Short Takes

In secession news, the latest candidate is Hawaii, or Hawai’i if you prefer. Even more so than Texas Hawaii has a unique state history, being the only state annexed by what some have termed an imperialist coup. Matt Welch takes a look at the prospects in Reason magazine.

Shooting Times takes a nostalgic look at the famous “Navy Six,” which, says author Jim Wilson, “ushered in the era of the gunfighter” and was of course quite popular in the Civil War as well.

Civil War News gives a front page blurb to a project spearheaded by Karen Needles, who has undertaken the herculean task of digitizing not just the writings of Abraham Lincoln but those of his administration as well. Further, these will be scanned in color so as to show the marginalia, which usually doesn’t show up on microfilm. Her goal is to digitize and inventory every piece of paper generated by the Lincoln Administration, making them available online to scholars everywhere. This is a great idea, as one doesn’t get a full idea of what went on just by looking at what the president wrote. Then too, everything didn’t get written down and often much of what we know about important policy decisions like the Emancipation Proclamation comes from the writings of people who heard it being discussed.

Part of NARAs own collection is on line as well, as is another Lincoln digitzation project by by the Northern Illinois University. In addition, the state of Illinois also has a digital collection of Lincoln documents.

What were Napoleon’s chances of conquering Russia? In a word, lousy. A new book takes a look at the intersection of war and disease.

I was reading an account of a Louisiana soldier in the Gettysburg campaign, who told about an enterprising group of Yankees who went just ahead of the Confederate army selling putative memberships in the Knights of the Golden Circle to the locals, telling them it would protect their property if they made the right secret signs. By some account they made a lot of money doing it. I was going to do a post on it but Scott Mingus beat me to it, so I’ll refer you to him. The Nigerians, who have fallen on hard times, only wish they were that good.

General Lee’s army may be gone, but Southern evangelicals are marching North.

Are all white Southerners crazy bigots? You’d think so after reading some of the things published lately.

In a recent Washington Post column, Kathleen Parker quoted Ohio Sen. George Voinovich’s assertion that the Republican Party is “being taken over by Southerners” to suggest that the GOP risks becoming a permanent minority party of the old Confederacy. In itself this is a legitimate point that I and many other critics of Republican conservatism have made for years. However, at Mother Jones, the blogger Kevin Drum used Parker’s political argument as an excuse for all-too-typical liberal Southern-bashing. According to Drum: “There are, needless to say, plenty of individual Southern whites who are wholly admirable. But taken as a whole, Southern white culture is [redacted]. Jim Webb can pretty it up all he wants, but it’s a [redacted].” Drum did the redacting on his own blog post, explaining he’d blacked out the offending text “on the advice of my frontal lobe.”

Michael Lind, writing in Salon, thinks liberal commentators may be “seceding from sanity.” White Southerners—”crackers, rednecks, hillbillys” etc. are pretty much the last group left that one can trash with impunity, so it allows intellectuals like Drum to say all those things they don’t dare say about anyone else.

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2 responses to “Short Takes”

  1. Naim Peress Avatar

    I’m a Northerner, born and raised, but I’ve visited different parts of the South and I don’t agree that all white Southerners are bigots. It is easy to demonize what you’re ignorant of.

    1. admin Avatar


      I’m afraid you may not understand. Fred is himself a white Southerner, and he’s being sarcastic with that comment.


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