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Author Topic: American History  (Read 29424 times)
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Bob
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« Reply #1665 on: December 16, 2007, 04:13:09 PM »

And its not historical either....."riding a crest of creative inspiration, he began a new work which he playfully referred to as "a historical romance of the year 1200." The allusion was his ironic way of announcing that the long deferred Carlylian ragbag of commentary had been initiated, the work that became THE EDUCATION OF HENRY ADAMS  (Samuels, HENRY ADAMS 352)



"A Carlylian ragbag of commentary" is probably the best description of the book I've come across.
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Bob
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« Reply #1666 on: December 16, 2007, 04:25:01 PM »

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Was New Jersey originally part of Pennsylvania?

No, New Jersey came out of New York. It was originally part of the  grant from King Charles to the Duke of York. The Duke owed debts and so allowed a grant of a part of his possessions to  Berkley and Carteret. This became New Jesey, but it was immediately divided into East Jersey and West Jersey. ( A diagonal  was drawn on a certain line pointing in a southeast direction ending up in Little Egg Harbor) West of this line was West Jersey---which was then sold to Quakers. The Quakers got into some sort of trouble and went to Penn who ended up somehow on their board of Trustees. He did not append West Jesey to  Pennsylvania, but later on the two sections reunited into what is now New Jesey. People living in the state realize there's stil a difference between what is now called North Jersey  and South Jersey, and it is deeply cultural in nature. People in South Jersey are almost Southern by nature and even in the Civil War sympathized with the South.

http://www.westjerseyhistory.org/maps/Modern%20Map%20of%20East%20and%20West%20Jersey%20(Titus).shtml
« Last Edit: December 16, 2007, 04:28:36 PM by Bob » Logged
madupont
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« Reply #1667 on: December 16, 2007, 04:51:57 PM »

weezo,re:#1717

Maddie,

Was New Jersey originally part of Pennsylvania?  In some books on colonial times it seems that New Jersey and PA were not distinct. I am talking about the time when William Penn actually walked in his woods.


Yes, and no. I am thinking of human loyalties after the fact as to their home-state, my country 'tis of thee,etc.

Penn had 400  "units" available but Penn's Woods did overlap while he was living on the Western New Jersey side of the Delaware at Pennsbury Manor, but his surveying  extended to where I first lived when I came to Pennsylvania on the county line; as I mentioned previously The Kings Highway came out right about there from Princeton to colonial Philadelphia shopping to continue through what is today's tourist stops at what became Cross Keys (later known as Intercourse), so they put up a big sign, at what was the border of counties Chester and Lancaster, and they called this cross road Compass,citing that Penn  had stood on the very spot and turned his surveying viewer to line it up with the Gap in the southeastern hills.

This Gap is actually visible similar to what is called an "oxbow" in topography, and I could see it each morning from a kitchen-window facing south next to my stove when I made my first cup of coffee. The name referring to this feature comes from a similar formation in the Haute Savoie, so the locals told me, because many of them went on up to Switzerland and came back down again when they found religious persecution continued up there. Some of the Mennonites went into the mountain forests which changes hands between Germany and France. The Amish as I little realised were once Mennonites but they are a real breakaway people, and many of them started sailing out of Klepfeld,Germany to get here. They of course have kept on going because William Penn would be surprised at the land value on their property today; so, they are constantly scouting up land out of state. Some of them bought land from Quakers originally.  Other now non-denominational Switzers are descendents from some denomination in Europe and made do with "Buchanan's church" first on the "frontier"; that is now Episcopalian, so they have family buried there whether or not they fancy those doctrines.

The refugee slaves are buried on this piece of property as well; the majority  took to the forest on Welsh mountain beyond to the north because it is dense and wild providing cover from where you could move onward --to Reading perhaps just as you mentioned; Chester county has recorded all the stops on the Underground Railway in their area as I think was mentioned in regard to Kennett Square and the church at Longwood.

Before I get that far ahead of Penn's era, I need to clarify that New Jersey was then divided into West Jersey and East Jersey while it was a British Colony, rather than the North Jersey and South Jersey that people refer to today.  Many Jersey born people automatically still think of both divisions, even if unconsciously, and even if their great-grandparents came to Jersey through Chester County,Pennsylvania from England at a much later date.

And when I was back in West Jersey, although I'd seen Quaker Meeting Houses in East Jersey, I began to really meet actual Quakers in daily life.
They still grow things and they are interested in History. They sometimes still farm on rich bottom land from the Delaware, before it is all gone. This is not to say that they are not devoted to educational and pacifist activity in Pennsylvania but they still face persecution for it.

My aversion to hearing Liberia arises from the West Jersey activity with the nicest Quaker who was retiring from the State Historical Society; he had been the abiding presence at Morven when I became a docent there.
When you come through the front door into a large vestibule, the Quaker gentleman had what would be the concierge's or butler's "office" to the left of the entry but just beyond that doorway was a huge portrait of the Admiral on the wall of the vestibule.  He too was a Stockton, and Admiral Stockton is best known for inadvertently blowing up a ship during the war of 1812, I have fortunately by now forgotten all of the details; but, you see,he makes a good portrait for greeting strangers to the house.

The House also did have a black servant, whose name I have again forgotten but most of the docents liked to say that the Admiral made it possible for her to go to Liberia.  Over the last fourteen years, I have become more wise to the ways of docents both in retrospect and in the perspective upon being instead the visitor to other "houses" (for instance, Pearl Buck's last Autumn, the day after the First Lady had been there). So although the Stocktons, who had fingers in many pies as Quakers during the Colonial period and the immediate Revolution, in some way involved themselves with the society for the founding of Liberia, they had also become more conveniently Episcopalians for social reasons at a very nice Anglican style large church right across the way.  I'm from there on unfamiliar with the fine points of what they did for Liberia.  

I must say though I ran into the most charming Liberian who took my blood pressure for me, she was all smiles and radiating and I knew instantly that she was an African so I asked her from where. But then, I moved and no longer went to the doctor for whom she was working. So I am neither up to date other than what we hear in the news as to when things are bad or when things are good



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Bob
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« Reply #1668 on: December 16, 2007, 04:57:56 PM »

Back to the Adams family, circa 1861: Charles Francis Adams, having failed in his efforts to find a compromise to the slavery issue, had managed to widen the breach between himself and Charles Sumner. Sumner was a power in the Senate and a Radical, Adams was a moderate in the House and a rising power in the House. Seward, also an enemy of Sumner , had of late become Secretary of State and had proposed Charles Adams to be Secretary of Treasury. This in opposition to Sumner's candidate. Lincoln rejected the thought,but then went along with Seward's suggestion to send him to England. Sumner took the nomination for what it was--revenge against him for his political position on slavery. It was icing on the cake---Sumner would now have nothing to do with the Adams family--the breach was final.

Adams thought very little of Lincoln--thought he had no class and didn't belong in Washington society and not fit for the Presidency.  Adams and Seward went to see the President and while there Adams thanked the President for his appointment and wished to get a clear picture of lincon's policies toward England and any instructions he might have for him. Instead. Lincon suggested he thank Seward for his appointment and then "stretching his legs before him, he said, with a great relief as he swung his long arms to his head: "Well, governor, I've this morning decided that Chicago post office appointment." Adams never recovered from the encounter. His diary reflected his view: "For my part I see nothing in the head. The man is not equal to the hour."

A misjudgement of monumental proportions.

Personally I think Adams ruined his career and destroyed any future chances for him or his son for a bright political career by being a power on the committee of Thirty Three. Like other Adams's he opted for principle over politics, but this time it destroyed him. He firmly believed in his position. Strangely it was very close to Lincoln's thoughts.

Seward's efforts were an attempt to save him and to save the Adams name---(personal opinion) --but they also failed.

His father's work as Minister to England was superb.
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Bob
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« Reply #1669 on: December 16, 2007, 05:16:57 PM »

Equally fascination in regard to Colonial History is the fact that Pennsylvania for years included what was then known as the Lower Counties---so the designation of the Commonwealth was Pennsylvania and the Lower Counties. These counties were originally settled by the Swedish and then conquered by the Dutch and considered a Part of New Amsterdam after a fashion. When the Duke of York took over New Amsterdam he took control of the counties also. Then along came the grant to William Penn, who feared his colony would not have free access to the sea, so the Duke of York deeded the lower colonies to Penn who annexed them to Pennsylvania, treating them as territories. Well, it worked out, sort of, until 1776 when the Lower Counties declared their Independence from England they also declared their Independence from Pennsylvania---and became Delaware.

The interplay among Pennsylvania, Delaware and New Jersey is most interesting and can be quite complicated at times.

But to reiterate---West Jesey was never a part of Pennsylvania. It was Quaker and Penn and his heirs sat on the governing board, but always it was a separate entity.
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madupont
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« Reply #1670 on: December 16, 2007, 05:29:07 PM »

]
I think at this point it might be a good thing to point out that  when reading the  Autobiography one should not assume it is a factual account of history. In fact its rather vague regarding the events surrounding the times it refers to. For instance, at a point in the book Adams bemoans never having been taught Marx while at Harvard. The fact is that though Marx published The Communist Manifesto in 1847, knowledge of same was confined to very few people in America. Das Capital wasn't published until 1867 and then not in English until 1877. (Samuels, HENRY ADAMS, page 13)

 Henry's memory left something to be desired, as Marx couldn't well have been taught at Harvard because it didn't exist in the academic mind or even in the mind of many Americana when he went to Harvard. His moanings are not in snyc with the reality of his times or  experience...


Thanks, Bob.  I stand corrected forgetting about Carteret; demonstrating clearly that at the moment I am no longer a Jerseyean. Will I return? I don't know. I may at some point but probably not to stay.

I think, if you'll recall Henry Adams' Berlin education, you have read the problem if he did not take to the Prussian way. That was for later day Americans to examine as to the feasibility to adopt,. and how much to education in America.  

In Germany, Germans were aware of Marx, to the extent that it was not only his research in England that relocated him.  His research to be sure was important to him; but he became persona non grata in Germany.

What stands out in my mind about the Prussian Education of Henry James is how it was recommended that he sit with the school boys learning their lessons at what would be "high-school level" and he did this for three months or so, picking up enough of their idiom, at the recommendation of that friend or acquaintance who convinced him of the idea by stating that he was himself able to converse in German with the coachman before he left Germany. Adams on the other hand may not have retained as much?

The only thing that I retained  in an environment where people were likely to break into German readily from English, was the behavioural training for the classroom and throughout the school environs. Having experienced that in the Forties, it was still with me in the Seventies when the University brought in an instructor, who was a professor of the Frankfurt School, because we were having a nazi problem locally.  Everyone of us in our efforts to be polite instantly reverted to the proper behaviour of seven year olds. It's conditioning.
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weezo
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« Reply #1671 on: December 16, 2007, 08:12:20 PM »

Thanks Maddie and Bob for clarifying the origins of New Jersey. Maddie, I did know about the origins of Delaware, but not New Jersey.

My experiences with New Jersey are not illustrious. We went to Atlantic City a few times when I was a kid, always getting caught in a terrific rain storm coming back. And, I did spend the summer of 66(?) in Jersey City watching Newark burn. Jersey City was like a place out of time. The politics were surely "machine" oriented, but to my delight, they had a true old-fashioned Fourth of July, with a stage set up and politicians addressing the crowd, and Yankee Doodle Dandy performed by what's his name from New York. The name excapes me at the moment, but it was a delight to see him in person. I can still picture him dancing and singing, but can't remember his name. I'm sure you can aid my memory.

As to Adams, I think it was probably just as well that the family died out of politics. I really do not like the idea of having "dynasties", answerable only to themselves. I'm reading The Divided Ground, and learning the nitty and the gritty of how "Founding Fathers" conducted business from the viewpoint of those they dispossessed "because they could". Governor Clinton in NY was a real scoundrel who even ignored the  slightly more "moral" notions of George Washington toward the original owners of "our" country. And, the British were little better as a dependable ally to the Indians. As a reward to the Indians for fighting at their side, they gave the domains of the Indians to the Americans, who then took revenge. Nice moral beginnings for a new nation!





 
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thanatopsy
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« Reply #1672 on: December 16, 2007, 10:31:52 PM »

Adams thought very little of Lincoln--thought he had no class and didn't belong in Washington society and not fit for the Presidency.


Evidently, that is precisely how he viewed Grant as well - - - while a large majority voted him into office with the highest expectations of his abilities, he did not succeed because of his inept cabinet. A military man was expected to be able to bring order and stability to his charges.  But Grant failed as history readily affirms. HBA, though, greatly admired him. The image of Grant as ''archaic and should have lived in a cave and worn skins'' is quite humorous.


HBA earns some revenue as a writer for ''North American Review'' and ''Edinburgh''. You get a sense from reading this chapter than perhaps he had hoped to get a spot in Grant's administration as did several of his friends. Perhaps he could have given that administration some goal to shoot for or so it appears that he is suggesting that.

There is one very profound line which caught my attention: According to Lowell, Right was forever on the Scaffold, Wrong forever on the Throne.  It is too bad,however, that the line and its meaning were not expanded upon in the narrative.


pp 199-209
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« Reply #1673 on: December 17, 2007, 12:36:33 AM »

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Henry's memory left something to be desired, as Marx couldn't well have been taught at Harvard because it didn't exist in the academic mind or even in the mind of many Americana when he went to Harvard. His moanings are not in snyc with the reality of his times or  experience...

I don't know about being part of the college curriculum, but given that Marx was well known and the anarchist and socialist movements were very strong during Henry Adams' time, I can see how he would have figured into his "education."  Education is a loose term here.  It is really more about his experiences, which I find fascinating.  There is the element of the "unreliable narrator," a work of literary fiction, but I think for the most part he tells what is occurring over the course of his life with relative accuracy. 

It isn't straight history, and Adams doesn't pretend to write history, as was the case with Menzies.
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« Reply #1674 on: December 17, 2007, 12:38:24 AM »

As far as Adams' impressions of Lincoln, they were widely shared at the time.  Ol' Abe was a dark horse candidate if ever there was one, and the Republicans saw their strength in Congress not in the White House, viewing Lincoln as a proxy president.  But, the Civil War changed all that.
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thanatopsy
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« Reply #1675 on: December 17, 2007, 04:52:32 PM »

Re Lincoln:


From my past readings, I cannot honestly recall finding much approval or deification of Lincoln within his lifetime.  It seems to me that the Lincoln legend pretty much began well after his death, esp after the turn of the century.  Therefore, HBA's benign view of Honest Abe was quite the norm in that time period.

But please correct me if I'm wrong.
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Bob
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« Reply #1676 on: December 17, 2007, 07:59:59 PM »

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In Germany, Germans were aware of Marx, to the extent that it was not only his research in England that relocated him.  His research to be sure was important to him; but he became persona non grata in Germany.

If I recall the actual life of Henry Adams, he gleaned precious little from his shotrt stay in Gemany. To that extent his chapter in EDUCATION is a probably right on he mark. Nowhere in that chapter does he mention Marx. His only mention is in reference to Harvard. I think his memory was clouded by the time he wrote EDUCATION and it is well to remember he wrote without reference to documents as modern writer would be excpected to do when writing a memoir. That's because it wasn't a memoir, but a hodgepodge of ideas as explained above---a "Carlylian ragbag of commentary."

His biographers indicate he got "into"  Marx only in the 1890's when he read and disagreed with CAPITAL.

He gleaned little if anything from his German experience, except for distain for the Germans and reinforcement for his belief that it was the worst way to teach people anything.
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Bob
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« Reply #1677 on: December 17, 2007, 08:03:55 PM »

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I did spend the summer of 66(?)

Summer of '67. I worked in Newark at the time--several blocks from the heart of the riot and being in local and state politics at the time, spent much of my time helping to restrict the riot to Newark. I lived in East Orange at the time. It was a very frightening thing to see and be a part of.
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Bob
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« Reply #1678 on: December 17, 2007, 08:11:45 PM »

"HBA earns some revenue as a writer for ''North American Review'' and ''Edinburgh''.

It is to be noted that HBA had also hired himself out as a correspondent while acting as Secretary to his father in Washington--not a very ethical thing in this day and age as he did it in secrecy--but fairly common in those days. He wrote for a Boston Newspaper. When HBA went to Europe as secretary to his father once again, he signed on with Raymond of the NEW YORK TIMES, again secretly, and sent regular letters to the newspaper which were published in the form of articles. Writing as a journalist gave him a supplementary income which made him a little more independent of his father, who controlled the family finances and, by the look of it, also had much to say about how much money Henry was allocated to live on.
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Bob
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« Reply #1679 on: December 17, 2007, 08:15:22 PM »

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As far as Adams' impressions of Lincoln, they were widely shared at the time

They certainly were. Lincoln was a minority president and probably the majority of Americans either didn't like him or at didn't trust  in his ability to handle things.
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