History

Civil War Figures, In Color

Featured image Two young men, a Briton and a Dane, have devoted remarkable skill and energy to colorizing Civil War-era photographs. The Daily Mail has some of them, and there are more here and here. The photos all possess a striking immediacy–Mark Twain looks as though he is about to snarl at you–but here are just two. First, Ulysses Grant, my favorite historical figure. Grant was a kind, often diffident man who »

The Ultimate Ted Talk

Featured image A number of observers have noted the media hypocrisy over the treatment of Ted Cruz’s impressive 21-hour speech and Texas State Sen. Wendy Davis’s similar effort recently in the Texas legislature.  (Obama must surely be wondering how Cruz was able to talk cogently for 21 hours without a Teleprompter.  Cruz’s bravura performance was, as I say, the ultimate TED Talk.)  We know how this story goes for the media: Davis »

What never? Well, hardly never

Featured image On September 18, President Obama told the Business Roundtable: You have never seen in the history of the United States the debt ceiling or the threat of not raising the debt used to extort a president of a governing party and trying to force issues that have nothing to do with the budget and nothing to do with the debt. Obama was referring to Republican attempts to use the debt »

Abraham Lincoln on Thomas Jefferson

Featured image In April 1859, the recently formed Massachusetts Republican Party celebrated the birthday of Thomas Jefferson, a founder of what had become the Democratic Party. For the occasion, Abraham Lincoln sent a letter to the Massachusetts Republicans. Lincoln explained away the irony of Republicans celebrating Jefferson, and then captured the essence of Jefferson’s contribution to our Founding and to our freedom. Here are key excerpts: Bearing in mind that about 70 »

Where is the Constitution?

Featured image Today is Constitution Day, as set in federal law. I didn’t know that — I didn’t know we had such a day — until reading the column in honor of the day by Professor Wilfred McClay, published here in the Oklahoman over the weekend. Professor James Ceaser also observes the day in “Celebrating Madison in Jefferson country.” As befits a historian, Professor McClay stepped back to explain the designation of »

Leo Baeck, Berlin, 1935

Featured image Jews begin the observance of Yom Kippur tonight at Kol Nidre services. A couple of years ago a Christian friend asked to join us at our service. During the service she pointed in our prayer book to an adaptation of the prayer composed by the progressive German Rabbi Leo Baeck for delivery in German synagogues during the Kol Nidre service on October 10, 1935. It is a prayer that remains »

The flight 93 national memorial

Featured image Earlier this summer, my wife and I visited the Flight 93 National Memorial in western Pennsylvania, about 70 miles southeast of Pittsburgh. United Flight 93, of course, was one of the four hijacked airlines that terrorists wanted to use strike highly populated buildings of great symbolic importance to America. In Flight 93′s case, the target is believed to have been the U.S. Capitol, some 130 miles or so away. Fortunately, »

Low-information voters, then and now

Featured image John does a great job of keeping Power Line readers up-to-date on the pitches that Democrats make to low-information voters. Some historians contend that the low point in such pitches was reached by the Whig Party in the presidential election of 1840 (William Henry Harrison vs. Martin Van Buren). Issac Morse, a Louisiana politician during the 1840s used to regale friends with this story of young Whig orator who, Morse »

A day to be proud…

Featured image I first wrote about Rick Rescorla in 2003 after finishing James Stewart’s Heart of a Soldier, the book based on Stewart’s New Yorker article “The real heroes are dead.” (“The real heroes are dead” is what Rescorla would say in response to recognition of his heroism on the battlefield in Vietnam.) The book is good, not great, but it touches on profound themes in a thought-provoking way: life and death, »

Cole on the case: Thanks to McConnell

Featured image How could I have missed this? An aide to Senator McConnell writes to correct me ever so gently: Just noticed your post on Bruce Cole and wanted to let you know, if you didn’t already, that under the statute, Obama appoints whomever McConnell picks for the Republican slots on these bipartisan boards and commissions. So we have McConnell to thank for this, not Obama. Here is Daniel Foster’s National Review »

Cole on the case [updated]

Featured image We have tried to keep up with news regarding Frank Gehry’s planned Eisehnower Memorial design; we have opposed it. The latest news is good and, to my surprise, we have President Obama to thank for it. The AP reports: President Barack Obama is appointing a known critic of the planned Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial design to serve on the federal commission that oversees the project. The White House announced Obama’s »

Were the 1960s race riots “self-defeating”?

Featured image In his speech commemorating the great civil rights march of 1963, President Obama asserted that “the anguish of assassinations set off self-defeating riots.” However, as I argued here, serious black rioting preceded the assassination of Martin Luther King and was not connected with any other assassination. There’s another dubious claim in Obama’s account: it’s questionable whether the black rioting of the 1960s was self-defeating. In 1967, almost a year before »

Obama gets his black history wrong

Featured image As John has noted, President Obama’s speech today at a rally commemorating the great civil rights march of 1963 was, not surprisingly, an exercise in partisan demagoguery. Even when Obama tried to “honest,” he didn’t quite get it right: And then, if we’re honest with ourselves, we’ll admit that during the course of 50 years, there were times when some of us claiming to push for change lost our way. »

Remembering the great civil rights march of 1963

Featured image Participating in the great civil rights march of 1963 didn’t exactly change my life. But it made my course more fixed, helping inspire me to become a lawyer and, in my first job as such, to work for the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. That’s why I’ve written about the march on August 28 of almost every year I’ve blogged. Today, on the 50th anniversary of the march, I thought »

Spindle Time: Civil Rights Hypocrisy Edition

Featured image David Brooks takes a lot of heat from conservatives for trimming his sails at the New York Times, where, he’s remarked to me and others, being the identified “house conservative” is like being a rabbi in Mecca.  But even with his moderate disposition, his columns still rack up tons of hate mail and intemperate remarks from Times readers who simply can’t bear the presence of any columnist to the right »

CRB: The Great Emancipation

Featured image The new (Summer) issue of the Claremont Review of Books is hot off the press. The CRB is the flagship publication of the Claremont Institute and my favorite magazine. I want to persuade you to subscribe to it, which you can do here for the ridiculously low, heavily subsidized price of $19.95 a year and get immediate online access thrown in to boot. Our friends at the CRB have let »

Why not the worst?

Featured image In what is at least the column of the day, our friend Hugh Hewitt asks if Obama is the worst president ever. Hugh works the Obama-Carter comparison to render an affirmative judgment. Reading the column closely, I infer that Hugh might call it a tie on a per day basis. But Hugh is clearly right to recognize that Obama is “worsting” Carter, and not just because Obama will have two »