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Tag: Civil War

Edited by Gerald Boerner

    

    
Introductory Comments:

JerryPhoto_thumb2_thumb_thumbThis day was distinguished by a three major events in legal history. In 1803, the United States Supreme Court, under the leadership of Chief Justice John Marshall (one of the Founding Fathers), passed down a series of decisions that helped define the boundaries between federal rights and states rights under our Constitution. Among these decisions, the case of Marbury v. Madison defined the dominance of federal rights over the states in several major areas. This day in 1841 also saw former President John Quincy Adams, the son of our second President, John Adams, defend the rebellious slaves who were being transported aboard the La Amistad before the U.S. Supreme Court. And, finally, this day in 1868 witnessed the Impeachment Trial of President Andrew Johnson before the U.S. House of Representatives for firing his Secretary of War; he would be acquitted by the U.S. Senate later.

Fall of the Alamo

This day also witnessed a couple of significant battles during our country’s history. In 1836, General Santa Anna lead the Mexican forces against the Texan’s using the Alamo as their fortification in San Antonio. These brave Americans were fighting to create an independent Republic in Texas. Santa Anna’s forces stormed the Alamo on March 6th, Killing most of the Alamo’s defenders, including General Travis. Also on this day in 1991, the coalition forces, under a United Nations mandate, began their ground campaign against the forces of Saddam Hussein and his Iraqi troops; the coalition forces were fighting to restore Kuwait’s independence. The well-coordinated forces of the coalition successfully routed the Iraqi troops.

Voice_of_America_Bethany_Relay_Station

On a different note, this day in 1942 found a new shortwave radio broadcast, the Voice of America, beamed into the countries of occupied Europe with news from America. These broadcasts spread the news of what was actually happening in World War II, whether good news for the Allies or bad. This service was later expanded to include the Mediterranean and North Africa theaters as well as the Pacific theater of war. These broadcasts continued during the Cold War and into the present. Broadcasts were in the language of the various cultural and national groups around the world.

We now will proceed to examine some of the events that are associated with day in history... GLB

These Introductory Comments are copyrighted:
Copyright©2012 — Gerald Boerner — All Rights Reserved

[ 1036 Words ]
    

    

Quotations Related to Sam Houston:

[ http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/s/sam_houston.html ]

    

“Texas has yet to learn submission to any oppression, come from what source it may.”
— Sam Houston

“Whether his policy was right or wrong, he built up the glory of the nation.”
— Sam Houston

“A leader is someone who helps improve the lives of other people or improve the system they live under.”
— Sam Houston

“I am aware that in presenting myself as the advocate of the Indians and their rights, I shall stand very much alone.”
— Sam Houston

“I would give no thought of what the world might say of me, if I could only transmit to posterity the reputation of an honest man.”
— Sam Houston

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Edited by Gerald Boerner

    

    
Introductory Comments:

JerryPhoto_thumb2_thumb_thumbToday we will focus primarily on domestic events since we don’t have any “earthshaking” events on the international scene identified. The closest we come to such an event centers upon a group of recording artists who gave their time and voices to create the blockbuster song “We are the World” that appeared in 1985. This recording was created to raise money for the relief of the people of Africa who were suffering from a terrible famine. The song was written by Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie and was produced by the Emmy-winning Quincy Jones. The sales from this song raised $60 million for the cause.

Opbushel

On the domestic front, we have three significant events. In recent history we have witnessed first-hand the explosion shortly after clearing the launch pad of the Space Shuttle Challenger in 1986. This event sent shutters through our bodies in a fashion similar to that that most of us did as we watched Neil Armstrong take those first steps on the moon in 1969. But this time, the reaction was not from the joyful sharing of an event of great import for all mankind, it came from the realization that the entire Challenger crew perished in the explosion. In just a few seconds, we saw the lift-off of the shuttle from the launch pad followed by a puff of white smoke that could be seen when the shuttle broke apart, with different large chunks going in different directions.

At the time, I was working for a school district and witnessed the event “real time,” not on video tape on the evening news. All educators were thrilled by the fact that one of our own, a high school teacher from New England, Christa McAuliffe, was travelling into space. She would be the first civilian to make such a voyage. She was prepared to carry out a number of educational experiments during her time in space and was being followed by schools across the country. But the voice of the TV commentator soon informed us that something terrible had happened a few seconds after launch from Cape Canaveral, Florida.

Challenger_flight_51l_crew

Then we witnessed the debris from the shuttle fall from the sky. With that debris were the bodies of the seven shuttle astronauts. There was no escape. This incident resulted in a suspension of future shuttle flights until the cause of the accident had been determined and remedied. And it turned out that the cause was due to the failure of an O-Ring that cost just a few dollars. After this tragedy, both the equipment checks before launch and the launch procedures themselves were changed. A major cause of the O-Ring failure was the launch in the early morning hours in freezing weather. Ice had been an ever-present hazard to all launches from Cape Canaveral over the years; each crew breathed a sigh of relief when their vehicle had cleared the launch tower. Procedures were instituted that prevented launch until ice would no longer be a hazard.

Other significant events on this day have been a bit more upbeat. In 1861, at the start of the Civil War, Julia Ward Howe wrote a song that was initially sung in churches across the North. This song, “The Battle Hymn of the Republic,” then began to be sung by Union troops as they marched into their battles. It is an uplifting song that I learned in elementary school. It had a catchy tune, uplifting words, and I remember singing it proudly. If you have not done so recently, check out the words to this song; it will raise your spirit and put you into a positive frame of mind. (See the video below for the song’s history.)

The final event of the day was an advance in the quest for equality for minorities. In 1916, Louis Brandeis, a Jew, was nominated as a Supreme Court Justice by President Woodrow Wilson. Brandeis was known as the “People’s Attorney” because of his defense of equal treatment of minority groups. This nomination and its eventual confirmation by the U.S. Senate transpired in the days prior to the entry of the United States into World War I. While a Justice, Brandeis continued to write opinions championing the cause of equal treatment of all men, not just the rich or corporations.

It is interesting to note that this confirmation of a Jew to the highest court of our land occurred just twenty years before the beginning of the Nazi persecution of the Jewish people in Germany. As we discussed yesterday, Hitler’s “Final Solution to the Jewish Problem” resulted in the creation of extermination camps to carry out the genocide against the Jews. While the persecution started with the deprivation of Jews of their property rights, it continued into Kristalnacht and then the creation of Jewish ghettos in Eastern Europe. With men like Brandeis watching out for the rights of all Americans, we have avoided that type of persecution for most groups in the 20th century.

Lombardi_Vince_Mural_180-220

On a minor, but inspiring note we find that the Head Football Coach of the Green Bay Packers NFL team was given a contract extension in 1959. This event is not important for its overt contract extension, but to focus our attention upon Vince Lombardi, a man who has provided inspiration to not only his players, but athletes throughout the sports world have benefitted from his inspiring sayings. Men like Lombardi are essential to the maturing of young men and women into good citizens and displaying good sportsmanship.

We need to view the events of this day in a spirit of good sportsmanship, emphasizing the equality of all peoples of our country, and the need to nurture young people to good citizenship and patriotism. We need to put aside the feelings of being better than others and foster a spirit of positive adoption of understanding and cooperation among all groups within our country. This spirit of inclusiveness can avoid the branding of individual or cultures negatively. I have been bothered by the blaming all Muslims for the events of 911 and the destruction of the Twin Towers. Those events were the work of individual radical groups of terrorists, not be Muslims. Yes, I know that there are major cultural differences between our two world views, but understanding I think is a more desirable quest than reacting with hostility. We don’t have to accept their religion or philosophy of life, but we do need to understand their culture and world-view to help prevent such terrorist acts in the future.

We now will proceed to examine some of the events that are associated with day in history... GLB

These Introductory Comments are copyrighted:
Copyright©2012 — Gerald Boerner — All Rights Reserved

[ 1692 Words ]
    

    

Quotations Related to Louis D. Brandeis:

[ http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/l/louis_d_brandeis.html ]

    

“If we desire respect for the law, we must first make the law respectable.”
— Louis D. Brandeis

“If we would guide by the light of reason we must let our minds be bold.”
— Louis D. Brandeis

“Neutrality is at times a graver sin than belligerence.”
— Louis D. Brandeis

“Experience teaches us to be most on our guard to protect liberty when the government’s purposes are beneficent.”
— Louis D. Brandeis

“In the frank expression of conflicting opinions lies the greatest promise of wisdom in governmental action.”
— Louis D. Brandeis

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Edited by Gerald Boerner

    

    
Introductory Comments:

JerryPhoto_thumb2_thumb_thumbThis day is marked by some memorable events as well as at least one infamous one. During the American Revolutionary War, Thomas Paine published his memorable work, Common Sense, in installments in a local newspaper. This work would be the rallying point of the colonists against the British forces and stir the American spirit of freedom. He would go on to publish his The Rights of Man during his time in Paris during the French Revolution. On this day the first shots of the American Civil War were fired, not against Fort Sumter, but by the “Star of the West” as it resupplied the Northern troops at that fortification. We would forge our New Nation from these two events to lead to a strong, united peoples after we had sorted out our differences.

FortSumter2009

This is also the day on which the reclusive, eccentric billionaire, Howard Hughes, denied the authenticity of an autobiography supposedly found by Clifford Irving. Hughes was a successful entrepreneur who was involved in Hollywood movie studios, a daring pilot, builder of aircraft (including the famous Spruce Goose seaplane), a company that manufactured oil drilling equipment, and a casino owner. His life was flamboyant to a fault; it’s no wonder that someone would attempt to capitalize on such a life with a fictional autobiography!

Finally, another flamboyant personality in the technology world, Steve Jobs, would introduce Apple’s iTunes music distribution system that accompanied the now-ubiquitous iPod and later by the iPhone and iPad. Steve departed our midst in 2011, but left a legacy of technological innovations that may not be matched in the near future.

_Steve Jobs RIP

What a set of events are associated with this day in history. And we have not even covered all the events associated with this day. That will have to await future years!

But let’s get on with our overview of the events of this day… GLB

These Introductory Comments are copyrighted:
Copyright©2012 — Gerald Boerner — All Rights Reserved

[ 877 Words ]
    

    

Quotations Related to Howard Hughes:

[ http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/h/howard_hughes.html ]

    

“I’m not a paranoid deranged millionaire. Goddamit, I’m a billionaire.”
— Howard Hughes

“Once you consent to some concession, you can never cancel it and put things back the way they are.”
— Howard Hughes

“Play off everyone against each other so that you have more avenues of action open to you.”
— Howard Hughes

“Wash four distinct and separate times, using lots of lather each time from individual bars of soap.”
— Howard Hughes

“Howard Hughes was this visionary who was obsessed with speed and flying like a god… I loved his idea of what filmmaking was.”
— Martin Scorsese

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Edited by Gerald Boerner

 

Commentary:

JerryPhotoWhile it sounds like a rather mundane invention, Eli Whitney’s creation of the Cotton Engine, better known as the “Cotton Gin”, in 1793. He received a patent for his invention in 1794 on this day. He did not obtain his fortune from this device due to patent infringements; he did benefit financially from another invention, the use of interchangeable parts in guns! But the cotton gin provided some unexpected results.

Before the cotton gin, the process of separating the cotton fibers from its seed was very labor intensive. This made cotton less attractive to plantation owner than other crops. With the introduction of the cotton gin, cotton became a more attractive crop, especially in the deep south. This resulted in larger plantations, which required more slave labor. Thus, the cotton gin actually facilitated the use of the inhumane practice of slavery.

Cottonfieldpanorama-edited

Slavery was opposed by the industrial north, but the textile industry was dependent on the cotton produced as a result of the cotton gin. So this invention really was a two-headed sword, so to speak: it created an industry that was dependent on slave labor. Even during the Reconstruction period, African Americans and the poor white population in the deep south were in virtual slavery under the share-cropping arrangement by which they survived.

But it’s time to explore the invention of the cotton gin by Eli Whitney and its effects on the industrial revolution and the institution of slavery…  GLB

These Introductory Comments are copyrighted:
Copyright©2011 — Gerald Boerner — All Rights Reserved

[ 4135 Words ]
    

   

Quotations Related to ELI WHITNEY:

    

“I have not only Arms but a large proportion of Armourers to make.”
— Eli Whitney

“I can make just such ones if I had tools, and I could make tools if I had tools to make them with.”
— Eli Whitney

“I have always believed that I should have had no difficulty in causing my rights to be respected.”
— Eli Whitney

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Edited by Gerald Boerner

 

Commentary:

JerryPhotoAt the beginning of the American Civil War, the first shots were fired at a fast, steam-driven merchant vessel, the “Star of the West”, carrying both supplies and troops for the Union encampment at Fort Sumter. As they passed the Citadel, the were fired uopn and received several hits. The ship turned around to escape the Confederate fire. Fort Sumter would soon be taken and become a Confederate defense.

The siege had been a tactic used for centuries, especially against European and Middle Eastern cities and castles. During the Civil War, this tactic was extended to blockade most Confederate ports to prevent raw materials and supplies into the port while preventing the export of cash products like tobacco and cotton.

FortSumter2009The Confederacy, in order to circumvent this blockade, hired “blockade runners”. These were fast, steam-driven merchant ships that were sometimes successful. But, like the “Star of the West”, they were generally turned away. It is a little ironic that the first case of blockade running should take place by a Union vessel trying to resupply a fort in Confederate territory.

The “Star of the West” ended up being captured by the Confederates an stationed in New Orleans. It eventually met its demise when it was scuttled to block a river to prevent Union crafts from joining the campaign against a southern stronghold.

So, it’s once again time to launch our exploration of today’s topic…  GLB

These Introductory Comments are copyrighted:
Copyright©2010 — Gerald Boerner — All Rights Reserved

[ 3791 Words ]

   

Quotations Related to SIEGE:

    

“We remain essentially a nation under siege.”
— Theodore C. Sorensen

“I’m currently working on a Mind Siege for youth.”
— Tim LaHaye

“The shutting up of a place by troops or ships, with the purpose of preventing ingress or egress, or the reception of supplies; as, the blockade of the ports of an enemy.”
— Definition of Blockade

Edited by Gerald Boerner

 

Commentary

JerryPhotoWe turn our attention once again towards examining the background of one of the more beloved Christmas carols. As with most of these carols, the is quite a “backstory.” The carol was based on a poem written by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. He wrote this poen originally in the mid-1800s and amended it after the Civil War. These words were later set to music.

As this Christmas excitement starts to wan, and we look to returning to work or school, let us take a bit of time to reflect upon our friends, family, God and faith. Let us think about the words of some of our favorite Christmas carols for the strength to face the new year.

So, let’s start our exploration of todays carol…  GLB

These Introductory Comments are copyrighted:
Copyright©2010 — Gerald Boerner — All Rights Reserved

[ 2321 Words ]

   

Quotations Related to HENRY WADSWORTH LONGFELLOW

    

Music is the universal language of mankind — poetry their universal pastime and delight.”
— Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

“Look, then, into thine heart, and write!”
— Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Give what you have. To someone, it may be better than you dare to think.”
— Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

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Edited by Gerald Boerner

 

Commentary

Due to injury, this commentary will be added later. Please check back. Thank you.  GLB

These Introductory Comments are copyrighted:
Copyright©2010 — Gerald Boerner — All Rights Reserved

[ 3697 Words ]

   

Quotations Related to MARCH

“Every life is a march from innocence, through temptation, to virtue or vice.”
— Lyman Abbot

“Even if a minefield or the abyss should lie before me, I will march straight ahead without looking back.”
— Zhu Rongji

“Higher education must lead the march back to the fundamentals of human relationships, to the old discovery that is ever new, that man does not live by bread alone.”
— John Hannah

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Edited by Gerald Boerner

 

Commentary

Due to injury, this commentary will be added later. Please check back. Thank you.  GLB

These Introductory Comments are copyrighted:
Copyright©2010 — Gerald Boerner — All Rights Reserved

[ 3054 Words ]

   

Quotations Related to VETERANS

“We often take for granted the very things that most deserve our gratitude.”
— Cynthia Ozick

“It is easy to take liberty for granted, when you have never had it taken from you.”
— Dick Cheney

“This nation will remain the land of the free only so long as it is the home of the brave.”
— Elmer Davis

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Edited by Gerald Boerner

 

Commentary

Due to injury, this commentary will be added later. Please check back. Thank you.  GLB

These Introductory Comments are copyrighted:
Copyright©2010 — Gerald Boerner — All Rights Reserved

[ 2972 Words ]

   

Quotations Related to BATTLE

“Marriage, in life, is like a duel in the midst of a battle.”
— Edmond About

“General Pickett, finding the battle broken while the enemy was still reinforcing, called the troops off.”
— James Longstreet

“A man should never put on his best trousers when he goes out to battle for freedom and truth.”
— Henrik Ibsen

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Edited by Gerald Boerner

 

Commentary

Due to injury, this commentary will be added later. Please check back. Thank you.  GLB

These Introductory Comments are copyrighted:
Copyright©2010 — Gerald Boerner — All Rights Reserved

[ 3980 Words ]

   

Quotations Related to ABOLITION

“The first requisite for the happiness of the people is the abolition of religion.”
— Karl Marx

“I should not regret a fair and full trial of the entire abolition of capital .”
— James Madison

“The spirit of democracy is not a mechanical thing to be adjusted by abolition of forms. It requires change of heart.”
— Mohandas Gandhi

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