“Barack Obama, Whatever His Faults, Shouldn’t Be Criticized for Showing Empathy toward Iran” |History News Network

Walter G. Moss challenges those who criticize the President for showing empathy toward Iran. “Rather than empathy clouding the president’s judgment, as Herf maintains, it is (as I have argued elsewhere) an important characteristic of political wisdom. Contrary to much of our macho political rhetoric, it is not a sign of weakness. It does not prevent a realistic assessment of the “enemy,” but can enhance it. And most importantly, the diplomacy it forwards can help prevent, as the president insists in his American University speech, “the drumbeat of war.”

More Evidence That Civil War Was Not About States’ Rights (As if the words of the Confederate leaders wasn’t enough!)

In the wake of the fight over the Confederate flag and the new that Texas school children will not learn that the Civil War was fought over slavery, two articles this week at the History News Network present us with more evidence that the South did not fight for states’ rights. Roy Finkenbine invokes “the little-known U.S. Supreme Court case of Ableman v. Booth” to argue that “[o]nly in the wake of Appomattox did former Confederates assert that the conflict had been waged over constitutional principles.”And Stephen R. Leccese argues that “[t]he states’ rights argument falls apart when one has an understanding of antebellum Southern history. Before the Civil War, the South was in no way a bastion of states’ rights.”
I agree with Leccese that “[t]his country’s educational system must do better and present an accurate view of history. When that happens, we can have a public that acts with an informed mind on issues of national (and international, as the world views race relations in this country very poorly) importance.”

“The Supreme Court Case that Proves that the Antebellum South Wasn’t Really Concerned with States Rights.” | HNN

"Slaves Waiting for Sale: Richmond, Virginia - Wikipedia"

“Slaves Waiting for Sale: Richmond, Virginia – Wikipedia”

“This Is Where Libertarianism Gets Its Ideas from” | History News Network

In the first of a three-part series, the historian Richard Striner traces the roots of libertarian ideology. He writes, “The cultural, intellectual, and political history of libertarianism spans at least two centuries. And several of the twists in the emergence of this ideology are surprising —— even strange.”

Based on Striner’s summary of the origins libertarianism, he’s right that some sources are “surprising,” but I don’t know about “strange.” Read the first part in this series here: History News Network | This Is Where Libertarianism Gets Its Ideas from.

no government


“The Long Campaign by White Supremacists to ‘Take Our Country Back’” |History News Network

Roy E. Finkenbine gives a brief, but worthwhile, overview of the white supremacists’ efforts to “take our country back” (i.e. restore white supremacy). He writes, “The Civil War decided the questions of slavery and Confederate independence, but it didn’t quash hopes for a continuation of white nationalism.”
Read his summary of this history here:

History News Network | The Long Campaign by White Supremacists to “Take Our Country Back”.

KKK 1950s

“By the Bizarre Logic of Anti-Gay Marriage Zealots, the Supreme Court Should Allow Businesses to Discriminate Against Interracial Couples” | History News Network

At the History News Network the legal scholar Robert J. McWhirter calls out the “anti-gay zealots” for their rhetorical tricks, which they use as a cover for their bigotry.  Here’s an excerpt from his incisive piece:

“’Marriage is one of the ‘basic civil rights of man,’ fundamental to our very existence and survival. . . . To deny this fundamental freedom on so unsupportable a basis as the racial classifications embodied in these statutes, [is] … directly subversive … [to] the 14th Amendment . . ..’ Opponents of same-sex marriage can’t attack this head on.  So the first play is to argue definitions.  After all, said George W. Bush, ‘marriage is between a man and a woman.’  Subtext: ‘We don’t deny gay people a fundamental right, we just define them out of it.’” 
Read the entire article here:

History News Network | By the Bizarre Logic of Anti-Gay Marriage Zealots, the Supreme Court Should Allow Businesses to Discriminate Against Interracial Couples.

Bills, Quills, and Stills McWhirter

“The History & Legacy of Magna Carta Explained in Animated Videos by Monty Python’s Terry Jones” | History News Network

Do you need to brush up on your Magna Carta history? The British Museum has made a short video on the Magna Carta. It’s a great overview of the basic story of the document and its legacy.

History News Network | The History & Legacy of Magna Carta Explained in Animated Videos by Monty Python’s Terry Jones.