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A 1936 Time Magazine article about a U.S. government offer to send Filipino men back to the Philipppines -- a program intended to free up scarce jobs for citizens -- cites the opinion of a judge that the Filipino men should go home because their skills in the arts of love enable them to take white girls away from their boyfriends. click here
Article A war on terror in ancient Rome resulted in loss of democracy from which Rome never recovered. (click here) In 68 BC a terrorist attack by pirates on Rome's port Ostia destroyed a fleet of ships and two senators were kidnapped, sending shockwaves across the Roman Empire. The result was a handover of power and the treasury to Pompey, a general, who under the prior constitution had to answer to a government elected by citizens. Protests ensued, but Pompey got his way. After the pirates were mopped up, however, the traditional rights of citizens were not reinstated, and the Roman empire lost its political fiber, says the author of this NYT's editorial. The author issues a warning and draws parallels to the "war on terror" and measures taken by the Bush administration.
Article: Natural disasters that have altered human history
Article: Lost Cities in History
Article: In the U.S. in the early 1800's, "laughing gas" -- nitrous oxide -- became a popular intoxicant used at gatherings which were often exhibitions, with the antics of the intoxicated being the source of much amusement. For article by History House, click here
Link to 12 Byzantine Emperors -- a popular new podcast, click here
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Below is a collection of questions on U.S. history we would like to post views on.
The 2000 election and and the Constitution.
. The early U.S. "democracy", besides permitting slavery, only allowed property-owning men to vote. The idea of one-man-one-vote, called "leveling," was considered insane by the framers of the Constitution, who avoided stating their view, which would have mocked the rhetoric of the Declaration of Independence. The founders escaped having to address the issue because states were given control of the process of elections for national office in order to get the delegates from the future states to vote for the constitution. It was clear the states (to be) would not permit one man one vote, and would not ratify a document calling for one man one vote.
|It is interesting to note how this compromise of the one man one vote issue played out in the 2000 election, where a states' rights court bolted from its own stable long enough to steal the election, although Bush probably would have won the election if the law had been followed. The Supreme court wasn't taking any chances.||
|The rendering of the 2000 vote for U.S. president in the
state of Florida should have should have been handed back to the state of
Florida by the U.S. Supreme court, if the law had been honored, because the
the states have jurisdiction over the election process for federal offices. The
"equal protection" issue, akin to the civil rights arguments used to
dismantle white control of Southern elections, is pretty shaky because there
is no distinct group being denied equal protection, and every county in
every state would have deserved a recount. The U.S. supreme court grabbed
the election like a dog grabbing a steak from the dinner table -- it was
completely against the rules, and it was the reverse of the pro-states'
rights ideology that had always characterized this court.
If the law had been respected and the Supreme Court had sent the controversy back to the state of Florida, it is not clear if the state supreme court or the legislature would have won out in asserting its jurisdiction over the recount question -- the court was controlled by Democrats, the legislature by Republicans. If this in-state dispute went unresolved and both the court and the legislature claimed authority, ("competing slates") then, according to the Constitution, the matter would be handed over to U.S. House of Representatives to settle by a vote. (Or maybe it's the House and Senate.) We would like to post commentary on this question: Which branch of the Florida government had proper authority?
The Kennedy political machine stole the 1960 election from Nixon. (Maybe Kennedy would have won anyway.)
Did John Kennedy know his father was using his organized crime connections in Chicago, and old-fashioned vote buying in West Virginia to try to steal the 1960 election from Richard Nixon? Or did these things really happen?
The Perpetrator of the Mexican American War: Mexico or the U.S.?
Who was responsible for the Mexican American War? Did the U.S. ensnare Santa Anna and the Mexican army in a U.S. land grab ploy? Or was Mexico brash and belligerent, creating a war the U.S. tried to avoid?
|The the Mexican-American War (1846-48) began when Mexican troops crossed the Rio Grande into a disputed border area which U.S. troops had occupied. Mexico had signed a treaty stipulating the Rio Grande as its new border after Texas broke away from Mexico, but then rejected those terms. Mexican troops attacked first. But it is claimed by many the U.S. goaded Mexico into war, taking advantage of the border dispute to position troops so as to provoke a Mexican attack, and then fed the incident to Congress which needed no prodding to declare war. Was the war started as part of a cynical land grab ("manifest destiny") or was it thrust upon President Polk by Mexico by Mexico's refusal to recognize the proper border and by its belligerent actions? It is President Polk depicted as the devil on the right. This is a from NYT's graphic highlighting a letter claiming "recorded historical accounts" do not support the view that Polk "saw an opportunity" and "deliberately started the war." But the author does not cite accounts supporting his view. For a page of excerpts on the start of the war click here|
The "Party of Lincoln" ? !
Republicans love to call themselves the "party of Lincoln", forgetting that if Lincoln had lived he surely would have opposed the looting of the South after the civil war by the Republicans. It is possible that elements of that party had Lincoln killed for this reason. They impeached President Johnson for that reason. The Republicans pulled out of the South and allowed whites to take away the rights of blacks, who had enjoyed a few years of political representation. It must be said that Republican President Ulysses Grant tried for a while to defend democracy in the South, his last stand was in Mississippi. When the Democratic Party (the South was virtually all Democrats, among whites, and remained essentially Democratic until the 1980's, in a long-term reaction against a Republican administration having prosecuted the Civil War) gained a majority in the House of Representatives, and the Republicans gave no support for the idea supporting blacks in the South, Grant gave up and went back to drinking whiskey as his principle activity...........It should be remembered, as well, that the North was perfectly happy to go on with slavery in the South, before the Civil War, so long as the terms of the Missouri Compromise were adhered to. These terms were that slave states and free states be equal in number and that this balance was to be maintained in admitting new states to the Union. It was when the South began to insist that all new states should have the right to choose slavery that the North got nervous. It was the South which started the war by seceding and by firing on a U.S. garrison. The notion that the North was trying to force the South to give up slavery, causing the South to secede from the Union, is a myth.
FDR is supposed to have cared about the poor and exploited, but didn't lift a finger to help blacks in the South.
The Democratic Party, including President Franklin Roosevelt, did nothing to stop white supremacy in the South in the decades before the civil rights movement began in the 50's. White Southerners (meaning Southeasterners) were, in a Civil War legacy, solidly Democratic voters (Lincoln Was a Republican), and as the Democrats saw it they could not afford to lose votes by alienating white Southern state majorities. So whereas the Democrats had evolved into the liberal, or labor party, on a national basis, the white Southern Democrats were unchanged politically, be they poor or rich. Since it was Democrats not Republicans in Washington who would do something about Southern racist politics, if anything were to be done, it was to the advantage of white Southerners to remain Democrats. This gave them leverage over the party that posed a threat to their racist culture. The Republican party was the more natural allegiance for white Southerners, but if they joined the Republicans they would lose their control over the Democrats, leaving the Democrats free to attack Southern race laws ("Jim Crow" laws)........ Meanwhile Democrats, such as Franklin Delano Roosevelt, a President who professed to care about the downtrodden, did not publicly extend sympathy to Southern blacks. The Democrats' political survival was at stake, as they saw it. ......We should not forget that in the North and West parts of the U.S., even though blacks had rights on paper, racism was always the order of the day in all phases of society up until the 1960's when change began after blacks pressed for their rights in the South. White Americans of the liberal persuasion and perhaps the majority of conservatives now consider themselves above racism, but it is only history, and the efforts of people like Martin Luther King, that have brought change. This raises the notion that morality can assert itself and change the way we are as people, if leaders stir up the pot and make us look at what is wrong.
U.S. overseas military muscle in the 1930's
Here is an interesting letter to the New York Times, April, 25, 1998...................To the editor: ....Thomas L. Friedman (column, April 18) explains that "the hidden hand of the global market would never work without the hidden fist" of the United States military.......This recalls the statement of Maj. Gen. Smedley E. Butler in 1935, who at the time was the most decorated soldier in American uniform. General Butler, lamenting his actions, explained that in his 33 years in the Marine Corps, he acted as a "racketeer for capitalism." He wrote that he helped in "the raping of half a dozen Central American Republics for the benefit of Wall Street." And he said he helped "purify Nicaragua for the international banking house of Brown Brothers.".....According to General Butler, in contrast to Al Capone, who operated his racket in three city districts, the Marines operated theirs on three continents....
We would like to put together a file on U.S. overseas military operations in the two decades prior to World War II.
The Cold War: the U.S. supported reliably anti-Communist dictators, not democracy. Was there a viable option in many cases to support democracy, and would this have been a more effective way to fight Communism? We won the Cold War, but could we have won it sooner with less bloodshed?
For our page on the Cold War, outlining the U.S. policy of containing communism by supporting reliably anti-communist dictators -- not by supporting democracy, although the options were there and were not unreasonable, click here. Democracies were too vulnerable to Communist takeover, like a bird in an open cage with a cat in the room. The U.S. and Europe shut the doors on the cages, locking people up in murderous governments backed by U.S. firepower and business ties.
In Japan after World War II the U.S. flirted with real democracy, but in 1949 changed and put the rich industrialists who caused World War II back in power. Japan has essentially been a one party state ever since. Americans are ignorant of this fact. How about Japanese?
After WWII the U.S. permitted a strong labor movement to arise in the new Japanese democracy. But the zeal and the strength of the far left element frightened the Truman administration with specters of Japan becoming a leftist state, a Soviet ally. So Truman dropped the ax and, over the objections of General McArthur, got rid of the political left. Power was placed in the hands of the industrial elite, the oligarchy, the people who presided over Japanese imperial aggression in the 1930's and caused World War II. (See below for argument that Japanese aggression was justified to eject Western colonial regimes in Indonesia, Vietnam, the Phillipines etc. ) The U.S. change away from democracy was aptly called "The Reverse Course" by the administration. Japan has been essentially a one party state since then, since 1949. In rare media glimpse of the facts of the "Reverse Course," the following appeared in a New York Times article on Japanese views on what their army did in World War II.
|New York Times, 6-22-05, Letter from Asia, by Norimitsu Onishi||"During America's six-year occupation of Japan after World War II, Americans spent the first half democratizing the country and prosecuting war criminals. In the second half, with Communists controlling China and the cold war bearing down, Washington reversed course: wartime leaders were rehabilitated overnight in an effort to make Japan strong. Some Class A war criminal suspects, after barely escaping the noose, became postwar Japan's political and business leaders; one, Nobusuke Kishi, even became prime minister. "|
Japan is much more of a democracy, in the larger sense of human rights and courts that are not routinely for sale, than many countries that have multiple parties now, like Mexico or Russia. But politically it is still a one party state, and so it is not really a democracy. Questions: (1) Isn't the U.S. account of rebuilding democracy in Japan basically a lie? Americans do not know about the "reverse course." Shouldn't we be telling the truth in school? (2) Do Japanese know about the "reverse course"? (3) Is it fair to say the Japan is a one party state (LDP) as a result of the U.S. getting rid of the Japanese left in 1949? (4) Does the reason that the U.S. never pressed Japan to be more honest about WWII in their high school curriculum, have to do with not wanting to destabilize the LDP during the Cold War?
Japan was liberating colonies held in suppression by European powers when it invaded Indonesia, Hong Kong, Vietnam, the Philippines in the 1930's.
.When Japan invaded surrounding nations in the 1930's it drove out Western colonial occupiers, including the French, British and Dutch. Except for the atrocities Japan committed, and the invasion of China which was not a colony, is not the Japanese argument that Western occupiers had no better claim than Japan to these nations a perfectly legitimate one?
Ho Chi Minh petitioned the U.S. to help Vietnam become a democracy at the end of World War II.
Did the U.S. make a big mistake when Harry Truman ushered the French back into Vietnam after World War II, instead of responding to Ho Chi Minh's plea for the U.S. to occupy Vietnam and help it be a democracy?....The failure of the U.S. to drive Stalin out of Eastern Europe after WWII, (the U.S. had nuclear weapons, Russia did not) did not happen at Yalta and Potsdam. It happened later when the Truman administration decided not to confront Stalin. Do we have any records of Truman administration debate on this issue?....China (Chou en Lai) sold out Vietnam at Geneva ('55), because Mao did not want a strong independent Vietnam as a Communist rival. True? If China had stood with Vietnam, the U.S. would not have been able to prevent the election of Ho Chi Minh to lead a united Vietnam. True?
JFK in Cold War Suriname
Is it true that President Kennedy trashed Suriname, using typical Cold War mayhem and fraud? Was this because its president said some small positive thing about Fidel Castro?