Short Takes

Civil War novelist Kim Murphy takes a look at contraception during the mid-Nineteenth century.

In the decades before the Civil War, there was no organized movement to advocate or control contraception. Freethinking printers and publishers began spreading the word about reproductive choices, and Charles Knowlton became the first American legally tried for the publication of contraceptive material. Fruits of Philosophy was copyrighted in 1831 and printed anonymously in 1832. The advanced scientific writing on women’s anatomy and reproduction was an innovative work. His response to moralists was that “Mankind will not abstain.” In December 1832, Knowlton was arrested for obscenity.

I’ve mentioned the subject of faked photographs before, something that started about the same time as the invention of the camera. The real kings of altering reality, however, were the Communists.  English Russia, which is quite an interesting site on its own, has a roundup of faked and altered photos from that era.

On this shot you can see Lenin with his wife sitting in the middle, surrounded by farmers and their kids.

But just a little time passed after this photo was made and many of those farmers were executed – just because they had too much money and didn’t want to share it freely with surrounding poor neighbors.

So the photo that was published looked like that. All those who were executed were removed. Including kids.

Revolutionary War scholar Thomas Fleming reviews Thomas B. Allen’s Tories, a book about “America’s first civil war,” by which he means the conflict between those Americans who remained loyal to the King and those who wished to separate from the mother country.

One of the book’s themes is that the conflict between the loyalists and rebels amounted to “America’s first civil war.” But not until the later pages, when the fighting with the British shifts to the South, does a semblance of civil war become evident. The Irish Presbyterians of the Southern backcountry had a history of feuding with wealthy coastal planters, who supported the insurrection. The ingrained antipathy for the planters, more than any fondness for King George, prompted the backcountry boys to ally themselves with the British—leading to vicious seesaw fighting.

A climax to this war within the larger war came in late 1780 with the battle of Kings Mountain in South Carolina, a purely American versus American, loyalist versus rebel fight. The rebels won a total victory, and in the process quashed British dreams of creating a native-grown loyalist army that might provide a decisive advantage.

Martha C. Boltz, writing in the Washington Times, wades into a controversial subject—Black Confederates.

I’ve met and talked with a delightful older gentleman who for many years was a press man for The Washington Times, Bobby Chandler.  I’ve heard Bobby give a talk on his ancestor Silas Chandler of Mississippi, who served beside his ‘master’ during the war; I have seen a photograph of  the two of them in the war period, both holding long knives, and a rifle lying across Silas’ lap, his hand at the ready..  And when young Andrew Chandler was badly wounded, and battlefield doctors wanted to amputate his leg,  it was his servant, Silas Chandler, who  picked him up and carried him all the way home to be cared for.

Bobby Chandler tells the story with a high degree of pride and a sense of accomplishment. It happened.


2 responses to “Short Takes”

  1. Will Hickox Avatar
    Will Hickox

    If anyone feels like addressing Martha Boltz’s silly claims in her black Confederates column, don’t bother–any contrary comments get deleted.

  2. Dick Stanley Avatar

    Shocking. Censorship at a newspaper. Who’d ‘ave thunk it?

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