This Tariff Debate Is So Taxing!

I came across a Twitter conversation today that drew my attention. The topic was the role of tariffs as a cause of the southern states’ secession in 1860-61, which appears to have been prompted by this blog post. I won’t wade into the morass of opinions exchanged on Twitter, but I do want to addressContinue reading “This Tariff Debate Is So Taxing!”

Would Andrew Jackson Have Prevented the Civil War?

Yesterday, I addressed Donald Trump’s statements about Andrew Jackson and the Civil War. A lot of other historians since then have jumped in to lament Trump’s historical ignorance, a view I sympathize with. Trump wasn’t satisfied to let the criticism go and took to the Twitter machine to reinforce his historical analysis: https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/859209801175269376 Whether Jackson wouldContinue reading “Would Andrew Jackson Have Prevented the Civil War?”

Is Donald Trump Right About Andrew Jackson and the Civil War?

In an interview with Salena Zito airing today, President Donald Trump makes a couple of curious observations about Andrew Jackson and the Civil War. As others have observed, Trump has trouble with verb tenses, and his grasp of history is rudimentary and often grossly inaccurate (here, here, and here). Both of these weaknesses are apparent in this interview.Continue reading “Is Donald Trump Right About Andrew Jackson and the Civil War?”

Removing a Local Confederate Monument

The controversy over Confederate monuments has come to Lebanon, Tennessee. Someone in a local newspaper suggested removing the statue of Confederate general Robert Hatton, which sits in the middle of the town square. You can read my entire post about the controversy at the CU history blog. Reading the comments section of the article is fascinating inContinue reading “Removing a Local Confederate Monument”

Jim DeMint: Historian Extraordinaire

Former South Carolina senator Jim DeMint doesn’t let history get in the way of his argument that the U.S. government didn’t end slavery: DeMint: This progressive, the whole idea of being progressive is to progress away from those ideas that made this country great. What we’re trying to conserve as conservative are those things that work.Continue reading “Jim DeMint: Historian Extraordinaire”

SHA 2013: Is Military History Central to the Study of the Civil War?

One of the liveliest sessions I’ve ever attended was one yesterday afternoon on the question of whether military history should be central to the study of the Civil War. Carol Reardon presided, with Gary Gallagher, Lesley Gordon, and Jim Hogue offering their thoughts. Gallagher kept his remarks short in arguing that understanding the military aspects of the war was essential toContinue reading “SHA 2013: Is Military History Central to the Study of the Civil War?”

More Silliness about Tariffs from David John Marotta

Updated 6/30/13 8:15 P.M. Forbes appears to have taken down both of Marotta’s posts on the Civil War mentioned in this post (h/t Joe Adelman), but you can find them on his personal website here and here. Marotta’s daughter is listed as co-author on his website. Last week, David John Marotta wrote an opinion pieceContinue reading “More Silliness about Tariffs from David John Marotta”

Were Tariffs the Cause of the Civil War?

Updated 6/30/13 8:22 P.M.: In the interest of fairness, here is Marotta’s response to his critics, co-written with his daughter, who wasn’t credited as a co-author in his original Forbes piece. Updated: 7/1/13 3:00 P.M.: I posted a comment to the above post on Marotta’s site politely pointing out the discrepancy between his and hisContinue reading “Were Tariffs the Cause of the Civil War?”

The Murder of Lt. Daniel Smith Donelson, C.S.A.

Too frequently, historians stumble across mysteries that they lack the evidence to solve. Most of the time, those mysteries are relegated to a folder, where they sit and nag at the mind. While writing the Donelson biography, I came across one such mystery: the murder of Andrew Jackson Donelson’s son, Daniel Smith Donelson (1842-1864). TheContinue reading “The Murder of Lt. Daniel Smith Donelson, C.S.A.”