Harriet Tubman on the $20 and other money changes

The plan was originally to drop Alexander Hamilton on the $10 bill and replace him with a woman.  But that was before the hit Broadway musical Hamilton.  So Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew decided to replace Andrew Jackson, the Democrat responsible for the Trail of Tears, instead.  The woman to be featured:  The former slave turned abolitionist activist Harriet Tubman.  (See this on her Christian faith.)

Though Hamilton will stay, the back of the $10 bill will feature a tribute to the women’s suffrage movement and will picture a number of early feminist activists.  Details on these and other planned changes after the jump. [Read more…]

The new Clinton, not like the old Clinton

When Bill Clinton ran for president, you might remember, he was the leader of “the new Democrats,” a group that rejected old style Democratic liberalism in favor of centrist, pragmatic policies.  Among his accomplishments as president were welfare reform, the NAFTA free trade agreement, and a tough anti-crime bill.

Also, Bill Clinton signed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (whose language now in state bills draws protests and vilification from Democrats); the Defense of Marriage Act (which allows states to define marriage as between one man and one woman, and which does not require states to recognize other states’ gay marriages); repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act (which may have been a bad idea for allowing banks to pursue other commercial ventures); a bill to permit charter schools; a bill to lower the Capital Gains tax, etc., etc.

As Charles Krauthammer reminds us, Hillary Clinton rejects all of those policies of her husband.   [Read more…]

Proof of literacy in Bible days

Liberal scholars arguing for a late date for the texts of the Old Testament say that the Hebrews couldn’t have been literate until after the Babylonian exile.  (Circular reasoning, anyone?)  But archaeologists have discovered a trove of letters written on pottery from a remote military installation.  They are dated around 600 B.C., shortly before Nebuchadnezzar captured Jerusalem.   The 18 letters come from at least six different writers, showing that even ordinary soldiers of the day could read and write. [Read more…]

Institute of Advanced Study vs. the Battle of Princeton

The Battle of Princeton was arguably the turning point of the Revolutionary War, the first time George Washington beat Cornwallis, thanks to Washington’s personal bravery that from that time forward inspired the continental troops.

But now preservation of  the battlefield is threatened.  Not by a strip mall.  Not by a theme park.  But by the Institute of Advanced Study, a graduate research institution (close to, but independent of Princeton University) which wants to build faculty housing on the site for its Institute of Advanced Study. [Read more…]

How the Founders tried to prevent a Donald Trump

If Republicans pull some convention maneuvering to prevent the nomination of Donald Trump, wouldn’t that thwart the will of the people?  Well, historian Andrew Trees shows that the Founders of our nation who wrote the Constitution believed that the will of the people often needed to be thwarted, or at least checked and balanced.  The Founders feared that the public would be tempted to vote according to their “passions,” thus allowing themselves to be manipulated by a “demagogue” who would stir up these passions to put himself into power.  (Sound familiar?)  This is why the Founders built non-Democratic safeguards into our Republic, such as having the president be elected not by the public but by the Electoral College.

Many of those safeguards have been gotten rid of, unfortunately.  (Perhaps the coming debacle will encourage us to bring them back:  If political parties are corrupt, something both angry voters today and the original Founders would agree on, let’s remove the presidency from politics.  Let’s vote state-by-state for delegates to the Electoral College, without any of them stating whom they would be voting for.  They would then deliberate on who would be the best person for the job.  That would be returning to what the Founders intended.) [Read more…]

Two kinds of masculinity

Imagine my surprise and my pride in seeing my cousin’s daughter quoted by David Brooks in the New York Times.  Lorien Foote is a Civil War historian at Texas A&M.  She is utterly brilliant and a true expert in her field.  (When she visited us in Virginia, we took a drive through Loudon County, during which time she explained what happened during the war at nearly every turn of the road.)

Anyway, she wrote a much-acclaimed book called The Gentlemen and the Roughs:  Violence, Honor, and Manhood in the Union Army (New York University Press).   David Brooks uses it as a jump-off point to criticize Donald Trump’s treatment of women.  But her book has far more applications than that. [Read more…]


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