Category: The Historical Muse

Thoughts on history and the historical profession. Clio is the muse of history–this category title is a play on that concept.

Birthright Citizenship & Executive Orders

President Trump has thrown the political world into a tizzy. In itself, that’s nothing new; he seems to delight in doing so rather regularly. The latest instance is his suggestion that he can end birthright citizenship by issuing an executive order. I’ll come back to that assertion shortly, but first, let’s look at the issue itself. The idea that anyone having a child born in the United States automatically makes that child an American citizen has been judged constitutional by… Read more »

John Eliot Prepared Indian Converts

Here’s a post I received from the Christian History Institute that I think is worth passing on. JOHN ELIOT arrived in Massachusetts from England in 1631. He would become one of the colony’s most famous immigrants. Educated at the University of Cambridge, he was ordained to the ministry before coming to America. In the New World, he temporarily filled a vacant pulpit in Boston before moving on to Roxbury in 1632. That same year he wed Hannah Mumford. They would… Read more »

John Adams, Facts, & Brett Kavanaugh: A Primer

It was March 1770 when a crowd of Boston colonists began angrily harassing a British sentry. Soon other soldiers came to his aid. In the confusion, amidst the clamor, the throwing of snowballs, ice, and stones, and even being threatened with clubs, the soldiers misunderstood a command from the officer in charge and began firing into the crowd. Five colonists lay dead and six more were wounded. It became known as the Boston Massacre. Emotions ran high. Would the soldiers… Read more »

Jeremy Lanphier & the Prayer Revival of 1857

I teach about this man when I cover the Civil War era. This account is taken from a Christian History e-mail I receive daily. I thought it was worth sharing today. JEREMY LANPHIER was born in Albany in 1809 but he made his mark in New York City. He moved there to find employment and became a success as a clothing wholesaler. Although he attended church to sing in the choir, he was not a Christian. While attending the Broadway… Read more »

Character: That Which Is in Our Hearts

We are all free moral agents made in the image of God. In order for His creation to operate the way He intended, we must reflect His character. If we don’t, everything falls apart [which is evident just by observing the world]. Noah Webster’s dictionary definition of character, distinct from the human aspect, was simply “a mark made by cutting, engraving, stamping, or pressing.” Like a typewriter—you remember those? Put in the paper, press the key, the arm jumps up… Read more »

Great Power or Great Responsibility?

So many people want to be president. Perhaps it would do them some good to remember comments by America’s first three presidents. When Washington was elected to the presidency, he wrote to Henry Knox: My movements to the chair of Government will be accompanied by feelings not unlike those of a culprit who is going to the place of his execution: so unwilling am I, in the evening of a life nearly consumed in public cares, to quit a peaceful… Read more »

John McCain: A Reflection

John McCain died on Saturday evening from an aggressive brain tumor. His death was announced not too long after the family informed the public that he had decided to stop the cancer treatments. McCain, in some ways, was a controversial senator, not always in agreement with the Republican party in which he served. That’s why he earned the nickname of a “maverick.” I have no problem with mavericks as long as they are standing on the principles they espouse and… Read more »