History

They’ve Come for Lincoln

Featured image Remember when Democrats assured us that they just wanted to get rid of statues of Confederate generals, plus Jefferson Davis? That was the issue in Charlottesville. But of course it didn’t stop there. Liberals don’t hate the Confederacy, they hate America. So inevitably, the Great Emancipator is now in their sights. Here in Minnesota, Democratic Representative Jamie Becker-Finn complains about having to see a portrait of Lincoln in the Minnesota »

Collusion revisited — again

Featured image I badly mangled this post when I sought to correct a link in it yesterday. I’m taking the liberty of reposting it as intended below the break with apologies to readers who may have seen it in its mangled form. * * * * * The late Richard Pipes’s narrative history The Russian Revolution is a great work of humane learning. Pipes’s mastery of the sources shines through his text. »

Collusion revisited

Featured image The late Richard Pipes’s narrative history The Russian Revolution is a great work of humane learning. Pipes’s mastery of the sources shines through his text. The text itself reflects a lifetime of study and reflection. Reading Gary Saul Morson’s essay/review linked in the adjacent post, I was reminded of Pipes’s chapter 7 (“Toward the Catastrophe”), covering the assassination of Rasputin. It includes this passage on the November 14, 1916 speech »

March 1917 revisited

Featured image The current (May 12) issue of the New York Review of Books carries Gary Saul Morson’s chilling essay/review (behind the NYRB paywall) taking up March 1917: The Red Wheel/Node III (8 March–31 March): Book 3 and Between Two Millstones: Book 2, Exile in America, 1978–1994, the most recent of the books by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn to be translated and published in English. Professor Morson channels Solzhenitsyn’s thinking on the preface to »

In the foothills of his mind

Featured image President Biden celebrated the confirmation of Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson at the White House yesterday. Vice President Harris spoke first, then Biden and Jackson. Jackson expressed gratitude to many who helped bring her to the day. Having raised three daughters to aspire to the greatness of Lincoln, Churchill, Solzhenitsyn and others without regard to superficial characteristics, I am repelled by the emphasis on race and sex, but gratitude was the »

The Freeport Question of Our Time

Featured image The “Freeport Question” refers to Abraham Lincoln’s devastating question posed to Stephen Douglas in his second debate against Douglas on August 27, 1858, held in Freeport, Illinois. The question was seemingly simple: “Can the people of a Territory in any lawful way, against the wishes of any citizen of the United States, exclude slavery from their limits prior to the formation of a State constitution?” Douglas’s answer split the Democratic »

Today’s Stan: The Early Line on Reagan

Featured image Stan Evans, about whom a certain new book is just days away, was an early fan of Ronald Reagan, arguing as early as March of 1968 that Reagan—rather than Nixon (whom Evans disliked)—should be the GOP nominee. But it wasn’t simply Reagan’s conservatism that attracted his favor. He noticed Reagan’s broad appeal in California, and thought it could be extended to new constituencies on the national level, as indeed it »

The madness of slow Joe, energy edition

Featured image Anyone who has followed President Biden’s overlong career in American politics may be forgiven for wondering if he believes in anything other than the corrupt Biden family. Speaking generally, he has been on every side of every issue since his election to the Senate in 1972. Worse than that, he is a farcical poseur, as in his theft of Neil Kinnock’s life and words for his own sorry purposes in »

Leo Strauss on Churchill

Featured image There is no Churchill on the scene and there is no Hitler. Over the past week, however, I have heard the words of Leo Strauss on the death of Winston Churchill echoing in my head. Strauss made these remarks in the sixth session of his Introduction to Political Philosophy course at the University of Chicago upon hearing of Churchill’s death on January 25, 1965 (per Catherine Zuckert here). It may »

Ukrainian contexts

Featured image Vladimir Putin and others insist on our understanding the rape of Ukraine in a certain context. The context consists of components including the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the expansion of NATO into Eastern Europe, and Putin’s high anxiety. If anyone has supplied the context from Ukraine’s perspective, I missed it. I doubt that it’s ancient history in Ukraine. Ukraine’s subjugation by the the Soviet Union was an unhappy experience. »

History Is Back

Featured image Francis Fukuyama, history calling on line 1. Looks like History didn’t get the memo. And it also looks like Tom Friedman’s famous McDonald’s theorem in The Lexus and the Olive Tree (no two countries that have McDonald’s go to war with each other) is finally ready for the dustbin of you-know-what. At least the UN Security Council is on the job this morning. I see the rotating chair of the »

Remembering the indispensable man

Featured image Today we celebrate 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 »

Munich, Netflix style

Featured image Netflix is streaming the movie made of Robert Harris’s Munich. The film is titled Munich: The Edge of War. Played by Jeremy Irons, Neville Chamberlain is the hero of the piece. The Free Beacon has commissioned Andrew Roberts to cast a historian’s eye on the proceedings. The heading of Roberts’s review deems it The Edge of Nonsense. Roberts is not entirely negative, but the minus outweighs the pluses: “The movie »

Lincoln with Chase(r)

Featured image Barton Swaim commends three new books in the popular history mode on Lincoln — by Brian Kilmeade, Brad Meltzer and John Avlon — in the Wall Street Journal’s Review section this weekend. Swaim recounts this anecdote lifted from John Avlon’s Lincoln and the Fight For Peace, with which Swaim concludes his review: On April 8, 1865, Lincoln visited Gen. Grant’s headquarters near Richmond and consoled wounded Union soldiers in a »

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 »

Trump responds to some of the document mishandling claims

Featured image Donald Trump has issued a partial response to allegations that he mishandled presidential documents in violation, possibly, of federal law. As I understand the reporting on this subject there are four such claims or suggestions: (1) that he improperly took at least 15 boxes of material to Florida after he left office, (2) that while president, he tore up some documents (and ate one), (3) that while president, he flushed »

History down the toilet?

Featured image In my post last night about charges that Donald Trump violated federal document retention requirements, I wrote: “For what it’s worth, [Omarosa] Manigault Newman says she once saw Trump tear up a note and eat it. That’s one way to stymie those pesky staffers.” By saying “for what it’s worth,” I indicated my skepticism about this claim. My skepticism (which isn’t the same thing as outright disbelief) is based not »