Monthly Archives: January 2017

Why Study History?

This is an excellent book by John Fea, Associate Professor of American History and Chair of the History Department at Messiah College. Professor Fea is also a blogging colleague, blogging at The Way of Improvement Leads Home, which is also the title of an earlier book of his, subtitled, Philip Vickers Fithian and the Rural […]

McCulloch v. Maryland

The citation for this case is 17 [4 Wheat] US 316. This 1819 case is a landmark decision. It was argued from 22 February to 3 March 1819 and decided on 6 March 1819 on a 7-0 vote. In one of the most important decisions in the Supreme Court’s history, Chief Justice John Marshall’s ruling […]

Sick From Freedom

This book by Jim Downs tells about what happened to African-Americans after they gained freedom. Professor Downs, in introducing his subject, tells us, “The Civil War, however, produced the largest biological crisis of the nineteenth century, claiming more soldiers’ lives and resulting in more casualties than battle or warfare and wreaking havoc on the population […]

Columbia University and Slavery

Thanks to my blogging colleague Pat Young, I’ve come across this article. It tells us about a report prepared by Professor Eric Foner on Columbia University’s connection to the institution of slavery. “The report, to be released by the university on Tuesday as part of a new website, offers no dramatic revelations akin to that […]

Why Reconstruction Matters

Here is an excellent article from Professor Eric Foner giving a great thumbnail sketch of Reconstruction and why it’s important for us to understand it. Why is Reconstruction history important? “Issues that agitate American politics today — access to citizenship and voting rights, the relative powers of the national and state governments, the relationship between […]

Reconstruction: The Unifinished War

Wednesday, January 18, 2017, I attended a reception for the opening of a new exhibit at the National Civil War Museum in Harrisburg, PA, titled, “Reconstruction: The Unfinished War.” Curator Brett Kelly and CEO Wayne Motts and their team have done a good job bringing together various artifacts and providing the interpretation to go along […]

For the Forgotten African-American Dead

I came across this article today. The article contrasts the dilapidated state of many African-American cemeteries with confederate cemeteries in the South. “Before we take the first of two turns to enter East End and Evergreen — an adjacent African-American cemetery that is just as overgrown and almost three times as large — we pass […]

Ableman v. Booth and United States v. Booth

The citation for this case is 62 US 506. The case was argued on 19 January 1859 and decided on 7 March 1859 by a 9-0 vote, with Chief Justice Roger B. Taney writing the Court’s opinion. The case came out of Benjamin Garland of Missouri going to Wisconsin to capture an escaped slave named […]

Reconstruction and 1876: Crash Course US History

Here’s the Crash Course episode on Reconstruction. The video’s description reads, “In which John Green teaches you about Reconstruction. After the divisive, destructive Civil War, Abraham Lincoln had a plan to reconcile the country and make it whole again. Then he got shot, Andrew Johnson took over, and the disagreements between Johnson and Congress ensured […]

Lincoln and the Constitution

This short book by Professor Brian R. Dirck is another in the Southern Illinois University Press’ “Concise Lincoln Library” series. Short enough to be read in a single sitting, the book gives us the most current scholarship on Lincoln’s constitutional thought and actions. Professor Dirck begins by tracing the development of Lincoln’s constitutionalism. “Even if […]