Tuesday, August 29, 2006

New York Enjoys Revolutionary War Reenactment

A great story about a reenactment in New York City - the city that got away from GW in the war.

Revolutionary War Comes Alive in Re-Enactment - August 28, 2006 - The New York Sun

Monday, August 28, 2006

Test Your Knowledge of Early American History

Follow the link to test your knowledge of America's early years....

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

George Washington on the Big Screen?

For years, there has been a script floating around Hollywood with George Washington's name all over it. If made, the script would bring the Father of our Country to the Big Screen - for the first time, I believe, as the focal point.

Oliver Stone is interested and even attracted the attention of Robert Redford at one point.

Here's a 2003 article about the script. I haven't been able to find anything out about it recently.

If you have information on this or would just like to comment....feel free.

IGN: The Stax Report: Script Review of George Washington

Monday, August 21, 2006

John Adams Coming to HBO

David McCullough's bestseller John Adams is coming to HBO, with actor Paul Giamatti portraying the brilliant, vain, and often cantankerous Founding Father.

Paul Giamatti to Play John Adams in an HBO miniseries

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Soldiers Descend on Yorktown....Again

Re-enactors of American and French soldiers from the American Revolution are marching toward Yorktown to pronounce the death blow on British General Lord Cornwallis.

Follow the link to read all about it...


Thursday, August 17, 2006

eclipsemagazine.com - C.S.A. Writer/Director Kevin Willmott Talks About His Controversial Movie And Slavery! - Hollywood Insider - EM Channels

A new documentary advances the view that the Confederacy was "based on tenets proposed by [George] Washington and the other founding fathers of the United States." Do you agree?

eclipsemagazine.com - C.S.A. Writer/Director Kevin Willmott Talks About His Controversial Movie And Slavery! - Hollywood Insider - EM Channels: "I found it disturbing that the C.S.A. was actually based on tenets proposed by Washington and the other founding fathers of the United States"

Monday, August 14, 2006

Is the Declaration of Independence "Conservative"?

According to author and historian Thomas West, the Founding Fathers defined the United States of America as a philosophically conservative nation when they agreed to the Declaration of Independence. Is our founding document "conservative"? Read the article - and decide.


Wednesday, August 09, 2006

New Book Examines George Washington and Benedict Arnold

Read an interview with historian Dave Palmer, concerning his new book on George Washington and Benedict Arnold - two men with many similarities and who followed parallel paths during the American Revolution, parallel (that is) except for one man's devotion to himself being greater than to the higher cause of his chosen nation.

HUMAN EVENTS ONLINE - George Washington and Benedict Arnold: The Fame and Infamy of Two Americans

Monday, August 07, 2006

Daily Kos: forgotten founding fathers

Check out this series on the forgotten Founders...

Daily Kos: forgotten founding fathers

South Carolina Asserting its Place in Rev War History

The state of South Carolina is standing up for its place in Revolutionary War history. Follow this link to read all about it...

The State | 08/07/2006 | Revolution sites could see boost

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Publishing the Declaration of Independence Webcast (Library of Congress)

A really neat online video from the Library of Congress. It's titled "Publishing the Declaration of Independence." Historian and librarian Robin Shields narrates.

Publishing the Declaration of Independence Webcast (Library of Congress)

Long Island History: Revolution's Unseen Rebels

Another excellent article on one of the often overlooked aspects of the American War for Independence....

Long Island History: Revolution's Unseen Rebels

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Mel Gibson, Anti-Semitism, and the American Founding

In light of the recent controversy surrounding Mel Gibson's apparent anti-Jewish slurs during his DUI arrest, I thought it might be appropriate to post an article I wrote in 2004 - coinciding with the release of Gibson's controversial The Passion of the Christ. It is long, although I actually did edit it for length and grammar before posting here. I hope you'll find it interesting. Feel free to comment.


On Ash Wednesday, February 25, 2004, theaters across the United States opened their doors to throngs of moviegoers eager to watch one of the most controversial and graphically violent films in recent years. No matter its artistic quality, The Passion of The Christ has already made movie history.

While the controversy is sure to garner excellent revenues for Mel Gibson and the other investors and distributors of the project, there remain underlying concerns of religious tension, theology, and bigotry that will fester for years to come.

Religious bigotry in general, as well as that directed against the Jewish population, is not new. Jews living in the United States during the colonial and founding era were concerned for their freedom and welfare. Though not living in a time that could foresee the scope of 1930s and 40s Nazi barbarism in Europe, they were still all too aware of the dangers and travails of religious persecution and turmoil.

In 1790, with the new President of the United States making a national public relations tour, Jewish congregations in several parts of the Republic took the opportunity to write letters to President Washington, and, in so doing, feel him out on the matter of religious freedom. After all, Washington was an Anglican, the same denomination that constituted the Church of England. The Jewish congregations were all too aware that, in England, there was an established church (Anglicanism), and that in many of the states, there were also established churches. The Bill of Rights (with the First Amendment's national prohibition of any such "establishment") had not yet been ratified.

The Jewish leaders were thus relieved when President Washington responded graciously to their concerns. In one such letter, Washington echoed the words of a Rhode Island Jewish leader by saying: "To Bigotry, No Sanction" and "To Persecution, No Assistance."

Washington's letters to Jewish congregations in 1790 served collectively to assure Jewish Americans that their freedom and religion would both be respected. According to Tina Levitan, author of First Facts in American Jewish History from 1492 to the Present, Washington's letters are an "eloquent expression and hope for religious harmony and endure as indelible statements of the most fundamental tenets of American democracy."

Perhaps more than any other religious group in America, Jews are today quite sensitive to bigotry. We are, after all, still recovering from the revolting and still-astonishing brutality of the mid-20th century death camps in Nazi-occupied Europe. Moreover, there remain deep animosities and religious tensions in the Middle East, a region known for its terrorism and violence.

The United States itself does not have a perfect record in religious tolerance. While the U.S. has never reached the level of a Nazi Germany (not even remotely so, in fact), hate groups such as the Ku Kux Klan have nevertheless long targeted Jews, and there remain lingering consequences and suspicions from past years of religious discrimination in different corners of American society.

Jewish Americans are justly concerned about bigotry and animosity, and Mel Gibson's latest film has merely fueled those concerns.

The film is not your typical "Easter story" movie. Instead, according to Ann Hornaday of The Washington Post, audiences are treated to a "lurid, almost pornographic imagery of blood, brutality and mortified flesh."

Since the content of the film is mostly based on the biblical account of Jesus's last twelve hours (including the controversial Gospel of Matthew), Jewish groups are concerned that they (or, more specifically, their religion's ancestral leaders) will be portrayed as the villains in this provocative and gory retelling.

This is currently the interpretation of many critics like Hornaday. "The Jewish leaders and their rabble are depicted as grotesque and monstrous throughout the movie," she writes.

Washington's letter to the Jews expressed his hope that Americans would forever wish "good will" toward their Jewish neighbors. Does The Passion of The Christ make such a spirit of "good will" untenable?

Whatever your opinion of the depiction of Jews in Gibson's film, the basis for this interpretation of Jewish participation in the crucifixion of Jesus is, in fact, the Holy Bible itself. The first four books of the New Testament serve as histories of the life of Jesus, and are accepted by Christians as part of God's inspired "Word." Most Christians therefore accept the claims of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John as indisputable fact.

Whether this faith in the Bible as God's Word is justified, it is a reality of the Christian faith, and must be addressed in this debate. If the New Testament Gospels claim that Jewish leaders pressed for Jesus's crucifixion (and that some of them did so viciously), then that is part of the Christian faith, not simply an expendable foot note.

Are Christians then morally or socially obligated to abandon part of their faith (i.e., their fidelity to the Gospels as an accurate retelling of history, written by divine inspiration) in order to avoid offending people who subscribe to the Jewish faith?

Critics of the Gospel accounts claim that the Jewish role in Christ's crucifixion has been unfairly exaggerated if not fabricated. Consequently, they lambaste Gibson as spreading anti-semitic distortions and inflaming ethnic tensions. They point to Adolf Hitler's use of "passion plays" to turn German public opinion against the Jewish race.

This virulent reaction against the biblical account (and Gibson's interpretation) misses one important point: Many Christians sincerely believe it.

Must one religious faith renounce its beliefs in order to accommodate another? Should Christians be compelled to reject the Gospel of Matthew because it is offensive to practitioners of the Jewish faith? Is tolerance more important than truth?

While many Jews shudder at the association of Matthew's account with "truth," our society cannot ignore the millions of people who sincerely regard the Bible - the entire Bible - as God's Word. When they read Matthew's rendition of Jesus's crucifixion, they see it as a factual account of history, just as when they read of David slaying Goliath or Moses parting the Red Sea. Must these honest and sincere believers of the Christian faith cast aside portions of Scripture, so they can avoid the label of "anti-semitic"?

The logical conclusion of much of the criticism leveled at Gibson's film (and the Bible) is an affirmative answer to the above question. That answer would be seen as unacceptable to our nation's Founders.

It would be intellectually dishonest and morally reprehensible to deny one's true convictions (religious convictions, no less) simply to avoid offending others. Christians have the same right to proclaim their faith, as Jews do - or as Muslims do. There will be times when the expression of the doctrines of these various faiths will collide. It is the responsibility of our society to accept that and even to welcome it.

That is the spirit of Washington's admonition against bigotry and intolerance. Washington never would've sacrified conviction on the altar of political correctness.

After all, it was Washington that called on his Continental soldiers to practice "Christian conduct" and to attend compulsory field services. It was he who, in an official circular to the state governors, referred to Jesus as the "Divine Author of our Blessed Religion." A Commander-in-Chief today saying such things would be blasted as "intolerant," "narrow," and "discriminatory."

Yet Washington would go even further as President, adding "so help me God" to the presidential oath, taking that oath on the Bible, and ordering a day of national Thanksgiving (originally a blatant religious holiday).

Nevertheless, Washington never condemned those of other faiths. On the contrary, he extended kindness and fairness to all, believing that all Americans were entitled to the guarantees of the Bill of Rights.

We can learn much today from Washington's sense of balance and justice, and hope that the critics of Mel Gibson's "The Passion" can do the same.


Sources for this series include the Bible and the following web sites:





Wednesday, August 02, 2006

NMAH: Renovation of Building Centers on Star-Spangled Banner

The American History Museum in Washington, DC - part of the Smithsonian Institution - will be closing its doors in September 2006 as part of a two-year renovation project.

It is, by far, the best of the Smithsonian musuems and the public will miss it. Hopefully, the wait will be worth it.

Follow the link below to read all about the Smithsonian's plans...

NMAH: Renovation of Building Centers on Star-Spangled Banner

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

What Would the Founders Do? Our Questions, Their Answers by Richard Brookhiser

A very interesting and clever blogsite from author and historian Richard Brookhiser...

What Would the Founders Do? Our Questions, Their Answers by Richard Brookhiser

HUMAN EVENTS ONLINE - The Many Faces of Thomas Jefferson by Patrick McNamara

Good review of a new book out on Thomas Jefferson, one of the most enigmatic and fascinating of all our Founding Fathers.

HUMAN EVENTS ONLINE - The Many Faces of Thomas Jefferson by Patrick McNamara

George Washington�-�Editorials/Op-Ed�-�The Washington Times, America's Newspaper

This is from a few weeks ago, but makes for good reading. It's pretty sad how so many in our society look today upon the memory of the one man more responsible than any other for the successful start of our great nation.

George Washington�-�Editorials/Op-Ed�-�The Washington Times, America's Newspaper