Britain Lost the War of 1812

Why did the British lose the War of 1812… consensus history teaches that the Napoleonic wars kept mighty England from crushing the upstart Americans.  As expected, consensus historical lessons are wrapped too tightly, strangling the complexities from our past.  America won the war, but Britain lost it just as much.  We cannot pin this allContinue reading “Britain Lost the War of 1812”

1812- War was the Only Choice

National pride had plenty to do with… starting the War of 1812.  Britain refused to honor its commitments set down in the original treaty of 1783.   Despite reaffirming those pledges in Jay’s Treaty of 1794, Britain continued to deny America the equal station it desired.  The Royal Navy provided the greatest obstacle to AmericanContinue reading “1812- War was the Only Choice”

1812 Saber Rattling

Pop history proclaims that eager “War Hawks” … in the United States forced the War of 1812 upon the American people.  Jeffersonians long antagonistic to the British empire wanted to strengthen our bonds with the French through a war.  Claims are also made stating that expansionists wanted to use the war as a vehicle to finallyContinue reading “1812 Saber Rattling”

Madison and State Legislatures

James Madison observed following Shays’s Rebellion in 1786: “It is said that…a great proportion of the offenders choose rather to risk the consequences of their treason, than to submit to the conditions annexed to the amnesty; that they not only appear openly on public occasions, but distinguish themselves by badges of their character; and thatContinue reading “Madison and State Legislatures”

Madison and Party

The current political parties are trying to harness the power of the disinterested masses by stoking fears and passions rooted in volatile issues like immigration and the culture wars. Both parties want to maintain a majority and implement policy. Neither side has been given such a mandate by the people. Any minority with greater thanContinue reading “Madison and Party”

Caution with Constitutional Amendment

Routine teaching about the US Constitution… instructs students that its genius is found in the fact that it can be changed.  This dogma can be traced to the influence of Charles Beard’s contention that it was purely an economic document, and well timed amendments rescued our republic from new world feudalism.  Such orthodoxy perfectly definesContinue reading “Caution with Constitutional Amendment”

Unintended Consequences

The Senate of the United States was designed… to give equal representation to the States- a more disciplined, stable, and experienced legislative body.  Madison saw the dangers in the popularly elected House, for people were often, “subject to the [periodic] infection of violent passions… that such an institution may be sometimes necessary as a defenseContinue reading “Unintended Consequences”

Electoral Protections

The Electoral College was designed by…. Madison and Hamilton to help guarantee that Federal cooperation was protected in the election of the President.  Fearing that plurality would bring nationalized power to the executive branch, Madison argued that the mixed authority of Federalism was the best protector of republican virtue: The executive power will be derived fromContinue reading “Electoral Protections”

Madison and Party

The current political parties are trying to harness the power of the disinterested masses by stoking fears and passions rooted in volatile issues like immigration and the culture wars. Both parties want to maintain a majority and implement policy. Neither side has been given such a mandate by the people. Any minority with greater thanContinue reading “Madison and Party”

Madison and American Spirit

Madison argues that oligarchy is difficult in America because of our size and diversity… but critics consistently cited the House of Representatives as the most susceptible institution in the new government.   Anti-Federalists argued that the Representatives would have the least amount of sympathy… with the masses of people; focusing exclusively on the narrow interestsContinue reading “Madison and American Spirit”