Decades before the American
Civil War, New England contemplated seceding from the Union. The so called Essex Junto, a group of
businessmen and politicians based in Essex County, Massachusetts spearheaded a
secessionist movement in the early 1800s, fearing the diminished influence of
New England after the Louisiana Purchase. Timothy Pickering, who had served
Secretary of State under George Washington, was one of the key figures of the
movement. Pickering envisioned a new republic comprised of New England, New
York, New Jersey, and Canada. The Essex Junto approached Alexander Hamilton,
who was horrified by the plan.
push for secession came primarily from the younger generation of Federalist
leaders, who believed they needed to defend the principles of states' rights
and self-government from an overbearing federal government. The northern
secessionists believed that the South was gaining too much wealth, power, and
influence, and was using that influence against New England politically.
The northern secessionists believed strongly that
homogeneity of race, and “ethnic purity,” were essential ingredients of a
successful republic. The New Englanders thought of themselves as “choice
offspring of the choicest people, unpolluted by foreign blood.”
In 1860, disgruntled secessionists in the deep North
rebel against the central government and plunge America into Civil War. Will
the Kingdom survive? The land will run red with blood before peace comes again.
Success leaves clues.So does failure.Some of history’s best known commanders are
remembered not for their brilliant victories but for their catastrophic blunders.Here are history’s ten worst generals (in no
1.John Armstrong Jr.’s incompetence was responsible for
the burning of Washington during the War of 1812.
2.Oreste Baratieri was an Italian
general responsible for the most crushing defeat ever suffered by a colonial
European power by native forces in Africa.
3.Edward Braddock’s army made so much noise the enemy
always knew where he was, but Braddock didn’t have a clue where the enemy was
until he was ambushed.
4.Roman General Marcus Crassus stood his
ground and hoped the enemy would run out of arrows before he ran out of
5.George Armstrong Custer announced to his
men, “We’ve caught them napping!”, just before suffering the most stunning
defeat of the Indian Wars.
6.British Major General William
Elphinstone is considered by some military historians to be “the most incompetent soldier who ever became a
general”, possessed of “the leadership qualities of a sheep.”
7.Brigadier General William Hull
is the only American general to have ever been sentenced to death by a
8.Francisco Solano Lopez was responsible for
the deaths of half of his fellow countrymen.
9.Sir Charles MacCarthy forgot to take the ammunition
and wound up having his skull used as a drinking cup at the annual Yam
Samsonov didn’t feed the troops and ended up shooting himself on the
who conceived the idea of the modern cemetery anticipated the movement for
public parks. Cemeteries provided the
public with beautiful outdoor gathering spaces during a time when parks were
scarce. Out of the movement to beautify cemeteries arose a custom of gathering
in these new public spaces. Families picnicked near gravesites, and children
played there. Somewhere along the way, this practice fell by the wayside. The appreciation
of cemeteries has made a comeback in the digital age. Many genealogists have been using the
Internet and GPS systems to locate the graves of long lost ancestors. This renewed interest in cemeteries has
spread to an interest in photographing tombstones, the growth of in-depth
historical research, and even cemetery tourism.
Historic cemeteries are a treasure trove of art,
biography and philosophy, one’s last chance to shout out to posterity “This is
who I was, this is what was important to me”.
Art, symbols and inscriptions are called upon to succinctly capture the
essence of life in a beautiful and meaningful way.
America entered World War I on April 6,
1917. Un-naturalized Germans and even first and second generation naturalized
German immigrants were widely seen as the “enemy within”.
Surveillance operations, conducted by
such government agencies as the Alien Enemy Bureau, led to over 10,000
arrests.Some 8,500 arrests were
conducted under presidential warrants. Most of those arrested were released
after a brief period of investigation.Almost twenty five per cent of those detained, however, were found to be
“dangerous enemy aliens” and interned in two camps set up by the War
Department.In the spring of 1918, the
government began interning female enemy aliens suspected of aiding the enemy.Scores of women were arrested, but only
fifteen were held indefinitely
German-speaking communities were largely
erased by the war and the anti-German feeling it created.This was done through aggressive assimilation
by hitherto self-identifying German-speaking communities.
A brief look at the
changing historical views (1920 to the present) on the uses and abuses of
American domestic propaganda during World War I. Was this a necessary evil or a
gross infringement of civil liberties? How, when, and why has opinion changed?
Established in 1866, The Grand Army of the Republic
(G.A.R.) was a fraternal organization of Union veterans. After the Civil War many local communities organized
days of remembrance for the dead. In 1868, Union veterans adopted May 30 “for
the purpose of strewing with flowers or otherwise decorating the graves of
comrades who died in defense of their country.” Many southern states recognized
Confederate Memorial Day on a different date, reflecting lingering sectional
Many veterans groups
sprang up in the South after the war. In
1889 a national organization called the United Confederate Veterans was
formed. The purpose of
the group was not to stir up old hatreds but to foster “social, literary,
historical, and benevolent” ends. The
United Confederate Veterans (U.C.V.) grew rapidly throughout the 1890s. Some 1,555 local organizations (called camps)
were represented at the 1898 reunion. In 1911 an estimated crowd of 106,000
members and guests attended one re-union.
Meetings continued until 1950 when only one member could attend.
The above photograph shows Union veterans marching at
the 36th National Encampment of the Grand Army of the Republic
(G.A.R.) in Washington, D.C. on October, 1902. The organization disbanded in
1956 with the death of the last Union veteran.
The last Union veteran, Willard Woolson died in 1956 at the age of 106. Woolson
was a drummer boy. The last Union combat
soldier, James Hard, died in 1953 at the age of 109. Claims and counter-claims
swirl around the age and status of the last veterans, both Union and
Confederate. The last verifiable Confederate veteran is thought to have been
Pleasant Riggs Crump (1847-1951), although several men subsequently claimed to
be the “oldest” Confederate soldier. Crump
was from Alabama and served at the Siege of Petersburg.