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.

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 »

We Don't Need Another "Deal"

When Time magazine decided to show a cover depicting Obama as FDR, I could only shake my head. And now Obama is trying his best to be the next FDR, talking about a massive plan for public works. The little secret, which isn’t really much of a secret anymore (except to those who refuse to listen) is that FDR’s New Deal never brought America out of the Great Depression. By the end of the 1930s, the economy was just as… Read more »

The Uninformed American Public

The Intercollegiate Studies Institute has conducted a new study that probably should surprise no one who is really following the educational trends and the knowledge base of Americans. I’ll let ISI describe the results: Are most people, including college graduates, civically illiterate? Do elected officials know even less than most citizens about civic topics such as history, government, and economics? The answer is yes on both counts according to a new study by the Intercollegiate Studies Institute (ISI). More than… Read more »

The Many Deaths of the Republican Party

Herbert Hoover & the Great Depression The Republican Party has “died” many times. Yet it always seems to be resurrected. We can start with Herbert Hoover, whose administration coincided with the Great Depression. Elected in 1928 at the height of economic prosperity, Hoover has ever since been associated with the worst economic disaster in American history. He did help make it happen; specifically, he helped prolong it with his government interventionist policies. But his successor, FDR, was the one who… Read more »

A Veterans Day Remembrance

Ronald Reagan, commemorating the 40th Anniversary of D-Day, gave one of the most inspiring speeches of his presidency. Sitting before him were the survivors of the assault on the cliffs of Pointe du Hoc. Watch Reagan’s address on that day. These are words that every American should know, but sadly, our children are not taught them. http://www.americanrhetoric.com/speeches/ronaldreaganddayaddress.html

America's Suicide Attempt?

Noted British historian Paul Johnson titled one of his chapters in his book Modern Times “America’s Suicide Atempt.” Johnson was talking about the 1960s and 1970s. Assassinations (John and Robert Kennedy, Martin Luther King), the Vietnam War, race riots in the cities and student riots on campuses, the entire Watergate fiasco, and the miserable economy of the 1970s were his targets. We can add Roe v. Wade to that list. It was as if America had lost its mind. Today… Read more »

American Self-Government: Example #2

All of America’s early colonies had legislatures of their own. Most of them, from the start, had been allowed self-government in their charters. When the British government began to change the rules by taxing them without any representation in Parliament, the colonies reacted. Their first line of defense was the charters they had been given. When the British government dismissed their arguments, they turned instead to the idea that God had given each person the right to direct his own… Read more »