History

Learning from Lincoln

Featured image Sean Wilentz is a historian of the leftist persuasion and also a principled opponent of the New York Times’s 1619 Project errors, distortions, and lies (my word, not his), now adopted as the orthodoxy of the Democratic Party. The problem is “A matter of facts,” he wrote in The Atlantic. He also signed off on the letter prominent historians sent to the Times challenging the project as ideological rather than »

Through Douglass’s eyes

Featured image The relationship between the former slave Frederick Douglass and President Abraham Lincoln provides deep insight into both men. Douglass’s recollection of his first meeting with Lincoln — “I shall never forget my first interview with this great man” — is a highlight of the 1892 version of Douglass’s autobiography (The Life and Times of Frederick Douglass). In the Claremont Review of Books celebration of the bicentennial anniversary of Lincoln’s birth »

A history to be proud of

Featured image The Biden administration and Democrats all over the country now promulgate the charge that “systemic racism” permeates our country and that this racism is woven into our founding documents. Earlier this week, for example, St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter quoted from the Supreme Court’s ignominious Dred Scott case to make the point. Democrats have essentially taken up the mantle of Chief Justice Taney in Dred Scott. They approve of Taney’s »

Sean McMeekin: The story behind “Stalin’s War”

Featured image Sean McMeekin is Francis Flournoy Professor of European History and Culture at Bard College and the author of Stalin’s War: A New History of World War II, officially published by Basic Books today. Professor McMeekin is one of the most prominent of the younger generation of historians of the Soviet Union. His first book — The Red Millionaire — is a personal favorite of mine. He graciously accepted my invitation »

Walter Mondale, RIP

Featured image The news that Walter Mondale was in extremis had circulated a few days ago, and blurted out, predictably, by Jimmy Carter, about whom Mondale said on many occasions after 1980, “I never understood how Carter’s political mind worked. Carter’s got the coldest political nose of any politician I ever met.” It is still not well known that Mondale considered resigning as Vice President during Carter’s infamous navel-gazing Camp David retreat in »

Forty Years On

Featured image As is being widely remarked, today is the 40th anniversary of the assassination attempt on President Reagan outside the Washington Hilton. I was a fresh-out-of-college intern working for Stan Evans up at the Capitol Hill office of his National Journalism Center, where we typically had the public radio classical music station on at low volume in the background. So when the station broke into the middle of the music to »

The filibuster is not a relic of the Jim Crow era

Featured image Among the falsehoods Joe Biden mouthed at his press conference yesterday was the claim that the Senate filibuster is “a relic of the Jim Crow era.” This line originated with Barack Obama. Biden said he agrees with Obama’s assertion. As many have pointed out, Biden defended the Senate filibuster for decades. And Obama himself defended it when he was a Senator. Thus Biden and Obama are both hypocrites. To make »

This Day In History

Featured image On March 26, 1921, the London Times reported on a trade overture by Soviet Russia to the Warren Harding administration: The American Administration has lost no time in answering the Note from the Soviet Government appealing to President Harding to open trade negotiations. It was only on Tuesday that the State Department received the Soviet Note, which declared, presumably as a sort of bait, that “the Soviet Government has not »

Is America doomed? Part Two

Featured image We are doomed, I think, if Americans come to believe that ours is an ignoble country, and has been since its founding. I don’t think any nation has ever thrived when it (or its ruling class) lost faith to that degree. Yet, we have started teaching students that America is, and always has been, ignoble. Has any nation ever done this? I don’t think so. Those ruling classes that lost »

Three blind mice

Featured image Suppose six former Secretaries of State wrote a Wall Street Journal op-ed discussing the urgent need to recognize and establish diplomatic relations with Communist China. Their op-ed might make you think the former secretaries were asleep at the switch during their time at Foggy Bottom. Unfortunately, six former Secretaries of Education have signed the rough equivalent of such an op-ed for the Journal. The six are: Lamar Alexander, Arne Duncan, »

The 9/11 boatlift

Featured image The 9/11 boatlift is not exactly breaking news. The 2016 book American Dunkirk: The Waterborne Evacuation of Manhattan on 9/11 documented the event for historical purposes (reviewed here by Rick Spilman for gCaptain). Yet it comes as news to me, via our friend Jean Yarbrough of Bowdoin College. Professor Yarbrough draws my attention to the moving 10-minute documentary “Boatlift” (video below). The film dates back to the tenth anniversary of »

Our men in Havana

Featured image Tim Weiner is a former New York Times reporter and author of Legacy of Ashes: The History of the CIA (2007). The history of the CIA, according to Weiner, is a history of the failures of the CIA. The CIA chose not to ignore the book. It posted a response by the agency’s historian that the agency has unfortunately removed from its site. The CIA historian’s response to Weiner’s book »

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 »

Will *France* Save America?

Featured image Yes, that is a ridiculous headline. And yet, as we noted here last week, what does it tell us about the present condition of America that the president of France, Emanuel Macron, has a better grasp of perversity and danger of our “woke” culture than the President of the United States? The New York Times has followed up on its first startling account with a report this week on steps »

The strange life of Rennie Davis

Featured image Rennie Davis died earlier this month. Davis was a radical community organizer back when radical community organizing was hot, not cool. He is best remembered for being part of the “Chicago Seven,” a group of left-wing radicals tried for the disruptive activities they organized and led at the 1968 Democratic National Convention. The jury convicted Davis, along with five co-defendants, for conspiring to incite a riot. However, the convictions were »

The Belknap precedent

Featured image One of the good things about the impeachment of Donald Trump — maybe the only good thing — is that it has brought William Belknap into the spotlight. And that’s a good thing only for history buffs. Belknap is the only member of the executive branch until now to be impeached after leaving office. His impeachment trial is said to be precedent for holding one for Trump. Belknap was a »

After “The Day After”

Featured image Seth Lipsky tells a great story about George Shultz in his editorial tribute to him. Harking back to Shultz’s tenure in the Nixon administration, Seth recalled: Shultz was then, as best we recall, President Nixon’s budget director. He was in town on such business and called a press conference at the federal building, which was across the street from the [Wall Street] Journal’s news bureau. So we tucked a notebook »