History

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 »

Memo to Hollywood: Please Don’t Do This

Featured image Last week in class I offered a reflection on how the rule of law often requires determined—nay, strictly speaking even extra-legal—displays of force to establish or vindicate the rule of law. The Declaration of Independence alone did not suffice to establish the United States: It took Washington’s army in the field—an extra-legal act of rebellion—to successfully vindicate the natural rights of man for self-rule that the Declaration proclaims. It then »

The left’s view of refugees, then and now

Featured image Richard Pollock at the Daily Caller offers this flashback — one that’s not without irony: Despite today’s outrage over President Donald Trump’s refugee executive order, many liberals in 1975 were part of a chorus of big name Democrats who refused to accept any Vietnamese refugees when millions were trying to escape South Vietnam as it fell to the communists. They even opposed orphans. The chorus was led by Jerry Brown »

Freeing a terrorist mastermind

Featured image In his invaluable history of the maniacal leftist terrorism of the 1970s, Bryan Burrough frankly characterizes FALN leader Oscar López Rivera as “the man behind the deadliest bombing campaign of the era.” That’s quite a distinction. And the man remains unrepentant, as they say. He therefore escaped pardon by Slick William J. Clinton in the festival of corruption that accompanied his departure from office. Clinton pardoned 16 of the 18 »

Worst president ever?

Featured image Our two most recent presidents both have been called “the worst president ever” by some of their critics. In doing so, these critics place partisanship well ahead of an understanding of American history. They should read up on the presidency of James Buchanan. As much as I dislike Barack Obama, I’m not sure he’s even the worst president of my lifetime. You can make a good case that Jimmy Carter »