PICTURE THIS: A folksy, self-consciously plainspoken Southern politician rises to power during a period of profound unrest in America. The nation is facing one of the half-dozen or so of its worst existential crises to date, and the people, once sunny, confident, and striving, are now scared, angry, and disillusioned. Through a combination of factors -his easy bearing chief among them (along with massive cash donations from Big Business; disorganization in the liberal opposition; a stuffy, aloof opponent; and support from religious fanatics who feel they've been unfairly marginalized)-he wins the presidential election.
Ripped from today's headlines? Nope. Sinclair Lewis
, Circa 1935: "It Can't Happen Here"
has been recently reissued
. But you can read it here (with free registration)
at American Buddha
(possibly NSFW). first link via Arts & Letters Daily
Miracle on 57th Street.
Thomas Wolfe said that America is not only the place where miracles happen, but where they happen all the time. This is the story of a miracle, a true-life fairy tale, and appropriately enough it begins with the intervention of the Almighty.
, music director of the New York Philharmonic from 1943 to 1947, was an eccentric, a health nut who drank only milk from goats he raised himself and who kept a loaded revolver in his back pocket whenever he conducted. Rodzinski said that God told him to hire 24 year old Leonard Bernstein
, to be his assistant conductor. In the fall of 1943 Rodzinski decided to take a vacation, spend a little time with his goats, and called in Bruno Walter
to conduct seven concerts in ten days. Only hours before one of those concerts (in the program, works by Schumann, Rosza, Strauss and Wagner) Walter fell ill
. Rodzinski was only four hours away, in his farm. But he declined to come back to Carnegie Hall: "Call Bernstein. That's why we hired him." The concert was broadcast over radio and a review appeared on page 1 of The New York Times the next day: "Young Aide Leads Philharmonic; Steps in When Bruno Walter is Ill"
. In the same size type as another that read, "Japanese Plane Transport Sunk." More inside.
is produced by the National Portrait Gallery and is dedicated to examining the Civil War through the Smithsonian Institution's extensive and manifold collections." Winslow Homer's Civil War drawings
, portraits of leaders
, artifacts of soldiering
, and, of course, Mathew Brady's portraits
. Much more
besides. Previous Winslow Homer thread.
"Somewhere in the Bible it is said: "If thy right hand offend thee, cut it off." I used to think the remedy somewhat radical. But to-day, being imbued with the wisdom of the prohibitionist, I have to acknowledge that, if the Bible in general, and that passage in it in particular, has a fault, it lies in its ultra-conservativeness. What? Merely cut off my own right hand if it offend me? What business have my neighbors to keep their right hands if I am not able to make mine behave itself ? Off with the lot of them! Let there be no right hands; then I am certain that mine won't land me in trouble."
So wrote Percy Andreae in 1915 when arguing against Prohibition
. That excerpt is at the OSU Prohibition History site
, along with such delights as Prohibition Party Cartoons
(check out this adorable camel
: "Vote as if your vote would be the last straw"
). At the LOC, along with this page of Prohibition information
, and this panoramic shot of the 1915 Anti-Saloon League of America
, there is also this reminder of the link between temperance and women's suffrage
. If you don't want to join The Temperance Crusade
in song, or admit that (I Never Knew I Had A Wonderful Wife Until The Town Went Dry)
, you can listen to these mp3's at the LOC: The Drunkard's dream
, The Drunkard's child
, and, of course, Goodbye, booze
. Prohibition and moonshining
; the rise of bootlegging gangs
; more primary sources at the National Archives
. And no post on prohibition or temperance would be complete without Carrie Nation's Hammer
More than 30 feet of water stood over land inhabited by nearly one million people. Almost 300,000 African Americans were forced to live in refugee camps for months. Many people, both black and white, left the land and never returned. "When Mother Nature rages, the physical results are never subtle. Because we cannot contain the weather, we can only react by tabulating the damage in dollar amounts, estimating the number of people left homeless, and laying the plans for rebuilding. But . . . some calamities transform much more than the landscape."
No, not Katrina. The Great Mississippi flood of 1927. Author John M. Barry in his definitive work on the subject, "shows how a heretofore anti-socialist America was forced by unprecedented circumstance to embrace an enormous, Washington-based big-government solution to the greatest natural catastrophe in our history, preparing the way (psychologically and otherwise) for the New Deal."
The author is a Distinguished Visiting Scholar at the Center for Bioenvironmental Research of Tulane and Xavier universities (whose web site is *understandably* not answering right now). <Heading for the library to find this book>
OK, Seattleites, see the American flag here
? On the sidewalk below is where your 3rd & Pine McDonalds now sits. Man, I can see five buildings here that are still standing, but that red brick one at the lower right got replaced early
. Now here's the Northern Life Tower
. Note how the bricks lighten towards the top, so as to make it look taller from below--very subtle, that. It's one of Seattle's two Art Deco buildings, the other being the Exchange Building
. You can cut through that one, coming off the ferry at First Avenue and take the elevator to walk out on Second Ave rather than climb that steep hill, you know.
And consider on what playground equipment
our grandparents got to play. Lucky stiffs--you can't even find a decent 50s era swing set in a park in this town anymore. Penny Postcards From King County
, from Penny Postcards of Washington
, from Penny Postcards
. Man, I loves me some vintage postcards. And if you do, too, check that last link--it's got all 50 states.
Sleeping with the president is not a good idea.
Bush had no answers to big questions, such as 'what happens on the morning after.' The Daily Telegraph reports that documents show Prime Minister Tony Blair signed up to the U.S. policy of regime change in March 2002, a year before the conflict started... after he was warned that postwar stability would be difficult and the U.S. had few answers. Oh, no problem. This week, Bush said he is 'pleased with the progress' in Iraq.'
"Where are the ships?"
and 59 other WWII-era illustrated envelopes
are now available for viewing through the Veteran's History Project.
Another smaller set of gorgeous
illustrated envelopes from the same era is available here
, all depicting scenes from the life of G.I.s stationed in the Pacific.
The New Orleans WPA Photograph Collection
exclusively shows photographs of depression-era projects from Louisiana, so there's a whole set of WPA projects -- from the world-famous Golden Gate Bridge
, to venerated Doubleday Field
, to the beautiful but obscure Border Station in Naco, AZ
-- that you just won't see here. Nevertheless, if you take the time to explore this site you will
find some truly wonderful photographs
. Some are more technical surveyor-style photographs, but others are akin to the realist style being carved out at the time by folks like Walker Evans
, who actually did do some photography for the Farm Security Administration
(another New Deal-era project).
Voices from the Days of Slavery.
A collection of audio recordings made between 1932 and 1975 of African Americans known to have once been slaves. Hear Isom Moseley
describe how he used to make soap, and express his opinion of the "white folks" who owned and ran the plantation where he was held. Wallace Quarterman
describes his experience as a freed man in Georgia, and recounts the violent atmosphere of the Reconstruction South. Aunt Phoebe Boyd
describes the demands of agricultural work. Even more narratives are available as transcripts from the companion exhibit, Born in Slavery: Slave Narratives from the Federal Writers' Project, 1936-1938
(linked to previously on Metafilter here
), though some of these were unfortunately edited selectively.
In the War Between The States,
no finer words were ever spoken than those by Abraham Lincoln on 19 November 1863 at the consecration of a cemetery
in rural Pennsylvania
for the over 50,000 who died in the three worst days of battle
in a wretched civil war.
is often included in US history books and collections of influential American speeches
as one of the strongest examples of presidential oratory ever given
. Is it any wonder, then, that it should inspire modern
December 2, 1823
President James Monroe made his annual speech to congress and outlined his policy that the American continents were "henceforth not to be considered as subjects for future colonization by any European powers" Since then the US has, for better or worse, at times stood by
the Monroe Doctrine
, ignored it
when they had bigger issues back home and even argued that it doesn't apply
in the case of American imperialism. Is it time to retool our Latin America policy now that Europe doesn't seem so bent on imperialism there, or is the Doctrine needed as much as ever
“A nation is little more and nothing less than a conversation. [T]he conversation that is the United States has continued for more than 200 years as a lover's quarrel between equality and justice.” A gallery of ways this “conversation” is still taking place in the ways we live the Constitution’s 27 Amendments
Data Archives from the American Presidency Project
Fascinating statistical data about a variety of subjects, and not just trivia either. Includes data, for example, about Congressional concurrence with the President, number of Presidential vetos, number of first-year requests, etc. Good information for acquiring an overall understanding of our current political situation.
'Come Out To Vote On November 6th'
In Baltimore, Republicans are accusing Democrats of paying people to canvass African-American neighborhoods on Tuesday. Democrats are accusing Republicans of intimidating minority voters by planning to use members of the Fraternal Order of Police to serve as GOP poll workers. Meanwhile, a flyer being circulated in African-American communities
'reminds' readers to vote on November 6th
- but only if all outstanding tickets, warrants, and outstanding rent payments have been paid.
American Dreams premierd last night on NBC.
"This evocative drama -- set against the memorable, upbeat sounds of the 1960s -- depicts a more innocent America as seen through the youthful Pryor family of Philadelphia as they brace for cultural turbulence ahead that still resonates in this contemporary era." Several things along those lines in the show caught my attention. One being the way the 1960's mother role is portrayed. Is she content or is she oppressed? What happend to the everyday sit-down family dinner, where some things are not appropriate to say at the dinner table? Why did it seem like such a simpler place and time? Would America today feel the same pain if we lost our president? The show is not a whole lot different from the concept of the Wonder Years but it seems fresh compared to some of the other NBC dramas.
One Hell of a Big Bang
-- Studs Turkel meets Paul Tibbets the pilot of the Enola Gay
. It's a great, though-provoking and disturbing interview to read on Hiroshima Day.
Textbook Publishers Learn to Avoid Messing With Texas.
"Out of Many," the work of four respected historians, is one of the biggest sellers among American history college textbooks in the United States, but it is not likely to be available to Texas high school students taking advanced placement history. Conservative groups in Texas objected to two paragraphs in the nearly 1,000-page text that explained that prostitution was rampant in cattle towns during the late 19th century, before the West was fully settled.
"Julia Child and a few of her male compatriots got together and literally cooked up a shark repellent"
The "Clandestine Women" exhibit at the Women in Military Service to America Memorial (Arlington National Cemetery, Washington, DC) tells how the French Chef, as well as Josephine Baker and many others, used to work for American intelligence.
A thoughtful and fascinating analysis
of the historical backdrop to the current situation. Why did this happen, what circumstances got us into a de facto state of undeclared war with the Islamic world, and what can we realistically do to prevent those circumstances from ever recurring?
A historical rebuttal to the currently rabid NRA.
Michael Bellesiles analyzes gun culture throughout American history and finds a number of points that disagree with Chuck Heston's version of 'Merica. Not surprisingly, the NRA is livid. At the risk of posting flamebait, will people ever be able to approach this issue from a reasoned, educated perspective, rather than responding with knee-jerk reactions?