Monday, August 15, 2016

How Benedict Arnold Became a Traitor

Bestselling author Nathaniel Philbrick tackles the most notorious act of treason in American history. Philbrick, author of Mayflower and In the Heart of the Sea, turns his focus to the tumultuous period that is also the focus of this blog: the American Revolution. 

In his book Valiant Ambition: George Washington, Benedict Arnold, and the Fate of the American Revolution, Philbrick explains that Arnold's treason can only be understood when one studies its context. Other than perhaps Arnold's choice in wives, the same temptations more or less faced other notables in the American Revolution, including the great George Washington. Fortunately for America, Washington withstood such temptations proving himself to be the man of exceptional integrity the nation desperately needed. 

Writing a review of Philbrick's book, John Daniel Davidson explains: 

It’s a wonder that Washington endured such terrible treatment from civilian overseers and managed to keep his army together; a lesser man would have either resigned in disgust or declared himself emperor and taken what his army needed by force. Or he would have done what Arnold did: conclude that the country’s experiment in freedom had failed and that the only way to restore peace and order was to help the British win the war. 

To read the rest of Davidson's review, check out... 

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Abigail Adams vs. Bill O'Reilly

Bill O'Reilly's attempt to correct First Lady Michelle Obama's statement that the White House was built by slaves was horrifyingly reminiscent of efforts on the part of early American slave owners to justify slavery. While O'Reilly has since "clarified" that he agrees slavery was an "abomination," his comment that the slaves which helped build the White House were "well fed" is too offensive to ignore.

First, as The Atlantic makes clear, O'Reilly's claims aren't true. Abigail Adams is a far more credible source of information than Mr. O'Reilly or any of us. And she makes clear that the slaves building the White House were not adequately fed or taken care of.

Second, it's irrelevant to the First Lady's point, which is a good one: America has come a long way and nowhere is this more evident than what Michelle Obama is saying about the White House in which she and her husband reside.

Third, even if O'Reilly were correct (and he's not), slavery is still inherently dehumanizing. You can't dress it up and make it good. It's evil. Period.

Now, I'm not one to bash America's Founding Fathers. On the contrary, I respect them deeply - as all Americans (regardless of color) should! But...I also don't believe in sweeping the sin of slavery under the rug. Slavery remains the most egregious stain on our nation's history and we must be willing to confront such things in history if we are to learn from them. And, while I don't always agree with First Lady Obama, I agree with her completely on this point. O'Reilly should apologize unconditionally for his offensive and hurtful comments.

Friday, July 01, 2016

Caesar Rodney Rides Into History

Two hundred and forty years ago, Delaware's Caesar Rodney was galloping hard through the stormy night to reach Philadelphia in time to cast a crucial tie-breaking vote for American independence. Rodney's 70-mile ride the night of July 1, 1776 pushed Delaware into the pro-independence column and insured the Continental Congress voted UNANIMOUSLY (with one colony abstaining) for America's independence on July 2. The Declaration of Independence would be approved two days later, but it was actually on July 2, 1776 that the Continental Congress voted to "absolve all allegiance to the British Crown" and lay the foundation for the United States of America.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Walter Williams Chastises Bernie Sanders for Attack on Founders

Economist Walter Williams is taking Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders to task for telling Liberty University students several months ago that the Founding Fathers created the United States on "racist" grounds. According to Williams, this cheap shot against the Founders is typical of the Left's efforts to denigrate the Founders and "undermine the legitimacy of our Constitution."

Check out Williams' article at the link below...

Let us know what you think in the comments section.

Wednesday, April 06, 2016

Why Did George Washington Retire Before He Became President?

One of the questions asked often on the Internet is why George Washington retired as Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army before becoming President of the United States. The simple answer is that General George Washington was done with public 1783. Once the British signed the Treaty of Paris recognizing American independence, General Washington's task was done and all he wanted to do at that point was head home to Martha and Mount Vernon. He had no interest in serving in any public office, political or otherwise, when he retired in 1783.

Note that this was four years before the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia and five years before the election for the first President of the United States created by that Constitution. The presidency that Washington would step into was still several years off when the Treaty of Paris was signed. The only "president of the United States" at the time of General Washington's retirement was the head of the Congress under the nascent Articles of Confederation, and that was a very different office from the one created by the Constitution in 1787-88.

General Washington would of course come out of retirement to attend, and later preside over, the Constitutional Convention in 1787. That body was called to revise the Articles of Confederation. It ended up replacing them entirely. The requisite number of states ratified the new compact by the time of the presidential election in 1788. George Washington was unanimously elected. By that time, he was out of retirement, being an advocate for the new Constitution.

After two terms as President, Washington announced his retirement again, returning to Mount Vernon. He was called once more out of retirement by President John Adams who asked him to command the American army in preparation for a possible invasion from France, a Revolutionary War ally that had experienced a violent change in government. Washington agreed on the condition that he remain at Mount Vernon. His second-in-command, Alexander Hamilton, became the effective commander of the American army, which was dissolved once peace with France was established.

Retirement is actually one of the keys to Washington's greatness. Washington had several opportunities to seize power and essentially hold it until his death. He could've been a king or dictator in America. He refused. His humility and self-restraint make him one of the greatest leaders in all of history.

**For more on George Washington's character, check out The Religion of George Washington: The Faith and Moral Philosophy of our Greatest Founding Father

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

RIP Patty Duke (aka Martha Washington)

Acclaimed actress Patty Duke passed away in the early hours of the morning on March 29, 2016. One of her representatives confirmed her passing at 1:20am. He said: "She was a wife, a mother, a grandmother, a friend, a mental health advocate and a cultural icon. She will be missed."

Patty Duke is known to this blog's readership for many things, but among them is her starring role in the George Washington miniseries from the mid-1980s. She played Martha Washington opposite star Barry Bostwick who played our nation's first general and President. 

She will be missed.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Honoring the Best President on Presidents Day

Washington's inauguration as depicted by artist Mort Kunstler
The third Monday in February is set aside each year by federal law to honor the father of our country, but culture has hijacked the February holiday, calling it "Presidents Day" and lumping the first President in with all the rest. Today, most Americans see Presidents Day as a day to honor all our Presidents, in spite of the fact that it's not the holiday's original nor official intent. What's more, the idea that Washington should share his holiday with Martin Van Buren, William Henry Harrison, Joh Franklin Pierce, James Buchanan, and Andrew Johnson is a bit ridiculous, to say the least.

Setting aside the fact that George Washington's accomplishments outside of the presidency warrant a holiday in their own right (like, say, his generalship in the Revolutionary War and his presiding over the Constitutional Convention), President Washington nevertheless ranks as the most important and significant Chief Executive in our nation's history. Yes, there's Lincoln who presided over the Civil War and FDR who led us through the Great Depression and World War II, but these men (and all the others) followed in Washington's foot steps. They operated under his shadow. It was George Washington who defined the presidency and who made it work. To steal a phrase from Tina Turner, Washington is "simply the best, better than all the rest."

On this "Presidents Day," let's remember the President who stands head and shoulders above all other American statesmen and who, more than any other, made the United States possible.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Mort Kunstler Honors Lewis & Clark

Today (January 18) in 1803, Thomas Jefferson requested funds from the U.S. Congress to finance the Lewis and Clark expedition in the newly acquired Louisiana Purchase. Congress authorized $2,500 but the actual cost exceeded $40,000. To commemorate this date, Mort Kunstler, one of my favorite artists, displayed this piece on his Facebook page today...

Find more art from Mort Kunstler at his official site

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Treaty of Ghent Ends War of 1812 (sort of) 201 Years Ago Today

On this day (December 24) 201 years ago, the Treaty of Ghent was signed, setting the stage for the conclusion of the War of 1812 (a war which began in 1812 but lasted longer than the one year for which it was named). News would not reach North America in time to stop the British attack on New Orleans, which would be the last major battle of the war. This is truly an event that showcases the significance of modern communications technology.

Read more about this "forgotten war" at...

Monday, December 14, 2015

George Washington Dies December 14, 1799

Sixteen years ago, I stood at Mount Vernon and watched the funeral procession of George Washington. For a moment, it felt like the real funeral of George Washington - a brief moment made difficult by all the spectators (like me) with cameras and in modern clothing lining both sides of the procession and a moment completely shattered when I saw one of the early American soldiers sporting sunglasses!

I attended the 1999 bicentennial reenactment of Washington's funeral, because I recognized the significance of the man being honored. With the passing of George Washington in December 14, 1799, the United States of America lost its greatest leader - then and since.

To be sure, our nation has been blessed with wonderful leaders, including several of Washington's contemporaries (the men we know as "the Founding Fathers") and many of our Presidents, military leaders, civil rights activists, and religious figures throughout history. But Washington tops them all given the sheer breadth of his experience (political, business, and military) as well as the indispensable nature of his contributions. Without Washington, there would almost certainly be no United States of America today.

While an imperfect man (Washington, after all, was a slave owner - though a progressive one whose conscience led him eventually to manumission), George Washington embodied the highest ideals of character and service. Faced with the temptation of becoming dictator (or perhaps king) after the American Revolution, Washington instead chose retirement. Then the nation's leaders begged him out of retirement to supervise the Constitutional Convention and to accept the presidency under the new Constitution. Washington faithfully served two terms and, once again, turned over the reins of power and headed home to Mount Vernon.

In this time of political and social division, those of us who love America can only hope that the vast majority of Americans will agree that whatever greatness our nation has achieved in its short history is due in no small measure to the foundation laid by the men and women of the founding generation. And, when one looks at the founding, the figure of George Washington looms the largest.

In the end, Abraham Lincoln summed up Washington's legacy the best: "To add brightness to the sun, or glory to the name of Washington, is alike impossible. Let none attempt it. In solemn awe pronounce the name, and in its naked, deathless splendor, leave it shining on."