Alabama Claims »

An article about Grant’s Chief Justice nomination made an offhand mention of the reparations Britain paid after the Civil War. I haven’t done enough reading about the post-bellum period, and the Alabama Claims were news to me. It’s a pretty fascinating little footnote in history, not least because it involves a fast-tracking of British Columbia’s […]

Looking Back On The First Government Shutdown »

On the eve of the latest government shutdown ending, NPR takes a look back to the first shutdown, which also had its roots in racism. Plus ça change, America? I’m filing this blog post under “reenactments”. GONZALEZ: At the time, African-American men were allowed to vote, but they tended to vote Republican. So Democrats didn’t […]

Hidden History »

A brief, but interesting, history of Fort Monroe. Landing site for the first black slaves in America, and site of the “Doctrine” that started Emancipation down its track. Ellis Island, New York, was the gateway to freedom for millions of European immigrants. They fled poverty and oppression, for a chance to achieve the American Dream. Well, […]

Life in One Union Prison Camp »

This was a three-part story, I see, though the paper doesn’t bother linking to the previous two entries. This one deals with one soldier’s “last post”; a Union prison camp. I went through a phase of research in my teens where I read widely on Southern prisons – Andersonville especially – but I can’t recall […]

Political Violence »

Mother Jones interviews Joanne Freeman, author of The Field of Blood, examining physical violence in Congress in the run-up to the Civil War. If the book is as fun as the interview, it promises to be a rollicking read! That’s a great example both of the performative aspect of it and the ways in which it’s […]

The Union’s Mad Scientist »

I knew about Thaddeus Lowe, chief of the Union Army’s Balloon Corps, but clearly I’ve never read about him in-depth, as most of these facts were new to me. Sounds like I have some entertaining research ahead of me! There was a definite need for air superiority, and using hot air balloons to get a […]

Bind Up the Nation’s Wounds »

Happy 2019! On this anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation, the Washington Post offers some musings on Lincoln’s Second Inaugural and how his words can be applied to our lives and actions for the new year. Source: The perfect New Year’s resolution for 2019 was written 154 years ago – The Washington Post

The end of the party of Lincoln »

The Washington Post offers an opinion piece on how Trump’s attack on the 14th Amendment severs the modern GOP’s connection to “The Party of Lincoln”. Republicans intended for the birthright citizenship provision to ensure that African Americans’ citizenship rights could not be abridged by racist Southerners. It was meant to protect the rights of former […]

Minnesota’s Battle »

There’s a battle going on at the Minnesota state capitol: Turns out some really beautiful canvasses were removed for restoration, and the discussion is now ongoing over whether to replace them with more modern and inclusive artwork. I am a little torn; I am all for modernizing and inclusive-izing the artwork, but one of the […]

Park Service will study period after Civil War | The State The State »

Reconstruction is the dark side of the Civil War’s already pretty awful history; when all the gains fought for were surrendered and guiled away. The sesquicentennials still to come will not be as heavily observed as the wartime ones, but they have had a longer legacy. This is a good move on the part of […]