yale’s Calhoun College is one of the university’s venerable residential colleges. It’s named after the prominent alumnus John C. Calhoun. Calhoun served as Vice President, Secretary of State, Secretary of War, and United States Senator. He was the also the leading Southern proponent of slavery until his death in 1850. Calhoun is most famous for his advocacy of slavery as a “positive good.” The man did a lot of damage. »

Who won, McConnell or Warren?

Featured image Yesterday, in writing about the Senate’s rebuke and silencing of Elizabeth Warren for disparaging Jeff Sessions, I discussed the rule invoked by Mitch McConnell to accomplish this. Rule 19 provides that Senators are not allowed to “directly or indirectly, by any form of words impute to another Senator or to other Senators any conduct or motive unworthy or unbecoming a Senator.” I suggested that Rule 19 is an anachronism. It »