Category Archives: History

A belated Fourth of July post

The Declaration of Independence
translated out of 18th century English and into 20th century American
by H.L.Mencken
from The Baltimore Evening Sun 7 November 1921

WHEN THINGS get so balled up that the people of a country got to cut loose from some other country, and go it on their own hook, without asking no permission from nobody, excepting maybe God Almighty, then they ought to let everybody know why they done it, so that everybody can see they are not trying to put nothing over on nobody.

All we got to say on this proposition is this: first, me and you is as good as anybody else, and maybe a damn sight better; second, nobody ain’t got no right to take away none of our rights; third, every man has got a right to live, to come and go as he pleases, and to have a good time whichever way he likes, so long as he don’t interfere with nobody else. That any government that don’t give a man them rights ain’t worth a damn; also, people ought to choose the kind of government they want themselves, and nobody else ought to have no say in the matter. That whenever any government don’t do this, then the people have got a right to give it the bum’s rush and put in one that will take care of their interests. Of course, that don’t mean having a revolution every day like them South American yellow-bellies, or every time some jobholder goes to work and does something he ain’t got no business to do. It is better to stand a little graft, etc., than to have revolutions all the time, like them coons, and any man that wasn’t a anarchist or one of them I.W.W.’s would say the same. But when things get so bad that a man ain’t hardly got no rights at all no more, but you might almost call him a slave, then everybody ought to get together and throw the grafters out, and put in new ones who won’t carry on so high and steal so much, and then watch them. This is the proposition the people of these Colonies is up against, and they have got tired of it, and won’t stand it no more. The administration of the present King, George III, has been rotten from the start, and when anybody kicked about it he always tried to get away with it by strong-arm work. Here is some of the rough stuff he has pulled:


Read the whole thing.

Happy Birthday!


231 years old, and you don’t look a day over 190. 143 years without a civil war too!

One the whole I think we’re doing much better than can be expected.

I celebrated by driving around West Atlanta and attempting some HDR photography which didn’t turn out too well.

History rhymes in funny ways

While perusing coverage of the latest British terror plots, I came across the words “Doctor’s” and “plot” in the same sentence. Being morbidly interested in Russian History, I thought of Stalin’s final purge, happily stopped by his death, the Doctors’ Plot, which is thought to be his pretext for getting rid of Russia’s Jews.. I was looking over the Wikepedia entry on the subject and came across this little tidbit

In the course of his career, Stalin became increasingly suspicious towards physicians. In his later years, he refused to be treated by doctors, and would only consult with veterinarians about his health.

Weird!

Funny thing I heard on the History Channel

I’m slowly working my way through the History Channel documentary on the Spanish American war. The black cavalry soldiers, known commonly as “Buffalo Soldiers” were known by the Spanish as “Smoked Yankees”.

It’s interesting to be reminded that America had a low-level conflict with the Indians for years up to that point.

Recommended reading for Tuesday

  • Londonistan Calling – Hitchens goes back to London. Choice quote:

    He was a conspicuous figure because, having lost the use of an eye and both hands in an exchange of views in Afghanistan, he sported an opaque eye plus a hook to theatrical effect. Not as nice as he looked..

  • The Crime Against Kansas – Why isn’t this sort of thing in more history classes? You might hear about John Brown’s raid, but never about any clashes

The Great Siberian Ice March

Somehow I wound up on this page on WikiPedia and found it fascinating. During the Russian Civil War in the late teen and early 20s, the Red Army was chasing the White Army across Siberia, specifically Lake Baikal had to escape across the frozen lake in sub-zero temperatures.

the Arctic winds that blow unobstructed across the lake froze many in the army and their families to death. The bodies remained frozen on the lake in a kind of tableau throughout the winter of 1919 until the arrival of summer, when the frozen figures and all their possessions disappeared in 8,000 feet of water.

Does anyone know of a good history of the Russian Civil War? I don’t know of any notable works on the topic.

Quick tab clearing round up