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This is the archive for March 2009

Monday, March 16, 2009


Iím back to where I started out from on Thursday afternoon. Meaning, about 25 miles east of Washington. But I canít really say things are the same, because my brainís been crowded with a hundred and one, or a hundred and two, or three different thoughts and sights I mulled over during the course of a four hundred and fifty mile drive that took me to Richmond, and then west to the holiest of all Confederate shrines.

In Richmond I had the privilege to spend Thursday evening to Saturday afternoon in company with a group of pre-eminent historians who reminded me once again that my, ahem, cough, cough, ďconsiderableĒ knowledge of the Civil War paled in comparison to their own. But that was the very reason for attending the American Civil War Centerís conference on "Lincoln and the South" in the first place, to be a sponge, to soak up a wealth of information, to consider what I hadnít considered before.

It was a weekend, too, where James McPherson seemed to be in evidence everywhere I went, where a comment I made drew a laugh from David Blight, where I got excited about a book thatís due for publication in 2011, where I was reassurred the minds of our most valuable resource are in safe hands, a weekend where I finally rendezvoused with a lady I had been pursuing for years, and a weekend when I wondered about the intertwine of the myth and reality of lemons, as well as the worship of a dead horse, who is, perhaps, not just any old dead horse. Cryptic, maybe, but all will be revealed in due time.

Stay tuned, because you might also learn why rechargeable batteries are preferable to non-rechargeable batteries when using a digital camera and how guilt, once again, overcame temptation in a place that strictly prohibits pictures.

Sunday, March 15, 2009



Charles Sumner, future U.S. Senator and Radical Republican from Massachusetts, addressing a crowd gathered at Bostonís Faneuil Hall on November 4, 1845 to hear arguments against the possible admission of Texas to the Union. The words, expressed fifteen years before Lincolnís election, were further evidence of the growing philosphical, political, and economic drift between North and South.


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Charles Sumner from old-picture.com


By welcoming Texas as a Slave State we make slavery our own original sin. Let us wash our hands of this great guilt. God forbid that the votes and voices of Northern freemen should help to bind anew the fetters of the slave. God forbid that the lash of the slave-dealer should descend by any sanction from New England! God forbid that the blood which spurts from the lacerated quivering flesh of the slave should soil the hem of the white garments of Massachusetts.

Friday, March 13, 2009


Good morning, good afternoon, good evening. Iím covering all bases as I donít know during what portion of the day youíre reading this. At any rate Iím in Richmond attending the Lincoln and the South Conference sponsored by the American Civil War Center, which began last night with James McPherson stepping to the podium. Iíll be reporting on this later along with additional summaries of the conference, unless you really want me to give you a detailed word-by-word recapitulation. I could do that too, except I didnít bring a tape recorder. But I did bring a pad of paper on which to take the proverbial copious notes. Iíll be here until Saturday afternoon and, who knows right now, but I may head out from Richmond to some place Iíve never been before.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009


Hereís something thatís bad about the Internet, where more and more people are turning for their daily news fix. The following newspapers are on life support and may not survive. Weep if they actually do go under.

The Miami Herald
The Boston Globe
The San Francisco Chronicle
The Chicago Sun Times
The Cleveland Plain Dealer

Additionally, The Washington Post is, by all reports, starting to tread water.

Donít care? Think about this. China enlisted the help of such Internet giants as Google and Yahoo to block internal engine searches for news or events that were critical of the government. Example, if youíre in China and search for information on the student uprising in Tiananmen Square youíll get some very nice pictures of the plaza and absolutely no information about what happened in 1989. Think it canít happen here, think it can't happen on a global basis, think the Internet has been the greatest boon to the spread of Democracy and exchange of free thought since the creation of the Declaration of Independence and printing press? Maybe you ought to think again about something which could occur in our grand or great-granchildren's lifetime and while you're at it you might want to pick up a copy of your local paper before they all disappear.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

This from John C. Calhoun, Secretary of War under James Madison, Vice President from 1825 to 1832 under John Quincy Adams and Andrew Jackson, U.S. Senator from South Carolina from 1832 until his death from tuberculosis in 1850, and in 1957 voted one of the five greatest Senators in U.S. history, speaking from the Senate floor on April 20, 1848:

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Picture from www.old-picture.com

ďThere is but one question that can destroy this Union and our institutions, and that is this very slave question. The great institution of slavery [is the basis] upon which not only [Southern] prosperity, but its very existence depends.Ē