Hamilton and the Military State

Alexander Hamilton warned his fellow citizens about the dangers of standing armies and a society dependent upon its military.

In Federalist No.8 he cautioned:

But in a country, where the perpetual menacings of danger oblige the government to be always prepared to repel it, her armies must be numerous enough for instant defense. The continual necessity for his services enhances the importance of the soldier, and proportionally degrades the condition of the citizen. The military state becomes elevated above the civil. The inhabitants of territories often the theater of war, are unavoidably subjected to frequent infringements on their rights, which serve to weaken their sense of those rights; and by degrees, the people are brought to consider the soldiery not only as their protectors, but as their superiors.

What’s in a Name?

To the chagrin of revisionists… Thomas Jefferson is part of the national fabric of America.  He gave us our creed, the words that define what it means to be an American.  No other country on earth has such a luxury.  A simple look at our landscape will provide a clear picture of Jefferson’s impact on posterity:

Named after Thomas Jefferson–

  • 45 High schools
  • 5 Colleges or Universities (including the University of Virginia)
  • 9 cities (larger than 10,000 residents)
  • Counties in 16 states
  • 13 mountains
  • Thomas Jefferson Building, Library of Congress
  • Jefferson National Expansion Site (includes the Great Gateway Arch)
  • Jefferson Alberta, Canada

Named for Thomas Jefferson–

  • Thomas Jefferson Randolph–  Jefferson’s eldest grandchild and executor of his estate. (1792-1875)

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  • Thomas Jefferson Truitt– 2nd Lt. in the 62nd Penna. Volunteers from Kellersburg, PA.  Enlisted for three years service in July of 1861.  Killed in action near Bethesda Church, Va June 3, 1864.     (1837-1864)

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  • Thomas Jefferson Sheaffer– Youngest child of Alissa Hegge and Gordon Sheaffer.  Born in peaceful sleep, January 11, 2008.

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January 9, 1861: First Shots Fired in Civil War

Almost Chosen People

The nation began going down a very dark path towards civil war 162 years ago when the first shots in the Civil War were fired.  The Buchanan administration had sent the civilian steamship Star of the West to resupply Fort Sumter.   Cadets from The Citadel on Moultrie Island fired on the ship as it entered Charleston Harbor.  The cadets were acting under the orders of the Governor of South Carolina.  The ship was hit three times, and the Star of the West, abandoning its mission, sailed back to its home port of New York.

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The Funeral of Theodore Roosevelt

Presidential History Blog

When Theodore Roosevelt died on January 6, 1919, the world was stunned.

TR Dies

Not only was the world stunned at the death of former President Theodore Roosevelt, who was only sixty, but perhaps TR himself would have also been surprised, had he not succumbed to a heart attack, or perhaps an embolus – in his sleep. No pain. He had plans for his future, which included (maybe) becoming the Republican candidate for President (again) in 1920.

Actually, TR had been in declining health for some time, but mostly precipitated by his Amazon adventures in 1913-14, and the tropical disease/infection that nearly cost his life. He recovered, but never completely. Tropical diseases have a nasty way of recurring periodically. 

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Older TR

The Great War in 1918 had been one of the roughest years for the old “Colonel.” President Woodrow Wilson had adamantly refused to allow his predecessor to raise…

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History Wishes for the New Year

  • An authentic, realistic, and gritty film made about the fighting men of the American Civil War.  All politically correct platitudes about slavery, secession, and racism must be left out of the script… tell the story of the men who fought the war, not the academics who  steal the narrative. 
  • A spirited talk show on the History Channel where controversial historical topics can be debated.  False consensus and authoritative conjecture pass for the final word far too often in historical scholarship today- let the “experts” fight it out, for the record. 
  • George Washington returns to the top of the list of most “influential” Americans
  • The National Park Service continuing to work with the Preservation Trust and other private groups to help preserve America’s heritage. 
  • All school districts considering the 1619 Project as curriculum take into consideration the objections esteemed scholars like Gordon Wood, Sean Wilentz, and James McPherson.
  • Remove Confederate monuments from communities voting to do so.
  • Prevent school districts from banning books by WEB DuBois, Frederick Douglass, Mark Twain, and Toni Morrison.
  • Save the Oxford Comma.
  • Protect the true mission of Charter Schools- keep class sizes small and expectations high. Brick and mortar is not a sign of academic quality. Corporate charters are ruining the movement.
  • Bring back basic Civics class to every school district.
  • Utilize Section 3 of the 14th amendment where necessary.

Christmas on the Mountain

Thomas Jefferson celebrated Christmas… but not with stockings and Christmas trees- modern incarnations of the season didn’t take hold in America until after the Civil War. Jefferson’s Christmas was a time for family, friends, and as he described it, “merriment.” Family was all important to the Sage of Monticello, and he described the day” “the day of greatest mirth and jollity.”

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He received the greatest joy from watching his grandchildren… opening gifts and playing games in Monticello. Describing the scene to a friend, Jefferson observed his youngest grandson; “He is at this moment running about with his cousins bawling out ‘a merry christmas’ ‘(this is) a christmas gift” His music library included many Christmas standards including the family favorite, Adeste Fideles.

Good friends, good food, and good conversation… marked the holiday season at Monticello. Plenty of wine was on hand to compliment Jefferson’s holiday favorite, mince pie. Mince at Monticello consisted of apples, raisins, beef suet(fat), and spices.

Leyte, eye-witness account from Gen. Robert Eichelberger

Pacific Paratrooper

Gen. Douglas MacArthur, left, Lt. Gen. Robert L. Eichelberger, right.

“Eighth Army took over Leyte on Christmas Day.  There were 8 divisions fighting there when I assumed command.  When the 32nd Div. and 1st Cavalry broke through on a narrow front, GHQ described the Leyte campaign as officially closed and future operations as “mopping-up.”

“Actually, the Japanese Army was still intact.  I was told there were only 6,000 Japanese left on the island.  This estimate was in serious error.  Soon, Japanese began streaming across the Ormoc Valley, well equipped and apparently well-fed.  It took several months of the roughest kind of combat to defeat this army.  Between Christmas Day and the end of the campaign, we killed more than 27,000 Japanese.

Leyte painting, “FOLLOW ME!” by Col Aubrey Newman

“Many others, evacuated safely by bancas (small boats), and reappeared to fight the 8th Army on other islands.  I called these…

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December 15, 1865: Battle of Nashville Begins

Almost Chosen People

Battle of Nashville

The final major battle in the West in the American Civil War, the two day battle of Nashville that commenced on December 15, 1864, was a decisive Union victory.  Delayed by bad weather, Union general Thomas endured a steady stream of telegrams from Washington and Grant demanding that he attack.  Thomas would not do so until he was ready.  Grant, who had never had a good relationship with Thomas, decided to remove him, and only the knowledge that an  attack was imminent stayed the decision:

I consequently urged Thomas in frequent dispatches sent from City Point to make the attack at once. The country was alarmed, the administration was alarmed, and I was alarmed lest the very thing would take place which I have just described that is, Hood would get north. It was all without avail further than to elicit dispatches from Thomas saying that he was getting ready…

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None Braver

The charge of the Irish Brigade against the Confederate position at Marye’s Heights outside Fredericksburg is the stuff of legend.

 

     The legendary  stature of these men and their deeds is largely due to the reminiscences of their opponents.

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James Longstreet, whose troops occupied the stonewall position at Marye’s Heights remembered:
“The manner in which Meagher’s Irish Brigade breasted the death storm from Marie’s Heights of Fredericksburg, was the handsomest thing in the whole war. Six times in the face of a withering fire, before which whole ranks were mowed down as corn before the sickle, did the Irish Brigade run up that hill—rush to inevitable death.”

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Robert E. Lee also praised the Irishmen:

“The gallant stand which his bold brigade made on the heights of Fredericksburg is well known. Never were men so brave. They enobled their race by their splendid gallantry on that occasion.”