Category «HISTORY»

When We Cease to Understand the World

A review of Benjamin Labatut’s award-nominated collection. They are well-worn clichés: the scientist as tortured genius; the idiot savant who peers unblinkingly into the secrets of the universe while forgetting to eat or bathe; or, at the most superficial, scientists as hopeless nerds, whip-smart but clueless when it comes to “regular” people and their quotidian …

The Kentucky-Darwin Connection

Step just inside the front entrance of the University of Kentucky’s historic Miller Hall and you might notice a brass plaque on the righthand side titled Freedom of Inquiry, the Teaching of Evolution, and the “Monkey Trial”. The plaque reads, in full: In March 1922, the Kentucky House of Representatives debated a bill to prohibit the teaching …

When Do Wars Really End?

April 9, 1865: On this day, Lee surrendered to Grant at Appomattox Courthouse, effectively ending the American Civil War. I say effectively, because this War, like so many others, was not so neatly concluded. April 14, 1865: President Lincoln was assassinated. May 9, 1865: Lincoln’s successor, Andrew Johnson, declared the insurrection had ended. May 10, …

Trump’s 2nd Impeachment Is Unprecedented but Justifiable

The House has voted to impeach Trump. Again. There was a lot of talk by Republicans about the unprecedented and precipitous way in which the House pursued this second impeachment. However, I would point out that the circumstances were unprecedented. Never before in our history has a sitting president sicced an armed mob on Congress …

Better to Deal with Insurrectionists Sooner Rather than Later

In the aftermath of the Civil War only one person (the commandant of the infamous Andersonville prison camp) was ever held directly accountable for war crimes. Robert E. Lee lost his swank plantation at Arlington and the right to vote. Jefferson Davis was imprisoned by the Army under harsh conditions for two years before being …

Five Questions with Historian Gordon S. Wood

[This interview was conducted via email in December 2004 and published in a local (metro Atlanta) freethought newsletter. –JCS 12/24/2021] Gordon S. Wood is one of the foremost experts on the American Revolution and the origins of the U.S. Constitution. Wood won the Pulitzer Prize in history for his 1991 book The Radicalism of the American Revolution. His …