Sunday, May 31, 2009

Why do we study history?

This video of a slave auction site in St. Louis, Missouri raises the question, “Should we remember history or move on?" Why do we study history?




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A Confederate attack on Washington D.C. ?


CSS Stonewall

The Confederacy almost turned the naval balance of power around when it was the first to commission an operational ironclad. On the morning of March 8, 1862, the CSS Virginia (Merrimack) sailed toward the entrance of the James River, attacking the wooden ships of the Union fleet. Panic spread throughout Washington as news of the destruction of the wooden ships flowed into the city. Washingtonians waited to be shelled by the ironclad monster. An officer asked President Lincoln, “Who is to prevent her from dropping her anchor in the Potomac…and throwing her hundred pound shells into this room, or battering down the walls of the Capitol?” Lincoln replied, “The Almighty,” but together with members of his cabinet continued looking anxiously down the Potomac for a sign of the CSS Virginia.

Actually the heavy, ponderous Virginia,with its deep draft, was probably incapable of sailing up the Potomac. The more seaworthy CSS Stonewall, purchased in Europe and commissioned late in the war, was the type of ocean going ironclad cruiser that could have destroyed the Union blockade and bombarded Washington, Philadelphia and New York.


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Monday, May 18, 2009

Captain Kidd’s Treasure

If Captain Kidd really buried treasure in all of the places he is credited as having visited, he would have spent more time digging than sailing. Still, the legends of Kidd's treasures should not be dismissed lightly. On May 12, 1701, after sentencing, and while awaiting execution, Kidd made a desperate appeal to the House of Commons, offering to lead Royal officials to "goods and treasure to the value of one hundred thousand pounds" in exchange for a reprieve.

Legend places chests of Captain Kidd's gold in many locations in many states. In Connecticut these locations include:

- Milford, New Haven County
- Charles Island off Milford
- Pilot Island off Norwalk
- Sheffield Island off Norwalk
- The Thimble Island group
- Near Middletown, Middlesex County
- Conanicut Island near old Lyme
- Clarke's Island
- On Kelsey Point in Middlesex County

In Maine:
- Wiscasset, Lincoln County

In Maryland:
- Druid Hill Park in Baltimore

In Massachusetts:
- Gold and jewels are buried near Turner Falls.

In New Jersey
- Cliffwood Beach on Raritan Bay
- Sandy Hook
- Red Bank
- Lilly Pond near Cape May Point

In New York:
- Gardiner's Island...in Kidd valley.
- Several Kidd legends center on the Hudson River:



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Sunday, May 17, 2009

Eugene Debs - Bigot

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In the early 20th century, the premise of left wing radical Eugene Debs’ ideology rested upon identification of the labor movement with Anglo-Saxon male Protestants intimately familiar both with the prophetic strain in Christianity and with the traditions of American democracy. Immigrants, especially those of non-English or non-German stock, black and female workers did not fit into this conception. Debs wrote, “The Dago works for small, and lives far more like a savage or wild beast, than the Chinese.” These sentiments did not inspire universal labor solidarity.

Debs was not unique in his outlook. The American Protective Association identified Catholicism as the country’s most dangerous threat. Members took an oath never to vote for a Catholic, patronize Catholic merchants, or strike with Catholic workmen.

The objects of intolerance change over time, but the shrill voices of intolerance never seem to change.



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Friday, May 08, 2009

Rare Coins: Confederate Coins (1861-1865)

The Confederacy made tentative steps toward coining money. Many United States silver half dollars minted in New Orleans in 1861 ( 1861 O) were struck by Confederates. The 1861 O quantity includes 330,000 coins struck by the U.S. government; 1,240,000 for the state of Louisiana after it seceded from the Union, and 962,633 coins struck after Louisiana joined the Confederacy. Since all of these coins were struck from U.S. dies they cannot be distinguised one from the other.

The Confederacy’s attempt to operate the New Orleans mint also accounts for some of the rarest coins in American history, the so called “Confederate half dollars.” In 1861 the Confederate government coined four silver half dollars at New Orleans using the obverse of the regular U.S. half dollar and an original Confederate design on the reverse side. The first of these Confederate half dollars was not found until 1879. The other three have yet to be found.





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Teddy Roosevelt and the Progressives

“Too much cannot be said against the men of wealth who sacrifice everything to getting wealth. There is not in the world a more ignoble character than the mere money-getting American, insensible to every duty, regardless of every principle, bent only on amassing a fortune, and putting his fortune to only the basest uses….”

Page 96: A Fierce Discontent: The Rise and Fall of the Progressive Movement in America by Michael McGerr. Oxford University Press, 2003

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Tuesday, May 05, 2009

American Civil War Crime

There was more to the American Civil War than just battles and generals. Millions of ordinary people were doing ordinary things. Some of these things involved breaking the law, civilian and military. Author Tom Lowry has read over 85,000 court martial transcripts and is one of the foremost authorities on Civil War justice.









Why the South Fought the Civil War





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