Political Musings April 11, 2014: Obama honors Lyndon B. Johnson and Civil Rights Act at 50th anniversary summit

POLITICAL MUSINGS

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OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

OP-EDS & ARTICLES

Obama honors Lyndon B. Johnson and Civil Rights Act at 50th anniversary summit

By Bonnie K. Goodman

Fifty years ago on July 2, 1964, President Lyndon Baines Johnson signed into law the most sweeping civil rights legislation since the of the end of Civil War, and 101 years after Abraham Lincoln emancipated the African American slaves, Johnson…Continue
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History Buzz November 27, 2013: A History of the Presidential Turkey Pardon

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History Buzz

HISTORY BUZZ: HISTORY NEWS RECAP

A History of the Presidential Turkey Pardon

Source: NYT, 11-27-13

Until 1989, turkeys sent to the White House for Thanksgiving usually suffered a different fate.

History Buzz July 12, 2013: History Says President Barack Obama Has Time Yet to Make Impact in Second Term

HISTORY BUZZ: HISTORY NEWS RECAP

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History Says Obama, in Second Term, Has Time Yet to Make Impact

Source: NYT, 7-12-13

The recent history of two-term presidencies shows that things could be a lot better. Or much worse….READ MORE

History Buzz July 4, 2013: 10 fascinating facts about the Declaration of Independence

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History Buzz

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10 fascinating facts about the Declaration of Independence

Source: Philly.com, 7-4-13

John Trumbull´s famous painting is often identified as a depiction of the signing of the Declaration, but it actually shows the drafting committee presenting its work to the Congress. (Wikipedia)

John Trumbull’s famous painting is often identified as a depiction of the signing of the Declaration, but it actually shows the drafting committee presenting its work to the Congress. (Wikipedia)

John Trumbull´s famous painting is often identified as a depiction of the signing of the Declaration, but it actually shows the drafting committee presenting its work to the Congress. (Wikipedia)

Gallery: 10 fascinating facts about the Declaration of Independence

1. Is Independence Day really July 2?

2. July 4 is when the Declaration was adopted

3. Six people signed the Declaration and also the Constitution

4. But they didn’t sign the Declaration on July 4th!

5. So what if I stumble upon a lost version of the Dunlap Broadside at a flea market?

6. OK – when was the Declaration actually signed?

7. The Declaration’s association with Independence Day came from a lapse of memory

8. The Declaration suffered from a lack of early respect

9. The Declaration and Constitution were hidden away during World War II

10. There really is a message written on the back of the Declaration of Independence….READ MORE

History Buzz January 21, 2012: Michael Beschloss: Barack Obama Joins Club of 16 Presidents Elected to Consecutive Terms: If You Thought Getting Elected the First Time Was Hard…

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If You Thought Getting Elected the First Time Was Hard …

Source: PBS Newshour, 1-21-13

Meet the 16 men who have been elected to serve consecutive terms as president.

When he retakes the oath of office Monday, President Barack Obama will join an exclusive club. Obama becomes the 16th of the nation’s 44 presidents who’ve been re-elected to serve as commander-in-chief for two consecutive terms….

“Nowadays the problems are great and Americans are more inclined to blame presidents, especially for a bad economy, than they would a hundred years ago,” explains Michael Beschloss, presidential historian and NewsHour regular….

“[Richard] Nixon felt that the difference between a re-elected president in history and a one-term president in history was so great that he felt compelled to authorize the excesses that led to the Watergate scandal,” Beschloss says….

“Sometimes you wonder why presidents would like to have a second term when you realize from FDR on, [they] have almost consistently had some very horrible experiences after winning re-election,” Beschloss says.

History Buzz January 20, 2013: David McCullough: Leading the Way: Presidential Leadership & History

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Leading the way: Presidential leadership

Source: CBS News, This Morning, 1-20-13

LEADING THE WAY is what we expect of our presidents. How successful any individual president has actually BEEN is a matter of debate historically, as is the entire question of what constitutes great leadership in the first place. 

We laugh with them, we cry with them . . . and with Hollywood’s help from movies like “The American President,” we heap on them our greatest expectations.

Presidential leadership is Colorado College professor Thomas Cronin’s specialty, and he is struck by America’s perhaps too-perfect wish list for a president.

“It seems like an amalgam of wanting Mother Teresa, Mandela, Rambo, the Terminator and Spider-Man all wrapped into one,” he said. “It’s a pretty outlandish job description.”

David McCullough has written extensively on our greatest presidents, among them, John Adams….READ MORE

History Buzz January 19, 2013: Doris Kearns Goodwin: 10 inaugural moments that mattered

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10 inaugural moments that mattered

Source: CNN, 1-19-13

Barack Obama is sworn in as the first African-American president of the United States on January 20, 2009. Barack Obama is sworn in as the first African-American president of the United States on January 20, 2009.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS

    • 2009: “(It was) as if the whole history of our country was coming full circle”
    • FDR and Reagan disagreed on the role of government, but believed America could do great things
    • JFK’s address promised action and a new energy in Washington
    • Lincoln: “With malice toward none and charity toward all”

Pulitzer Prize-winning presidential historian Doris Kearns Goodwin notes each inauguration is moving in its own way, but only a few produce moments that are truly memorable.

“It depends upon the person and the occasion to really produce a historic inaugural speech,” Goodwin said. “But the ceremony itself … is a real tribute to the country, that a person who was the president can go out and become a private citizen (while) a new private citizen is becoming the president.”

“It’s peaceful,” she says, and “that’s an extraordinary thing in the history of our world.”

Here are 10 inaugural moments that Goodwin says have stood the test of time:

  • 2009: Obama makes history
  • 1981: Reagan’s optimistic first inaugural speech
  • 1977: Carter’s long walk
  • 1961: JFK’s stirring address
  • 1945: FDR’s abbreviated wartime ceremony
  • 1933: FDR’s dramatic first inaugural speech
  • 1905: TR’s eclectic parade
  • 1865: Lincoln strives to unite North and South 
  • 1841: The tragedy of William Henry Harrison 
  • 1789: Washington sets the tone

READ MORE

George W. Bush stands next to his wife, Laura, and his two daughters at his second inauguration on January 20, 2005. George W. Bush stands next to his wife, Laura, and his two daughters at his second inauguration on January 20, 2005.
George W. Bush is sworn in for his first term on January 20, 2001. George W. Bush is sworn in for his first term on January 20, 2001.
Bill Clinton is sworn in for the second time on January 20, 1997. Bill Clinton is sworn in for the second time on January 20, 1997.
Bill Clinton takes his first inaugural oath on January 20, 1993. Bill Clinton takes his first inaugural oath on January 20, 1993.
Chief Justice William Rehnquist administers the oath of office to President George H. W. Bush on January 20, 1989.  Chief Justice William Rehnquist administers the oath of office to President George H. W. Bush on January 20, 1989.
Ronald Reagan is sworn in on January 21, 1985, at the U.S. Capitol for his second term by Supreme Court Chief Justice Warren Burger. Ronald Reagan is sworn in on January 21, 1985, at the U.S. Capitol for his second term by Supreme Court Chief Justice Warren Burger.
Ronald Reagan is sworn in as 40th president of the United States on January 20, 1981. Ronald Reagan is sworn in as 40th president of the United States on January 20, 1981.
Jimmy Carter is sworn in on January 20, 1977. Jimmy Carter is sworn in on January 20, 1977.
Supreme Court Chief Justice Warren Burger swears in Gerald Ford on August 9, 1974, after the resignation of President Richard Nixon. Supreme Court Chief Justice Warren Burger swears in Gerald Ford on August 9, 1974, after the resignation of President Richard Nixon.
Chief Justice Warren E. Burger administers the oath of office to Richard M. Nixon for his second term at the U.S. Capitol, January 20, 1973. Chief Justice Warren E. Burger administers the oath of office to Richard M. Nixon for his second term at the U.S. Capitol, January 20, 1973.
Richard Nixon takes the oath of office as he is sworn in as the 37th president of the United States on January 20, 1969. Richard Nixon takes the oath of office as he is sworn in as the 37th president of the United States on January 20, 1969.
Lyndon B. Johnson, left, is sworn in for his second term by Chief Justice Earl Warren on January 20, 1965. Lyndon B. Johnson, left, is sworn in for his second term by Chief Justice Earl Warren on January 20, 1965.
Lyndon B. Johnson takes the oath of office on November 22, 1963, after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Kennedy's widow, Jacqueline, stands at Johnson's side. U.S. District Judge Sarah T. Hughes swore in Johnson on Air Force One. Lyndon B. Johnson takes the oath of office on November 22, 1963, after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Kennedy’s widow, Jacqueline, stands at Johnson’s side. U.S. District Judge Sarah T. Hughes swore in Johnson on Air Force One.
John F. Kennedy is sworn in on January 20, 1961. John F. Kennedy is sworn in on January 20, 1961.
A crowd gathers outside the U.S. Capitol for Dwight D. Eisenhower's second inauguration on January 20, 1957. A crowd gathers outside the U.S. Capitol for Dwight D. Eisenhower’s second inauguration on January 20, 1957.
Dwight D. Eisenhower takes the oath of office on January 20, 1953. Dwight D. Eisenhower takes the oath of office on January 20, 1953.
President Harry S. Truman waves to the crowd from a car during a parade after his inauguration speech on January 20, 1949. President Harry S. Truman waves to the crowd from a car during a parade after his inauguration speech on January 20, 1949.
Chief Justice Harlan F. Stone administers the oath of office to Harry S. Truman in the Cabinet Room of the White House on April 12, 1945, after death of President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Chief Justice Harlan F. Stone administers the oath of office to Harry S. Truman in the Cabinet Room of the White House on April 12, 1945, after death of President Franklin D. Roosevelt.
Franklin D. Roosevelt delivers his fourth and final inauguration speech on January 20, 1945. He was the last president allowed to hold more than two terms. Franklin D. Roosevelt delivers his fourth and final inauguration speech on January 20, 1945. He was the last president allowed to hold more than two terms.
Franklin D. Roosevelt gives his third inaugural address on January 20, 1941. Franklin D. Roosevelt gives his third inaugural address on January 20, 1941.
Chief Justice Charles Evans Hughes Sr. administers the oath of office to Franklin D. Roosevelt for his second term on January 20, 1937. This marked the first January event; before this, inaugurations were traditionally held in March. Chief Justice Charles Evans Hughes Sr. administers the oath of office to Franklin D. Roosevelt for his second term on January 20, 1937. This marked the first January event; before this, inaugurations were traditionally held in March.
Franklin Delano Roosevelt is sworn in for his first term on March 4, 1933.  Franklin Delano Roosevelt is sworn in for his first term on March 4, 1933.
Herbert Hoover's inauguration is held on March 4, 1929. Herbert Hoover’s inauguration is held on March 4, 1929.
Calvin Coolidge is sworn in for his second term on March 4, 1925. Calvin Coolidge is sworn in for his second term on March 4, 1925.
Calvin Coolidge is given the oath of office by his father, Col. John Coolidge, in Plymouth, Vermont, on August 3, 1923, after the death of President Warren G. Harding. Calvin Coolidge is given the oath of office by his father, Col. John Coolidge, in Plymouth, Vermont, on August 3, 1923, after the death of President Warren G. Harding.
Warren G. Harding is sworn in on March 4, 1921. Warren G. Harding is sworn in on March 4, 1921.
Soldiers pass the viewing stand during the inaugural ceremony for Woodrow Wilson's second term on March 4, 1917. Soldiers pass the viewing stand during the inaugural ceremony for Woodrow Wilson’s second term on March 4, 1917.
Woodrow Wilson's first inauguration was held on March 4, 1913. Woodrow Wilson’s first inauguration was held on March 4, 1913.
William Howard Taft was inaugurated on March 4, 1909. William Howard Taft was inaugurated on March 4, 1909.
Theodore Roosevelt takes the oath of office for his second term on March 4, 1905. Theodore Roosevelt takes the oath of office for his second term on March 4, 1905.
Theodore Roosevelt takes the oath of office in Buffalo, New York, on September 14, 1901, after the assassination of President William McKinley. Theodore Roosevelt takes the oath of office in Buffalo, New York, on September 14, 1901, after the assassination of President William McKinley.
Chief Justice Melville Fuller administers the oath of office to President William McKinley for his second term on March 4, 1901. Chief Justice Melville Fuller administers the oath of office to President William McKinley for his second term on March 4, 1901.
William McKinley takes his first the oath of office on March 4, 1897. William McKinley takes his first the oath of office on March 4, 1897.
Grover Cleveland's second inauguration is held on March 4, 1893. Grover Cleveland’s second inauguration is held on March 4, 1893.
Chief Justice Melville W. Fuller administers the oath of office to Benjamin Harrison on the east portico of the U.S. Capitol on March 4, 1889. Harrison served between Cleveland's two terms. Chief Justice Melville W. Fuller administers the oath of office to Benjamin Harrison on the east portico of the U.S. Capitol on March 4, 1889. Harrison served between Cleveland’s two terms.
Grover Cleveland delivers his first inaugural address to the crowd on the east portico of U.S. Capitol on March 4, 1885. Grover Cleveland delivers his first inaugural address to the crowd on the east portico of U.S. Capitol on March 4, 1885.
New York Supreme Court Justice John R. Brady administers the oath of office to Vice President Chester A. Arthur in a private ceremony in Arthur's residence in New York on September 20, 1881, after the assassination of President James A. Garfield. New York Supreme Court Justice John R. Brady administers the oath of office to Vice President Chester A. Arthur in a private ceremony in Arthur’s residence in New York on September 20, 1881, after the assassination of President James A. Garfield.
Chief Justice Morrison R. Waite administers the oath of office to James A. Garfield on the east portico of the U.S. Capitol on March 4, 1881. Chief Justice Morrison R. Waite administers the oath of office to James A. Garfield on the east portico of the U.S. Capitol on March 4, 1881.
Rutherford B. Hayes takes the oath of office from Chief Justice Morrison R. Waite on the east portico of the U.S. Capitol on March 5, 1877. Rutherford B. Hayes takes the oath of office from Chief Justice Morrison R. Waite on the east portico of the U.S. Capitol on March 5, 1877.
Chief Justice Salmon P. Chase administers the oath of office for Ulysses S. Grant's second term on March 4, 1873. Chief Justice Salmon P. Chase administers the oath of office for Ulysses S. Grant’s second term on March 4, 1873.
Ulysses S. Grant takes his first oath of office, administered by Chief Justice Salmon P. Chase, on the east portico of the U.S. Capitol in Washington on March 4, 1869. Ulysses S. Grant takes his first oath of office, administered by Chief Justice Salmon P. Chase, on the east portico of the U.S. Capitol in Washington on March 4, 1869.
Andrew Johnson takes the oath of office from Chief Justice Salmon P. Chase in Washington on April 15, 1865, after the assassination of Abraham Lincoln.  Andrew Johnson takes the oath of office from Chief Justice Salmon P. Chase in Washington on April 15, 1865, after the assassination of Abraham Lincoln.
Abraham Lincoln take the oath of office for the second time on March 4, 1865. Abraham Lincoln take the oath of office for the second time on March 4, 1865.
The first inauguration of Abraham Lincoln takes place on March 4, 1861. The first inauguration of Abraham Lincoln takes place on March 4, 1861.
James Buchanan's inauguration is held at the U.S. Capitol on March 4, 1857. James Buchanan’s inauguration is held at the U.S. Capitol on March 4, 1857.
Chief Justice Roger B. Taney administers the oath of office to Franklin Pierce on the east portico of the U.S. Capitol on March 4, 1853. Chief Justice Roger B. Taney administers the oath of office to Franklin Pierce on the east portico of the U.S. Capitol on March 4, 1853.
Millard Fillmore was sworn in on July 10, 1850, after the death of President Zachary Taylor. Millard Fillmore was sworn in on July 10, 1850, after the death of President Zachary Taylor.
Zachary Taylor is sworn in on March 5, 1849. Zachary Taylor is sworn in on March 5, 1849.
James K. Polk was sworn in on March 4, 1845. James K. Polk was sworn in on March 4, 1845.
John Tyler took the oath of office on April 6, 1841, after the death of William Henry Harrison, who died after just 32 days in office. John Tyler took the oath of office on April 6, 1841, after the death of William Henry Harrison, who died after just 32 days in office.
William Henry Harrison took the oath of office on March 4, 1841. William Henry Harrison took the oath of office on March 4, 1841.
Martin Van Buren was inaugurated on March 4, 1837. Martin Van Buren was inaugurated on March 4, 1837.
Andrew Jackson was sworn in for his second term on March 4, 1833. Andrew Jackson was sworn in for his second term on March 4, 1833.
Andrew Jackson was inaugurated for his first term on March 4, 1829, on the east portico of the U.S. Capitol. Andrew Jackson was inaugurated for his first term on March 4, 1829, on the east portico of the U.S. Capitol.
John Quincy Adams was sworn into office on March 4, 1825. John Quincy Adams was sworn into office on March 4, 1825.
James Monroe was sworn in for his second term on March 4, 1821. James Monroe was sworn in for his second term on March 4, 1821.
James Monroe was sworn in for his first term on March 4, 1817. James Monroe was sworn in for his first term on March 4, 1817.
James Madison was inaugurated for his second term on March 4, 1813. James Madison was inaugurated for his second term on March 4, 1813.
James Madison was sworn in for his first term on March 4, 1809. James Madison was sworn in for his first term on March 4, 1809.
Thomas Jefferson was sworn in for his second term on March 4, 1805. Thomas Jefferson was sworn in for his second term on March 4, 1805.
Thomas Jefferson was inaugurated for his first term on March 4, 1801. Thomas Jefferson was inaugurated for his first term on March 4, 1801.
John Adams was inaugurated on March 4, 1797. John Adams was inaugurated on March 4, 1797.
George Washington stands outside his carriage at his second inauguration on March 4, 1793. George Washington stands outside his carriage at his second inauguration on March 4, 1793.
Sword by his side, George Washington takes his inaugural oath as the first president of the United States on April 30, 1789. Sword by his side, George Washington takes his inaugural oath as the first president of the United States on April 30, 1789.

History Buzz January 18, 2013: From Carter to Obama: Covering Inaugural Addresses

HISTORY BUZZ: HISTORY NEWS RECAP

History Buzz

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From Carter to Obama: Covering Inaugural Addresses With the NewsHour

Source: PBS Newshour, 1-18-13

When it comes to inaugurals, the circumstances often outweigh the event. The weather is cold, the incoming presidents and their families all seem to have mastered the same genteel wave — famously employed by international royalty and pageant queens — and the speeches tend to be, well, less than exciting.

Of course, there are exceptions.

Looking back over the years, we can recall some of the better parades, the fashion and the balls (who can forget George H.W. Bush breaking it down with Lee Atwater in 1989?). But for us, it’s all about the speeches. And not all speeches are created, or delivered, equal. We look back at those speeches we covered and our reactions to them….READ MORE

History Buzz January 17, 2013: Inauguration 2013: The stormy history of Inauguration Day weather

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History Buzz

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The stormy history of Inauguration Day weather

Source: USA Today, 1-17-13

Temperatures in the 30s are likely for President Obama’s inauguration.

inauguration 00003
William Howard Taft, center, watches the parade after his inauguration as the 27th president March 4, 1909.(Photo: AP)

Story Highlights

  • In 1985, the coldest Inauguration Day in history forced President Reagan’s ceremony inside
  • President William Harrison died a month after an outdoor Inauguration Day in miserable weather in 1841
  • Heavy snow fell for President Kennedy’s inauguration in 1961

So what does the weather have in store for President Obama’s second inauguration Monday, which will occur at noon on the steps of the U.S. Capitol? Most likely, chilly, windy conditions, thanks to a cold front barreling through the eastern U.S. that should put an end to the relatively mild weekend weather….READ MORE

Here are the records for inaugural weather since 1937, the first January Inauguration Day, according to the National Weather Service:

  • Warmest: 1981. President Reagan’s first inauguration. Noon temperature: 55 degrees.
  • Coldest: 1985: Reagan’s second inauguration. Noon temperature: 7 degrees. The inauguration was moved indoors.
  • Rainiest: 1937. President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s second inauguration, when 1.77 inches of rain fell.
  • Snowiest: 1961. Eight inches of snow fell the night before John F. Kennedy was sworn in.
  • Warmest non-traditional date: (Aug. 9, 1974) – Gerald Ford; 89 degrees, with partly cloudy skies and hazy conditions.

History Buzz January 17, 2013: Michael Kazin: A Short History of Meaningless Inauguration Speeches

HISTORY BUZZ: HISTORY NEWS RECAP

History Buzz

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A Short History of Meaningless Inauguration Speeches

Source: TNR, 1-17-13 

Here’s a bit of advice when considering Barack Obama second inaugural address on January 21: Don’t take anything he says very seriously.

For all the hype they receive, inaugural addresses rarely foretell what a president will accomplish in office. In fact, the men who utter grand principles and make big promises every four years often contradict them, willingly or not, soon after they begin their terms. Take a few of the more celebrated quotations:

We are all Republicans, we are all Federalists.” — Thomas Jefferson

We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of affection.” – Abraham Lincoln

First of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself—nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance.” – Franklin Delano Roosevelt 

Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, in order to assure the survival and the success of liberty.” — John F. Kennedy

READ MORE

History Buzz October 16, 2012: Michael Beschloss: How to Debate: Lessons From History

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History Buzz

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How to Debate: Lessons From History

Source: NYT, 10-16-12

The historian Michael Beschloss, in interviews, commented on debate tactics of President Obama and Mitt Romney, noting how they were inherited from earlier candidates. Choices can be pivotal: “For most Americans, a debate is only one or two moments,” he said….Related Article »

History Buzz May 15, 2012: T. Mills Kelly: How the History Professor Who Fooled Wikipedia Got Caught by Reddit

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History Buzz

HISTORY BUZZ: HISTORY NEWS RECAP

How the Professor Who Fooled Wikipedia Got Caught by Reddit

T. Mills Kelly encourages his students to deceive thousands of people on the Web. This has angered many, but the experiment helps reveal the shifting nature of the truth on the Internet. 

Source: Yoni Appelbaum, The Atlantic, 5-15-12

whokilledalice.jpglisaquinn565.wordpress

…These stories have two things in common. They are all tailor-made for viral success on the internet. And they are all lies.

Each tale was carefully fabricated by undergraduates at George Mason University who were enrolled in T. Mills Kelly’s course, Lying About the Past. Their escapades not only went unpunished, they were actually encouraged by their professor. Four years ago, students created a Wikipedia page detailing the exploits of Edward Owens, successfully fooling Wikipedia’s community of editors. This year, though, one group of students made the mistake of launching their hoax on Reddit. What they learned in the process provides a valuable lesson for anyone who turns to the Internet for information.

The first time Kelly taught the course, in 2008, his students confected the life of Edward Owens, mixing together actual lives and events with brazen fabrications. They created YouTube videos, interviewed experts, scanned and transcribed primary documents, and built a Wikipedia page to honor Owens’ memory. The romantic tale of a pirate plying his trade in the Chesapeake struck a chord, and quickly landed on USA Today’s pop culture blog. When Kelly announced the hoax at the end of the semester, some were amused, applauding his pedagogical innovations. Many others were livid….

Last January, as he prepared to offer the class again, Kelly put the Internet on notice. He posted his syllabus and announced that his new, larger class was likely to create two separate hoaxes. He told members of the public to “consider yourself warned–twice.”…READ MORE

History Buzz February 20, 2012: Presidents’ Day Quiz: How well do you know our chief executives?

 

HISTORY BUZZ: HISTORY NEWS RECAP

History Buzz

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Presidents’ Day: How well do you know our chief executives?

Source: LAT, Chicago Tribune, 2-20-12

At the funeral of President Richard Nixon in 1994, from left: Then-President Bill and First Lady Hillary Clinton; former presidents and first ladies George H.W. and Barbara Bush, Ronald and Nancy Reagan,  Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter, and Gerald and Betty Ford.

At the funeral of President Richard Nixon in 1994, from left: Then-President Bill and First Lady Hillary Clinton; former presidents and first ladies George H.W. and Barbara Bush, Ronald and Nancy Reagan, Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter, and Gerald and Betty Ford. (Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times)

Happy Presidents’ Day. This holiday, which dates to 1971, originally was meant to celebrate the birthdays of George Washington (Feb. 22) and Abraham Lincoln (Feb. 12) but it’s also meant to honor all presidents. In the spirit, we offer you this quiz. How well do you know our chief executives? You’ll learn lots from visiting the 13 presidential libraries. Forty-four presidents have been installed in office, but there are only 43 people who have been president. Why? Take the quiz below and find out:

1. Barack Obama was the first sitting senator to win election to the presidency since what man?

2. Who was the first president to be impeached?

3. To what party did John Quincy Adams, the sixth president, belong?  Extra credit: Who was his father and when was he president?

4. Name another father-son presidential pair.

5. Who were the vice presidents of that father-son presidential pair in Question 4?

6. Who was the first president to die in office?

7. Who was the last president born under British rule?8. Whose grandson became president of the United States four dozen years after he was president?

9. What president was born in Iowa but orphaned at age 9 and sent to live in Oregon?

10. What president and his wife were Stanford graduates?

11. Which president graduated in 1809 from Dickinson College in Pennsylvania?

12. What president refused renomination in 1880 and thus served only one term?

13. Who was elected president after Rutherford Hayes?

14. How long did James Garfield remain in office?

15. Who served as James Garfield’s secretary of War?

16. Who succeeded James Garfield and how many terms did he serve?

17. What president suffered what was then called Bright’s disease?

18. Who is the only president to serve two terms that weren’t consecutive?

19. Who was the last Civil War general to serve as president?

20. William McKinley was shot and killed in September 1901. He was succeeded by a man his campaign manager called “that damned cowboy.” Who was that?

21. What president frequently declared, “Politics makes me sick”?

22. What president died in 1923 in San Francisco?

23. What president died 10 months after his wife died of lung cancer? (He was out of office when he died.)

24. This president graduated from West Point in the class that was called “the class the stars fell on” because it produced 59 generals. Who was that and what year?

25. Which former president was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2002?Answers:

1. John Kennedy

2. Andrew Johnson

3. National Republican. John Q. was the oldest son of the second president, John Adams, 1797-1801.

4. George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush

5. Dan Quayle for George H.W. Bush and Dick Cheney for George W. Bush.

6. William Henry Harrison, who died just a month after taking office.

7. William Henry Harrison.

8. William Henry Harrison.

9. Herbert Hoover.

10. Herbert Hoover and his wife, Lou.

11. James Buchanan

12. Rutherford Hayes

13. James Garfield

14. Four months. He was shot July 2 and died Sept. 19, 1881.

15. Robert Todd Lincoln, son of Abraham Lincoln.

16. Chester Arthur. One term.

17. Chester Arthur. He lost the nomination for a second term, even though he knew he had Bright’s, a kidney disease. He died a year after leaving office.

18. Grover Cleveland

19. Benjamin Harrison

20. Theodore Roosevelt

21. William Howard Taft

22. Warren G. Harding

23. Richard Nixon

24. Dwight D. Eisenhower. 1915.

25. Jimmy Carter

History Buzz February 20, 2012: Presidents’ Day: Take the presidential history quiz!

HISTORY BUZZ: HISTORY NEWS RECAP

History Buzz

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Presidents’ Day: The quiz

It’s Presidents’ Day Monday, but whom the holiday is meant to honor depends on whom you ask. Even the placement of the apostrophe is open to question!…

The most recent results of students’ performance on civics exams on the National Assessment of Educational Progress, sometimes called the nation’s report card, revealed a continuing lack of knowledge about the nation’s past: On the 2010 test, only 2 percent of fourth-graders, 1 percent of eighth-graders and 4 percent of 12th-graders performed at the advanced level, which represents superior performance.

See how well you can do on the Washington Post’s Presidents’ Day quiz. If you don’t do well, it’s time to hit the history books! Here are some Web sites that can help….TAKE THE QUIZ!

History Buzz February 15, 2012: Carla L. Peterson: Answers About Black History in 19th-Century New York, Part 1

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History Buzz

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Answers About Black History in 19th-Century New York, Part 1

Taking Questions

Source: NYT, 2-15-12
Carla L. Peterson, the author of "Black Gotham: A Family History of African Americans in Nineteenth-Century New York City."

The author of “Black Gotham: A Family History of African Americans in Nineteenth-Century New York City,” answers readers’ questions.

Here are the first set of answers to readers’ questions about black life in 19th-century New York City from Carla L. Peterson. Dr. Peterson is an English professor at the University of Maryland and the author of “Black Gotham: A Family History of African Americans in Nineteenth-Century New York City.” a book now out in paperback from Yale University Press.

Ask a Question »

Q.

What educational opportunities were available to children of the black members of the 19th-century middle class? Did members of this group work to secure education opportunities for blacks who were not of the same socioeconomic standing?—Sketco, Cleveland, OH

Q.

The article mentions black doctors and pharmacists in New York in the 1800s. Where did they receive their educations? Were there any schools open to them or did they simply work in hospitals and watch what others were doing?—Ed Schwab, Alexandria, VA

A.

In the 1790s the New York Manumission Society established several schools for black children. Its members maintained that education was a necessary component of freedom (despite the fact that several of them were themselves slave owners). These schools were known as African Free Schools, the most famous of which was African Free School No. 2 located on Mulberry Street. This was the school that my great-great-grandfather attended along with several boys who later became prominent leaders of the city’s black community and also worked nationally with men like Frederick Douglass. Until the 1830s, when the city took over their management, these schools offered as good an education as that of other charity schools of the time, probably even better.

Throughout this period, however, New York’s black leaders refused to stay on the sidelines when it came to educating their young. Since poor school attendance was a real problem (how can you send your kids to school in the winter when they have no shoes or overcoats?), black leaders visited homes to see how they could help out. They also established an educational society that set up its own schools, but few of them lasted due to lack of funds.

Getting a higher education was equally difficult. James McCune Smith was denied entrance to U.S. medical schools, so he went to the University of Glasgow medical school (graduating first in his class!). My great-grandfather Philip Augustus White attended the College of Pharmacy of the City of New York, graduating in 1844, even though professional certification in pharmacy was not required at the time. In the 1850s, Peter Williams Ray gained admission to an American medical school, Castleton medical college in Vermont. But when he tried to become a member of the Kings County Medical Society, he was rejected, the argument being that “by science that this was a white man’s Society. … Therefore a colored man could not be admitted.” Yet these black men surmounted the odds and went on to establish successful pharmacy and medical practices….READ MORE

History Buzz February 8, 2012: Black History Month Facts 2012

HISTORY BUZZ: HISTORY NEWS RECAP

History Buzz

HISTORY BUZZ: HISTORY NEWS RECAP

Black History Month Facts 2012

Source: Newsmax.com, 2-8-12

Black History Month, occurring each February, is a month dedicated to celebrating and remembering the history, accomplishments, and triumphs of black American culture, is in full swing.

According to Biography.com, Dr. Carter G. Woodson and Rev. Jesse E. Moorland wanted to highlight the often overlooked role black people played in both American and world history.

To accomplish this goal, they co-founded the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History.

The pair hoped that their various projects would help instill their race with a sense of pride.

Woodson later founded “Negro History and Literature Week” in 1920, while he was a member of the Omega Psi Phi fraternity at Harvard University. Woodson later became the second black person to receive a degree from Harvard.

He chose February as the month of celebration to honor Abraham Lincoln, and leading abolitionist Frederick Douglass.

Black History Month is now widely recognized and celebrated throughout the month of February.

The following are some interesting facts about influential African Americans “firsts” in politics.

  •  John Mercer Langston was elected town clerk of Brownhelm Township, Ohio in 1855, making him the first local elected official.
  • Hiram Revels was elected Senator for Mississippi in 1870 during Reconstruction.
  • William Henry Hastie became the first federal judge in 1946, followed by Constance
  • Ralph J. Bunche received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1950 after mediating the Arab-Israeli truce. Martin Luther King, Jr. followed in his footsteps becoming the second recipient of the prize in 1964.
  • Baker Motley, the first African American female judge in 1966.
  • Thurgood Marshall is elected U.S. Supreme Court Justice in in 1967.
  • Andrew Young is elected U.S. Representative to the UN in 1977.
  • L. Douglas Wilder was elected governor of Virginia in 1990.
  • Clarence Thomas became the second African American to serve on the Court in 1991.
  • Sgt. William H. Carney was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor in 1900 for bravery during the Civil War.
  • Gen. Colin Powell was elected U.S. Secretary of State in 2001
  • Condoleezza Rice, first African American female Secretary of State, was elected in 2005.
  • Sen. Barack Obama defeated Sen. John McCain in the general election on November 4, 2008, and was inaugurated as the 44th president of the United States on January 20, 2009, making him the first African American president.

 

History Buzz January 26, 2012: Huntington Library acquires trove of Lincoln, Civil War telegrams, codes

HISTORY BUZZ: HISTORY NEWS RECAP

History Buzz

HISTORY BUZZ: HISTORY NEWS RECAP

Huntington acquires trove of Lincoln, Civil War telegrams, codes

The Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens purchases a collection of telegrams from Abraham Lincoln and Union generals, plus code books.

Source: LAT, 1-26-12

A long-unknown, 150-year-old trove of handwritten ledgers and calfskin-covered code books that give a potentially revelatory glimpse into both the dawn of electronic battlefield communications and the day-to-day exchanges between Abraham Lincoln and his generals as they fought the Civil War now belongs to the Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens.

The collection, acquired in a private sale on Saturday and disclosed Wednesday, includes 40 cardboard-covered albums of messages that telegraph operators wrote down either before sending them in Morse code, or transcribed from telegraphic dots and dashes at the receiving end. There are also small, wallet-like booklets containing the key to code words Union commanders used to make sure their messages would remain unfathomable if intercepted by the Confederates.

“This opens up some new windows that we haven’t really been able to look at. It’s a major find,” said James M. McPherson, a Princeton University historian who won the Pulitzer Prize for his 1988 study “Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era.” Had it been available while he was researching his 2008 book, “Tried by War: Abraham Lincoln as Commander in Chief,” McPherson said, “it would have enriched my own work.”

PHOTOS: Lincoln treasure trove

“Anyone doing research on the Union war effort and the communication between the nerve center and field operations would now go to the Huntington to look at all this,” he added, and it also could be important for students of communications technology and cryptographic codes.

The cardboard-covered telegraphic ledgers of up to 400 pages had been stowed away by Thomas Eckert (1825-1910), a pioneering telegraph operator who ran the U.S. military‘s telegraph office at the War Department in Washington, D.C., from 1863 to 1867. The collection also includes ledgers from 1862, when Eckert served as telegraph chief for Gen. George McClellan’s Army of the Potomac.

The Eckert collection’s existence wasn’t known to historians and archivists until December 2009, when an owner who’d bought it from Eckert’s descendants put the documents — 76 books in all — up for auction in New York City. The collection sold for $36,000, including a buyer’s premium, according to a record of the sale on the website of the Bonhams & Butterfields auction house.

Huntington officials said the library’s collectors’ council committed funds on Saturday to buy the Eckert collection from a dealer in White Plains, N.Y., adding to substantial Civil War holdings that include the world’s third-largest archive of Lincoln’s documents, behind only the National Archives in Washington, D.C., and the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library in Springfield, Ill. The Huntington declined to give the purchase price….READ MORE

On This Day in History… September 17, 1787: Constitution Day — 12 of the 13 States Signed and Adopted the Constitution at the Phildelphia Convention

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY:

Day in History

By Bonnie K. Goodman

Ms. Goodman is the Editor of History Musings. She has a BA in History & Art History & a Masters in Library and Information Studies from McGill University, and has done graduate work in history at Concordia University.

IN FOCUS: CONSTITUTION DAY

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY….

“It’s a republic, if you can keep it.” — Ben Franklin sighed after the Consitution was signed by George Washington and the founding fathers at the Philadelphia Convention

On this day in history… September 17, 1787… The United States Constitution is adopted by the Philadelphia convention….
Representatives of 12 of the 13 original states signed the U.S. Constitution on September 17, 1787. The Constitution, with its 27 amendments, defines the federal system of government and embodies the principles on which this country was founded.”

The Federal Convention convened in the State House (Independence Hall) in Philadelphia on May 14, 1787, to revise the Articles of Confederation. Because the delegations from only two states were at first present, the members adjourned from day to day until a quorum of seven states was obtained on May 25. Through discussion and debate it became clear by mid-June that, rather than amend the existing Articles, the Convention would draft an entirely new frame of government. All through the summer, in closed sessions, the delegates debated, and redrafted the articles of the new Constitution. Among the chief points at issue were how much power to allow the central government, how many representatives in Congress to allow each state, and how these representatives should be elected–directly by the people or by the state legislators. The work of many minds, the Constitution stands as a model of cooperative statesmanship and the art of compromise. — The Constitution of the United States, Archives.gov

CONSTITUTION DAY: EDUCATION RESOURCES

National Constitution Center Resources: The National Constitution Center offers educators of all grade levels free, online resources to help teach the Constitution on September 17th and throughout the school year. — National Constitution Center

Constitution Day Resources from the Library of Congress: On September 17, 1787, the final draft of the Constitution was signed by 39 delegates. The document was then sent to the states for ratification, and went into effect on June 21, 1788 when New Hampshire became the ninth state to ratify the Constitution.
In celebration of Constitution Day, the Library of Congress has compiled a variety of materials from across its collections. Explore these rich resources and features to learn more about one of America’s most important documents…. – LOC

Constitution Hall Pass: Get your Constitution Hall pass for a tour of Signers’ Hall.Consititutional Center

Constitution Day: Celebrate the Ratfication of the ConstitutionConstitution Day 2011

US Constitution Day Activities and Lesson Plans | Constitution FactsConstitution Facts

Resources for Teaching the ConstitutionNYT Learning

Constitution Day Activities and Lessons for Gifted EducationSuite 101

QUOTES

Happy Constitution Day! As Ronald Reagan said about this day in 1981: “While a constitution may set forth rights and liberties, only the citizens can maintain and guarantee those freedoms. Active and informed citizenship is not just a right; it is a duty.”

Presidential Proclamation — Constitution Day and Citizenship Day, Constitution Week, 2011: CONSTITUTION DAY AND CITIZENSHIP DAY, CONSTITUTION WEEK, 2011 — BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
In the summer of 1787, delegates from the States gathered in Philadelphia to build a new framework for our young republic. Our Constitution’s Framers represented diverse backgrounds, and on key issues, they were divided. Yet despite their differences, they courageously joined together in common purpose to create “a more perfect Union.” After 4 months of fierce debate and hard-fought compromise, the delegates signed the Constitution of the United States.
For more than two centuries, the Constitution has presided as the supreme law of the land, keeping our leaders true to America’s highest ideals and guaranteeing the fundamental rights that make our country a beacon of hope to all peoples seeking freedom and justice. Together with the Bill of Rights, our Constitution is the backbone of our government and the basis of our liberties. Even while retaining its structure, our founding document has grown with our Nation’s conscience, amended over the years to extend America’s promise to citizens of every race, gender, and creed.
Americans are defined not by bloodlines or allegiance to any one leader or faith, but by our shared ideals of liberty, equality, and justice under the law. We are a Nation of immigrants, built and sustained by people who have brought their talents, drive, and entrepreneurial spirit to our shores. Generations of newcomers have journeyed to this land because they believed in what our country stands for.
Every year, thousands of candidates for citizenship commemorate Constitution Day and Citizenship Day by becoming American citizens. These men and women have respected our laws and learned our history, and some have served in our military. Today, we invite them to join us in writing the next great chapter of the American story.
In signing the Constitution, the Framers provided a model of American leadership for generations to come. Through controversy and division, they built a lasting structure of government that began with the words, “We the People.” This week, as we celebrate our Founders’ timeless vision, we resolve to stay true to their spirit of patriotism and unity.
In remembrance of the signing of the Constitution and in recognition of the Americans who strive to uphold the duties and responsibilities of citizenship, the Congress, by joint resolution of February 29, 1952 (36 U.S.C. 106), designated September 17 as “Constitution Day and Citizenship Day,” and by joint resolution of August 2, 1956 (36 U.S.C. 108), requested that the President proclaim the week beginning September 17 and ending September 23 of each year as “Constitution Week.”
NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim September 17, 2011, as Constitution Day and Citizenship Day, and September 17 through September 23, 2011, as Constitution Week. I encourage Federal, State, and local officials, as well as leaders of civic, social, and educational organizations, to conduct ceremonies and programs that bring together community members to reflect on the importance of active citizenship, recognize the enduring strength of our Constitution, and reaffirm our commitment to the rights and obligations of citizenship in this great Nation.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this sixteenth day of September, in the year of our Lord two thousand eleven, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-sixth. —
BARACK OBAMA — Source: whitehouse.gov

CONGRESSMAN SCHILLING ISSUES STATEMENT ON CONSTITUTION DAY: “Our Founding Fathers envisioned a nation where every individual had the opportunity to succeed through determination and self motivation. Our country still provides its citizens with the Blessings of Liberty 224 years after the Constitution was written.
Constitution Day is a day for all Americans to unite around a document signed more than two centuries ago that still defines our nation. I was truly humbled to share this day with some of our youngest Americans and will continue to work for the people of Illinois to make sure our Constitution is upheld.” — Congressman Bobby Schilling (R-IL-17)

HEADLINES

  • A Circuitous Route to a Celebration: Constitution Day was apparently first observed in Iowa in 1911, at the urging of the Sons of the American Revolution, who later reported that “appropriate exercises” were held in every school in the state. It was to be celebrated on Sept. 17, to mark the day in 1787 that the Constitutional Convention signed the document.
    Six years later, the Sons proposed that the day be celebrated with ceremonies in every state. Calvin Coolidge, John D. Rockefeller, Henry Cabot Lodge and Gen. John J. Pershing were among the members of a committee to promote the celebrations. By 1929, the Sons reported, 38 states had passed laws requiring that the Constitution be taught in schools.
    A decade later, a San Diego chapter of the group suggested that the holiday be renamed National Citizenship Day, to honor those who had become naturalized citizens in the previous year. Congress did so in 1952, and “oddly,” the Sons reported in a later history, eliminated Constitution Day as a result. In 1955, the Daughters of the American Revolution proposed celebrating the two holidays together, and President Dwight D. Eisenhower approved a resolution for Constitution Week to begin on Sept 17.
    But it was Senator Robert C. Byrd of West Virginia, a Democrat, who championed the law, passed in 2004, requiring schools that receive federal funds to teach the Constitution on Constitution Day (or the week adjacent).
    Mr. Byrd, who died in 2010, was the longest-serving member of Congress, and well-known for his love of the Constitution; he carried a copy in his pocket and brandished it in his speeches from the Senate floor, and invoked its provisions about checks and balances to protect the prerogative of the legislative branch.
    Tea Party supporters and constitutional originalists might agree with his concern about the abuse of executive power. But Mr. Byrd was also known for bringing the largess of the federal government to his state, which made him, in Tea Party terms, a tax-and-spend, big government liberal…. – NYT, 9-17-11
  • On Day Devoted to Constitution, a Fight Over It: In the 100 years since Constitution Day was first established, most Americans have lumped it with holidays like Grandparents’ Day and Administrative Assistants’ day — a noble cause, lightly observed.
    But this year, with the Tea Party making the Constitution sexy again, the holiday (which, for those rusty on their civics, falls on Saturday) has become occasion for battle.
    Tea Party groups, armed with lesson plans and coloring books, are pushing schools to use the day to teach a conservative interpretation of the Constitution, where the federal government is a creeping and unwelcome presence in the lives of freedom-loving Americans.
    Progressive groups, accusing the Tea Party of selectively reading the founding document, have responded with a campaign to “take back the Constitution.” They are urging Americans and lawmakers to sign a pledge to honor the whole Constitution, even the parts many Tea Party supporters would prefer to ignore — say, the amendments allowing an income tax, and granting birthright citizenship. And they are trying to get people to see the Constitution not as a limit on federal power but as the spirit behind progressive laws.
    The struggle over the holiday is yet another proxy in the fight over the proper role of government. On one side are those who embrace an “originalist” view of the Constitution, where New Deal judicial activism started the country down the path to ruin. On the other are those who say that its language — allowing Congress to levy taxes to provide “for the general welfare,” to regulate commerce, and to do what is “necessary and proper” to carry out its role — affirms the broad role of the federal government that has developed over the last 100 years…. – NYT, 9-17-11
  • Constitution Day cometh: celebrate the law Saturday: The day got its start in 2005, when the late Sen. Robert Byrd (D-WV) amended an appropriations bill to mandate that federally-funded schools teach about the Constitution every Sept. 17.
    The Constitution has enjoyed a surge in interest over the past few years with the Tea Party’s focus on the founding fathers. Last week in South Carolina, Republican candidates pledged to uphold the Constitution, saying the U.S. government has strayed far from its origins…. – WaPo, 9-17-11
  • On Constitution Day, tea party and foes duel over our founding document: It’s Constitution Day in the US, which this year features a healthy debate about the limits on government power. The growth of the tea party movement has heightened that continuing argument.
    Former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor holds a copy of the Constitution before a recitation of the preamble at the National Constitution Center, Friday, Sept. 16, in Philadelphia. Saturday marks the 224th anniversary of the signing of the Constitution…. – CS Monitor, 9-17-11
  • On Constitution Day, the document lives on in political debates: In many ways, views about the Constitution are reflected in the debate over how President Obama is handling the issues of the day…. – CS Monitor, 9-17-09
  • Constitution Day – the United States’ real birthday: Alas, the 13 colonies may have declared their Independence in 1776, but it wasn’t until the signing of the US Constitution on Sept. 17, 1787 that the United States was born. This Saturday marks the 224th anniversary of Constitution Day…. – San Diego Entertainer Magazine, 9-16-11
  • Honoring the US Constitution: On Sept. 17, 224 years ago in Philadelphia, the founding fathers signed the Constitution and sent it on to the Continental Congress in what was to be the first step toward its ratification in June of 1788…. – Chicago Tribune, 9-16-11
  • Americans, remember the Constitution: On Sept. 17, 1787, 39 delegates to the Constitutional Convention signed a divinely-inspired document — our US Constitution. Since 2004, “Constitution Day” is a federal observance in which we are encouraged to count our “Blessings of Liberty…. – Vineland Daily Journal, 9-17-11
  • How Will You Celebrate Constitution Day? Friday marks the day America celebrates the Constitution: Friday the country observes Constitution Day, which marks the anniversary of the document’s signing (it was actually signed on September 17, 1787, but is observed on September 16 this year because the 17th is a Saturday). Along with passing the holiday, Congress mandated that public schools educate their students about the constitution on this day. In the past, schools have celebrated Constitution Day with trivia contests, Constitution readings, and t-shirt giveaways. There are a number of website devoted to activities for teachers, parents, and Constitution enthusiasts to do on the holiday. The National Archives in Washington, D.C. and the Constitution Center in Philadelphia have special events planned for the day as well…. – US News, 9-16-11
  • Constitution Day: Classrooms, Communities Celebrate With Re-Enactments, ‘Schoolhouse Rock!’ and More: Happy Constitution Day!
    Although the actual holiday is Saturday, public schools across the country celebrated the document today that has seen a resurgence in popularity, thanks partly to Tea Party conservatives. Classrooms hosted a range of educational programs on the nation’s founding tract and, for those more interested in recreation, there were celebrations from coast to coast with fireworks, revolutionary war re-enactments, hay rides and more.
    The Constitution Day tradition has its roots in a mandate introduced by Sen. Robert Byrd, D-W.V., in 2005. Byrd was known to carry a pocket-sized copy of the Constitution close to his heart…. – ABC News, 9-16-11
  • A digital boost for free speech: Each year on Constitution Day, students and teachers celebrate the most fundamental laws of our republic. On this Constitution Day, they should also celebrate Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, and other social media.
    Why? Because it turns out that social media are good for the Constitution. Specifically, they’re good for the First Amendment.
    “The Future of the First Amendment,” a new study being released today by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, reaches that conclusion. As researcher Ken Dautrich puts it, “There is a clear, positive relationship between student usage of social media to get news and information and greater support for free expression rights.”… – Philadelphia Inquirer, 9-17-11
  • The battle for the Constitution continues: Even though it’s now the oldest operating governing document in the world, the Constitution is as controversial as it ever was. The 2012 presidential, congressional and state elections will likely hinge on interpretations of just what it means…. – The News Journal, 9-17-11
  • Biden visits Univ. of Delaware to donate Senate papers, says school encouraged public service: Vice president Joe Biden joins UD President Patrick T. Harker and Susan Brynteson, Vice Provost and May Morris Director at the University of Delaware Library in the ceremonial signing as he donates his Senate papers to the University of Delaware library, Friday, Sept. 16, 2011 at Mitchell Hall on the University of Delaware in Newark, Del.
    “This university has been part of my life, and so it’s only fitting that the work of my life be back here at the university,” said the 68-year-old Biden, who also delivered the inaugural speech in a lecture series honoring a political science professor who died last year.
    Biden thanked the professors who taught him as an undergraduate, including one who Biden said encouraged him to shape up and take his coursework seriously, prompting Biden to take a heavy course load in his final semesters to bring up his grades.
    He recalled an emphasis on public service during his college years. “Each of you instilled in me that being engaged in public life was honorable, a noble undertaking, and that we had something to contribute to the public debate,” said Biden, who received his law degree from Syracuse Law School…. – AP, 9-17-11
  • Vice President donates senate papers at University of Delaware ceremony: Vice President Joe Biden donates his senate papers to the University of Delaware in a Constitution Day ceremony at the school.
    The papers will now be a part of the UD Library’s Special Collections Unit. That collection holds over 200 years worth of political papers.
    While at UD, the Vice President will mark Constitution Day by delivering the James R. Soles Lecture on the Constitution and Citizenship. The annual lecture series is named in honor of late Alumni Distinguished Professor Emeritus Jim Soles…. – Newsworks, 9-16-11
  • Hamilton’s Manhattan home at last restored to its colonial glory: On this date 224 years ago, Sept. 17, 1787, the Founding Fathers signed the United States Constitution. Only one man represented New York: Alexander Hamilton.
    Today, Constitution Day, Sept. 17, 2011, the National Park Service will reopen to the public the house that was Hamilton’s uptown country home. The ceremony will mark the end of a century of shameful neglect.
    Blessed with brilliance, Hamilton arrived in New York as an orphaned immigrant from the West Indies. He was a Revolutionary War colonel and aide-de-camp to George Washington. He was the founder of the Bank of New York.
    He helped draft the Constitution and was co-author of the Federalist Papers arguing logically and passionately for its ratification. Under the new government, he served as the first U.S. treasury secretary.
    As a getaway 90 minutes by carriage from lower Manhattan, he built Hamilton Grange on 33 acres that provided views of both the Hudson and Harlem Rivers. The grounds included a grove of 13 sweet gum trees. Planted as saplings taken from Washington’s Mount Vernon estate, the trees represented the original 13 states.
    He fell in a duel with Aaron Burr and down through the decades and then centuries, the place went to seed. Its front and back stoops were lopped off and it was moved from its hilltop to Convent Ave. at W. 141st St. and crammed in sideways next to a church. Plans for a restoration in 1908 went nowhere.
    In 1962, the U.S. declared the Grange, now hemmed in by the city, a national memorial. Again there were plans to do right by it. Only now have they come to fruition. In 2008, the park service moved the building to a hilltop in St. Nicholas Park, which had been part of Hamilton’s land, righted and properly restored the building. Pay a visit and look for those 13 newly planted sweet gums…. – NY Daily News, 9-17-11
  • Ron Paul kicks off another ‘money bomb': As someone who calls himself the “champion of the Constitution,” GOP presidential candidate Ron Paul is celebrating Constitution Day with another one of his “money bomb” fundraisers…. – CNN, 9-17-11

HISTORICAL INTERPRETATION

“This idea of historic things that happen overshadows the fact that this document just plugs on and on and that we just expect it to work. We have grown to expect that, and that’s remarkable, and I think it would have been remarkable to the founders.” — Sally Rider, director the Rehnquist Center in Tucson, Ariz.

  • Matthew L. Hipps, assistant professor of political science at Dalton State College: ‘Civility and tolerance’ to be Constitution Day topic tonight at Dalton State:
    “The full title of the program is ‘When Freedom of Speech Becomes the Freedom to Hate.’ This year’s program will focus on civility and tolerance with a specific focus on what we say to one another.
    The First Amendment right to free speech is one of our most precious and closely guarded rights, but it can also be the most easily abused. I think an open and honest conversation about what free speech actually means is a very good thing.
    As I teach political science — and wrote a dissertation on our perceptions of each other — I have always been interested in the Bill of Rights and how those things that protect us can become the very things that tear us apart. Constitution Day provides a unique opportunity to discuss these topics with the Dalton State and Dalton communities.” – Dalton Daily Citizen, 9-16-11
  • Beth Minchen: The Baptist College of Florida celebrates Constitution Day: “Some people are intimidated by the constitution, but it was crafted so the common people could understand it,” said Beth Minchen, an adjunct professor teaching history at the college.
    “It’s important not to forget where we come from. It gives us an idea of where we’re going and more importantly how we can stray from that original path.” — Jackson County Floridian, 9-18-11
  • Paul McGreal, Bob Taft: Dialogue to honor Constitution: Paul McGreal, dean of the University of Dayton School of Law, will host a Constitution Day presentation and dialogue at 11:30 a.m. Friday, Sept. 16, in the Keller Hall courtroom.
    “It’s like a happy birthday for the Constitution,” he said.
    “It’s a behind-the-scenes look at the Supreme Court’s work is the way I’m describing it,” McGreal said. “Basically what this does is shed light on one of the branches of the federal government that is usually shrouded in secrecy.””I really commend having a discussion about it on Constitution Day because it’s commenting that all students should be aware of and appreciate it [the Constitution] for the fact that it has provided such stability and continuity for a government for over two centuries,” said Bob Taft, distinguished research associate and professor for the School of Education and Allied Professions.”…. – Flyer News, 9-15-11
  • Brian K. Pinaire: ‘Democracy’ is missing from the Constitution: Two hundred and twenty-four years ago, on Sept. 17, 1787, the delegates to the Constitutional Convention met for the final time to sign the document they had crafted over the course of the summer in Philadelphia.
    The date commemorating this event has been a federal observance and has been known as Constitution Day and Citizenship Day since 2004. And since 2005, universities receiving federal funds have been required to mark the event by offering some sort of programming on the history of the Constitution.
    Concentrate on the text and the context; notice the distinctly pragmatic orientation and structure of the project; realize that the document was crafted in deliberately broad language, with an eye to future revisions and impending amendments, colored by the need to appease various factions present at the convention, and intended to provide only a concise blueprint to be passed on to subsequent generations. Even including its 27 amendments, the Constitution is still only 8,000 words and is deafeningly silent on some of the most controversial political issues of our day.
    For example, you will look in vain for any mention of “privacy” in the Constitution. The same goes for “democracy.” Nor will you find any specification on how (or even why) we vote in this country. You will find no anticipation of the Department of Homeland Security, or any explicit directive for regulating the Internet, or any guidance for how much we should pay federal officials. You will not find a specific assertion of the government’s power to compel the purchase of health insurance, but nor will you find any specific preclusion of this authority.
    And, since we are entering the presidential primary season, you will notice that this method of candidate selection is mentioned nowhere in the text, since of course the size, scope and complexity of the electoral process have changed radically since 1787. For that matter, you won’t even find any mention in the Constitution of a day meant to celebrate the Constitution!
    Does this mean Constitution Day is somehow “unconstitutional”? I would say no, but this is only to underscore a point often lost in contemporary political discourse: Verily we must focus on what the Constitution says, but this is only the first step in determining what it means. To be sure, such an endeavor is daunting, but no one said maintaining a constitutional democracy was easy. Just take a look around the world. – The Morning Call, 9-16-11

History Q&A: How Many Hurricanes Have Hit New England Before Hurricane Irene?

HISTORY Q&A:

By Bonnie K. Goodman

Ms. Goodman is the Editor of History Musings. She has a BA in History & Art History & a Masters in Library and Information Studies from McGill University, and has done graduate work in history at Concordia University.

HISTORY Q&A

HISTORY NEWS: NEW ENGLAND HURRICANES IN HISTORY

 

SUFFOLK COUNTY HISTORICAL SOCIETY COURTESY PHOTO | The Main Street fish markets in Greenport after the 1938 hurricane.

HOW MANY HURRICANES IN HISTORY HAVE HIT THE NORTHEAST?

Hurricanes Bob in 1991, Gloria in 1985, and Donna in 1960 reached the Northeast. The 1938 storm called “The Long Island Express” or “The Great Hurricane of 1938″ killed hundreds of people in New England.

    • Irene conjures memories of ‘great’ storm of 1938: It’s been nearly 73 years since the so-called Great New England Hurricane — one of the most powerful and destructive storms ever to hit southern New England. The storm now bearing down on the Northeast, Irene, has drawn comparisons to the one from way back then which, according to the National Weather Service, killed nearly 600 people and injured 1,700.
      About 8,900 houses across southern New England were destroyed. More than 15,000 others were damaged.
      It brought its wrath first to New York’s Long Island, then to Milford, Conn. It sped northward at 60 miles an hour. Tides were already higher than normal — as they are now with Irene headed this way.
      The Great Hurricane produced tides from New London, Conn., east to Massachusetts’ Cape Cod that were between 18 feet and 25 feet, the weather service says. Communities along the Narragansett Bay were devastated. Storm surges of 12 feet to 15 feet destroyed most of the homes along the coast there. A surge of nearly 20 feet left Providence drowning in water. Years later, the Fox Point Hurricane Barrier would be built to try to shield the capital city from repeat devastation…. – AP, 8-26-11

Photos: The Great Hurricane of 1938 — Fox Tampa Bay

Meteorologists stay course through storm of criticism: WCVB-TV (Ch. 5) chief meteorologist Harvey Leonard recalled the deadly hurricane of 1938 — the worst natural disaster ever to hit New England.
“Six hundred people died. Five-hundred died on the south coast of New England, primarily southern Rhode Island, without knowing what hit them.
You always have to remember, there’s a range of what can happen. We’re not God, but we have great tools to work with. We’re trying our best. You prepare for the worst. You hope for the best.” — Boston Herald, 8-26-11

    • Hurricane Irene: Ghosts (technically, video) of hurricanes past: Looking for something hurricane-ish to watch — but perhaps something that doesn’t suggest actual threat to loved ones? How about some video from the legendary Great Hurricane of 1938, aka the Long Island Express, aka The Yankee Clipper?
      That storm hit Long Island in September 1938 before making its way into Manhattan and then farther up the coast into Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Maine and Quebec.
      YouTube’s archives include two interesting compilations of footage from the time. The video above, uploaded by “moviemagg,” simply presents the facts in all their incredible glory — nail-biting images of houses being pushed off their foundations by waves, fishing boats being pounded against the shore, streets submerged by water…. – LAT, 8-26-11
    • New England hurricanes have been memorable: One of those, the infamous 1900 Great Galveston Hurricane, is No. 1 by far on the list of the nation’s deadliest hurricanes. With an unthinkable toll of 8,000 deaths, it will almost certainly hold on to first place for a long time. (Florida’s Lake Okeechobee storm of 1928 is a distant second, responsible for 2,500 deaths).
      As for Northeast hurricanes, the deadliest and most damaging was the so-called “Long Island Express” – the New England Hurricane of 1938 – a Category 3 storm that took more than 600 lives, including one in Nashua.
      The Great Atlantic Hurricane, a similar storm that hit New England in 1944, is lesser known, probably because lessons learned in 1938 led to much more warning and well-executed evacuations. More than 300 lives were lost, but most were at sea; just 46 deaths were recorded on land…. – Nashua Telegraph, 8-27-11
    • It was 1938, and few believed the fishermens’ warnings: Few believed the local fishermen who warned such yellow and red skies meant a major storm was on the way.
      There were no National Weather Service advisories or evacuation plans. It made landfall with little warning and with sustained winds of up to 130 miles per hour, strong enough to be classified as a Category III storm today.
      The storm killed more than 600 people, injured more than 700 others and caused $308 million in property damage (an estimated $6 billion today), destroying and damaging thousands of homes.
      It will 73 years ago next month when the epic hurricane that would later come to be known as the New England Hurricane of 1938 — aka the Long Island Express because of its unusual speed — blew through eastern Long Island and New England, leaving death and devastation in its wake.
      Like some are predicting for Hurricane Irene, the massive eye of the storm — 50 miles wide — passed right over Long Island…. – Suffolk Times, 8-26-11

“The ’38 hurricane was the fastest hurricane ever measured.” — Dave Samuel, a meteorologist at AccuWeather Inc. in State College, Pennsylvania

    • Irene Evokes Great Hurricane of 1938 That Left 500 Dead in U.S. Northeast: The projected path of Hurricane Irene evokes a 1938 storm that left more than 500 dead after crossing Long Island, destroying the village of Montauk and battering Connecticut and Rhode Island.
      The Great New England Hurricane of 1938 was one of the most destructive and powerful ever to strike the region, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. It made landfall in Milford, Connecticut, about 75 miles north of New York City, on Sept. 21, producing peak gusts of 186 miles per hour and tides as high as 25 feet on Cape Cod, the federal agency said on its website.
      Hurricane Irene, the strongest Atlantic storm to threaten the U.S. since 2005, is forecast to pass near North Carolina this weekend and slam into New England next week. Hurricane watches are in force for the North Carolina coast as 115 miles- per-hour (185 kilometers per hour) winds rip through the Bahamas, damaging homes, felling trees and triggering flooding, according to the country’s Emergency Management Agency…. – Bloomberg, 8-25-11

“It was something devastating—and unreal—like the beginning of the world—or the end of it—and I slogged or sloshed, crawled through ditches and hung on to keep going somehow—got drenched and bruised and scratched— completely bedraggled—finally got to where there was a working phone and called Dad. The minute he heard my voice he said, ‘how’s your mother?’—And I said—I mean I shouted—the storm was screaming so—’She’s all right. All right, Dad! But listen, the house—it’s gone—blown away into the sea!’ And he said, ‘I don’t suppose you had the brains enough to through a match into it before it went, did you? It’s insured against fire, but not against blowing away!—and how are you?'” — Katharine Hepburn on beach house in Old Saybrook, Connecticut

    • The Great New England Hurricane of 1938: A storm formed in the eastern Atlantic near the Cape Verde Islands on September 4, 1938, and headed west. After 12 days, before it could reach the Bahamas, it turned northward, skimming the East Coast of the United States and picking up energy from the warm waters of the Gulf Stream. On September 21, it crashed into Long Island and continued its way north at a speed of 60 miles per hour, with the eye of the storm passing over New Haven, Connecticut. It didn’t dissipate until it reached Canada.
      The winds were strong enough that modern scientists place the storm in Category 3 of the Saffir-Simpson Scale. The Blue Hill Observatory outside Boston measured sustained winds of 121 miles per hour and gusts as strong as 186 miles per hour. The winds blew down power lines, trees and crops and blew roofs off houses. Some downed power lines set off fires in Connecticut.
      But it was the storm surge that caused the most damage. The storm came ashore at the time of the high tide, which added to the surge of water being pushed ahead by the hurricane. The water rose 14 to 18 feet along much of the Connecticut coast, and 18 to 25 feet from New London, Connecticut to Cape Cod, Massachusetts. Seaside homes all along Narragansett Bay, Rhode Island were submerged under 12 to 15 feet of water, and Providence, Rhode Island was inundated with 20 feet. Whole communities were swept out to sea…. – Smithsonian Blog, 8-25-11
    • The Great Hurricane of 1938: According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA), the hurricane began near Africa during the second week of September in 1938, travelled across the Atlantic Ocean and up the east coast, made land fall in Long Island, New York, on Sept. 21. It terminated in southern Canada a day later.
      The hurricane moved at a brisk 60 to 70 mph, allowing it to travel from North Carolina to Long Island within an afternoon. Upon reaching landfall in New York, wind speeds were recorded at 121 mph and the water level rose a reported 10 to 12 feet. The Boston Weather Service Forecast Office reports that the Connecticut River reached a depth of 35.4 feet – 19.4 feet above its flood stage.
      The storm is said to have killed 564 people, according to NOAA. It injured more than 1,700, and caused $308 million in damage to the New England area – about $4.6 billion in 2009 dollars.
      Unconfirmed reports about the hurricane describe 20 foot storm surges, 190 mph gusts of wind, and six inches of rain falling in some parts of Massachusetts.
      Damage to houses and marinas was extensive. In all, about 8,900 homes were destroyed and 2,600 boats were sunk…. – Patch, 8-26-11
    • EARTH MATTERS: Robert Miller Dr. Mel says Irene may be our hurricane: It was 1954. Carol, one of the most destructive hurricanes to hit New England, damaged more than 10,000 buildings.
      It caused $50 million in property losses in Connecticut and $3 million in crop damage; New Haven, Middlesex and New London counties were declared disaster areas.
      After the famed — or infamous — Hurricane of 1938, Carol might have been the single worst hurricane to hit New England. A year later, the one-two punch of Connie and Diane caused the Flood of 1955. The giant, water-laden tropical storms hit the state five days apart and caused the worst natural disaster in Connecticut history…. – Danbury News Times

Photos from the Hurricane of 1938 gallery (24 photos) — MassLive

    • Survivors of Great New England Hurricane of 1938 share memories: Now as people have eyes to Doppler radar or ears to weather radio waiting for the arrival of Irene, they remembered the Great New England Hurricane of 1938 – a storm that Irene has been compared to by some…. – MassLive.com, 8-26-11
    • Hype or Hurricane?: Seventy-three years ago the Great Hurricane of 1938 (GH38) ripped through New England killing 700 people in four hours. The East Coast is now bracing for a storm that may be of equal magnitude. Yet newscasters keep talking about how “unprecedented” Hurricane Irene is… Huffington Post, 8-26-11
    • Cary Mock: Irene may be big, if not fiercest Northeast storm: Hurricane Irene’s sheer size will create a huge impact, even if it falls short of being an epic Northeast coast storm for the history books, a geographer and hurricane historian said on Friday.
      “It’s probably not going to be one of those where it’s the worst of the century,” Cary Mock, an associate geography professor at the University of South Carolina.
      “The storm surge is dependent not just on the winds but on the size.”
      “In New York and New England, just looking at the last 50 or 100 years is actually too small of a snapshot for a worst case scenario for hurricanes,” Mock said.
      “They actually called them gales,” he said, “or sometimes September gales because they noticed they happened in September.”
      In 1821, a major hurricane passed directly over New York City, “probably a strong category 4,” Mock said. Historical records show it caused a 10-foot storm surge at low tide, Mock said. “At that time, not that many people were living in New York, so people didn’t pay a lot of attention to it.”
      But William Redfield, the “father of hurricane science,” observed the 1821 storm, Mock said.
      Just as a debate goes on today over whether global warming causes more frequent or more intense hurricanes, the mid-19th century debate was over “the law of storms,” Mock said…. – Reuters, 8-26-11

Hurricane History

  • 1635 – The Great Colonial Hurricane struck Narragansett Bay on Aug. 25 as a possible Category 4 or 5. Details are sketchy, but the death toll is estimated near 50.
  • 1683 – A unnamed tropical cyclone hit Connecticut and caused tremendous flooding on Aug. 23.
  • 1693 – Another tropical cyclone struck New England in late October, causing flooding so great that new permanent inlets were created.
  • 1769 – A hurricane that earlier caused great damage in Annapolis, Md., blew boats ashore in Boston, Providence, R.I., and Newport, R.I., on Sept. 8. Many houses were blown down and destroyed.
  • 1778 – A late-season hurricane struck Cape Cod on Nov. 1, killing 50-70 people, 23 of them aboard the HMS Somerset III, a British ship that ran aground on the cape.
  • 1782 – A rare “snow hurricane” battered New England on Oct. 18-19. It caused widespread damage, but unknown deaths.
  • 1804 – Another, more severe snow hurricane on Oct. 9 dumped 2-3 feet of snow across the Northeast; causing nine deaths across New England.
  • 1815 – The Great September Gale of 1815 struck New England as a major hurricane on Sept. 23-24. A huge storm surge funneled up Narragansett Bay, destroying some 500 houses and 35 ships and inundating Providence. At least 38 deaths were reported across New England.
  • 1841 – The October Gale of 1841 dumped several feet of snow and sleet, wrecked the Georges Bank fishing fleet, drowned 81 fishermen, knocked down trees and destroyed homes, boats and the Cape Cod saltworks factory.
  • 1904 – A September Category 1 storm brought significant marine destruction and heavy losses across Massachusetts Bay, Cape Cod and the islands.
  • 1924 – A powerful Category 2-3 storm lashed the Massachusetts south coast, Cape Cod and the islands, and then New Hampshire and Maine. It’s considered in many places worse than the 1938 hurricane.
  • 1927 – Torrential rains from a tropical storm caused record flooding across New England. Nearly 100 were killed, mostly in Vermont.
  • 1936 – Heavy wind damage across most of the region was caused by a Category 1 hurricane on Sept. 18.
  • 1938 – The Great New England Hurricane of 1938 struck as a strong Category 3 on Sept. 21. Wind gusts reached Category 5 strength in some areas. The anemometer at the Blue Hill Observatory registered a peak wind gust of 186 mph before the instrument broke. Significant damage was caused in the Nashua area, and one death was recorded. It killed more than 600 people overall. It’s considered worst New England storm of the modern era.
  • 1944 – The Great Atlantic Hurricane landed as a Category 3 in southern New England on Sept. 15. There was severe wind damage in many areas, especially southeastern Massachusetts. The death toll was roughly 300; Archibald Dunlap was Nashua’s only fatality.
  • 1950 – A major, intense, offshore hurricane labeled Hurricane Dog battered New England, especially southeastern Massachusetts. It was the largest of all Atlantic hurricanes to date, with sustained winds of 75 mph and gusts to 100 for extended periods. The death toll is unknown.
  • 1954 – Hurricane Carol struck all of New England on Aug. 31 as a Category 3 with Category 4 conditions along the southern coast. It caused widespread, extreme damage. Sixty were killed; no deaths were reported in Nashua.
  • 1954 – Hurricane Edna hit the region two weeks after Carol, and also was a Category 3 upon landfall. Severe losses were recorded in Cape Cod and the islands and along coastal Maine. It wasn’t as damaging as Carol in the Nashua area.
  • 1960 – Hurricane Donna became the fifth major storm to hit New England in 22 years. It struck Sept. 12-13 as a Category 2-3 storm. High gusts were recorded across the region, with the worst damage in southern New England. The Nashua region suffered moderate damage.
  • 1962 – Hurricane Daisy produced hurricane conditions in coastal areas and well into Maine in October; Mount Desert Island was affected significantly.
  • 1963 – Hurricane Ginny followed almost the same path as Daisy.
  • 1979 – Hurricane David, originally a Category 5 in the Bahamas, was a strong tropical storm when it reached New England in September. It spawned several tornadoes; some damage, but no deaths were reported in the Nashua region.
  • 1985 – Hurricane Gloria became the first significant hurricane to hit inland New England since 1960. Widespread wind damage was caused in the entire region, especially the coast. Winds gusted over 100 mph in many areas. No local deaths were reported.
  • 1991 – Hurricane Bob landed as a Category 2 in New England with wind gusts well into Category 3, one of the smallest yet most intense hurricanes to hit New England since 1938. It caused widespread damage and frequent destruction, especially in coastal areas. There was significant flooding, including tidal surges. No severe damage or deaths were reported in the Nashua area.
  • 1991 – Hurricane Grace became the subject of the movie “The Perfect Storm” when she was labeled such by meteorologists after combining in late October with an offshore mid-latitude cyclone.
  • 1996 – Hurricane Edouard brought offshore hurricane-force wind gusts from Buzzards Bay east across the Cape and islands. Considerable losses were incurred on the Massachusetts islands; Oak Bluffs and Martha’s Vineyard were particularly hard-hit.
  • 1999 – Tropical Storm Floyd caused large power outages and flood damage across the region. Flooding, mudslides, and downed trees and power lines closed several major highways and countless local roads for days.
  • 2010 – Hurricane Earl largely fizzled in early September; it passed about 90 miles offshore, bringing only heavy rain, large waves and tropical-storm-force gusts to Cape Cod.
  • 2011 – Hurricane Irene?…  – – Nashua Telegraph, 8-27-11

Ron Nief and Tom McBride: Beloit College’s The Mindset List — Born in 1993, Class of 2015

HISTORY BUZZ: HISTORY FEATURES

History Buzz

Ron Nief and Tom McBride: The Mindset List

Source: Beloit College Mindset List

The Mindset Lists of American HistoryThe Mindset List was created at Beloit College in 1998 to reflect the world view of entering first year students. It started with the members of the class of 2002, born in 1980.

What started as a witty way of saying to faculty colleagues “watch your references,” has turned into a globally reported and utilized guide to the intelligent if unprepared adolescent consciousness. It is requested by thousands of readers, reprinted in hundreds of print and electronic publications, and used for a wide variety of purposes. It immediately caught the imagination of the public, and in the ensuing years, has drawn responses from around the world.

The Mindset Lists of American History: From Typewriters to Text Messages, What Ten Generations of Americans Think is Normal, published by John Wiley and Sons (July, 2011).

The Beloit College Mind-Set List Welcomes the ‘Internet Class’

Source: Don Troop, The Chronicle of Higher Education, 8-23-11

As classes resume this fall, take a good look at those first-year students armed with their laptops, notebooks, tablets, and smartphones. They are the first college freshmen to grow up taking the word “online” for granted, say Ron Nief and Tom McBride, the minds behind the annual Beloit College Mind-Set List.

Mr. Nief, who was the college’s longtime director of public affairs and is now retired, wrote in an e-mail on Monday that the Class of 2015 is “the symbolic generational start of a revolutionary adjustment in the systems and processes on which so much of society is built today.”

Most members of this year’s freshman class were born in 1993, the year Mosaic was introduced as the first widely used Web browser, the year Time magazine declared, “Suddenly the Internet is the place to be,” and the year The New Yorker ran what is said to be its most reproduced cartoon ever, the one with the caption, “On the Internet, nobody knows you’re a dog.”

Mr. Nief and Mr. McBride, who is a professor of English and the humanities, have compiled the list since 1998, to help educators understand the cultural touchstones that have shaped the worldviews of each successive year of college freshmen.

Members of the Class of 2015, the pair says, “have come of age as women assumed command of U.S. Navy ships, altar girls served routinely at Catholic Mass, and when everything from parents analyzing childhood maladies to their breaking up with boyfriends and girlfriends, sometimes quite publicly, have been accomplished on the Internet.”

July marked the release of the two men’s first book together, The Mindset Lists of American History (John Wiley & Sons), which demonstrates how historical events have affected the mind-sets of each successive generation of Americans since 1880.

Following is this year’s full list, which can be found online at http://www.beloit.edu/mindset.

Andre the Giant, River Phoenix, Frank Zappa, Arthur Ashe, and the Commodore 64 have always been dead.

Their classmates could include Taylor Momsen, Angus Jones, Howard Stern’s daughter Ashley, and the Dilley Sextuplets.

1. There has always been an Internet ramp onto the information highway.

2. Ferris Bueller and Sloane Peterson could be their parents.

3. States and Velcro parents have always required that they wear their bike helmets.

4. The only significant labor disputes in their lifetimes have been in major-league sports.

5. There have always been at least two women on the Supreme Court, and women have always commanded some U.S. Navy ships.

6. They “swipe” cards, not merchandise.

7. As the students have grown up on Web sites and cellphones, adult experts have constantly fretted about their alleged deficits of empathy and concentration.

8. Their schools’ “blackboards” have always been getting smarter.

9. “Don’t touch that dial!” … What dial?

10. American tax forms have always been available in Spanish.

11. More Americans have always traveled to Latin America than to Europe.

12. Amazon has never been just a river in South America.

13. Refer to LBJ, and they might assume you’re talking about LeBron James.

14. All their lives, Whitney Houston has always been declaring, “I Will Always Love You.”

15. O.J. Simpson has always been looking for the killers of Nicole Simpson and Ronald Goldman.

16. Women have never been too old to have children.

17. Japan has always been importing rice.

18. Jim Carrey has always been bigger than a pet detective.

19. We have never asked, and they have never had to tell.

20. Life has always been like a box of chocolates.

21. They’ve always gone to school with Mohammed and Jesus.

22. John Wayne Bobbitt has always slept with one eye open.

23. There has never been an official Communist Party in Russia.

24. “Yadda, yadda, yadda” has always come in handy to make long stories short.

25. Video games have always had ratings.

26. Chicken soup has always been soul food.

27. The Rocky Horror Picture Show has always been available on TV.

28. Jimmy Carter has always been a smiling elderly man who shows up on TV to promote fair elections and disaster relief.

29. Arnold Palmer has always been a drink.

30. Dial-up is soooooooooo last century!

31. Women have always been kissing women on television.

32. Their older siblings have told them about the days when Britney Spears, Justin Timberlake, and Christina Aguilera were Mouseketeers.

33. Faux Christmas trees have always outsold real ones.

34. They’ve always been able to dismiss boring old ideas with “Been there, done that, gotten the T-shirt.”

35. The bloody conflict between the government and a religious cult has always made Waco sound a little wacko.

36. Unlike their older siblings, they spent bedtime on their backs until they learned to roll over.

37. Music has always been available via free downloads.

38. Grown-ups have always been arguing about health-care policy.

39. Moderate amounts of red wine and baby aspirin have always been thought good for the heart.

40. Sears has never sold anything out of a “Big Book” that could also serve as a doorstop.

41. The United States has always been shedding fur.

42. Electric cars have always been humming in relative silence on the road.

43. No longer known for just gambling and quickie divorces, Nevada has always been one of the fastest-growing states in the Union.

44. They’re the first generation to grow up hearing about the dangerous overuse of antibiotics.

45. They pressured their parents to take them to Taco Bell or Burger King to get free pogs.

46. Russian courts have always had juries.

47. No state has ever failed to observe Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

48. While they’ve been playing outside, their parents have always worried about nasty new bugs borne by birds and mosquitoes.

49. Public schools have always made space available for advertising.

50. Some of them have been inspired to actually cook by watching the Food Channel.

51. Fidel Castro’s daughter and granddaughter have always lived in the United States.

52. Their parents have always been able to create a will and other legal documents online.

53. Charter schools have always been an alternative.

54. They’ve grown up with George Stephanopoulos as the Dick Clark of political analysts.

55. New kids have always been known as NKOTB.

56. They’ve always wanted to be like Shaq or Kobe; Michael Who?

57. They’ve broken up with significant others via texting, Facebook, or MySpace.

58. Their parents sort of remember Woolworths as this store that used to be downtown.

59. Kim Jong-il has always been bluffing, but the West has always had to take him seriously.

60. Frasier, Sam, Woody, and Rebecca have never cheerfully frequented a bar in Boston during prime time.

61. Major League Baseball has never had fewer than three divisions and never lacked a wild-card entry in the playoffs.

62. Nurses have always been in short supply.

63. They won’t go near a retailer that lacks a Web site.

64. Altar girls have never been a big deal.

65. When they were 3, their parents may have battled other parents in toy stores to buy them a Tickle Me Elmo while they lasted.

66. It seems the United States has always been looking for an acceptable means of capital execution.

67. Folks in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City have always been able to energize with Pepsi-Cola.

68. Andy Warhol is a museum in Pittsburgh.

69. They’ve grown up hearing about suspiciously vanishing frogs.

70. They’ve always had the privilege of talking with a chatterbot.

71. Refugees and prisoners have always been housed by the U.S. government at Guantánamo.

72. Women have always been Venusians; men, Martians.

73. McDonald’s coffee has always been just a little too hot to handle.

74. “PC” has come to mean personal computer, not political correctness.

75. The New York Times and The Boston Globe have never been rival newspapers.

History Buzz August 22, 2011: Martin Luther King Jr.’s Memorial Opens in Washington’s National Mall

HISTORY BUZZ: HISTORY NEWS RECAP

History Buzz

By Bonnie K. Goodman

Ms. Goodman is the Editor of History Musings. She has a BA in History & Art History & a Masters in Library and Information Studies from McGill University, and has done graduate work in history at Concordia University.

HISTORY BUZZ: HISTORY NEWS RECAP

Philip Scott Andrews/The New York Times

The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. memorial will officially be dedicated on Sunday. More Photos »

IN FOCUS: MARTIN LUTHER KING JR.’S MEMORIAL OPENS IN WASHINGTON’S NATIONAL MALL

“With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope.”

“Why you don’t see a lot of race … is because we hope that in the next 100 years, we hope that in the next 50 or 20 years, that won’t be important. It’s important that you have food in your belly, that you have clothes on your back, that you have education.” — Harry Johnson, CEO of the Martin Luther King Jr. National Memorial Foundation.

“Martin Luther King is not only a hero of Americans, he also is a hero of the world, and he pursued the universal dream of the people of the world.” — Master sculptor Lei Yixin of Changsha, China

dedicatethedream.org

Martin Luther King’s Speech: ‘I Have a Dream’ – The Full TextABC News

A USA TODAY/Gallup Poll finds that seven in 10 Americans are very or somewhat interested in visiting the memorial.
Yet there’s a gap between races: 68% of black Americans are very interested, compared with 22% of whites.

Poll: MLK’s dream realized, but a gulf between races remains: Just over half of Americans polled say Martin Luther King Jr.’s dream of racial equality has been fulfilled, and another one in four of those surveyed say major progress has been made toward it.
A USA TODAY/Gallup Poll finds both pride and division on race relations. Nearly everyone — 90% of whites and 85% of blacks — says civil rights for blacks have improved in the USA during their lifetime, although whites are more likely to see the progress as far-reaching…. – USA Today, 8-17-11

  • Photos: Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Is Unveiled in Washington: Washingtonians and visitors are now able to see the memorial dedicated to Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., which will sit in the nation’s capital, flanked by memorials to Presidents Thomas Jefferson and Abraham Lincoln. Hundreds of people came early Monday … – TIME, 8-22-11
  • Images: MLK Jr. Memorial: The statue of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is seen unveiled from scaffolding during the soft opening of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial in Washington, Monday, Aug. 22, 2011. The memorial will be dedicated Sunday, Aug. 28. … – Chicago Daily Herald, 8-22-11
  • Why MLK Memorial is one of the last new structures on the National Mall: The MLK Memorial, which the public gets a glimpse of Monday, is between the Lincoln and Jefferson memorials. Its centerpiece is a 30-foot statue of Martin Luther King Jr…. – CS Monitor, 8-22-11
  • For March on Washington participants, memories linger decades later: Graphic: Multimedia: Civil rights leaders, including John Lewis, Juanita Abernathy and Jesse Jackson, remember Martin Luther King Jr. and the March on Washington…. – WaPo, 8-24-11Rep. Hastings: The struggle continues for King’s dreamThe HillRep. Meeks: Making the dream a realityThe Hill

    Rep. Rangel: The dream lives onThe Hill

    Rep. Clay: A memorial is not enoughThe Hill

    Rep. Clarke: Continuing to build the dreamThe Hill

    Rep. Conyers: Dr. King’s dream of jobs, justice and peaceThe Hill

    Rep. Carson: A renewed call to positive actionThe Hill

    Rep. Bishop: Reflections on Dr. King’s memorialThe Hill

  • MLK Jr. Memorial Dedication Events: Monday’s debut kicks off a week of black-tie, white-tie and informal events all geared toward raising money for and drawing attention to the memorial and Sunday’s dedication. During that event, President Obama will bury a time capsule that will include items from him, the memorial foundation and the King family, said Harry Johnson, CEO of the Martin Luther King Jr. National Memorial Foundation.
    The dedication will take place on the anniversary of the 1963 March on Washington, during which King delivered his seminal “I Have a Dream” speech. The week will bring together civil rights luminaries, including Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., the last surviving organizer of the March on Washington; Joseph Lowery, who helped launch the Southern Christian Leadership Conference; and former United Nations ambassador and King confidante Andrew Young…. – USA Today, 8-22-11
  • National Mall adds Martin Luther King tribute: There will an anticipated crowd of more than 250,000 spectators Sunday for the dedication of the King memorial – a tranquil monument of stone, greenery and trees along the northwest edge of Washington’s Tidal Basin that will honor the slain civil rights leader.
    Sunday’s ceremony, which coincides with the 48th anniversary of King’s “I Have a Dream” speech, will officially open the first monument on the National Mall honoring an African-American.
    The $120 million memorial is part of a burgeoning number of monuments in the nation’s capital recognizing African-American contributions to American life and culture.
    On Washington’s busy U Street corridor, the African American Civil War Museum recently reopened in a new, 5,000-square-foot home to better tell the story of the 200,000 slaves and freed African-Americans who fought in the conflict…. – Nashua Telegraph, 8-23-11
  • A Dream Both Realized and Deferred: If one were to look up “tenacity” in a dictionary, one might well simply search for logo of Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity, or a photograph of the MLK Memorial Foundation’s Executive Director Harry Johnson, Sr…. – Chicago Defender, 8-22-11
  • Martin Luther King Jr.’s children grapple with his legacy: The children of the iconic civil rights leader have been burdened with his legacy, and have weathered their share of family turmoil since his death…. – WaPo, 8-24-11
  • Memorial Review A Mirror of Greatness, Blurred: It is a momentous occasion. Into an honored array of presidents and soldiers — the founders and protectors of the nation — has come a minister, a man without epaulets or civilian authority, who was not a creator of laws, but someone who, for a time, was a deliberate violator of them; not a wager of war but someone who, throughout his short life, was pretty much a pacifist; not an associate of the nation’s ruling elite but someone who, in many cases, would have been prevented from joining it.
    That figure is the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and this Sunday, when his four-acre, $120 million memorial on the edge of the Tidal Basin is to be officially dedicated, it will be adjacent to Franklin D. Roosevelt’s, across the water from Thomas Jefferson’s, and along an axis leading from that founding father directly to Abraham Lincoln’s. There are few figures in American history with similar credentials who would have even a remotely comparable claim for national remembrance on the Washington Mall…. – NYT, 8-25-11
  • Martin Luther King Jr.’s dream returns to Mall 6 of 9: Years in the making, a memorial to Martin Luther King Jr. opened to the public Monday…. – CBS News, 8-22-11
  • Martin Luther King Memorial details in one spot: The new Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial opened Monday to smaller crowds than we’ll probably see later this week and on Sunday, when the official dedication takes place. The memorial opens at 8 am Tuesday and Wednesday and 9 am … – WaPo, 8-22-11
  • Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial unveiled: The Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial is revealed to members of the press before opening to the public today. The design is derived from part of King’s famous “I have a dream” speech when he said, “With this faith, we will be able to hew out of the … – WaPo, 8-22-11
  • King memorial opens to the public today: The Martin Luther King Jr. memorial was 25 years in the making. The first members of the public to see the official opening of Washington’s new $120 million memorial to the … – WaPo, 8-22-11
  • Exploring the Martin Luther King Jr. memorial: The Martin Luther King Jr. memorial will be dedicated on Aug. 28, the 48th anniversary of the day King delivered his famous “I Have a Dream” speech. plug-in now — it only takes a minute. The sculpture, called the “Stone of Hope,” gets its name from…. – WaPo, 8-22-11
  • Martin Luther King Jr. Monument Opens In DC: The much-anticipated memorial to civil rights icon Martin Luther King Jr. opened today on the National Mall. Hundreds gathered for the first look at the towering 30-foot-tall granite sculpture of King, located in between the monuments … – New York Daily News, 8-22-11
  • Martin Luther King Jr. memorial opens in Washington: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. took a permanent place today on the National Mall, as a federal memorial to the civil rights leader opened to the public…. – Atlanta Journal Constitution, 8-22-11
  • What Obama Can Learn at the Martin Luther King Memorial: While the president is hanging out—or hiding out—on Martha’s Vineyard sands and greens, he’s missing a chance for spiritual solace right here in Washington, where he could commune with the spirits and memorial spaces of Abraham Lincoln, Franklin Delano Roosevelt and—yes!—the new sculptural arrival on the National Mall: Martin Luther King, Jr…. – US News, 8-23-11
  • Martin Luther King Jr. memorial opens on National Mall: Some were locals who have watched for years as the memorial to the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. took shape on the National Mall. Some were tourists who happened to be in Washington the day it opened. … – Fort Worth Star Telegram, 8-22-11
  • King’s monument to unfinished work: The memorial to Dr. Martin Luther King opened Monday on the Mall in Washington. Dr. King will take his place with Lincoln, Jefferson, Washington and FDR. The monument features a 30-foot figure of Dr. King, hewn from granite, looking forward…. – Chicago Sun-Times, 8-22-11
  • Off The Ground: Creating The Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial: The new Martin Luther King Jr. National Memorial is scheduled to be dedicated on Aug. 28 — the anniversary of the civil rights leader’s “I Have A Dream” speech. The memorial, located on the Tidal Basin in Washington, DC, was several decades in the making…. – NPR, 8-22-11
  • Washington eyes tourism from MLK monument: Hundreds of thousands of people will gather later this month on the National Mall to witness the unveiling of the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial, the first new monument to debut in Washington, DC, since 2004. But if history repeats itself…. – Atlanta Business Chronicle, 8-19-11
  • MLK memorial ‘holy ground’ for many: The official unveiling of the latest memorial on the National Mall is scheduled for Sunday, August 28…. – WaPo, 8-23-11
  • MLK organizers monitoring Hurricane Irene: The National Park Service and organizers of the dedication of the new Martin Luther King Jr. memorial are closely monitoring Hurricane Irene, which is currently forecast to be moving up the East Coast and into the Mid-Atlantic … – WaPo, 8-23-11
  • CIGNA Honored to Sponsor Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial: Company donated $1 million to Memorial celebrating life and work of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. American history will be made Sunday as the first memorial on the National Mall in Washington, DC is dedicated to a private citizen — Dr. Martin Luther King … – MarketWatch, 8-24-11
  • Having a black sculptor for King would have been nice: Let’s face it: There really is something peculiar about having an artist from communist China sculpt the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial statue. And, yes, it would have been fantastic had an African American sculptor been chosen…. – WaPo, 8-24-11
  • Celebrating Martin Luther King Jr. in libraries, books: By Janice D’Arcy The unveiling of the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial is more than a celebration of history. It’s a claim to the future. The memory of MLK and the civil rights movement will not fade if this granite tribute has anything to do with it. … – WaPo, 8-22-11
  • Richard Lischer: King’s statue a national challenge: Forty-eight years ago on a sweltering August day in Washington, D.C., the Rev Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered the defining speech of the 20th century. Writing in The New York Times the next day, James Reston predicted, “It will be a long time before [America] forgets the melodious and melancholy voice of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. crying out his dreams to the multitude.”
    Reston was right. King has become only the fourth nonpresident and the first African-American to be honored with a monument on or near the National Mall. His memorial all but proclaims him our first black president, the father of a country so utterly transformed that his neighbors — Washington, Jefferson, Roosevelt and, yes, even Lincoln — would not have recognized it…. – AJC, 8-25-11
  • Civil Rights Leader Martin Luther King Honored with Memorial: US President Barack Obama leads the nation this Sunday in honoring civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. – with the dedication of a new memorial…. – Voice of America, 8-25-11
  • Remembering Martin Luther King and the March for Jobs and Freedom: With the formal unveiling of the statue of Dr. Martin Luther King on August 28 – the anniversary of the historic March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom – the National Mall will house a memorial to a man who never held the nation’s highest office but brought it closer to its highest ideals.
    Together with the national celebration of his birthday, the commemoration of the march and the quotation of his speeches, the new memorial ensures that Dr. King will be remembered. But will he be remembered rightly, not only as the subject of a monument but also as the leader of a movement for “jobs and freedom”?…. – The Hill, 8-25-11
  • Memorial to civil rights hero to be dedicated in DC: Despite a threat from Hurricane Irene, hundreds of thousands of people are headed to the nation’s capital for the dedication of the Dr. Martin King, Jr., Memorial. Washington, D.C., officials predicted crowds of up to a million for the week-long festivities that culminate Sunday in the unveiling of a monument in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. which opened to the public Monday….. – The South Florida Times, 8-25-11
  • Earthquake alters MLK plans: The official Wednesday night opening event of the five-day dedication celebration of the new Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial has been moved from the National Building Museum to the Washington Convention Center, officials announced.
    The event, a gala dinner entitled “Honoring Global Leaders for Peace,” had to be moved because the museum suffered damage in Tuesday’s earthquake, according to Harry E. Johnson Sr., the president of the foundation that built the memorial, located on the northwest shore of the Tidal Basin…. – WaPo, 8-24-11
  • Houston civil rights icon Lawson honored in DC: The Rev. Bill Lawson and other early civil rights activists were celebrated Thursday at a luncheon in the Washington Convention Center. Houston Chronicle, 8-25-11
  • Houston civil rights leader William Lawson honored by officials gathered for memorial to Martin Luther King, Jr.: A civil rights icon from Houston — the Rev. William Alexander Lawson – was honored with other pioneers of the nationwide movement on Thursday by political and civil rights leaders gathered in the nation’s capital for the dedication of the memorial to Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr…. – Houston Chronicle, 8-25-11
  • Jesse Jackson slams Tea Party at MLK event: Jesse Jackson said Thursday that the Tea Party’s tenets are reminiscent of state’s rights philosophies used in decades past to oppose federally mandated integration…. – USA Today, 8-25-11
  • A memorial to Martin Luther King Jr.: By Editorial, OVER THE YEARS, an army of statues has been deployed in the parks, circles and squares of the nation’s capital, many of them commemorating men who played a role in what should have been the liberation of the African people in America. … – WaPo, 8-25-11
  • Eugene Robinson: A dream still out of reach: As the nation honors the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. with a stirring new memorial on the National Mall, let’s not obscure one of his most important messages in a fog of sentiment. Justice, he told us, is not just a legal or moral question but a matter of economics as well.
    In this sense, we’re not advancing toward the fulfillment of King’s dream. We’re heading in the opposite direction.
    Aug. 28 is the anniversary of the 1963 march and rally at which King delivered the indelible “I Have a Dream” speech. That event — one of the watershed moments of 20th-century America — was officially called the “March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.” Meaningful employment was a front-and-center demand…. – WaPo, 8-25-11

Scholar Craig Shirley: Reagan Would Have Handled Debt Crisis Differently Than Obama

HISTORY BUZZ: HISTORY NEWS RECAP

History Buzz

Source: US News, 7-29-11

President Ronald Reagan would have handled the current debt ceiling crisis much differently than President Obama, according to Reagan scholar and author Craig Shirley. “First of all, Reagan would’ve had a plan,” he says. “We haven’t had a plan from Obama in 800 days, haven’t seen a budget in 800 days. Reagan would’ve had a budget and a plan.”

Obama and Congress have failed to negotiate a way to prevent the government from being unable to pay all of its bills, which the Treasury Department says will occur on Tuesday. The president’s critics have accused him of lacking leadership on the issue.

Shirley, a conservative operative who was recently named the first ever Reagan scholar at Reagan’s alma mater, Eureka College in Illinois, also criticized Obama’s spending priorities. “Obama’s priorities are high speed rail. Reagan’s was to win the Cold War,” he says. Reagan’s “priorities were far more important, far more consequential, because we did have thousands of Soviet nuclear warheads pointed at our grandchildren’s and our children’s heads.”

Reagan did raise the debt ceiling during his tenure at the White House, Shirley admits, adding, “but he did so because we had a larger national mission than green energy projects.”

Josh Howard: North Carolina Civil War history might need a rewrite

HISTORY BUZZ: HISTORY NEWS RECAP

History Buzz

Source: NC News & Observer, 7-22-11

Josh Howard’s work as a research historian at N.C. Archives and History debunks two cherished myths about the Civil War.

For more than a century, North Carolina clung to a pair of Civil War distinctions thought sacred: It sent the first Confederate killed in battle, and it sacrificed 40,275 men – the most in the South.

Only part of that may still be true.

On the 150th anniversary of the war’s first shots, a new state study pulls together the scattered, error-riddled records of North Carolina’s Civil War dead and shows the following:

A Virginia captain beat Pvt. Henry Lawson Wyatt, a 19-year-old from Tarboro, to the grave by nine days;

North Carolina’s casualty list is actually closer to 32,000, possibly 35,000 if you count those still missing from the records and lumped into the “probable” category. Whether that’s the highest is unclear;

The war killed about a quarter of the state’s men of military age. More died of typhoid fever and chronic diarrhea than bullets. Some even died of spider bites and lightning strikes.

The point of the study isn’t to debunk any points of pride, said Josh Howard, the study’s author and a historian with the state Office of Archives and History. He started the study six years ago assuming the 40,275 figure was accurate.

“It’s not that we’re trying to destroy them,” he said. “Every household in North Carolina lost somebody in the war, or at least knew somebody. We as North Carolinians owe it to them to get it right, to demonstrate the huge loss the state took.”

In all likelihood, North Carolina still ranks first in fallen Confederates. If records in Raleigh are wrong, it’s a good bet the rest of the Southern states have inaccurate counts, too. Second-place Virginia, also reviewing its count, is moving much closer to North Carolina in the number of dead.

Descendants and admirers of the dead aren’t upset about the findings.

“It’s always good to get it right,” said John Huss of Raleigh, a local camp officer with the Sons of Confederate Veterans. “But we still might be first.”

Praising the dead

Turning casualties into bragging rights may sound macabre by modern standards, but Howard’s study illustrates how Southern states used the measurement of their dead as a yardstick showing who gave the most to the cause. At the end of the war, with so many dead, North Carolina needed a symbol.

Wyatt became a powerful one. Howard’s study documents the portraits hung in the state library during the 1880s, and the collectible baseball-style cards that circulated with his likeness. Even today, his bronze statue appears on the Capitol lawn,rifle at the ready.

When Virginia protested that Capt. John Q. Marr had preceded Wyatt in death, North Carolinians disputed the claim by concluding that Marr had perished in a mere skirmish while Wyatt fell at the Battle of Big Bethel.

Similarly, the Capitol grounds monument to the Confederate dead facing Hillsborough Street boasts that North Carolinians were last to leave Appomattox.

“North Carolina has always been looking for ways to claim that it is unique and it is better,” said Larry Tise, history professor at East Carolina University, “that it is first in so many things.”

Howard’s study takes it further: High fatalities didn’t inflate the egos of Southern generals after the war; they boosted state pride.

“Sacrifice equated honor,” he wrote.

But in the days after the war, as the federal government tried to tally the dead, they worked with Confederate records captured from fleeing officials, many of which were lost. Few of those counting had much enthusiasm for the job at the war’s end, and the 40,000 became accepted truth ….READ MORE

William E. Leuchtenburg: Obama like FDR? Not at all, it turns out

HISTORY BUZZ: HISTORY NEWS RECAP

History Buzz

Source: WaPo, 7-22-11

Remember when Barack Obama was supposed to be the second coming of Franklin D. Roosevelt?

As the president took office, historians and columnists reveled in the comparison. Historian William E. Leuchtenburg, the author of “Franklin D. Roosevelt and the New Deal,” told NPR that he heard echoes of FDR in Obama’s inaugural address. Before that, Time magazine featured the president-elect on its cover, smiling and, FDR-like, smoking a cigarette in a 1930s roadster. “The New New Deal,” the headline proclaimed. And in the essay inside, “The New Liberal Order,” journalist Peter Beinart likened Obama’s coalition to FDR’s and posited that “if [Obama] can do what F.D.R. did — make American capitalism stabler and less savage — he will establish a Democratic majority that dominates U.S. politics for a generation.” Just like FDR.

We still don’t know exactly which former president Obama will most closely resemble. But now, after he has putcuts to Social Security on the table as part of debt negotiations with the GOP, we can finally and definitively nix Roosevelt, the liberal lion of the 20th century, from the list of parallels. Our 44th president is not a champion of liberal reform a la FDR, nor does he live in a political universe in which “bold and persistent experimentation,” as FDR promised in 1932, is even possible. Obama may turn out to be like any of his 43 predecessors — just not Roosevelt.

Not convinced? Begin with FDR’s record.

From his first day in office, Roosevelt was the father of reform. In his portrait of the period, Leuchtenburg, a professor emeritus at the University of North Carolina, defined FDR’s New Deal as a critical turning point in American history. It offered, as Leuchtenburg describes, “deficit spending, a gigantic federal works program, federal housing and slum clearance, the NRA, the TVA, sharply increased income taxes on the wealthy, massive and imaginative relief programs, [and] a national labor relations board with federal sanctions to enforce collective bargaining” — not to mention Social Security.

Until the pendulum swung back during the Reagan revolution and the George W. Bush presidency, FDR’s efforts transformed citizens’ convictions in and expectations of their government. As Leuchtenburg writes, Roosevelt’s tenure “marked a radical departure” from unchecked capitalism by providing every American with at least the minimum standard to live decently.

And then there’s our current president….READ MORE

Harvard training college teachers on black history

HISTORY BUZZ: HISTORY NEWS RECAP

History Buzz

Source: AP, WSJ, 7-17-11

Every semester, Cheryl Carpenter tries to think of new ways to introduce Zora Neale Hurston’s “Their Eyes Were Watching God” to her college students.

An English instructor at Alabama A&M, a historically black college in Normal, Ala., Carpenter said students sometimes are confused about the setting and context of the 1937 novel about an independent black woman’s quest for identity.

But after listening to Temple University history professor Bettye Collier-Thomas talk at a Harvard University program how she dove into dusty attics and forgotten archival material to research her book on black women leaders, Carpenter said she immediately came up with ideas to recreate visual scenes through her lectures.

Carpenter and around two dozen college teachers from around the country are participating this month in a Harvard program aimed at training professors to integrate more black history into their classrooms and research projects.

The “National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Institute for College Teachers” at the university’s W.E.B. Du Bois Institute brought the group to Cambridge for an intensive three-week program, including archival research, debates on history and lectures by some of the nation’s leading scholars in black studies.

“This is amazing,” Carpenter said. “I’m not a historian. I teach English so I don’t go to the archives much. But the topics we’ve talked about cover so much and now I have so many ideas.”

Among those giving lectures were Pulitzer Prize winners Eric Foner and Steven Hahn.

“Very rare will these participants have access to so many scholars like this at one time,” said University of South Carolina history professor Patricia Sullivan, a co-director of the program. “And they see very quickly that the Civil Rights movement didn’t start in the 1950s. There’s a whole history that is overlooked and it’s not just about black history. It’s American history.”

The program was founded in the mid-1990s by Sullivan, Du Bois institute director Henry Louis Gates, Jr. and University of California-Berkeley history professor Waldo Martin. They wanted a way to introduce college teachers from different disciplines to new scholarship on black civil rights, from Emancipation to the 1960s. Teachers are urged to use the scholarship to develop new curriculum and programs for their classrooms….READ MORE

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