Escape from Elba

Books => History => Topic started by: Admin on April 16, 2007, 08:45:27 PM



Title: American History
Post by: Admin on April 16, 2007, 08:45:27 PM
Share your thoughts on your favorite books of American history.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Bob on April 21, 2007, 04:54:21 PM
Have we lost all previous posts?


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Bob on April 21, 2007, 04:57:57 PM
Are we still set for our May discussion?


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Bob on April 21, 2007, 05:53:58 PM
If anyone else is on please post so I can see how this really works...


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Admin on April 21, 2007, 09:03:35 PM
Hi Bob,

After people register, I will see about trying to bring back some of the posts.  I was actually thinking for the books about creating a seperate thread when a particular book was chosen.  Is Doctorow's 'The March' still on the docket?


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Admin on April 21, 2007, 09:04:37 PM
I can create polls as well which should make electing a book for discussion much easier in the future


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Shirley Marcus on April 21, 2007, 09:37:49 PM
Bob,
   I am here.  I registered.  I just got your posts.  Hope you are well.  Have a good week end.  We had a storm yesterday with a lot of rain.  I was off the computer.
Shirley


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Bob on April 21, 2007, 09:46:06 PM
Bob,
   I am here.  I registered.  I just got your posts.  Hope you are well.  Have a good week end.  We had a storm yesterday with a lot of rain.  I was off the computer.
Shirley

Good Evening:  To clear things up regarrding the  book for may, here's what I posted on the old forum base just  a short time ago:

Let's go on a Pocahontas Trip. Let's read POCAHONTAS, POWHATTAN AND OPECHANCANOUGH.

http://search.barnesandnoble.com/booksearch/isbnInquiry.asp?z=y&EAN=9780813925967&itm=1

Let's use that a lead book and allow that others might read POCAHONTAS AND THE POWHATTAN DILLEMA or any other recent similar book on Jamestown or Pocahontas..

Let's set a start date for May 7 to allow time to get the book and read it without rushing...

Caclark is probably right. The only way to really get started is to make a decision even if only three go along and when the discussion starts others will probably join in....

We can keep in mind that suggestions for the book to follow this one should be posted starting, say, May 30th or so---so we an have an uninterrupted flow.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Bob on April 21, 2007, 09:50:26 PM
I can create polls as well which should make electing a book for discussion much easier in the future

No need right nowe, maybe later on down the line. Thanks


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Bob on April 21, 2007, 09:55:02 PM
How do the smiuleys work? :D


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Bob on April 21, 2007, 09:57:09 PM
 :)

Cool stufff. Thats enough for the night. Ill be back tomorrow. Have a good evening...


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Shirley Marcus on April 22, 2007, 04:01:56 PM
Bob,
   I have ordered Pocahotas Powhatan... by Helen Raintree from Borders.  I can pick it up in 7 days.
   Hope you are dry.  We have rain.  A good reading day.
Shirley


Title: Re: American History
Post by: weezo on April 22, 2007, 11:02:02 PM
Hi Bob,

I'm on ... And have pulled the Pocahontas book off the bookshelf ready to begin re-reading it as soon as I finish the small book I'm doing now.

NYTemp, If I remember correctly, you grew up in the Richmond area. I think Tuckahoe JR. HI is in Henrico? I lived in the Richmond area for many years, but moved out to teach at Nottoway High in the early 80's. I live in Dinwiddie County. Do you remember when Three Chopt Road wound through tall forests? My boys were small, and I told them the road was originally an Indian trail, and if they looked very closely, they could still see the Indians among the trees. They looked very hard, and indeed they reported that they could see the Indians. They were about 2-3 yrs old back then.

I truly enjoy Roundtree's terms to describe the Indians -- "The Real People" and the colonists, especially "The Smelly Ones". When I was writing my Pocahontas story a dear old lady who wrote a fiction book on Jamestown from the colonists' point of view (for children, but well written: D'Arcy by Donna Doe Southall) said that I should include Pocahontas putting on bear grease so she would be as smelly as the colonists. I decided not to, and only made one mention of the "unbathed" condition of the settlers.

Anne


Title: Re: American History
Post by: weezo on April 23, 2007, 01:49:22 PM
NY Temps,

Tell hubs that is really cute! I don't know what the teams are called, but I'm sure I'd remember it if it were tubers instead of some animal. I would venture a fair guess that few or none of the students there know what the name of their school means.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Bob on April 23, 2007, 09:34:18 PM
  DAVID HALBERSTAM  died today...I followed Halberstam religiously from his days at the NY Times and went to many of his book signings. I will miss him very much. I had many a fine mini-discussion with him at the signings and he was always generous in inscribing books I bought as gifts for others.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: caclark on April 24, 2007, 10:25:54 AM
"Memory is often less about the truth than about what we want it to be."  - David Halberstam

The Best and The Brightest is the finest account I ever read on how the U.S. became embroiled in Vietnam. Halberstam set a high standard for journalism. RIP.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Donotremove on April 24, 2007, 05:40:27 PM
I never saw Halberstam in person but I have watched him on television and heard him on radio.  That voice, his voice, was so distinctive you KNEW it was him whether you could see him or not.  And such a reasonable, truthful man.  And no matter how bad the news he brought, he was somehow comforting in his manner and you felt as if you were being coaxed by him to rise to the occassion and help fix the problem(s) without him actually saying any such thing.

Rest easy, David.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Shirley Marcus on April 25, 2007, 10:49:42 AM
NY
   It looks like it will be a few days before I get my Raintree from Border's.  I hope it reads well.
Shirley


Title: Re: American History
Post by: weezo on April 25, 2007, 08:42:02 PM
Shirley,

I live in Virginia. If I can help you understand the location of anything in the book, let me know. When you get the book, you will learn about a colony upstream from Jamestown called Henricus. It is closer to Richmond than Jamestown. The site of Richmond is at the "falls" of the James River above which John Smith found it difficult to explore. Williamsburg is the closest modern city to Jamestown. Pocahontas lived in Wicomico, which is located on what is now called the York River. It is the next river to the James going north up the Chesapeake Bay. Modern maps show the York River formed from the Pamunkey and the Mattaponi River at the modern town of West Point. The Indians called both the Pamunkey River and the York River, the Pamunkey River.

While you are waiting for the book to arrive, you may want to read a short children's story about Jamestown and Pocahontas. You can find it at: http://www.educationalsynthesis.org/books/History/Pocahontas.html It may give you a little background on what you are about to read.

Let me know if I can help with anything else.

Anne in Virginia


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Shirley Marcus on April 25, 2007, 10:36:48 PM

W,
   Thank you so much for your informative post on Poca.  Border's told me today that I will not get my book until after Sunday.
   The book you mention sounds very good.  I am glad you are familiar with so many facts on Poca.  We are lucky to have such colorful history.
   You are an asset to our discussion.  Thank you for your generous input.  I was surprised to see West Point.
   Have a good evening.
Shirley


Title: Re: American History
Post by: weezo on April 26, 2007, 12:05:54 AM
Shirley,

The book I mentioned is online and free. So get to it when you can! The background music is Powhatan's Daughter March written by Sousa in 1907 for the 300th anniversary of Jamestown.

The 400th anniversary of Jamestown is being celebrated this year, especially next month when the Queen of England, Elizabeth II, is expected to be here, I think on the 6th. She's also supposed to address a special session of the Virginia General Assembly, the legislature that was formed in Virginia as an infant colony, the first in the country.

Pocahontas, as you will learn, is an interesting historical personage. Learning about her makes me sincerely wish she had left some writing, a diary, a letter, anything, to share her with us.



Title: Re: American History
Post by: Shirley Marcus on April 26, 2007, 11:45:44 AM
W,
   Actually, I do not know how well her English language skills such as writing were developed.  Is she intelligent?  We are told she is an intelligent girl.  With so much fantasy how do we know what is true or fiction?
   My goodness Queen ElizabethII how exciting.  And 400years. Hard to imagine the first legislature..government and all this time passing so tremultously.
   Thank you for all of your information and the e book.  Nice to have good resources.  I look forward to your input in the discussion.
Shirley


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Shirley Marcus on April 26, 2007, 11:49:52 AM
Anne
   With such a lovely name in Virginia I hope you are having a good day.  We have sun here.  Have a good week end.
Shirley


Title: Re: American History
Post by: bosox18d on April 26, 2007, 10:37:58 PM
I was wondering where you had gone off to Robert.All these new sites.I was just thinking of you watching a"Simpsons" where Lisa is lying on her bed reading "Master of the Senate" in hardcover.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Shirley Marcus on April 27, 2007, 11:02:07 AM
I got my Roundtree late last night.  I will begin reading today.
Shirley


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Bob on April 27, 2007, 03:26:07 PM
Hello, bosox....nice to hear from you again... We're going to dicuss Pocahontas. Want to join us?


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Bob on April 27, 2007, 03:31:15 PM
Where did you get that picture of Rumsfeld? Its great....

I didn't see the SIMPSONS episiode, but I can picture her laying there enjoying a book well beyond her years.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Bob on April 27, 2007, 03:34:31 PM
I was thinkin' (a dangerous thing in my case)...since we are going to read of Pocahontas...why not do an intro to Jamestown. I was told this month's NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC  has it as its lead article and TIME MAGAZINE  has it as its cover story.....I'll go out and buy them tomorrow and maybe we cann discuss the contents. They will surely cover Pocahontas...


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Bob on April 27, 2007, 04:30:07 PM
NY REVIEW OF BOOKS on Jamestown and Pocahontas

http://www.nybooks.com/articles/20114


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Bob on April 27, 2007, 04:34:55 PM
TIME MAGAZINE on Jamestown

http://www.nybooks.com/articles/20114

and don't forget NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Bob on April 27, 2007, 04:36:40 PM
Sorry!!! Here's Time Magazine's link

http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1615175,00.html


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Bob on April 27, 2007, 07:35:48 PM
Just a reminder: May 7 is the start date....so we have 10 days to go. The book isn't long...328 pages...looks like good reading.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: bosox18d on April 27, 2007, 11:15:48 PM
Robert,I typed Strange Pictures into Google and it is the first link.Something called Daves Daily.If you click to page 5 of the pics it's there and it is even more amusing in a larger pic.Right underneath it is a beaut with Bush and a Turkey.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: weezo on April 28, 2007, 12:32:47 AM
The Times article is very well written and seems to be in general accord with the history that will be learned in reading Roundtree's book.

The first map appears on page 10, and shows good details of the waterways in Tsenocomoca. If you look at the middle peninsula, between the York and Rappahannock Rivers, you will notice on the norther side of the peninsula that the peninsula is split at its point by a large bay. That is Mobjack Bay now. On the south and west side of the Mobjack is modern Gloucester County. On the north is modern-day Mathews County. On the Mathews County side, if you come down to the north shore of the Mobjack, you will see a tiny jut of land sticking out. That pont is now an island in the bay with the New Point Comfort Lighthouse on it. The beach that runs along the bay just northwest of New Point is Bavon Beach. I've spent many a happy day on that beach!  Over in Gloucester, in front of the courthouse, is the only (I've been told) statue of Pocahontas in this country. There is also a statue of Pocahontas at the church in Gravesend in England where she in buried. Pocahontas grew up on the north shore of the York River in present-day Gloucester. At the end of the peninsula between the Mobjack and the York River is a bridge that connects Gloucester to Yorktown. There is a new bridge there now, but there used to be a two-lane drawbridge there, that was a traffic bottleneck for the Gloucester and Mathews people who traveled to jobs in Yorktown and Newport News.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: vickiem4 on April 28, 2007, 07:49:15 PM
May's Smithsonian magazine also has Jamestown on cover.

Thanks Bob for sending me link.

I'm away on vacation for two weeks as of Monday but hope to follow this discussion when I return.

Keep on.



Title: Re: American History
Post by: Shirley Marcus on April 28, 2007, 10:25:59 PM
Vickie
   Thanks for Smithsonian information.  I did not buy it.
   I was able to buy National Geographic and Time.  I have read the map in National Geographic and just the cover of Time.  I have America 400 it is different than the on line Time.
Shirley


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Shirley Marcus on April 28, 2007, 10:43:28 PM
Anne,
   You are well learned in so many areas.  I marvel at your good writing skills.  And 94 posts how do you do it.  I try to keep it short.  Just got back from Newport.
Shirley


Title: Re: American History
Post by: weezo on April 29, 2007, 11:15:06 AM
Shirley,

My knowledge is in bits and pieces - stuff that has interested me for some reason or another. I got into Pocahontas because her story is in the instructional standards for Virginia primary students, and I was teaching the little ones to use a computer. So, of course, I wanted them to learn about the American Heroes in the history curriculum. While I was at that job, I started a website that has grown over the years, called Famous Americans. It has a link to Pocahontas, and all the sites I knew about when I did it are linked there. I need to update it to include a link to my new story and to the many web resources for the Jamestown celebration.

Queen Elizabeth II is coming to Virginia next week, to view the Jamestown exhibits and celebration. The official celebration is not until the 12th, so I don't know how much of it she will participate in. A musical friend has compiled a CD of music for the celebration, and will, himself, be one of the musicians performing on the 12th. He is a retired historian specializing in music, and wrote one of the pieces to be performed. It is on his CD. I am ordering some of the CD's this weekend to use as Christmas gifts this year for my five sisters. The CD includes "Powhatan's Daughter March" written by John Philip Sousa for the 1907 Jamestown celebration. That march is the background music for my Pocahontas story.

I have a piece written by Helen Roundtree on the daily life of Powhatan women. It is in JStOR, so would be available only to academicians. Someone sent me a copy. Since it is under copyright, I cannot share it widely on here, but can share it on a limited basis to our "scholars" on this forum.



Title: Re: American History
Post by: Bob on April 29, 2007, 12:00:00 PM
Handy guide to pronounciation:

Powhattan: Powa tan   (pow as in pow)

Opechancanough: Opa  can canoe

Tsenacomoco:  seena comoco


Title: Re: American History
Post by: vickiem4 on April 29, 2007, 02:30:39 PM
I'm at work muttering out loud at the computer things like:

" opa....ah....um....opa....can...opa...can......


and I work at a mental health facility......





Title: Re: American History
Post by: weezo on April 29, 2007, 05:13:32 PM
On page 7, in the Introduction, Roundtree offers a pronunciation of the names of her three main characters.

Powhatan = POW-ah-tan
Pocahontas = Poh-cah-Hahn-tus
Opechacanough = Oh-pee-CHAN-can-oh

I have been doing Tsenacomoco as SEN-a-co-MOKE-oh. In my children's book, I spelled it as Tsena Comoco to make it a bit easier for children and their parents to read it aloud. I have no idea if I did it accurately, but me tries me best (grin).




Title: Re: American History
Post by: thanatopsy on April 30, 2007, 04:36:53 PM
Hi Shirley!

Thanks for informing the Admin about my inability to log on.  Evidently, they have corrected the problem.  Let's hope all goes well.

Have just started reading Rountree. Looks like a good read.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Shirley Marcus on April 30, 2007, 06:03:44 PM
Than
   No don't worry.
   I am reading.  Glad you got on.
Shirley


Title: Re: American History
Post by: weezo on May 01, 2007, 12:20:22 AM
For those who are reading the book, what think you about the "chiefly family" concept used in passing down leadership from brother to brother to sisters before going to the next generation. Roundtree points out it is a nifty way to avoid the problems of an infant monarch. In my children's book, I used the term "royal" family rather than "chiefly", so the children (and parents reading it to them) would understand why Pocahontas was not a "princess" in the European concept. Yet, in spite of her more "lowly" birth in her father's household, she is the one we remember and celebrate. I truly wish I could do as I have the readers do in my stories, and don a History Hat and go back and meet this interesting young woman.

I always wonder why she didn't smile in that portrait made of her in England. For someone named "playful one", I would expect a more cheerful face.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: thanatopsy on May 01, 2007, 08:36:20 AM
Smiles are very rare in portraiture right up to the 20th century. Unfortunately, people often lost all or most of their teeth by the time they reached their mid to late 20s as dental hygiene was virtually unknown. But yes, she would have looked prettier with a warm and charming smile!


Title: Re: American History
Post by: liquidsilver on May 01, 2007, 08:45:22 AM
I just finished Jennings' Aztec Rage.  I know its not quite American history but it was a very good book under the same vein as an indigenous people conquered.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Shirley Marcus on May 01, 2007, 12:04:50 PM
Anne,
   They took the reply icon off so no way to post.  Use your imaginaton with Poca.
Shirley


Title: Re: American History
Post by: weezo on May 01, 2007, 02:27:24 PM
NY Temps,

No, Pocahontas was not of more lowly birth than most of Powhatan's children. He did sire some children by women from "chiefly" families, and these children had higher status: they would grow up to become chiefs (Chief Pochin at Kecoutan was one of his sons by a chiefly woman), or to sire future chiefs. Remember, Powhatan had more than 100 wives, each having born him at least one child. He usually put them aside after the first child, and the women were free to remarry as they chose. The children of Powhatan were brought to live in his house after they were able to "care for themselves" at about age 5-6.

I know that Roundtree prefers the term "Little Wanton", which is probably the more literal translation. In writing for children, there is the danger that they will look up the word and get the more venal definition, so I chose to use the term "Playful Child" instead, to avoid confusion.

Pocahontas seems not to have been very "wanton" in the modern term. There is no evidence that she had children in her first marriage to Kocoun. Surely, if she had children by Kocoun, she would have pined for them when held in captivity in Jamestown. Instead, the record acccording to the Eureans, was that she was comfortable and content.  She bore but one child to John Rolfe. I'm sure her nakeness as a child helped the settlers to focus on that translation of her name, but her nakedness was a cultural expedience rather than a venal choice.



Title: Re: American History
Post by: Bob on May 01, 2007, 04:28:38 PM
Looks as if we are already started on the subject.  I'm finishing up another book (SAVAGE PEACE). I'll join in a day or so....


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Bob on May 01, 2007, 04:30:20 PM
I forgot----the two two different pronounciation guides are very similar. I didn't know Roundtree had one. I haven't started the book yet--but will very shortly...


Title: Re: American History
Post by: weezo on May 01, 2007, 07:14:33 PM
Bob,

Yes, the Commonwealth of Virginia is in quite a state! Today was the official reopening and dedication of the state capital in Richmond. It has been under renovation for a number of years. There were efforts to take it back to the orignal grandior (sp - senior moment!) of the building designed by Thomas Jefferson, with modern functions included.

Tomorrow all state buildings are closed and all state workers have a holiday as the Queen arrives. Thursday, she is schedule to visit Jamestown, and on Friday, will address the state legislature, the General Assembly, in their new building.

Roundtree's guides for pronunciation are only for the three main characters in the book. The rest of the long Native words are up to the reader to determine how to pronounce them.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Bob on May 01, 2007, 09:13:28 PM
Weezo,
           I'll try to look up some of them. Indian names always throws me, though I live in a section of PA where a lot of place names are original Indian names.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Bob on May 01, 2007, 09:15:58 PM
weezo, how come you are registered as a full member and I'm registered as a newbie?


Title: Re: American History
Post by: weezo on May 01, 2007, 10:29:58 PM
Bob,

The upgrade has happened in the past few days. I think it has something to do with how many times you post on all of the forums. Other than that, I have no idea. I was a Junior Member for a few weeks.

I tend to post heavily on the National Forum, so that's why my number of posts goes up so fast. I notice that today, when I log in, I log in as myself instead of as a guest, so I guess that's the reward for posting a lot.

I grew up in Reading, PA, and there are a lot of Indian and PA Dutch names for rivers and places. Indian names seem to be most common for the rivers, and the towns and cities tend to be English or Pa Dutch. What part of the state do you live in. I still have some cousins in Reading, but all of my sisters, grandchildren, and great-grands are scattered all over the country. Only one sister remains in PA - she is near Pittsburgh. Last time I went to Reading was two years ago the end of this month, to interr my mother with my father.

There is an oral tradition in my mother's family that an ancestor was a Lenne Lenape Indian. Since the Lenne Lenape is also an Algonquin-speaker, much of the information I have learned about Pocahontas and the Powhatans probably applies to my own ancester. So far, geneology has not been able to confirm this, but you can see the heritage in some of our faces!





Title: Re: American History
Post by: bosox18d on May 01, 2007, 11:10:04 PM
It appears when you hit 50 posts you become a junior member and at 100 posts a full member.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: thanatopsy on May 01, 2007, 11:35:17 PM
Weezo,
           I'll try to look up some of them. Indian names always throws me, though I live in a section of PA where a lot of place names are original Indian names.


Just a reminder that the story of Pocahontas is not entirely original as the Tainos of Florida and the Caribbean claim the story as their own:

http://www.indigenouspeople.net/taino.htm

quote:

"
The Tainos And The Pocahontas Story
Pocahontas is anther lie! Many Taino know that Pocahontas was a not even in the picture 200 years, before the original story was being read by some White Man named John Smith. He read the Garcilasco De Vega story, about a captive Spanish man called "Ortiz" and his account of 1528. This account was later published in 1557 in Lisbon, Portugal and later translated into English in 1605. This account by Garcillasco De Vega about Juan (John) Ortiz's encounter with the Taino-Timucua Indigenous Cacique (Chieftist) near Tampa Bay in Bimini (Florida). Her real name was Caciquea Ulele (Chieftist). The use of the word "Barbacoa", a word that survived as "Barbecue" is of the Taino Language, meaning the fire pit.

It seems that the father of Ulele, Cacique Hirrihugua of the Yucayeque (Village) of Ucita, was going to have Juan (John) Ortiz put to death, because the Spaniard Narvaez had cut off his nose and killed his Mother. The daugther Ulele pleaded with her father to spare Ortiz's life. The next day Caciquea Ulele took Ortiz to the nieghboring Guacara Yucayeque (Village) of Cacique (Chief) Moscoso. The rest is nothing but a little white lie told by John Smith or John Ortiz an English manor a Spaniard? The Powhatan people do not have our Taino southern traditions; furthermore we do not speak the Powhatan language of the North-East. We Taino Indigenous Nation of the Caribbean & Florida know the truth of Juan Ortiz. It was not until 500 years later on in November 18th, 1993 that we have made this statement via our supporting evidence of traditional language and customs of the Taino-Timucua people of Bimini (Florida). Please do note that many historians of Florida support these historical facts."


Title: Re: American History
Post by: weezo on May 02, 2007, 07:01:36 AM
Thanatopsy,

Thank you for a most enlightening link.

It does make sense that the Pocahontas story of her saving John Smith is an invention. Historians typically believe so, since the story was not included in the first writings and was not confirmed in the writings of others at the time. Roundtree discusses in her book how she came to this conclusion.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: weezo on May 03, 2007, 05:43:35 PM
In addition to coverage on CNN, check out NBC at 7 tonight and see what they provide of a very exciting day in Virginia.

Three tribes, the Rappahannock, the Mattapponi, and the Chickahominy performed a delightful song and dance welcoming the Queen. At the end they presented her with a gift that the live commentators did now know what it was. I looked to be a huge clam shell, decorated with feathers, and with something precious inside. Perhaps by 7 someone will know what it was.

After a week of weather in the 80's and 90's, Virginia turned cool last night, and the Queen probably found the cool rainy weather well suited. There was a pause in the rain from the time she landed until she spoke to the legislature. Fortunately, there is a tunnel between the Capital and the Governor's Mansion so she didn't have to get wet. Umbrellas were not allowed today on the capital grounds for security reasons.

The Queen is supposed to leave Richmond about 5:30 for Williamsburg, and spend tomorrow at Jamestown and Williamsburg.

What I liked was that the local NBC station who broadcast everything live, included comments on QEII's speech 50 years ago, which focused on the celebration of the English culture in the US. This time, she talked about the diversity of culture that met in Jamestown.

At some time during her visit to Virginia, she is scheduled to meet Oliver Hill, who recently celebrated his 100th birthday. Hill's success in the Civil Rights movement was remembered on his birthday. Supposedly, she is going to apologize or say something on that line to Mr. Hill when she talks to him.

QEII, before speaking to the legislature, met with some Virginia children in the state capital where, with the help of the Governor and First Lady, got the children talking about the significance of the 400th anniversary.

And, she kept loading down her "lady in waiting" with the gifts of flowers. The Queen received the bouquets, 2 and 3 at a time, ans passed them to her lady in waiting, who, from time to time, handed them off to persons unseen, ready to take the next bouquet from the queen.

If you happen to get to see the Native American dance and presentation, note that they are wearing authentic headdress and clothing from 400 years ago. They did not appear to have shaved half of their heads as Roundtree describes their barbering habits, but that is probably because tomorrow they will all report to ordinary jobs.



Title: Re: American History
Post by: lordbroket on May 03, 2007, 06:55:25 PM
Biggest mistake America made was to leave the empire. Just look at the mess you are in now. A queen rather than a buffoon would have altered all the current problems.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Bob on May 03, 2007, 08:56:21 PM
Weezo

I was born in West Nanticoke--named  after Nanticoke Indians who rented space from the local tribes after they had been asked to leave the base tribe in the  Chesapeake River area because of accusations of theivery. They stayed here a while and moved on. Shawanese lived on the flats along the Susquehanna River about 1,000 or so feet from where I lived. (I also live within 1,000 feet of the Grand Tunnel Breaker--this is Coal  Country).

I started the book yesterday and already l;ike it. I never read Roundtree before but she certainly can detail well. Like others I'm a bit slowed down by Indian names, but the read is well worth it for the information she imparts.

I think we set May 5 for the start of the discussion. I'm ready for that----it should prove to be an interesting one.

I heard the Queen's speech and will follow her tour.



Title: Re: American History
Post by: Bob on May 03, 2007, 09:02:18 PM
"Biggest mistake America made was to leave the empire."

Lordy, lordy, lodbroket--surely you jest.

Are you going to join us in the discussion of Pocahontas? 


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Bob on May 03, 2007, 09:05:00 PM
I just noticed the authors name is ROUNTREE rather than Roundtree. Sorry


Title: Re: American History
Post by: thanatopsy on May 03, 2007, 09:37:07 PM
Biggest mistake America made was to leave the empire. Just look at the mess you are in now. A queen rather than a buffoon would have altered all the current problems.

She sure hasn't done very much to stop that nitwit at # 10. But, you may be right.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: weezo on May 03, 2007, 10:24:20 PM
If we hadn't left the empire, the nitwit at #10 would be our nitwit, along with the nitwit on Pennsylvania Avenue. Could we handle 'em both?


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Bob on May 04, 2007, 02:35:47 PM
Biggest mistake America made was to leave the empire. Just look at the mess you are in now. A queen rather than a buffoon would have altered all the current problems.

The Queen couldn't alter the width of a street without the permission of her government. The Queen's government is outside of her control. Besides, isn't she the one who accepted the government of present Prime Minister. And if I'm not mistaken he not approved of the buffoon's policy, but pushed it, aided it and abetted it all along the route even unto today. I don't see that the Quenn ever tried to alter that. It was the people  who got the message across--not the monarch. If history serves me, I think the last time a British Monarch ever had any say about who constituted the government was George VI who objected to Lord Halifax and made known his preference for Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill.  That was 67 years ago or so.

The biggest mistake the British made was not making an accomodation with the revolutionaries when they had a chance. We started the Revolution with a view of staying in the empire. At the end of seven years the British Parliament opted to give up, not to fund the war any longer. We didn't win the Revolution, the British gave up.Yorktown was merely the last straw---not a decisive war winning victory, but an embarrassing rout that caused the British to throw up their arms and say---ENOUGH!!! They had had it with the war and like us in Vietnam just wanted to get out...so they told the monarch  that anmd that was that --so much for the power of the Monarch and mistakes.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Donotremove on May 04, 2007, 02:55:02 PM
Bob, I wish you'd warn me when you are going to take all the air out of an argument for/against an issue/idea so I can get out of the way of falling objects.  Beautiful job you did on the monarchy's ability to do much more than make the society pages and, while speading goodwill, make us all feel warm and fuzzy.  But heck, feller.  That deflated mess just dropped on my big toe.  Ouch. 


Title: Re: American History
Post by: weezo on May 04, 2007, 07:54:21 PM
DNR,

Oh, your poor big toe!

The monarchy of England have been powerless for some time now. They are just for show and tell. And, the many children in Richmond will have much to tell about this week.

The word from those who know, is that the Native Americans gave the Queen an Onyx Brooch inside that shell decorated with feathers. Governor Kaine gave her two Jefferson Books, one a very rare early edition with a woodcut of Natural Bridge.

BTW, I have been asked to put in a bid on writing 27 80-page children's books, but I have no idea how much the bid could be. I do not have to do illustrations, but have to use certain words and words that contain certain letter combinations. Any suggestions? I know this is off topic, but I hope maybe some book folks may be able to help.
Apologies if this is out of line. Thanks.

Anne


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Bob on May 05, 2007, 02:32:48 AM
I just find it amazing there are comparisons between the American Revolution and the Vietnam War. Barbara Tuchman wrote a book about it. We in Vietnam almost exactly what the British did in the American Revolution with regard to ending the war. In both instances the major power opted out after the revolutionaries persisted against all odds. In both instances the legislature cut off funds, or threatened to do so, in both instances public opinion had turned against the war. Lord North literally threw up his hands on hearing of Yorktown and said "Oh God, it's all over." He then went before Parliament and made a speech against continuing the war--this led to a confidence vote  and his resignation and the appointment of Rockingham, an anti-war MP hated by the King, as Prime Minister. Rockingham then led the way to negotiations for peace in spite of the wishes of the monarch---so much for the power of the monarch regarding wars even then....George the III was George the II of 1782--leader of buffoons international.

Now we sit In Iraq--creation of the British--being  called buffoons, when, in reality it was the bunch of buffoons across the pond who laid the groundwork when they "created" a state doomed to fall apart if not ruled  autocratically from above. We, in the name of Democracy, thought we were so smart marching into Baghdad waiting for the roses to be strewn only to find bombs being thrown at us. John Warner put it right when he came back from one of his trips to Iraq and was asked what he learned  while he was over there; he replied: the next time maybe we ought to learn the history and culture of the nation before we decide to invade it!! Well said, Senator.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Bob on May 05, 2007, 02:35:09 AM
"I do not have to do illustrations, but have to use certain words and words that contain certain letter combinations. Any suggestions? I know this is off topic, but I hope maybe some book folks may be able to help."

Do they tell you what words  and letter combinations they want you to use? Do they give you topics?


Title: Re: American History
Post by: weezo on May 05, 2007, 07:33:32 AM
Bob,

No topice, but they do provide the letter sets and the words they want in the story. Based on the time I took me to do my own alphabet books which were very formulmatic and each used words that could be illustrated from clip art according to the beginning letter, I should be able to do the set of books in a month, if I put in eight hours a day, longer if I stretch it out, but about 160-200 hours. I have no idea what the per hour or per book value of such work is. I have seen such types of books and they are usually pretty dreary and not at all entertaining, so I want to do better if I write them.

Thanks for any and all suggestions.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Donotremove on May 05, 2007, 12:45:09 PM
Bob, thanks for the American revolution info.  I wasn't aware the British just gave up like we did (thank the gods) in Vietnam.

Weezo, I know nothing about the making of children's books.  I am a consumer.  I buy children's books for myself because I like them ("If You Give a Mouse a Cookie"), and to read to my great granddaughter, Chrissy, although she is a super active three year old child who will not sit still long--she'll let me read while she shoots baskets, for instance.

I love to talk about children's books, and hear other folks talk about them.  Perhaps we should have a Children's Books discussion?  At any rate, such talk, for now, probably belongs in Meander.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: weezo on May 05, 2007, 04:07:35 PM
DNR,

I have posted my question on Meander. Until now, I didn't know what that thread was. It seems it will be interesting, so thank you for suggesting it.

A lot of my children's books are about history, since I am excited about history myself, and loath the boring books that are given to children to read about people in history. The history books take longer to write than the other genre, since I used up all the people I knew enough about to write without research, and am now having to do more than a quick trip to google to research my history stories. If you want to check them out for your granddaughter, you can find them at: http://www.educationalsynthesis.org/books .... They are personalized books, which may hold the little miss' attention a bit longer. She may enjoy the book under "Folk Tales" called the Talent contest, if she is like so many little girls who picture themselves as a "princess".

Now, back to Pocahontas.

Today's email from Virginia Historians stated that the Onyx Broach given by the Natives to QEII on Thursday is a replica of one worn by Pocahontas when she was in London. I will be looking for a picture of it, and if I find it, I will share the link.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Bob on May 05, 2007, 05:11:04 PM
POCHAHONTAS  POWHATAN  AND OPECHANCANOUGH

In her introduction, Rountree points out she will present the story from the Indian point of view. This  is a growing trend in Indian history as it overcomes, or attempts to overcome, past bias towards the European
ethnocentrism. One of the first things she makes clear is that the Indians, the Powhatans, did not believe the Europeans had any right to settle anywhere in their land. Thus she doesn't use the word "colonist" since it implies some sort of right on the part of the strangers. Instead throughout the text she uses words which were probably used by the Powhatans to designate the people of Jamestown---tassantassa (strangers). She also separates the year into the seasons as seen by the Powhatan rather than in months as seen by the Europeans.  Food getting, she says, was far more important to the natives than the position of the moon.  at any given time.

She also "uses"  John Smith from the native viewpoint, assigning him the position of a foreign prisoner who agreed to become  a subject of their land and chief in order to be freed. The Powhatans judged his behaviors based on his promise and his failure to follow through with it. The English, of course, judge his behaviors from an entirely different perspective.  In the book he is not referred to as John Smith, but rather as Chawnzmit as the Powhatans  called him.

Lastly she does not refer to the events of 1622 and 1624 as massacres even though they were massacres from the European viewpoint. The Powhatans viewed them as "great assaults" and so does she.

So let's begin the discussion, keeping in mind  the book is a presentation from the view of the Powhatans and that the author is very well credentialed to tell it.

I  found it a bit choppy in style due to the Powhatan names and terminology. I  don't think I was alone in that....but I found it one of the more interesting and informative books I've read in a long time. I'm about to finish it in a day or so....I look forward to the discussion.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Bob on May 05, 2007, 05:15:56 PM
Sometimes I like to go through a book chapter by chapter, other times  its better to go through on  a theme basis, a subject , going through the book at random. Can we start with Chapter One and see how it goes? WE can always switch midstream.  (I'm experimenting to see if the color section works--I might use it for special effects).


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Bob on May 05, 2007, 05:21:57 PM
That looks nice---- ;D

Right off the bat in Chapter one  Rountree tells us the Powhatans arrived in their country (Tsenacomoco) about 200 AD. That's about 1400 years before John Smith. They were of the Alogonquian speaking peoples who inhabited the American East Coast and who engaged in agricultural and foraging  pursuits since about 1000AD.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: weezo on May 05, 2007, 10:34:46 PM
Bob,

I found it interesting to know that bears, wolves and bobcats were in the area. Last year, a local archer took down a 395 lb black bear in our county, which is less than probably 30 miles west of the falls, the western boundary of Tsencomoco. I have never heard of wolves in the area, but the a few weeks ago I heard a bobcat, in heat, crying for a few hours until she got what she wanted and all was quiet. We have seen bobcat tracks in fresh snow in our yard a number of times. Of course, we have plenty of deer and wild turkeys that visit our property.

It is interesting to learn that the deer and turkeys eat the acorns that fall from the oaks. About half our yard is in woods. It is NOT a clear woods - there is a lot of underbrush which we hack at every few years hopelessly. It seems the woods are always trying to take over the cleared areas of the property.

I wonder if the deer ate the emerging corn planted by the Powhatans, or if they had enough food in the woods. Later in the book, it mentions that it was the job of the young boys to practice with their bows and arrows by keeping the wildlife out of the corn fields.

In Mathews county, not far from Werowocomoco, Powhatan's seat, the deer are few and tend to hold a lot of disease. But there are still enough to satisfy at least some of the hunters. We've never seen any deer when we are in Mathews during the summer months, but hubby says there used to be some that lived on the point beyond the cabins, when there were woods there instead of just the tall grasses. A lot of wild cats live in the tall grasses, so there are probably still some bobcats. There is/was a "cat lady" who came down to the beach from the town to feed the collection of wild cats. Haven't seen her the past two years, so perhaps she passed on. I guess the collection of cats exceed the number of available rodents to use as food.

Years ago, when we went fishing on the bay off of Mathews, there were "pound poles" set in the bay with nets attached to catch the fish and hold them until they were harvested by the fishing boats. A few years ago the pound poles disappeared. Not sure if the harvest was less or if it was due to the pollution coming into the bay. But, after reading about the Native "fishing weirs", it seems like the same concept.








Title: Re: American History
Post by: weezo on May 07, 2007, 03:06:26 PM
NY Temps,

With family stories like that, if you ever get around to writing a family history or geneology, it won't be another begot listing! Thanks for sharing!

Chawnsmit seemed to make a number of his own goofs. Imagine, expecting a person who knows nothing about crowning kings to get down on his knees before the "smelly ones", like they were doing him some honor. Here was Powhatan thinking that as the leader of the invaders, he was taking the invaders into his country and making them honorary citizens, and all the time, they believed he was subjecting himself to their king who didn't even have the courtesy to send at least a duke to crown him. Just a military captain and a ship captain - commoners both!


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Bob on May 07, 2007, 09:01:31 PM
 "I'm on Chapter 5 of Rountree's book--didn't know chapter-by-chapter was SOP but would relish recaps by those who have that skill (sometimes details can sidetrack me--like looking up "puccoon" which, unlike tuckahoe--was brand new to me)."  (NYTEMPS--above)


We don't have to go chapter by chapter. We can have an open discussion by just posting our thoughts on various aspects of the book....the forum is new, there are no set rules. The posters should govern. Anyhow, like yourself, and I think many others, it was difficult at times to go through a book written from the "other side" in terminology which would have been used by the other side. I stumbled  through the language differences and how to pronounce rather long and complex names and terms--but in the end it was worthwhile.

On the last page of the book Rountree points out that histories such as these  really require not only an historian but an anthropolologist:

   "The difficulty  is that reconstructing the lives of persons who lived in a different time and in a different culture--one that did not leave the records--demands training in two academic fields, not one: history and anthropology; in combination, called ethnohistory." (Rountree, page 238)

Are anthropologists now to intrude into territory hitherto confined to the historians? Is this an invasion of an academic nature? Or is she hitttinh home? Is she right on the mark?  Any comments?




Title: Re: American History
Post by: Bob on May 07, 2007, 09:11:09 PM
Since theere have been few posts since the discussion began on the 5th, I assume posters are still reading the book. Should I hold off for a while, or do you want to continue?

Do you want chapter summaries? Even if there are chapter summaries, you wouldn't be constricted by them--that is, you are feel free to post as you wish on whatever subject you want.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: thanatopsy on May 07, 2007, 09:41:10 PM
One of the most significant matters discussed in Rountree is the fact  that hierarchal sucession was matrilineal. "In native terms his {Powhatan} father's identity was not very important; it was his mother who bequeathed him the right to rule" [p 28]. This must have come as quite a shock to the invaders whose cultural backgrounds were generally patriarchal.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: weezo on May 07, 2007, 10:08:13 PM
Bob,

Since I come to this book as a teacher, and a generalist at that, I have no conflict with including science (anthropology) in history. In fact, in this situation, I think it is quite helpful. It was interesting to learn that digging tuckahoe required a lot of muscle, and may not have been seriously aided by any tools the invaders brought, since there is no mention of shovels. Or did this handy tool go by another name back then. I am picturing a hoe as a vertical blade on the end of a horizontal handle. Could it be some other shape? What about pointed end hoes? Were they available back then? It seems those hoes may have been more helpful than straight hoes, as helpful as shovels to get out that tuckahoe.

I tend not to notice chapters as I read, so probably will not comment by chapters. But, if someone wants to know where I read something, I will certainly quote chapter and page.

It is interesting how long Powhatan was patient with the newcomers who were rascally guests in his land. No matter how often he asked them to put down their arms, they consistently refused. How ungratious as a guest!




Title: Re: American History
Post by: bosox18d on May 07, 2007, 11:57:01 PM
Robert,I just saw an ad on PBS for American Expierience.It is on Alexander Hamilton.I don't recall that being on before but the ad said May 14th at 9 on most PBS Stations.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: bosox18d on May 08, 2007, 12:00:13 AM
Oh and if I missed someone posting this Nova is advertising '"Pocahontas Revealed" this tues night on my PBS station.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: thanatopsy on May 08, 2007, 07:42:07 AM
weezo,

If I understand correctly, you have considerable knowledge of this era. In the text Rountree makes reference to certain sacred temples where there were elaborate ceremonies, not generally open to the public, and often served as burial sites for chieftains.  Do you have links for photos or drawings of these type of buildings?


Title: Re: American History
Post by: weezo on May 08, 2007, 07:57:56 AM
Than,

Sorry, I don't know of any pictures of the temples. I would guess the looked like the huts the people lived in, only large enough to hold the arms of the village, the bundles of bones of deceased chiefs, and any special treasure of the village or area. The best pictures are on the Virtual Jamestown site done by DeBry and White when they visited Roanoke Island: http://www.virtualjamestown.org/images/white_debry_html/jamestown.html

As far as I know, the Jamestown reconstruction does not include a temple. I am not sure if there is any temple on the local Indian Reservations. It is said that there is a mound on one of them that may contain Powhatan's bones, but these days the descendents of Powhatan attend Christian churches, so preserving the temples would not be a goal.





Title: Re: American History
Post by: caclark on May 08, 2007, 01:34:43 PM
"....how/why the Pilgrims and New England get so much credit for establishing the English (equivalent to "European" in the minds of many) in the new world and founding "America" while I, a former resident of New Mexico, can't help wondering how the English in either place get credit for so many "firsts." IIRC, Santa Fe is older by almost a hundred years than either place."

nytempsperdu,

I believe St. Augustine, Florida has the distinction of being the oldest American city founded by European colonists (1565). Santa Fe and Jamestown share second place (both founded in 1607).

I agree that the Pilgrims at Plymouth (1620) loom larger in popular lore than any of its three predecessors. Why? Perhaps, in part, because Jamestown represented a commercial venture in the New World whereas Plymouth came to embody America as a land of escape and hope for oppressed people yearning for freedom. That belief is central in America’s most cherished myths about itself.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: liquidsilver on May 08, 2007, 01:39:17 PM
Quote
Plymouth came to embody America as a land of escape and hope for oppressed people yearning for freedom

Or the embodiment of an oppressed people escaping to a place where they could be oppressors


Title: Re: American History
Post by: caclark on May 08, 2007, 02:59:16 PM
"....the Spanish get left out of the history books far too much and the view of the US as a part of this hemisphere, most of which is Spanish-speaking, gets distorted with the result that far too many people come to regard Spanish-speaking immigrants as more "alien" than others and discussion of immigration "reform" can suffer from polarization."

nytempsperdu,

You'll get no argument from me on that. Our history does favor the English legacy to the exclusion or at least marginalization of countless others. I think it's because the American Revolution was built on English models transported to the New World where they developed a spin of there own. Unfortunately, those early biases are still with us and do affect today’s attitudes towards Hispanic immigrants.

For me, there is no history, only histories, the plural. I believe strongly in revisionist histories, not because they are necessarily more accurate but because they present views that have been overlooked or even suppressed. They flesh out history giving us a more complete and balanced picture.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: caclark on May 08, 2007, 03:33:54 PM
"Or the embodiment of an oppressed people escaping to a place where they could be oppressors."

The Puritans are a glaring example. They flee England to escape intolerance, then in New England proceed to fashion a closeknit society that was anything but tolerant, especially towards Quakers.

How do you put those quotations in blocks the way you did? I'm still learning this system.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Bob on May 08, 2007, 04:53:49 PM
weezo,

If I understand correctly, you have considerable knowledge of this era. In the text Rountree makes reference to certain sacred temples where there were elaborate ceremonies, not generally open to the public, and often served as burial sites for chieftains.  Do you have links for photos or drawings of these type of buildings?

The burial sites were known as charnel houses. I'll link you to a rendering of one in my next post. I have to look it up....





Title: Re: American History
Post by: Bob on May 08, 2007, 04:56:37 PM
http://www.imagesonline.bl.uk/britishlibrary/controller/subjectidsearch?id=1802&startid=39140&width=4&height=2&idx=2


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Bob on May 08, 2007, 05:09:22 PM
http://www.art.com/asp/sp-asp/_/pd--12258448/sp--A/The_Indian_Village_of_Secoton.htm

Powhatan village by White--gives you an idea of the villages spoken of ion the book.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: weezo on May 08, 2007, 05:27:56 PM
Liquid,

That is exactly the impression of the pilgrims that I got from reading Conquest of America by Francis Jennings and/or The People's History of the United States by Howard Zinn. I read the two one behing the other, so I'm not sure which had the most information on how the Pilgrims manipulated the Indians to get their land. They set one group of Indians against the other with lies and rumors, and fought with their sister colonies in New England rousing the Indians to forment trouble.

Anne in Virginia


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Bob on May 08, 2007, 08:34:56 PM
PBS NOVA Special is very good. I'm watching it now -- Rountree is featured in some sections. I'll post again tomorrow...


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Bob on May 08, 2007, 08:38:37 PM
Before I  go back to NOVA: I'm reading SAVAGE KINGDOM: THE TRUE STORY OF JAMESTOWN  by Benjamin Woolley. So far it's excellent. I'll post stuff from it as we go along as it fills in some gaps and answers some questions not answered by Rountree.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Bob on May 08, 2007, 08:58:40 PM
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/pocahontas/

Link to the Nova Special online.

Not a bad presentation at all. I enjoyed it...


Title: Re: American History
Post by: thanatopsy on May 08, 2007, 09:00:22 PM
weezo,

Thanks for that link for Jamestown. Very interesting site, indeed.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: thanatopsy on May 08, 2007, 09:07:19 PM
Ah, grand! Bob posted a couple of good links as well...



Title: Re: American History
Post by: weezo on May 08, 2007, 09:40:27 PM
The PBS Special just went off. I recorded it on our new DVD machine, and I hope I will be able to turn the volume up when I re-watch it. I forgot to set the volume before I started recording, and couldn't change it once the DVD was running for some reason.

It was very good. Helen Roundtree, our author, was featured a number of times. She expressed her doubt on the "saving" of John Smith story. The special seemed to put a lot of credence to it being an adoption ceremony, but Rountree discounted that in the book.

It was very interesting to learn that they have found the site of Powhatan's Long House, have unearthed an earthwork setting it off from the rest of the village, and have found the holes for at least one side of it. As far as I could hear, they may have found some of the holes for the other side before the end of the summer dig. It was interesting how they determined that the copper found on the Wecomoco site was indeed English copper, and a lot of it!

I liked the girl who played Pocahontas in the special. She was pretty enough to get the attention Pocahontas commanded. But, she didn't have the shaved head - her hair was pulled back with a decorative band. I guess it would be too much to ask a youngster to have her head shaved for a non-speaking actress part! I did notice that some of the Indian actors had the part-shaved heads.

I may get the "Savage Kingdom" book, since I now have a fast-growing collection of books on Jamestown. I can make room for one more! (grin)

Anne in Virginia



Title: Re: American History
Post by: weezo on May 09, 2007, 10:57:30 PM
NY Temps,

I didn't realize the next program was about Jamestown - I would have put it on the disk. It looked too scary for me --- I've always had nightmares after scary movies, so I avoid them with a passion.

It was good to see Ms. Rountree. She looks like a jolly person to be standing in front of a class!

The question of poison at Jamestown would have been interesting, but I suspect it wasn't if you fell asleep on it. Roundtree says that Powhatan tried to poison some of the corn the colonists were demanding, but was not able to get the poison from the Accomacs when they found out what it was to be used for. It is interesting that the rats that could have been a good reason for poison, were not common to Tsenecomoco before Chawnschmit came to visit.

The colonists were successful in poisoning Opechacanough in later years, but instead of killing him outright, he survived after a very long illness.

It is interesting to compare the behavior of the Invaders, always carrying and brandishing their arms even in the first encounters, and Smith consistently refusing to disarm. If you watch the Star Trek episodes (the additional series especially), the away team always goes armed, even when they have to explain to the peaceful people that they came as explorers and intend no harm. When will we ever learn? When will we ever learn?

Anne



Title: Re: American History
Post by: Dzimas on May 10, 2007, 02:30:11 AM
I noted Savage Kingdom at amazon.  Would also be curious what people think.  I see that Library of America has also released a collection of writings by Captain John Smith and other narratives of Jamestown, Roanoke and other early settlements.  It really is amazing the amount of literature now available on these early settlements, so it surprises me that certain myths continue to be perpetuated.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: playa on May 10, 2007, 07:56:07 AM
http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1077/is_9_58/ai_103565083 (http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1077/is_9_58/ai_103565083)


I guess I don't know how to open up a new thread on American History.

I have a book that  I'm  currently reading by Lerone Bennett Jr called "BEFORE THE MAYFLOWER".

I find the information in the book  totally shows how wrong  American historic writers have been when educating americans on african american history.



Title: Re: American History
Post by: playa on May 10, 2007, 09:46:18 AM
Another book of intrest "Germany's Black Holocaust" 1890-1945 The Untold Truth !

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/product-description/0963129341/ref=dp_proddesc_0/102-4011569-3979354?ie=UTF8&n=283155&s=books (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/product-description/0963129341/ref=dp_proddesc_0/102-4011569-3979354?ie=UTF8&n=283155&s=books)


Title: Re: American History
Post by: caclark on May 10, 2007, 12:08:57 PM
".... It really is amazing the amount of literature now available on these early settlements, so it surprises me that certain myths continue to be perpetuated."

The meaning one finds in history is often what one goes looking for. Myths endure because they instill a sense of hope and nobility that transcends all the dirt and pain a people had to go through to become what they became as a people. Histories come and go but myths will live on.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Dzimas on May 10, 2007, 04:07:42 PM
I guess it depends upon the myth.  Some myths are hardlly noble but endure simply because they are perpetuated through popular media.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: weezo on May 10, 2007, 05:16:34 PM
Never underestimate the value of a good story. Adventure and a touch of romance will outlive boring details any day. Never mind, the story is really about a pre-pubescent child, it becomes romantic because she becomes a heroine - someone that children can identify with.

I just got a CD entitled Jamestown Jubilee. It contains the music of the celebrations of Jamestown of 1807, 1907 and 2007, including a delightful piece written by a friend, Randy Cabell entitled "The Trumpeter of Jamestowne" which music was inspired by the discovery at Jamestown of the mouthpiece of a trumpet in 2004 - the first evidence that Jamestown had its own musicians and that trumpets were in use by the colonists. Other titles include "March of the Powhatan Guards", Glory of Jamestown, Jamestown Rag, Powhatan's Daughter (included as background on my story of Jamestown and Pocahontas), and many other selections both period and modern. The music is performed by the Lehigh University students, and the CD is quite inexpensive. You can find it on Amazon, or order it directly from Randy if you want a quantity discount.





Title: Re: American History
Post by: Bob on May 10, 2007, 05:29:00 PM
  ".....Savage Kingdom is the book reviewed at the site I linked to above.  Please let us know if it perpetuates the Pocahontas rescue myth or if the reviewer didn't read carefully...as I sometimes suspect--ever read a review of a book and wonder how the reviewer ever came to such conclusions, or get suspicious that the book wasn't read in its entirety?....."


I haven't read the review you cite, but you bring up an interesting point. You asssume the event is a myth. Quite frankly, Rountree is the ony author I've ever read who contends it is a total myth.  David Price, in LOVE AND HATE IN JAMESTOWN, insists the events were exactly as recounted by Smith. Daniel Richter, in FACING EAST FROM INDIAN COUNTRY contends for the religious ceremonial theory involving rebirth. Geach, in his POWHATTAN'S WORLD AND  COLONIAL VIRGINIA supports Richter's view. Benjamin Woolley, in SAVAGE KINGDOM  does an interesting thing. He avoids the question totally, choosing to begin his Chapter Nine with a 13 page excerpt from Smith's TRUE RELATIONS. After the excerpt he comments not. Almost all of Wolley's book is and exposition of events with little or no analysis of events or characters. It is narrative history and is very well written. I'm enjoying it--its a good supplement to Rountree.

My point is that  the validity of the so called rescue story is still controversial. Reputable historians differ in their interpretation of the events. Rountree dismisses them entirely as myth. While Smith was good teller of tall stories at time, most of the time he told the truth.

I like David Price's conclusion:

   "Overall, there is no compelling reason to believe that the events in Powhattan's assembly hall were anything other than what Smith  perceived them to be. There is even less reason to doubt  that Pocahontas was just  who she appeared to be that day: a girl acting compassionately toward a pitiable stranger in front of her."  (Price, LOVE AND HATE, page 245).This after a four page analysis of the event and theories surrounding it.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Bob on May 10, 2007, 05:37:49 PM
Playa....I've not read much of   Lerone Bennett Jr  but I have read of how controversial some of his views are. He created a stir a while back with his FORCED INTO GLORY whereion he  charged that Lincoln was a racist. I don't have a copy of BEFORE THE MAYFLOWER, so I can't coment on it. I've always wanted to read it but never got around to ordering a copy.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Bob on May 10, 2007, 06:01:44 PM
OH, I forgot to include a very interesting book on the subject of the Pocahontas. It takes a modified view of the "rescue" holding the classic story as untrue, but not quite dimissing the event as a total myth.  The book  is POCAHONTAS AND THE POWHATAN DILLEMA by Camilla Townsend. At one point she suggests that the heroine was more than likely washing the dishes when the events happened. I found her book as good as LOVE AND HATE...


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Bob on May 10, 2007, 06:03:53 PM
nytempsperdu.....can you link me to the review you read....I can't find it. Was it in the New York Review of Books?...I have that one.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: caclark on May 10, 2007, 06:15:44 PM
myth: ".... 2. A real or fictional story, recurring theme, or character type that appeals to the consciousness of a people by embodying its cultural ideals or by giving expression to deep, commonly felt emotions...." (American Heritage Dictionary)

The mere characterization of a purported historical event as a myth is enough to trigger a heated argument, because in its popular usage, myth is a fiction, an invention, an outright fabrication. That's not how I meant it in the context of my last few posts. I used the term to mean the popular belief that has come down to us of the event itself as we understand it to have happened and what it more deeply signifies.




Title: Re: American History
Post by: caclark on May 10, 2007, 06:27:32 PM
Here is a link to the NYT review of Nathaniel Philbrick's Mayflower (June 2006). I understand that it is now out in paperback.

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/06/04/books/review/04shorto.html?n=Top%2fFeatures%2fBooks%2fBook%20Reviews


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Bob on May 10, 2007, 08:22:09 PM
Interesting definition of myth. Thanks.

But regardless of how one defines myth, the controversy over the event, or alleged event (however one chooses to believe) is persistent. As you can see,  legitimate historians disagree on not only what happened, but its significane, both to us and to the original participants. The disagreements don't turn on whether its a myth or not, they turn on what the event was, whether it  even occurred and its significance.

I read MAYFLOWER a while back and its really, really good. Well worth reading!!!


Title: Re: American History
Post by: thanatopsy on May 10, 2007, 09:20:04 PM
 Playa's note on the book Before The Mayflower is correct. This is a book I read in college many moons ago and is a very fitting reading for any American history student. Myths die hard but such truth as you find in that book is ever timeless.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Dzimas on May 11, 2007, 12:33:46 AM
A good example of a myth is that Abner Doubleday invented baseball at Cooperstown.  One that even Bud Selig still maintains, despite the overwhelming evidence that the game originated in New York.  I believe it was Spaulding who created this myth because he felt it would sell more baseballs.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: caclark on May 11, 2007, 12:29:59 PM
dzimas on May 11, 2007 at 12:33 AM: “A good example of a myth is that Abner Doubleday invented baseball ….. I believe it was Spaulding who created this myth because he felt it would sell more baseballs."

That's a new one on me. I recall reading that Doubleday erroneously got the distinction due to sloppy research on the part of a publicist who had been hired by National League owners to ascertain who invented baseball.

No one person invented baseball, of course. It was a popular game whose so-called ‘invention’ was its being formalized with the writing of a rule book in the mid-19th century. Apparently there were many such baseball rule books written during that period, one of which just happened to be written by Abner Doubleday of Cooperstown, not the Abner Doubleday of Civil War fame who got the undeserved credit and who was also from Cooperstown, but a cousin of his of the same name. That might explain the origin of a gaffe that may have been not so much a willful deception as it was an honest misunderstanding.

Now how did Betsy Ross invent that flag?


Title: Re: American History
Post by: weezo on May 11, 2007, 01:09:38 PM
For those who want to read a true account of the creation of the First American Flag, go to:

http://www.educationalsynthesis.org/books/History/Flag.html

Be sure to insert your own name and gender before you see the story.



Title: Re: American History
Post by: Dzimas on May 11, 2007, 03:00:28 PM
Spaulding thought that by pegging a Civil War hero as the inventor of baseball it would boost sales, which it did.  I guess you can credit Spaulding for being the first to successfully market a sport in America.  Nothing noble about it, but I suppose it appealled to Americans' sense of grandeur.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Dzimas on May 11, 2007, 03:06:40 PM
All this talk about the Pocahontas myth is tempting me into buying the Library of America collection of Smith's writing, although I imagine much is available on line.  I find this article on the subject, which may have already been linked:

http://vision.stanford.edu/~birch/pocahontas.html

which I found on this site:

http://www.wsu.edu/~campbelld/amlit/smith.htm



Title: Re: American History
Post by: weezo on May 11, 2007, 03:41:54 PM
Dzimas,

I read the first article you listed and found it less than convincing. It is an argument of pretty word with no substance. The author states that it could have been a "ritual" because such a ritual was recorded by Spaniards among the Seminole Indians. The author of the article assumes that because in some Indian nations, a stone was brought to bash out brains, that this was the custom in Tsenecomoco. Not only is there a dearth of large block in Gloucester County, in other accounts of bashing in brains recorded by other colonists (according to the Jamestown Narratives - an edited collection of the writings of the principals), does not include the use of a large stone at all.

I truly wonder if the writer of that article ever set food in Tsenecomoco, or if he did all his "research" sitting in his cluttered office in New England? First historian in 100 years to study the issue? Bah Humbug!


Title: Re: American History
Post by: weezo on May 11, 2007, 03:47:44 PM
Correction: Cluttered office in Delaware, not New England. My bad. I've forwarded this to the Virginia Historians to get their hoots and hollars!


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Bob on May 11, 2007, 04:56:46 PM
>>>>"Smith was adopted as Powhatan's "son," which led Pocahontas and her attendants to deliver supplies to the fort every few days, causing a sensation. "This 'well-featured but wanton young girl' would 'get the boys forth with her into the marketplace' and persuade them to perform cartwheels, 'whom she would follow and wheel so herself, naked as she was, all the fort over,' " an eyewitness stated." >>>>

Well, I'm reading SAVAGE now and can't find any reference to Smith being adopted. What the author does is to present an extensive quote from the Smith version and then gets on the with the story. If it's proximity to the event which counts, this version, Smith's first version, is the closest  version to the actual event----and keep in mind only he and Pocahonatas and Powhatan and his tribe members were the only witnesses---and nobody else wrote about it for decades afterwards--and all opinions stem from the Smith version.

Though i have my opinion as to the truth, nobody really knows. It's a question of what the reader finds believable because the truth at this point cannot be ascertained beyond a reasonable doubt.




Title: Re: American History
Post by: Bob on May 11, 2007, 05:48:24 PM
Weezo,

Unfortunately Le May is the leading the leading proponent of accepting the Smith version as true. He's followed by Price  in LOVE AND HATE IN JAMESTOWN...Both books are accepted by professionals. Both hold to the same view. To them there's no reason to disbelieve John Smith.

What view do you hold to--the Rountree version?


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Bob on May 11, 2007, 06:05:53 PM
Playa's note on the book Before The Mayflower is correct. This is a book I read in college many moons ago and is a very fitting reading for any American history student. Myths die hard but such truth as you find in that book is ever timeless.

I'll take your word and see if I can get a  copy to read. Thanks


Title: Re: American History
Post by: weezo on May 11, 2007, 06:07:20 PM
Bob,

Long before I read Rountree, I accessed sites of the Virginia Native Americans who all tended to dispute the story. Some cited "white" writers for their evidence, others the evidence in their own oral histories and traditions. There is a problem between the Smith 1624 story and the usual customs of the Algonquin speakers. To me, that speaks more authoritatively than a few words by Smith that may or may not be exactly accurate.

After reading Rountree, I read the Jamestown Narratives (a rather difficult read), and noted the many mistakes made by the colonists who did not understand the Natives, and have their own motives for supporting their versions of stories. For instance, a minister (name eludes at the moment) went into detail about how the "Huskinaw" involved ceremonial killing of the young boys, whereas, the boys were only initiated into manhood and separated from their mothers, a traumatic event in any culture. There was also insistence that Natives consumed human flesh, whereas the culture indicates that this was not done by any of the Algonquin tribes either for survival or as part of a ceremony involved with war. On the other hand, several of the writings in Jamestown Narratives mention the canibalism of the colonist in the starving time. The incentive for the priest to misinterpret the religion of the Natives was part of his effort to solicit funds toward "Christianizing" the Natives. Sadly, in the Jamestown Narratives, it is made clear that most or all of such monies collected from the English churches was never used for the purpose.

So, on this issue, I'll go with the archeological evidence that indicates that Pocahontas was probably out helping do the dishes when Powhatan made John Smith his "son".



Title: Re: American History
Post by: Bob on May 12, 2007, 02:09:29 AM
weeezo

That's a resonable conclusion.

I'm not disputing other people's conclusions, I'm merely pointing out that there are different views and the different views are held by reputable professionals.

 Is it your view there was no "initiation" ceremony?

Anyhow--that's the beauty and fascination of history--in any given situation there are different views held by different people.





Title: Re: American History
Post by: bosox18d on May 12, 2007, 02:25:08 AM
Well I  just looked at my new HBC mailing the June 11th reply and just when I think I've seen it all the back outside of the envelope is showing an exclusive HBC poker set for free!.See inside for details.I don't know if I should laugh or cry.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: bosox18d on May 12, 2007, 02:29:57 AM
Robert you only have two posts to go till that second star and junior member status!


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Bob on May 12, 2007, 06:42:18 AM
bosox:

I got the same package--did you notice that one of the books offered is a history of Virginia...I'll look for it today. It's my day to to go to the larger of the two B&N's we have here. Also being offered is the new Lincoln book: LINCOLN'S RISE TO THE PRESIDENCY. I expect a huge inhcrease in lincoln books over the next 18 months withe the 200th anniversay coming up. I'll look at the Lincoln book later this morning

I'm looking forward to my second star---sort of like becoming Jr G-Man when I was a kid.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Bob on May 12, 2007, 06:51:44 AM
As an aside, we are going to discuss Taylor's  AMERICAN COLONIES  in Bob's Best History Site starting June 1. I was leafing through at 3 AM  this morning (insomia city rises again) and found only passing references to Pocahontas in the Jamestown section. I also looked through WILDERNESS AT DAWN by Ted Morgan.  Taylor gives the pocahontas/Smith affair two lines. He takes the initiation view. Morgan doesn't even bring the event up at all, but has mentions of Pocahontas as he goes along. Both books, like SAVAGE KINGDOM, put Pocahontas  in what I think is proper perspective. She's there, but not the center of anything much, except as as a novelty in London. One wonders: if she were taken completely out of history, would it really make a difference?


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Bob on May 12, 2007, 06:53:17 AM
You're right Bosox---I'm now a junior member...

I'll be back later--time to get out of the house for the day!!!


Title: Re: American History
Post by: weezo on May 12, 2007, 07:24:53 AM
Bob,

I think the initiation ceremony is a possibility. It is much more likely than the conclusion that Powhatan was just going to outright kill John Smith. But the usual initiation ceremony involved a walk on hot coals to test his bravery rather than a threat to bash in his head.

It is possible that Powhatan devised a new initiation for this foreigner whom he expected to make into a weroance under his dominion. But large rocks would be a rarity in Gloucester. Yet, since Powhatan was originally from the town of Powhatan, which is at the falls of the James, where there could be large rocks available, perhaps he had such rocks available for ceremonies in his enclave at Wicomicomico.

It would have been easier for us to determine these matters if John Smith had provided the details at the time he returned to Jamestown fresh from the event instead of waiting so many years to include the story.

The Pocahontas movie by Disney is what caused so many of the Native Americans to rise up against the story. Some Native sites that I consulted went so far as to describe Pocahontas as a "traitor to her people", a position I don't think is clear from the written history. This is somewhat refuted by her "official capacity" visiting the Potomac peoples to set up trade agreements at the time of her capture by Captain Argall.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Bob on May 12, 2007, 07:38:34 PM
Thanks for your reply. Now I understand your thoughts more clearly. I knhow its a small point, but I read somewhere that, just as you say, rocks were not common in the area where the events took place. But, that was the very point of using one in an initiation ceremony--because it was rare, because it was odd.

I have an idea that the story might just be true simply because of the way Smith described it---as if  it were a "known" fact. In SAVAGE KINGDOM  the author points out Smith told the Queen of the rescue when Pocahontas visited London.If Smith is to believed it might account for the brevity of the description in the much later book--i.e., thestory was old hat by then and accepted. Of course there's no  way to prove my contention--its just a thought.

I was reading from THE RIVER WHERE AMERICA BEGAN by Bob Deans earlierr today. Its a history of the James River. His view is:  "I's possible thatr she did [rescue him]...though beyond Smith's telling there's no proof  it ever happened at all."  He also says "...historians will debate forever thequestion whether pocahontas actually saved Smith's life."  (Deans, RIVER  at page 73).


Title: Re: American History
Post by: weezo on May 12, 2007, 08:28:01 PM
Bob,

There is so much disbelief of the story among Native Americans, I hesitate to believe it. It is unlikely we will ever know for sure.

I just put the book The River Where America Began on my "to get" list. Haven't heard that one mentioned on the Va history list. Might as well continue reading and collecting books on this subject, since I've got such a good start on it now. And, especially since the James River is the place of many memories over the past 35 years, including where I caught my very first fish, a very frisky small-mouth bass - in the James above Richmond (above the falls).





Title: Re: American History
Post by: Dzimas on May 13, 2007, 06:26:05 AM
Interesting interpretations of Pocahontas.  Reminds me a little of La Malinche, who served as Cortez' interpreter among the Aztecs.  Octavio Paz provided a wonderful essay on her role and how she has been interpreted down through the years in The Labyrinth of Solitude.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Bob on May 13, 2007, 10:54:12 AM
nytempsperdu
                       I wrote the line. I was thinking at the time that there are events and people in everyone's history who are ancilliory to history in general--tht is, they don't play any substinative role but exist on the sidelines. Sometimes they convey messages and lessons as here. These are the stuff of legends and myths. It matters not whether the story of the rescue is true-it teaches children compassion and forgiveness and magnaminity. All societies need legends and myths. We can't survive without them--it a human trait. Why that is  would require a deep discussion of man's psyche.

I deal with people every day whose lives are shattered. What holds them together sometimes is not the truth but the dream, not reality  but their beliefs, no matter how wrong those beliefs may be.  When we as professionals see that, we don't destroy their myths-its what holds them together. The same might be said of nations--myths are sort of like glue---they contain universal ideals and beliefs---things we have in common--things which hold us together.

Too much truth leads to cynicism---add a myth or two, and you get idealism. A healthy blend of idealsm and realism leads to a balanced life.



 


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Bob on May 13, 2007, 11:01:51 AM
A few  questions:

Did Pocahontas  (the real Pocahontas) have any substinative effect on Jamestown or on Americasn History?

What was Opechancanough's role in all of this?

What was the relationship between Powhatan and Opechancanough?

Can we discuss how the Powhatan (the nation, not the man) governed themselves--how did their society function.

Rountree taught me more about their society than she  did about Pocahontas


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Bob on May 13, 2007, 11:07:17 AM
Weezo:

I'm on a Jamestown kick myself. here's two good one's I read over the last  several months:

LOVE AND HATE IN JAMESTOWN by David A Price

POCAHONTAS AND THE POWHATAN DILLEMA by Camilla Townsend

Not on Jamestown itself but  a very good book on Early America as seen from the Indian viewpoint:FACING EAST FROM INDIAN COUNTRY by Daniel J. Richter


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Dzimas on May 13, 2007, 12:25:57 PM
The Pocahontas Myth in a nutshell:

http://www.powhatan.org/pocc.html


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Dzimas on May 13, 2007, 12:42:40 PM
Alan Taylor similarly sums up the situation with Pocahantas on John Smith.  However, he says there was a mock execution staged, which led to Smith being adopted as a subordinate chief within the tribe (American Colonies, p. 132).  Taylor cites The Rise and Fall of the Powhatan Empire among several sources in his bibliography.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: weezo on May 13, 2007, 12:50:45 PM
Bob,

Thanks for the addition to my book list. I've heard good stuff about the Love and Hate book and have already read the Townsend book, but the Looking East is a new title to me. Since I am descended, in part, from the Lenne Lenape tribe in Eastern PA, I do not mind reading about other Indians than the Powhatan.

I think you are right about the myths being the morality lessons for our society. I'm not sure what the moral of George Washington's wooden teeth was, but the morality of his chopping down the cherry tree is quite clear. In my Pocahontas story, I have her delivering food to the colonist in 1608, which is in accordance with known history. I may do another story about her captivity and the love affair with John Rolfe. While we have no idea how Pocahontas actually felt about John Rolfe, since the information from Rountree  suggests that "love" was not considered an essential ingredient in Indian marriages, no fidelity. But, I think Rolfe's letter asking permission to marry her is truly the missive of a man smitten by a maiden.



Title: Re: American History
Post by: Bob on May 13, 2007, 07:32:04 PM
The Lanape's as I remember were out of the Delawares who haled from the New Jersey region. They migrated west as the pressure grew and thus were scattered throughout Pennsylvania under various names.  I think i have a book which covers them somewhat. I'll check.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Bob on May 13, 2007, 07:53:09 PM
Pocahontas, Robert Rich and the Slave Trade

There's an interesting  convergence in history involving all three....Robert Rich, second Earl of Warwick  was a major stockholder in the Virginia Company. Rich was close to James I, but was a very devious man, very manipulative. His father was a privateer under Elizabeth and had become very wealthy as a result. He had a huge fleet of ships. He was an original investor  in Virginia and when he died it passed onto his son. When James I became King, Rich sucked up to him, even though the King hated Puritans (of which Rich was one).  Rich considered Spain as a mortal enemy of England and had vowed to find a way to attack Spain without the King's knowledge or consent--this because the King had signed a peace treaty with Spain and was intent on enforcing it. The treaty forbade privateering between thetwo countrys. Rich was for a more democratic England, James was very autocratic and authoritarian.

Now, Rich had a ship called "TREASURER" and it at one point transported colonists to Jamestown. The ship was owned jointly with Lord Delaware. Both Rich and Deleware, to repeat, were very influential in running Jamestown, Delaware being appointed Governor of the Colony. Commanding the TREASURER  at one point was Samuel Argall, later to be a leader in the Colony also. It was Argall, in command of theTREASURER who captured Pocahontas and of course this led to Pocahontas being introduced to and marrying John Rolfe. It was the TREASURER which transported Pocahontas to England to meet the Queen, being introduced to her by none other than Lord Delaware.  (continued in my next post)


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Bob on May 13, 2007, 08:18:29 PM
Continued:

Whilst in England Rich and Argall and John Rolfe concocted a scheme to make Jamestown into  a pirate base from which to launch attacks against Spain.  It seems that the treaty signed between Spain and England drove many an English nobleman into legitimacy, inclluding Rich's father. Jamestown was part of the legitimacy....but young Rich chose to keep up the old tradition because he feared James I and the Spanish would unite through marriage and that would lead to a return of Catholic monarchs to England.  James was negotiating a marriage for the heir at that time. The TREASURERE was a man opf war and was to be the lead ship in the pirate adventure.

Now, here's how it was done.  Letters of marque  had to be obtained in order to legitimate the operation. This was done through Italy...ever eager to defeat Spain also. But another thing was necessary to cover his hind end--he needed to control the government of Jamestown--since the loot annd booty would come through there. So he arranged to have Rolfe named recorder, and Argall as Deputy  Governor under Delaware. That way they could control the incoming  shipping, the secretary exercised much copntrol in this area.

So right under the Kings nose, Rich was screwing him six ways to Sunday.

OK---now to the nitty gritty. A war in Angola produced a surplus of natives available to be sold into slavery. A Portugese/Spainish ship SAN JAUN BAUTISTA (JOHN THE BAPTIST)  picked up 350 to transport to Vera Cruz. While justa day or so outside of Vera Cruz, it was met by two privateers---THE WHITE LION a British ship out of The Netherlands and TREASURER. They boarded the SAN JAUN and took off some of the natives. THE WHITE LION then headed north and put into Jameston for "provisions."  There it off loaded 20 of the men in return for the provisions. TREASURER showed up a little later, but there's no record of it having carried any Africans at the time.

This is how the slavery began in America--slowly at first, through indenturing--all with the with the aid of John Rolfe recently widowed of Pocahontas, Robert Rich and Samuel Argall.

It was Robert Rich who was instrumental in gettingthe Pilgrims to Plymouth---Very interesting man---someone should write his biography and detail his treachery and accomplishments.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: thanatopsy on May 13, 2007, 08:48:10 PM
I shall venture to guess as to why Pocahontas was made into such a mythic figure and ask for your views:

We already know that the Indigenous Americans were matrilineal.

As you know, it is often a tactic used by bullies to feminize their opponents. A bully will typically call an opponent a 'f*ggot' or 'sissy' and this is a scheme that has been used for a long, long time. 

Could it be that the invaders made her into a mythic figure as part of their campaign to feminize their opponents, at least in the view of their peers? That is to say, they were attempting to portray them as being led by women in order to give the impression that they were weak and deserving of Westernization and conquest for their own good?

This is the recurring thought to me.  Thoughts??


Title: Re: American History
Post by: weezo on May 13, 2007, 09:53:09 PM
Bob,

If you can recommend reading that will lead me to the same conclusion of the piracy intent of John Rolfe, I would like to examine it and discuss it with you further. Sounds like a great story, even if not for a children's story. But, then, children do read and like pirate stories, but it sounds like this one ended too quickly. It is an interesting beginning to slavery.

Also, Bob, I would like to learn more about the Lenne Lenape. We learned about them, as children do, in elementary school, and I did know they were linked to the Delaware. I did not know they were pushed west to end up in Berks County.


Than,

Your theory on why Pocahontas was mythicized is quite interesting. It would seem that the colonists could never make up their minds what these Natives were. Powhatan, they seemed to respect as a king almost equal to their own (but never exactly quite as good), but they seemed to just push aside Opechacanough.... Powhatan had the power and opportunity to wipe them out, and didn't. Opechacanough tried later, but didn't follow through on the 1622 attack. John Smith wrote the Pocahontas story in 1624, after Opechacanough staged his murderous assault against the colonists.

Please tell us more about your theory....


Title: Re: American History
Post by: weezo on May 14, 2007, 03:33:10 PM
NY Temps,

According to Roundtree, fidelity nor love were expected in Powhatan marriages. A woman asked her husband for permission to sleep with someone else, a permission that was freely given. Roundtree does not discuss whether the husbands had to ask permission of their wives to sleep around. Providing for a woman was the determination of a good husband, rather than romantic love.

Yes, Pocahontas was married as a Christian. She had been previously married to a Powhatan before her capture by the Colonists, but Kocoum disappeared from the record. Did he die, releasing her to marry John Rolfe? Or did her baptism wipe out her previous marriage? Myself, I wonder what would have happened had she lived longer. Would she have remained true to her new religion and marriage, or would she at some time become disgusted with either and moved back to her father's home? Many Natives, both in Virginia and Massachusetts, were "converted" for appearances sake and for favoritism from the colonists, but tended to revert back when the favors were withdrawn.

The record shows that the Virginia Company provided a nice sum to Rebecca and John Rolfe to educate the Native children in the Christian religion. Had she lived, how would she have run such a school? Would she have resorted to the strictness and near cruelty Europeans used to raise their children, or would she have put her own stamp on the conversion? I wonder, if the story Bob told yesterday, that John Rolfe may have been involved in an attempt to pursue piracy from Jamestown whether Rebecca would have become a partner in such a matter, or would have perhaps used it as a reason to divorce John Rolfe as unchristian?



Title: Re: American History
Post by: thanatopsy on May 14, 2007, 04:36:03 PM
Please tell us more about your theory....

Hi Weezo!

The British were looking for a ready excuse with which to ''justify'' their invasion of foreign lands.  The New World, they said, was one of naked 'savages' who eat people, worship pagan gods, and are being led by women. In order to 'correct' these deficiencies and to convert to the True Way (Christianity) there arose the need to invade them for their own 'good'.

The 'savages' were said to be led by a fearless young female who was sexually promiscuous, wore no clothes, and who worshiped false pagan gods.  But now she was converted to Christianity, wore elegant clothes, and worshiped God and followed the True Path to eternal salvation. 

For their own good, the British now said, we must invade them, put a sword to their backs, and force them to follow her shining example. After all, isn't evangelization mandated in the Bible?

What the British didn't say was how much plunder they intended to take, how many women and girls they were going to rape, and how many warriors they were going to kill.  Not that any of this was for the good of those 'savages'. But that the real goal was exploitation disguised as a benevolently inspired invasion.

Thus, by feminizing the Natives, some degree of 'justification' for further invasion was dreamed up by the invaders.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Bob on May 14, 2007, 08:01:29 PM
Let me preface this post by saying that I do not consider John Rolfe a pirate. What happened with John Rolfe and others in Jamestown was, pure and simple, a scheme against King James. As I metioned in my posts above, James wanted to marry off one of the heirs to  the British Throne to a Catholic Prince from Spain. Fearlful that this might mean a return to a Catholic Monarchy a la Bloody Mary, guys like Rich and Rolfe and others wanted to undemine the King's effort at keeping peace with the Spanish. One of the ways of doing so was to engage in privateering. Privateering required letters of marque, issued usually from a monarch or his designee. Rich obtained his from Italy. This allowed him to engage in raiding against the Spanish. Thus, under international law at the time, he was not a pirate, but a privateer. This is how his father made his fortune. Rich hoped to instigate war against Spain.

Rolfe's role in all of this was, and remains vague. As Secretary to the Virginia Company he was assigned to oversee all the shipping coming in to the Colony. Since he was one of Rich's guys he could mask the contents of individual ships. Thus, the contraband hauled in by Rich could be concealed. Now, after a while Rich's scheme became known, the King investigated, Rolfe was hauled back to London to explain things--he apparrently did a good enough enough job to be able to return to Jamestown--where he died in the middle of the whole muddled affair. The upshot was the King took over the Colony and instead of being run as a business enterprise under a Company, it became a Royal colony. The importance of that is that the king then started other colonies out of the the rest of the original Virginia Grant. Thus America began to be built--all because of Rich's scheme. The kicker which threw everyone into a tizzy was when the two ships arrived at Jamestown and offloaded the first slaves. Those slaves started a investigation which changed the very nature of settlements in America. It's an interesting point which is seldom written of in American History.

Rich was slowly stripped of power during the affair and had a hellava time fighting with his arch enemy Edward Sandys, another investor in the Virginia Company who dested Rich and his tactics.

The Ambassador from Spain was an instigator in investigating the affair and spent years trying to get the slaves back to their Spanish owner--and never did. When he died and James died--so did the affair. Nobody was imprisoned or beheaded.

I hope everyone is aware that James had Sir Walter Raleigh beheaded for privateering and did so at the instigation of the Spanish ambassador. The King didn't recognize privateering against the Spanish as it violated a treaty he had signed with the Spanish outlawing the practice.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Bob on May 14, 2007, 08:06:35 PM
Keep in mind also that Rich was a Puritan and the King was not. This created animosity between the two. When the Virginia Company was dissolved as a result of the scandal over slaves, plans Rich had to send the Pilgrims to Virginia went down the tube. They subsequently ended up in Plymouth.  So at that point we had a two pronged America--one inthe South composed basically of Church of Englanders and one in the North composed of Dissenters from the Church of England---the division in America which finally led the Civil War began between 1607 and 1620.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Bob on May 14, 2007, 08:15:15 PM
Sources----everybody likes sources:

THE BIRTH OF BLACK AMERICA: THE FIRST AFRICAN AMERICANS AND THE PURSUIT OF FREEDOM AT JAMESTOWN  by Tim Hashaw has the clearest account. His book is about 6 months old. Otherwise you have to piece the story together by combining British and American histories. Hashaw tells it as simply as I've ever read it and has really detailed footnotes using original sources. The  whole affair is really complicated so the reader has to keep his mind concentrated to pick everything up. Hashaw also describes the Angolan empire and the war which resulted in the slaves being shipped here, but whose original destination was Mexico.

For an overall history of the Colony I suggest  SAVAGE KINGDOM by Benjamin Wooley--but there's nary a hint of the scandal in there, it the standard version, but very well organized and well written.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Bob on May 14, 2007, 08:17:27 PM
After we're done with the Slave Scandal maybe we can talk about Opechancanough--he fascinated me when I was reading the book.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: weezo on May 14, 2007, 08:18:34 PM
Bob,

Thanks for the clarification.

Speaking of pirate and privateers reminds me of what a 1st grade teacher said to me about John Paul Jones a number of years ago. Virginia had just compiled their SOLs (learning objectives), and each grade in elementary school had a list of "famous Americans" that were to be learned during that year. On the 1st grade list was John Paul Jones. After the first year, and seeing that the state provided nothing in the way of resources to the teachers to teach this section of social studies, I started my Famous Americans web site. Before I finished, John Paul Jones was pulled off the list.

But in that eventful year, the 1st grade teacher's class came by my computer lab, all wearing huge dark blue floppy construction paper hats, looking, of course, like the cat's meow! Of course, I asked what the hats were for, and the teacher deferred to the students, to reply that they were John Paul Jones hats. I accordingly admired them. The teacher, aside, told me she was at a loss what to teach her little ones about a man who had spent most of his life as a pirate!

When I first did the a Flash program on Pocahontas, right after I retired, I used a DeBry/White picture of an Indian woman with little girl. I ran it by an friend still teaching in an elementary school, and she told me point blank that teachers would not use the Flash biography with the picture of the clearly naked and clearly a little girl, on it. So, I used Photoshop and scrubbed a bit of cloth over the girl, and it was fine, and is greatly appreciated. Sometimes, especially for elementary students, reality can be too real!



Title: Re: American History
Post by: Bob on May 15, 2007, 04:14:00 AM
It was a scandal because Rich was screwing his King, undermining his policies, violating treaties, and making a bundle of bucks on the side. He had padded the payroll in Virginia and used the Company for his private profit and to instigate a war with Spain. If anyone did that today, they would  have him in prison for at least 50 years.

As to Slavery, it was common in those days, but not in England. The King was opposed to slavery and opposed to privateeering, legal or illegal. For Rich and his men to bring Africans into Jamestown was a very big event indeed. The Spanish wanted their property back--this was just the type of dispute Rich wanted--he wanted England and Spain at each other's throat. The difficulty was it was hard to determine the legal status of the Africans--were they indentured servants (perfectly legal) or were they slaves (not so legal).  To this day it's hard to answer the question except to say that within 15 or 20 years slavery was well established in Virginia.

Rich, by the way, was quite a survivor and was an instigator of the English Civil War years later. I wonder if there arny biograhies of him?


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Bob on May 15, 2007, 04:20:28 AM
Good ole John Paul Jones....he's an object lesson in how one can be a hero and a bum at the same time. It all depends on whose ox is being gored...it all depends on from what angle one looks at things. Ther's good and bad in all of us. I can't recall, but was John Paul Jones a privateer? Don't forget privateering was not only legal, but was looked on as patriotice. Private enterprise was doing the job the national navy could not. Privateers were not pirates, except, of course, in the eyes of those who  were targets under the letters of marque--it all depends on whose side one was on.


Title: American Colonies
Post by: Dzimas on May 15, 2007, 07:02:55 AM
Started in on Taylor's American Colonies.  Nice the way he described the pre-history of America, noting that it is speculative at best.  He made a number of salient observations such as Anasazi being a generic term (derived from Navajo as I remembered) and that the pueblo Indians were forced to relocate to the Rio Grande and other areas of the Four Corners Region due to an extended draught.  Also talks a bit about the Mississippi region, noting the immense size of the earth mounds that dwarfed the Aztec and Mayan pyramids of Meso-America.  Bob, are we going to have the discussion on American Colonies here are at the other site?


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Bob on May 15, 2007, 05:43:11 PM
Well, No...there a lot more in the Rountree book than Pocahontas. There's the whole way of life of the Powhatan peoples and of Powhatan himself and his half brother Opechancanough. We can spend weeks discussing the book.


Title: Re: American Colonies
Post by: Bob on May 15, 2007, 05:47:50 PM
Started in on Taylor's American Colonies.  Nice the way he described the pre-history of America, noting that it is speculative at best.  He made a number of salient observations such as Anasazi being a generic term (derived from Navajo as I remembered) and that the pueblo Indians were forced to relocate to the Rio Grande and other areas of the Four Corners Region due to an extended draught.  Also talks a bit about the Mississippi region, noting the immense size of the earth mounds that dwarfed the Aztec and Mayan pyramids of Meso-America.  Bob, are we going to have the discussion on American Colonies here are at the other site?

How did you get the topic to read AMERICAN COLONIES? I don't know how to do that.

Anyhow, I was going hold the AMERICAN COLONIES discussion on the other site since it started there?

I'm going to start reading the book today. I've read sections of it over  the last year or so and I like it.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: weezo on May 15, 2007, 05:57:23 PM
Bob,

I am glad to see that the discussion on the Pocahontas book is not at a premature end. There is much more known about Powhatan, and a little bit more than on Pocahontas about Opechacanough. I did enjoy the diversion to Rich and the pirates.

I was reading a mag waiting for the dentist this morning, and there was a big story about Powhatan's Mantle in this glossy coffee-table book. Sadly, it was full of errors. The article had Powhatan on the shore meeting the settlers and presenting them with this mantle on their arrival. Powhatan never went to Jamestown, did not meet them on the shore, but had them brought to him in his state room. And, he gave his "old" mantle to John Smith in exchange for the red suit of clothing and crown with fake jewels. Whatever possessed someone to publish that pile of rubbish!




Title: Re: American History
Post by: Bob on May 15, 2007, 06:05:55 PM
Weezo:

I didn't forget the Lenapes... I was up in B&N again today and couldn't find anything decent on the subject, but I haven't looked through my stuff yet'

Participating in forums like this  has  led to a very dramatic increase in the number of book I buy. I collect books anyway, but over the past several years the number of new books I buy as really gone up and there  is a clear connection with the subject being discussed in the forum. Today is no exception. I went to B&N to return a book I bought in error (I already bought the book, in fact I had already read it). While i was looking for something on the Lenapes I ran across a book on the Lost Roanoke Colony. Raleigh's adventure. Anyhow, it has a lot of information on South Carolina Algonquins and some information on Jamestown. You might want to look at when you go to a bookstore or the library. Title: ROANOKE: THE ABANDONED COLONY by Karen Kupperman.  It's in paperback  and goes for $15.95

I read the last two chapters, which were of interest in what we are discussing--colonization and the difficulties which go along with their establishment and also information ofn privateering. (These guys were  a bunch of legitimate thieves--privateering revenues comprised 15% of the national income of England).



Title: Re: American History
Post by: Bob on May 15, 2007, 06:08:18 PM
I just read your latest post. There certainly is a lot of misinformation on the subject.

How 'bout we go on to another area from the Rountree book?


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Bob on May 15, 2007, 06:19:43 PM
Weezo:

I just remembered where to look in my collection. There are two fine books I have which concentrate on the Northeastern Tribes and Nations. Both will give you good information on the Delaware Nation in Pennsylvania.

INTO THE AMERICAN  WOODS: NEGOTIATORS ON THE PENNSYLVANIA FRONTIER by James H. Merrrell

AT THE CROSSROADS: INDIANS AND EMPIRES ON A MID ATLANTIC FRONTIER  1700-1763  by Jane T. Merritt

Both are available in paperback.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Bob on May 15, 2007, 06:22:55 PM
I have to leave right now, but I'll probably post again before the end of the evening


Title: Re: American History
Post by: weezo on May 15, 2007, 07:30:54 PM
Bob,

Thanks for the many book recommendations.

I think you were the one who recommended "What Would Jefferson Do?" by Thom Hartman. I am reading it now and finding in it much ammunition for the discussion on the National forum (the political arguments). I keep finding refutements for the arguments of the conservatives, of which there is one very nasty one in the forum. It will be fun to keep that book nearby, stuck with my innumerable booksmarks of delightful passages.

I have found it amusing how people stick to beliefs. I have an online course called Famous Americans which runs continuously, so people do not get the opportunity to discuss the lessons with each other before doing the assignments and taking the quiz. One of the points in the basic lesson is that we are uncertain which disease claimed Pocahontas' life. There are a number of links to various online resources for the student to peruse, and most of them claim one or another disease as her cause of death. On the quiz, I find a lot of people miss the question on the cause of her death, choosing one specific disease rather than the correct answer "any of the above"..... There is no concensus on which disease they choose, but it is obvious that folks would rather know which one absolutely rather than believe we aren't sure.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: playa on May 15, 2007, 08:53:17 PM
Playa....I've not read much of   Lerone Bennett Jr  but I have read of how controversial some of his views are. He created a stir a while back with his FORCED INTO GLORY whereion he  charged that Lincoln was a racist. I don't have a copy of BEFORE THE MAYFLOWER, so I can't coment on it. I've always wanted to read it but never got around to ordering a copy.

Yes I have read  comments about the book"Forced Into Glory" .

Before The Mayflower traces black history from it's origins in the Great Empires of Western Africa, the transatlantic journeyto slavery, through Reconstruction, the Jim Crow era, and the civil rights upheavals of the 1960's and 1970's. Interspersed throughout the book are portraits of seminal figures in the struggles for freedom, and a completely updated section high-lights black pioneers and their accomplishmebts.



"One would have to be cursed with a half a heart not to be moved by the human passion recorded here."-The Chicago Tribune


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Bob on May 16, 2007, 07:43:04 PM
caclark: How do we gauge its impact on the subsequent course of events?

Actually we don't. There's no way to guage the impact of the visit. In my opinion the visit wasa PR event (one of the firtst of its kind) to drum up support and money to keep the colony from failure. Don't forget, Jamrestown was a business venture, and at that point in time, was falling apart. Rich and others decided to send her and others over to England knowing they would be received by the King's Court with the utmost curiosity and in a favorable light. They were "using" her. Of course, Powhatan  was "using" Uttamatomakkin to gather intellighence regarding the English--to get an idea of just how powerful they were.

Rountree says this: "Pocahontas's visit to England was a propoganda venture subsidized by the Virginia Company  of London. That may sound harsh, but it is true nevertheless."  (Rountree page 176)

I do agree with you that she (Pocahontas) serves well in the realm of myth and legend, but substinatively little more than that. Rountree further points out  that "nobody in  Virginia,elsewhere in America, or in England seems to have taken much interest in either Pocahontas or her descendants  until well after 1800." (Rountree, page 186)That's a very telling point. She was largely forgotten or just plain ignored.

The mythic presentations have a lot to do with Henry Adams and with Souhern Heritage---emerging out of the "Lost Cause" tradition.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Bob on May 16, 2007, 07:52:26 PM
Hashaw (THE BIRTH OF BLACK AMERICA) agrees with Rountree that Pocahontas and her son  were sent to England "to convince the public that whites and natives were getting along  and to promote the colony as a solid investment."  (Hashaw, page 47) "The Pocahontas tour was a propoganda blitz to obscure bad news  coming from the colony, to encourage  investorsto stay on board, and to persuade reluctant Englishmen to migrate to Jamestown" (Hashaw, page 47)

So the best we can say is that it was a very successful tour, probably one of the most succesful in all of our history.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Bob on May 16, 2007, 08:08:36 PM
 Weezo: I think you were the one who recommended "What Would Jefferson Do?" by Thom Hartman

Not I, but I've see it on the book shelves at B&N. How is it?

Speaking of books in general (and way off the subject) have you seen Vincent Bugliosi's (he of HELTER SKELTER fame) RECLAIMING HISTORY,a 1600+ page recapituation of the Kennedy Assassination evidence. It weighs in at 5.5 pounds of reading and goes for a mere $50. It's not just "another Kennedy book."  I might just buy it and read just to say I did!!!


Title: Re: American History
Post by: weezo on May 16, 2007, 09:53:30 PM
Bob,

What would Jefferson Do? is a very interesting book. It is more about modern politics and the history that led up to it, similar perhaps to the People's History of the United States, but it focuses more on the various administrations. It makes a point that in the "corporatism" thrust of the government since Reagan, Clinton was no shining star exception. He also went along with giving human rights, and the power to control the government, to the corporations in lieu of the human people. He also makes a very interesting case for the "naturalism" of democracy as being that practiced in many/most tribal groups.

In this Powhatan seems to have been a bit more of a tyrant than other tribal leaders, but perhaps it is the soil of the European translations of the man that I read in the Jamestown Narratives that gives him somewhat of the face of a treacherous man. Indeed, he was trying to save his people and their way of life. So I'm not sure how much "treachery" he can really be guilty of. Rather than staging the assault that would have wiped out the colonists at many times during his mamanotowickship, he let it wait for Opechacanough to do in 1622 and let effectively again in 1644.

Rountree suggests that originally the decision of whether to sell the corn to the interlopers may have rested with the women. But, undoubtedly, the colonists would not have done business with the women. Yet, it was the women who raised the corn, and who had to forrage for the alternative foods in the event the corn did not last until the next harvest.



Title: John Adams
Post by: Dzimas on May 17, 2007, 01:39:33 AM
Bob, you can change the subject heading to whatever you like.  I see that Adams has finally made it on a coin:

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20070516/ap_on_go_ot/dollar_coin

Chartres should be happy about that.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: weezo on May 17, 2007, 03:25:42 PM
If I remember correctly, Sally's grave is unknown. It has been discussed on the Va History list before, and the location is not known. There has never been mention of it being under a parking lot. If it were, I suspect there would be historians in Virginia demanding that the parking lot be torn up to find her remains.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: weezo on May 17, 2007, 04:01:01 PM
NY Temps,

Last summer I had an ideological argument with a woman who was a lawyer and married to a Virginia legislator. Both of these made the discussion problematic for me. We started out discussing TJ, and ended up on the Civil War.

Relevent to the discusssion here, she asserted that the relationship between TJ and Sally Hemmings could NOT have happened, because TJ was an honorable man and prayed every day. My reply to her is that one of sisters hopes that it will someday be proved true beyond a shadow of a doubt, since that would make her son a descendent of Thomas Jefferson, throught the "white" Hemmings. Her mouth dropped open and she had no answer.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Lhoffman on May 17, 2007, 04:35:36 PM
CaClark...here's the whole article.   I probably should delete it in a few days.


A Mysterious Grave Haunts a Town
 
By TINA KELLEY
Published: July 2, 2000
A tale of history tinged with mystery caught the attention of the Orange County, N.Y., hamlet of Southfields yesterday, as two amateur historians declared that in their midst (sort of) lay the bones (maybe) of a heretofore unknown descendant of Thomas Jefferson.

The local newspaper, The Times Herald-Record of Middletown, announced on its front page yesterday that the historians, Roger A. King of Monroe, N.Y., and Robert Brennan of Pine Bush, N.Y., might have found the younger Jefferson's grave in an old Orange County cemetery.

The paper cited the discovery of two pieces of a tombstone, one belonging to a man named Thomas Jefferson who had died in 1855, the other reading ''son of Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings'' -- the slave long believed to have borne children by him.

Mr. King and Mr. Brennan called a news conference to repeat their findings yesterday afternoon at the Red Apple Restaurant, on Route 17 in Southfields. Speaking to about 35 people, over the clatter of cutlery and coffee cups, they described parts of their theory: that Sally Hemings gave birth in 1809 to an eighth child, a son, that she had with Thomas Jefferson. And that the boy, Thomas Jr., was brought north soon afterward to New York, out of slavery, by Elizabeth Monroe, who later became the nation's fifth first lady and who was a friend of Hemings's.

An eighth child of Jefferson and his slave mistress, and a New Yorker, at that? Big news, if true: in the long-running debate over whether Jefferson and Hemings had children together, and if so how many, historians usually stop at seven. In 1998, an article in the scientific journal Nature reported that DNA tests provided compelling evidence that Jefferson fathered at least one of Hemings's children.

Mr. King and Mr. Brennan presented as evidence two sisters who claimed to be descendants of the newly discovered Thomas Jefferson Jr.. They recalled how one of their uncles had researched the family tree -- then stopped, mysteriously. There were rumors in the family, the women said, that he had discovered the connection between Jefferson and his mistress, and the uncle did not want to know more.

Soon after the news conference, a few dozen people, including a handful of reporters and photographers, walked from the restaurant to the John Coffey Jr. Cemetery in Southfields, a small, lumpy knoll with stones in various stages of disrepair. There, they saw the stone that read ''In memory of Thomas Jefferson who died April 25, 1855 Ae 46 Yrs & 12 Ds.''

But the piece of stone identifying him as a son of Jefferson and Hemings was nowhere to be found. The same was true of Mr. King, who was, it turned out, one of the few people around claiming to have actually seen the second half of the gravestone. He had given rubbings of the stone to Mr. Brennan, who has not seen the actual stone, and Chris Sonne, the historian for the town of Tuxedo, who accompanied Mr. King to the graveyard Friday on a fruitless search for the second piece of the stone.

After Mr. King left the restaurant for parts unknown, Mr. Sonne said, ''I have every reason to believe it to exist, because you can't fake an etching, but I am really somewhat mystified.''

Jefferson scholars reached by telephone yesterday were not about to jump on the next plane to Orange County.

''I would be the last person to say anything is impossible, but it strikes me as very unlikely,'' said Annette Gordon-Reed, a professor at New York Law School and author of ''Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings: An American Controversy'' (University Press of Virginia, 1997). The child, she said, would have to have been conceived a month and a half after Hemings gave birth to her son Eston, and there was no later child listed in Jefferson's farm book, which lists Hemings's other children.

Dr. Gordon-Reed said the discovery of the tombstone raises the unlikely possibility of there being three Jefferson sons named Thomas: Thomas Eston, who went by his middle name; the Southfields Thomas; and Thomas Woodson, some of whose descendants claim the relation, though DNA testing has cast doubt on it.

There is also the problem of the memoirs of Madison Hemings, whom Dr. Gordon-Reed considers one of the four known children of Jefferson and Hemings (the others were Beverly, Harriet and Eston.)

''He lists his siblings, and Eston, he says, is the last one,'' said Dr. Gordon-Reed, who is now writing a biography of the Hemings family. ''Why wouldn't he know this kid? He would have been somebody he grew up with, just like his other siblings.''

And family tradition claiming descent from the famous couple does not count for much, she added. ''If all the people who claim to be descendants of Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings really were,'' Dr. Gordon-Reed said, ''she would have had hundreds of children.

''It may be possible, but there's nothing that indicates if it's true. Right now there's nothing in the documentary record that supports it.''

Joseph J. Ellis, a history professor at Mount Holyoke College and author of ''American Sphinx: The Character of Thomas Jefferson'' (Alfred A. Knopf, 1997) also said the new claims appeared doubtful.

''Let's listen to what the men have to say, but the historical evidence we do have doesn't seem to take a shape that makes this very likely,'' he said.

''There has never been in any of the record -- either in the written or oral traditions, on the white or black side of the argument that has been going on in the longest-running soap opera in American history -- any previous claim that a child was born after Eston.''

At the news conference, Mr. King said he was unfazed by such questions, which he had expected.

''I don't have a problem with anybody doubting,'' he said. ''That's how the truth will come out.''




Title: Re: American History
Post by: bosox18d on May 18, 2007, 02:14:33 AM
The thurs NYTimes arts section had an article that"American Heritage" mag has ceased publication.The website seems to be active for now.It's sad cause they had a pretty healthy subscription base over 300,000 but the current publisher has been trying to sell it with no takers.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Bob on May 18, 2007, 05:33:17 AM
I'll comment on the Jefferson/Hemmings  thing and Jefferson in general  later today or maybe on the weekend. I'm getting ready for work right now.

Good Lord, Bosx, AMERICAN HERITAGE is an American Icon. What am I going to do? It's a magazine I've read every issuer of since it started. I can't recall no reading an issue. My subscription is probably 30 years old (I used to get from the library before that or just buy them in New York). What a loss!!! [Hey!!! I just sent them a budle of bucks for a three year renewal--I hope they don't cash my check).


Title: Jefferson and Hemings
Post by: Dzimas on May 18, 2007, 10:12:57 AM
It has been suggested that it was a cousin of Jefferson who had children with Sally Hemings and not Jefferson himself.  The tell-tale features ran through the family.  But, it did seem that Jefferson held the Hemings close to him in many ways, as they were inherited slaves.  Anyway, it has been a while since I read anything on the debate.  McLaughlin in Jefferson at Monticello spent some time on the subject, suggesting that Jefferson felt a special closeness to Sally and her brother, James, both of whom he took to Paris with him, but said there was nothing to support that an affair began there.  Jefferson had James Hemings trained as a professional cook, while Sally attended a finishing school.  There was some talk that they might even seek their freedom in France, but apparently Jefferson offered James his freedom if he trained someone else in his newfound culinary skills when he got back to Monticello.  As for Jefferson's love interests, he was apparently obsessed with Maria Cosway.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: weezo on May 18, 2007, 01:01:44 PM
CAClark and Dzimas,

I have seen the arguments on a "male in the family" for the paternity of Sally Hemmings children, but I don't think it any more honorable for Jefferson to have invited family members to muss with the help than for him to do it himself. It is not unusual for men to have more than one female "lover", one for show to the public, and one for the quiet times at home. Jefferson loved Monticello and his time there. Some of Sally's children were so light as to be "passing white" and Jefferson did not bother to chase them when the "escaped" and moved away. I think it was Madison Hemming who moved to Ohio and gave evidence to a reporter that he was the son of Sally and TJ. Since he was "passing white", it was believable. He was said to bear quite a resemblence to TJ.

The official stand of Monticello is to accept that it is likely true, especially with the new DNA pointers. There are some among the Jefferson descendent who vehemently disagree and denounce any possibility that it was true. The fact that TJ did not deny it, suggests to me that there is some truth to the story.

On my last visit to Monticello, they were considering re-building the slave quarters on the property. Mulberry Row will again have walls and roofs instead of just foundations and chimneys. The nailery, where the young slave boys worked (and did a fair share of playing and mischief) is scheduled for restoration.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Bob on May 18, 2007, 02:19:09 PM
Keep this in mind -- the Hemming slaves came through the Randolph holdings. The Randolphs and the Jeffersons were related (cousins, I believe). The DNA overlaps--therefore it is just as possible that  Hemmings had  relations and children through the Randolph family as through Jefferson himself. Many historians accept the very real possibility that Jefferson had relations with Hemmings and therfore fathered children by her--but it is by no means certain by any stretch. Believe it if you will, but the tests only open the door to possibility rather than probability. Jefferson had Randolph blood running through his veins.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Bob on May 18, 2007, 02:24:35 PM
http://www.monticello.org/plantation/hemingscontro/hemings_report.htm

This is what the Jefferson people say to the Hemmings paternity possibility.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Bob on May 18, 2007, 02:28:36 PM
http://www.monticello.org/plantation/hemingscontro/hemings_report.html

Sorry--this will llink you directly


Title: Re: American History
Post by: caclark on May 18, 2007, 05:29:06 PM
"The author of the Minority Report of the DNA Study Committee would like to conclude with a statement: If the Thomas Jefferson Foundation and the DNA Study Committee majority had been seeking the truth and had used accurate legal and historical information rather than politically correct motivation, their statement should have been something like this: "After almost two hundred years of study including recent DNA information, it is still impossible to prove with absolute certainty whether Thomas Jefferson did or did not father any of Sally Hemings five children." This statement is accurate and honest and it would have helped discourage the campaign by leading universities (including Thomas Jefferson's own University of Virginia), magazines, university publications, national commercial and public TV networks, and newspapers to denigrate and destroy the legacy of one of the greatest of our founding fathers and one of the greatest of all of our citizens."  

The above paragraph concluded Wallenborn’s reply to the response. I wish he had explained what he meant by "politically correct motivation” on the part of fellow committee members he took issue with. More troubling is his suspicion of a broad-based campaign encompassing academia, publishing, and broadcasting to “denigrate and destroy the legacy of one of the greatest of our founding fathers."

I would not describe his frame of mind as dispassionate, much less collegial when he was composing that.



Title: Re: American History
Post by: weezo on May 18, 2007, 06:43:00 PM
Lucinda C. "Cinder" Staunton was the historian at Monticello who helped me research the details of Jefferson's life for my story on Jefferson when he was considering the Louisiana Purchase: http://www.educationalsynthesis.org/books/History/Louisiana.html

Cinder is the one who told me that TJ kept a mockingbird in the white house, and explained the culture of the Monticello Muffins for breakfast. I had thought with his pechant for things French, he may have had waffles made on his imported waffle-maker, but Cinder said that at the time, waffles were a desert, not a breakfast.

I think Cinder did a great job of refuting the "minority report", which was not at all enhanced by the rebuttal to the refutation of the minority report. It is just more posturing about a Virginia man. And, as I have learned since I moved to Virginia, far too many Virginia men think with their middle leg!


Title: Re: American History
Post by: caclark on May 18, 2007, 06:50:14 PM
"....are all TJ's achievements negated by his acting the way others before and since have acted?"

Not as far as I'm concerned. It was Jefferson's gifted pen that wrote much of the Declaration of Independence, one of the most remarkable political documents of all time. Whatever the truth is about his relationship to Miss Hemmings is not going to change that. If he sired every one of her children, that wouldn't diminish his standing in my eyes. And if he was never once intimate with her, I wouldn't think any more highly of him than I do. But I guess it's important to some people.

Wallenborn made some well-reasoned arguments that must be considered. But he doesn't help his case by impugning the professional integrity of his academic colleagues, which he did by questioning the Foundation's and the DNA group's desire to seek the truth. His dissenting view was solicited and included by the chairman. No point of view appears to have been suppressed and that's how it should be in a collaborative academic effort. But Wallenborn ends his solo contribution on such a shrill note that it grabs one's attention right away.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: weezo on May 18, 2007, 07:02:26 PM
NY Temp,

I have never heard anything about that one, ever, ever, ever. What son would they be referring to? TJ had two daughters. Unless they are saying he had built such contraptions for his mullato sons.

While TJ did invest some stuff, calling them contraptions would be a bit of an exaggeration. He collected scientific devises such as telescopes and such, and he had a table made which could be called a contraption, that let him write a copy at the same times as he was writing an original by a connection between the pen he was using and a pen writing the copy. I don't think I'd call his double-paned windows, the first storm windows a "contraption", nor would I consider the seven day clock a contraption.

But, if you really want to find out, I'll look up Cinder's address for you, or you could just write to the Monticello web page and someone will surely answer your question!!!


Title: Re: American History
Post by: weezo on May 18, 2007, 07:13:06 PM
The following article is a statement about the condition of research in history at the crossroads of the 20th and 21st century. Fausz mentions a number of the books we are reading about Pocahontas and the Powhatans, and makes negative statements about most including Rountree's book. Fausz has been on the Virgniia History list for some time (as appropriate for someone researching Virginia history who lives half a country away). She was in Jamestown for the big celebration last weekend, and shared her comments with us. She was most underimpressed by the Virginia highway system.

http://hnn.us/articles/38375.html


Title: Re: American History
Post by: weezo on May 18, 2007, 10:24:43 PM
Someone on the History list just commented on the article and mentioned that Fausz is a she not a he. I've corrected my post, and thank you for pointing out my error. She speaks in a scholarly way and does not drag anyone through the mud, IMHO.

To my way of thinking "contraption" is a Rube Goldberg sort of thing. Lots of levers, wheels, and chutes. Jefferson's inventions were practical things. One of his inventions was a lift to bring wine up from the cellar into the dining room. In the basement of Monticello are several wine rooms with access to that lift, and a beer room as well. Of course, they are no longer stocked. Across from the spirits, is a showcase of the china of the house - some very lovely pieces.

If you are asking about a bit of trivia, there is no reason to want to do so anonymously. You will not get a hateful response, but an honest one. If you really feel very embarassed about asking your question, I can ask it for you. I would probably put it on the VA History email List which is regularly read by the staff at Monticello. I may get a private response, or just one on the list so that others who have heard that trivia have an answer.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Bob on May 19, 2007, 12:44:31 AM
Re:Fred Fausz

Too freakin' bad everybody in this world is wrong about Jamestown. I guess he's the sole proud possessor ofthe truth. "Touched by the hand of God"  I suppose. The man gives the impression that everyone is an idiot. Well, I for one accept authors will make mistakes, perpetuate myths and generally err---after all, historians are just asw human as others. But, to give him his due, I'll read his book when it comes out--but I'm sure he'll make mistakes just like he others. I hope he can take the criticism.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Bob on May 19, 2007, 01:03:23 AM

[/quote]I was told another bit of trivia about Monticello ages and ages ago and had honest-to-God forgotten until just this moment and have no idea whether it is false: that TJ invented some contraption for his son's bed so as to be able to tell if/when he was masturbating.  Have you ever heard such, or was someone else's leg (3rd?) being pulled?[/quote]

I've read about 30  or so books on Thomas Jefferson and have scanned or looked at well over 100 duringthe course of the last 50 years. I never heard that one before.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Bob on May 19, 2007, 01:28:20 AM
http://inventors.about.com/gi/dynamic/offsite.htm?site=http://cti.itc.virginia.edu/%7Emeg3c/classes/tcc313/200Rprojs/jefferson%5Finvent/invent.html

Thomas Jefferson's inventions--nothing about the infamous M detector


Title: Jefferson and Monticello
Post by: Dzimas on May 19, 2007, 01:40:20 AM
Jefferson didn't have any boys, so someone was pulling your leg on that one, nytempsperdu.  What he did have was a bed that opened to both his bedroom and office as it was sandwiched in between a thick wall.  He apparently wanted to be able to crawl out of bed and go straight into his office in the middle of the night, so his ideas wouldn't escape him.  His wife had died long before he moved into Monticello (a fifty year process).  They spent their years together in a 16 x 16 foot building that came to be one of the gazebos of the hilltop estate.  McLaughlin describes how Monticello was more folly than a work of genius, as it would have made much more sense to build the classic-revival mansion at the base of the hill, rather than atop, as it would have been closer to the water source.  As it was his slaves had to haul water from the base of the hill to the top each day like a pack of mules.  He also tried a number of things which he hoped to parlay into business such as making his own nails.  None of his business efforts succeeded, and he amassed an incredible debt during his time.  So much so, that Monticello and his slaves were sold at auction to cover his debts.


Title: Jefferson and Sally
Post by: Dzimas on May 19, 2007, 01:54:47 AM
As I understand it, the Hemings were mullato slaves to begin with, so Randolph blood already ran through their veins.  Sally was apparently quite a beauty with strong features that led many to assume that the Hemings family were as much descended from the Randolphs as they were themselves.  Most accounts show that Jefferson had a strong interest in Sally, like he would a daughter.  He had lost one daughter by this point.  Whether this interest changed once she grew older is anyone's guess, but there is no account to prove or disprove a sexual relationship between the two.  All one can do is speculate on the subject, which has fascinated historians to no end.  As a widower through most of his life, it is hard to imagine Jefferson not having sexual urges toward his slaves, especially one as beautiful as Sally, but there is no solid physical evidence to say that he did.  The best evidence McLaughlin put forward was some wood shutters Jefferson had placed on his north-facing bedroom which he assumed could only be placed for privacy.  However, symmetry was also very important to Jefferson, so the shutters probably were meant to balance the opposite sides of the building.  The Hemings descendants more than anyone else have fostered this "myth" over the last two centuries.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Bob on May 19, 2007, 08:17:24 AM
Sally Hemmings had an uncanny resemblance to Martha Wales who was Jefferson's wife. It was more than apparrent that there had been  something going on in the generation BEFORE Jefferson entered the picture--(Got the picture)?


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Bob on May 19, 2007, 08:39:12 AM
There is evidence that Jefferson had Aspergeres (sic) disease. These people are  loners by nature. I agree with Dzimas, there is no evidence to support the theorythat Jefferson had sexual relations with anyone after his wife died . He did fall in love with Maria Cosway when he alledgedy going to bed with Sally Hemmings at the same time. The behavior doesn't make sense at that time. it just doesn't fit that Jefferson, an eternal loner, suddenly had two "things" going at the same time. What we have evidence of is that someone in the Randolph/ Jefferson line went to bed with her at sometime in her life. What we have also is evidence through resemblance that Sally Hemming might have been a product of a union between Martha Wales' father and Sally's mother.

I waver back annd forth on the subject.

By the way, how did we get from the James River to Monticello, from 1607 to 1807?  Was there a glitch in the time continuum?

It is an interesting discussion. The subject is such that it reasonable arguments can be made on both sides. I just don't think we can rely soley on DNA to the exclusion of other factors.  It's like the Kennedy assassination and the reliance on "possibilities"  regarding  "possible"  other shooters who "might possibly" been involved in a "possible" conspiracy. All of which ignores probabilities and weighty evidence that nobody else was involved.  So,yes, it's possible Jefferson and Hemmings hit the sack together--but the probabilities run the other way---that is, you can't prove a negative--ie., you can't prove Jefferson DIDN'T go to bed with her and produce children. Hence, the question doesn't lend itself to any definitive answer, not now, not  ever.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: weezo on May 19, 2007, 12:23:17 PM
Bob,

I think it is less that Jefferson was a loner than that he was a private person. He frequently entertained at Monticello and visited his neighbors on a regular basis.

Aspergers is not a "disease" it is a "condition". And, this is the first I have heard it asserted to Jefferson. The "affair" with Sally Hemmings, if it was, was of long duration since Sally had six children, all of whom were conceived when Jefferson was in residence at Monticello. She had no other children. Unlike you, I have little doubt that it took place. And, I do not think it diminishes TJ's major efforts in life any more than if he had married her, which was forbidden by Virginia law at the time. I refuse to dismiss the oral tradition of the Hemmings family so easily.

I am also thinking about the time Sally and Thomas lived in France. The French offered a home to Sally free of slavery, yet she chose to return to slavery with TJ. Sally and one of her sons were educated while in France, and her son opted for freedom after he had learned a good trade. Sally did not. Why not? I think, and it may be MHO, that she and Jefferson were in love, or at least she was in love and chose not to stay behind when he lover moved home.



Title: Re: American History
Post by: Bob on May 19, 2007, 01:41:34 PM
It's actually a syndrome, but I apologize for the error. I meant to use the term syndrome and couldn't think of it at the time and went for disease (and I work in the field). Anyhow, there's a good book on it. Some call it speculative, but its an interesting proposition if true.

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1885477600/doctorzebra-20

I'll go along with him being very private. I'll also go along with the proposition that there are very reasonable arguments  in favor of an affair. As to France offering her freedom I'll have to check, but my memory is that they did not offer her or the son freedom in the sense that some representative approached her or the son in writing or even verbally on the matter. Slavery was not allowed in France. Once she hit French soil she was free under French Law. As I understand it Jefferson either offered her freedom for herself and her family  at a later date oir that she just plain didn't exercise her right. She chose to return to America with him.  I have a couple of books on the affair. I'll check them whenm I come back home later in the day.

I also separate a person's accomplishments  free of much of their personal life. I would not allow the affair to detract from his greatness. The thing which bothers me most, though, concerning Jefferson is his proclivity to tell pepole what they want to hear and then act another way. It leads, validly, to charges of hypocracy. When dealing with Jefferson, look not at what he says, rather look at what he does. Look at his actual behavior, not his ideology.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: weezo on May 19, 2007, 02:21:01 PM
Bob,

My information on the possibility of freedom for Sally in France came from An Intimate History by Fawn Brodie. You may have other sources that would be better.

It is a conundrum for people trying to understand TJ and Slavery. He wrote against it, but practiced it. Last thing I read on the issue said that he couldn't free his slaves because he would not provide enough funds for them to resettle them in an area free from slavery. Those who chose to "escape", he never pursued. In his will, he told his daughter about Sally to "give her her time", which meant she was free from slavery, but not legally emancipated so that she would not have to move away from Virginia. TJ was rather extravagant in his use of money. He inherited debt from his father-in-law, but amassed quite a debt on his own. He was a great lover of the finer things in life, and there are some who believe that had he been more frugal he would have been able to free his slaves comfortably. TJ is hard to study. He is an enigma.

I am not comfortable with those who attempt to go back in history and "diagnose" famous people. When Learning Disability was the new disorder on the block, there were great efforts to find famous people who could be described as having the disorder. Some of the grounds were pretty shoddy. My sister, with two autistic children, is typically skeptical about most of those diagnoses, but feels it is helpful to give autistic children heroes they can look up to.





Title: Jefferson in Paris
Post by: Dzimas on May 19, 2007, 03:30:20 PM
Weezo,

Sally was in her teens when in Paris, as was her older brother, James.  I already mentioned this upstream.  Sally accompanied Jefferson's daughter over to France and served Jefferson as a chambermaid.  It is very unlikely that any affair took place in Paris, since Jefferson was mostly interested in Maria Cosway at the time.  James was apparently offered freedom but chose to return to Monticello, as Jefferson promised him his freedom if he passed on his newly acquired culinary skills to another slave, which James did and earned his freedom.  However, James wasn't able to find his place in the world.  At one point, he had even returned to Monticello where Jefferson took him back as a cook, but James was apparently too restless, and moved on.  He committed suicide a short while later.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Bob on May 19, 2007, 07:57:57 PM
Weezo

Rather than make too much of the syndrome, even though he had no problems at all--my thoughts on the matter remain the same. I can understand wariness regarding ascribing psychiatric or medical diagnoses to historical figures. But keep in mind you are citing Brodie, the very author and the very book which opened the door regarding the proposition that Jefferson had emotional problems. Brodies book is highly accurate. I read it when it first came out. There are works after that which expand on her. One of the best is THE PARIS YEARS OF THOMAS JEFFERSON by William Adams. Adams implies that a deal was struck with Sally Hemmings. Her return to America with Jefferson would assure the freedom of her family. Keep in mind that Jefferson brought her to Paris with his daughter Polly, and Hemmings was her "servant". Given the fact that  Wales was the father of Sally Hemmings, she (Sally Hemmings) was therefore her(Sally's) aunt. Sally Hemmings was the half sister of Jefferson's deceased wife, Martha. That's more the connection with Jefferson than anything else. (See pages 219-222 in Adams)


I quite agree with the rest of your post. Jefferson was a bunch of contradictions. I ascribe it to the difference between his words and actions. He was  so avoidant of hurting other people's feelings, so dedicated to satifying people, he would say one thing and do quite another. That's why the cunundrum exists---he created it. This is the guy who was on record as being a strict constructionist states righter who effectuated the Louisiana Purchase when a strict constrictionist reading of the Constitution gave him no authority to do so (and he knew it--he was preparing an amendment to the Constitution to authorize the Purchase and then abandoned the effort).

Jefferson in my mind would never had freed any slave even though he had all the money in the world. He wouldn't know what to do without them. He was typical of his class---a slave to slavery.  It was for others to do as he said, not for him. Look  at  LETTTERS FROM VIRGINIA where his beliefs are propounded with regard to African Americans and contrast it with "All men are creted equal. Jefferson was extremely pissed when the book was published in America, an act he neither authorized or condoned. (Even George Washington waited until death to free his laves--he couldn't part with them. Slavery is America's great contradiction--and it will never go away)


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Bob on May 19, 2007, 08:10:51 PM
DZIMAS
 "Jefferson was mostly interested in Maria Cosway at the time."
Good post, I agree. Maria was his infatuation at the time. It's also interesting that biographers can find, or at least make no mention of, any other love affair after that.

I should also add we have to understand the origin of the Hemmings Story. James Callander, an author persona non grata in England, was hired by Jefferson to run a newspaper dedicated to demonizing the Federalists, with heavy empasis on  busting Alexander Hamilton. He did a fine job--he was America'sfirst muckraker---scandalmonger according to William Safire, who wrote a book about him with that title. After his job with the newspaper his life went on and things took a turn for the worst and he ended up in Jail. He was a drunk by that time. He appealedto Jefferson for help. Jefferson didn't respond to his liking. He turned on Jefferson and in the election of 1804, made public the rumors then existing regarding Hemmings and Jefferson and did so  through a newspaper article. He was working for the other side. That was the beginning of the public  speculation in the matter. It came from an embittered former employee looking for revenge against his former backer.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: madupont on May 19, 2007, 10:09:44 PM
Greetings to Bob, Dzimas,nytempsperdu,caclark,weezo, and I think thanotopsy was around...

I have news for you. After following your reading list and discussion, taking notes, I was surprised to find you back at Sally's place. I had not gone to the web-site at Monticello for a very long time, so they have done some updates; but, I still did not locate some of the pictures of work that they have updated. After the flap of the white citizens committee by the name of Jefferson and the decision of the other descendants to crash the party, and several more theses added to the conflab, the decision of recognition of the lives of Black Americans as part of the Monticello tradition, also led to other institutions on a much smaller scale following suit and coming out with the truth; even in  my own neighborhood.  I have been buying seeds from a company ever since 1970 when I lived in Wisconsin, so now that I live right around the corner from them I was glad to discover on-line one night  that they had put out the photos of the real original owners of the farm-museum who had come north across the line and started operating a typical farm among the Pennsylvania Dutch(although the catch-word continually in the Museum literature was "Pennsylvania German"). The two Landis brothers and one sister were indeed African-Americans. I doubt this announcement would have been made had not Monticello led the way.

I thought you might be interested in some of the materials that I originally located, because I checked at Monticello for new(old) plants and seed. But they merely confirm some of the things that I knew back in Wisconsin.

http://www.monticello.org/gettingword/GWeston.html


It appears that I lost two or three links on the pick up to copy my notes to this post. So, I will relocate if I'm lucky, and re-post.

 
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jefferson_DNA_Data
http://www.monticello.org/plantation/hemingscontro/appendixh.html#top  Logged 

In Madison, Wisconsin, he worked as a cabinetmaker. (Madison Directory, 1855)

1852 to 1856. With wife and children in Madison, Wisconsin, as Eston H. Jefferson. (Madison Hemings 1873; 1855 Madison Directory; Forest Hill Cemetery)
Death: 3 Jan. 1856; burial in Forest Hill Cemetery, Madison, Wisconsin. (tombstone)



Title: Re: American History
Post by: Dzimas on May 20, 2007, 03:02:48 AM
Nice to see you back, madupont.  I think the main thrust of the current conversation is Jamestown, but somehow we got sidetracked on Jefferson and Sally Hemings -- the age old question of their affair.  How are things going?


Title: Jefferson and Monticello
Post by: Dzimas on May 20, 2007, 03:09:32 AM
As it turned out, Bob, Jefferson didn't have all the money in the world, and was deeply in debt.  The slaves were his only collateral, both physical and economic, in continuing work on his beloved Monticello, a 50-year love affair.  McLaughlin makes the contention that the estate had become his principal occupation, as he strove to achieve to the perfect balance and harmony in its design, building up walls and tearing them down several times over.  Jefferson was as much enslaved to his slaves as they were to him, only he enjoyed a much more luxurious life.  I think had he better managed his finances he might have freed more slaves, and probably freed many of them in his will, but as it was, he left such an enormous debt that virtually everything he owned was sold at auction.  McLaughlin noted the meticulous records that Jefferson kept, yet he didn't seem to have any sense of balancing his ledger sheets.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Bob on May 20, 2007, 04:04:46 AM
Dzimas:

As to Jefferson and money, you are so right. What I was getting at was even though he might at some point accumulate a fortune and became financially stable and debt free, I don't see him as  freeing any slaves even then. Of course that's a personal opinion unsupported by anything. At the very least he had the "Washington Syndrome"---ie., "I'd like to free my slaves but they are better off with me. They'd starve to death if freed. But I'll let my heirs free them, that way I'm not responsible for their starvation."

madupoont

Hey!!! how have you been. Welcome to the exiles....thanks for the links.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Bob on May 20, 2007, 04:09:32 AM
As to being sidetracked, there's nothing wrong with that. We did it all the time at the other site. It's like a train taking on water....you go off to the side, fill up, then  get back on the main track.

How about we get back to Rountree tomorrow or Tuesday.

We should also consider what to discuss next....

Before we do, there are two NY Times Book Reviews on the new stuff on the Kennedy Assassination--one pro-one con. BROTHERS is pro conspiracy, while Bugliosi's tome (5.5 lbs, 1600 pages) is pro Warrren Report.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: weezo on May 20, 2007, 06:49:34 AM
I, too, have enjoyed this side trip to visit Sally and Thomas. It is one of the areas of history that I find ever-fascinating.

But, to return to Opechacanough, I tend to think he was dismissed by history as inconsequental. He seemed to have a lot of skill as a politician and took the reins of government during the last years of Powhatan and during the administration of the next brother in line. It is a shame the colonists treated him so shabily. He could have been a useful ally.



Title: Re: American History
Post by: Dzimas on May 20, 2007, 07:18:32 AM
I like the "starvation" part, I think it would have been Jefferson who starved, but he always had James Hemings to point to when it came to emancipated slaves.  However, I imagine it would have been very hard for freed slaves to cope with a society that had little respect for a black man or woman.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: madupont on May 20, 2007, 02:18:41 PM
Bob and Dzimas,

Oh, but he did free his family for all intents and purposes, rather than see them forced to leave Virginia, which would have been the case with "free-men", he prevailed upon his executors and the state legislature to pass an act to allow the family to remain together "despite the 1806 removal law". There is the very real sense that he kept his family together and that he had intended to because, admittedly it is my guess, that Jefferson was just a quirky enough man to value his self-importance -- to do what he liked.

He was not unaware that upon his death, the slaves would be sold off quite randomly. I find the motivation interesting.

The topper is that by a careful look at the record on Eston Hemings, it becomes obvious that he was perfectly competent at supporting himself and other family members.


From the second of my two Monticello headings, at the very tail end of documented information on Eston Hemings, you find this:
Status:
Born a slave; bequeathed freedom at age twenty-one by Jefferson's will, but given "the remainder of his time" at age nineteen by Jefferson's executors; at Jefferson's request, the Virginia legislature passed an act allowing Madison and Eston Hemings, and three other relatives mentioned in the will, to remain in the state despite the 1806 removal law. (Jefferson will, in Bear.122; Madison Hemings 1873; Acts of Assembly [Richmond, 1826], p. 127)


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Bob on May 20, 2007, 06:00:01 PM
Jefferson freed two slaves in his lifetime and five in his will and chose not to pursue two others who ran away. All were members of the Hemings family; the seven he eventually freed were skilled tradesmen.

 Of all the hundreds of slaves he had an opportunity to free IN HIS LIFETIME, he freed only two....and note that even in death he released onl;y five more--all Hemmings....which tells us a lot about his motives rather than his intentions and beliefs. Look not at what Jefferson says, look at what he does!!!

So even though he induces a change in the law, it does nothing for poor people who were his slaves when he died. It helps out the Hemmings. The rest go on the block.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: weezo on May 20, 2007, 07:05:32 PM
Bob,

By contrast, there was Robert Carter III who emancipated over 400 slaves, all he had, both during his lifetime and after his death. The story is in a book called "The First Emancipator" by Andrew Levy. It presents a marked contrast from what TJ did and what he could have done in the same period of history.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: thanatopsy on May 21, 2007, 12:03:56 AM
Greetings to all -- hope everyone has had  a marvelous weekend.

Sinister John Smith was ever the trickster in that he claimed to have been rescued by daring females in the Russian steppes and in Turkey as well as being aided by Pocahontas {p 80}.  I've always believed that a good woman is a man's salvation but he seemed to have taken that to fictional extremes! But you have to admit, it's quite an entertaining story!!


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Dzimas on May 21, 2007, 03:05:54 AM
From Gordon Wood's description, Thomas Jefferson was a notorious second guesser.  He could come up with more counter-arguments than arguments for the ideas he apparently believed in, and emancipation was one.  He pushed for anti-slavery measures in the new Northwest Territories, yet couldn't bring himself to emancipate his own slaves.  I think this was largely due to his financial situation, but I also think he feared they wouldn't be able to cope in a society that had yet to accept blacks as freedmen.  Jefferson seemed to be the quintessential Doubting Thomas.  It is this vacillation in his principles that makes TJ perhaps the most compelling of the Founding Fathers, not to mention the ongoing debate of whether he had a long-time relationship with Sally Hemings.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Dzimas on May 21, 2007, 03:14:16 AM
I hope you had a good weekend as well, thanatopsy.  Seems like the good captain was mostly interested in his place in history and knew the good mileage he would get with stories like that.  It was interesting to read the debate over the Disney version of Pocahantas, which seems exactly the way John Smith would have liked to see himself.  It is interesting that Disney, which at one point wanted to create an American History theme park near Manassas, insists that it is interpreting history fairly.  Fortunately, the good folks of Manassas saw things differently and managed to defeat the proposed park.  I think Pocahantas is a good example of the type of history the Disney imagineers were considering for the park.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: weezo on May 21, 2007, 02:31:25 PM

I was told another bit of trivia about Monticello ages and ages ago and had honest-to-God forgotten until just this moment and have no idea whether it is false: that TJ invented some contraption for his son's bed so as to be able to tell if/when he was masturbating.  Have you ever heard such, or was someone else's leg (3rd?) being pulled?

NY Temps,

I asked about your trivia on the Va History List and received the following reply today. You can decide if you want to read more about it!

 As Anne Pemberton noted in her query, Thomas and Martha Jefferson didn't
have a son; or more accurately their only male child survived only a few
weeks.
  And if I remember the date range correctly, Jefferson himself was long
dead before ingenious Victorians were inventing and marketing the
devices mentioned.
  Social historians have produced a considerable scholarly literature
about the 19th-century hysteria over the alleged medical consequences of
masturbation. Several of these works describe Victorian-era contraptions
designed to prevent "self-abuse." For anyone interested in reading more
about these aspects of medical/social history, the first two books by
Laqueur and Horowitz are probably the best place to start:

Thomas W. Laqueur, Solitary Sex: A Cultural History of Masturbation (New
York, 2003)

Helen Lefkowitz Horowitz, Rereading Sex: Battles over Sexual Knowledge and
Suppression in Nineteenth-Century America (New York, 2002)

Roy Porter, Flesh in the Age of Reason: The Modern Foundations of Body and
Soul (New York, 2003)

Roy Porter and Lesley Hall, The Facts of Life: The Creation of Sexual
Knowledge in Britain, 1650-1950 (New Haven, 1995)

Roy Porter, "Forbidden Pleasures: Enlightenment Literature of Sexual
Advice," in Paula Bennett and Vernon A. Rosario II, eds., Solitary
Pleasures: The Historical, Literary, and Artistic Discourses of
Autoeroticism (New York, 1995), 75-98.

Alex Comfort, The Anxiety Makers: Some Curious Preoccupations of the
Medical Profession (London, 1967)

=======================================

Dr. Jon Kukla, Executive Vice-President
Red Hill - The Patrick Henry National Memorial


Title: Re: American History
Post by: weezo on May 21, 2007, 05:21:12 PM
NY Temp,

Agreed, but here we have a few titles on history that is off the beaten path, should we want to pursue them.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: TrojanHorse on May 22, 2007, 10:43:55 AM
Who has authority to start new topics?

Looks like American History needs to be broken down into a few sub-sets.  maybe just a little too broad a subject for one section.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Lhoffman on May 22, 2007, 11:59:06 AM
What I do think would be fun would be to see The New World (yeah, I still think it's very much worth seeing) with Rountree...or maybe play it on DVD to be able to stop it when she felt the urge to comment.  From what I saw of her on the PBS program, that would be quite an interesting and entertaining exercise.

I caught the movie last night.  The focus of the movie is less on the historical aspects of the settlement and more on the spiritual.   The idea is that the English came over the sea and brought with them a powerful god (John Smith) who imposed his will on the weaker goddess (Pocahantas...whose name is never spoken in the movie).  There are many scenes portraying the spiritual culture of the "naturals."   In their natural spiritual setting, the natives are quite content, always portrayed as approaching life in a playful manner, lots of dance.  Horner co-opts Wagner's "nature" theme from the Ring and relates it to Pocahantas.  As the movie progresses, and Pocahantas becomes more Anglicized, she loses her playful spirit.  By the time she is a wife and mother (and a Christian)  in England, she has become quite British.  But the director (who apparently has little faith in the intellect of his audience) uses her death to return her to her natural state of grace.  The movie ends with her spirit dancing her way back to her origins.  And of course, Rolfe and son are shown sailing back to the New World....perhaps to practice some new form of corruption on the natives?


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Lhoffman on May 22, 2007, 02:13:11 PM
Quote
Maybe, Hoffman (until now I've resisted saying "as in Tales of?" ;-)

  LOL..me too.

I think the depiction of spirituality was purposefully thought out by the director.  Beginning with John Smith, being brought back from the dead on three occasions.  First, he gets a last minute reprieve from his death sentence upon arrival at the colony.  Next, Pocahantas saves him when he is sentenced to death by her people.  Third, and most striking, is John Smith sailing back to the colony long after they thought he was dead.  (These things may or may not be historical, but the presentation has a sort of spiritual aspect in this movie.)  There is also a more subtle scene where Smith awes the natives and the Shaman by throwing gunpowder on a fire. 

Then, there are the spiritual aspects related to Pocahantas and the Algonquin relationship to the earth.  (Horner stresses this in his reiteration of the Erda/mothernature motif from Wagner's Ring which he relates to Pocahantas).  There are many scenes showing religious rituals related to crops.  And there is the scene where Pocahantas exchanges breath (spirit) with John Smith.  You are correct about her playfulness with her son, but that spun out scene at the end occurs after Pocahantas is dead.  I think the dancing Pocahantas is spirit.


If you watch it again, it might be interesting to look for the allusions to the spiritual.  Next time, I'll have to focus more on the historic.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Lhoffman on May 22, 2007, 04:00:15 PM
Nytemps...One aspect of the movie I'd be willing to bet we agree on....visually stunning.  Malick's filming is pure artistry.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Bob on May 22, 2007, 07:16:51 PM
Lhoffman

Or perhaps it all did happen as Smith said it did.   Perhaps the spiritual aspects you bring up are as RESULT of these events, rather than the reasons for their presentation...or perhaps there's truth in them thar stories, but its now too late to decipher it from legend. This is not unusual  in American history where we have  real historical figures who are subject to legends--ie., Washington and Lincoln and to some extent John Kennedy.

One of the reasons I liked the subject in the first place and read so much about it is to try to separate, as best I can, fact from legend....but then again, one is as much history as the other...


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Bob on May 22, 2007, 07:28:23 PM
weezo:

The Carter Biography mught be a good choice for discussion down the line.

DeVoto's COURSE OF EMPIRE is an excellent choice also, as long as everyone is aware that DeVoto's writing style is different than most historians. He write in a verty lyrical, sometimes eliptical  manner--and is really good when you get into the swing of the stytle. EMPIRE is a part of a trilogy, of which 1846 is a part as is ACROSS THE WIDE MISSOURI

Any other nominations for a book to discuss?


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Bob on May 22, 2007, 07:32:45 PM
Who has authority to start new topics?
I would assume anybody could start a new topic....just fire away. It's a question, though, who will follow it given that a discussion is in progress. However, as you can see we sometimes divert from a discussion, get sidetracked--and that's OK also.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Bob on May 22, 2007, 07:47:44 PM
Getting back to Rountree, I think Opechancanough has always been overshadowed by Powhatan because of the Pocahontas story. I think if the legendary aspects of the Pocahontas saga didn't exist, he might at least have been treated  as being on a par with Powhatan. In the era in which he lived he was certainly as important as hios predecessor....yet few know of him  outside of people like us who study the era or who study Native American history. How many people know, for instance, that Pohatan's personal name, his real name was Wahunsenacawh and that Powhatan is the name of his people or the royal name he took on becoming paramount chief, much as English monarchs and Popes choose when they ascend to authority.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Lhoffman on May 22, 2007, 07:50:41 PM
Bob...I agree.  Part of the interest of history is separating perception from reality, legend from truth.  But the legends that surround great men/women often tell us as much about ourselves as about them.  Maybe the hero culture is part of what has made America great.

And now I will stop interupting your very interesting book discussion.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Bob on May 22, 2007, 08:20:34 PM
Thanks for the reply---you are not interuptingat all. Join the discussion. 

On the subject of legends, every nation has them, and I'm convinced needs them. We are all human and all have a need to hold to beliefs which might not be entirely true, but which remind us of our values and our beliefs. We all need heros and we create them as we go along, real and imagined. After all there really wasn't any St George and there were no dragons--but its a hellava story of heroism and inspired many a kid and adult for centuries. I think its sad when we go too far and destroy the myths and legends, rather than let them exist with the full knowlege we know them to by legends--and that's there's nothing wrong with it----Disney is the stuff of legends from Pocahontas to Davy Crockett. Hollwood weaves great tales--that's what they're there for.

(By the way, it's the stuff of legends when Jack Valenti dies one day and the very next day, his  publishers released his autobiography. It's on the bookshelves already. What timing, what exquisite timing!!! Only General Grant matched it).


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Lhoffman on May 22, 2007, 08:34:07 PM
Bob...wish I could join the conversation, but unfortunately, I haven't read the book.  Great group here though, and I hope I will be able to take part in a future discussion.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: thanatopsy on May 22, 2007, 09:23:56 PM
Scalps!!

Previously I have heard or read that taking scalps was not practiced among Native Americans except for Hurons up in the North country. Rountree wrote that taking such prizes in order to send a message to invaders "teach{ing} them their place in the world ... {showing} ostentation as of a great triumph"  [p 119] did indeed happen.

I'm sure it left quite an impression.


Title: Origins of Scalping
Post by: Dzimas on May 23, 2007, 08:04:53 AM
Probably more about scalping than anyone needs to know:

http://www.dickshovel.com/scalp.html


Title: Re: American History
Post by: TrojanHorse on May 23, 2007, 11:44:20 AM
Who has authority to start new topics?
I would assume anybody could start a new topic....just fire away. It's a question, though, who will follow it given that a discussion is in progress. However, as you can see we sometimes divert from a discussion, get sidetracked--and that's OK also.


Actually I meant to break down American History into more than one formal subject/topic.  Not quite noticing that it already was one "under" books...   I'll be ok...


Title: Re: Origins of Scalping
Post by: thanatopsy on May 23, 2007, 06:43:20 PM
Probably more about scalping than anyone needs to know:

http://www.dickshovel.com/scalp.html

Actually, it's quite illuminating.

Thanks.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: thanatopsy on May 24, 2007, 04:23:26 PM
Pocahontas' conversion ---

I cannot quite make up my mind as to whether she was forced to convert or did she do so voluntarily, though I lean to the latter possibility.

We were told several times that "she was not a princess" {p 105} and was not a celebrity in her time. Despite her youth, she displayed ambition and made public appearances do not square with the accepted notions of what girls of her age and time did back then.

Rev Thomas Dale allegedly  "laboured a long time to ground in her" a thirst for Christianity. {p 159} But how reliable is this account?  Could such an allegation have been made to gain favor with the Crown? Or was she genuinely that ambitious? Eventually, she was "treated as the daughter of a VIP" {p 162} which gave her advantages in staying among the invaders.  Lastly, John Rolfe may have had an influence as well and this could well have fed her interest and fueled her ambitions to venture East to Christian England.

Based on these factors, it would appear to me that Pocahontas' conversion was volitional.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Bob on May 24, 2007, 09:18:12 PM
I disagree that she was not a celebrity....The sole reason she was bought to London, along with the others , was to raise money. Jamestown was a business scheme and her trip was a part of the hype. She was put on display, introduced to the royal family and was the "bee's knees" all the while. In my view  she was then forgotten and london got on with other things. She was "lost" to history for a long while then revived and then became the legend she is today.

I remember from my other readings that Pocahontas was genuinely in love with John Rolfe and that, as with others in her nation, she was amenable to Christianity. Don't forget many Powhatans accepted Christianity as a PART of their belief system. They weren't monotheistic--other belief systems were readily absorbed into their spiritual world. Of course, the strict Anglican believers thought all Indians who converted really renounced their other deities--evidence is to the contrary---many kept their beliefs and ADDED Christianity to them.

Keep in mind also there weren't very many ministers in Jamestown at the time.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Bob on May 24, 2007, 09:24:58 PM
Who married Pocahontas to John Rolfe?


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Dzimas on May 25, 2007, 06:08:06 AM
Not to make light of the excellent discussion, but Neil Young's Maron Brando, Pocahantas and Me comes to mind. 


Title: Re: American History
Post by: weezo on May 25, 2007, 06:17:25 AM
Bob,

They were married by the same man who had been with John Rolfe when he was stranded on Bermuda with the company that spent a year there. It may have been Rev Purchas, but I would have to look it up. It was the same man who baptisted John Rolfe's first child by his first child. John Rolfe buried both his first wife and child on Bermuda, before coming to Virginia as a widower.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: thanatopsy on May 25, 2007, 08:03:01 AM
First, a Happy Friday one and all.


A thought occurred to me re the far ranging peoples listed in Rountree: while the invaders ranged far from the old country to the new, we are told of Nanticokes living there (I usually think of them as being from Ontario), Iroquois (whom I regard as New York-Ontario folks except for certain Tuscarora), Siouans (whom I normally regard as upper midwesterners), and other far ranging 'tribes'.

Folks sure can get the itchy feet syndrome - the will range far and wide in search of greener pastures and favorable hunting grounds. Hopefully, for the better!


Title: Re: American History
Post by: thanatopsy on May 25, 2007, 04:53:43 PM
 :) Thanx nyt!


-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


"Modern Americans' 'knowledge' of Pocahontas is based upon what could well be called a movement to canonize her that began in the 1830s."

p 238

As we discussed in previous books in the NYT forum, the USA had been on the verge of division in the 1830s. No wonder why southerners tried to project themselves as the proper Founders of the Union and of all good things American. ''The lady has been mythologized out of all recognition'' is a very telling and accurate description of one whose historical significance is largely inconsequential. So now (at last!) we know why Pocahontas has been so incredibly pedestaled.

But, let's face it -- it's an interesting story!


Title: Re: American History
Post by: madupont on May 25, 2007, 09:19:05 PM
Not to make light of the excellent discussion, but Neil Young's Maron Brando, Pocahantas and Me comes to mind. 
[/quote

How did I miss this,dzimas? I love Neil Young but I guess I didn't keep up? By the way, some fellow by the name (you'll dig this)Hans Christian Brando
showed up in a blog at the nytimes. com just two or three days ago.

Thanks for "dickshovel" re:thanotopsy on Ontario, I guess that I knew this but your material was a reminder of the persecution of  Iroquois in the Lake Erie area, the same stuff that went down in the Dakotas; when I first knew about the resistance that is taking place, it recalled to mind a dream -- I had, while sleeping in Ontario, of an uprising among the Iroquois taking back the territory. I mean, if the Quebecois could scare the heck out of people and cause enough mayhem, why not the Iroquois?  There are things happening to people there that you would not believe. Meanwhile, that letter from Daschle and the follow up explanation to the guy out in the Southwest of why his cousin's(?) hands were severed and shipped for printing and testing all too closely resembles the customs that are covered in "dickshovel" about the ritual beliefs connected to scalping --in one part of which they acutely describe this severing of the hands and feet.  When I read it in the Daschle material, I stopped and said to myself --are these guys BIA? What's the point otherwise of white men mirroring back ancient practices to Native Americans which can then be written off as "coincidence"?


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Bob on May 26, 2007, 12:53:01 AM
Thanatopsy:

I was born in West Nanticoke, PA. I live about 5 miles from there now. West Nanticoke is across the river from Nanticoke. Together they were named after the Nanticoke Indians. The Nanticokes were a tribe out of the Delawares. They were Algonquin speakers. Algonquin relates to language, not to tribe or nation. Siouan is a language group, not a tribe or nation. Now, a little history to verify your thoughts. The Nanticoke originally lived in the Maryland, Delaware area Their area ran through the center of what became both states, in an East-West configuration on the Eastern Shore of Chesapeake Bay. Their original name was Nentego or Nantico meaning Tidewater People. While in the area they allied themselves with the Powhatans.The tribe was nomadic and was "forced" out of its area because of the encroaching English Settlers. The Nanticokes eventually applied to the locals here to "settle" for a while on areas we call "The Flats,"  an area bordering the Susquehanna River --about 1,000 feet or so from where I was born and just across the highway from the Coal Breaker which was just down from my house. There they remained (under a lease/rental type arrangement with the Shawanese--the locals) until they continued their trek north to what is now New York State. There they were the guests of the Iroquois Nation and helped defend the Southern section of their  territory.

The Nanticokes, or pieces of them, did subsequently end up in Ontario where there is another city called Nanticoke.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Bob on May 26, 2007, 01:22:13 AM
The Reverend Alexander Whitaker tutored Pocahontas in Christianity and Baptized her,choosing her name and then  performed the marriage ceremony according to most sources I read. Whitaker  resided in Henrico, not Jamestown, and it was there that Pocahontas stayed. Thomas Dale, Deputy Governor of the Colony, was governor of Henrico. Sir Thomas Gates was in Jamestown and was Governor of the Colony

In Price's LOVE AND HATE IN JAMESTOWN, he mentions the ceremony "could equally have been Richard Buck, Rolfe's compatriot  on Bermuda, or Alexander Whitaker, Pocahotas's teacher."  (Price, page 158)


Title: Re: American History
Post by: weezo on May 26, 2007, 06:59:46 AM
Bob,

Small correction. The city where Pocahontas lived was called Henricus, not Henrico, which is the modern name of the county that surrounds Richmond morth of the James.

Henricus is south of the James, and according to the tv did an excellent job of celebrating the quadricentenial last weekend, with the arrival of the Godspeed from Jamestown. This weekend, the Godspeed is in Richmond, and all sorts of festivities are in the works there.

Henricus is now a park that contains the historic city - it is not a modern city. Henricus is actually in Chesterfield County, which surrounds Richmond on the south side of the James. Henricus is near the city of Hopewell, which is the side of the original iron works. I think they have done some excavation there to find the original furnace.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Bob on May 26, 2007, 07:24:32 AM
Weezo


Thanks for the correction. I saw both names and didn't question them. I thought they were just versions of one another --never thought an actual city still exists.... thanks also for locating it geographically.

It's sort of a little like the thing with the Nanticoke Indians. One wonders where the hell they came from and where they really belong. Its confusing until its tracked down---then it makes sense.

Too little is taught about Native American history in America, but I see more and more books out on the subject. I just finished Taylor's AMERICAN COLONIES, which gives more than adequate space to the Indians and their part in history. He gives very detailed data in the book, It's worth the read. It's one of the few books I've read which really gives an integrated history.

If you get a chance, give it a look.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: thanatopsy on May 26, 2007, 08:12:41 AM
``The Nanticokes, or pieces of them, did subsequently end up in Ontario where there is another city called Nanticoke.``

Ah, thanks for that info.

I thumbed through Taylor but decided it's a bit too involved for me and I much prefer to have a complete change of subject for my subsequent readings.

Any thought on what is to be read next on this forum?


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Bob on May 27, 2007, 06:17:01 AM
It's time to consider what we will be reading next. CaClark suggested Bernard DeVoto's THE COURSE OF EMPIRE.

Any other suggestions?

There's a new BURR biography out this week for those of you who like the latest. It's sympathetic  to Burr, believing he was much maligned. I haven't read  the NY Times Review, which is in today's paper....I'll link to it shortly...

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/05/27/books/review/Lepore-t.html?8bu&emc=bu


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Bob on May 27, 2007, 06:26:24 AM
Other suggestions:  I just now, 10 minutes ago, finished THE LAST VOYAGE OF COLUMBUS---now out in overstock at about $7. It is utterly fascinating and a "fast" read.  It's about 260 pages and can be read  in a couple of days....I also recently bought and read sections of ROANOKE: THE ABANDONED COLONY by Karen Ordahl Kupperman  -- about 180 page--a more concentrated  text--slower read, but also very interesting. In case you haven't noticed I have a tendency to read history backwards---that is, I'll read something, learn things and then go back to find out why something happened or what happened---thus, instead of going on with Virginia History, I went back to Roanoke and then back to Columbus. After I finish a subject or an area I start again--Read something and then trace its origins....

But getting back to things--lets decide on another book---so that while we continue the present discussion, when we finish up we'll be ready with another discussion.

Any subject, any area is acceptaptable---all we need is a some agreement to go ahead with it.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: thanatopsy on May 27, 2007, 08:45:09 AM
Hiya Bob!

A wondrous Memorial Day weekend to all.

Weren't we going to read Jill Lepore's New York Burning: Liberty, Slavery, and Conspiracy in 18th-Century Manhattan in the old forum?  Or perhaps it was voted down?  Don't recall for sure.

But I'll gladly read anything that is not too involved and hopefully has fairly large print.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: thanatopsy on May 27, 2007, 08:58:29 AM
I just checked Amazon for DeVeto's book Course. It is 688 pages and spans a period of 280+ years. While conceding that it is a thorough study, I find it too encyclopedic for me.

A simple soul like me prefers a book that deals with one subject rather than such a massive volume that is so incredibly expansive.

Having just read Pocahontas, I prefer a change of subject rather than going back to Roanoke for the next reading.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Bob on May 27, 2007, 09:53:34 AM
I read NEW YORK BURNING It's  a fast read and interesting since it covers a little known event arising out of Colonial Slavery in the North rather than in the South. It's subtitle is  LIBERTY, SLAVERY, AND CONSPIRACY IN EIGHTEENTH CENTURY MANHATTAN. About 280 pages, it covers  the 1740's in NY City. I think its out in softcover by now.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: thanatopsy on May 27, 2007, 03:41:34 PM
... and would you recommend it for a future reading here?


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Bob on May 27, 2007, 05:02:32 PM
I sure would...

There is another book like this one: THE SHAKESPEARE RIOTS. Let me look it up.

http://search.barnesandnoble.com/booksearch/isbnInquiry.asp?z=y&EAN=9780345486943&itm=1

This one I haven't read, but it does sound interesting.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: weezo on May 27, 2007, 06:18:50 PM
Bob,

I don't do much to follow the lives of actors and entertainers, but The Shakespeare Riots sounds like a book that I would enjoy. It is quite a different type of story than those I've been reading lately. A nice way to slip into the summer of the year.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Bob on May 27, 2007, 07:56:14 PM
I saw the book the other day in B&N and leafed through it. I like books which are about specific events long forgotten, which were important when the occurred then got lost  or overwhelmed by subsequent events. There's been a spate of them recently, including one on the 1863 Draft Riots and another, THE BEAUTIFUL CIGAR GIRL, which I found very interesting since its about Edgar Allen Poe also. Its an historical  murder mystery. Then there's THUNDERSTRUCK the sequel to THE DEVIL IN WHITE CITY. They're all well written, fast reading renditions about fascinating events which are interconnected with major goings on in their time.

A sort of counterpart of what we are now discussing is Godfrey Hodgson's A GREAT AND GODLY ADVENTURE: THE PILGRIMS AND THE MYTH OF THE FIRST THANKSGIVING. Its about 190 pages.


Title: Re: American History = Nigel Cliff
Post by: thanatopsy on May 27, 2007, 07:59:17 PM
EXCELLENT suggestion!  The period known as the American Renaissance is my favorite era in USA history and I would love to read that book for the group (provided its print isn't too small).

David S Reynolds' Beneath The American Renaissance is one of my all time favorites.  Too bad folks declined to read it in the old NYT forum as it includes a few pages on that notorious incident in which the loco foco or Know Nothings were riotous. It was a fascinating time in NYC back then.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Bob on May 28, 2007, 07:51:44 AM
Would that be the flour riot in New York?

I'll track down the Reynolds book. I vaguely remember it and I know i don't have it.....

If we can one or two more people to go for the Shakespeare Riot I think it'll make a fine discussion


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Bob on May 28, 2007, 08:12:27 AM
Reference was made to Rountree's remark on page 238 regarding the canonization of Pocahontas in the 1830's by southerners who wanted to counteract the then still popular idea that American History began  with the Pilgrims.

Yesterday I decided to look in the three very early American History Texts I have to see how they handled the story. The first, from Charles Goodrich A HISTORY OF THE  UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Second Edition, published out of Hartford in 1823:

"Powhatan and his coucil  doomed him to deatrh, as a man whose courage and genius were peculiarly dangerous to the Indians. preparations were made and when  the time arrived, Smith was was led out to the execution."

No religious ceremony was this--but a full scale execution of an enemy.  Here Powhatan claims the right to bash Smith's  head in. With his arm alread extended to complete the act :

Quote
to his astonishment  the young and beautiful  Pocahontas, his daughter, with a shreik of terror, rushed from the throng, and threw her self upon  the body of Smith. At the same time she cast an imploring look towards her furious, but astoinished father, and in all the eloquence of mute, but impassioned sorrow, besought  his life.

Here Powhatan exercised "a fathers pity" and let the prisoner live.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Bob on May 28, 2007, 08:35:51 AM
Next we have a text which does not list the author,but which has a page in which it proclaims the text a winner of a gold medal for producing a text befitting the education of the young of New York in 1820. The winner received "not less than $400 and a gold medal. It is interesting that the committee's vice chairman was Brockholst  Livingston. The book was published in in 1827 under the Title HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES  FROM THE FIRST SETTLEMENT AS COLONIES TO THE CLOSE OF THE GREAT WAR WITH GREAT BRITAIN IN 1815 It was published out of New York  by Collins and Hannay and printed by the Harper brothers...[precurser (sic) to HARPER AND COLLINS]

Quote
At the end of six weeks, their chiefs assembled to deliberate his fate. They decided he should die. He was led forth to execution; his head was placed upon a stone , and an Indian stood by with a club, the instrument of death. At this instant , Pocahontas, the young and favorite daughter  of the king, appeared and rushing  between the executioner and the prisoner, folded his head  in her arms and entreated  her father to spare his life. Powhatan relented , directed smith to be conducted to his wigwam or hut, and soon afterwards  sent him, escorted by twelve guides, to Jamestown
  (page 17-HISTORY)

Also, no religious ceremony, but an actual execution.This time Powhatan wasn't the executioner to be.

(I'll comment on who Brockholst Livingston was in a later post)


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Bob on May 28, 2007, 09:12:05 AM
Lastly we skip all the way to 1868 and HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES FROM THE EARLIEST DISCOVERIES TO THE CLOSE OF THE GREAT REBELLION IN 1865 by Marcius Willson, published  in New York by Ivison, Phinney, Blakeman and Company. It repeats the second version of the story---the one where pohatan is NOT the executioner, the second story  quoted above.

I wish I had the books to pursue this more fully---another book which would be relevant here would be George Bancroft's HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES. I have a first edition of Volume I, I believe [it may be a later printing, but its a bit fragile], but I hesitate to bother it for obvious reasons. I also have the 1885 set of Bancroft. In the 1885 edition Bancroft slides over the whole affair, never describing the near execution or the saving event. He covers Smith's capture as an almost passive event and says  that after being introduced to Powhatan, he was welcomed with  good words and  great platters of sundrie food and gave assurance of friendship.

Quote
After a few days , which Smith  diligently used  in inquiries respecting the country, especially  the waters to the nortwest, he was , early in January 1608, sent home, attended by four men, of whom two were laden with maize.  The first printed "NEWS FROM VIRGINIA" spread abroad these adventure  of Smith; and they  made known to English readers the name of Pocahontas, the daughter of Powhatan, "a child of tenne," or more probably of twelve "years old, who not only for feature, countenance, and expression, much exceeded  any of the rest of his people, but for wit and spirit was the only non pareil of the country."

And that's all he wrote..note here we have four, not twelve escorts home.

For those not aware Bancroft is generally considered  the father of American History. He wrote a ten volume History of the United States  which ended with the American Revolution. It took him about 40 years to complete his history. He abridged it alomng the way and the abridgement I have is the five volume 1885 set.

Of the original set I have several volumes which are firsts, other volumes which are later printings, but all with same bindings. My Volume nine is  an original published in 1863. 


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Bob on May 28, 2007, 09:24:22 AM
Brockholst Livingston was a part of the Livingston Family in New York and New Jersey.  They were of the elite--very upper crust. Brockholst's father was Governor of New Jersey. His brother in law was John Jay, his classmate at Princeton was James Madison and he himself sat on the United States Supreme Court for quite a while--Jefferson appointed him to reward his efforts on his behalf during the election of 1800 when he allied himself with the Clintons and Aaron Burr to seal the state up for Jefferson. His uncle (I think he was an uncle) was Robert Livingston, who swore in George Washington as President.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Shirley Marcus on May 28, 2007, 09:33:43 PM
Bob
   American Renaissance is a difficult book to buy even though it looks very interesting and Poe is popular.
Shirley


Title: Re: American History
Post by: vickiem4 on May 28, 2007, 11:12:22 PM
What fun! I was just watching a rerun on BookTV of "backstage" at the NYTimes book review. How it works, who works there, and so forth. And there, in all his young glory, was Mick Sussman, sitting in his cubby admist the chaos/books/fellow workers, and brightly discussing his role as Books Producer on the Web. How fine. Deja vu all over again. How did he ever find time to deal with all that he did with the books forums and do it so well? Well, God Bless him. 


Title: NYTimes book forums
Post by: Dzimas on May 29, 2007, 04:50:08 AM
Vickie, nice to see you again.  It is too bad Mick didn't bequeath his responsibilities to some other active editor because the NYTimes book forums are moribund.  But, who knows they may be revived one day.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Admin on May 29, 2007, 10:26:51 AM
If you guys want, whenever you want to poll for a book to review, shoot me a private message with the books that you are considering and the date that polling should end and I will post a poll so that you can track results.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Bob on May 30, 2007, 08:07:18 PM
Thanks, Administrator -- Will keep it in mind.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Bob on May 30, 2007, 08:10:36 PM
Things have veen quiet for a couple of days. Maybe that's the aftermath of the holiday. in any case, by the look of it, if there are no suggestions fr the next book in the next two days, we'll go for THE SHAKESPEARE RIOTS.

Deadline: June 1, 2007 at 8:10 PM--that's 48 hours from now.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Bob on May 30, 2007, 08:18:13 PM
As to he Livingston family, they were most prominent and there are many of them. I'll link to the most prominent, Robert Livingston:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Livingston_%281746-1813%29


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Bob on May 30, 2007, 08:25:34 PM
Here's Edward Livinston:

http://www.nndb.com/people/907/000049760/

And these are just two of them. They dominated politics whereever they lived and are much forgotten today, but you can see they go from 1776 all the way through Andy Jackson. There were New York livingstons and New Jersey Livingstons--Livingston, New Jersey was named after Governor Livingston


Title: Re: American History
Post by: weezo on May 30, 2007, 11:45:25 PM
I have finally seen the movie, The New World.

As with Disney's Pocahontas, it bear little resemblence to the historical knowledge of the characters, but it makes a lovely story, and a fascinating movie that I will watch again. The music is beautiful and gives it an other-worldly feel. In the movie, Pocahontas does not fit the playful, mischievious person her father bestowed with the name. She is instead quiet, serious, but sensual. She makes the mistake of many a teenage girl in falling in love with an older man who considers her a novelty rather than an object of love. The voices were low, or perhaps I played it low since hubby was trying to sleep, but I'm not sure the sound louder would greatly enhance the movie - it seems as if the soundtrack is the stream of consciousness of the characters rather than their conversation.

Laurie, I see why you consider it spiritual, but I saw it more as sensual. Pocahontas was always sensual (not wanton) and reserved, but she was more so as Rebecca after she "lost" John Smith. She briefly regained her spirit she saw him again and really saw him for what he was. She turned her back on Smith and joyfully returned to her husband and child until the brief scenes that marked her death, after which she did cartwheels on the English lawn in heaven.

I'm glad I got it, and look forward to enjoying it more. Thanks for recommending it and talking about it, Laurie.

 





Title: Re: American History
Post by: Lhoffman on May 31, 2007, 12:00:41 AM
Anne...glad you enjoyed the movie, as suggested by Nytemps.

I think the feeling of sensuality is due to the care the director took in filming.  Malick is known for the quality of his filming and the thought he puts into every scene.  Another of Malick's movies is "Days of Heaven."  The filming in this movie has an almost dreamlike quality. 

I'm headed to the book store tomorrow, and will take a look at "Shakespeare Riots."   


Title: Re: American History
Post by: weezo on May 31, 2007, 12:10:37 AM
Oops, there I go again mixing up who says what. I really should not send posts with someone's name in them, since I'm as likely to get the wrong person as the right one!


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Lhoffman on May 31, 2007, 12:13:04 AM
No, you were right.  I thought it was quite spiritual in nature.  But I only picked it up because NYtemps liked it so much.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: thanatopsy on May 31, 2007, 09:10:46 AM
A possible explanation for why the Pocahontas mythology persists:

http://www.brownielocks.com/folklore.html

Why? Because her 'heroism' serves as some kind of moral lesson for youths even though it did not have any actual basis.

Like I wrote above, myth or not, it somehow is a good story. :)


Title: Re: American History
Post by: thanatopsy on May 31, 2007, 09:13:37 AM
Shakespeare Riots sounds good to me. :)


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Bob on June 01, 2007, 07:48:42 PM
Quote
As the young folk so succinctly put it, WTF?  How'd things get from considering a read of the estimable and doughty DeVoto to The Shakespeare Riots??

Ya know, I don't know!!!! Its a very good question, but I'll be hornswoggled, I haven't got a clue. But I remember setting a deadline for tonight at 8:10 for other suggestions....that's 22 minutes from now....I have an idea Shakespeare Riots will take it...


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Bob on June 02, 2007, 08:58:20 AM
I'm using my public library computer. I don't know if it'll work. This is a test!!


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Bob on June 02, 2007, 08:58:59 AM
 ::) It does----YEAH!!!!


Title: Re: American History
Post by: vickiem4 on June 02, 2007, 11:24:41 AM
I do check in with you all here each week, just to see what you are up to and how the discussion is going. This is the only site I check post NYTimes forums demise, the others too hard or too little used.
I'll only infrequently (very) join in on a discussion....only if one really attracts my attention and my library has a copy. As you might remember, get anywhere near TR and I'm there! I'm not a voracious reader, nor historian. I just like good things in life, and this is one of them.

I'm glad you are continuing on here, all of you. Keep on.



Title: Nixon & Kissinger ?
Post by: snyggokul on June 03, 2007, 12:48:16 AM
Anyone here who has by any chance read Nixon & Kissinger : Partners in Power by Robert Dallek ? I'm very curious about it, but wanna know if I should go for its  740 pages   ::)

So MUCH to read...

Anyway, here is what I read about it in my fave boostore's site:

At the height of their power, the collaboration and rivalry between them led to a sweeping series of policies that would leave a defining mark on the Nixon presidency. Tapping into a wealth of recently declassified archives, Robert Dallek uncovers fascinating details about Nixon and Kissinger's tumultuous personal relationship and the extent to which they struggled to outdo each other in the reach for achievements in foreign affairs. Dallek also brilliantly analyzes their dealings with power brokers at home and abroad - including the nightmare of Vietnam, the unprecedented opening to China, détente with the Soviet Union, the Yom Kippur War in the Middle East, the disastrous overthrow of Allende in Chile, and growing tensions between India and Pakistan - while recognizing how both men were continually plotting to distract the American public's attention from the growing scandal of Watergate. With unprecedented detail, Dallek reveals Nixon's erratic behavior during Watergate and the extent to which Kissinger was complicit in trying to help Nixon use national security to prevent his impeachment or resignation. Illuminating, authoritative, revelatory, and utterly engrossing, 'Nixon and Kissinger' provides a startling new picture of the immense power and sway these two men held in changing world history.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: thanatopsy on June 03, 2007, 01:14:42 AM
Dr Who's arch enemy: the Dalek!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Daleknew.jpg

I have read thousands of stories throughout my long life and I consider the Dalek as the greatest villain in literary history.  While other sci fi villains attempted to use revolutionary means of universal conquest, the Dalek is the only one, insofar as I know, who attempted to use evolution in his evil attempts to do so.

BTW, Terry Nation was inspired to create this extraordinary character by a pair of salt and pepper shakers!


Title: Re: American History
Post by: snyggokul on June 03, 2007, 02:04:21 AM

THAT bad, huh ?

OK...


Title: Re: American History
Post by: thanatopsy on June 03, 2007, 09:27:39 AM

THAT bad, huh ?

OK...


Actually, your suggestion for Dallek sounds like a good one for a future reading.  A bit long but very thought provoking.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Bob on June 03, 2007, 10:05:58 AM
I think I've read every book Dallek ever published except the Dodd biography---anyhow, he's one of best. His two volume biography of LBJ rivals that of Caro, his FDR volume on foreign policy is a classic. His latest, before this one, was an excellent biography of JFK and he wrote a very good one on Ronald Reagan. You can't go wrong with Dalle  he knows his stuff...

I believe he's out of Boston University.

I haven't read the Nixon/Kissinger entry yet but I look forward to it.

If its Nixon stuff you like--I read NIXON AND MAO recently and it's very good. :)


Title: Re: American History
Post by: madupont on June 03, 2007, 11:16:52 PM
I think I've read every book Dallek ever published except the Dodd biography---anyhow, he's one of best. His two volume biography of LBJ rivals that of Caro, his FDR volume on foreign policy is a classic. His latest, before this one, was an excellent biography of JFK and he wrote a very good one on Ronald Reagan. You can't go wrong with Dalle  he knows his stuff...

I believe he's out of Boston University.

I haven't read the Nixon/Kissinger entry yet but I look forward to it.

If its Nixon stuff you like--I read NIXON AND MAO recently and it's very good. :)

Bob,
 
As soon as I read the review(Nixon and Kissinger) at nytimes, I KNEW this was the book that is finally telling it like it was.     Snyggkul should understand this is written from the other side and will probably go down in history as the real deal.

That said,I did meet Orville Schell who does a very good review that Amazon likes to place from The Washington Post when selling Nixon and Mao.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: snyggokul on June 06, 2007, 09:42:29 PM
I think I've read every book Dallek ever published except the Dodd biography---anyhow, he's one of best. [ ...] If its Nixon stuff you like--I read NIXON AND MAO recently and it's very good. :)

 :D Heh. (o.0) This is why I like these Forums so much... You guys read like few people do...

My main problem, Bob, is lack of time ! There is soooooooooooooo much to read these days... But thank you so very much for the comments on Dallek's books ! I am indeed curious about this last one...

(...) As soon as I read the review (Nixon and Kissinger) at nytimes, I KNEW this was the book that is finally telling it like it was.     Snyggkul should understand this is written from the other side and will probably go down in history as the real deal.(...)

madupont, I am not so sure I understand what exactly you mean by written from the other side -- (o.0) you must excuse me, madupont; I am only a Brazilian greatly interested in American history, American culture & American everything, for that matter , but who has probably not read a quarter of what most of you guys have read on these subjects. But from what I've read about the book so far, I somehow got the feeling that this was indeed an important book to read. I just wanted to check with you guys here before deciding to be so adventurous... (o.0) If you saw my TBR stack, you would probably go :  :o What ?!

Last night’s Presidential debate :  >:(  Damn it . Had classes and so missed it... Thanks for the post, caclark !


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Bob on June 07, 2007, 08:34:05 AM
You're welcome!!!

By the way, I also use the phrase "from the other side" from time to time. To me it indicates a biography or history written from a more objective viewpoint than most. With regard to Nixon/Kissinger there are many books out there on each one which are biased either in their favor or against their interests. It's nice to see a dual presentation which seems by an author noted for his objectivity.



Title: Re: American History
Post by: Bob on June 07, 2007, 08:35:46 AM
With regard to SHAKESPEARE WARS , why don't we start the discussion on June 20th--that'll give everybody a chance to get the book and read it.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: thanatopsy on June 07, 2007, 08:55:03 AM
... I'm still waiting for my copy of Shakespeare ... but will hopefully get it soon and start discussing it on 6/20.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: madupont on June 07, 2007, 08:57:28 AM
Bob,

One more news item on an old subject before your new reading begins.

This just in this morning:Descendants of Madison's Slaves to Meet
By NATASHA ROBINSON   http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/us/AP-Montpelier-Slave-Reunion.html

http://www.montpelier-reunion.org/

Ps/I just know that I should have posted the review  on Nixon & Kissinger
from The New York Times but I got lazy yesterday and didn't get back to it.  Will do. Heads up, snyggkul.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Lhoffman on June 07, 2007, 03:20:59 PM
The Shakespeare Riots looks good.  The first chapter has some of the best writing on the meaning of Shakespeare that I've seen.

Also some highly entertaining anecdotes.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Lhoffman on June 07, 2007, 03:22:45 PM
With regard to SHAKESPEARE WARS , why don't we start the discussion on June 20th--that'll give everybody a chance to get the book and read it.

Shakespeare Wars = Shakespeare Riots. 

I read the Shakespeare Wars and truly wish I hadn't.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: weezo on June 07, 2007, 03:28:34 PM
Bob,

I'm reading a book you recommended, "Into the American Woods" Negotiators on the Pennsylvania Frontier. Now I know why so much stuff around Reading is named for Conrad Weiser! (I probably learned about him in school, but all I can remember is William Penn and the Walking Purchase - that stayed with me.)

Thanks for the recommendation. I don't think I will get the Shakespeare Riots. Not much for theatre. Plus, I've got several books to read now, and will participate in the discussion on Fiction. This week hubby is away, and I'm busy updating my Famous Americans pages - short summaries of lots of folks from history. Just finished doing Bojangles, Teddy Roosevelt, John Adams and need to finish James Monroe and James Madison before bedtime.



Title: Re: American History
Post by: madupont on June 07, 2007, 06:47:17 PM
snyggokul
Reply #345

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/05/13/books/review/Lawrence-t.html?pagewanted=1&ei=5070&en=3e1ec6e71c272824&ex=1181361600

Here is the page for the review of : Nixon and Kissinger

I should try and shorten this down with a tinyurl.

http://tinyurl.com/2pk5s2

You can go to --

http://tinyurl.com/create.php

anytime and shorten those long web-site "urls"

Now, if we could do the same with the 700 plus pages to this tome.

Do you have a library in your area that might be bringing in books of this kind in English,before they are translated, you might be able to request it  which would give you a chance to look it over and decide whether you want to order it to travel that distance at this time. I used to do that just by very good luck have it travel to me on interlibrary loan (not from Mr.Kissinger's library)and then I would take desperate notes for three days before I had to return it to my local small town library. That is why I said "from the other side", because I was observing and witnessing some of these events as they occurred and made major decisions accordingly.

As you notice in the review, Dallek's reviewer does not hesitate when he remarks about the involvement of Mr.Kissinger in his advice to Nixon about policy toward your continent, which had widespread effects continuing for many years after that. Which I would say had to do with Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney's close friendship with each other at the time that Nixon was impeached and Gerald Ford had to be shown the ropes. Presenting themselves in somewhat "a Scooter Libby function" as it has been to (now) vice-president Cheney, they advised the new president in exactly the direction the party wanted things to go. He was then put in Kissinger's hands for a tour, including Indonesia, after which the Indonesian airforce attacked East Timor (a Portuguese colony) with weapons bought with  US tax-payer money; the only stipulation made to the Indonesian government was to wait on the attack plan until Kissinger had escorted Pres.Ford safely back to Washington,D.C. totally unaware of the connection. The parallel is obvious as to what occurred as a result of the School of the Americas operating in Fort Benning,Georgia.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Bob on June 07, 2007, 08:46:43 PM

I'm sorry, the book is SHAKESPEARE RIOTS-----Sorry!!!


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Lhoffman on June 07, 2007, 09:11:23 PM

I'm sorry, the book is SHAKESPEARE RIOTS-----Sorry!!!

No need to be THAT sorry....it's not like you wrote the other one ;)


Title: Re: American History
Post by: snyggokul on June 07, 2007, 11:13:58 PM

(...) Now, if we could do the same with the 700 plus pages to this tome. (...)

(^.^) Heh. Thank you for the link ! Good review by the history professor from Univ. of Texas.

Quote
Do you have a library in your area that might be bringing in books of this kind in English, before they are translated, you might be able to request it which would give you a chance to look it over and decide whether you want to order it to travel that distance at this time.

Ha ! Wishful thinking... Forget about libraries in Brazil, mad; most of them are jurassic, and even the good ones -- such as those at Univ. of São Paulo -- wouldn't have such a recently published book -- in Portuguese, let alone in English !!! It's a totally different reality here; if I wanna read it, I'll have to buy it, for there is no other way. My fave boostore here has the book for the equivalent to some US$29.  Not cheap, but not terribly expensive either, so I'll have a look at it next time I go there and decide.

 :( Boy... Do I miss the American libraries...

Quote
As you notice in the review, Dallek's reviewer does not hesitate when he remarks about the involvement of Mr.Kissinger in his advice to Nixon about policy toward your continent, which had widespread effects continuing for many years after that.

Oh, yes, it really did , and I believe that Dallek only sees their "fear that a leftist government in Chile might inspire radicals throughout Latin America" as “nothing more than paranoia.”, as the reviewer mentions, because Dallek was not here in South America at the time, for that was a very real threat then.

I am not saying that the American help to bring Pinochet to power in Chile -- OR the military government in Brazil -- was exactly the right move, but something had to be done or most of South America would have become part of the Communist block. I dread to think how far less developed Brazil would be now, had this happened. On the other hand, we now have all possible freedom of speech, a leftist government in power democratically elected -- and , BTW, re-elected -- by the people, a much more stable currency and economy, AND violence in big cities already spreading to smaller towns and corruption in Congress to such despicable levels that MANY here have started to miss the time when this country was ruled by the militaries...



Title: Re: American History
Post by: madupont on June 08, 2007, 12:48:01 AM
Merely the dead.

It became a borderless campaign; from the near view it appeared --if you are quite sure that is Dallek and not his reviewer: "fear that a leftist government in Chile might inspire radicals throughout Latin America", and overlay what is current with the dogma that a domino effect would envelope Crawford with the influences of Fidel Castro?

When from the further distance, "the influence of the French radicals can not be allowed to become a fashion. Obviously, it is necessary to eliminate Regis Debray?"

You have got to be kidding. That sounds like something said in an alley in Pakistan about Danny Pearl.

Okay, so I think that I'll go read Roberto Bolano while I check the rhubarb.


Title: Re: AMERICAN COLONIES
Post by: Bob on June 08, 2007, 05:09:16 PM
Last week in another site a discussion was begun on Alan Taylor's AMERICAN COLONIES. The discussion over in the other site involves maybe three people including myself. Dzimas suggested and I agree that the discuss would do better over here. There are more people here, there a greater ease to post and to keep track of things. So look for a thread entitled AMERICA COLONIES and feel free to join in whether you've read the book or not. It covers American Colonial History and its excellent.

We will start THE SHAKESPEARE RIOTS as scheduled on June 20th using a separate  thread--so for those of you reading that book (which I just bought and will start after I finish GERTRUDE BELL) that discussion will begin on schedule.


So, on the 20th we will have two threads going: one in progress for AMERICAN COLONIES  and the new one for THE SHAKESPEARE RIOTS.


Title: American Colonies
Post by: Dzimas on June 09, 2007, 12:31:41 AM
Amazon has been tempting with Roberto Bolano for the past month, but have too many unread books on the shelves to order any more at the moment. 

I will dig into American Colonies this weekend.  I hope others feel free to post on the subject since it deals with colonial as well as pre-colonial America.  In the first chapter, Alan Taylor explored the pre-history of America, noting the various native groups like the Anasazi, and the cultures that were in place long before the Spanish arrived.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Bob on June 09, 2007, 08:45:02 PM
After being poked  and prodded for a few hours (and tested for just about everything), my pre-operative tests are now completed. I spent the morning drinking strange concoctions and being wired up and scanned and needled to near death....Now I  have four days of peace before I need to do one last prep--and then the knife.....

Anyhow, I'll be ready to get back to regular posting tomorrow, after I re-review the start of theTaylor book.

While taking all those tests this morning  I was reading GERTRUDE BELL, a very well written book about a very extraodinary person. I'll relax the rest of the night with it and get some well needed sleep---be back tomorrow.


Title: American Colonies
Post by: Dzimas on June 10, 2007, 11:15:33 AM
Taylor paints a Zinn-like portrait of the encounters between early American explorers and the indigenous people of the continents.  He amplies illustrates the biological and ecological warfare that took place, in addition to the brutal slaughter.  He covers the various conquests in sufficient detail from Columbus on Hispaniola to Cortez in Mexico to Coronado's raids into the Southwest.  Taylor briefly mentions Cabeza de Vaca, who underwent a metamorphosis after Narvaez's mission ran aground in Florida.  I don't think de Vaca gets enough treatment by historians, as he was one of the few Spanish conquistadors who was actually forced to make terms with the native population and according to Taylor actually inspired a change in policy by Spain, even if it was hard to enforce in the new territories.  After de Vaca, more attempts were made to reach out to the natives, notably that of de Casas.  Nice site devoted to him,

http://www.lascasas.org/index.htm

I have his book, In defense of the Indian, which I've been meaning to read for a long time.

It was also interesting the way Taylor contrasted the French and Dutch approach to dealing with native populations, as opposed to the Spanish approach.  Of course the situations were very different, but one gets a sense as to why Canada as a whole has had better relations with its native population than has the US and Mexico.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: madupont on June 10, 2007, 12:20:02 PM
I was thinking about this earlier because of a remark in Immigration forum, and true the French went in picking up languages in the North; but oddly, it was the Native population itself that ended up speaking perfect French or near-perfect. They had, I have to think, a practiced ability in picking up other languages, other variants on the same thread of family languages, etc. before the French had even arrived.

But all these centuries later, there is still something happening in the border area that smacks of Wounded Knee, as I mentioned before. The same setups are going on to antagonize the Native American population on the Ontario or "English" border and those tribes are becoming more belligerent.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: weezo on June 10, 2007, 06:28:30 PM
Maddie,

I suspect that you are right that Native Americans were more facile in learning languages. Perhaps because there were so many in their neighborhoods. I'm reading "Into the American Woods" by James H. Merrell, and he points out that the Natives often learned enough English to trip up the Pennsylvanians at the councils and treaty meeting. They also could converse with the French on the other side of the mountains. But, as a matter of right, they demanded that the Pennsylvanians conduct business with them in their language. It is interesting to learn how wampum was made to talk and its limitations. The Natives were anxious to learn reading and writing, but the Pennsylvanians, beginning with William Penn, discourage and even forbid their learning, insisting that they listen to what was read to them, even if it wasn't exactly what was on the paper, as the Natives learned in the future when their understanding of a land deal could not be proved, but they remembered the original agreement differently from what ended up on the paper.

And, you are right. On the immigration list there are some who are making a big deal about immigrants learning English, as if immigrants have always learned the existing language before or immediately upon arrival on these shores.


Title: Re: American Colonies
Post by: snyggokul on June 10, 2007, 07:23:33 PM
Bob,

Quote
(...) So look for a thread entitled AMERICA COLONIES and feel free to join in whether you've read the book or not. It covers American Colonial History and its excellent.

American Colonies ... Fascinating theme... Is it  true that Alan Taylor chooses the many different cultural influences instead of the traditional anglocentric focus ? Remember having read this somewhere & this got me even more curious about the book...


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Dzimas on June 11, 2007, 12:08:58 AM
The Jesuits were apparently very adept at learning languages, using language as well as understanding native customs as in-roads toward conversion.  Taylor talks about the famous "Black Robes" who converted the Hurons, only to be subsequently wiped out by the Iroquois.  But, the converted Huron who were absorbed into the Iroqois helped to sew seeds of descension within the Five Tribes that eventually led to their dissolution.  It was interesting to read how the French, Dutch, Iroquois and Algonquins became inextricably interwoven over the years.

Yes, Taylor takes the point of the view of the native people, and also the endentured servants and slaves in telling his version of the history of the American Colonies.  He also punctures holes in the numerous myths that linger on long after the fact, such as Columbus being a great navigator.  He noted that Coumbus had misjudged the circumference of the earth, convincing the Spanish court that it was only 18,000 and not 24,000 miles in diameter, thereby shortening the distance to China.  Conventional wisdom had it at 24,000, which the Greek had calculated long before, so it wasn't falling off the edge of the world that worried sea captains, as it was the perceived long oceanic voyage to reach the Orient from the West, as they thought there were only islands between Europe and the Orient.  Despite, four voyages, and hitting upon land each time, Columbus was still convinced he was on the edge of the Orient, not on a new continent.  Boorstin has great fun with Columbus' theories in The Discoverers.


Title: Re: American Colonies
Post by: snyggokul on June 11, 2007, 12:22:15 AM
Hey, Dzimas, thanks for your comments!

Quote
The Jesuits were apparently very adept at learning languages, using language as well as understanding native customs as in-roads toward conversion.

Well, knowing Latin so well as they did could only help, not only because so many languages come from Latin, but also, and most significantly here, because its diversity of sounds would help them reproduce the different sounds in the  many languages of the natives.

GOOD to know that Taylor does take the point of the view of the native people, and also the endentured servants and slaves ! I'll see if I can have a look at the book tomorrow at my fave boostore, before I enter the theater for the short course I'm taking there on Medieval history.





Title: Re: American History
Post by: Dzimas on June 11, 2007, 12:26:54 AM
I think it was mostly because the Jesuit made the effort to learn the languages, not assuming that the natives were innately inferior beings.  Eventually, the Jesuits were expelled by the Church for being too close to the natives.


Title: Journal of a Residence on a Georgian Plantation 1838-1839
Post by: snyggokul on June 11, 2007, 01:20:38 AM
Oh, boy... I'll simply have to find the time to read this Journal of a Residence on a Georgian Plantation 1838-1839, by Frances Anne Kemble (1809-1893) ... Here's an extract :

"She suddenly began addressing this woman. 'Mary,
some persons are free and some are not (the woman made no reply). I am a
free person (of a little more than three years old). I say, I am a free
person, Mary--do you know that?' 'Yes, missis.' 'Some persons are free and
some are not--do you know that, Mary?' 'Yes, missis, _here_,' was the
reply; 'I know it is so here, in this world.' Here my child's white nurse,
my dear Margery, who had hitherto been silent, interfered, saying, 'Oh,
then you think it will not always be so?' 'Me hope not, missis.' I am
afraid, E----, this woman actually imagines that there will be no slaves
in Heaven; isn't that preposterous now? when by the account of most of the
Southerners slavery itself must be Heaven, or something uncommonly like
it. Oh, if you could imagine how this title 'Missis,' addressed to me and
to my children, shocks all my feelings! Several times I have exclaimed,
'For God's sake do not call me that!' and only been awakened, by the
stupid amazement of the poor creatures I was addressing, to the perfect
uselessness of my thus expostulating with them; once or twice indeed I
have done more--I have explained to them, and they appeared to comprehend
me well, that I had no ownership over them, for that I held such ownership
sinful, and that, though I was the wife of the man who pretends to own
them, I was in truth no more their mistress than they were mine. Some of
them I know understood me, more of them did not."


From : http://infomotions.com/etexts/gutenberg/dirs/1/2/4/2/12422/12422.htm


Title: Re: American History
Post by: bosox18d on June 11, 2007, 02:30:46 AM
I'm thinking that Chartres may have talked about her a few years ago in the old NYTimes Forums but not sure.


Title: Flat Earth Society
Post by: Dzimas on June 11, 2007, 07:00:46 AM
I thought this was amusing:

http://www.alaska.net/~clund/e_djublonskopf/Flatearthsociety.htm

especially their message statement, which included the following passage:

Then, in the year of our Lord fourteen-hundred and ninety-two, it all changed. For decades a small band of self-proclaimed "enlightened" individuals had been spouting their heretical nonsense that the Earth was in fact round. Citing "proof" based on nothing more than assumptions, half-truths and blind guesses, they dazzled the populace with their " . . . undeniable mathematical and scientific evidence . . . that the world is shaped not like a pancake, but an orange!"

I guess it is pointless to argue physics with such a society, especially when they cite none other than Rasputin (Grigori Efimovich) as one of their sources for their profound theory on a flat earth.  I would like to think that such web pages are jokes, but there are apparently enough people who still believe in a flat earth to support such theories.


Title: Columbus
Post by: Dzimas on June 11, 2007, 07:09:45 AM
That should have been mission statement.  The funny part is that no one was argueing over whether the world was round or flat in 1492, but over the length of the circumference.  I imagine there might have been a few superstitious crew members on board who thought the world was flat, since they had never sailed so far in their lives, imagining all kinds of demons and sea serpents at the edge.  It was interesting in reading Boorstin, that Columbus had some interesting theories of his own as to why fresh water flowed into the Caribbean, not content to believe the Orinoco was a long continental river.  He apparently believed that at some place a giant fountain issued from the Carribbean spouting fresh water from an enormous "nipple."  Boorstin has great fun with Columbus' reliance on the Bible to explain what he saw in the new world.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: weezo on June 11, 2007, 07:22:25 AM
Snyg,

The book by Kemble is mentioned in the letters of Robert Gould Shaw of the 54th Massachusetts. He apparently knew Kemble, and later, was stationed on her island before going to South Carolina. As I read it, I wondered if the book is still around. Now, you suggest it is.

Sometimes, when you look at the ignorance that slaves were kept in, it is amazing that so many reasoned otherwise, and sought their own freedom and headed out under the North Star.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Dzimas on June 11, 2007, 08:54:03 AM
One of the things Taylor illustrates very well is how a slave culture was established in the South.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: caclark on June 11, 2007, 03:28:38 PM
Christopher Columbus

While it was generally accepted among contemporaries of Columbus that the world was spherical, there was not universal agreement on the earth’s circumference. Columbus was aware of the two conflicting calculations, both of which dated back to antiquity. I don’t recall my source, but I once read that Columbus may also have made his own calculations based on those of both Ptolemy and Marinus.

Columbus' immediate objective was of course to find a shorter ocean route to the Far East. Had his calculations of the earth’s circumference been correct and had there been only water between the Canaries and Japan, he might have done just that. What he accomplished instead was to make an unanticipated discovery that set off a wild competition among European powers for economic exploitation.

The popular belief that Columbus set out to prove that the earth is round is comparable to legends about Pocahontas which we’ve been discussing. Myths can come to be accepted as history due to popular histories written at a later time.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Bob on June 11, 2007, 03:53:40 PM
Hi!!! I've got a two day window to relax.

Reading about Columbus reminds me that  sometimes being wrong can produce magnificent results. Suppose Chris had calculated correctly---might he not have said  "to hell with it, we'll never make it--it's too long a journey."  On the other hand...the rest is history. Serendipity is great.

In my field, researchers were in search of a flu reliever when they stumbled on Thorazine, a wonderful drug to help schizophrenia. That helped thousands of people.

The essential Columbian idea--that one could go west to arrive in the east  was correct--and while he wasn't the only guy to believe this, he was the first to set out to do so--and the first to stumble on the Western Hemisphere and set up settlements meant to be permanent...that's discovery and he should always be given credit for doing so. While others may have preceded Columbus here, none sought the permanence necessary to declare hegemony over a particular  area in the Continent.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Bob on June 11, 2007, 03:56:36 PM
Chartres did indeed discuss Fanny Kemble, and I think everybpdy given a chance should read her. She's a fantastic source for life in her time. She can be very critical of America at times, so get ready for some not so nice comments now and again.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Bob on June 11, 2007, 04:06:12 PM
Quote
It was interesting to read how the French, Dutch, Iroquois and Algonquins became inextricably interwoven over the years.

That's one of the reasons I liked the book. He was able to integrate things. Instead of separating nations and colonizations, he outlines what Spain, France, England and Holland did and then brings it all together, including at the same time the inclusion of the various indian nations. He is very clear in showing just how many different sects and tribes and nations existed ion the East at the time. He does not bunch them up in one great wad. At times I found myself tempted to take notes on which Indiands were where geographically and who they were allied with aty any given time.  I hope he write more in this area. I do have his THE DIVIDED GROUND: INDIANS, SETTLERS, AND THE  NORTHERN BORDERLAND OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION I haven't read it yet, but I certainly will within the next month.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Bob on June 11, 2007, 08:58:01 PM
You are absolutely right, but progress is made by people who push the limits of truth and rationality. If we listened to the conservativbe and the rational thinker all the time, we'd still be in the stone age. What civilization needs and thrives on best, is a combination of both....rationality and imagination.

Einstein once said that the test of a truly intelligent person  is his ability to question "rationality"--to go beyond conventional knowledge--that the problem with conventional education is that encourages acceptance and traditional thought.



Title: Re: American History
Post by: Bob on June 11, 2007, 09:17:50 PM
It strikes me as curious that Columbus started right off the bat treating Indians as inferiors and subject to enslavement. Exposure to Christian salvation and Spanish Civilization would be to their benefit according to the thought of the day. Working in the name of God makes one right all the time--nobody questions, everybody accepts. Faith can be fatal in such instances. Rationality can lead to dire consequences---until somebody questions both faith and rationality --- and thus is progress made. Very little progress was ever made "in the name of the Lord."

It took only two years before the Pope divided the world between the Spanish and the Portuguese, but as Taylor put it "no one bothered to consult the Indians." The rest of Europe refused to accept the arbitrary division of the world, but "No European leaders thought that the indians could, or should,  be left alone in their former isolatrion and native beliefs." They were without rights under international law.   (Taylor, page 36)

In 1495 Columbus shipped 550 captives to Spain  for sale  to help pay  for his expedition.  The Church was a conservative, rational institution which condoned such actions and even designated who was to be in charge of the Slave trade. Taylor does note the Spanish monarchs were troubled by slavery and declared the Indians were free and not subject to servitude....but that didn't mean the Church was troubled--or the rest of Europe. "It remained legal to enslave Indians  taken in any "just war," which the colonists characterized as any violence they concocted against resisting  natives."  (Taylor page  37)


Title: Re: American History
Post by: madupont on June 11, 2007, 11:14:38 PM
bosox18d  Re:#365

Fanny Kemble was a 19th.century actress who was on tour and appearing in Philadelphia, possibly about the period of time when my great-grandmother was born somewhere in the Pennsylvania territory. Fanny as a result of that engagement in a theatrical performance met the man whom she would marry and, about whose life in the South,she knew next to nothing.  It all came as rather a shock to her, which is what weezo is referring to in regard to the book that she mentions. It has been dramatized on television at some point but I'm vague as to the sponsor, the series, or what exactly went into causing a biographical drama,yet in any case,her eyes being opened to the reality, she none the less became quite a capable administrator of her husband's holdings in some sense, when they had a falling out over their differences and a separation.  I am trying to recall if she went back to the theater? She did become a renowned Abolitionist.


Title: Go West!
Post by: Dzimas on June 12, 2007, 12:07:39 AM
It was also interesting how Taylor noted the Christian-Islamic split as being the impelling force that pushed Europeans to develop better ships that could travel farther by sea.  With the Portuguese discovering the route around the African cape, Spain had little choice but to head West in search of an eastern passage.  As Taylor points out, the British, Dutch and French were looking for a similar northwest passage at the same time.  The Spanish discovered the more lush tropical lands because of the early discovery of the Canary Islands, which gave them a jumping off point.  The Portuguese had been there first, but apparently they were more interested in the African coast.  Meanwhile the Ottoman Empire controlled the overland link between Europe and Asia.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Dzimas on June 12, 2007, 12:30:39 AM
The Europeans didn't treat themselves very well, so it isn't surprising that they treated the natives badly either.  As Taylor pointed out, they brought their old world attitudes with them, which were driven by a Christian zeal to conquer the world.  The Spanish conquistadores epitomized this lust for gain and power, especially in Cortez, who managed by hook and crook to subdue the Aztecs.  But, as Taylor noted, the conqistadores proved to be very poor administrators and squandered their resources quickly, including native labor to tend to their cash crops.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: caclark on June 12, 2007, 01:08:10 PM
"It remained legal to enslave Indians  taken in any "just war," which the colonists characterized as any violence they concocted against resisting  natives."

I doubt that colonists rationalized it in that way. That passage (albeit out of context) sounds to me like an author projecting his bias onto his study.

How Europeans saw native peoples of the Americas had much to do with how they saw themselves. Their fervor to convert tribal cultures to Christianity was as much out of fear for their own souls as it was the souls of those they sought to convert. Making Christians of backward cultures was not only noble and benevolent, it was what God expected of them. By today’s values, we call that cultural arrogance and hubris. To Europeans of the time, efforts to bring the gospel of Jesus Christ and the hope of salvation to primitive tribes showed love for one’s fellow man as well as humility and obedience to the will of God.

I don’t wish to sound like an apologist for past events we now recognize as injustices. But understanding how Europeans saw things helps explain why they were able to do the things they did.



Title: Re: American History
Post by: Dzimas on June 12, 2007, 01:59:06 PM
Most Spanish saw Indians as slave labor.  There was little concern for their souls, which was what drove Las Casas to write In Defense of the Indian, which helped call attention to the widespread abuse of natives in New Spain.  The Protestants may have been more noble minded in the beginning, but as land became an issue, Indians were by and large seen as annoying pests, and every effort was made to get rid of them and repossess their land.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: weezo on June 12, 2007, 06:58:09 PM
The Christian colonists weren't very christianly towards their converted brethren. Natives who converted were trusted only slightly more than those who refused to convert. This is based on several readings from the Jamestown library, and now, it's an issue in the book I'm reading on the Pennsylvania colony. The converted Natives were essentially a people cast out of both cultures.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Bob on June 12, 2007, 10:33:13 PM
Quote
To Europeans of the time, efforts to bring the gospel of Jesus Christ and the hope of salvation to primitive tribes showed love for one’s fellow man as well as humility and obedience to the will of God.

Well, I submit that's a very good way of putting it, but the reality is that they enslaved these people in the process in more ways than one. They forced their labor in mines and like Columbus, sent some of them to be sold into slavery in Europe. Although a good Church history will teach toyou a great deal about how the Church was all for individual liberty and all that, and the dignity of the human being, the reality of the practice overwhelms the doctrines propounded. Isabella, for instance, thought nothing of enslaving Moors during the wars. But when Columbus sent back 500 Indians to be sold into slavery, she was attacked by a severe case of the infatuations--that is, she felt sorry for them and so ordered their release.  The reality is that there was a lot of intrigue in the Court of Ferdinand and Isabella, and the sending of the Indians was but the last straw regarding Columbus' poor judgements regarding his goverance of the new found lands. This was during his second voyage and the issue over whether the Indians ought to sold into slavery cause much debate---it wasn't as simple as Taylor makes it look. Taylor wasn't just projecting his bias on the study--he was hitting right on the mark.

It's getting late for me tonight. I'll be clearer tomorrow when I post more in detail what actually happened and what the "normal" procedures were before Indians and others were sold into slavery.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Bob on June 12, 2007, 10:56:43 PM
http://www.reformation.org/alonso-de-hojeda.html

This is the reality of the situation. This manifesto was read to the Indians in Latin. Then, if the Indians did not acceed to it--and the never would, because they didn't know what was being said to them, they left themselves open to attack by the Spanish--and hence, enslavement. So much for their Christian Majesty's protestations regarding slavery. This was of course formulated after the Columbus incident, but  even when Columbus sent the 500, it was already the policy of Spain....and it was all done in gloria  Dei Patris, per Christum Dominum nostrum


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Dzimas on June 12, 2007, 11:41:04 PM
At one point, Taylor noted that the Spaniards felt enslavement was the only way to "civilize" the natives.  The Spanish did seem to believe that the natives who converted to Christianity would achieve an afterlife, so it didn't matter their lot while on earth.  The missionaries were apparently upset that so many died before being converted, as diseases wiped the natives out by the 10's of 1000's.  Taylor cited estimates that only one-tenth of the native population survived their encounter with the Spanish.  The North American natives seemed to fair better, but disease was also rampant, and the idea of these fathers administering last rites was seen as the last nail in the coffin, convincing many natives that these missionaries delivered death, not an afterlife.  Still, many natives did convert to Christianity because, as Taylor noted, their lives had been so irrevocably altered that they needed some kind of spiritual guidance to reconcile their fates.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Dzimas on June 13, 2007, 11:25:09 AM
Cynicism is nothing new either, clark, and the early colonists were mostly looking to make a buck.  Indians provided cheap labor, whether it was the French and Dutch trading for the natives' beaver pelts, or the Virginia companies discovering a cash crop in tobacco and using native labor to tend the fields.  The Jesuits themselves complained that the fur traders weren't the least bit interested in religion or the natives' souls.  I don't think that Europeans in the 17th century thought much different than they do today.  They were driven by very much the same market forces.  Efforts were made to clean up the situation when all the abuses came to light, especially the wanton killing of natives which Taylor describes in detail.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Dzimas on June 13, 2007, 11:30:21 AM
Taylor pretty much explores colonial America from a labor point of view.  Not surprisingly, Eric Foner is the editor of this new series, which attempts to redress the way we look at early America, stripping away a lot of the high-minded attitudes which tend to cloud the way we perceive the early colonists.  It wasn't until the colonies began to take on a life of their own that morality and ethics came into play.  Taylor charts this process to some degree in the Virginia colonies.  But, in the beginning, it was pretty much every man for himself, very few dragging their families along on these hellish experiences.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: madupont on June 13, 2007, 12:37:23 PM
This is how it plays out today.  My sister sent this on her way to a meeting addressed by two N.Americans who just got back from five months in Venezuela:


The battle over the media is about race as well as class

The protests in Venezuela are motivated by more than a TV station. The oligarchy fears it is losing its right to run the country

Richard Gott in Caracas
Thursday June 7, 2007
The Guardian
http://www.guardian.co.uk/venezuela/story/0,,2097161,00.html

After 10 days of rival protests in the streets of Caracas, memories have been revived of earlier attempts to overthrow the Bolivarian revolution of Hugo Chávez, now in its ninth year. Street demonstrations, culminating in an attempted coup in 2002 and a prolonged lock-out at the national oil industry, once seemed the last resort of an opposition unable to make headway at the polls. Yet the current unrest is a feeble echo of those tumultuous events, and the political struggle takes place on a smaller canvas. Today's battle is for the hearts and minds of a younger generation confused by the upheavals of an uncharted revolutionary process.

University students from privileged backgrounds have been pitched against newly enfranchised young people from the impoverished shantytowns, beneficiaries of the increased oil royalties spent on higher education projects for the poor. These separate groups never meet, but both sides occupy their familiar battleground within the city, one in the leafy squares of eastern Caracas, the other in the narrow and teeming streets in the west. This symbolic battle will become ever more familiar in Latin America in the years ahead: rich against poor, white against brown and black, immigrant settlers against indigenous peoples, privileged minorities against the great mass of the population. History may have come to an end in other parts of the world, but in this continent historical processes are in full flood.
Ostensibly the argument is about the media, and the government's decision not to renew the broadcasting licence of a prominent station, Radio Caracas Television (RCTV), and to hand its frequencies to a newly established state channel. What are the rights of commercial television channels? What are the responsibilities of those funded by the state? Where should the balance between them lie? Academic questions in Europe and the US, the debate in Latin America is loud and impassioned. Here there is little tradition of public broadcasting, and commercial stations often received their licence in the days of military rule.

The debate in Venezuela has less to do with the alleged absence of freedom of expression than with a perennially tricky issue locally referred to as "exclusion", a shorthand term for "race" and "racism".
RCTV was not just a politically reactionary organisation which supported the 2002 coup attempt against a democratically elected government - it was also a white supremacist channel. Its staff and presenters, in a country largely of black and indigenous descent, were uniformly white, as were the protagonists of its soap operas and the advertisements it carried. It was "colonial" television, reflecting the desires and ambitions of an external power.

At the final, close-down party of RCTV last month, those most in view on the screen were long-haired and pulchritudinous young blondes. Such images make for excellent television watching by European and North American males, and these languorous blondes are indeed familiar figures from the Miss World and Miss Universe competitions in which the children of recent immigrants from Europe are invariably Venezuela's chief contenders. Yet their ubiquity on the screen prevented the channel from presenting a mirror to the society that it sought to serve or to entertain. To watch a Venezuelan commercial station (and several still survive) is to imagine that you have been transported to the US. Everything is based on a modern, urban and industrialised society, remote from the experience of most Venezuelans. Their programmes, argues Aristóbulo Istúriz, until recently Chávez's minister of education (and an Afro-Venezuelan), encourage racism, discrimination and exclusion.

The new state-funded channels (and there are several of them too, plus innumerable community radio stations) are doing something completely different, and unusual in the competitive world of commercial television. Their programmes look as though they are taking place in Venezuela, and they display the cross-section of the population to be seen on cross-country buses or on the Caracas metro. As in every country in the world, not everyone in Venezuela is a natural beauty.
Many are old, ugly and fat. Today they are given a voice and a face on the television channels of the state. Many are deaf or hard of hearing. Now they have sign language interpretation on every programme. Many are inarticulate peasants. They too have their moment on the screen. Their immediate and dangerous struggle for land is not just being observed by a documentary film-maker from the city. They are being taught to make the films themselves.

Blanca Eekhout, the head of Vive TV, the government's cultural channel, launched two years ago, coined the slogan "Don't watch television, make it". Classes in film-making have been set up all over the country. Lil Rodríguez, an Afro-Venezuelan journalist and the boss of TVES, the channel that replaces RCTV, claims that it will become "a useful space for rescuing those values that other models of television always ignore, especially our Afro-heritage". With time, the excluded will find a voice within the mainstream.

Little of this is under discussion in the dialogue of the deaf on the streets of Caracas. For the protesting university students, the argument about the media is just one more stick with which to hit out against the ever-popular Chávez. Yet as they mourn the loss of their favourite soap operas, they are already aware that their eventual loss may be more substantial. As children of the oligarchy, they might have expected soon to run the country. Now fresh faces are emerging from the shantytowns to challenge them, a new class educating itself at speed and planning to seize their birthright.

Just a few weeks ago, Chávez outlined his plans for university reform, encouraging wider access and the development of a different curriculum. New colleges and technical institutes across the country will dilute the prestige of the older establishments, still the preserve of the wealthy, and the battle over the media will soon be submerged in a wider struggle for educational reform. Chávez takes no notice of the complaints and simply soldiers on, with the characteristics of an evangelical preacher: he urges people to lead moral lives, live simply and resist the lure of consumerism. He is embarked on a challenge to the established order that has long prevailed in Venezuela and throughout the rest of Latin America, hoping that the message of his cultural revolution will soon echo across the continent.

· Richard Gott is the author of Hugo Chávez and the Bolivarian Revolution

[email protected]


Title: 19th-Century Weapon Found In Whale
Post by: liquidsilver on June 13, 2007, 01:46:29 PM
A 50-ton bowhead whale caught off the Alaskan coast last month had a weapon fragment embedded in its neck that showed it survived a similar hunt - more than a century ago. Embedded deep under its blubber was a 3 1/2-inch arrow-shaped projectile that has given researchers insight into the whale's age, estimated between 115 and 130 years old.

http://wcbstv.com/watercooler/local_story_164115343.html


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Dzimas on June 13, 2007, 02:57:14 PM
Nobody else would.  Taylor noted that Columbus not only approached Portugal but Britain and Holland too.  The guy was determined if nothing else, even if he had to shave a few 1000 miles off the circumference of the earth.  But, a genius, no.  Four voyages and he still hadn't figured out he had reached a new continent.  Amerigo Vespucci figured this out on his second voyage, after sailing along the long South American coast line.  Interesting that despite having the new continents named after him, Columbus still gets much of the credit.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: caclark on June 13, 2007, 05:46:15 PM
Blame it on the cartographer
(link provided below for the full article)

“Vespucci came to the world's attention chiefly through the publication in 1503 and 1504 of two brief letters he purportedly wrote to Lorenzo de Medici about a voyage undertaken for the king of Portugal. Obviously the work of an educated man (the Vespuccis were a prosperous family in Florence), the letters managed to be both scholarly and entertaining, combining a sober discussion of navigational issues with the news that the natives of the New World would have sex with anybody, including Mom. Vespucci, or perhaps his anonymous publisher, also had the wit to entitle the first letter Novus Mundus, the New World, an audacious and as it turned out accurate claim.
 
“The letters were by far the most interesting account of explorations in the Americas that had appeared up to that time and caused a sensation that if anything exceeded that created by Columbus's description of his first voyage ten years earlier. The letters were reprinted in every European language and soon came to the attention of Waldseemueller and his friends, who were members of a think tank of sorts in the town of Saint-Die, Lorraine, now part of France. The Waldseemueller group published Cosmographiae Introduction (Introduction to Cosmography), the first attempt to update the geography texts of the ancients. They were quite taken with Vespucci's idea that the Americas were a new land, since it meant they had gone beyond the knowledge of the ancients, in whose shadow they had long toiled. They thought it only appropriate that AV's name grace the new land, of whose extent they had at that point only the vaguest inkling. The naming of America after Amerigo Vespucci was thus a bit capricious but not entirely undeserved.”
- CECIL ADAMS


http://www.straightdope.com/classics/a4_021.html


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Bob on June 13, 2007, 09:31:37 PM
calark

I apologize if I came across in a negative way above. I have the highest respect for your knowlege of history and for your views in general. 

I just read all the posts since then and I'd like to join in but unfortunately I'm due to be admitted to the hospital at 6:30 AM Thursday. I'll be in there between five and seven days---surgery time....then I'll be back and see if I can't get right back into things. I won't have access to a computer for  a week. The surgery is not life threatening by any means, but is necessary from a preventative viewpoint.
Till then...keep the discussion rolling....


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Bob on June 13, 2007, 09:36:26 PM
 :'( I'll be among the missing for about a week. Discussion on THE SHAKESPEARE RIOTS is scheduled to start  on June 20.  I'll still be away then. Please start without me...


Title: Re: American History
Post by: weezo on June 13, 2007, 10:46:43 PM
Bob,

Sending good wishes for an easy surgery and a quick recovery!


Title: Re: American History
Post by: bosox18d on June 13, 2007, 11:31:20 PM
Good Luck Robert.If you survive the hospital food you can look forward to a Q/Pounder w/cheese.Someone should write a book on The History of Hospital Food in America.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Lhoffman on June 14, 2007, 12:02:24 AM
Sometimes hospital food can be quite yummy...well, at least tasty....Best wishes on recovery.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Dzimas on June 14, 2007, 12:05:01 AM
I think you are being a little too respectful, bob.  

Clark, Columbus sailed all around the Carribean, which one would have thought might have clued him into being between land masses, not a string of islands girding Asia, a view he held onto until the bitter end.  I believe he thought that South America was Japan, and he still hadn't wrapped himself around the idea that the Orinoco flowed from a great inland source, instead coming up with Biblical explanations for the the source of the fresh water rising out of the sea.  Of course, it was a brave new world, but Columbus simply couldn't get past his old world ideas.  Vespucci not only turned out to be the more captivating writer, but the better navigator as well, giving the mapmaker a better picture of what lay between Europe and Asia.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Dzimas on June 14, 2007, 12:06:03 AM
Good luck, Bob.  Wish you all the best.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: bosox18d on June 14, 2007, 02:55:25 AM
I just read a story in the Rochester Democrat&Chronicle where the Senecas have submitted a bill of 2.1 million to NYState for use of a three mile stretch of NYState Thruway since April 15th.They based the fee on vehicles per day crossing their land.Gov. Spitzer is trying to collect something like 200 million from the tribe for sales of cigs and fuel to non-Indians they have sold to so the Senecas revoked a 1954 agreement letting the state of N.Y. cross their land with the Thruway.I thought Spitzer was a bright man but this smacks of small thinking.A century plus later and we are still trying to screw these people by changing the law after the fact.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: weezo on June 14, 2007, 07:53:33 AM
Just started reading an eye-opener of a book. 1421 - The Year the Chinese Discovered America. Seems that in 1421, decades before Columbs made his eye-opening journey, the Chinese circumnavigated the world seeking trading arrangements. Sadly, when the expedition returned to China in 1423, the Emperor who sent them was done-for and the new emperor had absolutely no interest in the outside world. Records of the expedition were, for the most part destroyed.

The book was published in 2001, but I haven't heard much of a stir among the historians that they are rethinking or re-writing the history of the explorers. It truly takes Columbus down a peg or two.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: liquidsilver on June 14, 2007, 10:56:30 AM
Just started reading an eye-opener of a book. 1421 - The Year the Chinese Discovered America. Seems that in 1421, decades before Columbs made his eye-opening journey, the Chinese circumnavigated the world seeking trading arrangements. Sadly, when the expedition returned to China in 1423, the Emperor who sent them was done-for and the new emperor had absolutely no interest in the outside world. Records of the expedition were, for the most part destroyed.

The book was published in 2001, but I haven't heard much of a stir among the historians that they are rethinking or re-writing the history of the explorers. It truly takes Columbus down a peg or two.

From what I've heard his theory is highly controversial and largely dismissed by historians.  Especially since a map purported as evidence of the theory turned out to be a hoax


Title: Re: American History
Post by: weezo on June 14, 2007, 11:48:35 AM
Thanks, Liquid. I will henceforth read it as if it were possibly fiction. I couldn't understand such a massive piece of evidence going underground so quickly I never heard of it. Usually anything on Columbus that suggests he wasn't the great "hero", prickles my ears. At this point, I wonder how much he unearthed and how much he made up. He speaks often about the stuff making sense to him as a navigator that would go unnoticed by the "typical historian".


Title: Bob
Post by: vickiem4 on June 16, 2007, 01:37:47 PM
Hey Bob, you are in my prayers and I send you best wishes for the speediest recovery. Several days in the hospital is NOT fun. Hope you have pretty, perky, nice nurses to make the stay more pleasant.

Vickie



Title: Re: American History
Post by: Dzimas on June 18, 2007, 02:21:42 AM
Weezo, I have 1421 sitting on my shelf.  Need to read it.  Another interesting book is Farley Mowat's The Farfarers:

http://www.amazon.com/Farfarers-Before-Norse-Farley-Mowat/dp/1883642566/ref=sr_1_19/002-1948969-6965627?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1182147607&sr=1-19

in which he makes the case for the Albans having sailed to the shores of Canada long before the Vikings.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Dzimas on June 18, 2007, 07:09:57 AM
Clark,

Seems we have Washington Irving to thank for many of the myths surrounding Columbus, including the one about the world being flat,

http://www.gutenberg.org/etext/8519

Haven't been able to find a linke to volume one.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Dzimas on June 18, 2007, 07:13:45 AM
This seems to be the complete text of The Life and Voyages of Christopher Columbus,

http://www.questia.com/PM.qst?a=o&d=102455217&oplinknum=1


Title: Re: American History
Post by: weezo on June 18, 2007, 07:46:15 AM
Dzimas,

I put the book on my to-buy list. It is getting long, but I'm determined to order no more than three at a time and not make another order until I have finished reading them. This then gives me time, while waiting for the new books, to read some of the older stuff on my shelves. I've got a bunch of Jefferson books that I've bought visiting Monticello over the years, that I haven't gotten around to reading as yet.

I am getting the impression that although Europe was in the grip of superstitions based on reading the Bible too literally, that other cultures around the world were more comfortable with reality.

I've seen some weblinks that debunk some aspects of 1421, mostly his suppositions of linguistic markers in other cultures. It is possible that people visited by the Grand Voyages would have adopted new words for the "junks" that the Chinese arrived in, and perhaps learned some new crafts, but some of the author's assertions of major changes in language are a bit far-fetched. The author does hit on some unusual means of making his story plausible.

The best part of 1421, is that Menzies tells a great story, full of all the best elements of an engaging story. I am not putting the book down and reading something else, but staying with this tale to the end. It is engaging. It is a good read, accuracy notwithstanding!




Title: Re: American History
Post by: thanatopsy on June 18, 2007, 08:24:31 AM
I'm wishing BobW the very best for a quick and thorough recovery.

Still waiting for delivery of the book so I'm not going to be able to say much about it at first. But here's a start:

Know Nothings:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Know-Nothing_movement


Title: Re: American History
Post by: madupont on June 18, 2007, 11:40:37 AM
weezo,   Re:#12

"It is possible that people visited by the Grand Voyages would have adopted new words for the "junks" that the Chinese arrived in,"

I had never heard of this book before you mentioned it and it may be a book that over-blossomed from sheer speculation on a few facts.

Such as?

Well, we are still not done with the theory of the Baring straight having been a walk-on "bridge" to the Americas.  I'd have to guess that the language differences were not exactly acute. Some of the pictographs that I recall as written Chinese developed, prior to what we usually refer to as "calligraphy", are not that remotely different from what we assume are decorative elements in the American Northwest (and other regions).

Although, it is quite true that I've never heard of or read a claim toward linguistic relationship, in similarity of spoken language  from North East Asia, or even Southeast China for that matter, to Native languages on the North American Continent.  Somewhere around here on my computer, I've got one of those Native American languages compendiums; but it is true that for all the resemblences phonetically, and with an emphasis on the concrete in the structure, Chinese also uses a tonal pattern of four tones that my ear has not yet caught in Native American.  It's true however that what my ears could hear in Chinese, I could not spontaneously vocalize -- as in, "Repeat back to me: ...", without a lot of practice.  And then, I caught my cats paying rapt attention and listening closely???

What I've always found rather interesting were cultural similarities between the Ainu of Japan (along with recent mention of the aboriginal culture of Taiwan,China) to those of the Coastal tribes of the American Northwest. But, anthropology is not my long suite. I do wonder, however, if Gary Snyder ever completed that book project he was into on Tools and Tool-making in China?


Title: Re: American History
Post by: madupont on June 19, 2007, 12:35:08 AM
dzimas,

More Northern Illinois Univ.Press books on Cahokia,  Mound Culture, theories of what they were about, further theories about Spanish contact and disease which vary from original conclusions, etc.

http://www.niupress.niu.edu/niupress/scripts/book/bookResults.asp?ID=19

http://www.niupress.niu.edu/niupress/scripts/book/bookResults.asp?ID=58

http://www.niupress.niu.edu/niupress/scripts/book/bookResults.asp?ID=381

http://www.cahokiamounds.com/cahokplaza.html
The Late Mississippian period, usually considered from c. 1400 to European contact, is characterized by increasing warfare, political turmoil, and population movement. The population of Cahokia dispersed early in this period (1350–1400), perhaps migrating to other rising political centers. More defensive structures are often seen at sites, and sometimes a decline in mound-building and ceremonialism. Although some areas continued an essentially Middle Mississippian culture until the first significant contact with Europeans, most areas had dispersed or were experiencing severe social stress by 1500.


[edit] Contact with Europeans
Scholars have searched the records of Hernando de Soto in 1534–1539 looking for evidence of contacts with Mississippians. He visited several villages, in some cases staying as a guest for a month or longer (see Apalachee). Some encounters were violent, while others were relatively peaceable. In some cases, De Soto seems to have been used as a tool or ally in long-standing native feuds. In one example, De Soto negotiated a truce between the Pacaha and the Casqui. However, De Soto's later encounters left nearly all of the Spaniards and perhaps many hundreds of Native Americans dead. The chronicles of de Soto are the first documents ever written on Mississippian peoples, and are an invaluable source of information on the cultural practices of these peoples.

After the destruction and flight of the de Soto expedition, the Mississippian peoples continued their way of life with little direct European influence. Indirectly, however, European introductions would change the face of the Eastern United States. Diseases undermined the social order of many chiefdoms, while some groups adopted European horses and changed back to nomadism (Bense pp. 256–257, 275–279). Political structures collapsed in many places. By the time more documentary evidence is available, the Mississippian way of life had changed irrevocably. Some groups maintained an oral tradition link to their mound-building past (such as the late 19th century Cherokee- Hudson pp. 334). Other Native American groups, having migrated many hundreds of miles and lost their elders to diseases, did not remember that their own ancestors had built the mounds dotting the landscape. This contributed to the "Myth of the Mound Builders," officially debunked by Cyrus Thomas in 1894.



http://www.lostworlds.org/blog/2007/01/new-theory-rats-spread-fatal-illness.html

http://www.niupress.niu.edu/niupress/scripts/book/bookResults.asp?ID=36     All Mankind is One:

A Study of the Disputation Between Bartolomé deLas Casas and Juan Ginés de Sepúlveda on the Religious and Intellectual Capacity of the American Indian




Title: Re: American History
Post by: Dzimas on June 19, 2007, 09:07:40 AM
Maddie,

Thanks for the links.  Taylor discussed rats and swine as well as humans as disease carriers in the new world.  The rats were stowaways and apparently found the new world a very fertile ground to multiply their numbers at an alarming rate.  Taylor noted that the settlers did a poor job keeping their livestock reined in, and that pigs and cows were very destructive animals in the new world, both in terms of disease and that they foraged on the native fields.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: weezo on June 19, 2007, 11:00:32 AM
Another Question from the reading of 1421 by Gavin Mazies:

According to the book, and I would assume some historical record, the Portuguese established a colony on Puerto Rico in the New World. If this is so, why is Columbus given the credit for discovering The New World?



Title: Re: American History
Post by: madupont on June 19, 2007, 12:03:47 PM
dzimas,

You are welcome.

The rat theory given above is not the stowaway brand.  Rather the syndrome is interesting. A concept that bears consideration in an age of biological warfare. It had more to do with what the invaders were motivated to be doing because of the very motivation for making the trip.
If Iraqi oil has been today's resource issue, slightly post-Columbian resources were mineral deposits.

The above link describes where, for whatever reason, the locals were not disturbing the  environment of terra firma, for what we might describe as "superstitious" reasons that were spiritual reasons to them, but which might carry pay back, unleashing the punishments of the underworld, in Harrison Ford/Indiana Jones plot lines.

The smaller vermin, mouse rather than rat, is still causing death in the Southwest indigenous communities where shelter remains at poverty level. That's what I saw by train travel, when I was expectantly looking for the first hogans to appear outside the train windows and to recall the nostalgia of my early childhood stay in the area. At most you see a horse, a dog, or a goat, one shack, perhaps a truck, no people, it is hot out there.

The mouse droppings and dried urine alone can kill children, as readily as skinning game and accidentally cutting yourself can kill an adult male from internal hemorrhaging in a few days.

I was horrified in a recent tv production of--Bury my Heart at Wounded Knee, in which there was a scene when one of Sitting Bull's  feminine relatives tosses a mouse, that skitters out of the blankets of a sick child, into a cooking pot on the central fire, during a bad winter, before they go into the reservation.

Doctors, in relatively sophisticated communities, think nothing of these little creatures as pestilence potential. So I can imagine the medical care level today in these bare sustenance communities.  One of the reasons that my father did not stay at San Carlos was when it became obvious and he learned that the Native American had come to equate being in hospital, even for out-patient which could lead to the risk of in-hospital status, with dying at the hands of white man's medicine.  Ironically, it has taken that long for some white folks to recently catch on to much the same thing in current medical pratice.

Speaking of San Carlos, one of the things that I found last night was verification that the Chiracahua Apache were regularly rounded up, about 3,000 disappeared this way , and delivered to the mines in Mexico to extract minerals exported.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: madupont on June 20, 2007, 02:18:13 AM
Today's news was worse. Harlyn Geronimo is going after the Bush menage for their removal of Geronimo's remains at Fort Sill. I think he's got DNA on his side (and the law about return of remains, for appropriate rites, from where it might be hidden now). Thus far, the president has not replied about the whereabouts of the skull said to have ended up in the Yale Tomb of Skull and Bones.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: weezo on June 20, 2007, 07:16:56 AM
Return to 1421:

Coming back to the book I have almost finished reading, I am wondering if Gavin Menzies is telling the truth about the explorations of the West Indies and South America by the Portuguese. If he is right, the Portuguese established the first colony in the Americas on Puerto Rico. So how did Columbus get the fame for "Discovering" America if he only followed in the footsteps of the Portuguese?



Title: Portuguese in
Post by: Dzimas on June 20, 2007, 08:08:36 AM
There is some substantiation to that argument,

SEVENTY YEARS BEFORE COLUMBUS: The period of the Portuguese discoveries is one of the most amazing studies of universal history because even today we can experience the same navigational conditions that existed 500 years ago.

Admiral Gago Coutinho sailed 31,000 miles into the Atlantic aboard a caravel, similar to those of the 15th century. On these extensive voyages he made observations of water currents, winds and stars with modern navigational instruments. In 1952, he wrote: “Childish conclusions are easily dispelled by anyone navigating under sail, and seeing for himself, as I have for the last sixty years there are proofs that the Portuguese pilots who sailed the Sargasso Sea prior to 1446 — before the birth of Columbus — had the experience of sailing to the American coast before 1472. Based on my technical and nautical experience, I find the Corte Reais to be the undisputable discoverers of America.”

http://www.apol.net/dightonrock/CodFish/discovery_of_north_america.htm


Title: Sailing West
Post by: Dzimas on June 20, 2007, 08:13:14 AM
Hit the wrong button before finishing the header, but it would seem that Portugal had ventured across the Atlantic as well as rounding the Cape of Good Hope long before the Spanish.  Taylor ascribes Columbus' "discovery" of America to the Portuguese having erected naval forts all along the coast of Africa to discourage other explorers from taking advantage of their spice route.  But, you think of all these caravelles out on the water, and it doesn't seem like much of a stretch for the Portuguese to have made it to the Carribean long before Columbus.  It was just that Columbus' "discovery" was the most well publicized at the time.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: madupont on June 20, 2007, 09:44:03 AM
Celebrity sponsors, good press.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Detective_Winslow on June 20, 2007, 11:31:40 PM
How do you add a picture to your profile?


Title: Re: American History
Post by: weezo on June 21, 2007, 10:19:07 AM
The fact that Columbus knew more than we suppose today, was brought out my Menzies in his book. In addition, he pointed out that Bartholemew Columbus, Christopher's brother, was a trained mapmaker in Portugal which had an excellent repository of world maps that predate Portugeuse explorations - that the Portugeuse knew where they were going before they set sail, as did Columbus.

Maps as early as 1428 showed some of the Carribean Islands, including Puerto Rico, which was called Antilia. The Portuguese set up a colony on that island a decade before Columbus sailed west.

I am trying to tease out the facts in Menzies book from his theories. There are certain most interesting facts to support the allegation that the Chinese visited both the west and the east coasts of the Americas. Convincing arguments include the addition of plants from other continents that were "discovered" by the Europeans, and the presence of Chinese DNA in some Native tribes but not in others.



Title: Re: American History
Post by: caclark on June 21, 2007, 12:26:44 PM
weezo, June 21, 2007 @ 10:19 AM: "Maps as early as 1428 showed some of the Carribean Islands, including Puerto Rico, which was called Antilia."

That’s the first I’ve heard of Antilla being identified specifically as Puerto Rico. Does your book provide an illustration of the 1428 map you refer to? It sounds like a fascinating study.

In Bernard DeVoto’s The Course of Empire, he refers to a letter sent to Columbus mentioning Antilla, of which the letter writer says to Columbus "is well-known to you." This was before Columbus’ first voyage in 1492. As DeVoto wryly put it, “someone had been somewhere.”

I don’t recall which now, but one of America’s native tribal languages contains many words that sound suspiciously Gaelic. That of course has fueled speculation that Celtic monks from the British Isles found their way to America, perhaps before the Vikings. There are also theories about Phoenicians and Libyans being in America. Seafarers had been sailing to the Western hemisphere for centuries without the significance of their activities being fully appreciated in their native lands.

I don’t think it’s a mistake to say that Columbus discovered America. He obviously did, although the more balanced view is that different peoples at different times independently discovered America. But it was Columbus’ discovery that had a major impact on European awareness. When news of his first trip spread across the continent, it prompted Spain’s rivals to embark on their own expeditions across the Atlantic.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: weezo on June 21, 2007, 01:00:58 PM
CAClark,

Yes, the book does include full color renditions of the historic maps as well as line drawings of Menzies' theories of the Chinese Treasure Fleet which explored the world.

I tend to agree that "someone had been somewhere" before 1492. Who, where, when and why is, at this point, up to your imagination and the facts that you can tease out of the imaginations of others.

I've been to the 1421 website www.1421.vt  by Menzies, and used the email link there to request further information on some of the matters that are still a puzzle to me. I am rather concerned that although Menzies asserts that the Chinese landed somewhere around Norfolk, Virginia and let off some colonists whose DNA shows up in certain Native tribes but not in others, the map the Chinese generated and which was used at the time of Columbus does not show the Chesapeake Bay and it's many large rivers including the James, the Potamac and the Susquahannah, yet it shows both the Delaware river and the Hudson river, both of which are much smaller than the Chesapeake Bay. Menzies suggests that the Melungeon Indians, whose ancestery has posed many questions in Virginia and Carolina, are descended from the Chinese comcubines landed by Zheng Hi. So far, there is not a DNA confirmation which seems incredible to me. Those people lost their history with the European invasion and should be curious, yet the tests have not been done. I understand from those who've had geneological DNA sampled, that it is just a swab of the mouth, not an invasive procedure, and with a research machine as large as the website suggests, cost should not be a factor, so I wonder what is holding up the process. My copy of the book was published in UK in 2002, plenty of time to swab some mouths and get the testing done.

I have a website for Famous Americans that started out as a supplement to the Virginia SOLs (objectives of learning), and Columbus is one of the persons our children study. I'd like to put something on the website other than that he "Discovered America", but can't quite think of how to word it simply. He was the one whose journey to America made the press?????

I'm open to suggestions. Columbus is studied by 1st graders, so it has to be in simple words.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: madupont on June 21, 2007, 01:17:53 PM
caclark re:#427
"That’s the first I’ve heard of Antilla being identified specifically as Puerto Rico."

I posted some material upstream in the sequence to dzimas, a bunch of links to the Northern Illinois University Press, and while reading through this material the other night before posting to him, I came across that suggestion of the significance of Puerto Rico, which remained a territory but eventually became a state.

Not sure the time that I have to go over it is available to me this afternoon, I'd have to roll through all their Native American materials, it was just one of those big options in passing that mentioned the discovery of the Antilles, and I rolled right by and rolled on to post the archeological/architectural materials onward to dzimas. Never dawned on me that the subject of the greater Antilles was about to come up within the next day or so! And I'm only half done with their list of publications! Take a look just browsing those links, until I get back to my book mark.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: caclark on June 21, 2007, 03:06:39 PM
weezo and maddy,

I just did a refresher with DeVoto. According to him, 15th century maps did not consistently place Antillia in the same location. Further north, further south, further east or west, it was all over the place. Sounds to me like Antillia might have been a general name for islands or even the mainland and that explorers returning from the far Atlantic were probably honestly reporting where they had been although the longitude/latitude coordinates they provided indicate that they were describing different places. DeVoto described Antillia as an arc shape. Antillia is of course considered by many to be a mythical place not unlike the legend of Atlantis. But then, the same was often said of the city of Troy which historians now believe was an actual city on the West coast of Asia Minor.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: weezo on June 21, 2007, 04:32:59 PM
Rightly or wrongly, according to Menzies the reason for the floating nature of Antilla/Puerto Rico was due to the fact that some of the maps were constructed before people, both the Chinese and the Europeans, learned to properly calculate latitude and especially longitude. Longitude was more difficult to calculate than latitute. Latitude could be determine, eventually, by the North Star and the Southern Cross declentions. Longitude had to be measure by time at sea, or distance traveled. Both could be distorted by the ocean currents that pushed a ship along at a speedier clip than the amount of time would suggest. At the time the Portuguese were said to colonize Antilla/Puerto Rico, Longitude could not yet be determined, and Latitude was still imprecise. They more or less guessed at where they were.

I think, since I am limited to a single sentence, I'll settle for "Columbus was one of the people who discovered America." and let it go at that. That shouldn't put it too much at odds with other materials the students are using for their facts. Thanks for the helpful thoughts!




Title: Re: American History
Post by: caclark on June 21, 2007, 05:01:40 PM
"....according to Menzies the reason for the floating nature of Antilla/Puerto Rico was due to the fact that some of the maps were constructed before people, both the Chinese and the Europeans, learned to properly calculate latitude and especially longitude....They more or less guessed at where they were."

If state of the art navigation and cartography in the 1400s was so haphazard, how can we be certain that we’re talking about Puerto Rico? Has archaeology shed any light on the theory? Ruins or artifacts that evidence a Portuguese presence in Puerto Rico in the early 1400s?

I do think that the possibility of the name Atillia being misapplied to different places or to a region in the Caribbean is one that must be considered, especially if geographical calculations were that unreliable.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: weezo on June 21, 2007, 05:28:49 PM
CAClark,

I'll look it up in the book. I'm not sure how Menzies knew that Antilla was Puerto Rico. In some instances, he has pointed to artifacts. I'll let you know what I find.



Title: Re: American History
Post by: thanatopsy on June 21, 2007, 06:11:36 PM
The Tanio natives of Puerto Rico referred to the island as Borinquen or Boriken. I don't see how it ever got the name of Antilla unless it was non-native Carib Indians who may have used the term.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: thanatopsy on June 21, 2007, 06:13:30 PM
Hooray! ;D

I finally got my copy of Cliff's The Shakespeare Riots.

Hopefully, I will soon be able to read through it and make an intelligent contribution to the discussion.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: caclark on June 21, 2007, 06:35:45 PM
weezo,

You might wish to check out the link below which I came across in googling on Gavin Menzies. It’s a reprint of an article originally published in the Atlanta Journal Constitution regarding Menzies’ book 1421 and it’s not flattering to him. Menzies is not a historian. He is a retired British naval officer and his book for which he was paid a huge sum has been harshly criticized by historians for its historical research methods and its conclusions.

http://hnn.us/articles/1308.html


Title: Re: American History
Post by: madupont on June 21, 2007, 06:51:48 PM
thanatopsy:

They call themselves that to this day, even in New York. It's in their native language as Taino.. The Antilles concept is European from mythology.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: madupont on June 21, 2007, 06:54:50 PM
weezo,    I got hooked.

1.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chinese_Puerto_Rican

Hah, here's why the DNA, remember what we were all talking about in Immigration forum, the Chinese exclusion act. Which began on the West Coast in the late 19th.century.

2.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Portugal_Imp%C3%A9rio_total.png



3.Portuguese maps of South America, created after the voyage of Coelho and Vespucci, do not show any land south of present-day Cananéia at 25º S, so this may represent the southernmost extent of their voyages.
During the first half of the expedition, Vespucci mapped the two stars of Alpha Centauri and Beta Centauri, as well as the stars of the constellation Crux.[3] Although these stars were known to the ancient Greeks, gradual precession had lowered them below the European skyline so that they were forgotten.[4]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amerigo_Vespucci



"They had still invented others, as cross-staff, or cane of Jacob (to get in the sea the height of the sun and other stars), that he does not use the graduation of an arc of circumference but a sliding segment throughout a connecting rod, with the eye of on-line observer in straight line with the star observed. But the results in accordance with varied as the day of the year, what it compelled the correction, done the inclination of the Sun in each one of these days. Therefore the Portuguese had made tables of inclination of the Sun in 15th century, printed in Venice after 1483. They were precious instruments of navigation in high-sea, having known a notable diffusion, as other tables that contained necessary corrections to the calculation of the latitude through the Polestar.


[edit] Henry the Navigator   ...the Navigator died in 1460. Another vector of the discoveries were the voyages westward, during which the Portuguese discovered the sargasso sea and possibly sighted the shores of nova scotia well before 1492."

[edit] The Treaty of Tordesillas http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Portugal_%281415-1542%29
It is under this section that we find an interesting suggestion:
"Columbus' discovery of what they thought was India at that time, is something that historians dispute in terms of the consequences that lead to this discovery. One theory which has some support, due to recent proof that has come to light, is that Columbus was indeed Portuguese as stated initially, but he was a spy from the Portuguese kingdom sent to Spain to redirect Spain's efforts elsewhere than the territories Portugal had its focus on. However, this is controversial. Actions such as this would come as no surprise, though, since competition between the two kingdoms was intense and both had their secret service networks which were in constant conflict with one another, by providing misleading information and in hiding territories and trade routes discovered by each country (but especially Portugal) by either keeping them concealed or by providing false dates and also false locations. This constant secrecy effort was what led to the creation of many "false" documents and thus many of the remaining documents from that time may not be reliable. As a consequence some historians believe that territories such as Brazil, several African locations along its coastline and north America (due to the voyages made westward) may have been discovered before the known dates."

The Portuguese in Asia

"Possessing only a population of one million people, the colonization effort of several colonies scattered all around the entire coast of Africa and its surrounding islands, Brazil, the Indies and also in several other regions in the Indic area such as in Malaysia, Japan, China, Indonesia and also Timor was proven to have been a very difficult task for the Portuguese empire, thus a very high level of secrecy concerning every trade route and colony had to be maintained in order to preserve the union of the empire. This extreme secrecy was also impeled by the very constant competition with the Spanish and as a consequence, many documents that could reach Spanish hands or any other European countries were in fact fake documents showing fake dates and facts, thus misleading any other nation's possible efforts.

Due to these extremely secretive policies by the Portuguese during the Age od Discoveries , many documents concerning the dates of Portuguese discoveries may very well behave been falsified, much to modern historian's frustration. Several historians have hypothesized that by the time of the Treaty of Tordesillas, John II may have already known of the existence of Brazil and North America by as early as 1480, thus justifying John II's wish to further push the line of influence further west. Many historians suspect that the real documents would have mostly likely been placed in the Library of Lisbon. Unfortunately, due to the great earthquake of 1755, nearly all of the library's records were destroyed by fire."

Recommended reading:

Braudel, Fernand, The Perspective of the World 1985


Title: Re: American History
Post by: weezo on June 21, 2007, 07:53:58 PM
Antillia = Puerto Rico

I looked up the evidence that Menzies presents in his book, 1421. I have a 2002 version published in the UK. The portion where I found it is pages 403 to 411.

You can see my compilation of facts on http://users.erols.com/apembert/PuertoRico.html

on pages 412-414, Menzies states that the fact that the island originally appear in the Atlantic is due to the fact that the Portuguese did not have good astrolobes/sextants in 1431, and that the correct latitude was not accurately shown until the 1474 chart by Toscanelli. In the 15th century, the Portuguese determined longitude by "dead reckoning, because they did not understand that the body of water was moving as they were moving. When the drawing of the island was transposed the allow for the water movement it was in the correct longitude. Also, on the original map from Italy, the island is shown larger than it is, which he suggest may have been an error in copying the scale of the islands from the original Chinese map to the first Italian map in 1428.

Considering the interest you show in this, you may want to get a copy of the books and read it. Mine was from a used book source from Amazone and fairly cheap (I bought three books same day, so don't remember what I paid for this one. Sorry).

 


Title: Re: American History
Post by: weezo on June 21, 2007, 08:25:03 PM
CAClark,

I find the link you supplied rather amusing. The author's credential are far from sterling - he's only an asst prof, and at a obscure college. He makes too much of the fact that Menzies was paid for his work.

I regularly participate on the Virginia History List, and have since it's inception probably in the early nineties. I am well aware of how often historians dismiss the work of "amateurs". According to the historians, the Roanoke Island was a "Lost Colony", whereas the anthropologists, including the inestimable Helen Roundtree points out there is substantial oral tradition to support the fact that the settlers on Roanoke, when a ship did not return, moved in with the local Indians, and were probably killed when the great Chief Powhatan wiped out the tribe they were adopted into just a few years before the Jamestown Settlers arrived looking for them.

Same with the story of Sally Hemmings and Thomas Jefferson, which is based largely on oral tradition. Some of TJ's descendents accept the Hemmings descendents as kin, others refuse to believe the account even in light of the high likelihood provided by the DNA tests.

Historians can be a bit stuffy at time. Sometimes you have to look beyond the vision of Academia to get at the source of truth.

 


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Lhoffman on June 21, 2007, 08:54:16 PM
Two interesting websites:

http://www.1421exposed.com/?gclid=CPiE1ofA7owCFQjOIgoduBYE_g (http://www.1421exposed.com/?gclid=CPiE1ofA7owCFQjOIgoduBYE_g)

http://www.1421.tv/


Title: Re: American History
Post by: weezo on June 21, 2007, 09:51:45 PM
Laurie,

I saw that "exposed" site when I first started reading the book. One of the "articles" makes reference to someone walking a "Chinese Road" on page 258. On page 258 in my version, the author is talking about how some of the pottery made in an area in Mexico is made similarly to the 15th century porcelain carried on the Chinese fleet.

And, today, I was on that 1421 site, and signed up to receive a monthly newsletter.

So far, I am still wobbly about the Chinese expedition, but am curious about the Portuguese Expeditions that preceeded Columbus. If these are factual, I am ready to believe that a man from Europe sailed on one of the Chinese ships and saw both west Africa and eastern South America. Most of those who want to discredit the book are basing objecting to the likelihood of the existance of maps that show anything west of Europe prior to Columbus' voyage. Yet, in Columbus' writing, at least as quoted in the book, he makes reference to "knowing" that land exists in the western Atlantic. He just thought it was land near China and India and he was proved wrong.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: thanatopsy on June 21, 2007, 11:48:19 PM
thanatopsy:

They call themselves that to this day, even in New York. It's in their native language as Taino.. The Antilles concept is European from mythology.


You are correct.  I am a native of Puerto Rico and have Taino blood in me. I do not recall reading any historical references to Portugese in Boriquen prior to the invasion by the proto Nazi Columbus. But I have come across several references which debunk the myth of a 1421 exploration.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: thanatopsy on June 21, 2007, 11:57:09 PM
Astor Place riots:

http://www.wayneturney.20m.com/Astor-Place-attack.jpg

http://www.wayneturney.20m.com/Astor-Place-Riot.jpg

http://www.wilsonsalmanac.com/images1/may10_astor_riot_cr.jpg


Astor Place today:

http://www.nycsr.org/files/photos/ny-astor-after.jpg

http://www.robinsoniron.com/images/cooperunionsub_lg.jpg


Cooper Union:

http://gammablog.com/gammablablog/im05/03mar/31/cooper-union.jpg

Great Hall at the Cooper Union:

http://www.petercooper.info/webimgs/full/GreatHall.jpg


note: in the old days we used to say The Cooper Union - been there many times


Title: Re: American History
Post by: weezo on June 22, 2007, 12:19:03 AM
Thanatopsy,

I'm sorta pickin' and choosin' what I may believe and what I question  from the book. There is the matter of coffee growing on Puerto Rico before the Spanish brought it there from Africa. Is there any evidence on the Island that either supports or refutes that assertion? It is a rather vague reference, since Menzies interprets a word that usually means "grape" as indicating "coffee". It's one of his weak assertions.

Is there any history on the Island that would explain a European type village on the bay already there when Columbus arrived? Or were such villages, including a road to the water, the usual way that the Natives on the Island lived? Columbus seemed not to question the existance of the village.



Title: Re: American History
Post by: madupont on June 22, 2007, 01:18:07 AM
thanatopsy, re:#444

Thanks for the pictures of Cooper Union Square.  I might have known it would happen some day that I would be shocked by what it looks like now. It's actually kind of pretty seen in this way.

As you said, in the old days when it was The Cooper Union, it was such an open space , and I often walked from there further east across the Village. One day I had a most unusual experience as I waited to cross that open space from one side to another -- I forget if I was already at the interim strip looking to the far side or if I was on the west side and looked up at the person waiting in the median strip?  It is too long ago, but nevertheless, I was amazed to recognize the person waiting to cross was someone from my home town and the last person I would expect to run into in New York now that I was here for the long haul, so to speak. We approached each other kind of cheerfully but also tentatively and exchanged a few words about fancy meeting you here and then continued on our separate ways; and that was the strangest thing of all because it really was true.   From then on, although I returned to our mutual home town and married,  life with former  associates really discontinued. We had differing interests apparently, gradually had less in common. Until eventually, I picked up my life again where it had left off in the past. 

Of course, I knew "The Cooper Union" as the New School for Social Research.

Directly north of there was the most magnificent street for all the small bookshops you could ever imagine. In those days, Samuel Weiser,Inc. was at that location, I ordered books from there for many years; and, then even after they moved, faithfully sending off money-orders, and then checks for the yearly Ephemerides (what with all this talk of latitude and longitude at present in this forum) until finally that link was broken too and I always have to remind myself to contact California in time for a new yearly guide to where things are at. ACTUALLY, I find that I'm kind of weaning myself away from those navigation logs and using the old German version more and more for observations (like why is the moon ten days away from the opposition to the Sun?)although it is immersed in a world of ancient German saints some of whom I have never heard of before.

Did  you notice by the way how much the Astor Place riot sketches resemble the Goya's from the Napoleonic invasion of Spain?


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Lhoffman on June 22, 2007, 01:28:45 AM
Thanatopsy...your photos put me in mind of what I have truly enjoyed about "The Shakespeare Riots."  Cliff writes in a wonderfully visual style.  Here is a lovely image he paints for us of Macready's little circle of friends:

Macready's dressing room was filled every night with their little coterie, and his dinner parties became a literary fantasist's dream.  Thackeray might be there, or Tennyson, his whiskers and monocle drooping into the soup; Browning would take offense at something Forster said and aim a cut-glass decanter at him, and Dickens, genial as always, would roll his eyes and try to patch things up.  Macready would sit quietly, watching it all fall apart, a mask of imperturbality badly hiding his alarm."

And here, he describes the last days of Kean:

...For ten months he hobbled on stage with an ulcerated leg so painful that he stopped changing his trousers; he would have to have it amputated, he was warned, if he kept up his habitual course of life, and one night he told James Winston that he had decided to have it chopped off.  The leg stayed, but Kean's memory had gone: when he tried new plays, he skipped whole pages without noticing and the audience was unsure whether to complain or cry.  He sat in his hotel bed, his puffy, blotched face painted red and white so that he resembled a down-at-the-heels clown, a glass of hot wine in his hand, surrounded by scroungers and whores; then he staggered to the theatre and sat in the wings, his head nodding in his lap, sipping brandy and hot water, beads of perspiration running down his cheeks.  His greatest wish, he told anyone who listened, was to build himself a remote hut in America, and drink and die forgotten.....


Title: Re: American History
Post by: madupont on June 22, 2007, 02:20:31 AM
weezo re:#442

I have read the above post several times over today, just to be sure if I am missing or not missing something because I see it this way:What is to prevent a man having sailed round the Horn to Goa and beyond to the great East Indies and to Timor where I got in trouble once before for stating it was wrong for Indonesian Muslims to kill Portuguese Christians who were the mixed blood descendents of the "explorers". Said it at Christmas time too. For New Year, I was out on the street or in the Lounge which today is once again Meander where we may.

But I look at it this way, any man having gone that far would place in his pocket and kit any number of things found in the market, porcelain beads, cups, glass, even jade, fabric, coins,ceramic spoons,  horn spoons, what not, and then sailed home to port and signed on again going West to doom or whatever. A shipwreck would nicely leave things on the verge of the shore, once brought from China,  left behind now in a "New World"?


Title: Re: American History
Post by: madupont on June 22, 2007, 02:23:33 AM
Not exactly Sonnets from the Portuguese, is it?


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Dzimas on June 22, 2007, 06:35:05 AM
I thought Farley Mowat summed it up well in his foreward to The Farfarers, that far from being homebound, there were great migrations taking place long before there were great sailing ships.  The Hopi for one insist they came by water, not a land bridge to the New World.  One anthropologist has linked the Hopi to the Jomon culture of Japan, which dates back to the 4th millenium BC.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: thanatopsy on June 22, 2007, 08:02:03 AM
weezo,

The government of Puerto Rico prides itself on the quality of its coffee (in fact, I am drinking a cup of El Coqui brand coffee at this moment) and acknowledges that it is a European import.

"La Borincana" is the national anthem and one line from it is, "Cuando a sus playa llego Colon". The line is an acknowledgment of Columbus ''discovering'' Borinquen (Colon = Spanish for Columbus). I have never read of any indigenous source that recognizes the existence of European settlements prior to the Spanish invaders.  If there had been it is likely that the natives would have developed some form of immunological defense against European diseases that nearly wiped them out in only one generation between 1500-1550. Furthermore, why didn't the Portugese steal the gold that was later stolen by Columbus? And why didn't other European invaders come over and steal the gold that was readily available?

All the talk of Euros or others in Borinken, Kiskeya (Hispaniola), or Bimini (Florida) in the year 1421 makes for interesting reading but it doesn't sound too real.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: thanatopsy on June 22, 2007, 08:13:50 AM
``Did  you notice by the way how much the Astor Place riot sketches resemble the Goya's from the Napoleonic invasion of Spain?``

Wow! You're right!!

Imagine the impact they had on the public at that time.  No wonder there was so much hostility towards England during the Civil War just a few years later.

The Cooper Union + Astor Place ---

The area featured  a great many galleries, book shops and movie houses. The Union's Great Hall presented many lectures and other forms of entertainment for free. The district was a great place to go for entertainment at a very reasonable cost.

No wonder why NYC was such a great place to live in!


Title: Re: American History
Post by: weezo on June 22, 2007, 08:16:56 AM
Dzimas,

I am going to order the Farfarers perhaps today, since I have finished reading all that I came on my last order to Amazon. I seem to be on a thread of reading mostly about these migrations and it is fascinating.

In 1491, by Charles Mann, he suggests strongly that early settlers in Peru came there sailing from the east along the coast of Antarctica and up the western shore of South America to settle on the shore and build a unique civilzation there. Again, Charles Mann is not a historian, but a reporter who collected his data from archeologists rather than "historians". I was rather turned on to the anthropogist observations from the reading of Helen Roundtree that refutes a lot of the "eyewitness" accounts of the Jamestown settlers.

Charles Mann is a more credable writer than Gavin Manzies, who seems to want to build a personality cult rather than just focus on the facts. Charles Mann sought the evidence in the manner of a good reporter. Gavin Manzies formulated and theory and then set out to "prove" it. He seems to go over the deep end in confirming his theory with some stuff that is just not evidentiary.

The good part is having the assumptions that were taught me in grade school questioned at this time of my life. I indeed like the idea that history is a neverending tale, and subject to new information at any point along the journey. When I was in high school, I thought history was a dull, boring subject. Now, in retirement, I am seeing that it is quite vibrant and alive with new discoveries which challenge the very pillars of what I was taught as "certainty".


Title: Re: American History
Post by: caclark on June 22, 2007, 11:38:48 AM
weezo, June 21, 2007, 8:25 PM: "The author's credential are far from sterling - he's only an asst prof, and at a obscure college. He makes too much of the fact that Menzies was paid for his work."

Professor Furnish didn’t make too much of the money Menzies got paid for writing 1421. As a matter of fact, he didn’t even mention it in his critique. I did.

I try to keep an open mind on new theories that challenge conventional wisdom. But there is a difference between being a responsible researcher and being a good storyteller. The later who attempts to cross over and try his hand at scholarship is seldom going to get away with too much. Once his work is published, it’s out there for peers and scholars to scrutinize and criticize and that’s as it should be. After all, the burden is not on them to disprove his theory.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: madupont on June 22, 2007, 11:47:48 AM
thanatopsy, re:#452

"No wonder why NYC was such a great place to live in!"

You probably know that because of the location of The Cooper Union, just north of the densest lower Manhattan slums on the way to Brooklyn(as well as slightly west of what became East Village and then Alphabet City), you find some of the major immigrant groups originally from Europe(and later from the Caribbean)resided in those areas. At the time that I'm talking about being there, we knew of The New School at Cooper Union as being devoted to the education of immigrants of diverse populations.

I certainly met some of every kind when I lived there.  Bob was very helpful by the way (I hope he is on the mend)in supplying us at various times with the maps which I believe are called, Song-Lines, which keep detailing various areas as well as keeping us up to date on little known history of famous spots like the Fountains in Washington Square, that had been the likeliest spot in much earlier times to locate the hangman's  place of public execution, and also what would have been a rather large cemetery.  I may have some of those  "city-blocks" kicking around on my computer.

I managed to live on both sides( at different times) of the Washington Square fountains which, having passed through the era of "American Folk singers and guitarists" gathering there, began an exciting era with great polyrhythmic pounding sessions on Sunday afternoons possibly equal to what had been, Congo Square, the only place it was allowed in New Orleans.  Bob Dylan arrived at Positively Fourth Street, just after I went back in the direction from which he had come. Wavy Gravy/Romney performed in a coffee house kitty-corner from Fourth below the Square when I later came back and could further investigate areas in which I'd gone to work in the furthest Lower East Side.

Although I'd first lived in the old Yiddish Theatre district next to the Polish Clinic east of 2nd.Avenue, the LES was a cobble-stoned sector, where as you looked out the windows of your transportation,you couldn't imagine why the revolution, that had displaced many of these people from Russia and Poland, hadn't caused them to pry up the cobbles and start hurling them.

I would never have been able to find my way in and out of this ghetto, if not for Helena from the Caribbean who always supplied me with precise directions on how to take public transportation and make connections without getting lost in a city that was then based on a very simple to travel grid.  I knew many Village residents from the islands and Venezuela in those years. So I urge you take a look again at that map of the Portuguese Empire whose link I posted in an earlier position than I can review from here.  If you have to get out a magnifiying glass and locate that tiny almost imperceptible red dot off the northeastern coast of South America although it can be barely seen next to the rest of the great red swath of Portugal's Empire.

The second World War brought about the arrival of some of the greatest minds in Europe to teach at The New School for Social Research, and when the G.I.s returned they went to school there at Cooper Union. You constantly met people who studied there, when you hung out in the West Village.

After a short stay at an historic artistic dig on 8th.st.west of 5th.avenue, I went to the East Village at the exact moment when what had been the tenements of the Irish immigration had transfered the power of Alphabet City to the people of the Caribbean and(Bob and I had this in common, we were there;he was at school) when Castro arrived in the barrio more or less at the same time as America went to the movies to see,West Side Story.  Pretty weird. There was more theater looking down from the fourth floor walk-up windows at the dramatic presentations below in the street.  I loved the guy who, always dressed in tightly fitted clothes that would have made a matador proud, would walk into the street and extend his arm at full length from the shoulder in front of an arriving fire truck as if it were a charging bull. We would then look around for the fire,realizing the truck had not been clanging or bellowing.  He was out there to direct traffic for the firemen who he thought were going too fast through his neighbourhood where the street was the only playground. Tompkins Square to the west is as you know now is a playground for dogs, since gentrification.

Many of my favourite neighbourhoods have been revamped or no longer are what they were. Others remain pretty much the same on the upper East side. But tell me, what is your impression of how Bob Kerry has run the place since he came to The New School? I was rather more fond of their extension over on the western side of Washington Square when the Actors'Studio took over at the Provincetown Players in Eugene O'Neill's old theatre.



      


Title: Re: American History
Post by: weezo on June 22, 2007, 11:57:53 AM
CAClark,

I too, like to keep an open mind. This story caught my attention not so much for the Chinese expedition, which I think is a delightful story, but wobbly in proof, but for the information on the Portuguese explorations that preceded Columbus. I found it interesting that Christopher's brother Bartholemew was at one point a member of the Porteuguese court, studying the maps that the Portuguese kept secret, and then, when he was expelled from Portugal, his own version of the Mundi Mapae was the instrument that Columbus used to convince the Spanish Court to finance his expedition. It is telling that Columbus noted finding Portuguese speaking people on one of the Carribean islands. Menzies says it was Puerto Rico. Perhaps it was, perhaps it was a different island. Either way, it would seem to establish that Columbus was not the first European to make landfall in the Americas. And, that is the point that sticks out to me. I find it most interesting that repositories such as those Menzies notes in the UK, containe Medieval maps of the world with accuracies that predate European exploration. If not Gheng He, then who?

I noted in reading the various criticism that the authenticity of the maps in such repositories were neither questions nor acknowledged. The critics seemed to chip at insignificant points and the condemn the whole work. And, you are not the only critic to complain that Menzies made a lot of money on the book. I fail to see the significance of that as an issue.



Title: Re: American History
Post by: caclark on June 22, 2007, 12:39:49 PM
weezo,

It may not be significant at all and I don’t wish to over-emphasize it. But when an author with no distinction in historical scholarship or writing is paid $750,000 to write a book that he knows might be controversial, it raises the question of whether his motivation was to write honest history or something sensational. 1421 has been a bestseller so a lot of the public have obviously bought into it.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: weezo on June 22, 2007, 01:14:41 PM
CAClark,

I've seen advances well in excess of $750,000 for books, usually for established writers. I'm not one to note what is on the bestseller lists, but when ordering the book 1491, I saw this one listed and went back for it next time I ordered. I'm not sure that a lot of people "bought into it", they just bought the book. Whether or not they believed it, is another story. To me, the greatest significance is that it questions the cherished truths we were taught in grade school, and which have been under pressure for accuracy for the past 15-20 years.

During 1992, when so many celebrated the 500th anniversary of Columbus' voyage, I first began to hear of the controversy. I began to hear the rumbles from the Native American community that charged Columbus with cruelty and genocide both in bringing European diseases to the continent (which he would have done  unknowingly), and with deliberate deed of cruelty and murder against the Indians who didn't bring him the expected gold he wanted to take back to Spain. In that year I bought a shirt at a Pow-Wow that says, in big letters "Still Here! 4,500 years After Columbus" then lists in small print the many tribes of North America that were affected by his deed. After I felt comfortable with the notion that the Indians had lived here for 5,000 years before Columbus, so he didn't "discover" anything, I was splashing one fall day on the shores of the Chesapeake Bay, and a relic hunter stopped to chat. After he left, hubby said I should keep a sharp eye out for arrowheads and pottery. I looked down at my feet, and said, "Like this", and picked out a piece of quart in a long narrow triangular shape. The relic hunter, came over to look, and said that it was a spear head, rather than an arrowhead, and was likely some 10,000 years old. Now, I was confused again. The Indians had been here longer than 5,000 years. And, as I've done some reading in anthropological works on Virginia Natives, I've seen estimates of up to 20,000 years, perhaps only 10,000 here on the east coast.

Someday I'll find a place to take my spear head and get an accurate date on it. I am happy just to have it wrapped to hang on a necklace and wear occasionally as a curiosity without needing to know the absolute facts. The relic hunter is considered a local "expert" on Indian artifacts of which he has a huge collections that is displayed on appropriate occasions. After a storm, we have picked up various pieces of broken pottery on the Chesapeake shore. I have no idea of the date of them, and am not terribly curious to do the research to find out.

So, like you, I am open to new ideas to replace old concepts. I am more than willing to concede that we do not know all the facts at all, and that what we have used a "primary sources" to establish facts in history are not the be-all and end-all on the subject. When only one side of a story is considered a "primary source" it is far too likely that you are not getting the whole picture.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: madupont on June 22, 2007, 02:07:10 PM
Weezo, try dating your find through the auspices of the Museum of the American Indian down in Washington,D.C., which is having a big Pow-WoW quite soon in July.

I was thinking of marti(from New Jersey) who used to ask me to keep him informed, when I first saw the announcement but then remembered he has not been heard from around here as far as I know, so I forgot to pay any mind but it will take place anywhere between about the 7th. and the 17th. The Fourth is not a relatively big date in Indian Affairs.

Anyway, I got sidetracked at the moment because Harlyn Geronimo had come forth to demand the return of Geronimo's skull from George Bush who had not answered about the whereabouts once taken to The Tomb on Yale campus by Skull & Bones.

I stood around for awhile and shot down people who were aiming insults at Native Americans including veterans; and notified them that yes there is that reclamation of remains Law now in effect for about a decade or so. It is US Law. But, since you have possession of an artifact transported by the tides and are within your rights, I don't think the museum would hassle you about ownership while authenticating age of the find.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: weezo on June 22, 2007, 02:17:23 PM
Maddie,

I would love to take a trip to DC, and if I do, I will keep that in mind. For now, I'm rather homebound, unable to drive as much as an hour away without my nerves giving out on me. I am not curious enough to trust mailing it to them. But thanks for letting me know where to get it done. I wonder if there is a good source closer by.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: thanatopsy on June 22, 2007, 04:45:57 PM
madupont,

NYC is the world's greatest city because of its great receptivity to all of those ethnic groupings that you listed. Their presence there greatly enriched the city and continues to do so to this day. The many interesting people you mentioned reminded me of the old line, there are 8 million stories in the Naked City - this has been one of them. And how true!!

But you mentioned The New School and The Cooper Union as if they were one institution at one time.  This is new to me.  I thought TNS was its own place from the beginning some time around WWI. True, they are not too far from each other. But TNS has a leftist origin whereas TCU has its origin from the monies given by Peter Cooper (himself a war profiteer).

I understand Senator Bob Kerrey has expanded TNS but I have not been in NYC in many a year and am out of touch with the changes there.  Therefore, I cannot give you query an informed answer. But it would be great if his changes can bring about the resurrection of those old ethnic theaters in that area.  Those venues used to be places where people could exchange ideas and gather socially. It sure beats staying home all night long glued to the TV!

There is one thing I would like to see Senator Kerrey bring into the School: years ago every school used to have their own cricket, croquet, and rounders clubs --- it would be great to see him bring those clubs back into the School and to start a municipal league where young people can have fun playing and watching those games.  For those who don't play, let them sit by wearing bowlers (for men) and flowered hats (for ladies) while drinking iced tea. It would be great to see him change the atmosphere so that everyone can get together and learn to treat each other with great civility while enjoying these matches in a spirit of good sportsmanship and camaraderie. You used to read about that in colleges in the old days. It would be even better to see that today.



Title: Re: American History
Post by: madupont on June 22, 2007, 08:20:09 PM
Thanatopsy, re:#461

"But you mentioned The New School and The Cooper Union as if they were one institution at one time.  This is new to me.  I thought TNS was its own place from the beginning some time around WWI. True, they are not too far from each other. But TNS has a leftist origin whereas TCU has its origin from the monies given by Peter Cooper (himself a war profiteer)."

Just to be sure, I looked it up, and it is rather confounding, here's why. You are right, even if I think of them as one; and here is why I do. The New School, which was the New School for Social Research (and a number of other things as well) devotes itself to philosophy, political and social science; management and urban policy, also has over the years added the school of liberal arts, and has a school of music, and a school of design(Parsons to be exact, to which Helene would send me on occasion), as well as Actors Studio, which  televises out of another educational institution entirely after their contract was up.

Cooper is a school on to itself(although New School lists a Cooper Library which may be merely the address rather than the institution) and get this, it is the School of Science, and the Arts, so you see how the two schools those specializing in the beginning of each institution, in quite different fields suddenly begin to blend in the middle with the area of Arts.  It had also been a tuitionless school but I do not know if that is the case today. Then suddenly, they began to add those additional academic programs. I suppose you might say, as I looked at the map which blurred my vision, that the whole area directly as a circumference of Washington Square is now one big educational area, the University of Greenwich Village with the New School circling the whole area in which is included the Cooper Union east of Washington Square while NYU is directly northeast of the Square.

Want some more complexity,curious as to why you considered the New School to have leftist origins, this appears to have been intimately connected to the WW 1 origins in that a number of the faculty at Columbia were let go because they were Pacifists who went directly to The New School for Social Research. Columbia's loss was the New School's gain.  Having been a big fan of Warren Beatty's production, direction , and star role in, Reds, with many interviews of the then yet surviving inhabitants of Greenwich Village who became famous in whatever their fields, it doesn't escape me that the singular lesson of that production was that being against the war made you a communist in the eyes of non-pacifists.  Sound familiar. Very much like today. No denying that Beatty also gives you a really educational tour that is bonafide on the history and development of the communist movement.

Now, here's the catcheroo, just as Peter Cooper is noted as the founder of the Cooper Union, likewise for such a radical sounding place by association the New School of Social Research was funded by Dorothy Payne Whitney.

Personally this tells me something more about why the area, the place that I mentioned living on 8th street west of 5th.avenue is now an adjunct museum of the Whitney, small but it started  from a small art school at that address and a couple of supporters of the arts who had an apartment there while up in the garrett with a skylight on Macdougall Alley was Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney's sculpture studio.  In more recent times, the property was handled by a relative on the Morgan side of the family whom I imagine still retains it.  So you see how complex these relationships are and we are not through yet.

Over at the Cooper Union, Thomas Edison was a graduate.   I'd never known that before.

Here's what happens in the post-WW1 years  at the New School,"The New School for Social Research continues the Graduate Faculty's tradition of synthesizing progressive American intellectual thought and critical European philosophy. True to its origin and its firm roots within the University in Exile*, The New School for Social Research, particularly its Department of Philosophy, is one of very few in the United States to offer students thorough training in the modern continental European philosophical tradition known as "Continental philosophy." Thus, it stresses the teachings of Aristotle, Locke, Hume, Kant, Hegel, Kierkegaard, Marx, Nietzsche, Husserl, Heidegger, Freud, Benjamin, Wittgenstein, Foucault, Derrida, Deleuze, et al. [1] The thought of the Critical Theory of the Frankfurt School of Max Horkheimer, Walter Benjamin, Theodor Adorno, Hannah Arendt, Herbert Marcuse, Jürgen Habermas, et al. holds an especially strong influence on all divisions of the school." and that's not all.

Let's look at the University in Exile*. The University in Exile was founded in 1933 as a graduate division of the New School for Social Research, to be a haven for scholars who had been dismissed from teaching positions by totalitarian regimes in Europe. But here is where we get one of those contradictions again like funder and founder Dorothy Payne Whitney. Who picks up the tab for the University in Exile, why the Rockefeller Foundation of course.

The New School played a similar role with its support of the École Libre des Hautes Études. Receiving a charter from de Gaulle's Free French government in exile, the École attracted refugee scholars who taught in French, including philosopher Jacques Maritain, anthropologist Claude Lévi-Strauss, and linguist Roman Jakobson. The École Libre gradually evolved into one of the leading institutions of research in Paris, the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales, with which the New School maintains close ties.

Following the collapse of totalitarian regimes in Europe, the University in Exile was renamed the Graduate Faculty of Political and Social Science. In 2005 the Graduate Faculty was again renamed, this time taking the original name of the university, the New School for Social Research.

Now should we go back and look at some of the weird things to know at the Cooper Union? Possibly not  before I fill you in on how the above New School for Social Research  got into "unionization" from the United Auto Workers, so that the faculty could be unionized.  Okay, on we go...

The Cooper Union began with adult education in night classes on the subjects of applied sciences and architectural drawing, as well as day classes for women on the subjects of photography, telegraphy, typewriting and shorthand (in what was called the College's Female School of Design). Discrimination based on race, religion, or sex was expressly prohibited.

They they went on with Engineering, Chemical engineering, Mechanical engineering,Civil engineering,Electrical engineering,Architecture.

But while the Cooper Union was providing many free programs that were almost a combo of  "cultural recreation", it has become recognizable in recent years that the New School produced Irving Kristol and a handful of neocon-servatives, the very antithesis of some of the early programs like the Frankfurt School (not to be confused with Felix Frankfurter, graduate of the Cooper Union).






Title: Re: American History
Post by: weezo on June 22, 2007, 09:12:25 PM
Maddie,

I was fascinated to read of the history of New School. I'd heard of it in the 90's and had no idea what it was. I knew a blind woman who taught there in the Social Justice Dept, a course on the rights of the handicapped. She had a syruppy sweet voice which disguised a tough-as-nails personality. We were in NYC for a weekend - I visited some schools for autistic children, and was to go with a friend to meet Tzippy on Saturday. Friday night a blizzard hit, and we were unable to get off the parking lot of the motel until after noon on Sunday, at which time we limped out of Brooklyn, across Staten Island, and about halfway down the Jersey Turnpike we were mostly out of the snow. When we got back to Virginia, there had just been a bit of flurries here. Part of the group we were with on that trip, was a man from Saskatchewan, who commented as we were lunching on soup and bagels, that he'd missed all blizzards in Canada that year, only to get caught in one in early spring in New York. Oh, the bagels were wonderful. There was a shop next door to the motel, and, since the meals in the motel were rather pricey, we mostly lived on bagels for the weekend.

Tzippy didn't go blind until she had finished college, when she contracted MS, which attacked her eyes first, and later her brain. After several years she became far too hateful to continue a relationship with. I heard she moved to Manhattan, but when I ask the friend who introduced us, he just rolls his eyes and says he has nothing more to do with her. So, I don't know if she still teaches at New School or not.

Before we parted ways, Tzippy told me that she knew I wasn't a very good teacher because the best people in any field are always in New York. Since I wasn't in NYC, therefore I wasn't a good teacher. Of course, I was one of a handful of teachers around the country/world who were trying out the Internet with students, and not a one of the NYC teachers were involved. In fact, if you consider the Big Sky project in the one room schoolhouses in Montana, there were probably more rural teacher on the Internet in those days before the Web was born, that urban or suburban teachers. Surprisingly, I was part of a substantial group of special ed teachers - and while my students were pioneers on the Internet, the gifted kids at our school were getting Bridge lessons. Go figure!


Title: Re: American History
Post by: madupont on June 22, 2007, 10:02:18 PM
weezo, re: #463

"Friday night a blizzard hit...in early spring in New York."

I remember that one.We called those Nor'easters in New Jersey.  They tend to drop a very heavy snow accumulation inward from the Coast, as far west as the Delaware River. Since all the food delivery has to be trucked from Hunters Point, New York to the local supermarkets, they slow down bumper to bumper and you have to wait awhile at home.  It is an old New Jersey custom to go shopping immediately when you hear that there will be snow, or even rain... Get something, anything , and bring it home. We had on occasion outtages along Tornado Alley, that had us guessing which restaurants were near enough yet beyond the affected area to make it worth the drive since you couldn't cook. Meaning you had to have some cold already prepared food ready; but the other custom among old New Jersey hands is to keep plenty of charcoal and a sufficient grill, so you can go outside and cook your dinner just as soon as the rain stops and the wind subsides.

On the occasion that you are talking about, we put on our heavy French Creek style clothing, unless you still fit into your actual real regulation P jacket from the Navy which is impervious to water, and your high boots, and then you walk down the middle of the street since there is no traffic anyway --just to see what the neighbors are doing and so they see you.  I have noticed people in Manhattan kind of get off on making that a holiday too.

We really don't know if this is a comfortable alternative adjustment to Hurricane season or not?

Recently in the last week, we had the same thing as the Nor'easter quite unexpectedly that gave us about an eight hour down pour with lightening storms,high winds, possible hail, and flooding all in one night. We were waiting for it to happen again as we had been promised more. It is very rare at this time of  year to have a storm that  has reversed direction in this way proceeding southward from mid-state New York down to where you live via the Mid-Atlantic region otherwise known as the Eastern Heartland. We could see the darkness out in the east toward the ocean  but it was still going north before it turned around and came down the interior. Oddly some of the area directly north of the Chesapeake just sat there and had no rainfall.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: weezo on June 22, 2007, 11:25:24 PM
Maddie,

The same thing happens here in Virginia when snow is forcast. Everyone rushes to the stores because it takes several days for the inadequate equipment to get us dug out. Schools close as soon as the flakes fly, and often do not reopen until the snow has melted off - it takes that long to get the rural roads cleared. I once asked the director of transportation why they didn't buy chains for the school buses so they could get the kids to schools in some snow at least. He said they were too expensive for the number of times they could be used in a given year. But, I remember years when we were out of school for two full weeks until a March snow melted enough to let folks move around. In 1998 we had an ice storm on Christmas Eve that closed everything down for five days.

When I said we were in NYC, I forgot to mention that we were in Brooklyn rather than Manhattan. The storm we had that weekend was billed a "Snowicane". The odd thing was that the police cars were unable to move. The city had just gotten new police cars, and the wheel wells didn't allow the chains to be put on, so they couldn't move. We didn't believe the weather forecast and didn't pack boots, so we had to walk in the snow in dress shoes. Boy, did my feet get cold!

We had lots of snow in Reading when I was growing up. I remember wearing boots to walk across the Bingaman Street Bridge over the Skuykill River to get to school. School rarely closed for snow, and most kids walked or rode the city bus. There weren't many school buses back then except to bring the rural kids into the city. The wind was so strong coming up the river from Philly, and I was so skinny, that if it wasn't for the snow piled up against the curb on the bridge, I'd have been blown out into the roadway.

I need to go over my "books to buy" list and see what to order next. I'm down to reading on one of my Thomas Jefferson books, which I tend to save to read on when I've got nothing better to munch on. Not sure if I will go with Native Americans or Slavery as a topic. I've got a lot of both categories on my list.

Oh, if you can think of any Famous Pennsylvanians, let me know. I'm starting a new category on my Famous Americans site. I've got Ben Franlin, Conrad Weiser and will add William Penn and Dwight Eisenhower. I know I studied more than that in school, but my brain is not cooperating!




Title: Re: American History
Post by: thanatopsy on June 23, 2007, 03:49:28 PM
A Shakespearean Ark  {Ch 1}

From most of my earlier readings on USA history, it has usually been shown that Americans from the antebellum era read the Bible and only occasionally read anything else {usually, the only other type of reading was local newspapers, especially the anti-Masonic ones}. I do not recall reading where there had been any kind of obsession with the theater and certainly not with Shakespeare.  Considering how rampant the anti-British feeling was at that time, Cliff's premise that Americans were obsessed with Shakespeare is rather surprising. I will grant that his works were extremely popular with the intellectual and sophisticated urban crowd, but it is highly surprising to learn that backwoods types from rural podunks enjoyed the works as well.



Title: Re: American History
Post by: madupont on June 23, 2007, 08:04:53 PM
Nope. My great-aunt in filling me in on her family, oral-history to say the least, told me about how her older brother educated her. She was born in 1887 and he was about 25 years her senior. As he was the oldest, and she was the youngest, he had charge of the farm on which my great- grandfather raised livestock imported from Scotland; but he knew that Hazel would inherit everything as the most likely "last one" remaining, and that she would need specific knowledge in order to manage the business of the farm.  it was a little esoteric...

Which led to her being quite remote, immersed in a  more sophisticated environment.  Until, the Crash of '29, when she returned from Chicago.  The opening chapters of Theodore Dreiser's, Sister Carrie, make clear, or plain, how she got there in the first place, with a few changes of character in the principals.

From what she told me, her brother John had his concentration so entirely taken with his duty to the farm that he never left it. The rest of the family would go off to the theatre for entertainment, he preferred to stay at home.  With about a three foot bookshelf with the standards, the Bible,and Shakespeare which he preferred to read than ever subject himself to a theatrical performance.  The family made fun of him for unsociable characteristics but he was their provider. His idea of how to educate his baby-sister was Latin,Greek, and algebra, at the usual primary school age. He was right, she inherited the farm; she took care of him in his final days and then sold the farm and bought a suitable house in a small town on the river for herself and her husband  who had been a chauffeur for Jacob Loeb; and invested his savings in a lingerie Boutique on Michigan Avenue that sold hand-sewn fine-stitching silk bloomers and teddies done by nuns in French convents. Until, the Crash.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Lhoffman on June 23, 2007, 09:36:37 PM
Thanatopsy....Here are some places to start looking. 

http://www.ashlandelks.org/history/contexts/shakesp.html
 (http://www.ashlandelks.org/history/contexts/shakesp.html)
http://content.lib.washington.edu/19thcenturyactorsweb/essay.html
 (http://content.lib.washington.edu/19thcenturyactorsweb/essay.html)
http://www.lib.washington.edu/specialcoll/findaids/docs/photosgraphics/19thCenturyActorsPHColl75.xml (http://www.lib.washington.edu/specialcoll/findaids/docs/photosgraphics/19thCenturyActorsPHColl75.xml)

And a short article about the first American Theatre

http://www.theatrehistory.com/american/hornblow01.html (http://www.theatrehistory.com/american/hornblow01.html)


Title: Re: American History
Post by: madupont on June 24, 2007, 12:10:50 AM
Some actors old and some actors new
(the first links are drawings or photographs of the actors from the link  that Lhoffman considerately posted)
Following those are links from current or recent discussions here and there.

http://content.lib.washington.edu/cdm4/item_viewer.php?CISOROOT=/19thcenturyactors&CISOPTR=314&REC=1

FANNY KEMBLE         

 1  Books / American History / Re: American Historyon: June 11, 2007, 11:14:38 PM 
Started by admin, Message by madupontRelevance: 58.2%
bosox18d  Re:#365

Fanny Kemble was a 19th.century actress who was on tour and appearing in Philadelphia, possibly about the period of time when my great-grandmother was born somewhere in the Pennsylvania territory. Fanny as a result of that engagement in a theatrical performance met the man whom she would marry and, about whose life in the South,she knew next to nothing.  It all came as rather a shock to her, which is what weezo is referring to in regard to the book that she mentions. It has been dramatized on television at some point but I'm vague as to the sponsor, the series, or what exactly went into causing a biographical drama,yet in any case,her eyes being opened to the reality, she none the less became quite a capable administrator of her husband's holdings in some sense, when they had a falling out over their differences and a separation.  I am trying to recall if she went back to the theater? She did become a renowned Abolitionist.





TYRONE POWER      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tyrone_Power_%281795-                                                                                           1841%29   

TYRONE POWER,Sr.
                            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tyrone_Power%2C_Sr.

TYRONE POWER      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tyrone_Power

 
                             
 1  Arts / Movies / Re: Movieson: Today at 06:26:53 PM 
Started by admin, Message by madupontRelevance: 71.2%
Quote from: TrojanHorse on Today at 05:09:16 PM
I often thought the character of Larry Darrow in The Razor's Edge I reminded me of Hemingway and I found it particularly interesting in the film version with Bill Murray, that they made him an ambulence driver.  It's been many many years since I read the book, but I don't recall him being an ambulence driver in the book.

Not sure if  Maugham knew Hemmingway personally or not, but he always asserted, I believe, that he didn't make much up in the novel...probably a complilation of 2-3 people


Compare Murray's version with that of Tyrone Power(1946). Then see what you think.  Maugham was as likely to put Ambulance Driver into the personnae because he was himself a doctor. Weird but true. Thus, you get --Of Human Bondage, with Bette Davis, while Maugham was young enough to tussle with this idea but only an idea since he was quite gay and didn't know how that would fly with his profession?  How he had time to write all his stuff is unimaginable. I started reading him very early in life when I ran into a stash in a public library, particularly the short stories.

Starring Tyrone Power, you have a supporting cast of Gene Tierney, Anne Baxter,CLIFTON WEBB,Herbert Marshall, and Elsa Lanchester. And it is very dark and hypnotic to say the least. Although I did gain a new respect for Bill Murray from seeing him in this role and discovering he was an actor and not just a comic.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: thanatopsy on June 24, 2007, 08:11:32 AM
Lhoffman,

Thanx for those links - I esp like the vintage photos of the actresses.  They were so beautiful!

Your links, like those of others here, and like Cliff's comments, reveal a very different picture from, say, Alice Tyler's Freedom's Ferment or other writings which give the impression that the USA milieu was one of anti-intellectualism and general illiteracy.

It has been well established that the Bowery b'hoys and g'hals often used Shakespearean language in their normal discourse {a language called New York flash by Ned Buntline}. But I had not known that Shakes had that much of an impact nationwide!

 :) :) It's amazing what you can learn from this forum!! :) :)


Title: Re: American History
Post by: madupont on June 24, 2007, 09:42:40 AM
thanatopsy.

Considering that he(Shakespeare) was writing his plays at the time that his country and Spain were fighting over who could haul the most out of this one, it isn't odd when you consider their preferred areas of venture, for those who settled upon the East Coast to have retained their cultural tradition. They could over the course  generations, for  nearly two hundred years,
readily recite entire passages verbatim, at the drop of a hat, as " moral wisdom " now traditionally passed down as "folk art".

I well remember as a small child, my grandmother in a small country village -- had the traditional British glassed in  book case (more often, you can still find the free-standing similar piece used for collections of family china pieces and glass, in the homes of New Jerseyeans) but it just goes to show, upon reflection, how much she valued the written material compared to the tableware.   I used to delight in inspecting this trove shelf by shelf during summer months when I would come for a visit. She was of course also the sister of the man I mentioned early who read his Shakespeare at home. Unlike him, she might more readily quote the admonishments of the Scotsmen who had written romances or verse, in the course of her daily remarks.

But what I did find interesting was that among the books, in the break- front that stood in the parlor, was one on "Elocution".  I had to look closely at that word, at my young age. But it had been a very important matter of 19th.century education.  I think that it also accounts for their great respect for the theatre, as almost a place where one went to re-experience not only the moral tales as entertainment but the proper way to "Speak the speech,I pray...trippingly upon the tongue..." without becoming tongue-tied.

I'm sure that the carry over into 20th.century high-school education, where at least one reading of Shakespeare was chosen about the sophmore year, was originally intended to preserve this capacity; and failed miserably.   It may account for how many of us took off and instead hung around theatres in our adolescence, to begin an apprenticeship in theatre-arts.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: weezo on June 24, 2007, 10:51:40 AM
Thanatopsy,

The mark of an educated American has always been his (and usually it's a he until recent times or in my experience) ability to quote either Shakespeare or the Bible as needed for an occasion. The epitome of this characterization is found in the tv series MASH, in the character of Charles, the hauty Bostonian doctor in the later part of the series.

During much of the 20th century, High School literature included one Shakespeare play per year. Ninth grade began with Romeo and Juliette, and 12 th grade culminated with MacBeth. I don't remember what was inbetween. Last year, one of my sisters, who teaches English in a Catholic High School in Michigan, did Romeo and Juliette with 10th graders, and was sharply criticized by the principal who said the students had complained that Shakespeare was "too hard" for them.

At about the beginning of the Web, I had access to a text based interactive site called a MOO (Multi-object oriented environment). I had a class of all females (a rarety in special ed) who enjoyed the online environment, and we set about to do a Shakespeare in the Moo using the play The Tempest. We ran out of school year before we got much further than designing the costume of the characters, but my girls had much fun programming the dressing and undressing of the characters in a small variety of costume, all described in text. It was funny to see the girls sitting at the computer, acting out the motions of putting on one garment or another, before typing in the steps to dress their character. The kids were learning the basics of programming as well as period language of Shakespeare. A few years ago, I could still find "Shakespeare in the MOO" using a search engine, because it was bult into a MOO core that moved from site to site (The MOOs were such a temptation to dictatorial governance, that one rarely lasted too long before it split, an opposition group would secure a new core, and go on, always dragging Shakespeare in the MOO and the Crystal Classroom with them.) I just tried to find it with google and it didn't come up, so I guess that core finally died.

So, dear Thanatopsy, Shakespeare has always been alive and well in The Colonies and the resultant Republic. I was a bit confused by your reference to an "Antebellum" period. We usually use that term to describe the period after the Civil War, especially here in Virginia, rather than the period after the Revolutionary war or any subsequent wars.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: thanatopsy on June 24, 2007, 07:58:39 PM
True, Shakespeare was taught in NYC high schools. Interestingly, this is how Black teens from Brooklyn who played basketball adopted the "we" or speaking in the third person.  After all, Brooklyn's  official name is King's County and the sport made them feel like royalty.

When I moved to Minnesota to attend law school over 20 years ago, several of my classmates and I were treated to a church sponsored presentation of Shakespeare at Minneapolis' Guthrie Theater.  We had a group of 8 people and I was the only person in that group who had read any of the bard's work (only one of my mates had even heard of him!). 

As for Antebellum, I have always understood it to be a reference to the years before the Civil War --- my old Webster's Dictionary (so old that the cover just fell off darn it!) specifically indicates that it is that period.  Postbellum is the term for the years after that war.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: weezo on June 24, 2007, 08:33:37 PM
Than,

Oops, my bad! I got my prefixes mixed up! You are right, ante means before not after.

I think much depends on where in the US you are looking. In areas with a strong English/Irish/Welsh immigration, Shakespeare was probably part of a library for those who had libraries even of a few volumes. In states, like Minnesota, where the immigration was not heavily English, the bard may have been overlooked. Virginia, where I live now, was an English colony, moreso than Pennsylvania where I grew up (William Penn was English, but the Germans were the predominant immigrant group). I will ask on the Virginia History list how the bard was perceived in "antebellum" Virginia, and whether his writings were typically a part of plantation libraries. Will get back to you when I hear back on the list.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: bosox18d on June 25, 2007, 02:25:26 AM
The Mention of Tyrone Power brings to mind a little history.Back in the 80's and early 90's a friend of mine had a buddy who had bought Powers old sloop named "The Black Swan" after the flick.I don't know how my friends buddy came to own it or if it had been restored as it had been around since at least the 50's but I sailed several day trips on it out of Melbourne,Fl. in the 80's and it was a beautiful boat.The guy and his wife who was a reporter first for USA Today and then the Miami Herald moved the boat and themselves down to Key West when she got the Herald gig as the Keys Reporter.I saw it last in the mid 90's and it still looked great. 


Title: Re: American History
Post by: weezo on June 25, 2007, 01:48:27 PM
Thanatopsy,

So far, I have received four replies to the query about the presence of Shakespeare's writing in colonial and pioneer locales. All referenced a work entitled: Highbrow/Lowbrow ... and pointed out that Americans in the hinterlands and the frontiers were well acquainted with Shakespeare and it was typically among the small libraries that folks toted faithefully from one location to another. Shakespeare troops traveled the countryside putting on their productions in this and that backwoods town, and, if they messed up their lines, the audience was sure to correct them.

I think you can feel assured that your previous perception of lowbrow yanks was in gross error.



Title: Re: American History
Post by: madupont on June 25, 2007, 01:57:46 PM
thanatopsy re#473

"Minneapolis' Guthrie Theater."    I remember when that cantilevered theater was first installed.

By the way, and bosox -- at #475, as well, Did you know that Tyrone Guthrie was a relative of Tyrone Powers. He's in the same line of descent, which is why I included all three of the Tyrone Powers, in order of descent, in that post above with the drawings and photos that Lhoffman had posted from an archived link.

Like any other profession, the theatre is rife with families who remain in the theatre because they have been exposed to it, as a normality, all their life.

What some people refuse to understand when they go into "show business", like say somebody really wants to be a "movie star" but they really don't have any acting experience and nobody has ever told them that they will need it compared to behaving like a celebrity which they eventually find out they are not, is that: today in the Industry of movie-making competitiveness or combativeness as the case may be, those families went into the "pictures".

You don't just break into the business.  Pay attention to the credits as they roll by and you sometime begin to notice a familiar name or two, or more and then it really starts to boggle your mind that all these people on the set and in the background of the actual production are there because of a family member at some point who did something else and knew somebody who....

I always thought that Johnny Depp's performance as, Ed Wood, was a rather perfect example of this complexity.

And bosox! The Black Swan inspired the first crush I ever had, destined not to be a lifetime crush from childhood on, Tyrone Power died early of a heart-attack at about age 44 and I hadn't actually realized this until reading the bio above. I just thought that he went on making movies forever, while I had something that kept me from getting to the movies.

Since I had to practice music, like it or not at a certain age, I developed a substitute crush momentarily on Cornel Wilde as Chopin because I played a lot of his music (and, then was expected to dance to it, too?); so that, at the time I already was extremely smitten by the versatility of Gary Oldman, Beethoven was a guaranteed shoe-in. How I ever managed to miss Oskar Werner as Mozart is unforgivable.  Tom Hulse is no substitute but a thing on to himself.

Okay, bosox, so how was the interior of the ship?


Title: Re: American History
Post by: madupont on June 25, 2007, 02:06:22 PM
weezo, re:#476

Trouping around the countryside was normal for Moliere as well. Remember when Shakespeare mentions this in Hamlet who couches the players what lines to say, he had no idea what fun the French were having on the other side of the Channel, excuse me, chanel.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: madupont on June 25, 2007, 11:05:52 PM
Ps.  Make that Hamlet as coach.
 
It was Moliere who was couching the players. Known for it, in fact.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: bosox18d on June 25, 2007, 11:16:16 PM
As far as below deck on the Black Swan it's been awhile but I recall some beautiful teak and some or all of it was upholstered in snakeskin.I spent almost all the time on deck the times I was on it.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: thanatopsy on June 26, 2007, 08:31:01 AM
Thanatopsy,

I think you can feel assured that your previous perception of lowbrow yanks was in gross error.




Actually, that was a point I was trying to make. Up to this time I had been led to believe that the USA populace in the hinterland was largely illiterate and provincial. Writings such as those of Tyler and others largely gave that impression. McReynolds's book Beneath The American Renaissance and Cliff, however, have set the record straight.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: weezo on June 26, 2007, 08:54:24 AM
Thanatopsy,

Education and literacy were the goals of many if not all of the founding fathers. Thomas Jefferson was perhaps the most eloquent in stating that the preservation of our hard-won liberties rested on creating an educated population. He is often credited with the origins of our public school system. The problem lies in the definition of literacy. Even today there are critics of the public school system that insist the schools are turning out "illiterates". Certainly these students have not acquired the robust level of education that was common in historical times for college graduates, but they are also not at the point where they cannot read whatever it is that they choose to read.
Literacy seems to be defined by the eye of the beholder.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: thanatopsy on June 26, 2007, 05:29:37 PM
Good point.  Jefferson also advocated free education and that is an idea that remains as timeless as ever.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: thanatopsy on June 26, 2007, 09:11:06 PM
Shakespeare Wallah
(1965)

by
Leonard Maltin

Shashi Kapoor, Felicity Kendal, Geoffrey Kendall, Laura Liddell, Madhur Jaffrey, Utpal Dutt.
Directed by James Ivory.

Playboy Kapoor, who has an actress-mistress, romances Felicity Kendal, a member of a two-bit English theatrical company touring Shakespeare in India. Simple, poignant drama.


...


Merchant-Ivory movies were among my favorites.  This little remembered gem was a goody and shows the universality of Shakespeare's work.



Title: Re: American History
Post by: Bob on June 26, 2007, 09:29:16 PM
Good Evening:

I'm back. Surgery done. It was  quite an ordeal and even now I'm unable to sit in one position for too long or to concentrate very well. I was in  the hospital for 2 weeks. I'll read all of the posts as soon as I can and start posting again soon. I see we're into SHAKESPEARE RIOTS--are we also contnuinh with the Taylor volume?

While in the hospital I got NIXON AND KISSINGER. I couldn't get to read, so I'll have to start re-reading SHAKESPEARE tomorrow.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Lhoffman on June 26, 2007, 09:39:32 PM
Bob...glad to see you back, and I hope you zip back into shape as quickly as possible.  :)


Title: Re: American History
Post by: weezo on June 26, 2007, 09:47:52 PM
Bob,

I, too, am glad to see you back. Sorry to hear that the surgery required such a long stay in the hospital. These days, with so much surgery being ambilatory, it is telling that you had a long stay. It was a serious situation.

But, I am glad you are back to sitting up at the computer. Take your time with recovery, let the family spoil and wait on you, and get back in the swing of things when you are ready!!!!


Title: Re: American History
Post by: madupont on June 26, 2007, 10:05:24 PM
thanatopsy, re:#484

I was going to say,"it  has been a long time since I saw that one!"; but 42 years?   Of course, the really hard part for most Americans, is the realization that English, although not exactly Shakespeare's Elizabethan, is the main, the foremost, and the common language of India. This often comes as a surprise.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: madupont on June 26, 2007, 10:09:42 PM
Leaving a message for Bob, who will,"be back later...."

Recuperate at your own pace,we will even play tiddly-winks if necessary until you have recovered enough to be comfortable. There just never seems to be the right position for anything, post-surgery.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Lhoffman on June 26, 2007, 11:11:42 PM
Recovery is hard work.  My mom just had her shoulder re-built and couldn't lift even a paperback to read.  What to do?  Books on tape, television, movies? 


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Dzimas on June 26, 2007, 11:29:27 PM
Good to see you back, Bob.  Sounds like it was even more an ordeal than you bargained for.  Wishing you a full recovery soon.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Dzimas on June 26, 2007, 11:30:25 PM
That's a good point about literacy, weezo.  I suppose each generation thinks the one that follows isn't up to snuff.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: snyggokul on June 26, 2007, 11:49:54 PM
Bob,

Hope you get better and better ; a surgery + 2 weeks in hospital ; I still remember how I felt in December , 2004 ; no fun at all...

And you got Nixon and Kissinger ! Let me know your thoughts on this one; no hurry at all, whenever you get to it.

I was just at 'Meander' complaining about having been in bed for an entire   week with this VERY debilitating virus; felt as if I had been beaten up and could NOT read either, not even the local paper !  >:(

Just take your time and welcome back !  :)

 


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Bob on June 27, 2007, 03:38:23 PM
I feel much better today. I live alone and was able to order food and have two aides come in to  care for me. My employer is very involved in things and checks on me--so I'm doing fine so far. Everyone  gives me the same advice--to take it slow and give things time...The operation was a lot more serious than even the surgeon thought and hence, the time involved.

When I post next I'll post something substinative to get back into things. I was able to open the Shakespeare book and read a few pages and also started Nixon and Kissinger--so I'm off and rolling--albeit in slow motion---but its a start.

I'm also watching the Immigration Debate and reading newspapers again....

I'll be back tomorrow...


Title: Re: American History
Post by: thanatopsy on June 27, 2007, 10:20:45 PM
Recovery is hard work.  My mom just had her shoulder re-built and couldn't lift even a paperback to read.  What to do?  Books on tape, television, movies? 


Lots of good wishes to your Mom!

And a speedy recovery to RW as well!


Good health is so precious. My Best to everyone here!!!!


Title: Re: American History
Post by: thanatopsy on June 27, 2007, 10:32:19 PM
I'm up to about p 109 of Shakes at the moment and find that the writer spends too  much time on events that took place in Briton just a few years before the riots. While these events undoubtedly had a great deal of impact on the subsequent events, I am certain that they could have been summarized a lot better. Perhaps it's my USA prejudice that makes me want to read a lot more about events in NYC and the States rather than jolly ol' England.

Still, it is very striking to read of the severities that actors endured in that era. By contrast, one cannot help but think about how pampered their peers are today.  The Paris Hilton's, Anna Nicole's, Sean Penn's and the rest squawk and rant but little do they realize how easy they have things by comparison with actors from the past.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Lhoffman on June 27, 2007, 11:27:25 PM
Thanatopsy....thank you...you are very kind. 

I didn't mind the British background Clive gave.  But now that I think of it, do you think he could have gotten enough material for his book without it?


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Lhoffman on June 28, 2007, 04:44:01 PM
Dickens in America:

http://www.fidnet.com/~dap1955/dickens/america.html

The Boz Ball
http://www.fathom.com/course/21701768/s3_4a.html

Gotta love the image Cliff paints of Forrest on page 131..."an antebellum Elvis."


Title: Re: American History
Post by: thanatopsy on June 28, 2007, 05:47:35 PM
Thanatopsy....thank you...you are very kind. 

I didn't mind the British background Clive gave.  But now that I think of it, do you think he could have gotten enough material for his book without it?



You are most welcomed!

He could have pared down some of that excessive stuff about the British theater and reduced the book's contents from 300 to about 250 pages without diminishing it all (or so I thought). I'm up to p 125 and agree, however, that the notes on Dickens are certainly quite pertinent.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Lhoffman on June 28, 2007, 08:26:00 PM
I came across those links on Dickens when I was looking around for a rendering of some sort of the Boz Ball.  I would have liked to see all that bunting.  No luck though. 

But here is a daguerreotype of Edwin Forrest, and one of John Wilkes Booth's father Junius as well..  I can't find exact dates, but I did find that daguerreotypes were first taken in the US in 1841.  (Too bad someone didn't get Dickens on his New York visit.) 

http://images.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/today/images/jbooth.gif&imgrefurl=http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/today/feb20.html&h=150&w=123&sz=18&hl=en&start=5&um=1&tbnid=DK_EAS9OELD0UM:&tbnh=96&tbnw=79&prev=/images%3Fq%3D%2Bdaguerreotypes%2Bedwin%2Bforrest%26svnum%3D10%26um%3D1%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DG


Title: Re: American History
Post by: desdemona222b on June 29, 2007, 11:53:34 AM
Bob,

Hope you get better and better ; a surgery + 2 weeks in hospital ; I still remember how I felt in December , 2004 ; no fun at all...

And you got Nixon and Kissinger ! Let me know your thoughts on this one; no hurry at all, whenever you get to it.

I was just at 'Meander' complaining about having been in bed for an entire   week with this VERY debilitating virus; felt as if I had been beaten up and could NOT read either, not even the local paper !  >:(

Just take your time and welcome back !  :)

 

Hi, I've been lurking, you guys.  Not to post off-topic, but my best wishes and sympathy go out to dear Robert. 

Sny -

I got REALLY sick this winter.  After several days I was finally able to get myself out of bed and to the doctor.  They told me they were going to give me a shot which would make me feel much better in the next 24 hours - some sort of anti-virus medicine.  I was flabbergasted when it worked so well - everything I've ever read about it says that you HAVE to get the shot very early on when you're sick or it doesn't work, but this shot really knocked it out.  What a relief!  This was the nastiest viral sinus infection you can IMAGINE.  It was like EBOLA or something.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Bob on June 30, 2007, 03:50:38 AM
Thank you all for your concern for my health. I'm beginning to feel well enough now to post. I started to read again and one of the things which struck me was how Shakeapeare ceased to be the real Shakespeare--how the actors so altered the plays that at times they ceased almost to be Shakespeare. McReady, Cliff points out,  was the savior of the stage. He restored Shakespeare to the original. He also  became "the defender of middle class morals." Playhouses were intimately connected with prostitution. Hookers were confined to balcony and getting there was made increasingly difficult. Progress in this area allowed actors to become more associated with their Art rather than with immoral practices.

While I realized Charles Dickens had an aversion to America and Americans I didn't see it as deep as described as decribed here. I'll have to read up on it more. I see there are links provided . I'll look at them  and see what I can learn.

I'm up to Chapter Six---and by reading the posts above I think that's a fair place to pick up things.



Title: Re: American History
Post by: Bob on June 30, 2007, 03:51:57 AM
I'll review Chapter Six later today....


Title: Re: American History
Post by: thanatopsy on June 30, 2007, 08:00:13 AM
The theater of that era was much like the professional wrestling ring of today with its incessant profanities, violence, garbage a-flying, catcalls, and other unpleasantries. Hardly a place to go for family entertainment. And the critics were merciless on an actor who flubbed the lines or who did not give a good performance.

If I lived in that era, I'd prefer to attend a cricket match or some other ballgame for entertainment.  The crowd would be a lot  more polite and I would feel much safer!


Title: Re: American History
Post by: thanatopsy on June 30, 2007, 12:43:40 PM
Cliff made several references to Hannah More { pp 55, 56, 79} and described her as an evangelical writer from that era. Evidently, the point being made was that while the theater was often a haven for misfits and dissolute company, many advocated a politer and more suitable environment for the 'better' classes of society.

A quick research thru Google turned up this info on More:

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/thumb/8/8f/Hannah_More.jpg/250px-Hannah_More.jpg

http://www.victorianweb.org/authors/more/bio.html

http://www.brycchancarey.com/abolition/more.htm


Evidently, she was involved in the anti-slavery movement, sought an end to poverty, and worked for moral improvement in her society. It was said that she demanded that the wealthy set a good example for the poor by shunning the depravity of the theater.

An interesting historical character, I thought.






Title: Re: American History
Post by: thanatopsy on June 30, 2007, 12:47:15 PM
For more background on b'hoys and g'hals, see:

http://www.myrtle-avenue.com/daybreak/

As someone whose earliest memories in life were of historic Myrtle Avenue in Brooklyn, this remains one of my all time favorite web sites.

Enjoy!! :)


Title: Re: American History
Post by: vickiem4 on June 30, 2007, 12:56:36 PM
Bob, so glad you are home and feeling better. My best wishes and prayers for continued healing and ongoing good health.

Vickie


Title: Re: American History
Post by: madupont on June 30, 2007, 02:15:47 PM
thanatopsy, re:#505

"The theater of that era was much like the professional wrestling ring of today with its incessant profanities, violence, garbage a-flying, catcalls, and other unpleasantries. Hardly a place to go for family entertainment."

I immediately thought of Michael Richards at the Improve or what comedy venue was that in L.A.?

Was there baseball in the period under discussion?   I have my doubts about cricket as well. Momentarily forgetting because of the description above of theater resembling the Globe, I was going to suggest that you'd actually be playing boules, bowls, on the green which was often sunken so that  the necessary equipment did not go flying  off like a missive or disappear out of sight.  We had an impressive example of such a green at the Lawrenceville Prep school in Lawrenceville, New Jersey.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: thanatopsy on June 30, 2007, 05:46:53 PM
Was there baseball in the period under discussion?

There sure was!

Alexander Cartwright came up with his baseball rule book in 1845. The sport evolved from earlier forms starting with cricket which was developed, I understand, at least one hundred years before. Some of those earlier forms included one old cat, two old cat, and rounders.

One old cat:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Old_Cat

A point I disagree with in the article is the fact that one old cat did not die with the 1920s as we played it in our school yard in the early 60s.

Cricket was probably the most popular team sport in NYC in that era and remained that way until just after the Civil war.

http://bss.sfsu.edu/tygiel/hist490/introduction/Earlybatandball.htm


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Bob on June 30, 2007, 07:26:33 PM
One of the things I do when I read on any subject is to check in other books for verification of things. In this case, I looked in Silverman's A CULTURAL HISTORY OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION. Silverman says there were four major artistic activities in the Colonies---Painting, Music, Literature and Theater. The l;east developed was theater and it was also the least desired. As of the Revolution only THE PRINCE OF PARTHIA  annd one or two other plays had been written by Americans. No American had ever acted, danced or sung professionally on stage. Small English trooupes found friendly audiences in the South and in New York. Elsewhere petitions were often  signed  trying to  repel actors from even being admitted to America. In Pennsylvania the theater survived scorned; north of New York it was outlawed. (Silverman, 59)

One wonders after reading this and the SHAKESPEARE RIOTS  how in the name of God the acting survived as a profession--especially in its association with prostitution.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Bob on June 30, 2007, 07:45:51 PM
I found Chapter Six very interesting because it gives  a synopsis of anti-Americanism at its inception. The English, it points out had been giving America the ax long before Charles Dicken arrived. Tobacco spitting is brought up early on---it was a truly unique American custom which disgusted others to no end. The British were used to a certain order in things, an order which Americans disregarded and which made them seem both arrogant and intrusive. Americans had no civility in British eyes.

I liked the description of the Mississippi Steamboat in all its egalitarian aspects---emphasizing no privacy at all.

"Americans seemed to understand civil liberties  as the liberty to be uncivil." (SHAKESPEARE,111)

"Bad table manners were second only to spitting  in the black books  of English travellers...." Americans  cleaned their teeth  after eating with  a pocket knife. The used table knives as one would use a fork, sticking the knife right intotheir mouths.  Its a wonder Fanny Trollope  survived the ordeal.

The English looked on us as uncultured, uncouth and ignorant  of proper etiquette. Trollopes book, DOMESTIC MANNERS OF THE AMERICANS, implied American had none. The book ripped at America--but was a best in the United States when it came out.

It seemed democracy destroyed civility and order, so much a part of the British way of life.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Bob on June 30, 2007, 07:48:00 PM
Although I never played one old cat I watched it being played on a daily basis when I was a kid--I'm sure its played evey day in America, even now---its a standard kids game.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Lhoffman on June 30, 2007, 08:12:01 PM
Here is the full text of Trollope's Travelogue.  It is quite readable.  She was put out by the poor manners and lack of civilized conversation of the Americans, but even more, by the institution of slavery.

http://www.fullbooks.com/Domestic-Manners-of-the-Americans1.html


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Lhoffman on June 30, 2007, 08:36:22 PM
And she probably gave offense as early on as the first chapter where she quotes Swift and sneers at the levees,


"Nature must give way to art,"

yet, she was looking so mighty, and so unsubdued all the time,
that I could not help fancying she would some day take the matter
into her own hands again, and if so, farewell to New Orleans."


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Bob on July 01, 2007, 07:35:56 AM
There's a new book out on Washington Irving---I'll look it up. Irving was brought up in this book when the author referred to THESKETCHBOOK OF GEOFFREY CRAYON--the first really successful book  to win an international audience, though the book was not successful at getting its readers to apreciate the values of both the British and the Americans---it attempted to temper the radicalism on both sides. "America was so fed up with being boxed on the ears by schoolteacherish travelers that uneasiness turned to ooutrage, outrage to defiance, and its writers began to retailiate in kind." (Cliff, 118). In short, transatlantic mutual criticism escalated.

Today we criticise the Chinese for not respecting copyright laws.  Lest we forget, as Cliff points out  on page 119, America's reading matter was almost exclusively  supplied by England--and we refused to honor British Copyrights, thus flooding the American market with pirated copies of British works.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Bob on July 01, 2007, 07:41:39 AM
There's an interesting section on pages 120-121 wherein Cliff points out that ultimately America seized or co-opted even Shakespeare. "Shakespeare was yoked to the cause of the Manifest Destiny of the Anglo-Saxon rrace in its perfected political form: the American nation." He points out that we boasted about our  heroic struggle against the British and that "every year Shakespeare was paraded, not as an example of England's cultural dominance, but as an enlightened ally of the American dream."  (Cliff, page 12-121)


Title: Re: American History
Post by: thanatopsy on July 01, 2007, 08:19:51 AM
We had an impressive example of such a green at the Lawrenceville Prep school in Lawrenceville, New Jersey.


Wow!  You're not kidding:

http://www.lawrenceville.org/FileDownload/CampusMap_08-2005.pdf


Now, to me that's what a campus should look like!! :)


By contrast, here's a pic of my decrepit school:

http://schools.nyc.gov/NR/rdonlyres/D74988E6-86C1-4742-9FE2-38723C3A0F02/12004/K435.gif

Thomas Jefferson High of East New York, Brooklyn.  I grew up only 2 blocks from the school and wish I could say we had a decent campus.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: madupont on July 01, 2007, 03:56:25 PM
THANKS, BOB, re: #516  for your reminder that we owe the PRC a fair trial before they get angry at our thanklessness about their loaning us so much money and credit as if we were one of the third-world countries that they helped out occasionally for the last 35 or 36 years?

Also it is good to know, re:#517 that Shakespeare  was really our ally throughout all these centuries. He was on our side.

I am beginning to sound like that phrase our administrator sometimes attaches to posts, something about:

"Thank you.  We're all refreshed and challenged by your unique point of view."

(or, maybe it is actually samiinh, who says that periodically?)


Title: Re: American History
Post by: madupont on July 01, 2007, 05:09:12 PM
thanatopsy,

And that's only the map! Maybe I can find some of the occasional photos in some of their publicity, or in articles about them. It's really a treat.

Don't get the wrong idea. I was never a student there. I went walking there, as a good location since the campus is not only a really safe place to do that compared to thoroughfares that are finally congested with New Jersey traffic (which is why women are always advised to walk in small groups when planning to do walking exercise), but it is extremely picturesque as additional buildings were added in expansion through very different eras of history. Before I would even enter the gate to walk on campus, perhaps just going to the bus-stop to wait for a bus into town twenty minute away by car, the area directly on Main Street or what was known as the Lincoln highway for sometime was also the main route between New York and Philadelphia quite before --The Shakespeare Riots-- took place. 

I lived where the coach had to stop for a change of horses, and also because perhaps the travelers were by now all tuckered out from the journey when they had arrived only midway between the two cities. They were able to go to the "pub" or have a meal in the main downstairs room  and perhaps stay overnight as there seemed to be about five small rooms on the second floor, with the servant quarters on the third floor above. There were back to back fireplaces on each floor, with chimnies at the end walls of the Georgian building which like many other late 17th.century inns was known (unless we have a censor-feature)as,"The Cock and Bull". 

The building had long since been divided into three equal apartment-flats which were entirely uncomfortable  because they had originally been meant for the lifestyle of the 17th. century. Adding electricity never entirely is sufficient to make up for that and has to be carefully inspected which New Jersey is awfully good about. The fireplaces can not be used either; "historic building". But from there I could see beyond the cemetery of the First Presbyterian Church ever in the territory and all the way to the golf course shown on the map.

To complete my thought about the bus-stop a bit kitty corner across the street, you stood in front of another building from that earliest era, a small chinked cabin; then one by one the buildings ("Halls"),founded in 1810, that followed it , were other periods of architecture as the school developed.

At the main entrance , past the tennis courts you begin to find dormitories from the Woodrow Wilson era in a red clay brick which were probably the latest word in modern British architecture for the time. The campus itself designed by Olmstead who  arranged Central Park but it is of much smaller size and is proportionately suitable to scale. At this point, before it goes on to modernity,you feel as if you are walking in an English village, when you encounter the chapel, which is fairly small but pleases parents because the school still requires students to attend chapel. Nothing here is on straight lines, but as in Central park is placed on curves, the walks cut across where people would likely run across the grass so they have managed to save the lawn by building in the short cuts.

Past the school supplies shop, which at one time was in the Jigger Shop on Main Street, where a smart nineteenth century pharmacist developed the ice cream soda with so many teen-agers about, you begin to find a modern gymnasium and other modern building administration buildings and class-rooms and that Green for bowling was placed  in the midst or rather they grew up around it but at a respectful distance. I notice another Green mentioned on the map, which is a larger area and near a far gate that is generally locked, and that is used for other athletic events.  This is just one of a number of prep schools that ring the area around Princeton, there is a girls' school whose name escapes me where I think that Anne Morrow Lindbergh went to school(Chapin!); or it may have been another New Jerseyean like Oona O'Neill,the daughter of the playwright Eugene O'Neill. Today, Lawrenceville is coeducational. They did an interesting thing since I lived in the area, founding a school in the Caribbean as a department of ecology in which living on an island the students must learn the lessons of how much fresh water do you need in such a situation and how do you supply it, etc. I just discovered it about a year ago.

I found it, and there are at least two pictures of buildings  as well as the discovery that the recent ambassador to the US from Saudi-Arabia went to school there. Someone else has replaced him lately. Note, the school went coed about the year that I arrived in the area.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lawrenceville_School


Title: Re: American History
Post by: thanatopsy on July 01, 2007, 08:12:40 PM
transatlantic mutual criticism escalated

And the agitation got worse as ''American theater riots were not trifling affairs. It was not unusual for five thousand demonstrators to turn out ... and the agitation often in rampaging violence ... the riots became more serious." {pp 126, 127}

Evidently, British disgust with slavery provoked anger from anti-abolitionists and this caused much of that violence.

What is not clear is why Northerners allowed themselves to use this as a rationale for their agitation as slavery was generally held in disdain in the North. Most likely,  there were sinister forces at work who were looking for any excuse to cause trouble and they probably paid off some of the rioters.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: weezo on July 01, 2007, 09:39:32 PM
Thanatopsy,

Not all northerners were opposed to slavery, but there was a lot of anti-slavery sentiment in the north. There were northerners who accepted slavery "for the south", and who did not see a way for the south to be successful without it. Had the North been more anti-slavery than it was, the recruitment for the civil war would not have resorted to a draft, and the ability of some to "buy out" their position in the armed forces. Those who were anti-British at that time may have felt it was not any of Britains business how the south made their money. Of interest, is that the greatest market for the cotton and tobacco grown by slave labor in the south was Britain. The southern growers were indebted to Britain which was a huge issue in the anti-bellum (I used it right) period, since the southerners were encouraged to buy their goods from Britain on the return ships that took the cotton and tobacco, making the southerners less willing to support Northern industries and the tariffs that were in place to protect same.

Further, while many in the North were anti-slavery, they were not pro-Negro, and would have preferred that the black laborers in the south be returned to Africa rather than integrated into the US. Again, this was a factor in drafting soldier to fight for the Union, and a strong factor in resisting the forming of Negro troops and especially Negro officers.

Sorry if my comments are inappropriate for the time line of the book. I am not reading this book, since it was a bit pricey for me when I went to order it. I hope to join the discussion better on other books I can afford to get. Libraries are not a valid option for me.



Title: Re: American History
Post by: madupont on July 01, 2007, 11:29:50 PM
thanatopsy  re:#507

http://www.myrtle-avenue.com/daybreak/tombs.jpg

I had a friend, Gregory Corso, who was sentenced to serve time in the Tombs as a juvenile offender because he pretty much raised himself in the streets,Mulberry Street area. In the past, I always kept picturing it as some turn of the century environs but of course sensible calculation reminds me it was really in the early Forties.  His mother came  from Italy in the late Twenties migration, just guessing by appearances(his), very probably from the Naples region. Apparently, the fiance turned out to be a husband  that either she couldn't abide or the circumstances in which she found herself were not what she had expected.  She actually went back to Italy at a time when Mussolini's Black Shirts were coming to power.  As a result, Gregory's father was too busy to  care for a son and nothing was ever said about other family members on the father's side; so it is probably no one could offer to take care of a real rapscallion. I've never heard of his having any schooling until, he was finally sentenced to Dannemora.  For whatever reason, he entertained himself by reading the dictionary and acquiring a vocabulary, which he began to use in unusual combinations that occurred to him to express how he saw things. Upon his release, the first person he ran into at the automat was Allen Ginsberg;others don't find that exciting enough and say they met at a bar in the Village. But, the version as I heard it in the Fifties was the earlier report so I tend to go along with that. He accompanied Ginsberg to a reading on Columbia campus and I almost made that reading. Then they promptly left for Paris and North Africa.  Their stay in Paris involved Williams Burroughs and his concept of paste-up poems. Probably a better influence would have been, and apparently  was, at least in regard to the development of his poetic style, Dr. William Carlos Williams, of Patterson,New Jersey. Eventually during the San Francisco Renaissance, Corso went to live in North Beach and it was another Italian-American who left a large imprint on Beat Culture, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, who published Corso's poems in a chapbook at City Lights Books. Although he survived his other friends, the poets of the Beat Generation, his irrepresible Punchinello sense of capering remained at least for awhile; and, when I last saw him, he was going back and forth between his daughter's home in Minnesota (where she worked as a nurse in a local hospital) and not being able to give up the part of Lower Manhattan that he knew best. Many of his more famous friends came to visit him at his daughters, to be able to spend time with him for awhile longer.  He died merely eight  months before 9/11; and I could readily imagine what his reaction would have been had he still been here. The funeral was held at Judson Memorial on the south of Washington Square but after a mysterious passage of time, he went back to Italy, at least I always consider it going back in his specific way of describing life, and was buried at the Cimetero acattolico in Rome. This rather famous but run down cemetery was once locally referred to as,"The English Cemetery".  That was his last wish to be buried where Percy Blythe Shelley had been laid to rest. I think it was Marianne Faithful who pulled strings and paid for the expenses of his eventual interment as he had envisioned it.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: thanatopsy on July 02, 2007, 08:03:03 AM
Sorry if my comments are inappropriate

Your comments are quite appropriate.

While it is true that not all Northern folks opposed slavery, it is interesting that the issue was used as a rallying point for their anti-Britain agitation.


Gregory Corso

Ugh -- too negative for me.  I do agree that his work was poetry, but I was not aware that his background was the way it was.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Lhoffman on July 02, 2007, 03:44:49 PM
I can’t comment on Nigel Cliff’s accuracy as a reporter of history, but I will say, that as a reporter of culture the man is full of beans.  I finished the book today, greatly disappointed.  Cliff’s writing in the final chapter and Epilogue seems nothing but a perpetuation of the myth of the arts as something set aside for the upper classes.  Not so.  And I believe that as a theatre and film critic, Cliff knows he is misrepresenting the state of the art world. (Perhaps his vision is representative of the world of fine arts as it exists in the utopia of his dreams...mustn't mingle with the riff-raff, you know.) I’ve attended theatre, concerts and opera in London, New York, Cleveland, Chicago,  and out-of-the-way venues as well.  These events are always attended by a mix of people that seems representative of the area where the performance is staged.  When I go to Detroit Symphony  concerts, I like to sit in the balcony…good acoustics, good view of the orchestra…and there are always people of varying social class sitting along side me.  True, the box seats are always full, but in general, the audience is a mix of economic classes….most come to enjoy the music, rather than make an economic statement.  The symphony parking lot seems to have as many hoopdies as Lexuses. Why does it matter?  It matters because attitudes such as Cliff’s are nothing but bad press.   Many organizations could be spending their funds developing arts education, premiering new music and productions and developing talent, instead, they are forced to spend dwindling funds combatting stereotypes...stereotypes similar to those put forth in this book by Cliff. 

The other point that Cliff misses is that Shakespeare for the masses didn’t die out because it was associated with the high brow or with a superior British Culture.  The reason people don’t quote Shakespeare the way they once did is the same reason they don’t quote Tennyson or Dickenson or Dickens….they don’t read.  In American society, and I would suspect in British society as well, it is much easier after a day at the mines to plop down in front of the large screen TV and find a more passive form of entertainment provided by the likes of Reality TV, Nick-at-Nite, or the ubiquitous  Law & Order marathon.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Bob on July 02, 2007, 07:53:52 PM
Some comments on British animosoty toward America:

I acknowledge that part of the animosity arose over slavery. But other things were going on at the same time. American had borrowed heavily from Britain in 1830's in order to finance its expansion. By 1839 some $150 million was at stake when states began to default on their loans, leaving the British holding the bag. They were not happy at all. Britain also held claims in the West, notably Oregon and disputed boundaries  in what is now Maine.  They regarded Americans as arrogant, conceited , swaggering people and were jealous of their success. They resented that there was a growing emigration from England to America, taking both her skilled labor and her unskilled laborers. The absence of Copyright protection was a bigger issue than one would think. The British considered this theivery.

From the other side, Irish immigration fueled hatred of the British. Religious factors were also involved--Protestant vs Catholic. The American thought the British too uppity, not democratic in nature and as condesceding to Americans in general.

Thus the 1840's produced a rivalry, a hatred on both sides, fueled in part by incendary articles and book on both sides of the Atlantic. The Paper War lasted the entire decade.

The rivalry between the Forest and McReady was indeed a manifestation of these goings on and it was not surprising a riot would ensue...Page Smith in his history maintains that theater riots were anything but unusual in that period. Booing, Hissing and Baiting were an integral part of the scene.

When McReady cleaned up Shakespeare, the American people didn't take to it very readily, they preferred the rougher, tougher Forest version.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Bob on July 02, 2007, 07:56:50 PM
lhoffman:

I haven't read the end pieces yet, but will make sure to do so ASAP so I can comment on your post.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: weezo on July 02, 2007, 08:43:53 PM
Today's mail brought Taylor's American Colonies. I'm about half-way through the Farfarers and enjoying it greatly. I'm just getting to where the first North Islanders explored the east side of Greenland and noticed the Canadian Islands nearby. Thanks to whomever recommended the Farfarers to me.



Title: Re: American History
Post by: Lhoffman on July 02, 2007, 10:10:07 PM
Bob...I did think Cliff did a good job of covering issues leading up to the riots...outstanding debts, territorial issues.  I don't remember reading much about the religious differences, though.

Also, Cliff posited that one of the reasons the visiting English were so negative about America is that they wanted to portray the British socio-political system as being superior to the Democracy of America. 

As to slavery, Cliff noted that Dickens was appalled on his first visit to America, but when he returned in 1867 (?), he had far more positive feelings.  Might his feelings have been affected more by his views on slavery than by any bad manners he might have observed?


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Dzimas on July 03, 2007, 08:18:32 AM
I'm glad you are enjoying The Farfarers, weezo.  You've tempted to me into going back to it so that we can have a little side discussion here.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Bob on July 04, 2007, 09:53:52 AM
Lhoffman:

There were deep religious divisions, especially in the North. Catholicism was felt to be abhorrent to democracy---based on a closed system and authoritarian through the Pope. Many both feared and hated them. Most especially, though, the divisions came out through the  Irish/English divisions. Most of the "rabble"--most of the poorer immigrants were the Irish escaping both poverty and English oppression. Converted into the subject at hand, McReady represented the English and their uppity ways, while Forrest represented the newer, freer, views. There was a class division here as well as a cultural and religious one. In part in New York, it really did represent the Irish v English, Catholic v Protestant, Upper vs Lower classes.

During the 1840's the Irish comprised half of alll Immigration to America. Almost all were Catholic and almost all ended up either in Boston or New York, causing consternation in general and anti-Catholic prejudice specifically. The No=Nothing were to emerge from this after the Anti-Masons collapsed. The Anti-Masons  were, in general, anti Catholic.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Lhoffman on July 04, 2007, 12:23:48 PM
Bob...Thanks for the explanation.  I wasn't clear in my above post.  I was aware of the religious differences, I should have said I didn't remember reading much about it in SR. 

Interesting to see that history truly recycles itself.  Today, people are interested in the repercussions of Mexican immigration.    Democrats think that Mexican immigrants will vote Democratic because of their economic situation, while Republicans think they may go Republican because of their more conservative religious viewpoints. 


Title: Re: American History
Post by: weezo on July 04, 2007, 04:42:17 PM
And, Anti-Catholic sentiment is on the rise again.



Title: Re: American History
Post by: madupont on July 05, 2007, 01:58:24 AM
Why?


Title: Re: American History
Post by: weezo on July 05, 2007, 04:11:08 PM
Mexicans are typically Catholic and sometime back, I saw a post by an anti-immigrationer (can't remember which) who said that the increase in the number of Catholics was a concern. I have no idea why, I just let the statement slide. Perhaps whomever it was will speak up again and explain their concern.




Title: Re: American History
Post by: thanatopsy on July 05, 2007, 05:00:06 PM
I got some hint of that sentiment when reading of some hate filled reich winger who expressed concern over the loss of influence by televangelist types. This was on some web forum a while back.  He knew that Catholics typically concern themselves with injustices, especially to the poor, whereas televangelists concern themselves with welfare for the rich and warmongering. The loss of privileges for the wealthy and the thought of pursuing peace was too much for him. Of course, he insisted that corporate welfare and warmongering was good for everybody but didn't quite express himself that way.

Therefore, the thought of increased anti-Catholicism should not come as a surprise.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Dzimas on July 06, 2007, 07:51:08 AM
Funny, because many of the Right-wingers today are Catholic conservatives like Buchanan and Hannity.  Mel Gibson has become notorious for the conservative Catholic church he set up in southern California.  Here is a piece on Sectarian Catholicism and Mel Gibson,

http://www.unomaha.edu/jrf/2004Symposium/Lawler.htm

What is strange to me these days is how the radical right has been able to forge a Judeo-Christian bond, which reached its zenith in its show of support for the Sharon regime in Israel a few years back.   I think much of this bonding is the result of the strong anti-Muslim sentiment that runs through the radical right,

http://www.baptiststandard.com/2002/11_11/print/israel.html

Notice that Olmert was mayor of Jerusalem at the time.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Bob on July 06, 2007, 10:45:01 AM
The phenomenon (sic) of a Catholic/Protestant get together arises from a unity on the abortion issue. To me fundamentalists, evangelicals and conservatives in general are united on this. Add to this a general unity regarding getting back to literal interpretations of the Bible and you get this  strange amalgamation of hitherto estranged religons.

I'm not as familiar with the Judeo/Christian bond. I'll look at the link you provided.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Bob on July 06, 2007, 10:57:00 AM
There are also deep divisions within the Roman Church. Note that Benedict is awfully conservative, almost fifteenth century in his outlook on some issues. He seeks a return of old traditions and beliefs, while other parts of the Church continue to be very liberal, very open to change. Benedict has reversed several changes allowed by John Paul. Reportedly he put his foot down regarding the Church in South America. It'll be one hellava conclave after he passes. (He also reversed John Paul's ruling allowing for a majority of cardinals to elect a Pope. It's back to the 2/3 rule the next time around)

I agree, though, that there is a rise in anti-Catholicism stemming both from the fundamentalist stands as well as from recent Spanish immigration. The original wave of anti-Catholicism goes all the way back to the founding of the colonies. The  first real one on the United States History stemmed from the rise of the Anti-Masons. The movement eventually condemed all "secret societies," which of course included the Knights of Columbus and the Church itself (because there was a surge in the concept of openness and democracy in the 1830's and the Church was not only not  "open and democratic"  it was closed and authoritarian--Catholcs were thought to be at the beck and call of the Pope--thus their loyalty was questioned).


Title: Re: American History
Post by: madupont on July 06, 2007, 11:47:25 AM
dzimas, re:#537
Mel Gibson has become notorious for the conservative Catholic church he set up in southern California


NOT ONLY THERE. In his case, personally, in the family, given his father's outlook, that inspiration smacks a bit more of Anglicanism; unless the Roman church has taken to accepting into the priesthood those men who have grown sons alive and well; that could be, for all I know, as some kind of a statement among widowers?

But we also have a congregation regionally to appeal to the red staters on one side of the Delaware River, so they can travel across to the New Jersey side every Sunday for the fix of that old time religion.

Bob can correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't that what is referred to as the Tridentine adaptation of Roman Catholicism.  At first, it never occurred to me that they had set up shop for other reasoning than for people to come and reminisce about when the Church used to be respectably Solemn, inducing reveries of mysticism, ceremonies, sacramentals, Gregorian music, and fish on Friday, twice a week during Lent.

By now I realized, they needed to attract the numbers for a valid parish to stand up to the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.

So whether they will institute Bingo, or Novenas on Tuesday nights, is a toss up.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: madupont on July 06, 2007, 12:14:41 PM
Mexicans are typically Catholic and sometime back, I saw a post by an anti-immigrationer (can't remember which) who said that the increase in the number of Catholics was a concern. I have no idea why, I just let the statement slide. Perhaps whomever it was will speak up again and explain their concern.





Knowing the discussion to which you refer, I rather suppose their unstated point was because of their having been so pointed about it before and what they are concerned about is the reproductive facility of anti-abortion Catholics who happen to be Illegal Mexican Immigrants.

On the other hand more and more common in the last several decades in larger cities are Evangelical Mexicans, a recognition that it took my mind awhile to wrap itself around.

Which reminds me, have to go back to Bob's post....



Title: Re: American History
Post by: Dzimas on July 06, 2007, 12:25:54 PM
Maybe Columbus was right?

BONN, Germany (AFP) - The world is smaller than first thought, German researchers at the University of Bonn said on Thursday.
They took part in an international project to measure the diameter of the world that showed it is five millimetres (0.2 inches) smaller than the last measurement made five years ago.


http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20070705/sc_afp/germanyscience_070705151649


Title: Re: American History
Post by: madupont on July 06, 2007, 01:14:02 PM
Bob, re:#539

"Benedict has reversed several changes allowed by John Paul. Reportedly he put his foot down regarding the Church in South America."

I've been too far removed in time from the papal succession, despite the subtle and very even-handed proselytisement of a kindly German in the former Western European forum of the nytimes.com, to know where each of these Shepherds stood on the major issues of South America; but, obviously the Church stood fast with the class origins of its more influential patrons throughout Latin America when the military political crackdown on very randomly supposed dissidents began to occur in the 1970s and continued through most of the Eighties at the behest of certain US Republican interests.

Thus somebody would have to clarify for me whether Benedict brings us an improvement, or does he see the spread of proletarian betterment through the large northwest sector of South America as a threat to his authority?

I am however informed by one of our former posters recently returned that the sort of things that you and I saw in both New Jersey and the Midwest German American urban areas with the bund, which we discussed when Philip Roth's ,Plot Against America, came to discussion, has now returned with all its organized social ramifications of educating the younger generation (in places like Argentina and Brazil )through recreation and sports and holiday amusements; thank god, at least I've begun to actually forget the German motto that was bandied about at the beginning of the Third Reich to keep people distracted by their own personal enjoyments and perquisites as citizens, so that they barely noticed  the impending atrocities because they'd lost the discrimination to determine that these things were happening to people who were not criminals.

Guenther Grass referred to this privileged indulgence, in his novel about the Baltic area and the cruise ship that had an accident meeting up with a torpedo, Crabwalk, as he reflects back from his age as a member of his generation to describe the antics of the younger computer generation conducting the same ideological arguments and the actual physically violent clashes that result, as they had when determindedly marching through the streets in short pants carrying placards on staffs with which they could beat up  any passerby who disagreed with their fascist premise.

What people often fail to see is that this organizing capacity when decorated in cultural "continuance" because(while pointing to the children)"The Future Belongs to...them", is no less radical right fascism than it was in the past.  It's indoctrination , in the name of Fun,Health, and Joy. I should bite my tongue when I hate to say it but Arnold's emphatically enjoying having a good time being a fun guy in a healthy outreach -- begins somewhere early in life. It is not even thought about much but is just taken for granted as a healthy outlook of how to use your free time from WORK, of which there is not much in either case.

So, if we are now going to have an insidious religiously sanctified War of Religious Factions all over again, I'd like to give it a wide berth and remain focused on the political maneuvres. Although this is wishful thinking because the discussion of the Palestinian-Israeli-Iranian blowout either backed by or cheered on with US political  or sectarian interests always inevitably brings me cryptic e-mail sounding me out as to whether an exception could be made for perfectly respectable anti-semitic expressions of concern?


Title: Re: American History
Post by: TrojanHorse on July 06, 2007, 07:16:43 PM
Funny, because many of the Right-wingers today are Catholic conservatives like Buchanan and Hannity. 

I didn't know Buchanan was Catholic.

Hannity gets a lot of crap from the church - not "officially" of course, but he seems to ruffle a lot of the fathers' feathers...


Title: Re: American History
Post by: thanatopsy on July 06, 2007, 10:27:20 PM
The Man In The Box

Oh, oh! I remember an old Three Stooges episode in which a question was asked,  who threw that pie?  who threw that pie??

This was in response to a mystery that precipitated big trouble.***

Well, somebody had to throw the first punch in the big brawl that was to come. And, in all honesty, I was surprised to see that it was Forrest who did so!

Forrest was in England on tour and there was some anti-USA agitation.  He was convinced it was Macready who was responsible for the cool reception he got.  Both gave the appearance that all was well between them.  But a spark was to flash that would soon cause trouble to ensue:  Forrest deliberately hissed at a Macready performance. Though he initially denied it, there were numerous witnesses to confirm that he was the culprit. Eventually he acknowledged that it was he who committed this indiscretion and it would not be forgotten.

As Cliff writes, the battles lines were drawn.


pp 150-164



 *** BTW, I was to find out years later that it was Moe who performed the pie throwing stunts because the studio boss was too cheap to hire someone else to do it.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: bosox18d on July 07, 2007, 12:16:59 AM
Well I guess this counts as Americana.That short was"Spook Louder" from 1943.When they first enter the house the hall is full of clocks.The butler says something like "Shh! In two seconds it will be five o'clock in Russia" at which a clock with a head that looks a bit like the head of a mummy starts in with a very slow Yo,Ho-Ho-Ho-Ho.At which Curly says"Hey let's come back at twelve O'clock and hear the whole song!"


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Bob on July 07, 2007, 08:16:21 AM
http://www.catholicnews.com/data/stories/cns/0703894.htm

Motu proprio of Benedict issued yesterday authorizing expanded use of the Tridentine Mass---
dzimas, re:#537
Mel Gibson has become notorious for the conservative Catholic church he set up in southern California


NOT ONLY THERE. In his case, personally, in the family, given his father's outlook, that inspiration smacks a bit more of Anglicanism; unless the Roman church has taken to accepting into the priesthood those men who have grown sons alive and well; that could be, for all I know, as some kind of a statement among widowers?

But we also have a congregation regionally to appeal to the red staters on one side of the Delaware River, so they can travel across to the New Jersey side every Sunday for the fix of that old time religion.

Bob can correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't that what is referred to as the Tridentine adaptation of Roman Catholicism.  At first, it never occurred to me that they had set up shop for other reasoning than for people to come and reminisce about when the Church used to be respectably Solemn, inducing reveries of mysticism, ceremonies, sacramentals, Gregorian music, and fish on Friday, twice a week during Lent.

By now I realized, they needed to attract the numbers for a valid parish to stand up to the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.

So whether they will institute Bingo, or Novenas on Tuesday nights, is a toss up.

Traditionalists objected to some of the changes brought about under Vatican II--as a matter of fact a segment of the opposition ended up in schism. However, as one who attends a Latin Mass, I can assure you we don't engage in secret rituals, mysticism, or reveries. I continue to think after all these years that the Latin Mass is the proper expression and that the Mass of Paul VI leaves a lot to be desired and goes too far. I continue to be as Catholic as ever, but object to changes in ritual. I have little problem with dogma.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: weezo on July 07, 2007, 10:19:47 AM
Bob,

My mother also loved the Latin Mass, and I was sorry that at her funeral my sister, who arranged the ceremony, chose to use the English mass and all hymns in English. She felt the English would be better understood by the younger members of the family, not all of whom are Catholics, and especially not practicing Catholics. I was saddened when the priest celebrating the mass stipulated that only practicing Catholics could receive communion. When I attended mass with my sister in Detroit, the priest welcomed all who chose to receive the sacrement to participate. But, different dioceses, different customs. I felt that since I was baptised Catholic and could say a prayer asking to be relieved of all sins, that I should have been able to again receive the sacrement. It would have been an honor to our mother is all of us had been able to partake on that occasion. Our family, which is sizeable, were the only people in the church at the time, except for 2-3 parishoners who attended for whatever reason.

To me, the Latin Mass, especially the High Mass is the epitome of divine worship. It may not contribute much to understanding of the faith, but it gives a dignified sense of worship that I've not experienced in other churches.



Title: Re: American History
Post by: madupont on July 07, 2007, 05:01:08 PM
weezo and Bob:

I think that the Anglican High Church liturgy retained a  lot of the dignity but it is, of course, in their native language: English.

"secret rituals, mysticism, or reveries. I continue to think after all these years that the Latin Mass is the proper expression and that the Mass of Paul VI leaves a lot to be desired and goes too far."  Quite true, and for historic reasons  of accuracy it should have been retained in Latin.  As a result of that switch, I find myself visiting the local Greek Orthodox  Annunciation Helenistic where they keep the kind of open bookstores and libraries once a part of Roman Catholicism.   

I think there are a lot of "reveries of mysticism" involved in contemplating the use of sacramentals and the liturgical year --things which used to be candidly referred to as mysteries.  in the use of the Carmelite Rosary for instance.Or, the Stations of the Cross.

Contemplative mysticism is also rather focused in liturgical hours  that are kept.   Whereas "secret mysteries" might be categorically how did we ever learn to read Gregorian chant? I suspect by copying it out like block letters of the alphabet are learned in childhood, and  when it came down to it we were usually following the direction of a nun who was conducting the responses so that all of this was imparted musically.  The other secret was how to keep from scorching a starched "coif" with a flat iron, in the days before the habit of an order, as worn by women, was changed forever. I never did get that down.     


Title: Re: American History
Post by: thanatopsy on July 07, 2007, 05:09:58 PM
Well I guess this counts as Americana.That short was"Spook Louder" from 1943.



''Spook Louder"

http://www.clown-ministry.com/images/three-stooges-spook-louder.jpg


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Bob on July 07, 2007, 10:42:16 PM
Quote
I think there are a lot of "reveries of mysticism" involved in contemplating the use of sacramentals and the liturgical year --things which used to be candidly referred to as mysteries.  in the use of the Carmelite Rosary for instance.Or, the Stations of the Cross.

I never thought of them as "reveries of mysticism."


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Bob on July 07, 2007, 10:52:00 PM
While I readily defer to Cliff as the extpert on the subject, I still inclined to think that the Forrest/Macready dispute wasthe real precipitant to the Astor place riot. Though Forrest may have hissed at Macready and thought Macready may have been hissed at in the United States, the underlying tensions were already there for trouble to begin. Page Smith points out that Theater riots were very common then, liable to break out at any time. The fact that Macready had "cleaned up" Shakespeare  and that Forrest and his rougher, looser treatment were much prefered especially in New York had more to do with the riot than anything personal between the two. The Irish hatred of the English and the class differences had more to do with things than anything else.

I'll read Page Smith again to get a clearer picture. Brown and Wallace's GOTHAM also gives a full acount of the affair. I'll see what conclusion they come to.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Bob on July 08, 2007, 07:44:08 AM
Here's an extended quote from Page Smith's THE NATION COMES OF AGE, Volume IV of his History of the United States. I present it not to contradict Shakespeare, but to supplement it:

Quote
Several things might be said about the riots. The laboring and lower middle classes of the large Eastern cities were as anti-British as their betters were Anglophile. Such feelings were exacerbated by the traditional hatred of the Irish, who made up a substansial  portion of New York's lower class, for the british. There is ample evidence  that the hostility to Macready contained a considerable element of the animus toward the upper class who applauded Macready and treated Forrest with contempt. Pollitical differeences also contributed to the intensity of feeling. Loco-focos rallied to Forrest and Whigs to Macready. What the riots do demonstrate, in conjunction with other riots over matters almost as inconsequential, was the depth of class feeling in the major cities, especially in New York, Philadelphia and Baltimore. (Smith,Volume IV, page 772)

During the aborted discussion on Eugene Debs the subject arose as to why  America never really got deeply into class divisions---here perhaps is an instance when it did. But aside from that, Smith is giving a more general view than Nigel Cliff. Particularly interesting is the political division -- almost paralleling today's liberal/conservative split.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Bob on July 08, 2007, 08:06:21 AM
http://www.questia.com/library/encyclopedia/locofocos.jsp

LOCOFOCOS

Forrest was a Locofoco.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Bob on July 08, 2007, 08:13:51 AM
http://cdl.library.cornell.edu/cgi-bin/moa/pageviewer?frames=1&coll=moa&view=50&root=%2Fmoa%2Fmono%2Fhone0025%2F&tif=00363.TIF&cite=http%3A%2F%2Fcdl.library.cornell.edu%2Fcgi-bin%2Fmoa%2Fmoa-cgi%3Fnotisid%3DANY5081-0002

DIARY OF PHILIP HONE  VOLUME II  as he begins to comment on Macready in New York. Keep in mind that Hone was a Whig.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: madupont on July 08, 2007, 12:20:22 PM
Bob

Got that. Those were fighting words back then and for years. "One is a gentleman and the other is  (the cut-off word): a vulgarian."

And I was just about to ask you, how did all this urbanity play in the hinterlands?

Ps. off topic, the Pope Benedict poll was taken, 52% of us like the sound of Latin, 48% do not; but, it is that inclusion of the details about "nonbelievers and Jews" that most likely bothers the dissenters yet how do we know that is the case with any certainty until our pollsters run over it with a fine-tooth comb?


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Bob on July 08, 2007, 10:14:49 PM
I don't think its the inclusion of the prayer which upsets most dissentors. That upsets the Jewish community justifyably. I think what upsets  opponents of the move is the all the implications which go along with the Tidentine Mass...a priest with his back to the people--the Mass is celebration of the Eucharist and is directed to God, not to the people. No women are allowed to be on the altar. Its a male only celebration. No guitars allowed on the altar. No turning and giving a sign of peace...etc. No touching of the host. Receiving the host at the altar rail kneeling...The text of the Paul VI Mass is so very different from the the Tridentine Mass that I doubt an entire generation realize it. There are less readings, all done by the priest, not the congregation.  Those are just some of the differences. Besides, it looks like a reversion to Pre Vatican II thought--and it is. I  said from the beginning that Ratzinger would put to shame the conservative stances of John Paul. Ratzinger is straight from the 15th century.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: madupont on July 08, 2007, 11:49:45 PM
Bob,
"Ratzinger is straight from the 15th century."

Do you mean -- merely in terms of this Mass? Or, is it that he is more of an old fashioned European religious than we in the US are more usually used to being the average?

Or, is it that the particular restrictions, create a distance,a separation,within the Catholic communion?  A distance between the communicants and the celebrant of the Mass? And, is that too elevating of the vocation?

"No women are allowed to be on the altar."  In my memory, this is no big exclusion, as women are the people who prepare the altar, at least in my experience that was how it was done. Not much different than the domestic life in fact. They clean the area, they decorate it with the appropriate lights and flowers for the season, although I did mention to my sisters at some point what was our mother thinking in terms of educational experience?  One doesn't exactly have a great post-academic expectation after candle wick trimming and the proper cleaning of lamps, if that's what you had in mind. 

It was quite a few decades later however that I realized where the emphasis lay, by coincidence of a map indicating Lisieux which led to a curiousity about what the place was like and that of course linked to: St. Therese of Lisieux.  Suddenly, it all made sense. Reading of her life and experience, it became absolutely clear that the vocation was in the details,dutifully attending  to what is required , and that this was the hardest part experienced by the average Catholic because of a tendency to desire some indication of spiritual "growth" ,that there was a recognition of accomplishment. 

So in fact it was the very opposite of what is perceived as success,in the world.  Which was the point.  But, I'm sure you are aware of the dutiful aspects involved from your own experience in your own occupation. This itself was the very hardest part for Therese to feel that she was fulfilling.

You are probably also quite aware of the differences that exist in the vows or rules  of the different orders.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: thanatopsy on July 09, 2007, 03:55:23 PM
Repeat, but well worth repeating:

http://www.xphomestation.com/nbuntline.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ned_Buntline


The ''old rascal'' -- a big time trouble maker and instigator of hassles at
Astor Place.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Bob on July 09, 2007, 07:30:40 PM
I agree, well worth repeating. I think one of the better parts of the book is the author's treatment of Judson. I'll have to read the chapters before I post on it though...I'm still a little slow and very much behind in my reading, but I don't want to miss posting on Buntline.


Title: Re: Ratzinger
Post by: Bob on July 09, 2007, 07:39:13 PM
I've read Ratzinger's works for twenty odd years. He was head of the Congregation of the Faith under John Paul---the Congregation of the Faith is the successor of the Inquisition--it's the protector of faith and morals and definer of dogma for the Roman Catholic Church. Ratzinger was John Paul's watchdog---whenever JPII wanted something enforced or reiterated in a conservative way, Ratzinger would do it for him. When I say he's from the 15th century I mean in all respects---he's an ultra conservative--far, far to the right of John Paul. He cringes, for instance, at the thought of guitars on the altar--so his aides are careful to keep them off the altar as he travels. Philosophically he's closer to Thomas Aquinas, Augustine of Hippo, and Pius V than he is to Vatican II, Paul VI or John Paul II

By the way, he's an excellent theologian and writes well. He's written numerous books, the latest of which is a biography of Christ.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: mlewis78 on July 09, 2007, 10:07:24 PM
Bob, from what you are saying about the conservatism of Pope Benedict, I suppose he wouldn't permit the use of any of the music of J.S. Bach.  What a pity.
M.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: madupont on July 09, 2007, 10:47:38 PM
They never did. Allow for Bach that is. Prior to the "New Rules". I was thunder-struck, by appealing to the modern parishioners as if the liturgical history had to be adjusted to fit the times, in much the same way as the Church had previously done this on occasion in other parts of the world and I'd often heard that described as,"making allowances" for-- whatever; I don't even want to think up words to describe this process of habituation for converts.

Oddly enough, I used to really enjoy doing Bach "exercises", it takes a lot of dexterity or perhaps the better word would be acute flexibility to match your awareness of remaining on tempo.   But then I'd also enjoyed learning the music that was used for the celebration of the Mass;and one of the first things that occurred to me (again!)was "Mom, why did we go through all those hours upon hours of learning the correct pronunciation and meaning of Latin and all the practice,including the hour out of the study-hall at night when we would have been doing our  homework,rehearsing the next-day's Mass?"

Mother would have of course replied, "...so, you could offer it up."; thus, broaching the subject was entirely theoretical.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: mlewis78 on July 10, 2007, 12:26:46 AM
Re:  J.S. Bach/Roman Catholic Church

Isn't the real reason that his music is banned is that he was Lutheran?


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Bob on July 10, 2007, 12:41:51 AM
mlewis: that is not true---what he doesn't like is the guitar. He doesn't like the folk music type of presentations, the jazzy sort of mass which has developed of late. I think he would be delighted by Bach, properly presented by an appropriate instrumental group. He does want to see more of traditional Church and brought  that up in another motu earlier this year. By the way, the fact that Bach was Lutheran---some of the traditional music used in the RC Church was written by Martin Luther.

His objection has more to do with the instrument and the pandering to  musical tastes which he considers inappropriate to the worship of God.  


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Bob on July 10, 2007, 12:44:15 AM
Quote
I thought it was because he had 20 children, because his organ had no stops

I like that!!!

I'll be back later. Time to shut down for a while....


Title: Re: American History
Post by: madupont on July 10, 2007, 07:21:18 PM
I'm now wondering whose Stabat Mater it is with which I was familiar?

I'm afraid that I'm referring to an earlier era during WW2 when the good sisters informed us that no other kind of music was permitted to accompany the Holy Mass. But then look who was Pope, in those days? Although I doubt very much that he was the one who decided what was religious music and what was secular.  I think that Bach despite his intent and genius might not have been considered non-secular enough despite the Divine Right of kings.

I once mentioned to Lhoffman, had she ever seen Schlafsbruder, a German film which takes an unwashed and perhaps illegitimate peasant in pursuit of music in not just a possessed outpouring but to the point where he begins to strongly resemble Bach. As his music strengthens him, he strides into churches, takes over the organ-loft, and gives wild concerts that attract crowds of the urbane.

Of course what began in his dreamy reveries is reflected in the title, which I hope I've remembered to spell correctly,because the Brother of Sleep is Death.

Germans have a passion for music; perhaps that partially accounts for this major change decided by Benedict.

So, no,it was not Bach per se.  I feel that when you say,"used to" you are referring to a more Ecumenical time period.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Lhoffman on July 10, 2007, 11:51:42 PM
NPR:  Remembering New York City's Opera Riots

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5402902


Title: Re: American History
Post by: weezo on July 11, 2007, 07:36:02 AM
With apologies for going so far off topic, I would like to let those who may be interested know about a tv event going on this week in American History. It is a mini-series entitled Roots: The Next Generations, and it is an excellent portrayal of the times seen through the eyes and experiences of our black friends and neighbors. The actors and actresses are among the best, and the story is well told. The series started Sunday night, and TV One is running it, with one episode a day since, showing the episodes several times each day.

Last night it covered the years leading up to WWI, ending at 1918 when one of the main charactors, who has just graduated from college, misses his graduation ceremony to enlist in the army which is segregated and he knows he will suffer indignities for being a black man, but feels it is necessary to unite with the rest of the nation in this war. It points out the new rise in the KKK at the time, while also showing the advances being made among the blacks as they move into business, sometimes with the enthusiastic support of the older generation of white folks. At the time that the KKK is resurrected in the town in Tennessee, it is pointed out that their goal is to suppress the Catholics, the Jews, and the Black folks in that order. The first "victim" of this mob is not a black person, but the Jewish shop keeper who has a dry goods store in town. The upper crust of the black community is puzzled that the KKK has a hatred of what they perceive as another "white man" when the Jewish man is burned out.

For those with an interest in the racial divide in the history of this country, especially the south, this series is a must see. If you are on Direct TV it is on channel 241. I have no idea if the numbers run the same on cable.

Now, back to our scheduled talk on the Shakespeare Riots in NYC.



Title: Re: American History
Post by: thanatopsy on July 11, 2007, 05:22:58 PM
Of Men and Sheep


To his credit, Forrest did publish his "Card" in which he fessed up to instigating the trouble with Mcready. He averred ''I did it, and publicly avow it in the Times of London" {p 168}. Yet, his confession was filled with self justifications and finger pointing, especially at British critic Forster. While he felt that this could settle whatever argument existed, it has a reverse effect as it galvanized British critics and Macready supporters. The Briton hoped to retire and settle in the USA and was generally met with favorable crowds in his tour (this was esp so in the South).  Soon he would heading to New York.

As if Forrest did not have enough troubles in his mind, he and his British wife had squabbles and the marriage ultimately dissolved. This "made Forrest more hostile than ever toward the fashionable circles his wife moved in, it cut his last tie with England, and it left him more bitter and self righteous than ever."  With all parties now in NYC, the stage was set for the big battle that was to come.


pp 165-184


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Bob on July 11, 2007, 06:08:02 PM
Chapter 10 puts things in perspective in that it describe society and politics and the growing class divisions in New York. one of the more interesting things the chapter brings out ids that as Macready moved South his reception became more positive. It seems the Northeast was rampant with anti-British feelings. The Irish hatred is well described in the chapter. Increased wealth brought on increased anti-British feelings as the Irish were on the lower end of the economic scale. I also enjoyed the description of the maneuverings of Tammany Hall and the social and class divisions between the Whigs and the Democrats.

I suppose the main point is that even without the Forrest/Macready dispute, the riots might have occured just the same. The problem was the increased social and class divisions withing New York.

Has anybody read the book FIVE POINTS?  I went to Law School just a few blocks from there. For those of you who know New York--Five Points is Foley Square now--home of the NY County and Federal Courthouses. See note on page 189.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: thanatopsy on July 12, 2007, 12:47:54 AM
I worked for many years at the IRS building at Church and Murray Street nearby.  Here are pics of the Brewery:

http://historymatters.gmu.edu/mpimages/mp041.jpg

http://members.aol.com/noahdiamond/fivepoints1.jpg

http://members.aol.com/noahdiamond/paradisesquare2.jpg

http://r2.gsa.gov/fivept/phbrew.jpg



Re Chapter 10, I thought Cliff gave too little attention to the Rascal Ned Buntline and his role in creating the mess that became the Astor Place Riot. Picture plates of the placards used to incite confrontation should have been included in the book as well as extracts from Ned's Own so that readers could see the impact that he had on those events. The Rascal had a very prominent role in USA history and folklore but has not gotten as much attention that he merits.  Notice that I said attention, not praise.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Lhoffman on July 12, 2007, 12:54:33 AM
I would have liked to see more plates, too.  But I enjoyed reading about Buntline...interesting fellow.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Bob on July 12, 2007, 02:53:14 AM
Thanatopsy

Church and Murray is only a few blocks down from the Law School--which is at Church and Worth. We probably passsed each other more that a few times.

I found the treatment of Ned Buntline OK--though, like yourself it would have been ever better if he expanded on it. I wonder if there any good biographies of the guy. Let me look around now that my interest is peaked.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: thanatopsy on July 12, 2007, 07:50:05 AM
I passed by the New York Law School quite a few times.  Wish I had gone there instead of Hamline Law School whose degrees are about as valuable as yesterday's toilet paper.

There is only one bio of Buntline so far as I know:

The Great Rascal J. Monaghan (1952)

Unfortunately, it is rather rare.



Title: Re: American History
Post by: thanatopsy on July 12, 2007, 08:38:45 AM
possible subject for our next reading:

http://www.amazon.com/New-York-Intellectuals-Decline-Anti-Stalinist/dp/0807841692


the book is a bit large and highly involved but there are other books on the subject that may be more accessible


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Dzimas on July 12, 2007, 08:52:38 AM
Maybe something along these lines?

http://www.amazon.com/Cross-Iron-National-Security-19451954/dp/0521795370/ref=sr_1_4/105-5791205-4542015?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1184244624&sr=1-4


Title: Re: American History
Post by: thanatopsy on July 12, 2007, 05:24:23 PM
Maybe something along these lines?

http://www.amazon.com/Cross-Iron-National-Security-19451954/dp/0521795370/ref=sr_1_4/105-5791205-4542015?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1184244624&sr=1-4


Sounds like a good read.  But at 500+ pages I wonder if it will hold our group's interest for too long.  Is there an alternate book at,  say, 200-250 pages?


Title: Re: American History
Post by: weezo on July 12, 2007, 06:38:23 PM
Geez,

I thought the next book was going to be Alan Taylor's American Colonies. I got the book a bit back, and have waited to read it until the Shakespeare Riots winds down.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: thanatopsy on July 12, 2007, 09:23:19 PM
There was a brief discussion on the Google site about Taylor but the talk was stopped for lack of interest.  While I enjoyed his book on Cooper, I did not like the book on the colonial period at all. But I'll leave it up to the rest of the folks here to determine which book is next.

As always, I prefer a book on sports and its cultural impact in the USA but no one has come up with a suitable book for such a discussion.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Dzimas on July 13, 2007, 01:18:46 AM
I enjoyed American Colonies, even if it read like a primer at times.  But, we needn't revisit the colonies after the Jamestown discussion.  The Farfarers might be an interesting alternative.  Interesting to see that some persons are making the case for trans-Atlantic travel in the stone age,

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/wn_report/2007/07/11/2007-07-11_modern_stoneage_raft_to_cross_atlantic.html?ref=rss

Brings to mind Hyerdahl's Ra expeditions.  I think one could make a better case for early Japanese cultures crossing the upper regions of the Pacific.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Dzimas on July 13, 2007, 08:28:00 AM
Thanatopsy, searching inside A Cross of Iron I see that it is 480 pages, not including bibliography and index.  I don't think that is too much of a stretch for this reading group, and the subject is an important one given this administration appears to be reprising the Cold War.  I've often felt that Acheson is the ideological godfather to these neocons, at least when it comes to the way they view the world.  The Truman Doctrine seems to be the defining document in this regard. 


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Dzimas on July 13, 2007, 08:36:34 AM
That said, it is the subject matter more than the book that I am interested in.  I would be open to alternatives like this diplomatic history of Dean Acheson,

http://www.amazon.com/Dean-Acheson-Life-Cold-War/dp/0195045785/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1/105-5791205-4542015?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1184330057&sr=1-1

but it stretched out to over 700 pages.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: weezo on July 13, 2007, 09:45:29 AM
I would like to see a discusson on 1421 since I have read the book and can easily revisit it. I taped the PBS special on 1421, but the emphasis in the program was on the parts of the expedition that explored the Indian Ocean and reached the East Coast of Africa. It did not include any speculation on rounding the Cape of Good Hope and exploring the western coast of Africa, and made only cursory mention of the possibility Gheng He went to the East Coast of South America. It also does not follow the possibility that his expedition cross the Pacific and explore the west coast of the Americas. It does mention that these places were noted on ancient maps, but it does not follow Gavin Menzies contention that an Italian man was part of the expedition to bring those man to Europe. It merely questions how or if the maps came to be known in the west.



Title: Re: American History
Post by: thanatopsy on July 13, 2007, 04:50:28 PM
Thanatopsy, searching inside A Cross of Iron I see that it is 480 pages, not including bibliography and index.  I don't think that is too much of a stretch for this reading group, and the subject is an important one given this administration appears to be reprising the Cold War.  I've often felt that Acheson is the ideological godfather to these neocons, at least when it comes to the way they view the world.  The Truman Doctrine seems to be the defining document in this regard. 


I have no objection - but experience has often shown that people in the group lose interest in large books after a handful of discussions on a given topic.  But if that book is the majority's choice, then I'm all for it.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: thanatopsy on July 14, 2007, 01:36:08 PM
America Rules England Tonight

... or so thought the b'hoys and their ringleader Ned Buntline.  Too bad they hadn't counted on NYC having a Tory as mayor at that juncture!

With Mayor Woodhull clearly on the side of the British and the elites who controlled the City, all forces would be combined to thwart the actions of the anti-Macready agitators. These included police, militia, and paid heavies.

Many handbills were distributed to spread agitating propaganda and it was clear that much of the public was highly polarized. Both sides in the dispute bought up large amounts of tickets in order to stack the audiences of the theaters with their allies. Pro-Nativist ward heelers mobilized their forces.  Trouble was a-brewing and it was not going to be pretty!

So the question becomes, why allow the actors to appear on stage on that fateful day?  Common sense would have dictated that all presentations should have been postponed until everybody cooled off.  This is an issue that Cliff did not address adequately.  He should have given newspaper or other contemporary accounts which explained why in the face of all this brewing trouble nobody stood up to put a stop to the trouble.

The b'hoys threw rocks while the cops fired rifles. Several innocent bystanders were killed or seriously injured. At trial, Buntline was convicted for stirring up the trouble.   Macready escaped despite numerous threats but he and Forrest were never the same after this unhappy incident.


pp 209-231

...


Not stated in the narrative was the role this trouble had in the emergence of controversial Fernando Wood in NYC politics.  He would become mayor just a few years later partly because of his Nativist leanings and because of the anger New Yorkers had at the Whigs for their elitist leanings.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Bob on July 14, 2007, 09:23:16 PM
Quote
why allow the actors to appear on stage on that fateful day

Because Tammany was in power (though the Mayor was Whig) and Tammany was Irish and Macready was English. Fernando Wood (a luminary of lunar magnitude, I read somewhere) would have it no other way, nor would Macready, for not to go on would  be cowardly. Keep in mind there was no real police force as we know it. That would come later, ironically under Wood as Mayor. Wood by the way would end up being arrested as Mayor as a part of the dispute between two rival "police forces,"  one organized by him and the other the older traditional force. Wood is one of the most fascinating men ever to emerge from his era. Wood would yield in 1865 or so to Boss Tweed. He spent a few terms in Congress and was censured one year for using language unbecoming a Congressman on the floor. He's buried up in Trinity Cemetery up around 150th street in one of New York's more historic burial grounds. Trinity is also the site of John J Audubon, Clement Moore, John Jacob Astor  and Madame Jumel--those of you who know the swtory of Aaron Burr remember her.

The other reason it wasn't shut down was that the Whig power structure supported Macreasdy and was prepared to defend his right to act. Besides, if the play wasshut down it would have probably caused a riot in and of itself....instigated by the Irish gangs  and supported by Tammany. There was to be trouble no matter what....


Title: Re: American History
Post by: thanatopsy on July 15, 2007, 07:23:45 PM
Your note reminds me of the old expression, pride cometh before a fall

I can see your point.  While hindsight s always 20/20, somehow, somebody should have had enough sense to say (quoting coach John Madden) hey, wait a minute! and put at least some form of temporary halt to the proceedings.

Wasn't aware that Fernando Wood was buried at Trinity Churchyard.  I passed by that site many times and most likely forgot that I saw his burial place there.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: thanatopsy on July 15, 2007, 07:47:51 PM
Exit ...

Parts of Manhattan remained an armed camp for several days after the disastrous riots. The pro elitist press gloated that the 'unwashed' had been vanquished while the b'hoys vowed revenge. They met by the thousands at City Hall Park and accused the authorities of murder and usurpation. The crowd marched off to the Opera House but it was closed by the deputized police while military forces stopped any further threat of violence. Ned Buntline was convicted for his role in inflaming the crowds and causing the violence. Isaiah Rynders who likely had a greater role in inciting troubles got off free. The chapter concludes with details about Forrest's and Macready's final years.

There were socio-political repercussions from these proceedings: the thought of citizen soldiers shooting at fellow citizens was viewed as government tyranny and loss of civil liberties.  Ultimately this led to the creation of NYC's police forces but that led to further political corruption.  On top of all that, the riots led to a greater awareness of the gulf between the elites and the common folks. Moreover, it proved that government was out to protect vested interests rather than those of commoners.  Our previous readings about Boss Tweed and the Haymarket riots dealt with the inevitable consequences of these repercussions.

As our Founding Fathers taught many years before that, in any given society, justice must first exist so that order can prevail - that a society filled with crime, anarchy, and disorder, is one in which there is no justice. Our readings in this group have proven that to be incontrovertible.



pp 232-257


Title: Re: American History
Post by: thanatopsy on July 15, 2007, 11:53:51 PM
A few words about Evert Duyckinck {pp 171, 210}:

I believe that Duyckinck (pronounced DYE-keenk) was a very significant figure in American history as he was instrumental in promoting the idea of the American aesthetic. While many literary and artistic types were obsessed with European aesthetics, Duykinck affirmed that American literature and art had great merit and was worthy of much international and national estimation. Evidently, he felt that Forrest's misbehavior reflected badly upon the American theater (and presumably, upon the USA and its aesthetic institutions). Cliff, however,  gives only scant attention to this matter. This is an issue that should have been given considerably more development in the book.

http://docsouth.unc.edu/true/duyckinck/duycktp.jpg



Title: Re: American History
Post by: Bob on July 16, 2007, 12:35:43 AM
I just read the latest posts, but its too late to really comment on them, so I'll wait until this afternoon...in the meanwhile I was thinking that it might be wise to point out that there are two Trinity Cemeteries in NY City. The one I cited is up near 150th street, but the one more familiar to Manhattanites is found in the Wall Street Area...and is filled with even more luminaries.
Here's a link showing who is buried where, including St Pauls Chapel:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trinity_Church_Cemetery


Title: Re: American History
Post by: madupont on July 16, 2007, 01:52:47 AM
Bob,

Thanks for posting Trinity. I used to find the Wall Street area  a nice walk on Sundays from 8th.St.west of 5th.Ave, and discovered the churchyard in that way but, then all of Wall Street and Broadway was Quiet on a Sunday.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Bob on July 16, 2007, 09:20:18 PM
Its difficult to comprehend why nobody put a stop to something they "knew" would be violent because we don't think in terms of going to the theater and throwing things at actors on stage and calling them all sorts of names--nor do we think of the theaters as having special sections for whores. Also Five points doesn't exist today. In that day and age gangs ruled the roost, there was no professional police force, just a bunch of thugs hired by the mayor in power to counteract the actions of the gangs--to keep the pot from boiling over too often.

Anyhow, if you want a modern analogy, think of Hockey up until very recently. Guaranteed there'd be the traditional swings of the stick and the fights between the players---Did anyone ever get arrested for assault, was the game ever cancelled--NOOOO!!!! The fans looked forward to the fights, it was part of the sport--Time outs were the penalties...So it was in the theaters of the 1840's. Macready helped end it--that's one of his contributions to the the history of the theater. And Fernando Wood, for all his corruption, gave NYC  its police force (after a few violent Christmas riots). (He also gave us Boss Tweed)....

I suppose  in an effort to bettter understand the goings on then we should read a good history of Tammany Hall, or the book FIVE POINTS, by Tyler Anbinder, which I found very informative. THE GANGS OF NEW YORK by Herbert Asbury is old but very good also.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Bob on July 16, 2007, 09:29:11 PM
My favorite book on Tammany Hall is M.R. Werner's book TAMMANY HALL. Its one of those books you can't put down and he is good at story telling. For instance here's one from the when Fernando Wood was Mayor:

Quote
It was during Fernando Wood's administration that the City Hall of New York was sold at auction to satisfy a judgement of $196,000 which Robert W. Lowber obtained fraudulently against the City for a plot of ground that was estimated to worth  only $60,000. lowber  demanded that the City Hall with all its furniture and paintings must be sold to satisfy his judgement. Daniel  F. Tiemann, later Mayor of New York bought City Hall for $50,000 and was reimbursed  by the City.  (Werner, TAMMANY HALL at 85)

Only in New York can you get history like that ;D


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Bob on July 16, 2007, 11:48:13 PM
Perhaps you are thinking of the memoirs of one George Washington Plunkitt as told by William Riordan:
Plunkitt of Tammany Hall, a Series of Very Plain  Talks on Very Practical  Politics, Delivered by Ex-Senator  George Washington Plunkitt, The Tammany Philosopher, From His Rostrum--The New York County Court House Bootblack Stand--and Recorderded by  William L. Riordan 1905

OR

TWEED'S NEW YORK  ANOTHER LOOK   by  Leo Hershkowitz  (1977)

Or

"BOSS TWEED"   THE STORY OF A GRIM GENERATION  by Denis Tilden Lynch   1927

The latest of course id Ackerman's  BOSS TWEED--- THE RISE AND FALL OF THE CORRUPT POL WHO CONCEIVED THE SOUL OF MODERN NEW YORK.  His bibliography is decent and might help you....Hershkowitz also has a good bibliograpy (ending in 1977)


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Bob on July 16, 2007, 11:54:32 PM
I forgot this one:

Mandelbaum, Seymour J., BOSS TWEED'S NEW YORK. New York: Wiley, 1965.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: thanatopsy on July 17, 2007, 12:43:22 AM
''Honest graft'' was coined by George Washington Plunkett. The 'little treatise' is the one RW refers to by Riordan -- an excellent book, indeed!

We discussed Tammany Hall to some extent when he read Ackerman's Boss Tweed.  Asbury's Gangs of Old New York remains one of my all time favorite books. As someone who is totally obsessed with the history of old New York, I'll gladly read any book on the Five Points or Ned Buntline's fiction (I recommend his Miseries and Mysteries of New York) for this forum.




Forgotten New York:  http://www.forgotten-ny.com/

... scroll on down to 'neighborhoods' and see how my old neighborhood, East New York, shapes up when compared to yours. You may also want to read Irving Shulman's The Amboy Dukes which remains as relevant today as when it was written in 1947.




Title: Re: American History
Post by: Bob on July 17, 2007, 11:36:58 AM
I don't know that one, but here's a good article that might put you on the track of the title:

http://www.nybooks.com/articles/3


Title: Re: American History
Post by: thanatopsy on July 17, 2007, 03:57:39 PM
here's a slightly better intro into that subject:

http://www.amazon.com/Beneath-American-Renaissance-Subversive-Imagination/dp/0674065654





Title: Re: American History
Post by: thanatopsy on July 17, 2007, 04:10:37 PM
Cliff's Epilogue + End Notes

"the Bard ... served his purpose ... which was to forge a brave new world."


Sorry Mr Cliff, but that is the most chauvinistic crapola I have ever read in my life and spoils what was a rather good book.  The author concludes his book with a largely sympathetic portrayal of Macready with some nasty words about Forrest.  Obviously, he is not too enamored of the USA.




Title: PAST IS PROLOGUE
Post by: thanatopsy on July 17, 2007, 04:36:46 PM
In reading Cliff once again I was reminded of Washington's warning: do not engage in any foreign entanglements.  Perhaps the good President should have mentioned cultural as well as political entanglements.

Cliff does a good job of proving his thesis that Shakespeare had a tremendous socio-cultural impact on the USA populace in that era. ''It is impossible to overestimate the extent to which Shakespeare trampled over 18th + 19th century creeds''. {fn p 280}  After reading the book and the many references in it, I am forced to concede that he is correct.  But such a cultural overreach was unnecessary as this was the era of the American Renaissance.

Yes, Forrest, Buntline, Rynders, the loco foco, and the b'hoys could all have set a better example for the high brow British critics as Melville and Whitman demanded. And while a political severance as demanded by Washington with the Old World may not have been entirely possible, a cultural severance could well have been achieved. As Melville noted, ''Shakespeare, he said, was sure to be surpassed by an American, but that would only happen if the superstition of the Bardolatry was allowed to die away''. {p 288}  And this could have had happened if Duyckinck's words had been heeded!  All we needed to do back then was to realize that the American aesthetic was emerging (art, music, literature, folklore, dance, songs, et al) and that we could have recognized that those works of art are worthy of being cherished with the same ardor as any world wide aesthetic forms. Had that happened, had there been that cultural severance, there would not have been any violence at Astor Place.  The cultural severance could well have enabled the political severance  demanded by Washington. If we had had that, the  political mess created by Bush and his fellow warped minded conspirators, like those created by previous entanglements, would not have happened. America would definitely be at Peace ...


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Lhoffman on July 17, 2007, 04:45:53 PM
My disagreement with Cliff was not so much his snobby attitude to Shakespeare, but his snobby attitude about art in general and about who goes to plays and concerts.  He seems to want to perpetuate the myth that only upper class people go to these entertainments.  I don't know what his motivation is, but I'm sure he knows that this just isn't so.  In his position as critic, he would have had to attend many performances, and unless he was chauffer driven to the theatre at the very last moment and ushered directly to his seat through some secret passage, he would have observed that people of many classes attend the theatre.  This is true in America, and just as true in London.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Bob on July 17, 2007, 05:11:32 PM
With the price of plays in New York its a wonder even the snobbish still go. Its getting more and more difficult to expect  even middle class people to attend at the prices they charge. Anyhow, that's not a comment on Cliff, just a personal observation.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Bob on July 17, 2007, 05:25:41 PM
I see the book as pointing out what is written on page 248...I'll quote it in part lest I venture too far and violate copyright laws:

Quote
The riot  seemed to be the fault of  everyone and no one.  It was the fault of Macready's father, for educating his son  as a gentleman and going bankrupt. it was the fault of the theater profession for instilling vanity and insecurity in its practitioners. it was the fault of the English writers, for stomping over American esteem. It was the fault  of several American States, for causing Americans to be reviled as debt dodgers. It was the fault of journalists, for whipping up partisanship to sell newspapers. it was the fault of the British government , for its disastrous Irish policy. It was the fault of Jacksonian  politics for pandering to gang leaders. It was the fault of the upper ten, for building an opera house in a provcative location. It was the fault of the new Mayor, unversed in crowd control. It was the fault of the irresistible flows of capital and poulation that had carved out  a resentful and often violent  underclass. And, yes, it was the fault of Forrest, for bullying his way to self vindication, and of Macready, for defending his respectability to the bitter end.

In short, a pox on all their houses. The  behaviors of the audiences were enough to start riots. Both the British and Americans are equally at fault  in this area. This thing was larger than Forrest and Macready, who were merely symbolic of the American situation as it existed in the late 1840's. Had ther been no Forrest and Macready there surely would have been an Astor Place riot somewhere, at sometime during that era. The riot arose out of cultural immaturity, not out of the dispute between two Shakespearians.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Bob on July 17, 2007, 05:28:44 PM
Having said all that I think it was a very good book. I like books like this which take what are now considered obscure events and present them as as a manifestation of life in  America  in a given era. Another good one is THE BURNING OF NEW YORK.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Bob on July 17, 2007, 05:32:02 PM
Quote
Sorry Mr Cliff, but that is the most chauvinistic crapola I have ever read in my life and spoils what was a rather good book.  The author concludes his book with a largely sympathetic portrayal of Macready with some nasty words about Forrest.  Obviously, he is not too enamored of the USA.

AHHHH, I don't know...I think both guys deserve a certain amount of censure. But I like the way you express yourself--there's no doubt where you stand.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Bob on July 17, 2007, 05:38:24 PM
I was looking at the suggestions for the next book. I like the Truman book suggested by Dzimas (that's because I'm a Presidential freak of sorts and because I was going to buy it when it first came out, but didn't.)


I also like the book thanatopsy just linked t for other reason--the one about  American Rennaissance (boy, I sure murdered that word). Let me link to it again. It looks like a good subject

How about some  other suggestions....


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Bob on July 17, 2007, 05:40:10 PM
It's BENEATH THE AMERICA RENAISSANCE

http://www.amazon.com/Beneath-American-Renaissance-Subversive-Imagination/dp/0674065654


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Bob on July 17, 2007, 05:45:38 PM
There's a new biography of Henry Ward Beecher, complete with the juicy sex scandal ---now available in paperback. He's a very interesting character.


http://search.barnesandnoble.com/booksearch/isbnInquiry.asp?z=y&EAN=9780385513975&itm=2


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Lhoffman on July 17, 2007, 06:00:50 PM
Quote
With the price of plays in New York its a wonder even the snobbish still go. Its getting more and more difficult to expect  even middle class people to attend at the prices they charge. Anyhow, that's not a comment on Cliff, just a personal observation.
 


I dunno...my son can afford to go to Lincoln Center and City Opera and Carnegie Hall as well.  He's hardly wealthy; he's a grad student. 

In my own area, we have a chamber music festival in the summer.  They sell tickets to under 25's for only $8.00.  The theatres in Detroit are quite reasonably priced.  Detroit Symphony tickets sell at a wide range of prices, and every time I've gone there have been many families attending.

Aside from the top Broadway plays, it is usually possible to get tickets at a very good price. 

What I find shocking is the cost of tickets to Wrestling.  Who buys these?


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Lhoffman on July 17, 2007, 06:05:29 PM
I thought overall, Cliff was very good, too.  I really only disagreed with his inferences in the final chapter.  And, Thanatopsy, I really enjoyed his writing about Shakespeare.  He did seem to lack appreciation for American arts, but there is no getting around the fact that Shakespeare was a phenomenal author who had quite a bit of influence on the American authors who followed him.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: madupont on July 17, 2007, 08:34:10 PM
Quote
With the price of plays in New York its a wonder even the snobbish still go. Its getting more and more difficult to expect  even middle class people to attend at the prices they charge. Anyhow, that's not a comment on Cliff, just a personal observation.
 


I dunno...my son can afford to go to Lincoln Center and City Opera and Carnegie Hall as well.  He's hardly wealthy; he's a grad student. 

In my own area, we have a chamber music festival in the summer.  They sell tickets to under 25's for only $8.00.  The theatres in Detroit are quite reasonably priced.  Detroit Symphony tickets sell at a wide range of prices, and every time I've gone there have been many families attending.

Aside from the top Broadway plays, it is usually possible to get tickets at a very good price. 

What I find shocking is the cost of tickets to Wrestling.  Who buys these?




Lhoffman  "Aside from the top Broadway plays, it is usually possible to get tickets at a very good price."

The way around that is to go to the office of the theater manager and apply gratis to be an usherette in the theater for matinees, depending on your own hours, and as many evenings, again depending on your other responsibilites, and if this is a theater that is booking only the Broadway tours in a separate venue, you will see all the top shows,armed with a small flashlight,sensible shoes, a black skirt and a white shirt.  I did this to study professionals and saw Julie Harris as a young woman, Judith Anderson as a woman of indiscriminate age, and Deborah Kerr as a "woman of a certain age.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: thanatopsy on July 17, 2007, 10:00:37 PM
It's BENEATH THE AMERICA RENAISSANCE

http://www.amazon.com/Beneath-American-Renaissance-Subversive-Imagination/dp/0674065654



+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++


I especially liked the following comment about the book:


One of the most powerful pieces of scholarship and criticism on American literature in a very long time...[It exhibits] wonderful range, insight, verve, and critical sophistication. This is a most welcome and timely book; it helps set a new agenda for American literary and cultural studies.

--Alan Trachtenberg, Yale University




As someone who read the book, I can attest that  this is true!  Professor Reynolds outlines all that is to follow in American history in a way that Professor Tyler could not do in her encyclopedic Freedom's Ferment. It is a sensational book.

But since we just a read book that dealt with that period, it would perhaps be preferable to read a book that deals with more recent matters such as Truman.  As always, I'm open to whatever decision is reached by a majority on this board. :)




Title: Re: American History
Post by: Lhoffman on July 17, 2007, 10:15:02 PM
American Renaissance sounds very good.  But as far as Melville and company as subsersives, there is something to the idea that art MUST be subversive if it is to have meaning.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: thanatopsy on July 18, 2007, 09:42:30 PM
there is something to the idea that art MUST be subversive if it is to have meaning.

Emerson played a great role in the American Renaissance. It was he who said, to be great is to be misunderstood.  The fact that so many misunderstood what that great American Renaissance  stood for and what its ultimate impact has been, validates that it, indeed, was something great.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: madupont on July 18, 2007, 10:43:37 PM
Bob,

I was pondering about another churchyard that I recall from the same period of my discovering Trinity during a walk.  Was going to ask you about it but then looked it up. I recall it being on a corner but could not remember the exact location.  As it turns out, it is fittingly appropo to the book just discussed about -- The Shakespeare Riots, although it is rather much a follow-up period by the 1920s.

It may surprise you what it has to offer.

http://www.littlechurch.org/theater.html

and:        http://www.actorsguild.org/aboutus2.html


Title: Re: American History
Post by: thanatopsy on July 18, 2007, 11:57:04 PM
''Little Church Around the Corner'' is near Marble Collegiate Church in NYC.  Passed by there a few times many moons ago.

I sure do miss those historic sites in the Big Town.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: madupont on July 19, 2007, 04:01:26 PM
''Little Church Around the Corner'' is near Marble Collegiate Church in NYC.  Passed by there a few times many moons ago.

I sure do miss those historic sites in the Big Town.


You left? How could you?  Like some people, I live in it every day as it was because it may never ever again be the same.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: thanatopsy on July 19, 2007, 05:15:00 PM
You left? How could you?

It was due to an incurable condition called ''temporary insanity''. Too bad I didn't have a crystal ball back then!


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Bob on July 20, 2007, 07:31:25 PM
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/07/22/books/review/Lewis-t.html?8bu&emc=bu

New Books in American History.

Are there any more  suggestions for the next book?

I recently finished YOUNG J EDGAR Which is about how good ole J Edgar supervised the Palmer Raids---its very associative to today's responses to terrorism.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Bob on July 20, 2007, 07:43:39 PM
Then there's THE BARBARY WARS  by Frank Lambert (America and the pirates)

Also, there are two conservative views of current Constitutional issues: TEN TORTURED WORDS by Mansfield  (First Amendment issues surrounding Everson and  the Establishment Clause) and ARMED AMERICA by Clayton Cramer, attacking Bellisile's ARMING AMERICA which contended guns were rare in Colonial America. Cramer argues the Second Amendment protects  an individual right to bear arms and that guns were common and required many times in colonial times. In view of the Supreme Court taking on a case for decision next term, its a timely view. The lower courts upheld Cramer's view. It might also let us look at the Bellisiles controversy----which involves the issues of poor reasearch and intellectual dishonesty.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: thanatopsy on July 20, 2007, 07:48:27 PM
http://www.historybookclub.com/doc/full_site_enrollment/detail/fse_product_detail.jhtml?repositoryId=667663B205


more reading about J Edgar Hoover ...


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Bob on July 20, 2007, 07:51:14 PM
Good Evening thanatopsy

Here's Emory University's  report on Bellisiles/

Now I'll go back and lookl at your link.   I assume its the new one on J Edgar and Bobbie Kennedy?


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Bob on July 20, 2007, 07:55:33 PM
OOOPPPSS!!!   It's about Melvin Purvis....I think that might be a  more interesting subject as it covers a lesser known figure and differentr aspect of history--Crime in the 20'sand 30's and  how J Edgar solidified his position after the Palmer Raids.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: thanatopsy on July 20, 2007, 07:58:57 PM
ACH!!! I had forgotten that we discussed the possibility of reading a book about a prominent American woman or women such as,

http://www.historybookclub.com/doc/full_site_enrollment/detail/fse_product_detail.jhtml?repositoryId=782404B205

Thoughts?


Title: Re: American History
Post by: thanatopsy on July 20, 2007, 08:00:57 PM
Hi RW!

Hope your evening has gone well and that your weekend will be splendid.

That American History book club sounds like a fascinating group. If it were not for the fact that we are engaged in our reading (which, of course, is exceedingly interesting) I would join that club.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Bob on July 20, 2007, 08:09:13 PM
You are right---and I just saw a good one in the local library--there's a book out on Carrie Chapman. But aside form that, let me look up what's available and  see what I can come up with.

Do you have any suggestions?


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Bob on July 20, 2007, 08:18:47 PM
Drat, Drat--now I can't find the Carrie Chapman Catt book, but I'll see if its still in the lbrary tomorrow. In the meanwhile, here's a book I read last year which was really fascinating----about Victoria Woodhull....this one you won't put down...http://search.barnesandnoble.com/booksearch/isbnInquiry.asp?z=y&EAN=9780060953324&itm=1


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Bob on July 20, 2007, 08:33:20 PM
Now I know why I couldn't find the Carrie Chapman Catt book----because it wasn't the book I saw.....The one I saw is about Belva Lockwod--its expensive, but here it is:

http://www.amazon.com/Belva-Lockwood-Woman-Would-President/dp/0814758347


Title: Re: American History
Post by: thanatopsy on July 20, 2007, 08:48:59 PM
The Woodhull book sounds just a bit more interesting.

Thoughts on the Peabody sisters?


Title: Re: American History
Post by: weezo on July 20, 2007, 10:39:35 PM
I have recently read:

Theodore Roosevelt by Nathan Miller (on the recommendation of a reviewer when I was going to get his autobiography - this book is great although only a half a page was devoted to the event I was writing a story about)

1421 - The Year the Chinese Discovered America by Gavom Menzies, which I understand was previously discussed. It is rather more speculative history than established history.

Into the American Woods by James H. Merrill which is a very good history of the interactions between Native Americans and the Pennsylvania colonists, with a whole lot about Conrad Weiser (I may consider getting a biography of him).

The First Emancipator by Andrew Levy - the story of a man of Jefferson and Washington's time who felt the need to free all of his more than 400 slaves at a time when it was said, by historians, to be improvident to do so.

The Farfarers by Farley Mowat - a speculative history that explains the likelihood that the Albans (British-Scotts) were the first Europeans to settle in North American.

Blue Eyed Child of Fortune: The Civil War Letters of Robert Shaw Gouls - edited by Russell Duncan which is a great insight into the life of a New England Abolutionist turned soldier who died for his cause.

The Invasion of America by Francis Jennings - an older book about the Americas before the Europeans arrived and the havoc they wrecked. This is a pivotal book to understanding more recent works on the size of Native American population and the extent of their civilization before the Europeans declared them all savages and ravaged their numbers with microbes and metal.

With the exception of the last two books which have been on my bookshelves for years waiting to be read, the other books have all been recommended to me recently. All are worthy of a read and discussion. Sorry, there are no women in the collection, but I've got a few books on Pocahontas that were under consideration before the Shakespeare Riots.

And, as some of you may know, I am currently reading the American Colonies by Alan Taylor. It is again, a good basic book for up-to-date historial information for those who, like me, are coming back to history later in life.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Dzimas on July 24, 2007, 07:30:21 AM
Any consensus emerging here?  I see the administration set up "vote" forums for all the reading groups, although it seems it makes more sense to vote in the forum.  Even though I would prefer a book on Truman or more specifically his doctrine, The Farfareres or 1421 would be fine by me.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: weezo on July 24, 2007, 08:44:38 AM
Seems to me that the easiest way to "vote" would be in a poll, and that's what I expected to find on the "vote" forums. I was a bit disappointed that they were only discussion.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: liquidsilver on July 24, 2007, 09:18:26 AM
Tell you what, I really don't read these book boards much and I've offered to post polls if people send me a private message, why don't I just make you a Poll Manager of this forum and you can post the poll.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: weezo on July 24, 2007, 03:30:34 PM
Liquid,

I appreciate the opportunity to serve the Book Forums, and am starting to compile a list of the recommended books for this, the American History forum.

I will include the poll directly on the forum, so that one does not have to search for it around the board.

The poll will be done so that if there is more than a single preference (highly likely), I will let the original poll run for a week (2 weeks?) and then compile a smaller poll of the favorite, for a run-off poll. That should get us down to 1-2 books that someone can take the leadership to choose among.

I will attempt to create a list now, by going back through the posts here, and will then post a list to the thread, so that if I have overlooked any, they can be added before I create the poll. Barring any unforseen circumstances, I hope to have the poll ready for voting by tomorrow.

If anyone has any suggestion, please let me know.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: liquidsilver on July 24, 2007, 03:36:40 PM
Great, let me know if you have any problems. Thanks again


Title: Re: American History
Post by: weezo on July 24, 2007, 04:33:15 PM
So far, going back through the past 3 pages, I have the following suggestions for reading. It is a long list. Should I include it all, or how to cull it?


1.   1421-The Year The Chinese Discovered America by Gavin Menzies
2.   Teddy Roosevelt – A Life by Nathan Miller
3.   The American Colonies by Alan Taylor
4.   The Farfarers by Farley Mowat
5.   Into The American Woods by James H. Merrill
6.   The Barbary Wars by Frank Lambert
7.   Ten Tortured Words by Mansfield
8.   Arming America by Bellisiles
9.   Armed America by Clayton Cramer
10.   The Vendetta by Alston Purvis and Alex Tresniowski
11.   The Peabody Sisters by Megan Marshall
12.   Other Powers by Barbara Goldsmith
13.   Belva Lockwood: The Woman who Would Be President by Jill Norgren
14.   No Left Turns: The FBI in Peace and War by Joseph L. Schott
15.   The First Emacipator by Andrew Levy
16.   The Blue-Eyed Child of Fortune-Civil War Letter of Robert Gould Shaw edited by Russell Duncan
17.   The Invasion of America by Francis Jennings
18.   Beneath the American Renaissance by David S. Reynolds
19.   The Most Famous Man in America a Biography of Henry Ward Beecher by Debbie Applegate
20.   Great River :The Rio Grande in North American History (Vol1 & 2)  by Paul Horgan
21.   Of America East & West: Selections of the Writings of Paul Horgan by Paul Horgan
22.   Tammany Hall by M. R. Werner
23.   Tweed’s New York by Leo Herschkowitz
24.   “Boss Tweed” The Story of a Grim Generation by  Denis Tilden Lynch
25.   Boss Tweed –The Rise and Fall of the Corrupt Pol Who Conceived The Soul of Modern New York by  I. D. Ackerman
26.   Boss Tweed’s New York by Seymour J. Mandelbaum
27.   Gangs of Old New York by Asbury
28.   Misery and Mysteries of New York by Buntline
29.   Margaret Sanger by???
30.   Truman or Doctrine: Title??? By???
31.   Young J. Edgar by ???
32.   The Burning of New York by ???



Title: Re: American History
Post by: thanatopsy on July 24, 2007, 04:59:32 PM
I believe this is the Truman book recommended by Gintaras:

http://www.amazon.com/Cross-Iron-National-Security-19451954/dp/0521795370/ref=sr_1_4/105-5791205-4542015?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1184244624&sr=1-4


RW endorsed it as well.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: thanatopsy on July 24, 2007, 05:13:06 PM
weezo,

I started this round of recommended reading by suggesting,


http://www.amazon.com/Cross-Iron-National-Security-19451954/dp/0521795370/ref=sr_1_4/105-5791205-4542015?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1184244624&sr=1-4


Please consider this one as it appears to be a good subject.

BTW, Gintaras also recommended,

http://www.amazon.com/Cross-Iron-National-Security-19451954/dp/0521795370/ref=sr_1_4/105-5791205-4542015?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1184244624&sr=1-4

... which also sounds like a good topic but is lengthy.


Correct me if I'm wrong but I believe we have not read any book recommended by Gintaras in quite a while so my vote is for Truman.



Title: Re: American History
Post by: weezo on July 24, 2007, 05:21:38 PM
Thank you Than, I have added the book to the list. I hope to get the poll compiled tonight or tomorrow ready for voting. I don't know how it will work with 33 entries, but I don't want to cut it down and leave off someone's good idea!


Title: Re: American History
Post by: archeus on July 24, 2007, 07:55:12 PM
I just found this forum and I just finished The Shakespeare Riots, so apologies for chipping in late. As a theater practitioner, I was at first surprised by the ending too. But then I read the last endnote, which applies to the brief comment "Though America's attachment to Shakespeare would revive": "The twentieth century's gathering Shakespeare revival had severeal inspirations: the stars who rebelled against the monopoly system; the brave souls who set out to revive repertory; and the downfall of realism..." Cliff ends his note with a mention of Joseph Papp, the genius behind Shakespeare in the Park. My feeling is that he was tying up his story with the aftermath of the riot, rather than trying to take things up to the present day. The other books I've read on this chapter of theater history echo his concluding theme: that at the end of the 19th century, there was vaudeville and comic-realistic plays for the masses, and Culture for the elite. One of the points I took from the book was that throughout the time Cliff describes, theater was purely commercial - there were no sponsors supporting cheap tickets to "improving" plays, since at the time it was popular entertainment and seen as no more special or in need of help than tv or movies today. Probably it took a while before we realized what we'd missed and theater lovers started doing something about it. On the other hand, it's still the eternal struggle to get new audiences to watch plays - in that way it seems the period Cliff describes did have something in common with Shakespeare's age, when everyone would go to the theater nightly. Edward Herrmann's review in the WSJ captured that poignant sense of loss. It was sort of unbearable to read aobut. Maybe I'm giving him the benefit of the doubt, but I thought Cliff was describing things as they were then, not being elitist about theater today. I came away with the sense that he thought something important had been lost - let's hope it's true that it's partly been recovered today.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: weezo on July 24, 2007, 10:18:19 PM
Folks,

I have just uploaded the poll. I'm not sure why the lines are so short, which makes the poll even longer than it is.

Let's try to get the first rounding of voting done by July 31. After that, I will eliminate those titles with no votes, and, if necessary those with a single vote (depending on how the votes go), and we will have another round of voting on the ones people are really interested in.

Hope this is satisfactory to all on this thread.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Dzimas on July 25, 2007, 12:34:54 AM
I assume we will have a runoff.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: weezo on July 25, 2007, 06:46:21 AM
You assume right, Dzimas. I am figuring it will take a week for everyone to vote and I can clean up the list on the 31st.



Title: Re: American History
Post by: Dzimas on July 25, 2007, 11:20:04 AM
Thanks for the support, thanatopsy.  But, I have not read the book so I can't vouch for it specifically.  I chose it mostly for the subject matter.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Dzimas on July 25, 2007, 11:22:59 AM
The new bio of Dean Acheson also looks very interesting, but at 800 pages is a bit much I think.

http://www.amazon.com/Dean-Acheson-Life-Cold-War/dp/0195045785/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1/105-5791205-4542015?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1185376906&sr=1-1

The photo makes him look like a character out of a 40s film noir.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Dzimas on July 25, 2007, 11:24:00 AM
BTW, weezo, thanks for assuming this burdensome task.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Lhoffman on July 25, 2007, 11:34:12 AM
Archeus...nice post.  I re-read the ending of the book, and the end-notes as well.  Your point is well-taken.



Title: Re: American History
Post by: Bob on July 25, 2007, 04:35:07 PM
I just voted for 1421. The poll is a great idea--thanks for tracking for us weezo...


Title: Re: American History
Post by: weezo on July 25, 2007, 04:47:45 PM
Dzimas,

I will put the Dean Acheson book on the start of a list for September since I already have the list for August posted. Perhaps by then it will be in paperback????


Title: Re: American History
Post by: weezo on July 25, 2007, 04:50:28 PM
Glad to be of help. With so many wonderful suggestions, it just seemed a good idea to use a poll to decide. I will save the old polls so we can reconsider some books at a later date that don't make it the first time they are presented for selection. I will also keep a running list of suggestions as we go, so it isn't such a task to collect all the suggestions.



Title: Re: American History
Post by: thanatopsy on July 25, 2007, 05:07:53 PM
I just voted for Truman but now see that it is listed twice. Well, at least two votes for that book.

At the moment I am reading Bitter Harvest - Richmond Flowers and the Civil Rights Movement by John Hayman.  Flowers' role in promoting civil rights has been lost to history for the most part.  He sacrificed much and paid a heavy price for his work.  He should never be forgotten for his contribution to making the American Dream a reality for a great many people.



Title: Re: American History
Post by: weezo on July 25, 2007, 05:25:07 PM
Than,

That sounds like a good book to read. I have never heard of Richmond Flowers before, but maybe I'll check into it. I found a link about him but it was very brief. http://www.archives.state.al.us/conoff/flowers.html

I have added your suggestion to the list for September. I will count your vote on the Truman ??? as a vote for the Iron Cross.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: madupont on July 25, 2007, 06:12:19 PM
dzimas re:#645

That was what was so marvelous about the important officials of governments during my childhood. They all had such elegant personal style. They were really the first celebrities of that era.  Those others were just movie stars.  It was a very stylish age for which I'm often nostalgic; probably because we are so the opposite now. Just look at our hacks of politicians and how either gruesome or grotty they look (Of course, we have to make an exception for  Nancy Pelosi; although, sometimes she does look like the mother down the block on her way to a PTA meeting).  I'm just having my second childhood, don't mind me.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Bob on July 25, 2007, 09:02:55 PM
I read 1421, or a substansial part of it, a while back and I remember it to be very interesting, though I had my doubts  about whether certain conclusions he came to and assumptions he made were valid or speculative at best. Anyhow the book is very interesting and worth pursuing if only to "get into" those parts to see if others agree with me.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: weezo on July 25, 2007, 10:08:49 PM
Bob,

I read 1421 before I read the Farfarers, and found myself wishing that Menzies had also put his speculation into italics as Mowat did, so you could keep straight what was definitely fact and what was speculation.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: thanatopsy on July 26, 2007, 03:47:16 PM
I started reading 1421 but found it to be a bit too fictional or speculative at best.  It is likely more suitable for Art Bell's ''Coast to Coast'' show but, as always, to each their own.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: caclark on July 26, 2007, 04:30:38 PM
There is a lot of debate over the authenticity of the purported Zheng He map. The inscription on it identifies it as an 1763 copy of an original map drawn in 1418 but not even the 1763 date is proof that the copy was actually made in 1763. There have been purported old maps that were subsequently found to be hoaxes. The Zheng He map was purchased from an antiquities dealer in Shanghai a few years ago. Radio-carbon dating was being done on it but I haven’t heard the results or if they’ve even finished the lab testing.

Menzies’ book has not had a glowing reception among historians. That of course, is not sufficient cause to dismiss his thesis as hokum. Scholars have been proven wrong before.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: weezo on July 26, 2007, 05:18:59 PM
Clark,

Menzies' writing is rather boastful at times, but he does raise some interesting questions. I tend to discount his suggestions in his comparison of languages, and the stone plaque on the Cape Verde Islands, but, on the other hand, if Zheng He did make it around the Cape of Good Hope, much of the rest of the story is highly likely. Francis Jennings, many years ago, pointed out the possibility/probability of some involvement of the Chinese in the pre-Columbian Native cultures on the west coast of South America. I would like to learn more about the DNA testing of some of the Native peoples who are said to have had contact with the Chinese. Menzies mentions that the Melungeon "tribe" may have taken their light color from the Chinese, but I have heard that DNA has established that that is more likely to be Portuguese, which instead of pointing to the early "discovery" of America by the Chinese, it may have actually been done, at least on the east coast, but the secretive Portuguese whose records were lost in an earthquake. Menzies suggests that more of this could be traced by examining Vatican records, so there is an opening for a historian who would like a challenge.

In any event, I like the idea of examining other evidence of history rather than only the writings of dead white men! <grin>

Anne


Title: Re: American History
Post by: madupont on July 27, 2007, 02:09:57 AM
Anne, the Vatican library is a bit more than a challenge. I had an acquaintance in New York who worked there in the...how to say this(?),their collection of censorable things. That was just his cup of tea in English or Latin and whatever other languages he had going(I never asked) as he was rather odd to say the least. In any case, not otherwise an historian by a long shot.

I'd be willing to bet that if the Chinese made it, the route would have been Pacific rather than around the Cape of Good Hope; yet I have never encountered material that would lead me to believe they had ships anywhere near that big to withstand the voyage.   I suspect that I have an inkling where to look for prints that may be still around and that they would have a similar date to that caclark mentioned and which may have led to a "far fetched" notion or theory. Remember Westerners got to them first and then the Chinese would have had to learn technically from what they saw tentatively in their hospitable mode in the 13th.century.

Even, the Japanese who were seafarers of sorts  did not go the distance to make the long haul; their craft just about made it back and forth over the narrower passages in good weather  from a latitude about 35 degrees but probably less than 40 degrees, however I will check a text for clues which I have been putting off and putting off because I suspect they went overland through Korea to Manchuri and more likely tripped across the Yellow Sea in good weather since I have no size estimate for the  Ryukyu Islands which the name tells me they did get to but exactly when I have no idea.

They certainly made it swifter south as the years went by; with routes that take you further south by south-east hypothetically almost to the western coast of South America but I do not know enough about the technical advancement of their naval vessels and not a thing about the prevailing winds in that region.  I lost track in the running at the point where there was supposition that people indigenous to the South Seas somehow made it to the Andes which was a nice idea back in the Fifties.

But good luck, and if I get any clues will pass them along.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: nnyhav on July 28, 2007, 12:46:12 AM
Robert, any recommendation on the history of financial panics from CW and to WWI?
Markets seem to be celebrating a centennial a tad early.

[edit] maybe right on time -- the Rich Man's Panic began early July 1907, now it's hedge funds ...


Title: Re: American History
Post by: madupont on July 28, 2007, 01:11:24 AM
nnyhav,

I truly enjoyed your presentation of the materials on William Empson, Donne, and Dylan Thomas.

I first learned of Empson in relation to Wittgenstein.

Thomas, of course, as read last night in  your materials, took me back to the era of the UMW production; and scanning the sample, I kept having these images pop into my head of Rachel Griffiths and Jonathan Price as daughter and father with the bakery truck and thoroughly strange bakery not to mention the oddity of their home-life.  This movie, whose title I have forgotten, was in many ways so more appropo to Thomas' capturing of the language than the honker made on film by Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton among others.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Bob on July 30, 2007, 06:45:48 PM
 ::)  I forgot the guidelines on the vote. Can you let me know? Is there an end date for voting?

Meanwhile, I'm reading an interesting book about Roman History and the Bubonic Plague (circa 286--565 AD) ...Good Book---JUSTINIAN'S FLEA by William Rosen


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Lhoffman on July 30, 2007, 06:58:59 PM
Bob...I saw Justinian's Flea in the book store a while back.  It looked quite good and I have it on my to buy list.   How are you liking it?


Title: Re: American History
Post by: weezo on July 30, 2007, 08:56:25 PM
Bob,

The voting ends tomorrow - that will be seven days. I was going to do a run-off vote, but, unless there is a flurry of votes overnight and tomorrow, it looks like it's pretty clearly 1421. The runner up is The Iron Cross about Truman.



Title: Re: American History
Post by: elportenito on August 01, 2007, 09:44:06 AM
...ahhh, Youse mean THAT American History, as in USA History. I see.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Bob on August 01, 2007, 08:44:50 PM
Weezo: Are we to assume it's 1421?   When should the actual discussion begin?


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Bob on August 01, 2007, 08:49:29 PM
I just finished JUSTINIAN'S FLEA.....While i liked it as it was well written, I thought it should have had more o the Plague. It has interesting sections, even chapters, on the natural history of bactyeria, and information on the rat and the flea, the information on the plague is scattered throughout the book. If you like Roman history its great...it also has inrteresting pieces on the history of the Middle East, China and just plain pieces of informatioin you never thought about. I'd read again even though I was disappointed on the extent of the plague information.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Bob on August 01, 2007, 08:57:09 PM
>>>>Robert, any recommendation on the history of financial panics from CW and to WWI? ---->>>>

Sorry for the delay in answering. There is a very good new book available on The Gilded Age (1865-1900) which emphasizes financial affairs. I'll try and look it up tonight. If I don't find it, I know where its at at B&N and I stop in the  bookstore daily, so at the very latest I'll give you the title tomorrow. Off the top of my head  there was a downturn at the end of the war--then, of course there was the Panic associated with the attempt to corner the Gold Market (Jay Gould and the Boys), the Panic of 1873, of 1893 and  of 1907 (starring JP Morgan). There was an economic downturn in 1900 which is not classified as a panic, but should be looked at.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: weezo on August 01, 2007, 08:59:13 PM
Bpb.

Traditionally, you have set the dates to start discussions. My role is only with the poll. Nothing else is changing. Looks like more want to read 1421 than any other book. Or do you want another poll just among the books that got votes. You callit.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: weezo on August 01, 2007, 09:05:13 PM
Bob,

Because of the controversies surrounding 1421 and it's role as speculative history, it should be a lively discussion. The runner up was Cross of Iron, on the Truman Doctrine.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Bob on August 02, 2007, 01:32:30 AM
I think we've given everyone well enough chance to vote. Let's start the discussion 0n August 20---that'll give everyone a chance to get and read the book. I can get the book tomorrow....If any of the others (there are only three at this point) can get and read the book sooner we can change the date. I need to re-read the book since its been a while since I last saw it---I used my friend's copy the first time around.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Bob on August 02, 2007, 07:52:54 PM
Are we OK for the 20th?


Title: Re: American History
Post by: weezo on August 02, 2007, 09:06:05 PM
Dunno about anyone else, but it suits me.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Bob on August 04, 2007, 07:16:11 AM
Unless an objection is raised, the 20th it shall be.

Getting back to the question of Banking Panics in America from 1865 to 1917, the new book I was referring to is THE AGE OF BETRYAL by Jack Beatty. There are two others--both standards, but expensive: MONETARY HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES 1867-1960 by the conservative economist Milton Friedman--excellent to say the least....the othe is BANKING PANICS OF THE GILDED AGE  by Elmus Wicker, also top notch....

Speaking of which, its my belief the chickens are coming home to roost. The mortgage market is in near collapse and caused a serious stock market loss yesterday. This is a sign of an economy in trouble, probably in contraction. But my real fear is that of inflation brought on as usual by debt  financing (through bonds rather than tax revenues) of the Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and the deficit financing of the War on Terror. Inflation caused by wartime financing is endemic in America. Usually it occurs after the war, but this time I see it as starting earlier. Anyhow, the near collapse of the  mortgage market is a bad sign indeed. The Administration has refused to raise taxes to finance anything and has, quite to the contrary, cut much needed current programs--the economic policies are now about to backfire----OH, for a good ole fashioned economist of the old days--the ones who used to take history into account, not just statistical models...Does any University teach Political Economy anymore?---that's the type of economics I was was schooled in during the 60's--before they switched to the mathematical models (which drive me crazy with their disregard for practicality).  The ability of the economist to predict even the near future is almost nil. They are almost always wrong and yet still command much respect and lots of bucks...even weathermen have a higher success rate..


Title: Re: American History
Post by: madupont on August 04, 2007, 09:46:43 AM
Bob

Yes, it is the first thing forwarded by the New York Times this morning.
Can't say it wasn't predicted.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: nnyhav on August 04, 2007, 11:05:55 AM
Thank you, Robert.

On chickens roosting: My question was prompted by comparison of current conditions to those of the late Gilded Age, the last time that wealth was so polarized, the last time the economy so globalized -- one can draw other analogies, e.g. industrial/transport to informational/telecom. My concerns are not of inflation-driven, but of capital, contraction, which hasn't happened since WW2. The tightening of mortgage credit (as house price appreciation vanished) seems now to be hitting corporate credit -- no more bad new loans (through syndication -- distributing risk isn't the same as eliminating it) to bail out bad old ones (or acquire controlling equity), keeping the default rates down (until they pop to compensate).

I would disagree on one other point. Economics is a marginal science -- whatever its basis, it fails when used as a core driver of policy (eg, stagflation refuting Keynesianism at least in part). Current policy seems designed to try to 'monetize' the dollar's status as reserve currency (as sterling was a century ago). It seems that trying to find the proper historical analogue always mixes metaphors, though.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Bob on August 04, 2007, 07:37:45 PM
I like your analysis and can see the logic to it, although my belief is that though that's  the way things may begin, as they are now, with capital contraction, inflation will soon start, much as it did after Vietnam, pushed by oil problems....

I'm afraid, though I hold a degree in Economics, that I have never considered it a science of any sort. I think we kid ourselves overemphasizing what are called the social sciences, when there's little science to them. But that's another subject. Maybe we can find a book on the age old dispute, which was going on hot and heavy when I was in college on whether Sociology ought ever to have been created as a separate discipline and called be called a "science." Economics is an art which can and does utilize scientific tools--But I don't belive it even to be a marginal science---(but I do respect that I'm in the minority and that your proposition is generally accepted).


Title: Re: American History
Post by: weezo on August 04, 2007, 08:14:08 PM
Bob,

I agree. Economics uses math, but it uses it more to prove what is already believed more than to discover new theories. I learned Keynesian economics, and have distrusted the newer theories, which seem to fail and fall on a regular basis. I just sent an email to a colleague, about the anti-NCLB movement, and we were talking about how sad it is that tests have replaced teaching as the purpose of putting a kid in a desk to "learn". (If you want to see the cartoon, the link is on the education board!) The best part is the introduction by the president in his usual misappropriation of grammar. And, he is a  product of all those fancy private schools that we are told do so much better than the underfunded public schools!

I am enthused by the introduction of hard science into the study of history, as we all saw when we read Helen Roundtree's book on Pocahontas. Between my first and second reading of her, I read the Jamestown Narratives, on which much of our historical "knowledge" of the Native Americans was previously based, and noticed how often they were dead wrong in their understanding of the new people the encountered. Makes me wonder how much else of "recorded history" is just as dead wrong!







Title: Re: American History
Post by: madupont on August 04, 2007, 10:04:45 PM
Speaking of finances and economics

"Jock Whitney. John Hay Whitney (named after his maternal grandfather, Abraham Lincoln’s private secretary) was evidently remarkable for his good qualities in relationship to others but also his good qualities in relationship to himself. Of course, few would ever tell me much about his “bad” qualities. Although perhaps he was one of those rara avis (and there are those) who really did not have much to criticize.

Mr. Whitney, who was born in 1904, was born to great wealth. Here in New York the family lived at 972 Fifth, just two blocks down from 79th Street, in a house designed by Stanford White for his parents. He was the second (and last child) with a sister Joan (Whitney Payson who started the Mets) who was a couple of years older. He was an intelligent boy, a Yalie, a goodlooking young man who was considered one of the most eligible bachelors in the world until he married a very beautiful young woman from Philadelphia named Elizabeth Altemus (and then known for the rest of her life as Liz Whitney or Liz Whitney Tippett – her second husband).

The marriage didn’t take very well, however. Mrs. Whitney, a horse (and animal) woman of the first order spent her times in the stables and young Jock spent a good deal of the time (this was in the 1930s) in Los Angeles where he was anxious to make a name in the picture business.

He and his cousin Cornelius (“Sonny”) Vanderbilt Whitney started a company named Pioneer Pictures and produced the first full length Technicolor film, “Becky Sharp.” A few years later, in production partnership with David O. Selznick, one of Mr. Whitney’s assistants, a woman named Kay Brown, came to him with a then still-unpublished novel called “Gone With The Wind” and Mr. Whitney bought it. His partner Mr. Selznick made it into the classic although at the end of his life, he sold his share of the rights back to Mr. Whitney.

Jock Whitney’s  marriage to Liz gave him time and room to have other women in his life, and he did. He was very well known among his set for providing all kinds of financial security for the girls he spent time with.

In 1940, Jock Whitney divorced his first wife and married Betsey Cushing Roosevelt (recently divorced from James, the eldest son of Eleanor and Franklin). The couple maintained homes in Manhattan, Manhasset (Greentree estate), and several other locations. There were always scads of staff, greenhouses providing fresh flowers and private planes to take them where they needed to go. There is the story that once when he and his brother-in-law William Paley were planning a trip down to the Caribbean with the wives, Whitney suggested they send all their baggage down in his older plane ahead of them, and then they’d fly in the newer, faster Paley plane later. A prince’s sense of practical logistics. Once when Whitney was in bed with an ailment, Paley went to visit him. The two men were watching television together and when Paley couldn’t find the remote to change the channel, Whitney buzzed his butler. That was his remote.

After the Second World War where he served in the OSS and his lieutenants later created the CIA, Whitney invested some of his fortune in a fund that was referred to as “Adventure Capital.” The idea was to fund some of the business prospects and ideas of men he’d met in the service who would be looking for things to do when they got out. Their early investments included something called Memorex which became the infant of the now Digital Age. And MinuteMaid which was the beginning of the frozen orange juice  business. The term “Adventure” got shortened to “venture” and Venture Capital became a profession.

In the 1950s Eisenhower named him Ambassador to the Court of St. James. The British loved him because he was the most Anglo of any ambassador they’d had. When he finished his term, he bought the New York Herald Tribune and made a valiant albeit failed attempt to beat out the New York Times. Forty years later people who were there remember the Trib with fondness. Tom Wolfe got his big break on the Trib (writing for its new Sunday magazine called “New York” –which later became its own magazine). Dick Schaap started with the Trib, as did Jimmy Breslin, and Jill Krementz as a staff photographer. It was a good literate paper. The unions killed it.

Jock Whitney liked theatre people. Fred Astaire was one of his best buddies. And he was a loyal friend. A man named Shipwreck Kelly (who’d once been married to debutante Brenda Frazier) was given a lifelong residence on one of the Whitney houses on the Long Island estate.

He was always well turned out. He was quick to laugh, and always eager. He lived at all times like a king and shared the wealth. He loved the company of women and liked the world of sports. To those men and women who knew him he is remembered as “the consummate gentleman,” gracious, courteous, impeccably turned out, humorous, friendly, generous and walked with kings."

New York Social Diary    for August 3rd.2007


Title: Re: American History
Post by: weezo on August 04, 2007, 11:04:48 PM
Maddie,

In or about 1940, what "remote" was Paley looking for to change the channel? There would have only been the butler. And, I do think that the tv was invented a bit after 1940, closer to the end of that decade. But you tell a good story, as usual.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Bob on August 05, 2007, 12:06:17 AM
Quote
I do think that the tv was invented a bit after 1940, closer to the end of that decade

The paragraph having to do with the "remote" is obviously out of sequence.

However, TV is one of those things which developed, rather than invented. Development began way, way back and was in full swing by the late 1920's. (See anything about Philo P Farmsworth--the guy who really got screwed out of his due in the process). Anyhow, there's an interesting series of scenes in an old Charlie Chan (Sidney Toler) movie which takes place in a TV studio. That was in the 40's....and then, there's always the people down the road from here who invented Cable TV in 1948. I use their cable services unto this day.

I'll have to look up when the remote control was invented.

I do know that Paley and General Sarnoff were engaged in one hellava race to develop a workable color TV system and that Sarnoff won. Color was around as early as the early 1950's but was never compatable with black and white sets. Sarnoff's NBC developed a compatable picture tube and then color Tv emerged in the late 1950's or early 1960's.

I'm so old I remember Jock Whitney as Ambassador to England.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Bob on August 05, 2007, 12:12:09 AM
The remote was invented in 1956 by a Robert Adler  ZENITH  martketed the first one.

By the way, I just remembered that TV was first publicly demonstrated at the 1939 New York World's Fair and that there were operating systems as early as 1933.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: madupont on August 05, 2007, 12:51:18 AM
http://www.smokershistory.com/Whitney.htm

About the sixth paragraph down, you will find this:

The Panic of 1907: "The panic was a bank panic, but the banks’ losses and runs on their deposits were caused at least in substantial part by bank speculation in securities. The Aldrich-Vreeland Act of 1908, the Federal Reserve Act of 1913, and finally the Glass-Steagall Act of 1933, all were designed to respond to this irresponsible banking environment. At the time though, no effective federal mechanism existed to control the banks. The intervention was led by the nation’s de facto central banker, J.P. Morgan, asked by the administration to save the American money supply as he had during the gold crisis of 1895. The story is well-known of Morgan’s hasty return from an Episcopal retreat in Richmond, Virginia, and the all-night meetings at the Morgan mansion on Fifth Avenue, attended by George Baker of the First National Bank, James Stillman of the National City Bank, E.H. Harriman, and other financial luminaries, with Morgan demanding the infusion of funds by each of the
attendees in order to shore up the failing trusts. (Morgan refused to support Knickerbocker because of its particularly bad behavior and heavy demands. Its president, Charles T. Barney, committed suicide, but every account of the story suggests that perhaps Mr. Barney had not been his own executioner.)" (Chapter Six. From Trusts Emergent From Regulating Trusts to Regulating Securities. By Lawrence Mitchell.)


Mitchell / University of Illinois College of Law (pdf, 82 pp)

Ps. I hadn't noticed that in the Paley visit to Whitney, about the sentence being out of sequence. That would be the editing of the New York Social Diary's editor for the article that was actually written, in consideration of the month, about famous Leo persons born in August, the other was Jackie Kennedy; but I figured you would probably rather have the pertinent banking genealogy and connections.

Something tells me, that Bill Paley was used to having a "remote" around his office as well as several in his home.

The above link at top of post has more of that because it kept nagging me that there must be an earlier Jock Whitney in the line who was married to Gertrude Vanderbilt whom I believe was the sister-in-law of Gloria Morgan Vanderbilt. Nope, I checked, it was Harry Payne Whitney who married Gertrude (who had the studio,in the building when I lived west of Washington Square).


Title: Re: American History
Post by: madupont on August 05, 2007, 01:20:23 AM
http://thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com/2007/08/04/the-2010-economic-doomsday/#comments


Title: Re: American History
Post by: weezo on August 05, 2007, 08:01:38 AM
Maddie,

Thanks to you and Bob for the history lesson. I had no idea that tv existed before I was born. It was later coming to my knowledge. My grandmother had the first set in the family sometime in the early fifties. We had one in our home by the mid-fifties. I'm not sure how early there was a tv station in Philly, which is where we got our fuzzy broadcasts from. The signal, coming over the mountains from Philly was not especially good, but with my father, spending hours on the roof of the house to tune it in just right, we were able to enjoy some programming, including three hours a day of American Bandstand.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: nnyhav on August 05, 2007, 11:25:51 AM
NYT gets first mention of '07 v '07: Robert Bruner of UVa bringing a book to add to the list:
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/08/05/weekinreview/05norris.html
(that's Floyd not Frank)

Rich Man's Panic II: Hedge funds, unregulated intermediaries, facing potentially massive withdrawal notices from investors Aug 15 (rules tightly govern extraction of principal, many quarterly).

Capital-driven contractions used to be sharp and short, but who can tell now with various 'safety' mechanisms in place? (I agree, Robert, not economists.)


Title: Re: American History
Post by: madupont on August 05, 2007, 11:50:30 AM
weezo and Bob

It is a long time to look back(and something tells me that I'd have to check the playwrights who did tv to be positive and the actors involved)but I seem to remember and have mentioned to other posters long in the past that I loved to have a "sick day"sometime just about 1950 because we had come into the great age of television drama (and I do not mean soap). Four to seven years later, I would slam out the door  in the evening for theatre rehearsals, because it seems to me the face and voice of Ronald Reagan was the spokesman for the General Electric Theatre. Don't want to give the impression that I was angrily missing an opportunity to listen to his sales pitch but I had more important things to do which were certainly more enjoyable.

I'm afraid the only reason that I would understand Bill Paley searching for Whitney's "remote" was because his wife Babe Paley was the daughter of the eminent neurosurgeon,Harvey Cushing; a name familiar to me during those years because I was still typing up the file-cards for the cross-file indexing of my father's surgical library from the medical-surgical journals of the day. Pre-computer, the articles would be indexed in triplicate by syndrome, surgical technique, and the names of the surgeons publishing; then the cards would go into file-card drawers just like those at your local library. Haven't times changed?

Other than that, I would have imagined that Bill Paley was the husband of Grace Paley, one of my favorite short-story writers in that era!


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Dzimas on August 07, 2007, 02:17:12 AM
Recently got back from Scotland.  I was surprised to learn on a graveyard tour of Edinburgh that the Declaration of Independence owes a debt to the Solemn League and Covenant for its inspiration,

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solemn_League_and_Covenant

There is a memorial to the Scottish Covenanters at the Greyfriars Kirkyard,

http://www.headstones.fsnet.co.uk/greyf.htm

although the cemetery is best known for Greyfriars Bobby,

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greyfriars_Bobby


Title: Re: American History
Post by: madupont on August 07, 2007, 07:53:50 PM
thanatopsy

Book Row: An Anecdotal and Pictorial History of the Antiquarian Book Trade 
  Author  Marvin Mondlin & Roy Meador.
 
Publisher Carroll & Graf   
Format paperback 
ISBN 0786716525
Pages/Publication Date 405/2005
Daedalus Item Code 71992
 
 
List Price: $15.95
Sale Price: $6.98
You Save: $8.97 
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Description
 
To a booklover, the only thing that could be more tragic than a lost world is a lost world of books. In New York City, just south of 14th Street in Manhattan, mostly on the seven blocks of Fourth Avenue between Union Square and Astor Place, there existed for some eight decades a bibliophiles' paradise of rare and second-hand bookstores. "There are still used bookstores scattered about the city, but the loss of this unique neighborhood, as Book Row illustrates time and again, is one to be mourned," opined James Polk in the New York Times. This elegiac volume, from an estate buyer and a passionate collector, comes from interviews with dozens upon dozens of the book people who bought, sold, and collected there. 
 
 
Order online or call 1-800-395-2665 (U.S.) or 1-410-309-2705 (Outside U.S. & Canada)
This site features merchandise from our catalogs and store, in addition to items available only online. Availability may vary.
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Title: Re: American History
Post by: thanatopsy on August 08, 2007, 06:18:34 PM
Hi madd,

Oh so sad!

I spent many an hour on Book Row and got lots of good bargains.  But alas, those days are gone forever. Well, one good thing did come out of it: I gave away over 2,000 books to charities.  Now, someone can love them like I did.



Title: Re: American History
Post by: madupont on August 09, 2007, 04:18:10 PM
Thanatopsy,

I loved the discovery of the place. It was so unexpected to just walk into it one day.

Glad to know there is another person who does with books what I have done at least three times in the past; and I expect that probably did total the equivalent of what you contributed.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Bob on August 09, 2007, 05:04:04 PM
nnyhav
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/08/10/business/worldbusiness/09cnd-eurobank.html?_r=1&hp&oref=slogin

Is this another sign of an impending general contraction--or just another short term ripple in the waters?


Title: Re: American History
Post by: nnyhav on August 09, 2007, 05:30:34 PM
nnyhav
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/08/10/business/worldbusiness/09cnd-eurobank.html

Is this another sign of an impending general contraction--or just another short term ripple in the waters?

It's a the good question. A general funding supply/demand imbalance is more a symptom of other dislocations, though.

The correct answer is "Yes", of course.

I recommend http://calculatedrisk.blogspot.com/ for better explication than I can provide.

Addendum:
1907 is catching on:

The Bruner/Carr book:
http://www.reuters.com/article/technology-media-telco-SP-A/idUSN0834410620070809

Floyd Norris again:
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/08/10/business/10liquidity.html

[Chief global fixed income strategist at Lehman Brothers, Jack] Malvey says the current credit squeeze is not necessarily a sign that the financial system is in trouble. What's happening is a washing away of excess that fed an unprecedented binge of leveraged buyouts and lax lending to unqualified borrowers.

Like in any great flood, weaker players will get washed away, while stronger players will remain standing.

Malvey says the current squeeze may resemble the so-called Banker's Panic of 1907, exactly a century ago.

http://www.reuters.com/article/reutersEdge/idUSN0832017120070809



Title: Re: American History
Post by: madupont on August 10, 2007, 11:54:41 AM
Bob

MORTGAGE LOSSES ECHO IN EUROPE AND ON WALL STREET

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/08/10/business/10markets.html?pagewanted=1&_r=1&th&emc=th

On Thursday, stocks on Wall Street suffered their biggest
one-day decline since February. Indexes fell more than 2
percent across Asia in early trading today.


- QUOTATION OF THE DAY -

"Trust was shaken today. Credit depends on trust. If trust disappears, then credit disappears, and you have a systemic issue."
- THOMAS MAYER, chief European economist at Deutsche Bank in Frankfurt, on
yesterday's market turmoil.






Title: Re: American History
Post by: madupont on August 11, 2007, 04:06:46 AM
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/08/11/business/worldbusiness/11markets.html?pagewanted=1&_r=1&th&adxnnl=1&emc=th&adxnnlx=1186819302-mgfM+Dpy7mbuQKM1KEkl4w


Central Banks Intervene to Calm Volatile Markets


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Dzimas on August 11, 2007, 04:43:01 AM
All this makes me wonder if the 2001 crash had less to do with the World Trade Center bombings and more to do with the greatly overextended credit at the time.  Seems we never learn from our mistakes, just get while the getting is good.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Bob on August 11, 2007, 05:10:45 PM
Dzimas
In my days in banking  variable rate mortgages were strictly forbidden..but with the ascendacy of the Conservative Republicans, regulations governing insurance and  banking have been loosened or eliminated, expanding  free enterprise unregulated capitalism---and now the public suffers. 


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Bob on August 11, 2007, 05:17:19 PM
I just finished a couple of good books: A GLORIOUS DEFEAT: MEXICO AND ITS WAR WITH THE UNITED STATES by Timothy J Henderson. It gives a view of the war and its causes from the Mexican viewpoint---and its short--191 pages of text, easy to read--good for a fast weekend read.

BASILICA by R A Scotti--another fast read (but not about US History), its about the building of St Peter's Basilica---also a very fast read.

Can you imagine Christopher Hitchens writing a review of Harry Potter? Check it out in  the Sunday NY Times Book Review....


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Bob on August 11, 2007, 05:23:42 PM
1421 begins August 20....


Title: Re: American History
Post by: weezo on August 11, 2007, 05:34:11 PM
Bob,

That book on the war with Mexico sounds mighty interesting. I'm currently re-reading 1421 and anxious to discuss it.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: elportenito on August 12, 2007, 05:39:29 PM
...his is ll Spanish to You.




"Denuncian que la brecha entre ricos y pobres se amplía en el mundoUn informe de Amnistía Internacional sostiene que mientras en los '90 una persona rica tenía 30 veces más que una pobre hoy la relación es de 130 a 1. Y que al menos 1.500 millones de personas viven con menos de un dólar al día. En tanto, un funcionario de la ONU aseguró que lo que gasta EE.UU. en la ocupación de Irak y Afganistán sería suficiente para "acabar 2 veces con la pobreza en el planeta".


Title: Re: American History
Post by: thanatopsy on August 12, 2007, 08:37:34 PM
Greetings all. :)

I'm struggling thru Menzies' 1421 and find some of those Chinese names a bit difficult to remember. The book's many critics keep impinging in my mind:

http://www.1421exposed.com/

... and I'm hopeful that some of this may also be discussed starting next week.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: weezo on August 12, 2007, 09:08:43 PM
Than,

I am re-reading after reading it the first time know there were critics, read the critics, and am now reading the book again.

While the Chinese may not have gotten to America in 1421, as Menzies asserts, he does provide overwhelming evidence that 1) The Chinese came to America before Columbus, and 2) That the Portuguese probably came to America before Columbus. I will be most curious to see what comes of the wrecks he is looking for and the DNA still to be tested. I have no opinion on the maps, but it seems to be  a curiosity.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Donotremove on August 12, 2007, 11:16:46 PM
Everyone who is reading 1421 should bookmark Menzies web site:

http://www.1421.tv/

He encourages further scholarship, news, additional information readers uncover, etc,.  If you are reading the hardcover, some DNA work has been completed and the results added to paperback editions.  For other views of Menzies hypothesis, Google >1421 website< (no caps, italics, quote marks).

Remember when you are reading the book that Menzies is an experienced seaman.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: madupont on August 13, 2007, 12:26:24 AM
Greetings all. :)

I'm struggling thru Menzies' 1421 and find some of those Chinese names a bit difficult to remember. The book's many critics keep impinging in my mind:

http://www.1421exposed.com/

... and I'm hopeful that some of this may also be discussed starting next week.


Thanatopsy,

Using your link, I turned to one particular article-- to verify.  From the China Heritage Newsletter...Australian National University, June 2005 and then I went for my copy of: The Great Chinese Travelers, to compare.

This latter was published in 1964 by Jeanette Mirsky who was a visiting fellow of the Dept. of Oriental Studies at Princeton Univ. as a USIA American Specialist. It then was a Phoenix Book published by the Univ.of Chicago Press, in 1974(since this is the period immediately following the Kissinger/Nixon "Opening" of relationships with PRC)

My only hint to you re: Chinese names, I never even tried to remember but, relying on the eventual repetition, some of them manage to stick enough so to give you a clue where to go next.  The difficulty is saying them and hearing them correctly. For instance. Zheng He  becomes in our gov't spelling (at that time) preference  Cheng Ho.  But the sound is not clipped, as in "chew your food", it is closer to sliding the sound with your teeth closed:Zzhheng(think of how Mike and Dana would say it on Saturday Night Live) not eng but ung.
The second part of his name will rhyme with that as it is neither he,hay,or ho but expulsive Huh.

Now get a notebook and write down names you need to recall and leave plenty of space in between to define why? 

Mirsky is using the account by J.J.L. Duyvendak, China's Discovery of Africa,(London,1949)and George Phillips,"The Seaports of India and Ceylon," from the--Journal of the North China Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society,Vol.20 N.S.,
1885,pp.209-226
The second part of his name is pronounced neither Hay nor Ho but Huh

I don't know if you recall the big Thus Spake Zarathustra bash at nytimes.com forums, it was at this time that hegemony (the person not the concept) was having a field day making fun of the whole Nietzsche bash for everybody's amusement,before she left to go back to Africa.   In one of the non-fiction areas, she more or less took me aside and said "Say, how long have the Chinese been going to Africa?".  My reply, "Forever."  Her response,"I just wondered, because everytime I'm there, they are busy, everywhere, doing business."

Mirsky was herself correlating these areas as a specialist in Africa and India, so when she uses Duyvendak, it is to clarify that the navigational vessels always hugged the coast from Fujian to Yemen at the Gulf of Aden straits into the Red Sea.

The question of the technological knowledge is mute, as to how to build these ships since Marco Polo had arrived approximately within half a century of the birth of Zheng He .


Title: Re: American History
Post by: madupont on August 13, 2007, 12:43:23 AM
Ps. another point

Previously, the Chinese had dealt with Arab traders who followed this route, I can perhaps give you their average time it would take for voyages covering specific distances, either tomorrow or the next day, but my point is that the Chinese already felt competent to do these same routes apparently prior to the birth of Zheng He at Yunnan.(southwest China bordering on Indochina/Vietnam, Kunming region)


Title: Re: American History
Post by: madupont on August 13, 2007, 12:08:17 PM
"We know that Arab traders allowed two years for the voyage to China and back; from Persia to China was a 130- to 140-day voyage. Similarly, a Chinese source states that a ship starting from China in mid-winter would arrive at Lambri, the northwest corner of Sumatra, in about 40 days, would spend the summer trading, and the following season, catching the northeast monsoon, would sail to the country of the Arabs in sixty days. 'All sea ships start in the eleventh and twelfth moon with the north wind and come in the fifth and sixth moon with the south wind.'" 

One caution, until I know  which of her sources  Mirsky is quoting,above,I do not know which calendar has been referred to: Chinese, or Western; nor, if the same Chinese calendar was in use during the  Southern Sung Dynasty(1127-1279)"not only did maritime trade increase considerably but the navy gres from a small service of some 3000 men to an impressive number of squadrons with more than 50,000 men.*  It was then that the Chinese took control of the coastal sea-lands and, displacing the Arabs,  who had dominated the Indian Ocean trade, carried on a lively commerce with the Malabar coast.

The asterisk above is to remind me to note that, at present time, the PRC
has one of the largest naval forces(which was reported in the New York Times in the last year and a half[?])but whether it is larger than our own US, which is in perpetual motion last time that I looked, I cannot comment for now.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: madupont on August 13, 2007, 12:22:57 PM
Ps/ typing error underneath the time-span for the Southern Sung dynasty should read "...navy grew...".

I tried the modifier and was afraid that I had lost the entire post as my computer went into not responding and I had to restart the computer. I'm just glad the post is there!


Title: Re: American History
Post by: caclark on August 13, 2007, 12:33:19 PM
Donotremove, August 11, 2007 at 11:16 PM: “…Remember when you are reading the book that Menzies is an experienced seaman”

What's the significance of that? Menzies' seamanship is not what's in question. It's his historical research methods, his conclusions, and possible motives that have brought him under the microscope. He has written a sensational book that challenges conventional historical assumptions and the world is entitled to know if his thesis is a fraudulent or fabricated history, or a responsible study.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Donotremove on August 13, 2007, 01:24:50 PM
Caclark, all of that is true.  However, someone who is an experienced seaman should/might/maybe understand the content of the research necessary to write a book like 1421 and to propose such a theory as the Chinese having discovered America. Yes/No/None of the Above?


Title: Re: American History
Post by: caclark on August 13, 2007, 01:27:59 PM
Junius and Joseph
by Robert S. Wicks and Fred R. Foister

I just finished reading this recent study on the murder of Mormon Church founder Joseph Smith in June 1844. It's premise is that Smith's killing was a political assassination more than a religious martyrdom and was engineered by leading Whigs. At the time of his murder, Smith was an independent candidate for President and according to this book, Smith's presence in the race was causing angst across the country, in particular to Henry Clay for whom carrying Illinois was critical. This book stops just short of implicating Clay as a co-conspirator while leaving open the door to the possibility that he might have been.

Diabolical conspiracy theories are often off-the-wall and sometimes downright wacko. This one was well-researched and reasonably argued. But its premise rests on circumstantial evidence that can be interpreted in different ways. I remain unconvinced that there was any high-level conspiracy. But the book does recreate with liveliness, political Mormonism as a menacing dynamic in the 1844 election campaign.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: madupont on August 13, 2007, 02:26:27 PM
caclark, re:#700

Have you been watching Big Love on HBO by any chance? or had a chance to catch some of it? It now has me in stitches about human rationalizations to cover up their inate tendency to err; but one thing that you can't miss is how Mormons or rather their descendents when they factionalize have an eye toward business with the usual earthly reward. One thing that I had to consider upon reading Kevin Phillips, American Theocracy, after having watched Big Love for about a season, was how what Phillips points out as the entertwining bottom line of their rapid population increase, faster increase of membership than any other religious group in a growing America (these were the historical figures that he was comparing for specified time-slots)combined with their penchant for business which can finance campaigns will place any other candidate in double jeopardy.

"...political Mormonism as a menacing dynamic in the 1844 election campaign.", and even now, I might add.  The potential voters are particularly cavalier and wishy-washy these days; I don't just bet they will solidify an opinion around a worthy and competent candidate -- by then, as the saying goes, because as a matter of fact it has been quite a while since I've seen them do that.

I guess, everybody knows by now today that Karl Rove is leaving the nest and will try to be a homebody in Texas until things cool down again. He probably does not want to remind ideological enemies of his existence for the time being until the term is quite finished. But, I am not naive enough to suppose that his party of choice is not largely functional in Texas which allows him to catch his breath and contribute more bubbley  short and sweet concepts that really work, for the next round of applause and kudos,"Great Job,Karl".


Title: Re: American History
Post by: weezo on August 13, 2007, 02:54:17 PM
Clark,

Mexies knowledge of the seas and seacurrents estalishes his reasoning for the routes taken by the various expeditions. If the current flows north from the Cape of Good Hope and then west to Brazil, that explains why that was the route. Menzies uses some interesting ideas to show that landfall was made - the erection of stone tablets in medieval languages with a common concentric circle signature, and the presence of known or told about wrecks that have characteristics that indicate they may have been wrecks of the Chinese junks. The theories that Europeans brought the Chinese goods to the west coast of America is not solidly verified. It is based on supposition. Therefore, the evidence tha Menzies provides, the the Chinese themselves brought their porcelain and their chickens, makes more sense that that the Europeans would have brought such valuable commodities in large quantities rather than returning them to the European markets.

On a second reading of the book, I am noticing that with most suppositions, Menzies well explains how he came to his conclusions. They are rooted more in science than in historical research, which is a refreshing change from the Euro-centric versions of history.

Has anyone gone to the 1421 website to see what new informatiion may be there to confirm or deny some of the allegations?

The fact that the Chinese, in the beginning of the tale, could not establish longitude is an excellent reason for the misshaping of some of the land masses on the ancient maps. Latitude, which they learned to use in the Southern Hemisphere, would make the land masses accurate in a North-South direction, but would leave them suspect as to east-west accuracy. Menzies does a great job of explaining how the seasons in which the voyages made landfall had an effect on their understanding of landfall, especially in the southern polar region.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: madupont on August 13, 2007, 03:43:28 PM
Thanks, caclark,re:#704


Title: Re: American History
Post by: madupont on August 13, 2007, 04:26:24 PM
weezo,re:#703

If I continue  from where I left out, it becomes self explanatory, keeping in mind that the Chinese travel along the coast of continents and do not navigate out on the open sea at this point in history following the Southern Sung Dynasty and/or Marco Polo's visit. The answer becomes more apparent.

"Quilon,the port at which Marco Polo's  homeward-bound ship called,and Cambay, the busy Gujarat entrepot, were for a while their farthest trading places. To pay for the luxuries she imported(s.Sung dynasty)--
elephants' tusks and rhinoceros horns, strings of pearls,aromatics, and
incense---China exported gold, silver, and copper cash, silks and porcelain. [This last, originally sent as ballast for the light, valuable silk stuffs, quickly created its own markets;Chinese Sung porcelain has been dug up in Java, South India, Zanzibar, and the east coast of Africa.]" XXX

We know that from East African caravans of trade goods went north to the Egyptian ports on the Mediterranean, so that those enterprising Venetians (who later became, "What's new, on the Rialto?" or "I'm doomed, my ship was lost in a storm..." would have found a number of things cropping up in market-places that they could take back to Europe,  including Near Eastern Greece,  which would have whetted their appetite to explore further, especially when they themselves were sailing into Indian ports where they could ask of merchants, Arab, there as in Africa, "Prego...where did you get this?"     

In fact, my question at first was since there was a Silk Road route by caravan to China, why would the Chinese not be satisfied just tucking things into a camel-load, and why would the Western parts of the Mediterranean,and Northern Europe (the Vikings for instance had raided Paris three centuries earlier, or should I say Norsemen because they left their genes behind in Normandy before they sailed back home?) not be content with the usual "luxury" goods as they were rarities?

Then the answer came to me, of course, I'm reading about it, the Chinese had bills to pay, the prize of the commodities that they coveted, the only answer would be to "mass market".

However what I was getting at is that in the push forward to mass market Far Eastern wares like the porcelain, they dealt so much more of it now picked up by  Europeans beginning to navigate longer distances at sea. Accidents will happen but whether drift would carry a wreck this far from the West African coast, especially during hurricane season which is coming up any day now( and I noticed the warnings began last night for hours ) and begins off the coast of West  Africa, would be just an average guess that a shipwreck could after a time settle to emerge  at the end of the hurricane's route.  It begins to sound like Robert Louis Stevenson discovering Treasure Island in the Manasquan river.  I'm sleepy. Back later.           





Title: Re: American History
Post by: weezo on August 13, 2007, 05:17:07 PM
Maddie,

Your theory of wrecks off the African coast driftin to just the right spots accross the ocean would be perpahs possible except for the fact that the maps that survived pre-columbian times, are extremely accurate at the places where the wrecks were found, which suggests that unless the cartographers were swept across the ocean by the storms that carried their wrecks, they would have had to visit the coasts as Menzies suggests.

Hurricanes seem not to travel the routes of the ocean currents, and seem to start as often in the mid-atlantic as off the coast of north Africa. Menzies does not suggest that the Chinese went any further north in the eastern Atlantic than the Cape Verde Island, where they turned west and were taken pretty directly to Brazil. Perhaps you know more about ocean currents than I do.



Title: Re: American History
Post by: madupont on August 13, 2007, 05:34:26 PM
Nope. I stay away from deep water.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: madupont on August 13, 2007, 05:35:58 PM
I did think, however, that Cape Verde was about as far north as the Chinese would go before something awful happened.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: madupont on August 13, 2007, 05:40:54 PM
My biggest bargain opinion for the day, though, is that probably a great many people had gotten their hands on those porcelain whatevers that would make it highly possible somebody else's ship  had as good a chance of getting  here, I just haven't checked the dates out for who was coming this way.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: madupont on August 13, 2007, 06:00:34 PM
This may be useful:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Ming-Empire2.jpg


Title: Re: American History
Post by: thanatopsy on August 13, 2007, 11:31:36 PM
Remember when you are reading the book that Menzies is an experienced seaman.


Uh, that's part of the problem --- British seaman are notorious liars. Tristan Jones who is one of my literary heroes is such an example:

http://www.tristanjones.org/

We've all heard of the good ol' USA ''fish story''.  Well, to the British those type of mythic stories are the equivalent in their culture.  Here's a quote:


Recently the truth of Tristan Jones "lives" has been published in a detailed biography by Anthony Dalton.  Here we learn that most of his life was a fabrication with many stories being total fiction.  Some of us who love his stories would have liked to believe every word.  However, the fact remains that many of Tristan's true exploits would have made marvelous reading without any embellishments.


Yes, British seaman are notorious liars and are almost as bad as Republicans.  Therefore, Menzies' background should sound an alarm for those who are familiar with the seafaring culture. ;)


Title: Richmond Flowers, RIP
Post by: thanatopsy on August 13, 2007, 11:39:20 PM
A true American hero. His legacy will be unmatched:

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/08/11/us/11flowers.html?_r=1&oref=slogin

Richmond Flowers Is Dead at 88; Challenged Segregation and Klan

             
By DENNIS HEVESI
Published: August 11, 2007

Richmond M. Flowers, who as the Alabama attorney general in the early 1960s drew national attention when he challenged the segregationist policies of Gov. George C. Wallace and prosecuted Ku Klux Klansmen in the killings of civil rights workers, died Thursday at his home in Dothan, Ala. Mr. Flowers, who later served a prison term for bribery, was 88.


- - - more - - -


Mr Flowers's conviction resulted from forged documents.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: weezo on August 14, 2007, 12:11:30 AM
Than,

Thanks for the note on Richmond Flowers. As it happens, the news in Virginia last week was of the death of Oliver Hill, also a noted Civil Rights worker. I think he was in his nineties.

Seems these icons of the Civil Rights era are slipping out of the present. They will be sorely missed as we try to wreste our civil rights back from an president appointed by the Supreme Court.

As to Menzies and British seafarers tall tales, the proof will come out sometime in the future. He tells a good tale. There is much to be verified from other sources. Assuming (I know, A**  U Me) that his descriptions of the ocean currents are correct, he present powerful evidence that it could have happened. Some of his evidence is questionable, but I think the presence of Ming dynasty porcelain in large quantities on the west coast of America strongly suggests that the Chinese were probably frequent visitors to that part of America. I found it also interesting that a section of Mexico produces lacquered goods that use local materials but the same methods used in the Orient.

Maddie, All I have read about the early explorations of the Europeans is that they came to conquer not to trade. It seems a rather wide stretch that since they thought so little of the Native Americans, that they would have brought valuable Chinese porcelain to trade, when they felt they could get by with glass beads and copper trinkets. Even Francis Jennings in his Conquest of America, stated there was evidence of pre-columbian presence of the Chinese on the west coast of the Americas. And, he wasn't a seafaring Brit.



Title: Re: American History
Post by: madupont on August 14, 2007, 11:32:04 AM
Did I say any such thing?

No, I thought you may have been referring to the Antilles conversation that was previously held in this forum, in regard to Portuguese explorations.  I never had an over arching interest in English developments in the Colonies until I arrived there in my adult guise about 1982, and said, "Holy Cow! these are the colonies that they were talking about when I was a kid in school back in the Midwest where we had our own problems on the Frontier." I mean, we learned it out of the book and heard all the patriotic spiel, but that says it right there; it wasn't even our language.

Once in the Colonies however, that was another thing. I waited for about
a graceful period until they were done archeologizing around the Stockton house, because I didn't want to drag any mud into the parlor at Morven but I was immediately hired on as a volunteer docent there making interesting historical conversation with visitors from over seas or major corporations who might drop money on the house for upkeep of where Washington came to dinner during
"the war" because the lady of the house had a crush on him and wrote poems in praise of him.  I thought it was the least that I could do.  It was quite interesting living in the midst of that war for about a decade.

No, I grasp how the porcelain could end up on coastal access to the Andes when it became Spanish Empire.

I was trying to lay out the extant information that made possible a Ming dynasty's interest because some of the terms used are very discombubalating like what is a Yongle emperor(?) and then I have to go back and see about the suppression of Mongol dominion in the Ming dynasty to come up with a term like that. Only this morning, I made the discovery that our  Ming navigator is my old friend Cheng tzu by another pronunciation and pidgin variation; but, it is kind of like, shaking hands with someone introduced at a garden tea, in which the polite thing to do would be to then lean in and ask, "Pardon me, the face is familiar but where did we meet originally?"

Which strangely enough is why I ended up at Morven entirely by coincidence.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: madupont on August 14, 2007, 11:34:51 AM
Ps. on second thought.

I can meanwhile assure you that the Chinese have come not to trade but to conquer and put a stop to our aggressive tendencies.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: madupont on August 14, 2007, 11:58:11 AM
Thanatopsy,re:#712

I recognize that case from 1965 mainly because my "brother-in-law" who was really by sister-in-law's brother John headed the local northern state chapter of SNCC to join the march South for voter registration. We were well into the Vietnam impending fiasco by that point in time with three political assassinations down.

Oddly enough for the time, many of the local poets, who listened to recordings of their favourite country music from back home, were from families who came north to the Midwest to get jobs in the automotive industry at Michigan and then the younger generation kind of drifted around on the road to explore what else the north had to offer and they could play coffee-house gigs often on the same instrumentation familiar to me. My father when driving to his mother's home would keep me entertained for the couple of hours or so by playing what was then called a "mouse-ory" or mouth-organ, the harmonica of Bobby Dylan's day.

None of these transplanted southern whites who sang and published lyrics in the  underground hesitated when it came to marching south for the voter registration drives.  In fact, I can think of one of those poems that I have to go hunt up that could go to poetry forum as it was written by a poet who was a Green Mountain Boy from a very northern state but did not mind going to jail at the time.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Bob on August 14, 2007, 04:43:14 PM
SNCC went radical in the mid to late sixties under Stokley Carmichael and his concept of black power...I remember the early years when they organized college students and others to go into the South and work for voter registration. (Student Nonviolent Cordinating Committee) John Lewis was an early member, as was I....

By the way madupont, your use of the phrase "Holy Cow" is very timely in a sad way--Phil Rizzuto died today. He was 89---hje popularized the phrase as an announcer for the Yankees, using it to describe particularly surprizing happenings during a baseball game--especially home runs.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: thanatopsy on August 14, 2007, 04:47:17 PM
Richmond Flowers + now Phil Rizzuto = two genuine American icons.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Bob on August 14, 2007, 04:50:02 PM
I was quite the joiner in the early sixties---and a confused one at times---there was a brief time there when I was a member of the tudents For a Democratic Society and  the Young Americans for Freedom at the same time (Sort of like joining the most radical wing of the Democratic Party and the most conservative wing of the Republican Party at the simultaneously). Such is youth!!!! I ended up quite the liberal very quickly and engaged in the Civil Rights movement and later into Lyndon Johnson's Poverty Program, as the assistant director of the local Community Action Program.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Bob on August 14, 2007, 04:52:52 PM
"Richmond Flowers + now Phil Rizzuto = two genuine American icons"

I agree....but I find it a shame that Richmond Flowers has become a forgotten figure except to those who are very well read  in the movement or who lived through it. He was a mighty force at his height---and a very brave man.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: thanatopsy on August 15, 2007, 09:07:14 AM
A note on Oliver  Hill:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/08/06/AR2007080601438.html


Another true American hero.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: weezo on August 15, 2007, 09:24:51 AM
Thank you, Than

I'd mentioned his passing a few days ago, but it seemed to take a backseat to Richmond Flowers. Richmond was all abuzz over the passing of Oliver Hill. His body lay in state in the Governor's Mansion, a rare honor. I'm sure there will eventually be a statue of Oliver Hill among the many statues in Richmond which once only honored fallen Civil War leaders, but increasingly honors the Richmond/Virginia famous from many walks of life. It would be fitting if Oliver Hill's statue was placed facing that of Harry Byrd, who is honored for his resistance to integration. With a bit of natural humor, it would perhaps be interesting if the statue of Harry Byrd continued to be a favorite deposit of pigeon poop, and that of Oliver Hill remained clean. Perhaps Oliver Hill will join Arthur Ashe on the Monument Avenue array, or be placed in his favorite neightborhood, as is the statue of Bill "Bojangles" Robinson.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Bob on August 15, 2007, 04:02:52 PM
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/08/15/books/15grim.html?_r=1&oref=slogin

This looks interesting---The Sacco Vanzetti Case. I'll have to look for it tomorrow in B&N

For some reason I can't recall Oliver Hill, thgough I remember the Prince Edwar County case which was later merged withBrown V Board of Education. I'll look him up!!!


Title: Re: American History
Post by: thanatopsy on August 15, 2007, 11:08:00 PM
weezo,

Thank you for bringing up Oliver Hill's name --- I probably came across his name when I was in law school but could not honestly recall who he was. Now I know!

You sure can learn a  lot on this forum!! :)


Title: Re: American History
Post by: nytempsperdu on August 15, 2007, 11:59:16 PM
Quote
join Arthur Ashe on the Monument Avenue array
I recall well what it took to get Ashe into that array.  Speaking of same, he first played tennis in a park that had a lake into the middle of which my dad took me in a rowboat to the center where there was a fountain lit by colored lights at night.  Dad urged me to stand up and look at the placement of the lights with the only-to-be-expected result that the rowboat capsized and we had to hold onto and right the rowboat and clamber back in and get back to shore, after which I had to go change into one of my dad's t-shirts while my clothes dried.  What this has to do with Ashe is...nothing...but I hadn't thought of Bryant Park in several decades, so thanks for the memory...and isn't that what history is all about, really?

P.S. None of the above is intended to be disrespectful in any way of the persons mentioned, who all deserve and get respect from me, even if the monument on Monument Avenue I recall most vividly is, of all people, Matthew Fontaine Maury, the Pathfinder of the Seas. Now, there's a name you don't encounter every day...unless, of course, you live on Monument Avenue and his statue is still there.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: madupont on August 16, 2007, 12:04:02 AM
Bob,

Part of the reason that this quote sums it up,
William O. Douglas, the Supreme Court justice, wrote in 1969 that anyone reading the courtroom transcript “will have difficulty believing that the trial with which it deals took place in the United States.”, is because quite soon the parallel took place in Mussolini's Italy, hunting down anarchists.

When reflecting on that, it casts American vindictiveness as justice  in a bad light.  It reveals the common thread to Abu Ghraib-ism, to the whole policy, that  targeting examples will somehow resolve the problem of the real dangers  which are actually being reinforced.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: weezo on August 16, 2007, 07:00:12 AM
NY Temp,

That lake is still there, and still lighted at night! And, it is in Byrd Park, not Bryant Park. Bryant Park is off the Boulevard where, in spring, the whole park bursts into color when the azaleas bloom. Byrd Park is close to Dogwood Dell, where the outdoor amphitheater is the site of many summer productions. The Richmond Symphany always made at least one performance there each summer, which allowed me to introduce symphany music to my boys. One was enraptured, the other preferred to run around on the grass.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: weezo on August 16, 2007, 07:32:28 AM
I got the the part of 1421 last night where he discusses the voyage of Zhou Wen. This is perhaps the most suspect part of the book. Much depends on speculation.

In previous chapters he talked about the heavy ice pack on Antarctica in the years of the voyages, but as Zhou Wen sails north the north polar ice pack seems to have receded enough to allow the intrepid explorers to come with 130 miles of the North Pole. On their way up the east coast of North America, the sea is said to be lower than it is today, which would indicate more ice on the pole than now, but when the Chinese arrive in the North, they are able to sail all the way around Greenland.

Although Menzies mention Farley Mowat's discoveries in Eastern Canada, which Mowat in his most recent book, attributes to colonalization by the Albans, forerunners of the Scots, who migrated west, island hopping, and settled on America as they were pushed west by the Norsemen. Mowat attributes the roofless stone houses as the home of the Albans who set their boats over the stone walls as a roof. Mowat says the design of the stone lighthouses is consistent with the same seen on European Islands where the Albans originiated. But Menzies says the stone walls were topped by wood from wrecked junks (Mowat says there is no evidence of permanant wood roofing), and that the Chinese built the lighthouses.

Nothing like seeing two speculative histories come to a crash in evidence. I'm rather inclined towards Mowat's interpretation since he walked the areas, whereas Menzies just explored from the sea. Perhaps the Chinese, if they did arrive at Newfoundland and the mainland of Canada, based their map-making on the description and perhaps charts, made by the Albans who had colonized Greenland before the Norse arrived.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Donotremove on August 16, 2007, 11:51:10 AM
To Whomever: If you are reading the 2003 hard back edition of  1421 it would behoove you to read the Post Script starting on page 411.  Menzies is open to and encourages all comers to come forth with additional information and/or criticism.  That's why he set up the website.  He seems to be grateful and excited even that people world-wide have taken up discussing the book (and cynics will say, "Why not if it increases sales?).  For myself, I believe Menzies is truly interested in getting to the bottom of the Chinese question: Where all did those huge junks go, such ships as have not been seen since?


Title: Re: American History
Post by: caclark on August 16, 2007, 12:49:23 PM
To Whomever: If you are reading the 2003 hard back edition of  1421 it would behoove you to read the Post Script starting on page 411.  Menzies is open to and encourages all comers to come forth with additional information and/or criticism.  That's why he set up the website.  He seems to be grateful and excited even that people world-wide have taken up discussing the book (and cynics will say, "Why not if it increases sales?).  For myself, I believe Menzies is truly interested in getting to the bottom of the Chinese question: Where all did those huge junks go, such ships as have not been seen since?

Call me a cynic if you will, but setting up a website doesn’t exactly hurt promotion. I’ve no doubt that Menzies is, as you put it, “grateful and excited even that people world-wide have taken up discussing the book.” There is nothing more certain to stimulate interest in a book than controversy.

The best historical studies are often the fruits of years of painstaking research and late nights in libraries sifting through obscure documents. Many of the published works will not make money, much less bring an unsung academic the $750,000 cash advance paid to Menzies. There are some rewards that a sensationalist author might never understand, not even those who manage to find a following of true believers.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: weezo on August 16, 2007, 03:44:54 PM
Just got an update from the 1421 website. The apologized for no news the past six months. Some of the information includes progress on a movie by Warner Brothers China and name the scriptwriter, research going on on the Island of Seven Cities (Puerto Rico?), research in New Zealand, potential evidence of the wrecked junks on the Pacific Coast to include core sample testing in the near future. And other items. How many on here are interested in this newsletter? Should I figure out a way to hang it on one of my websites so others can read it and make up their own minds? The newletter in its entirety is not on the website: http://www.1421.tv/ but some items in it are there.





Title: Re: American History
Post by: thanatopsy on August 16, 2007, 06:18:11 PM
sensationalist author

Interesting phrase.  Most historians, while being quite thorough in their research and conclusions, nevertheless retain some measure of detachment from their work.  In this manner, the author allows the facts to speak for themselves. Yet, throughout 1421 there are repeated references to '' I '' by the author.  It is as if he is trying to convince the reader that these ''facts'' need to believed regardless as to whether they are true or not.

Does anyone recall any purported history book that takes the approach Menzies uses?

The only ones I can recall is the aforementioned mythic writings by Tristan Jones.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: weezo on August 16, 2007, 06:44:06 PM
Menzies does not say or pretend to be a historian. He does not write like a historian, and his research is not as thorough as a historian's. I do not see where he compels the reader to "believe". He says what he has found. He says what he thinks it means. He is not doing your thinking for you.

I have been reading a book by Dumas Malone, a respected historian, at least around these parts, who wrote "The Sage of Monticello", with nary a discouraging word about the almost saint like subject of his book. So, yes I do recall, have read, and for the most part, forgotten histories written by people who do not approach their subject objectively.

In reading the book for the second time (the first time I could scarcely put it down), I am reading to distringuish between Menzies conjecture and the facts that he presents. There are facts there. There are conjectures. There are maps that sound authentic, and there are maps that have "disappeared" since he knew or heard of them and memory is a hard fact to prove.

What is certain is that Columbus did not "discover" anything new.

And, what is certain, is that in reading Menzie's book I am learning new things about the Chinese of the 15th century that I was not exposed to in any history courses I took.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: caclark on August 16, 2007, 06:47:38 PM
"Menzies does not say or pretend to be a historian."

He's contemptuous of historians according to the article I have linked below. I've done some googling trying to find any historians who speak in his defense. So far, I haven't found a single one. His book has found a readership but historians by and large regard his book as quack history.

http://www.historycooperative.org/journals/jwh/15.2/finlay.html


Title: Re: American History
Post by: madupont on August 16, 2007, 07:43:19 PM
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_Needham

I had the good pleasure of being able to take notes  and read from his first huge volume, not knowing at the time that it was to be a series, sometime back in the pre-mid-Seventies.   I have been wracking my brains to recall his name since this discussion began and then it just clicked in my head --just now--one of the advantages of using his research for your own is that he covers almost every aspect of the sciences in China so that you can locate information on anything that you want to prove or disprove.  Being able to obtain the books is another matter. They are large and expensive.  Not knowing that at the time, I just had Shir Tung forward me the title on interlibrary loan from Princeton where he was curator of Rare Books and Manuscripts. I had a standing order with him, to cram as much as I could within the shortest period of time. Good thing, I did.

http://www.nri.org.uk/science.html

Be sure to also click on the link to the right hand side of page, "New volumes in series"

Also click on the External links, English, which says some thing to the right about "just ignore the picture at the top";

it did kind of surprise me because he was the Tibetan guru of my friend Okanta, who told me that he saved her when she had an accident while she was camping in one of the California parks with her son who was very young at the time.  I can not recall his name.  But who can forget a smiley face like that?


Title: Re: American History
Post by: thanatopsy on August 16, 2007, 11:00:50 PM
"Menzies does not say or pretend to be a historian."

He's contemptuous of historians according to the article I have linked below. I've done some googling trying to find any historians who speak in his defense. So far, I haven't found a single one. His book has found a readership but historians by and large regard his book as quack history.

http://www.historycooperative.org/journals/jwh/15.2/finlay.html


Excellent article by Finlay --- thanks for posting it.

When  first  reading Menzies, not knowing that it was subject to so much criticism, I put it down because it seemed entirely too fictitious.  Now I can read it more readily because  it is so utterly comical.  On my way to work on the city bus this morning, I had to put the book down briefly because it made me laugh so much.  Sorry to say it folks but this indeed is sham history.

Just think - if the Ming fleet was so intent and making such a good impression upon the world powers, why did it decide to stop in Greenland when it had all of the European powers at its feet only a few nautical miles away?  Did the Vikings scare them away?  Or did they scare away the Vikings?  If the Chinese mariners knew their longitude and latitudes so  well, they had to have known that Europe was only a few miles away. So why turn away when they had every opportunity to exact tribute the way they supposedly wanted according to Menzies.  If they enjoyed Borinquen (Puerto Rico) so much that they repeatedly stopped there, and they were such marvelous miners, why didn't they extract some of that gold that flourished there?  Perhaps they had the foresight to know the Spaniards would be there half a century later and had the kindness to allow them to have that gold for themselves!   And the idea of transporting thousands of horses in ships over the span of a few years and depositing them everywhere out of a sense of beneficence is beyond all belief.  In fact, when we read the book 1491 by Charles Mann it was well established that none of the Native Americans of South America had ever seen or heard of horses.  By what magic is Menzies able to re-write history????

One last thing: Menzies suggests that Chinese were indirectly responsible for Europeans getting their hands on corn even though the fleet didn't go to that land mass directly.  Perhaps he failed to read the Bible as corn (which science has incontrovertibly proven to be of Native American origin) is mentioned in the Bible in Genesis 27:28, 37.  Therefore, Europeans could not possibly have been introduced to that grain by Chinese fleets sailing in the 15th century as they had been eating it since time immemorial.

I'm only up to page 210 in Menzies but am enjoying the good laugh at his comedy. With that in mind, I'm anxious to see what readers have to say about it.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: madupont on August 16, 2007, 11:08:26 PM
Bob,
Another policy book, or rather study of how policy connects to group-think. http://press.princeton.edu/titles/8152.html
       


Title: Re: American History
Post by: madupont on August 16, 2007, 11:14:32 PM
thanatopsy,re:#735

"Perhaps he failed to read the Bible as corn (which science has incontrovertibly proven to be of Native American origin) is mentioned in the Bible in Genesis 27:28, 37. "

 I think this was a failure to know that translations of the Bible into English that use a generic term for grain by calling it "corn" (as in that  popular record album of the late Sixties,"John Barley-corn") misrepresent what was growing according to Genesis.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: nytempsperdu on August 17, 2007, 12:38:15 AM
Byrd Park!!  Of course, and thank you weezo for straightening out my memory.  Much obliged.

If my observations are not discredited by faulty memory as exhibited above, maybe I can speculate re the info re European "corn" referring to grain, not specifically to the New World "maize."  A relative interested in family geneaology has told me that one way-back family name was "Du Ble" which was translated/anglicized when some ancestors migrated from Normandy to Britain in the late 12th C. and the name became "Wheat" though it could have been "corn," a general term for grain.  If this smacks too much of passed-down family joke, also consider "corn" as in corned beef--in that case it was grain-sized pieces of salt to preserve the beef that gave it the name, nothing to do with what was fed to the beef.     

We now return you to your regular programming....


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Donotremove on August 17, 2007, 02:29:21 AM
With so many here of the opinion that Menzies book is a farce, I don't see how any discussion can occur.  Thus, I excuse myself.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: thanatopsy on August 17, 2007, 08:49:51 AM
calling it "corn...misrepresent what was growing according to Genesis.

A pal of mine who is big on the idea that Vikings ''discovered'' America showed me a photo of a 12th or 13th century church building in which corn was used as a decoration on its outdoor walls.  I do not recall the precise building but it proved to him that Vikings were here well before Columbus and before the King James Version of the Bible was created.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: thanatopsy on August 17, 2007, 08:55:56 AM
With so many here of the opinion that Menzies book is a farce, I don't see how any discussion can occur.  Thus, I excuse myself.

Quite the contrary, the book should provide each of us with a good challenge in order to ferret out the obvious errors and to set the historical record straight.

Just consider those questions I posed above --- I am certain that readers will pose even better questions and prove the point that Menzies is clearly incorrect.  After all, as students of history, none of us are obligated to blindly accept anyone's ideas.  In fact, it is our obligation to question. 

This book presents an excellent opportunity for you to do so.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: weezo on August 17, 2007, 09:38:35 AM
Re: Corn. I too have read that the term corn was used as a general word for grain. The Indians did not call it corn, they called it Maize. If corn, which is native to America, was grown in the time of Genesis, how did it get there? And, why then would it be considered native to America? I'm not sure that one can use one speculative history to prove or disprove another speculative history.

Nonetheless, I agree that the book is worthy of reading and discussing to ferret out what grains of truth are there among the conjectures.

I have read from other sources, that there is both DNA and other indicators of Chinese presence on the West Coast of America. If Menzies knowledge of ocean currents is trustworthy, and as a navigator, I would tend to presume it is, then it is likely that the Chinese would have journeyed to Australia and the West Coast of the Americas. Perhaps not just on Gheng He's voyage, or certainly not the first time at that time, but perhaps over the centuries of Chinese exploration. I am not familiar with Chinese history so have no idea if there is mention of anything that could be the American continent in their travels.

As to the east coast, I am not convinced that the Chinese expeditions reached there. In their explorations of the east coast, the completely missed the Chesapeake Bay which is considerably larger that either the Delaware or Hudson Bays. He asserts that the Melungeons are of Chinese origin whereas recent explorations in their heritage seems confirmed to be Portuguese sailers. I believe there is DNA backing for that. It is telling that Menzies was unable to convince the Melungeons to have their DNA tested for Chinese heritage, but they have been willing to have it tested for the Portuguese heritage, which is part of their oral history.

I like the theory proposed by Farley Mowat that the Albans were the first Europeans to settle in Canada. It seems likely that these people of what later became Scot origins were driven ahead of the Norsemen in finding new homes in the Artic region. It seems to me that Mowat presents a better case that the stone structures in Canada are of Alban origin, and were roofed with upturned boats, than that they were built by the Chinese and roofed with timbers from boats. The evidence of wooden roofing is not confirmed with Mowat's studies of the stone foundations. Further, Mowat puts the date of these settlements centuries before Menzie's voyage by the Chinese.

It is also a conundrum on how the seas could be lower when the Chinese visited the Atlantic islands, but the same year, the Artic ice was melted enough to allow them to sail around Greenland and perhaps visit the North Pole. If the earth was so warm as to melt the Artic ice, then the seas would have been higher, not lower.

If I were still teaching, and if I were teaching the very bright/gifted/TAG students, this is a book I would use in class to help students ferret out the grains of truth from the unsupported conjecture. It would be a fine way to help students learn to make decision on what they read.



Title: Re: American History
Post by: caclark on August 17, 2007, 10:33:25 AM
I just learned through more googling that in his book 1421, Menzies falsely claimed to have been born in China. When after publication it came out that he was born in London and had misled the public on that, he admitted to doing so but has not corrected it in recent editions of 1421. That is one more obstacle to me taking seriously anything he has to say on anything.

Yet a discussion of Menzies might be useful on the hazards of popular reading dressed up as scholarship in an era of mass communication. Menzies may even have stumbled onto something that might be a challenge to a responsible historian to pick up on.

So read away and discuss too. Like anyone, I have my biases and standards. But I’ll be the last man to tell other people what they should or should not read.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: madupont on August 17, 2007, 10:33:38 AM
Bob

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/08/18/business/17cnd-fed.html?hp

In Surprise Move, Fed Cuts Key Rate


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Dzimas on August 17, 2007, 11:00:41 AM
I'm not sure I want to bother myself with Menzies at this point, even though I have the book and had been meaning to read it.  Seems he works on the basis of evidence as Thor Hyerdahl did on his Ra and Kon Tiki voyages.  If it sounds good, go for it!


Title: Re: American History
Post by: madupont on August 17, 2007, 11:40:09 AM
nytempsperdu, re:#738

Yes, I'm familiar with your name (did the English end up telling your family later they were the Wheatleys; or, did they just settle on Mr. and Mrs. Corn?).  They didn't dare screw around by the time any cousins  showed up later in the game,although most family members left Normandy in fear of their lives because of the revocation of the edict of Nantes, some did wait it out in England, others went on to the Carolinas to grow rice, my direct ancestors preferred to pass through the Lowlands as rapidly as possible into Germany and remain for a few more hundred years, edging their way homeward by which time another branch having  adapted as French do to religion(nominally one thing, politically another, socially comme si, comme ca) migrated to Rhode Island and started developing legends just like the old world-word-of-mouth. They could afford to bring us here because we had the password.

Otherwise the English in their quaintness would have renamed us Mr. and Mrs. Bridges, conjuring up images of Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward who did a movie by that name if I recall late Eighties,early Nineties.

The entry to Genesis when translated from Latin in the King James period could only refer to generic grain which the English simply called generically, "corn". Whacky to me is that I wracked my brain last week to remember that title John Barley Corn, when lulu or someone began asking in music forum what were our favourite albums of the late 1960s./ I could see the album cover quite clearly with the man sharpening his scythe and his straw hat tilted back on his head but for the life of me could not recall the name.

Although there are differences of opinion about the extent of Vineland, the Scandinavians of Door County, Wisconsin like to believe that "Vikings" made it through the same passages used by Native Americans and would have visited their Peninsula sticking out into the Great Lakes from Green Bay, but I do not recall ever seeing grape vines up there in the summer despite the plethora of cherries and apples they make into wine.

The corn problem is something else, as the French admit to having difficulty with various crops as far north as Montreal, as I recall from our previous excursions, perhaps it was the Merrill book,
Looking Eastward... which we used in earlier discussions of European arrival in this forum. Yet the Native American Indians grew it and did have contact back and forth between Wisconsin and Montreal. French priests in that case may have used the motif but they had great difficulty themselves in surviving; on the other hand,you do see beautiful church yards in the old walled section of Quebec city,just beyond the Plains of Abraham, that clearly resemble those same Norman churches.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: thanatopsy on August 17, 2007, 04:35:11 PM
```The Indians did not call it corn, they called it Maize. If corn, which is native to America, was grown in the time of Genesis, how did it get there?```

Maiz is a Taino word for corn. It is pronounced  mah-EEZ. The Tainos were natives of Puerto Rico and the Caribbean.  Maiz was later translated into maize. In my childhood household it was the word we used for corn.

You may recall an exchange I had with RW quite a while ago about about the Book of Genesis.  Christianity teaches that Adam and Eve were the first humans to walk the earth.  But that portion of the Bible shows two creations. In fact, it shows that ''generations'' of human, animal, and plant life existed before Adam and Eve walked the earth. The word 'generations' is shown on Genesis 2:4 and no specific time frame is shown.  Only thereafter are introduced to Adam + Eve.

How did corn find its way into Europe?  Not being a professional historian, I could not give you an informed answer. To this day we don't even know how those huge stones were piled upon each other in the Egyptian pyramids and the Bible gives us no clue as to how it was done. Science has proven that Native Americans existed for several millenia before Adam and Eve or any of the Hebrews walked the earth. How did they get there?  Again, I do no have a clue.  But they are and were there! :)


Title: Re: American History
Post by: thanatopsy on August 17, 2007, 04:37:48 PM
If I were still teaching, and if I were teaching the very bright/gifted/TAG students, this is a book I would use in class to help students ferret out the grains of truth from the unsupported conjecture. It would be a fine way to help students learn to make decision on what they read.


EXCELLENT comment. :)


Title: Re: American History
Post by: madupont on August 17, 2007, 05:38:34 PM
thanatopsy,

We just assume that corn went to Europe with the Spaniards because of all those lovely ladies in what used to be Mexico City for instance with the floating gardens where there were vegetables and flowers (now there's an engineering feat for starters but then so were the Hanging gardens of Babylon, an idea which has taken quite a bit of my attention more recently; because the first time that I saw the set up on the roof of the building where my son used to live, I fell out of the hammock. It was just a teensy little bit of an edge garden, too close the edge for me with flowers spilling over the built lengthwise window boxes lining the roof, with a timer set for a watering system to make the concrete back yard attractive when you went up to the roof for your barbecue. Then the nytimes.com showed one in Manhattan that was the full roof space and the apartment dweller built himself a typical back porch painted bright colors of the Victorian/Edwardian period so he could just sit out there in the evening and feel the breeze and look at all the pretty flowers,and he gave quite definite directions in the accompanying article on how to and how not to engineer this thing. I began checking out all the suppliers on the costs involved and what materials are available but, it is definitely a decorative garden because it does not supply the root space for heavy duty vegetables you'd have in a kitchen-garden).

But,everything went back to Spain and Portugal, and on to Italy and Southern France, not only corn, but tomatoes,peppers and by breeding they moved on to other parts of Europe,while in the Netherlands,the glassed over hot-beds-cold-frames were developed and taken to England who made a big thing out of Green-houses, and conservatories with tropical plants.  When I found edible cactus in one corner of my yard in New Jersey and just in front of the fig-tree, I knew a sailor had lived in that Dutch farm house.   

Mel Gibson made a point in Apocalypto in the end scene as the Europeans arrive in their large  galleons, to have Mrs. Mayan, now the mother of two offspring, say to Mr. Mayan, off the cuff I recall the dialog goes something like this: "Look, Jaguar Paw, Butterflies". That is how she perceives the large sails of the vessels, pretty much in the way "junks" were describes with Menzies.  I am not sure with the actress, name was Hernandez,because I don't recall the character's name in the line-up, but she now asks her husband whether they should go greet the people now coming forward in their dinghies with flags,banners,swords, helmets, breast plates, boots, the priest in his vestments with the crucifer to match in his smaller vestments; but Jaguar Paw says the equivalent of, "Not on your life, we are going to our forest."

Now supposedly this was the Yucatan peninsula but they actually shot it in Costa Rica, so I rather think similar events happening in Puerto Rica provided Portugal as much  corn variety, similar to what friends in Wisconsin had in the bag labeled "masa" although they were from Northern Mexico transplanted to Crystal City,Texas.

Funny thing though, in China they still prefer to eat those dinky little miniature ears of corn, you find in some dishes in Chinese restaurants, force of habit because they prefer eating with chop-sticks which they refer to as faster fellows, and have not adapted corn dishes to their diet preferring wheat or rice. They grow feed-corn  because they have added dairy cows to their landscape for over fifty years.  I'm sure both the Spanish and the Portuguese saw the advantage of taking corn back home for similar reason (although) perhaps not right away but eventually.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: weezo on August 17, 2007, 06:15:12 PM
Maddie,

I think rooftop gardens in NYC are somewhat common, or else we both know people in the same building/s. A friend of mine moved to a co-op in upper east side of Manhattan a few years ago, and told me there was a very lovely roof garden on his building. He also has a balcony where he does some container growing of flowers. When he first moved there, I think he was hoping to get involved with the rooftop garden a bit, but hasn't mentioned it for awhile, so perhaps the attraction wore off. When he lived in Brooklyn, he referred to his garden as the "back forty", although if was probably more like forty feet than 40 acres.

From my readings in the Jamestown Narratives, I surmise that the English called the grain of their Native neighbors "corn", not to distinguish it from wheat, rye or oats, but because it could be ground into a flour and prepared in familiar ways.

I'm not sure why chopsticks could not be used to pick up kernels of sweet corn such that the Chinese would need to use the very small ears. But, those small ears are edible through and through and perhaps they didn't fancy making a pile of corncobs in the outback.



Title: Re: American History
Post by: Bob on August 17, 2007, 09:13:55 PM
ON CORN:

Corn was developed by the American Indians (Aztecs, I believe) from a grass like plant called Teosinte. It took thousands of years of breeding to get Corn to the size it is today. In its initial phase it was really tiny, much much smaller than those Chineses corn on the cobs you see in their resturaunts. Nobody really knows how the Indians did it...

As to corn in Jamestown....What we know as wheat was known as corn in England--hence, the English Corn Laws had to do with the growing of wheat. I can't recall right now why the colonists chose to call the thing growing on the cob corn, but It'll come to me if I eat some ice cream----so I'm off to get some ice cream. I'll be back later


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Bob on August 17, 2007, 09:21:54 PM
I'm back--I decided to look it up and I found my answer fast---

 "Note that in British English, the term "corn" means "grain" (the kernel), and implies the primary grain crop of a country, which in England was wheat, whereas maize is the predominant North American meaning of "corn".

My ice cream is beginning to melt--goodnight!!!


Title: Re: American History
Post by: weezo on August 17, 2007, 10:09:35 PM
Bob,

Hope you had a nice dollop of fresh blueberries and some chocolate syrup on that melting ice cream!

You are probably right about the corn developing with the Aztecs. As I remember from the read of Helen Roundtree, agriculture came somewhat later in Virginia than in southwest areas. Corn was a good crop, but it was suseptable to the droughts in Virginia. There has been one this year, since early July. The corn around where I live looks pretty good, with some brown leaves near the bottom, but tall and setting ears. But, when I drove to the other end of the county last week, I saw that most of the corn fields there were totally brown. On the other hand, deer have been plentiful, coming out into the fields because the woods are a bit bare because of the drought, so the Indians indigenous to this country would have been eating more deer and less corn this winter. I didn't plant corn or beans this year, but we put in some squashes. At the beginning of the drought, the set a few flowers that dropped off without making a fruit. We kept them watered through the drought, and they are just now setting flowers again. I hope they make some squash. Even with watering every other day, we've gotten but one tomato, another may be ready tomorrow, and the peppers are just now setting blooms. I hope it is a late frost this year to let the garden do its thing through the fall months.

In times like this, I think of the Indians and early settlers who could not just go to the grocery store when the garden wasn't producing.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: madupont on August 18, 2007, 02:40:30 AM
weezo.

Well, that's why I was saying about the French priests...

Lot's of people pulled back from Montreal. It was much too frontier for them, considering how old France was with a somewhat milder climate. So although they lost a great many trees fairly recently in the last decade in France because of cold weather, they sometimes have unbearably hot weather as well; this summer being one of those occasions and I just received some slides yesterday from a friend who got out of town(Paris) and went to the Riviera as far as Monaco.  Looking at about three dozen photos, I finally thought about the landscape itself and then it hit me, we don't have that anymore,(I was going to say,"historically" but that too) it was just such a different culture and I guess that now we are just such a different culture in that we are homogenizing rapidly. I finally realized that what he showed me, inadvertently was, why, yes, there is one place somewhat like that, and that is our West Coast.

But back to those priests, my friend is somewhat one of them or gives the impression that he is well on the way, the religious life, clerical, suits him well. Same with the Montreal priests, they were not much on gardening anymore; once monastic orders  had been but, they came to --not the New World, but the "New France" and they came in pairs or very small groups as missionaries and were not growing enough  to feed themselves.  As usual, in other parts of the continent  and further southward, the policy was to send some military.  I had some sort of distant cousin (in time, for sure) who did not go over to marry one of them but was promised to a fisherman name Olsen, not odd at all since the Normans were descended from what some called Norsemen/Vikings. However....

When she went over in the Nova Scotian territory with that big cold bay, she was widowed in no time, had to come back to Europe while they were having small pox, caught it, had it, and survived. Not exactly Queen Elizabeth, just an ordinary French widow.  When one is there in Canada, you get a false sense of lots of food, excellent meals, eatting on the streets at cafes or just walking along, you can go visit the islands in the St Lawrence and enjoy the maple syrup and maple sugar, etc. but outside of the cities, which have their own poor populations of workers, you discover a bare countryside, with the occasional beautiful sight but people living very poorly and working hard. So that was the problem with the first arrivals, acclimatizing and that involved the agricultural aspects as well, more fishing, more hunting.

I  thought about your question of the corn in China, it took a minute to click but there is a reason you would not believe at first.  Yes, I suppose, I could pick up a kernel of corn easier than a grain of rice, but I do pretty well with that as Asians like to eat sticky rice, not too sticky but it clumps together as it cools and it is only when you put a lot of gravy on it that it swims away from you and then you have to tilt your bowl and use the chop sticks held together to push the rice into your mouth. Here's the catch --

Corn would be a seasonal food to eat fresh, then  you would have to freeze it or can it or mill it into flour to bake with it(or mush with it, as in the polenta recipes or fried corn-meal mush) but...they cook differently than we do, they use a low energy model of sustenance, or an ecological model in which they cooked with stoves that also heated the residence, in fact the first time that I ever was aware of this was in seeing films about Russian life, so that in the northern part of China, they also sit on and sleep on heated platforms running from the cooking stove and they are trying to conserve fuel because of a large population.

This has hardly worked out in the modern era of increased industrialization. They are pollutting as fast as any one but they were trying to sustain fuel. Cooking became a communal convenience; cooking for a large group of people, and in the city this amounted to your being able to come home from work and pick up food on the way home. They brought this to Princeton with them, with the physicists, and I was amazed to see this life-style in operation, where students could drop in to the grocery and pick up convenience food frozen or refrigerated to prepare where they lived, or they could pick up take out dishes from the counter restaurant on the street in front of the grocery.

So they don't do the baking that we do but they make dough and it is filled and steamed,in the North, wheat country,particularly for holidays, or it becomes a thin pancake which is folded, becoming Peking Doily, or it is cut and stacked, filled and fried as with egg roll in a wok. Left over small amounts of rice sit covered to be made into breakfast congee. The South eats rice; the further south you go, the more often the cooking is done outside in a court-yard. Rice can be saved for quite a long time, and the answer came up of course when that hub-bub about the 55 lbs of grits took place in Food Matters. Nobody here thinks of that but we normally did when we learned the Chinese were doing exactly that, storing fifty lbs of rice at a time. When cooking "old" rice, which can be very old, you add a touch of oil.  So every culture has its own  equation.

I haven't compared rice prices in many years but I am certainly not on the grapevine or the network. When buying rice in quantity, you get the lower price of the Chinese market because they distribute food on a network that has evolved over thousands of years, and of course here,hardly over 300 years if that, they hook up to the next link where ever and when ever enough consumers are in the vicinity.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Dzimas on August 18, 2007, 04:34:00 AM
Maize apparently existed in Pre-Columbian India, to interpret some of the ancient sculptures:

http://www.econ.ohio-state.edu/jhm/arch/maize.html

But maize in America dates back much further than the Aztecs.  The Anasazi were cultivating maize and beans.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: thanatopsy on August 18, 2007, 08:39:25 AM
From wikipedia --- origin of maize:


''The domestication of maize is of particular interest to researchers—archaeologists, geneticists, ethnobotanists, geographers, etc. The process is thought by some to have started 7,500 to 12,000 years ago (corrected for solar variations). Recent genetic evidence suggests that maize domestication occurred 9000 years ago in central Mexico, perhaps in the highlands between Oaxaca and Jalisco.[9] The wild teosinte most similar to modern maize grows in the area of the Balsas River. Archaeological remains of early maize cobs, found at Guila Naquitz Cave in the Oaxaca Valley, date back roughly 6,250 years (corrected; 3450 BCE, uncorrected); the oldest cobs from caves near Tehuacan, Puebla, date ca. 2750 BCE. Little change occurred in cob form until ca. 1100 BCE when great changes appeared in cobs from Mexican caves: maize diversity rapidly increased and archaeological teosinte was first deposited.

Perhaps as early as 1500 BCE, maize began to spread widely and rapidly. As it was introduced to new cultures, new uses were developed and new varieties selected to better serve in those preparations. Maize was the staple food, or a major staple, of most the pre-Columbian North American, Mesoamerican, South American, and Caribbean cultures. The Mesoamerican civilization was strengthened upon the field crop of maize; through harvesting it, its religious and spiritual importance and how it impacted their diet. Maize formed the Mesoamerican people’s identity. During the 1st millennium CE (AD), maize cultivation spread from Mexico into the Southwest and a millennium later into Northeast and southeastern Canada, transforming the landscape as Native Americans cleared large forest and grassland areas for the new crop.''


Some of you undoubtedly recall our reading of Charles Mann whose conclusions generally reflected these ideas. 

BTW, Moses, who wrote the beginning of the Old Testament, lived roughly about 1500 BCE which means that maize had been invented long before he was born.



Title: Re: American History
Post by: madupont on August 18, 2007, 05:27:48 PM
weezo,re:#750

I never met the guy in Manhattan; his idea was covered in The New York Times Magazine sometime about a year ago.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: madupont on August 18, 2007, 05:45:49 PM
Dzimas,

How could I forget those Hungarian peppers!   Probably from Turkey, but also possibly from India  where the dried peppers continues drying in the sun after it is powdered in heaps and mounds.  Romany showed up in Hungary between the 13th. and 15th.centuries , saying that they had come from India. Indigenous people(s) (notice the plural) tend, since then until now, not to quite believe anything those  new arrivals have said or say.   

My  friend Laksmi who went to India was Austrian/Yugoslavian; and told me that her father wanted to eat goulash everyday. Interestingly, the paprika is stirred quickly in a hot but not overheated pan, before anything else is added, prepared in the usual way that  blended ground spices are stirred  quickly to avoid burning as garam masala for "curry".



Title: Re: American History
Post by: nytempsperdu on August 18, 2007, 07:22:42 PM
Quote
Yes, I'm familiar with your name (did the English end up telling your family later they were the Wheatleys; or, did they just settle on Mr. and Mrs. Corn?).

You misconstrue.  "Wheat" was one of the family names that turned up in genealogical research, the earliest reference was to the 12th C emigrant to England, Unfridus du Ble.  Personally, I'd have been more anxious about Unfridus.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: madupont on August 18, 2007, 07:48:16 PM
Right, we had a couple of those heavily fraught with Germanic undertones but, off hand, I forget now just which ones threw me. They tend to repeat you know.   Of course, after that big of  a sojourn getting out of the way  of return to the Real King's religion, most of the family ended up speaking more than enough German on a regular basis like all the time --then they did French, and had to learn it over again in the next generation or so.

Nevertheless, I got the part about du Ble.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: elportenito on August 19, 2007, 12:22:19 AM
bob:

"Nobody really knows how the Indians did it..." (how they developed maize)


I'll tell you a secret, I know how they did it: with intelligence.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: elportenito on August 19, 2007, 12:25:22 AM
bob: And withintelligence they also developed tomatoes out of tiny little nothings, and potatoes out of some little tiny tubers which they saw growing in llama's  manure, etc. Peanuts, pumpkin, beans,etc....and jerky.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: mlewis78 on August 19, 2007, 12:31:33 AM
Hello.  This is Marti just checking in -- haven't been in here for a long while and then I realized that I didn't have a bookmark to the site on my home computer.  I've read the last five pages here and it appears that you are planning to discuss 1421 next?

I was away recently and am just finishing up a 2-1/2 week vacation from work.  I went to Albuquerque for the national flute convention and visited Santa Fe and Taos for a few days before that.  The particularly interesting part to me was visiting some native American pueblos.  There are 23 Indian pueblos in New Mexico and most are in northern NM.  We went to Santo Domingo Pueblo on it's annual feast day where the corn dance was the main attraction, along with many, many vendors selling their jewelry, pottery and other craftwork.

We also went to Santa Clara and Taos Pueblos.  At Taos I was surprised to find a shop of flute player Robert Mirabal.  I met his brother Patrick there and we talked about the flute convention as Robert's and Patrick's band would be performing at the convention and selling their flutes and CDs at the exhibit hall.

I started reading the Harry Potter books with book 1 (Sorcerer's Stone -- Philosopher's Stone in the original UK version.  I bought it two years ago and didn't really expect to become interested in it, but now I'm hooked and have finished the first 4 books and and have started The Order of the Phoenix, which the current H. Potter movie is based on.  I'll be back to reading non-fiction after I finish book 7.  I hope to rejoin you in a month or two.  Has there been a discussion about the Alan Taylor book American Colonies: The Settling of North America yet? 

This ranking by number of posts here is rather silly.  Leave it to Maddie to be a superhero!  Hi Maddie!
Best wishes to you all.   :) :) :) :) :) ;D



Title: Re: American History
Post by: mlewis78 on August 19, 2007, 01:05:52 AM
Forgot to mention in my previous post another pueblo we visited:  San Ildefonso, near Los Alamos.  We heard some test bombs (not nuclear, we were told) going off while we were there.  I would have thought it was thunder if I hadn't known.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: mlewis78 on August 19, 2007, 01:09:18 AM
Here is a link to a list and some basic information about New Mexico's native American pueblos:

http://www.nmtourism.org/go/loc/bymap/page/bymap-pueblos.html

Marti


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Dzimas on August 19, 2007, 03:40:56 AM
Nice to see you, marti.  Years ago, I visited the Rio Grande pueblos.  Talk about intelligent design!  Those pueblos seem wedded to the landscape, a great source of inspiration for architects like me.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: madupont on August 19, 2007, 10:37:41 AM
Hi ! Marti,

So glad you are back.  My sister has been hanging out at Albuquerque too, considering moving there for retirement.  I think she just made the rounds, with her two daughters, of  all the small village cross-roads and the weather looked cold so it was probably a late Spring.

Although I had a friend from out there, I've never actually set foot in the city, only on the train platform to talk with the trinket sellers who set up their card-tables of jewelry. As this is the only stop for fresh air before you arrive in L.A.  (And wow, it is inevitably Desert Hot!) I visited all the pueblo or is it pueblas,plural,(?) when I was a small kid and remember the corn-dance that you are talking about


Title: Re: American History
Post by: mlewis78 on August 19, 2007, 10:18:22 PM
Hi Dzimas and Maddie,

Downtown Albuquerque is actually pretty dead, even on weekdays.  You'd think there would be more people around on work days, at least.  Old Town Albuquerque was nice though.  I walked there from downtown via Rte. 66 (Central Ave.) on my free day before the convention began. 

Dzimas, as an architect, how do you like the adoble house design?  I visited my friends' cousins, who had built an adoble house about 5 years ago.  It's one story and very long with high ceilings.  It was roomy and practical.  I don't know if the materials of such a house help with the hot climate, since they had air conditioning.  Is it more for the style or is it practical as well for the weather?

Marti


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Dzimas on August 20, 2007, 02:05:51 PM
Marti, I recently met a guy who builds adobe houses in New Mexico.  He was here in Vilnius this summer as part of an International Preservation Program.  Adobe is great and there are many wonderful examples of rammed-earth construction as well.  But, neither are very adaptable to wet climates.  Although straw bale construction can work in wet climates if properly waterproofed.  If you ever get a chance to get to Abiquiu, you should check out the adobe mosque, complete with domes, that was designed by Hassan Fathy,

http://www.daralislam.org/


Title: Re: American History
Post by: madupont on August 20, 2007, 03:49:11 PM
This photograph:
http://www.daralislam.org/gallery.php?page=1&id=19&category=16#image

really looks like an illustration of something that I was trying to convey over at  The Poisonwood Bible reading in the fiction forum, when discussion was at a slowdown except for an attempt to decipher some of the names of the characters and where they were found in the Bible.   There are so many different always more newer translations of the New Testament that I just opt for looking at interpretations from the Old Testament with commentary from the British Rabbinate, especially when the name confounding the Poisonwood Bible discussion was "Adah".

I went to the index; not there and said something to the effect that I wasn't going to find it in that version of the Old Testament.  Until I got a lead and that is what the photograph linked above reminds me of because, in the  long ago period before Islam, in the nomadic areas of those descended from the other side of the Abraham or Ibrahim line through Hagar, it is mentioned that when the Law  is administered by much discussion of the "scholars" and they do not come to a final agreement, then the law should follow the custom of the nomadic areas according to tradition; that Law is known as Adah.

The example is particularized in the Story of Jacob meeting Rachel at the well, before which he has asked the shepherds who have driven the sheep down from high ground during a sheep-sheering in order to water them at the well because he has seen them from a long distance and hurried there only to be refused water(which is a hospitality in the desert,unless  you take it when it has not been offered).  Then Rachel arrives and simply offers the water.  The notation to the chapter and verses explains that even today a Bedouin chieftain will put his eldest most trustworthy daughter in charge of his flocks.

In no way, did this explanation of Adah by traditional custom go over big in the deciphering of Ms Kingsolver's use of names. I was brusquely contradicted, by a person who prefers the gratuitous insult, and then the discussion stopped with the post left behind for several days when it was suddenly deleted because it looked bad in case the discussion might be expected to finish off with comments from new or late arrivals.

Nevertheless, the photo in the New Mexico desert recalls the imagery from this story and many others because it is almost always to do with the appearance of three persons, who may look like men such as shepherds, who delay Jacob long enough, in their discussion with each other, so that he is still there when Rachel arrives.



Title: Re: American History
Post by: thanatopsy on August 20, 2007, 05:41:33 PM
Interesting map used by Menzies to introduce his book: just before the intro we see that certain ships traversed the Arctic by going around Greenland, southward to Iceland, north of Russia, and thence to the Bering Straits and points south. I still haven't reached the part of the narrative which discusses that but I wonder just how the fleet found the time to do all that sailing without getting ice bound and without settling somewhere to replenish their food stock. 


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Bob on August 20, 2007, 06:40:28 PM
Because the temperatures in those areas was higher than it is today. Historians are  not very good at pointing out the impact of the end of the Mini-Ice Age.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Bob on August 20, 2007, 06:44:20 PM
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Little_Ice_Age

Little Ice Age


Title: Re: American History
Post by: weezo on August 20, 2007, 08:20:36 PM
Than,

That part of his story must be on his desk for his next book. It isn't in this version, which is the paperback, and, according to the author, more updated than the original hardbound.

Bob,

It is interesting that the ice was gone when they got to Greenland, but the seas around Bimini were low, which is illogical for the melting of the Artic cap. One of the inconsistencies in his book. As I said before, this is a good book for a discussion, and I'm sorry I'm not teaching a class where I could use it.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Bob on August 20, 2007, 08:34:19 PM
Not only is the book inconsistent, it contains more than a fair share of speculation  and Menzies, at the very outset comes to conclusions rather hastily. For instance, just four pages in he says he determined  Antilis and Satanazes were actually Puerto Rico and Guadaloupe. Well, I just don't know how he made the great leap--but having made it, if the reader accepts it as true, then the reader has just been "hooked" and is about to be "reeled in" into a book which is very interesting, very factual, but also very speculative. Right up front, my conclusion on re-readinbg sections of the book (I haven't re-read the whole of  it) is that I remain unconvinced.

However, that's not to say that the Chinese didn't come to america prior to Columbus--perhaps they did--but the Menzies version  has too many questionable "conclusions" to suit me.

Also, as I remember my history, there are several criteria necessary to have a given contact with a geographical area qualify as a "discovery." I frget now what they are--but I have an idea that the Chinese contact, whenever it did occur, did not fill the requisite criteria. Columbus discovered America regardless of all of the previous "contacts', be they of the Vikings, The Irish, The Chinese or the Africans.

Can anyone refresh my memory as to the criteria necessary to qualify a contact  as a geograhical discovery?


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Bob on August 20, 2007, 08:37:11 PM
Weezo: There's abook out on the history or progress of the little ice age as well  a book on the associated warming period. I'll go to B&N Tomorrow and see if I can "steal" some info from them free of charge.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Bob on August 20, 2007, 08:45:37 PM
Thanatopsy:
http://search.barnesandnoble.com/booksearch/isbninquiry.asp?ean=9780465022724&displayonly=CHP&z=y#CHP

From THE LITTLE ICE AGE


Title: Re: American History
Post by: weezo on August 20, 2007, 10:56:52 PM
Thank, Bob.

I look forward to understanding how the current scare over global warming can predict the rising of the oceans, but when it happened in the early 1400's, the sea level would have been lower to account for the inaccuracies on the maps.

I am having a discussion with my sister on an email list for teachers about this subject. I said that when we teach children that "Columbus Discovered America", we are teaching a falsehood. She replied that although she knew about Leif Erickson, that the fact that the man "discovered America" is a true statement since if you go to a distant town and find a shop you didn't know about before, you generally say that you "discovered" a new shop, even though the shop may have been there for a very long time. I will be curious how one officially "discovers" geography enough so as to be given that discovery in the history books.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: nnyhav on August 20, 2007, 11:23:12 PM
Fed action resources:

Today's WSJ frontpager on the past week or so can be had without $ubscription
http://www.moneyweb.co.za/mw/view/mw/en/page94?oid=155117&sn=Detail

FOMC economist on market ops
http://www.voxeu.com/index.php?q=node/460

Lots of other commentary on this at
http://blogs.wsj.com/economics/
(with links to other topics top right)


Title: Re: American History
Post by: madupont on August 21, 2007, 07:47:55 AM
Stocks & Bonds
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/08/21/business/21stox.html?hp

Investors, on Edge, Grab Up Treasury Bills

The rush to buy Treasuries offered an indication that the Federal Reserve, which on Friday unexpectedly reduced its rate for loans to banks, might need to do more to reassure investors about the credit markets


Title: Re: American History
Post by: madupont on August 21, 2007, 08:00:14 AM
thanatopsy

Thanks for the barnes and noble input as I've learned three important facts, on a personal level to start with:  I have Dane dna on both sides of my family which I had not considered before.

It is good to know the Iroquois had the capability to keep the Vinlanders from proceeding much further southward past L'Anse.

I now know why the "Berserkers" carried those battle axes as their main weapon of choice. They had to in order to break the ice off the mast sail to keep them from becoming top heavy and going under and drowning.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: madupont on August 21, 2007, 10:08:49 AM
Bob

"it was the grossly selfish mismanagement of this control of the nation's credit structure in the 1920s that finally brought down the WASP ascendancy with the Crash of 1929, and the ensuing Depression."

Joseph W. Alsop


Title: Re: American History
Post by: caclark on August 21, 2007, 01:29:06 PM
weezo, August 20, 2007 at 10:56 PM: ".... when we teach children that "Columbus Discovered America", we are teaching a falsehood....... I will be curious how one officially "discovers" geography enough so as to be given that discovery in the history books."

You need to give more credit to historical writing that's gone on over the past few decades. History has made great strides in correcting past inequities and trying to place Columbus’ 1492 voyage into a more balanced perspective. The writing of history is an ongoing process and is continually subject to revision. But if you're trying to argue that Columbus was not the first to discover America and that he got disproportionate credit for his accomplishment, then you're arguing against ideas that very few thinking and educated adults believe anymore.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: weezo on August 21, 2007, 01:39:45 PM
Clark,

When I see Columbus put in proper perspective in elementary textbooks in wide use, I will feel better.

A week or so ago, I got an email from a grandmother who was taking over the raising of her twin grandchildren. She had found my Famous Americans, and knowing we were in the same age range, asked me to compile and send her a list of the facts and names that "should" be taught to children, as was done when we were in school. My reply to her was to suggest she take a look at the SOLs used by schools in Virginia, which was the original basis of my Famous Americans (although they have grown greatly since that beginning), and to consider the fact that history is never a done deal and that even now I was learning about others who preceded Columbus so that the "historical fact" of his accomplishment was in serious decline.

I have not heard back from her since.

I'm sure that if she checks other sources, she will stumble upon the infamous work of Ed Hersch, who does set out to set down once and for all what children are to learn and in what order. She would find Hersch's dogmatism much more to her liking than my always inquiring mind.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: caclark on August 21, 2007, 03:03:25 PM
weezo,

Yes, we do have a ways to go. Deeply ingrained cultural biases are difficult to counter and Columbus' 1492 voyage still looms larger than life in popular imagination. It always will, and to some extent deservedly so, not because it was first or most important but because of the impact it had on Western consciousness. Those who preceded Columbus and came back to tell about it had limited impact in isolated locales. But Columbus' voyage touched off a continental competition between Spain, Portugal, England, and France to send their own fleets sailing westward to find out what was out there.

For America's indigenous tribes, it spelled the end to their hegemony and the submergence of their cultures to European dominance. Resentment still lingers and fosters an intellectual atmosphere that is ripe for books like Menzies' 1421 that attempt to take the luster off of the European triumph. A ready readership can easily overlook sloppy or even bogus history that offers a hope. The very title 1421 offers a not-so-subtle counterpoint to 1492.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Dzimas on August 21, 2007, 03:37:30 PM
I think the native Americans could dispute any claims to discovering America, since they migrated to the continent from Mongolia and ancient Japan. Numerous theories abound from land bridges to fishing expeditions, but they got here long before Columbus, the Chinese, the Norse or anyone else.  The idea that Columbus discovered America has always rankled me, since he was pretty late in the game.  He didn't even put the continent on the map, still thinking he was seeing outlying islands of China.  But, one has to give him credit for opening a new area of exploration, which was quickly exploited by fellow Europeans.  It is interesting that Vinland remained for centuries a myth.  I suppose Norse cartography was rather primitive in those days, which is why Leif Eriksson got so little credit.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: weezo on August 21, 2007, 03:44:47 PM
Dzimas,

You are probably right that the Norse were not mapmakers. It wasn't one of their interests or skill sets. They just told one another how to make the voyages.

Actually, if we were to explore the work of the Portuguese prior to Columbus, in discovering and charting the world, we may find that Columbus, who was said to be a cruel and mean-spirited individual, actually did little but promote his expedition while the Portuguese were more secrative in their efforts. I guess the laurels of history rest on the man who beats the loudest drum, and in that sense, Gavin Menzies seems to want to be the Columbus of the 21st century!



Title: Re: American History
Post by: thanatopsy on August 21, 2007, 04:22:21 PM
Thanatopsy:
http://search.barnesandnoble.com/booksearch/isbninquiry.asp?ean=9780465022724&displayonly=CHP&z=y#CHP

From THE LITTLE ICE AGE



RW,

Thanx for that note on the climate change.  Interestingly, if it is true that warm waters enabled the Chinese to traverse the Arctic, then why pass up all of nearby Europe if they were looking for tribute as Menzies claims????


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Bob on August 21, 2007, 04:41:20 PM
thanatopsy:

Because, in part, Menzies is based  on speculation and, in part, the question can never be answered--we can never know why people do not do what they do not do unless they leave the answer themselves, in writing if possible. Lastly, the Chinese navigators didn't really know where Europe was--so they didn't know they were passing up anything----Europe hadn't been "discovered" yet...


Title: Re: American History
Post by: madupont on August 21, 2007, 04:52:55 PM
Dzimas,re:#786

I have to suppose that Mongolia was a great deal more romantic when it was considered separate from China; and,  maintained that it was, even after a Mongolian dynasty that became China  Today, it is just considered one of the indigenous minority regions and as much of their own culture that remains is not quite as wonderful but I dare anyone to say that who has watched the film, The Story of the Weeping Camel,
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0373861/plotsummary

Although, they may not have come to the NA continent by camel, I say they walked, possibly with Mongolian ponies pulling "travois" which of course were called something else at that time because they never had met the French.

Above is a German-made film by the way, but since it is in spoken Mongolian with English subtitles, what the hey. I sat there never moving out of my chair, but noticed the cat could not leave the room either. She apparently knew what the camels were saying.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Bob on August 21, 2007, 04:56:55 PM
Something can be "discovered" only once.  America was discovered once. When that was and by whom can be the subject of argument....it all depends on the definition and the  criteria regarding the discovery of lands. That's why I asked what the criteria is--that way it'll be easier to decide who fulfilled the criteria. My problem is that I can't remember where I read the criteria, but I remember the book I was reading was quite specific with its list. I know settlement and control had something to do with it--some sort of exploitation (rather than just trade) is also necessary---exploitation with a neutral connotation, rather than a negative one. In the Age of Exploration it was necessary to have such criteria in order to determine what lands belonged to whom. You just couldn't go into an area and plant the cross and declare the land for a given monarch. The land had to be identified as newly found and hitherto belonging to no one--going in and trading, as the Chinese reportedly did does not imply "discovery." They could care less--they weren't there to discover and claim--neither were the Irish or the Norse--all  of them may have visited this continent, but never realized they  stepped on hitherto undiscovered lands--all they wanted was to fish and trade.....

See what I'm driving at?


Title: Re: American History
Post by: weezo on August 21, 2007, 05:18:48 PM
Bob you said in part:

'"The land had to be identified as newly found and hitherto belonging to no one--going in and trading, as the Chinese reportedly did does not imply "discovery." '"

Ah, therin is the rub. The land Columbus landed on did indeed "belong" to someone - those who were living there. The Natives had rulers, rudimentary laws and government, and strong traditions including who was entitled to use which lands.

I think the definition you learned was rather euro-centric, in that if it didn't belong to a European power, or a power recognized by the Europeans, it could be "claimed". Of course, it was only by armed force that the "claim" could be enforced as we see in the history of the Europeans in both Americas.

Even by your Euro-centric definition, England could not "claim" Virginia, since it had already been given to the Spanish by a papal edict.

To my mind, if you develop trade and begin, however weakly, colonization or intermarriage with the native people, someone else cannot claim to have "discovered" those lands. They already exist on someone's books and cannot be "re-discovered".

The only people who can be said to have "discovered" the Americas are those who came from Mongolia, Siberia, China, Japan, Australia, the South Sea Islands, Scandanavia, Scotland, etc. etc., etc., who planted their bodies on the land and made it their own. Any other claim of "discovery" is pure semantics, and not suitable to be taught to elementary students.



Title: Re: American History
Post by: caclark on August 21, 2007, 05:51:24 PM
weezo, August 21, 2001 at 5:18 PM: "....The only people who can be said to have "discovered" the Americas are those who came from Mongolia, Siberia, China, Japan, Australia, the South Sea Islands, Scandanavia, Scotland, etc. etc., etc., who planted their bodies on the land and made it their own. Any other claim of "discovery" is pure semantics, and not suitable to be taught to elementary students."

Whatever you decide to teach elementary students in the next edition of your reader, be sure to let them know that it’s coming from an “always inquiring mind” as you put it in describing yourself. Otherwise, the little tykes might get the misunderstanding that what you tell them is part of a catechism they’re expected to memorize.

As for me, I’m finished here for today. This whole argument as to whether Columbus did or did not discover America has become downright ludicrous.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: thanatopsy on August 21, 2007, 06:29:55 PM
thanatopsy:

Because, in part, Menzies is based  on speculation and, in part, the question can never be answered--we can never know why people do not do what they do not do unless they leave the answer themselves, in writing if possible. Lastly, the Chinese navigators didn't really know where Europe was--so they didn't know they were passing up anything----Europe hadn't been "discovered" yet...


They had already dealt with Marco  Polo and others who ventured eastward. They had plenty of dealings with Arabs who were fully familiar with Europe and, if Menzies is correct, were only a handful of miles from European land.  If they were genuinely seeking tribute, they passed up plenty of opportunity to get it.

Therefore, there is only one possible answer as to why they did not make landfall and exact tribute: because, most likely,  that part of the part of the trip never happened.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Bob on August 21, 2007, 06:37:57 PM
The customs and mores of the era I was speaking about had rules and regulations governing discovery. You cannot ascribe today's standards, todays customs and mores to them. History doesn't work that way. I appreciate and understand your position, but disgree with it. Under it, you would hold people responsible for  standards they had no knowledge of. Natives were heathens and pagans and open to what Christians saw as their duty to rule and to convert. The natives of new found lands were not deemed to be the owners, but were deemed to subservient to discoverer nation--to his or her  most Christian majesty.

I'm not being Eurocentric,  Asian lands were acknowledged as owned and governed by natives and heathens....Chiuna, Japan, for instance--even Indian until England subsequently took over.

 Remembering  history there were attempts by the Spanish to exercise their authority in Virginia--but they gave up and allowed English sovereignty---Spain was in decline by then.

My point is, there were discoveries and they were made in that historical construct. We can't change that now that we hold egalitarian view. We can't alter the past----we may be able to re-explain it  and view it from different angles...but to deny  discoverers like Columbus and Magellan their position in history because of modern views is not a good thing in my mind.

Of course the fact that there are different views makes this discussion all the more interesting.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Bob on August 21, 2007, 06:50:54 PM
Thanatopsy
Quote
there is only one possible answer as to why they did not make landfall and exact tribute: because, most likely,  that part of the part of the trip never happened.

I can agree with that----but there's also another possibility---Though theey had full knowledge of Europe through trade contacts, they really didn't know WHERE it was. They possibly didn't know they were so close.

Now, though they had gone to Europe, would that have involved a "discovery" or would we begin to differentiate between settled "Christianity" and Heathen America.

In that day and age it wasn't so much Civilization and Barbarianism, as we state it today, the phrasiology was Christianity vs whatever--Islam, Paganisn, Heathens, etc. It had more of a religious bent to it. Discoveries were always given a religious overtone--the accepted mantra was always "I claim this land in the name of God and his Christian Majesty, etc. etc..."


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Bob on August 21, 2007, 06:53:41 PM
Well, we're off to a spirited discussion with some reasonable differences of opinion....let's keep it going....


Title: Re: American History
Post by: weezo on August 21, 2007, 08:03:58 PM
Bob,

I see what you are driving at. But I do not agree that Europe gets to define what a "discovery" is or isn't especially in light of evidence that the given European wasn't the first to arrive at the overall body of land that he is credited with "discovering". He never even got to the mainland.

I'd have to look at where, perhaps in the last chapter, Menzies quotes notes from Columbus' explorations of the Carribbean islands as containing a comment that they found "Natives" speaking "perfect Portuguese" on one of the islands. I can look in the book and find the exact page, since I don't remember exactly where I saw it. I noted that on my first reading. If I remember correctly, Menzies put that in quotes, so I assume (knowing what that does to you and me), that he did not speculate on that, but wrote what can be checked in the records. If this is indeed in his notes, I wonder why the Portuguese were not given credit for "discovering" America? Was it because Spain was rising in power and Portugal was begining to go down, or am I off by a century in who rose and who fell?

Yes, it is wonderful to have a reasoned difference of opinion on a history book. It is a delight to be a part of this exchange of observations on a contentious book - much better than merely reading a web blog on someone's opinion of the book and then never reading it!




Title: Re: American History
Post by: Bob on August 21, 2007, 09:29:08 PM
I can't stay on long--gottta get up early tomorrow.... anyhow the quotes you are looking for (in the first edition of the book) are around page 359, et seq.,  Chapter 17:  COLONIZING THE NEW WORLD.  I'll  read them tomorrow. They have to do with Puerto Rico


Title: Re: American History
Post by: thanatopsy on August 21, 2007, 10:42:57 PM
```They possibly didn't know they were so close.```

Not to beat a dead and rotting horse here (oops, sorry for the bad image), but  the land mass they supposedly traversed was well over 5000 miles before they reached Vladivostok.  It would take the most remarkable coincidence (and the most gigantic leap of faith for one to believe it) for them to have missed all that land. They had to have encountered birds which signalled the fact that land was nearby.  Or they would likely have met Vikings or be seen by others, especially since they supposedly had so many huge ships in their armada.



Title: Re: American History
Post by: thanatopsy on August 21, 2007, 10:47:38 PM
```Menzies quotes notes from Columbus' explorations of the Carribbean islands as containing a comment that they found "Natives" speaking "perfect Portuguese" on one of the islands. ```

A reference to Puerto Rico on p 404 et seq of Menzies.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Dzimas on August 22, 2007, 12:40:00 AM
Ludicrous indeed.  How can one "discover" a land that is already inhabited. The only claim that Columbus could make was in the name of the Holy Roman Church, since the people of this new continent were considered heathen and therefor not worthy of land claims.  As such they were enslaved and treated like cattle. 

Mankind did not evolve on the American continents, they came.  As Farley Mowat pointed out in The Farfarers, the peoples of this world were far from sedentary, they were contantly migrating in search of new lands to hunt and gather and to cultivate.  He gives a pretty compelling portrait of the Kelts overrunning Europe 2500-3000 years ago, long before the Huns.  British Island cultures had developed sea-worthy crafts to hunt walruses as far north as Iceland.  The Hopi of New Mexico believe they came to America by sea, not a land bridge, and archeological and linguistic evidence points to a link with the Joman culture of ancient Japan.

It may be good marketing to continue to promote the idea that Columbus discovered America, because his was one of the first voyages to provide an extensive record of his "voyage of discovery," it is rather ludicrous to think of him as a pioneer, especially given his many delusions, well noted in his journals, that have been completely left out of elementary history primers.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Dzimas on August 22, 2007, 04:42:16 AM
I'm not being Eurocentric,  Asian lands were acknowledged as owned and governed by natives and heathens....Chiuna, Japan, for instance--even Indian until England subsequently took over.

Asian lands were acknowledged as owned by the Chinese and Japanese because Europeans didn't yet have the capacity to wage war against them and win.  The Native Americans proved a much more easy foe, once it was discovered how well germ warfare worked.  Europeans were essentially able to overrun America.  There was nothing holy about it, except for a few valiant missionaries who honestly attempted to bring Christianity to the "New World."

For too long conventional history has perpetuated the myth that somehow these early explorers (Columbus, Vespucci, Cortez, Drake et al.) had some kind of missionary purpose, that they saw their role in America as a benevolent one, but the actual record is far from the case.  They were claiming land, mineral and agricultural resources in the name of the Catholic Church, which was looking to replenish its coffers.  Taylor shows in the early chapters of American Colonies how relatively poor Europe was at the time, especially in comparison to the Asian and Muslim world, and it desperately wanted to make up for the shortfall.  He also notes how the English and Dutch established what were essentially pirate colonies, preying on Spanish ships, before they discovered the value of tobaccco and furs.  I really don't think Europeans thought all that differently back then, they were just less encumbered by international treaties to honor the rights of indigenous people.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: nnyhav on August 22, 2007, 07:59:20 AM
Asian lands were acknowledged as owned by the Chinese and Japanese because Europeans didn't yet have the capacity to wage war against them and win.  The Native Americans proved a much more easy foe, once it was discovered how well germ warfare worked.  Europeans were essentially able to overrun America.  There was nothing holy about it, except for a few valiant missionaries who honestly attempted to bring Christianity to the "New World."

For too long conventional history has perpetuated the myth that somehow these early explorers (Columbus, Vespucci, Cortez, Drake et al.) had some kind of missionary purpose, that they saw their role in America as a benevolent one, but the actual record is far from the case.  They were claiming land, mineral and agricultural resources in the name of the Catholic Church, which was looking to replenish its coffers.  Taylor shows in the early chapters of American Colonies how relatively poor Europe was at the time, especially in comparison to the Asian and Muslim world, and it desperately wanted to make up for the shortfall.  He also notes how the English and Dutch established what were essentially pirate colonies, preying on Spanish ships, before they discovered the value of tobaccco and furs.  I really don't think Europeans thought all that differently back then, they were just less encumbered by international treaties to honor the rights of indigenous people.
What myth are you perpetuating? It may be good marketing to continue to promote the idea, but intentionality in "germ warfare" in N.A. was limited to one infamous case of distribution of smallpox-infected blankets; more primitive methods, time-tested within Europe, sufficed for those bent on extirpation of the natives, even though disease was more effective.

(OTOH one can argue that the counter-weapons were syphilis & tobacco ...)


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Dzimas on August 22, 2007, 08:10:00 AM
It was discovered relatively quickly how susceptible the native Americans were to European diseases, so the mere presence of European people and livestock pretty much ensured that the native population would die out eventually. Taylor quoted statements made by the early American settlers in regard to how quickly their diseases spread through the Native American villages, and how effective a weapon this was proving to be.  The small-pox blankets were simply one of the more nefarious recorded examples of inflicting diseases upon the native people. 

Personally, I don't think it is perfectly fine to hold the early settlers to human rights standards, since there were plenty of cases of missionaries like de Casas pointing out the abuses that were occurring at the time.  Taylor noted how appalled the British crown was when it heard of some of the massacres taking place in the colonies, but they had little control over the colonists in such matters.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Dzimas on August 22, 2007, 08:12:13 AM
Personally, I think it is perfectly fine to hold the early settlers to human rights standards, since there were plenty of cases of missionaries like de Casas pointing out the abuses that were occurring at the time.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: madupont on August 22, 2007, 01:39:40 PM
While checking a date, I found this on opening page of wikipedia. Read with a grain of salt.

Today's featured article

Gwoyeu Romatzyh (GR) is a system for writing Chinese in the Latin alphabet. It was developed in the 1920s by a group of linguists led by Y.R. Chao, and is unique in its use of "tonal spelling" to indicate the four tones of Mandarin. Tones are a fundamental part of the Chinese language: using the wrong tone sounds as puzzling as if one said bud in English when one means bed or bad. Unlike other systems, which indicate tones with accents or numbers, GR modifies the spelling of the syllable: the four tones of guo, for example, are illustrated (the second tone gwo, meaning "nation", occurs in Gwoyeu). Some teachers believe that these distinctive spellings may help foreign students remember the tones. In 1928 China adopted GR as the nation's official romanization system. Although GR was mainly used in dictionaries, its proponents hoped one day to establish it as a writing system for a reformed Chinese script. But despite support from trained linguists in China and overseas, GR met with public indifference and even hostility due to its complexity. Eventually GR lost ground to Pinyin and other later romanization systems. However, its influence is still evident, as several of the principles introduced by its creators have been used in romanization systems that followed it. (more...) 

[Nope! their diagram did not reproduce so you will have to go to page (more...)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gwoyeu_Romatzyh

Simplified Chinese characters::

????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????
Traditional Chinese characters::

????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????
I must have missed something because nowhere did I notice in the article that the Simplified characters above became the official language of the Peoples Republic of China (by far, the largest population who speak the language) for reading and writing.

When I had a very young woman from Shantung as my teacher (literally shanghaied into teaching because she had come to school in the US and in the early 1970s there was a sudden need for teachers of Mandarin in the US after an entire generation of dropped contacts. I surveyed which academic establishment had a curriculum other than Stanford, or my local state university Asian Studies department, and they were generally the big Ivy League schools whose graduates probably had not planned on a career in teaching?)

Anyway, my young 21 year old teacher was quite distressed about the textbook that had been provided us by the local university with Mandarin transposed into Latin Alphabet!   I showed her my texts, after she complained,"why couldn't the university provide what my friends use up at the main school?"(at the state capital).

I studied Simplified Official PRC in those days;and although I recognize the names of these authors:
Ch'en, Ta-tuan; P. Link, Y.J. Tai and T.T. Ch'en (2000). Chinese Primer. Princeton University Press. ISBN 0691096023.
for other works that they have translated from the classics, I have not seen their "primer" which would have not been the text used when I first saw the collection of classics displayed in the Firestone Library for a special exhibition of "The Book in China" which opened in June of 1987 to coincide with Reunion Week on campus when the previous graduating classes return to parade, meet and greet,drink, and catch up with each other. This exhibit was meant to be a boon to businessmen attending reunion. Nevertheless, the Curator of the collection, whom I had come to see was no longer there. Shir Tung had been there ever since the books came from China prior to the Japanese invasion. During the Seventies he had loaned me whatever material I might need. By the time that I arrived out there, he was deceased; the Curator of the Rare Books and Manuscripts was no longer available to provide input on textbooks and a radical change on policy (in regard to academic texts) for the Princeton Univ. Press took place during the GHW Bush presidency.

Now I want to go back and look for the year of the arrival of the first Italian priest in China following the adventures of Marco Polo.  Hope the above print reproduces!


Title: Re: American History
Post by: madupont on August 22, 2007, 03:11:23 PM
http://www.cjvlang.com/Dow/mission.html

The Persian Christians were called "Orientals", or "Nestorians", by their neighbours on the west. They gave to themselves the name Chaldeans; but this denomination is usually reserved at the present day for the large portion of the existing remnant which has been united to the Catholic Church. The present condition of these Uniats, as well as the branch in India known as "Malabar Christians", is described under CHALDEAN CHRISTIANS. The history of the Nestorian Church must be looked for under PERSIA. The Nestorians also penetrated into China and Mongolia and left behind them an inscribed stone, set up in Feb., 781, which describes the introduction of Christianity into China from Persia in the reign of T'ai-tsong (627-49). The stone is at Chou-Chih, fifty miles south-west of Sai-an Fu, which was in the seventh century the capital of China. It is known as "the Nestorian Monument".

http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/03669a.htm
                                                                                 
" The introduction of Christianity into China has been ascribed not only to the Apostle of India, St. Thomas,"


(See: above and below, for articles from the New Advent link)



In 1664, during the minority of K'ang-hi, Yang Kwei-sien, a Mohammedan astronomer, in charge of the Board of Mathematics, accused Schall, then old and paralyzed, of hostility to Chinese traditions, and obtained against him a sentence of death (15 April, 1665), which was not carried out; when K'ang-hi took the power in hand, the errors of Yang were discovered, thanks to the Belgian Father, Ferdinand Verbiest, who was appointed in Yang's place head of the Board of Mathematics. It was Verbiest and not Schall who cast the astronomical instruments of the Peking observatory, some of which date from the Mongol period.

Father Ricci, the first superior of the Jesuits in China, had remarkable success in his work of evangelizing because of the great tolerance he showed the cult rendered by the Chinese to Heaven, to Confucius, and to ancestors. Indeed, mandarins being obliged to honor officially Heaven and Confucius on certain days, it would have been difficult to convert any of them if they had not been allowed to carry out the functions of their office. Ancestor worship is, practically, the principal religion of China.

Matteo Ricci / Li Ma-teu
Founder of the Catholic missions of China, b. at Macerata in the Papal States, 6 Oct. 1552; d. at Peking, 11 May, 1610.

Ricci made his classical studies in his native town, studied law at Rome for two years, and on 15 Aug., 1571, entered the Society of Jesus at the Roman College, where he made his novitiate, and philosophical and theological studies. While there he also devoted his attention to mathematics, cosmology, and astronomy under the direction of the celebrated Father Christopher Clavius. In 1577 he asked to be sent on the missions in Farthest Asia, and his request being granted he embarked at Lisbon, 24 March, 1578. Arriving at Goa, the capital of the Portuguese Indies, on 13 Sept. of this year, he was employed there and at Cochin in teaching and the ministry until the end of Lent, 1582, when Father Alessandro Valignani (who had been his novice-master at Rome but who since August, 1573, was in charge of all the Jesuit missions in the East Indies) summoned him to Macao to prepare to enter China. Father Ricci arrived at Macao on 7 August, 1582.

Beginning of the Mission
In the sixteenth century nothing remained of the Christian communities founded in China by the Nestorian missionaries in the seventh century and by the Catholic monks in the thirteenth and fourteenth (see CHINA). Moreover it is doubtful whether the native Chinese population was ever seriously affected by this ancient evangelisation. For those desiring to resume the work everything therefore remained to be done, and the obstacles were greater than formerly. After the death of St. Francis Xavier (27 November, 1552) many fruitless attempts had been made.

One of the articles which most aroused their curiosity was a map of the world. The Chinese had already had maps, called by their geographers "descriptions of the world", but almost the entire space was filled by the fifteen provinces of China, around which were painted a bit of sea and a few islands on which were inscribed the names of countries of which they had heard -- all together was not as large as a small Chinese province. Naturally the learned men of Chao-k'ing immediately protested when Father Ricci pointed out the various parts of the world on the European map and when they saw how small a part China played. But after the missionaries had explained its construction and the care taken by the geographers of the West to assign to each country its actual position and boundaries, the wisest of them surrendered to the evidence, and beginning with the Governor of Chao-k'ing, all urged the missionary to make a copy of his map with the names and inscriptions in Chinese. Ricci drew a larger map of the world on which he wrote more detailed inscriptions, suited to the needs of the Chinese; when the work was completed the governor had it printed, giving all the copies as presents to his friends in the province and at a distance. Father Ricci does not hesitate to say: "This was the most useful work that could be done at that time to dispose China to give credence to the things of our holy Faith. . . . Their conception of the greatness of their country and of the insignificance of all other lands made them so proud that the w hole world seemed to them savage and barbarous compared with themselves; it was scarcely to be expected that they, while entertaining this idea, would heed foreign masters." But now numbers were eager to learn of European affairs from the missionaries, who profited by these dispositions to introduce religion more frequently with their explanations. For example, their beautiful Bibles and the paintings and prints depicting religious subjects, monuments, churches, etc., gave them an opportunity of speaking of "the good customs in the countries of the Christians, of the falseness of idolatry, of the conformity of the law of God with natural reason and similar teachings found in the writings of the ancient sages of China". This last instance shows that Father Ricci already knew how to draw from his Chinese studies testimony favourable to the religion which he was to preach.

http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/13034a.htm



Title: Re: American History
Post by: madupont on August 22, 2007, 03:23:50 PM
Dzimas, about those "Kelts" in the British isles, significant finds attributed to Greek trade have been  displayed in Scotland, when I noticed a striking picture, possibly in the National Trust material, which displayed a group of Greek amphorae standing on a stone bench against a wall in the morning sunlight. I don't recall however if this trove was unearthed or diver rescued although it showed no signs of the encrustation normally found when underwater for that length of time.
But that's another story. We've got one already.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: thanatopsy on August 22, 2007, 09:42:04 PM
Each capital ship was supposedly 480 feet in length with a width of 180 feet {p 65} --- that's larger than most ocean going vessels today! 500 or so of these with another 1000 ships must have made quite an impression on the areas in which they landed.  With that in mind, does anyone know if Japanese, Arabic, Egyptian, and other historical sources corraborate the claim that a huge fleet set sail around the globe at that time?

I would venture to guess that since there were so many  Arab dhows in the Indian Ocean, there should have been quite a number of witnesses to such a formidable presence. Since the fleet allegedly made its final return near Korea and Japan who, again, have excellent historical records, some witnesses should have existed. But from my limited knowledge of world history, I do not recall reading witness acounts from those sources of this claimed voyage.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: weezo on August 22, 2007, 10:27:02 PM
Than,

I'm looking at p65 in the paperback version, and it says that in March of 1421, when the voyages of all the fleets began, there were 100 of the giant junks waiting to take the envoys home. The 100 was divided into 4 fleets, so there were about 25 giant ships in each fleet. According to the map of the world in the front of the book, it seems that only one fleet passed Japan, the fleet of Zhou Wen, on it's return along Siberia (one of the least impressive parts of the book), two feets went to and by Vietnam, that of Zhou Man and Hong Bao. The Arabs plying the Indian Ocean would have seen but one of the fleets at a time, 25 large ships with a flotilla of the war ships, grain ships, and merchant ships, but that could have seen up to three fleets perhaps in succession.

Yours is a good suggestion to look for corroboration in the histories of Japan, Vietnam and the Arab trading nations. I'm also curious what really turns up at the Vatacan especially on de Conti, and the Portuguese voyages before Columbus.

The voyage of Zhou Wen seems to be the most unbelievable, since the left the Cape Verde Islands, sailed to NY, and back to Cape Verde, yet either a piece of the fleet went further north, or that part of the Zhou Wen voyage is totally conjecture. It is unseemly that they would have retraced their steps around eastern North America a second time and then taken off for the Arctic. The amount of time would not permit it. Further, there are no suggestions of Chinese settlements on the huge expanse of Scandinavia or Northern Russia on which to base a claim that the Chinese were there.

I tend to think that PBS was wise to limit their documentary to only the voyages around the Indian Ocean which can be verified, and apparently were to their satisfaction. They gave Menzies his due in titling the documentary, but, in the documentary itself, there is no evidence of the Chinese leaving the Indian Ocean even to cross the Pacific. But PBS at least seemed convinced that the voyages took place, that the junks were huge, and that the Chinese left a trail to follow all over the Indian Ocean coastlines. I saved the documentary on a DVD when it was aired, but haven't gone back to re-view it since. Perhaps I should.



Title: Re: American History
Post by: Dzimas on August 23, 2007, 12:12:31 AM
According to wikipedia,

Expedition of Zheng He

The largest junks ever built were probably those of Admiral Zheng He, for his expeditions in the Indian Ocean. According to Chinese sources, the fleet comprised 30,000 men and over 300 ships at its height. [citation needed]

The 1405 expedition consisted of 27,000 men and 317 ships. The dimensions of the Zheng He's ships according to ancient Chinese chronicles and disputed by modern scholars (see below):

"Treasure ships", used by the commander of the fleet and his deputies (Nine-masted junks, about 400 feet long and 160 feet wide).
"Horse ships", carrying tribute goods and repair material for the fleet (Eight-masted junks, about 339 feet long and 138 feet wide)
"Supply ships", containing food-staple for the crew (Seven-masted junks, about 257 feet long and 115 feet wide).
"Troop transports" (Six-masted junks, about 220 feet long and 83 feet wide).
"Fuchuan warships" (Five-masted junks, about 165 feet long).
"Patrol boats" (Eight-oared, about 120 feet long).
"Water tankers", with 1 month supply of fresh water and sustainability.

Recent research, however, suggests that the actual length of the biggest treasure ships may have rather lain between 59 m and 84 m.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Junk_(ship)#15th-17th_century_junks_.28Ming_Dynasty.29



Title: Re: American History
Post by: Dzimas on August 23, 2007, 12:25:50 AM
Chopping the largest ship down to 84 meters, results in a ship approximately 275 feet long, which is more in the realm of plausibility during that time.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: weezo on August 23, 2007, 04:19:40 AM
Dzimas,

Why do you suggest that 275 feet is more plausable for the times than 400 feet?


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Dzimas on August 23, 2007, 05:54:28 AM
275 feet is still a stretch of the imagination for the time, given the shipbuilding techniques.  400 feet is simply beyond any realm of plausibility. We're talking about wooden ships here, not steel-hullled tankers.  The Santa Maria was 75 feet in length 25 in width, and was considered a substantial ship in its day.  The USS Constitution, built in 1794, only measured 175 feet in length.


Title: Junk Keying
Post by: Dzimas on August 23, 2007, 07:52:46 AM
This is apparently the first Chinese junk documented to have made it to an American port,

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Junk_Keying

At 160 feet in length, the Junk Keying is substantially smaller than the purported lengths of the Expedition of Zheng He more than 400 years earlier, which I previously linked, although a formidable ship in her own right.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: weezo on August 23, 2007, 07:53:59 AM
Dzimas,

You seem to be making a broad leap of faith that only "modern technology" could produce such a large ship. Considering the size of other wooden and stone construction created by the early Chinese, it is not at all inconceivable that they could have built ships "the size of a house". Remember, the Chinese had been in the ocean-going vessel building business for hundreds of years before they built these behomoths. I suspect you are underestimating the advanced technology of the non-western world in medieval times. That, if nothing else, seems to be one of the purposes of Menzies' writing, to make westerners aware of the fact that they were not the center of advancement in the world!


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Dzimas on August 23, 2007, 08:10:41 AM
The technology is the same, weezo.  The Chinese were building these ships from wood and there are very definite limits to the size and durability of such a ship on the high seas.  The largest wooden ship ever made (documented anyway) was the Kobenhavn,

(http://www.slv.vic.gov.au/brodie/0/0/2/im/bs002706.jpg)

measuring a whopping 368 ft. in length, first launched in 1921.
http://www.bruzelius.info/nautica/Ships/Fivemast_ships/Kobenhavn(1921).html

Contemporary ships of the 15th century were 75-100 feet in length.  I really don't see how the Chinese could have outsized Europe in this regard, or that there would have been any real advantage to such a long ship.  Just imagine how cumbersome navigating such a ship would have been, especially for the purpose of exploration.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Dzimas on August 23, 2007, 08:11:59 AM
This strikes me as a case where Menzies imagination got the better of him.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Dzimas on August 23, 2007, 08:29:25 AM
One of the things Mowat makes very clear in his book The Farfarers, is that there is no conclusive proof for his assertions that Albans may have reached the Arctic regions of Canada long before the Vikings.  What he has is some very tempting remains of what appear to be boat houses, made from stones with overturned boats serving as roofs, that suggest ships as large as 80 feet in length made from wood frame and walrus hide, which were apparently common in those days.  He tells his story in a subjective narrative of the time, interlaced with circumstancial evidence to suggest the plausibility of such a narrative.  As such, he makes a compelling case for future researchers to follow up on it, if they so choose.

Menzies, on the other hand, seems to want to challenge history and archeology with bold assertions, which he takes for facts, despite the lack of any documented evidence to substantiate them.  He seems to view it as some kind of cover-up.  In this sense, he is no better than Erich Van Daniken and his "Chariots of the Gods."


Title: Re: American History
Post by: weezo on August 23, 2007, 10:40:08 AM
Dzimas,

You are still using western technology to prove/disprove Chinese accomplishments. That is like looking at the pyramids and saying they couldn't be man-made, it is impossible for the Egyptians to have sufficient technology at the time to have built them. Yet, they are there, visible, thousands of years after the ancient techology that built them is a mystery to use with our "advanced technology". Same with the structures in Labrador. The Chinese did not go throught a European dark age prior to the 15th century.

The documentation of the voyages may set your mind at rest, but its non-existance or unavailability to our times is not proof of anything but that some things do not endure.

Yes, Mowat is a more comfortable read for devotees of "documented" history than Menzies will ever be. They both present conjecture, and, interestingly enough, both use the same evidence in Labrador on the Ugala Bay, as "evidence". Mowat is the more traditional historian, who flavors his conjectures with the words that encourage historians to look into it in standard ways. Menzies is not a historian, so he does not use the flavor of the traditional historian. I think he really should have done more research before pubication, but he seems to have felt that publication of a controversial book would lead more surely to the funding and personnel needed to substantiate his conjectures.

I have a serious problem with many serious history scholars. They are wont to take the words of an ignorant but literate bystander over the factual, but "undocumented" oral history of non-literate folks who walked the walk and talked the talk.

Many years ago, I read a magazine article on the Melungeons, and the article insisted that "no body knew" what their origins were. Historians are still insisting that "no body knows" what happened to the "lost colony at Roanoke", yet there is oral history that "documents" both questions. The Melungeons themselves had a oral history that suggested they were descended from shipwrecked Portuguese sailors. Nobody would take the word of oral history seriously, so the POV of historians is that "no body knows". Likewise, the tribes surrounding the area of Roanoke Island knew that the English settlers were taken in by one of the tribes, and then killed in an attack by Powhatan before the English arrived. Since these tribes can only "document" this history in their oral history and there is no written documentation, historians are still saying "no body knows".

And, that is why I am unwilling to discount all of what Menzies says, just because traditional historians and puffing and huffing over his intrusions into their finely detailed "tradition" of "documentation" of whatever they choose to believe.

You shared a picture of the largest known wooden boat, built in the 20th century. If it could be built then, why couldn't it have been just as surely built, albeit from different plans, centuries earlier by an advanced culture, which the Chinese were.

Why presume that only the west could have the technology to pull off such a feat?



Title: Re: American History
Post by: johnr60 on August 23, 2007, 11:59:42 AM
Boorstin's book the Discoverers (83), which I finished recently, agrees with the 400+ foot size, attributable to the discovery of bulkheads a la bamboo. No mention of North America.

Historians talking about China all use Needham and (Ling?) but the Discoverers has a long bibliography for that section.

I agree weezo that any adequate history must cross many disciplines.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: weezo on August 23, 2007, 02:32:07 PM
John,

I'll have to put that book on my to-buy list. I've got the card balance down enough to buy some more books, and am thinking about what I will order. That sounds like a really good addition!


Title: Re: American History
Post by: madupont on August 23, 2007, 03:35:17 PM
Dzimas,

"As these vessels are not to be laden with goods, their holds may without inconvenience be divided into separate apartments, after the Chinese manner, and each of these apartments caulked tight so as to keep out water" (Benjamin Franklin, 1787).

VOL. IV. Physics and Physical Technology.
 Pt. 3. Civil Engineering and Nautics. Joseph Needham, with the collaboration of Wang Ling and Lu Gwei-djen (1971)

Wow, I should have sent for it;but, I wasn't as interested in Nautical engineering back then as I was in Chinese medicine, medicinal plants, and agricultural techniques. 

Desdemona replied to a post in movies this morning that she saw the same PBS last night that I did on Al Andalus, Islamic Spain, which explains our agricultural quandary about how the corn arrived where it did in Asia. Part of the Islamic scholarship at this time was agricultural inquiry combined with the old Roman aqueduct system which made abundant water available to them for highly productive gardens usually attached to palaces and mosques in Spain but also used to advance agriculture to a degree unknown before. Corn was just one of the  Iberian advances, which I believe thanatopsy may have indicated, I have forgotten which post by now.

I still have to investigate that "Corn" which was known as Pearl Fruit in Indian temple sculpture because when described in the accompaning article it looked awfully much as if it could be what is commonly known as bitter melon(although it is not a melon; it only translates that  way as the Chinese refer to these generically as: gwa {pronounced differently than guo which is as in Chunguo=their "country"}) Corn would have however moved readily from Arab traders to India, on to China, but don't ask me which phase of time because as desdemona said, "I have to watch it again...", there were too many periods of conflict  between Muslim converted Berbers invading Iberia and then later conflicts with Muslims from Saudi Arabian Peninsula  and differences between strict interpretations of Koran and more tolerant attitudes toward Jews and Christians who were sometimes "protected people of the Book" and sometimes expelled/sometimes slain and vice-versa by the Christians until the golden age of Tolerance was undone and with it the  high culture and intellectual advances in science, poetry, as we know huge libraries were destroyed by both sides in the struggle for dominance.       

One book that I'm sorry that I did not more thoroughly read was Ibn Battuta's,Travels of a Tangerine, taken out from the library and not thoroughly read.           






Title: Re: American History
Post by: Dzimas on August 23, 2007, 05:02:48 PM
If a writer wishes to go against conventional wisdom in regard to ship sizes then the burden of proof rests with the writer, not his readers.  I wouldn't even call Menzies a historian.  He is an amateur sleuth who has pieced together circumstantial evidence with wishful thinking and relies on the strength of his narrative to try to get readers to believe in his stories.  There seems to be plenty of readers who wish to believe his theories, but I've read The Discoverers and I don't remember any mention of 400+ foot Chinese junks, so I would like a reference please.  The only reference to size that Boorstin mentions on p. 189 of my paperback edition is,

"Now these distant peoples (Java), who for a thousand years had known small Chinese junks in their waters, were overwhelmed by many-storied ships, vaster than any seen before or any that the Portuguese would bring their way.  They must have been puzzuled that so potent a navy should pretend to have no warlike mission." 

All Boorstin corroborates is that the fleets themselves were large, so one could probably get the impression of very large ships with so many coming in formation.  Cheng Ho's voyages could have as many as 27,500 officers and men on a two-year expedition, according to Boorstin.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: johnr60 on August 23, 2007, 06:27:52 PM
p 190 of the hardback edition, but as I said they're probably all quoting Needham


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Dzimas on August 23, 2007, 06:41:38 PM
Thanks, John, I see he mentions a 444-foot treasure ship with 9 masts!  Boorstin lists quite a few reference sources, but nothing specifically. Hard to track down something like this, but I still find it more in the realm of imagination than in history.  The sources quoted in the wikipedia article were supposedly taken from ancient Chinese chronicles.  Reminds me of a Calgon commercial.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Bob on August 23, 2007, 07:19:20 PM
I missed a couple of days and lost track of the discussion. I just read all the posts since my last one and  don't want to prolong the old discussion as new topics are now being discussed--so I'll make a few comments and then  get into the more current discussion:

Quote
Personally, I think it is perfectly fine to hold the early settlers to human rights standards, since there were plenty of cases of missionaries like de Casas pointing out the abuses that were occurring at the time

In spite of my earlier insistence not to do just that, I ran across a  a piece in FROM DAWN TO DECADENCE  which contradicts my view and supports the above view. "...for contrary to common opinion, the concern about the exploitation of the natives dates almost from the beginning of Spanish colonization.Queen Isabella herself condemned the abuse and issued edicts against it, so did Charles V. The strongest of the protesters, Bartolome de la Casa...." Barzun, the author, then goes on to mention the difficulty of enforcing the edicts. He also says this "But to blame Columbus is a piece of retrospective lynching; he was not the master criminal inspiring all the rest." And further points out that the natives, far from innocent themselves, had long, savage histories of slaughtering each other and living in perpetual warfare.  (See FROM DAWN TO DECADENCE , page 100)


Title: Re: American History
Post by: johnr60 on August 23, 2007, 07:40:52 PM
My reference says:

needham nautical technology vol 4 pt 3

this agrees with mad's above

you can probably find it here (I didn't look)

http://books.google.com/books?id=PbnB8gR1gUIC&pg=PA129&lpg=PA129&dq=needham+cheng+ho+treasure&source=web&ots=OIini1YjfE&sig=qNk-xhzCc3P9ZE9gdNhhmgyKbqg#PPA287,M1


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Bob on August 23, 2007, 07:43:54 PM
Speaking of las Casas, in the biography of Columbus by Felipe Fernandez-Armesto, the author is recounting the landing of Columbus on October 12, he cites Las Casas as saying that Columbus  noticed  the pleassant aspects of the land.


Quote
"But before noticing anything about the land--if Las Casas paraphrase  can be trusted--Columbus  recorded European's first sight of the natives, whom he called  'naked people.' This was not just a description, but a classification. A late fifteeenth century  reader would have understood  that Cloumbus was confronting 'natural men', not citizens of a civil society possessed of legitimate political institutions of their own. The registering of this perception thus prepared the way for the next step, the ritual appropriation of sovereignty to the castillian Monarchs, with a royal banner streaming and a scribe to record the act of possession. Clothes were the standard by which a people's level of civilization was judged in medieval Latin Christendom."

(See page 82, COLUMBUS, by Felipe Fernandez-Armesto)

This  is one aspect of what I was speaking about way back when I brought up that there were specific criteria in order to establish sovereignty when a discovery took place. This was how nations claimed the lands they did and determined who the discovered was.

Regarding Columbus meeting people in Puerto Rico who spoke fluent Potugese--too bad, so sad, they never claimed sovereignty, nor  did they claim discovery.

Speaking of which, Samuel Eliot Morrison, in his THE EUROPEAN DISCOVERY OF AMERICA; THE NORTHERN VOYAGES takes an entire chapter debunking supposed pre-Columbian "discoveries" of American--including the Portugese claims-- he points out that the Portugese claim they kept their discovery secret lest their rivals try to exploit it. To which Morrison replies that their secrecy enabled the Spanish and the English to do just that--why?, because they didn't know the Portugese had been there--and nobody believes their story anyway. He takes some of the other claims and just rips them apart. He does not mention the Chinese. (Morrison, NORTHERN VOYAGES pages 81-111)


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Bob on August 23, 2007, 07:49:04 PM
Note of caution....in reading about the history of corn as we know it today, most authorities attribute its development to the Aztecs. The word corn in early history texts was a generic term to describe a nation's or area's  most common grain---it did not necessarily mean corn as we know it today. So one can find the corn all over the world, when it in reality we're finding various grains being described.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Bob on August 23, 2007, 08:01:55 PM
While oral histories and oral traditions are important in studying any culture, they are not history. They may or may not be based on truth and   even if they are based on truth, most oral traditions have been distorted over time and thus cannot be taken as history---but must be taken cum granis salis.

The tradition of St Brendans voyage to America  is so silly, for instance, that only a true Irishman would take it as truth, yet it was taken as fact  for hundreds of years and is still belived by some.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: weezo on August 23, 2007, 08:21:27 PM
Bob,

By your standards, I am not therefore part American Indian. It is only based on an oral history tradition which cannot be verified because the written record stops with a great-great grandmother with only a first name and no family name.

By the same standards, Alex Haley never found "that old African" Kunta Kintae, since the evidence he followed was oral tradition in the family, memorized carefuly by each generation, that just co-incidently matched up with the oral history recited by the elder in the Kintae family in Africa.

Well, if that is the case, I think I will continue to enjoy oral history and consider it history even if you choose not to. If you wish to believe the exploiters that the Indians were savag, warlike and deserved what they got, go right ahead. But, I think I will choose to believe that most Indians and most of the time were not very "savage" or compellingly different from their "conquerers".

The explanation that the Portuguese should not be considered the discoverers of the New World is on about the level of that childhood game, where you declared "dibs" on something before your hapless sibling did, and you were therefore entitled to eat the last jelly donut. A fairminded parent could easily overturn the silly game if you tried to play "for keeps". And, a fairminded student can easily overturn the silly "discoverer" game played "for keeps" as the "glory" of a laurel in the history books.

Henceforth, I will consider the Portuguese the "discoverers" of America until such time as there is a bit more convincing evidence that the Chinese beat them to it. In my mind, I need only a few medieval junks to come to light on the American coast and/or DNA corroboration, which seems, according to the 1421 website, to be rather well in hand. I'm not going to give credence to the game of "dibs".





Title: Re: American History
Post by: Bob on August 23, 2007, 09:10:36 PM
Hold on a minute:

 I did not say you or anyone else is not part American Indian. Nor did I imply such a thing. That should not be implied by what I said. I said oral tradition is unreliable as history and I stand by that. That does not mean oral tradition is erroneous all the time or even most of the time. It simply means I do not believe it to be valid historical proof in general. It's unreliable.

Two, I did not say that the Indians were savage and warlike--though they were and that's valid history--Las Casa said that---those are facts. The Indians weren't  peaceful people, they were as violent as the discoverers. Even in America later on the Iroquois Alliance was formed to stop the various member tribes from killing each other. And I did not say or even imply they deserved what they got. I merely quoted Las Casas, a recognized authority on the subject.

Thirdly, discovery and claims of sovereignty were not childhood games, as they are not now...there were ways to declare discovery and to demonstrate it.There were rules to, customs and mores. The Portugese did not follow the rules, they blew it, not knowing what they had, they ignored it and never exploited it...they claimed no right of discovery & exercised no rights of discovery even after Columbus proclaimed it in the name of Spain. They didn't opppose or contradict the Spanish claim of  discovery--they accepted it--until about a century later when they lamely proclaimed the discovered it and kept it secret....well, the first thing you do, then as now, is to proclaim discovery---not keep it a secret.
Even today, in the field of science, there are  very specific guidelines for claiming discoveries...and if they are not followed discovery is  not acknowledged. Discovery goes to the guy who can validate his claim and proclaim it according to guidelines. Remember that Darwin published his theory when he did for fear thast his rival would publish first--and he would lose his place in the scheme of things. The Portugese did nothing to indicate they even landed on a new island...

I believe the Indians were greatly exploited in the time of Columbus---they were damned near made extinct---but that doesn't mean that were peaceful, sainted people who are above examination and valid criticism for their behaviors within their own culture. They were as violent as any of the white men who invaded their nation. We didn't make them violent, they already were before we got here.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: johnr60 on August 23, 2007, 09:30:12 PM
(The written word) is unreliable as history and I stand by that. That does not mean (the writtten word) is erroneous all the time or even most of the time. It simply means I do not believe it to be valid historical proof in general. It's unreliable.

It's just as easy to prevaricate with a pen as with a mouth and that includes so called historical documents.  Which do you think has more truth the famous words of Chief Joseph or the treaty he was signing?


Title: Re: American History
Post by: weezo on August 23, 2007, 09:58:11 PM
Thank you, John.

I read the Jamestown Narratives after I read the Helen Roundtree book on Pocahontas using archeological and living history experiences to establish the daily life of Pocahontas and her relatives. I was quite offput by the words of those who could have learned the truth if they had not had blinder on, blinders that made them want to see the Indians as exploitable. How many Colonists insisted that the Eastern Woodland Indians practiced canabalism. There are enough references to it in so many writings, that surely, if one plays historian "by the rules" there is lots of documentation that it was true. Yet, the truth was, that is was nothing but a supposition, a misinterprestation,  a superstition encased in the silk of a pen, that was used to justify immoral behaviors.

Having read the Jamestown Narratives and having compared it to the reality of the Natives they described, I would be most reluctant to take the word of La Casas on the lifestyle of the people he's supposedly expert on. It was surely to La Casas' benefit to portray the Indians as being as savage as the Europeans - to do otherwise would have insulted his religious faith.

One of the interesting things that hits me in the face as I continue this romp through history since retirement, is the consistency of those who, in modern day, describe the indians, that their "warlike" behavior was not as deadly as the "warlike" behaviors of the Europeans. For one thing, the Indians did not kill women and children - they took them into their own tribes and, in time, those spared persons became members of the tribe. This was so well established with seemingly all the Eastern Woodland tribes, that the warriers did not bother to "protect" the women and children, under the presumption that no self-respecting warrier would bring them to greater harm than to capture them. Why kill women when you can use them to increase your wealth, your food supply, etc. Yet, from the European perspective, women were the booty that dibs were put on.

The pioneers in the west wept great crocadile tears when the women and children were slain, but it was the Europeans beginning at Jamestown and with the Puritans, who taught the Indians that that was the best way to smote a white man!



Title: Re: American History
Post by: Bob on August 23, 2007, 10:05:37 PM
Quote
The written word) is unreliable as history and I stand by that. That does not mean (the writtten word) is erroneous all the time or even most of the time. It simply means I do not believe it to be valid historical proof in general. It's unreliable.

I see what your driving at--but then...What is truth? How is one to determine what history is? Certainly we have unreliable histories--I own a lot of them---but I am more inclined to accept the written word over oral tradition. What do you accept as history? One can go really deep into the subject, so deep that in the end, you can readily determine that there is no truth, that history is all so flawed as not to be believed, though it be based on oral tradition or the written word.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: weezo on August 23, 2007, 10:26:25 PM
Truth is ephemerous, in my opinion. Truth will change by person, by time, by Point of View.

Truth is perhaps like trying to see the face of God. You can't sit down and make up a set of rules of what you will see, you have to go with the flow. If God doesn't fit your rules, does that make his/her not God? Or does it mean that your rules failed.

That is as close to "truth" as a historian can get. It is a very muddy field, all full up with points of views, insight of times, and other assorted foll-de-rolls.

Can we apply artificial rules to a "discovery" and then claim we have the "truth"? It reminds me of those who vehemently debate the significance of a piece of literature or a painting. I have no doubt that Shakespeare has a good belly laugh everytime a student is corrected from the students perception of the Bard's craft and told the "right way" to understand the great piece of work.

The pursuit of truth is a rocky road. Everytime you think you see it on the horizon, you realize it is only a point of view.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Bob on August 23, 2007, 10:57:00 PM
Plato said Knowledge is a subset of Truth and Belief----and it is usually demonstrated by drawing two intersecting circles (go about halfway into each other). Label one circle Truth and the other Belief. Inside the intersecting piece draw another circle  and label it Knowledge.




Title: Re: American History
Post by: Bob on August 23, 2007, 10:59:40 PM
I found Plato's proposition--but then we get far afield from 1421---anyhow:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Epistemology


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Bob on August 23, 2007, 11:00:36 PM
Thanks for the conversation....I'll be back tomorrow.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: johnr60 on August 23, 2007, 11:05:33 PM
point of view is it weezo-- truth, especially moral truth does not travel across cultures or worldviews.  Our proselytising (you spell it) of the Democratic way should be proof enough of that and certainly Plato knew nothing of our truth.

There are no historical facts bob, only presumptions since the scientist cannot remove himself from the experiment.  Best we guess by looking at all sources and one is folklore.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Dzimas on August 24, 2007, 01:49:19 AM
Bob makes a very good point.  If the Portuguese arrived in the Carribean before Columbus, why didn't they make a claim to it, as the Spanish did some 50 to 70 years later?  If the Chinese discovered America, apparently the full width and breadth of it to read Menzies, why are there no formal records of it?  After all the Chinese were excellent cartographers, kept accurate records and were in contact with many other nations at the time.  If the Chinese built 450-foot junks, why didn't this technology get passed down to succeeding generations, which in the 19th century were building lowly 160-foot junks like the Junk Keying, apparently captained by a British captain in 1846.

(http://axelnelson.com/skepp/keying.jpg)


Title: Re: American History
Post by: weezo on August 24, 2007, 03:40:57 AM
Menzies has explained both reasons in his book. The Chinese destroyed records of their naval feats when they withdrew from ocean trade at the end of Zheng He's voyages. The Portuguese wanted to keep their voyages secret, and there was also the earthquake in Lisbon that took out the library with the references and maps.

Did you ever play the board game of Life growing up? If so, you kow that at the beginning, you choose what amoung of the different attributes, including fame, money, (can't remember the rest). Not everyone choose to be famous, but that doesn't always constrain the next generation from wanting the fame due their ancestors.




Title: I Want To Believe
Post by: Dzimas on August 24, 2007, 05:19:09 AM
Those are pretty lame excuses, especially the second.  Why on earth would Portugal want to keep their discoveries secret?  To have laid claim to these lands would have given them soverignty over them, as they later claimed in Brazil.  I also seriously doubt that all Chinese naval records, not to mention the ships, could have been so easily destroyed, leaving virtually no trace of these enormous junks or the missions they undertook, since evidence does exist from that time period of other voyages by the Chinese.

It just seems to me, weezo, that you want to believe so much that these voyages took place that you are willing to give Menzies the benefit of the doubt.  In my mind, he is no better than Baigent, Leigh and Lincoln, who wrote Holy Blood, Holy Grail.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Dzimas on August 24, 2007, 05:28:33 AM
By the way the earthquake in Lisbon happened in 1755, some 300 years after the Portuguese supposedly discovered America.  Any evidence of these claims would have materialized in Europe long before that.  If nothing else, Portugal certainly would have disputed Spain's claims to these lands, instead they signed the Treaty of Tordesillas in 1494, which divided the world into two spheres of influence.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: thanatopsy on August 24, 2007, 09:04:09 AM
The map of Borinquen (Puerto Rico) on page 296 appears a bit skewed -- it shows Rincón to be in the island's southern region near the present city of Ponce. In fact, the city is actually situated in the northwestern part of the island:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Map_of_Puerto_Rico_highlighting_Rinc%C3%B3n.svg

''rincon'' in Spanish means corner, not south -- as you can see from the wikipedia map, it is an actual corner and that is why it is named that way


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Dzimas on August 24, 2007, 09:24:42 AM
One other theory as to why the Portuguese might not have told anyone of their discoveries is because they found nothing to bring home.  Columbus apparently had a hard time convincing the Portuguese as well as the Dutch of his believe in a Western Passage to China, ultimately getting the favorable ear of Ferdinand and Isabella.  However, I don't think the Portuguese went any further than the Azores.  Apparently, Flores actually lies on the North American plate, so in that sense the Portuguese did discover America first,

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Azores


Title: Re: American History
Post by: weezo on August 24, 2007, 10:25:50 AM
Dzimas,

You may have a point. If the Portuguese were seeking uninhabeted islands, there would be nothing to celebrate in finding Puerto Rico which was inhabited. It is possible that another reason, is that they may not have gone home - they may have shipwreckeed off Puerto Rico, and decided to just stay.

And, it is entirely possible that the Portuguese were happy with their slice of The World given out by the Vatacan. They got all of Africa and the known passage to the riches of the east, rather than disputable title to land that would not proved its value for some time to come.

I really do find it laughable that the egos on the Mediterranean could think that they could develop a "treaty" that gave rights to land without consulting those who lived on and possessed the land itself. The Europeans just thought far too highly of themselves, and I think that is what is important in learning about the achievements of the Chinese. It serves to put a "restaining order" on the boasts of the Europeans that they had a "right" to discover and "conquer" the lands of others.

And, do feel free to conclude that I am more than "a little bit grumpy" today and less than enamored with white males due to a domestic issue that is not pertinant to the discussion but may be clouding my comments.



Title: Re: American History
Post by: Dzimas on August 24, 2007, 01:29:44 PM
Weezo, as you well know I'm no fan of Columbus, nor am I a fan of European arrogance, I just find it hard to swallow this huge Chinese flotilla of huge Chinese junks sailing the seven seas, with virtually no surviving record of them ever having done so.  Now, if Menzies would have opted for a more plausible expedition, or ships finding the Pacific Northwest by tracing the islands of Alaska, I could have accepted the premise, even if there is no substantial evidence to support such claims.  I don't think one has to come up with a boatland of facts to prove his case, rather make an interesting proposition that has some merit to it, which is what Mowat did in The Farfarers.  Instead, Menzies, apparently stealing a page from Needham or Boorstin (take your pick), has chosen to write a full-length book based almost entirely on hearsay and  speculation.  He's fed into a ready audience willing to accept these ideas simply because this audience is looking for anything that refutes conventional wisdom on the discovery of America.  As I said before, the Americas were discovered long ago by the Native Americans, but for some reason we view them as indigenous people, grown from the soil, when in fact they migrated to America like everyone else.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: weezo on August 24, 2007, 02:50:36 PM
Dzimas,

It seems that the fact that there was a large flotilla of Chinese Junks is not in question. That seems to be agreed upon. The ambassadors who attended the ceremonies at the Forbidden City rode home on these luxury liners. The evidence in in the records of the passenger's histories.

It is where the junks went after they dropped off the ambassadors that may be speculative. And, I think it likely they explored the Pacific. I think it likely they knew Australia and America existed and where they were. I think it highly likely that the Chinese figured out latitude and longitude long before the Europeans were successful at it.

I hope the next book we read on this discussion is the Farfarers, so we can continue the comparison of the two styles used by Mowat and by Menzies.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: thanatopsy on August 24, 2007, 03:59:12 PM
I hope the next book we read on this discussion is the Farfarers, so we can continue the comparison of the two styles used by Mowat and by Menzies.


If you don't mind me saying so, I do not share your hope.  There is entirely too much speculation in these books and much of the emphasis in on European history. It is virtually impossible to make any cross reference reading or research to corroborate or to debunk the theories posited by the authors. This forum section is, after all, about American history and we should stick with this only as we can readily make cross reference research and/or debunk any speculation made the authors.

A reminder that there is a section here dealing with mythology and discussions on speculative history should properly be there rather than here. {At least I would think so.}


Title: Re: American History
Post by: liquidsilver on August 24, 2007, 04:04:25 PM
I think the Menzies book belongs in the Fiction section but in all frankness, hasn't it already been established that the Vikings - Bjarni Herulfson and Leif Eriksson discovered America first?


Title: Re: American History
Post by: madupont on August 24, 2007, 08:37:50 PM
I need to recap about here. Are we saying that the putative discovery, according to title by Menzies, is 1421? And they arrived  back in Bejing when?

That ambassadors were welcomed to celebrate this (and probably offered tribute)?


Title: Re: American History
Post by: madupont on August 24, 2007, 09:02:38 PM
Dzimas,

When this topic started, I had a brief reminder to myself that yes, I had seen lithographs of "Junks" in the oddest place. On-line at the USPS.com
amidst what they call the card store. At one time, The New York Times had the identical service.

I decided that I ought to look them up and see if they were still around with the US Postal Service, because my earlier impression was that they were decorative art possibly during the English tea-trade. I  guess that I was not far wrong. Except that they are steel engraving.

Description: "Fort Victoria, Kow-Loon" by THOMAS ALLOM Steel Engraving, from "China Illustrated," 1843

Description: "Festival of the Dragon-Boat, 5th day of 5th Moon" by THOMAS ALLOM Steel Engraving, 1843

Unfortunately, using the links above the  enlargements does not do a thing but throw you into a hodge podge known as CastleFineArts that sells on-line  where you have to go through an excess of material page by page to happenstance locate the prints; while the links  do not transfer from viewing on one computer to allow for viewing of the prints on another computer.  But if you have any luck locating www.usps.com, go to card shop, you begin to find at least four  Chinese  topical prints from the British point of view; two of which display large Junks.  I remember that I thought at the time that this is peculiar, the boats are very large, was the artist merely making the Chinese vessels resemble European ships in size and outfitting in order to give the viewers scenic and colorful diversion?

I must at any rate suggest that Thomas Needham is not some fly by night speculative dreamer but is firmly an academic historian of Science and Technological advancement. A little bit like a latter day Diderot with his encyclopedia but, concentration on what discoveries or improvements did the Chinese originate and contribute to the world's inventive ideas and material.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Dzimas on August 25, 2007, 06:36:41 AM
Weezo, I share your fascination in early American explorations, but they are purely speculative.  Not much unlike Thor Hyerdahl's Ra and Kon Tiki voyages.  As such I would hope that the next history book we read together will be grounded in a more objective past, as fun as it is to speculate on our past.

According to a China History Forum website,

1421-1422: The sixth Zheng He expedition, with 41 ships, returned envoys from Hormuz and elsewhere. It probably visited Melaka, Aru, Semudera, Lambri, Coimbatore, Sri Lanka, the Maldives, Cochin, Calicut, Hormuz, Dhofar, Aden, Mogadishu, Brava and Thailand.
J.V.G.Mills, introduction, p.14, to Ma Huan, Ying-yai Sheng Lan; Louise Levathes, When China ruled the seas, p.151.


1419-1444: Venetian nobleman Nicolò de Conti left Italy in 1419, lived for a time in Damascus, travelled in South Asia, returned home in 1444, and dictated an account to the papal secretary. He describes five-masted, triple-planked ships 'of twoo thousande Tunnes' with watertight compartments. 
J.V.G. Mills, introduction to Ma Huan, 'Ying-yai Sheng Lan' (The overall survey of the Ocean's shores), p.64-66.

http://www.chinahistoryforum.com/lofiversion/index.php/t3182.html

But, then I guess Mills has a more conservative view of the extent of the Chinese explorations.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Bob on August 25, 2007, 07:04:45 AM
Dzimas: I saw your reference above to Boorstin and, not being able to find my copy of the DISCOVERERS, went to the library to  get theirs. Boorstin gives a brief rendition of the age of the Treasure Fleet but nowhere in that section does he even allude to trips East to America. But in another section, on page 158 after getting through with the Portuguese, he  says
Quote
It is possible, too, that in pre-Columbian times a Chinese or Japanese junk may have been driven off course alll the way to the shores of America. But these acts and accidents that produced no feedback spoke only to the wind

In the same paragraph he talks about the ability to come home again "if a people were to enrich, embellish, and enlighten themselves from far off places."

Quote
In a later age  this would be called feedback" It was crucial to the discoverer, and helps explain why going to sea, why the opening of the oceans, would mark a grand epoch for humankind. In one after another human enterprise, the act without the feedback was of little consequence. The capacity to enjoy and profit from feedback was a prime human power.Seafaring ventures, and even their one way success, were  themselves of small consequence and left little record in history. Getting there was not enough. The internourishment of the peoples of the earth required the ability to get back, to return to the voyaging source and transform the stay at homes by the commodities and the knowledge that the voyagers had found over there.

He then mentions  voyages where this was not done, including early Viking voyages to America, but coming right after discussing Portugal, the same rational may be applied to the situation of the Portuguese found in Puerto Rico.

(See Boorstin, THE DISCOVERERS, at page 158)


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Bob on August 25, 2007, 07:13:42 AM
Please be aware I modified my last post in my last post to have the first sentence in the last paragraph to read

He then mentions  voyages where this was not done...

I left out the word NOT in my original post.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Dzimas on August 25, 2007, 08:20:54 AM
Mowat cites the reason for the Albans, who were European by the way, venturing toward America being their search for walruses. This is what initially led to them Iceland.  At the time walrus ivory was very much in demand.  Without riches to show for their efforts such missions would have been considered failures, and probably would have gone unreported, as you note Bob. 


Title: Re: American History
Post by: weezo on August 25, 2007, 08:27:51 AM
Bob,

I have just ordered some books to read over the coming months including Boorstein's The Discoveres, and A Cross of Iron by Michael Hogan. I had hoped to get the book on Contrad Weiser by Paul Wallace, but it was unavailabe at a decent price from Amazon. I'm not going to pay "collectables" prices for my reading. I also ordered: A Glorious Defeat: Mexico and its War with the United States by Timothy Henderson.

It will be interesting to see what books others are interested in reading next, and I will begin taking suggestions for the next poll.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Dzimas on August 25, 2007, 08:38:16 AM
I think the Menzies book belongs in the Fiction section but in all frankness, hasn't it already been established that the Vikings - Bjarni Herulfson and Leif Eriksson discovered America first?

Heyerdahl probably made the most daring proposition by claiming Egyptians reached South America using boats made from papyrus.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thor_Heyerdahl

Heyerdahl seemed to feel that the Mayans and Aztecs simply couldn't have built their pyramids on their own.  I think his Kon-Tiki voyage had more merit to it, although it is a pretty long stretch from the easternmost Polynesian island to the mainland of South America.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: madupont on August 25, 2007, 10:52:07 AM
Dzimas,

I am far more concerned -- that when you get to the bottom few inches of the scroll-down in your China History link(above) that the explanation is there for how Menzie's evidence of Chinese arriving on the West Coast of the America's,  namely the porcelains, really got there. What we have been overlooking all along is something so obvious , it almost annoyed me that I'd gone all the way down that scroll.  In my life, it seems to be East Timor, or Timor L'estre, that always gets me into real trouble at forums of choice while they still existed

Timor, the site of massacres in recent times, following the Nixon administration, is a Portuguese colony in the East Indies, where the  intermarriage rates were high and sanctified Christian; as such, they come under attack from Malaysia as this part of Indonesia was supplied with weapons by the US. Possible further rights to oil and natural gas in the immediate area off the Australian shelf would seem to be the cause.

For our purposes, however, those bottom inches of your link tell us that the Portuguese went on to Hirado in Japan, and we should have thought of this immediately when Portuguese Catholic missions went to China.  They develop a commercial port at Macao. When doing so, they of course sail by the Philippines. The Philippines became a Spanish possession long before the US was ever involved. We then discover that a Spanish vessel or two shipwreck on our western shores, one taken by an English vessel named Sir Francis Drake which should give some ideas on the date, and the area mentioned is from Baja peninsula on down into the South American continent.  What are they carrying in trade  to their colonies? Porcelain among other things.                 


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Dzimas on August 25, 2007, 03:19:42 PM
The only problem in regard to Menzies' thesis is that these events took place 158 years later,

1579: The English seafarer Francis Drake and his ship Golden Hind spent 36 days at Drake's Bay, 50km north of San Francisco, with porcelain on board after the capture of a Spanish ship. Shards of blue-and-white porcelain found at Drake's Bay have been identified with 77 bowls, plates, cups and bottles from this stay.
Edward von der Porten, 'Manila galleon porcelains on the American West Coast', Taoci, 2001.




Title: Re: American History
Post by: madupont on August 25, 2007, 05:40:51 PM
Dzimas,

Now, I am confused. Are you saying that Menzies mentioned this? Or, are you quoting something else?

http://www.activehistory.co.uk/Miscellaneous/free_stuff/google_earth/drake/index.htm

I'm going for the point that the Portuguese and the Spanish could have readily done this route or are you making the point as to previous comment that the Portuguese would not have stuck their neck out on a voyage prior to the Straits of Magellan being navigated since they might not be able to re-outfit for the return voyage?


Title: Re: American History
Post by: thanatopsy on August 25, 2007, 08:03:21 PM
I think the Menzies book belongs in the Fiction section but in all frankness, hasn't it already been established that the Vikings - Bjarni Herulfson and Leif Eriksson discovered America first?

Fiction or mythology section, either one is more apropos for Menzies.

As for the Vikings, it is possible that they landed in present day Nova Scotia. But I have my doubts as to the claimed validity of the Kensington rune stones which is so popular here in Minnesota (we have a large Scandinavian population and this accounts for that theme's popularity).

For the future, let's stick to American history only and allow those who prefer European history to have their own forum section.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: weezo on August 25, 2007, 10:43:51 PM
Than,

Let me remind you that there was a long list of books given for this poll. The final poll lists only the books that received at least one vote. 1421 received four votes - more than any other title, and the closest second was A Cross of Iron, which received two votes. I hope you are not suggesting that a poll is not the best way to decide what to read.

While much of the discussion has centered on the European and Asian origins of the voyages of discovery, the book devoted a lot of space to what COULD BE American History, if and when the proof comes in to confirm the speculation. And, I do think that some of that proof will eventually materialize, and if it does, won't you be glad you knew about it before the last die-hards were finally convinced? And, if you were in the high school class of a history teacher who brought out these possibilities, wouldn't you be glad you heard about it in school when the determination is finally made on whether it is just speculative or highly likely?



Title: Re: American History
Post by: Dzimas on August 26, 2007, 02:20:28 AM
What Menzies needs to do is commission a Chinese shipbuilding crew to build a 450-foot junk made out of wood to see if it could really have been done.  The Chinese were a remarkably advanced culture at the time, but I don't think they could have made the quantum leap in shipbuilding which authors like Needham, Boorstin and Menzies imply.  We are talking about ships that were six times bigger than their European contemporaries.  Even if a junk had been twice as big as a Portuguese caravel at the time, it would have seemed enormous, say 150 feet as opposed to 75 feet.  Besides, I don't think the Chinese used the English system of measurement, so any transcription of their records meant that someone was trying to encrypt their methods of measurements as well.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Bob on August 26, 2007, 04:32:55 AM
Everything I've read about the Treasure Fleet (which isn't a hellava lot)seems to accept the size of the vessels. The question here is whether these guys ever went East far enough to skirt or even visit America. After looking through about 20 or 25 different books on the period I can find no reference, save a footnote or two regarding Menzies book, to the Fleet ever doing so, they were generally headed West or South. As to the records of the voyage to America having been destroyed by a Chinese Emperor---all I can say is we seem to find a pretty good record of the Western voyages, as far West as Africa. If they reached Africa, then its perfectly feasible they could have reached the West coast of America. However, there's absolutely no record of them having dones so, in spite of Menzies thin evidence of artifacts. Why would  the knowledge of the Western and Southern voyages exist, and not a record of the American voyages? ( A rhetorical question I can't get out of my head)

By the way I'm reading OVER THE EDGE OF THE WORLD---a book about Magellan. The author devotes several pages to the TREASURE FLEETS, and in a footnote refers to Menzie's theory that the fleet may have reached the Caribbean or may have circumnavigated the world: "However, hard evidence to prove these tantizing assertions is still lacking." ((Bergreen, OVER THE EDGE OF THE WORLD, page 424)

While it may be POSSIBLE for them to have done it, I rather doubt it in any way PROBABLE. They were generallly headed in the oppposite direction. Secondly, though they POSSIBLY came to America, they certainly didn't "discover" it. They visited and left--discovery, in the scheme of things, implies much more that. See my post of August 25 regarding "feedback" which I gleaned from Boorstin's THE DISCOVERERS

Bergreen's OVER THE EDGE cites  Louise Levathese's WHEN CHINA RULED THE SEA as "the one reliable guide to the subject written in English."


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Bob on August 26, 2007, 04:38:54 AM
Weezo

I just finished A Glorious Defeat: Mexico and its War with the United States by Timothy Henderson. Its a short book and gives the Mexican view of things along with the American view---a different approach to the war. Its not a military history--more a social and political view.

There's a new history of the Cold War coming out next month. I'll look it up and link to it.

I just bought THE MOST FAMOUS AMERICAN--Henry Ward Beecher. It's out in paperback. I plan to read it after I finish the Magellan book.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Bob on August 26, 2007, 04:56:39 AM
Quote
There are no historical facts bob, only presumptions since the scientist cannot remove himself from the experiment.  Best we guess by looking at all sources and one is folklore.


Johnr60:

I think I know what you mean, but I have a variation on it. There ARE  historical facts---we know Lincoln lived, we know there was an American Revolution, we know Theodore Roosevelt lived. There are many things we know objectively. However, when it comes to certain behaviors or actions we go in to interpretation and different views may be  validly held by different people. That's sort of my view of history....I have history books giving various interpretations over the years  of the same event, the knowledge of which is irrefutable. Think of going through Bancroft, Hildreth, Channing, McMasters, Wilson, Commager, Fischer and Wood on any particular point in the American Revolution.The "point" is well established, ie, The Battle of Brooklyn Heights, which know objectively happened, but the interpretation of which changes over the years.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Dzimas on August 26, 2007, 07:09:00 AM
Here's another book on the subject,

http://www.amazon.com/Island-Seven-Cities-Chinese-Discovered/dp/0312362056/ref=pd_sim_b_1/103-5711346-4722226?ie=UTF8&qid=1188126287&sr=1-1

which seems every bit as audacious in its claims as does 1421.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Dzimas on August 26, 2007, 07:11:02 AM
Magellan is a fascinating figure.  I have a record of his voyages by Antonio Pigafetta, who was one of the few who managed to survive the voyage,

http://www.amazon.com/Magellans-Voyage-Narrative-Account-Circumnavigation/dp/0486280993/ref=sr_1_8/103-5711346-4722226?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1188126581&sr=1-8


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Dzimas on August 26, 2007, 07:19:50 AM
The Spanish long held to the myth of The Seven Cities of Cibola,

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quivira_and_C%C3%ADbola

which drew Spanish explorers deeper into the continent in search of these mythical cities of gold.  I guess they didn't head far enough north.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: thanatopsy on August 26, 2007, 09:10:05 AM
the book devoted a lot of space to what COULD BE American History


Precisely why the book is more appropriate for the mythology section. And, as you noted, it deals primarily with Chinese history while the other suggested book deals primarily with European history.  Again, this is an AMERICAN history section and I respectfully suggest that we stick to this subject and allow discussions of other cultures in their appropriate sections.

Look at the last 10 or 15 posts in this section --- how many of them actually attempt to analyze Menzies' book?  Instead, we are quoting links on a variety of other subjects and discussing the possibility of reading other books.  Most of the posts here which quote from Menzies are used to refute his myths but almost none even attempt to defend him.  Yes, I will grant that 4 people voted to discuss the book.  But how many are quoting chapter and verse from it and analyzing its premises?  This is in marked contrast to past readings where we discuss the actual contents of the chosen books rather than links about related or unrelated topics. As a student of American history, I suggest that the past pattern is preferable.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: weezo on August 26, 2007, 10:16:11 AM
Than,

It is perhaps perhaps possible that those in this forum may not all be the devoted students of American History that you are. I am certainly not one. If there was a category for World History, perhaps it would solve the problem, but the only forum for reading history is this one, so it seems that the users of the board expressed what they wanted to read and, more importantly, to discuss. Yes, the discussion was different than past discussion, but there is certainly value in broadening our knowledge rather than confine it to view already well-discussed.

I hope to find some time to go through the recent posts today and glean the suggested books and compile them into a new poll. I am uncertain whether to include the list of near-runs and/or to include the list of books that received no votes, but which may look interesting now that we got 1421 out of our systems.

Speaking only for myself, I was disappointed in the discussion of the Pocahontas book. It didn't seem to delve very well into the book, but veered off to a disussion of the times from a variety of souces. From that discussion, I got a lot of book selections for my "to buy" list, which is now three pages long. I will never acquire all the books on the list. On, the other hand, the discussion of the Shakepeare Riots got well into the subject, but again veered away into a discussion of the culture or lack of same in "the colonies". The discussion of the Shakespeare Riots did not induce me to read that book, although it did go deeply into the subject, the subject was not one that I found of personal interest. In this case, you did not find the subject of 1421 of personal interest, yet it seems to have sparked a lively debate on the board. Perhaps it would be better if, on the time when a choice is made to read a book that is not of personal interest to a member of the board, that that member just go with the flow and re-join the discussion when a personal interest does come up. Perhaps, in time, there will be a greater selection of History Book topics. But for now, it seems we should just agree to accommodate one another's needs and interests.

In short, Than, I'm sorry that the current selection did not meet your personal needs, but I do not think that your personal needs should dictate the course of the discussions. We all cannot be top dog at any point in any discussion.

I will in the future, go with my original intent to use two polls. One with a long list of possibilities, and one with the choices narrowed. I think this will result in a better concensus. I am aware that the four votes for 1421 did not comprise a majority of the voters. Perhaps in a run-off poll we can get a better handle on what most want to read. In any event, we are picking our way through this 21st century style of book discussions and will learn as we go.



Title: Re: American History
Post by: Dzimas on August 26, 2007, 10:40:06 AM
1421 did indeed pertain to American History as Menzies attempted to make a case for the Chinese discovering America before the Spanish.  In that sense, it was no different than some of our past discussions in the NYTimes as we related European events such as the French Revolution to the American Revolution.  In all fairness, weezo had no way of knowing what the book was like before she suggested it, and besides she wasn't the only one who voted for it.  We've been disappointed with other books in the past.  I didn't think much of Philbrick's Heart of the Sea or Millard's River of Doubt, but we discussed them just the same.  I believe it was you, thanatopsy, who at one point defended the selection because it is just as an interesting to refute a book's premise as it is to defend it.  I think the major problem is that we are having a hard time finding a book we can all agree on, and challenge each other to read and discuss it.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: weezo on August 26, 2007, 11:44:14 AM
Dzimas,

I had indeed read 1421 before it was recommended for this forum, and during the Shakespeare Riots, did some posting on some of the issues it brought to mind. I suspect that my interruptions were an underlying cause that led to the curiousity of those who voted to discuss this book here. Both here and on my Virginia History List, the academics routinely quoted blogs that dismissed the whole based as much on speculation as on fact. Like Than, many academics dismiss the possibility that China could have had greater technological capacity than Europeans did. The Chinese built huge junks to withstand the unknowns of the great oceans. Yes, it seems hard to believe that they could master such crafts with simple wood and bamboo, but reality of early technology suggests that before the knowledge of metal as a ship-building materials, great wonders were accomplished with the materials at hand.

I found it most amusing to discuss the Euro-centric definition of "discovery", making it clear that only literate Europeans could ever be credited with a "discovery" in history. That, to me, makes it a self serving definition that cannot be applied in the 21st century exploration of what has gone before.

Perhaps, what a good suggestion is that I made earlier this morning, that Liquid expand the forum to include History under it's own guise, separate from the books forum, and include boards that allow for the discussion of history from a world perspective rather than confine it to an American persepctive. Certainly, the tools of history will remain rooted in discussion of books, but we can then go afield and look at books which are not favored by  the history academecians, and look into works in the scientific fields to incorporate more knowledge in our pursuit of what has gone before.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: thanatopsy on August 26, 2007, 12:52:23 PM
Very well.  Carry on ...


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Dzimas on August 26, 2007, 01:09:01 PM
To belabour an issue, weezo, I'm not questioning the Chinese ability to sail the seven seas and even reach the American coastline, I am questioning the size of these ships, and that such an expedition would have been purged from Chinese records. For one thing, such ungainly ships would have been fodder for the high seas.  What you needed to circumnavigate the globe were small, responsive shis like the Caravels.  Imagine being confronted by huge swells and having to try to steer a 450 junk into an oncoming wave.The Pacific was anything but pacific.  It surprises me that Menzies, an except submarine captain, wouldn't have paused to contemplate these factors, but instead took the information he gleaned at face value.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: thanatopsy on August 26, 2007, 01:40:48 PM
BTW, it will be recalled that a couple of years back I recommended for variety that we consider Edgar Snow's Red Star Over China, Lafcadio Hearn's Glimpses ... and Gleanings ..., and Reed's Ten Days That Shook the World.  These were written by Americans but were not directly connected to American history just like Menzies's book and was advised that they were not suitable for our forum for that reason..  Since we have somehow decided to expand the format of this section, I assume that these suggestions are back on the table.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: weezo on August 26, 2007, 01:45:38 PM
Than,

I will include those titles in the next poll. Thanks for the suggestions. A few look quite interesting to me.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Dzimas on August 26, 2007, 01:52:19 PM
Personally, I think we can dispense with polls.  What made the American History forum work in the NYTimes is that we all more or less agreed on one book.  To put 15-20 books on the table and then winnow it down to five defeats the purpose of a convivial discussion.  I think we need to return to our roots, and that is reach a mutual consensus.


Title: Of Men and Whales
Post by: Dzimas on August 26, 2007, 02:07:36 PM
Leviathan caught my eye,

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0393060578/ref=amb_link_5268942_1/103-5711346-4722226?pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_s=asin-coop-gp-1-C&pf_rd_r=0ES8P1JBVDJKK0MEMBFM&pf_rd_t=101&pf_rd_p=302145701&pf_rd_i=9

looks like it goes far beyond the act of whaling and discusses the role it had in shaping American History.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: madupont on August 26, 2007, 02:08:28 PM
Dzimas re:#868 and Bob re:#869

I am not implying or even suggesting that Chinese vessels crossed the Pacific, what I referred to was Francis Drake's ability to run into a wreck of Porcelain that happened to be Spanish. Sorry for the misunderstanding.

Because of Drake's route to Hirado, Japan, he passes the Philippines but as the Chinese had been in the Philippines between the 9th and the 16th.centuries(which brings to mind, where did they go? Were they unwelcome in the Philippines  from that point on? Was this the period of their insular withdrawal of contact outside their own country which finally led to the Dowager Empress spending her Navy budget on a tea-house pavillion on the lake near her summer palace instead of reinforcing the Navy with ships and armaments?), Chinese had no doubt previously been trading up to the time and including the Spanish foundation of Cebu.

At first, I did not pick up your reference to the "Manila Galleon"; which did a once or twice a year run East to the Americas; specifically Acapulco is mentioned.

My  hypothesis is rather simple that finding porcelain anywhere other that the Marin County,California location and considerably southward slightly east to the state of Guerrero, implies a correlative to weezos quoting Menzies on Chinese wreckage but my clarification is that it was traffic, just not Chinese traffic in the area that Menzies apparently claimed.

#872 , in regard to this post by Dzimas on the Chiasson book, I find that I am beginning to feel a bit like caclark, when I notice that who gives a thumbs up to Chiasson's break-through book? --why Menzies of course.

I must however insist again please do not put historian Joseph Needham in this category, don't lump him in with the fictioneers, as an historian he records, but editing in a methodical manner, sorting through the record of a previous time, to place all material related to one facet of civilization's development in China into one volume of a series which includes other scientific and technical advances from the past, he wants to indicate the progress within a stipulated area of interest, which is why his university publisher accepted the title for the series: The History of Science and Civilization in China.    It is far more illuminating and offers the sources, rather than simply our primary education which informs us, or doesn't, how paper was made, how explosives were made, how printing was imported from the north(Korea), how ink is ground. Using the four letter expletive, I can say that I didn't even know how to do that -- grind ink-- when I learned how to 'read and write' to proceed with my studies. Every step of the way, Chinese of every background were friendly and willing to help answer my questions. Needham was simply in a position during his lifetime when the British were firmly ensconced in Hong Kong, so that he had access. I just do not doubt his credentials as an academic.  

You are correct, measurements were different and in fact could be adjusted by the whim of an emperor, I am sure we are all familiar with that trait by now, in case we missed out on it before now.  Also, the question of whether an emperor would have texts destroyed, yes they would and did. It is in fact mentioned that by the time of the "Cheng he" voyages, that eliminated the need for dealing with aggressive Muslim traders in the 14th. century, the current emperor who in the "China History" links was referred to as the Yongle Emperor, which set me back on my heels and I had to examine that a bit, was a man also so annoyed with the Manchu inroads culturally into his empire(and which they finally gained by simply replacing him and all before them until the Nationalist Sun Yat-sen) did exert a violent campaign to eradicate as much Manchu custom as possibly from his Empire.  At the very least it would destroy records exalting Manchu contributions.
They got even, as you know, and ran that interesting but corrupt bit of history,as happens every so often in China as other places (like Sung dynasty "cash"),with the seniors enjoying the good old days as stay at homes amidst the luxuries of the Forbidden City while the youngsters went off to flirt and live it up with the Japanese beginning the take over of Manchuria  (take another look at Peter O'Toole does a Mr.Chips to educate Pu-i, Bertolucci style, The Last Emperor).

I think that is precisely what gave Menzies an opening  to present his own view of what happened in that century -- about seven centuries ago?


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Lhoffman on August 26, 2007, 02:11:24 PM
It was quite impressive back in the day, the way the people in the History forum reached concensus with no vote.  And the discussions were always quite enjoyable to follow. 

Leviathan looks like a good read, as does Ten Days that Shook the World.


Title: Re: Of Men and Whales
Post by: thanatopsy on August 26, 2007, 02:44:26 PM
Quote from: Dzimas --
[b
Leviathan[/b] caught my eye ... looks like it goes far beyond the act of whaling and discusses the role it had in shaping American History.


To me, this is what studying history is all about -- what precisely can we glean from a particular episode in history that has relevance and can serve as a lesson in our present day?  This is why I have usually ended my discussions of a given book with a PAST IS PROLOGUE comment.

What possible lessons can we glean from a collection of myths is not evident to me as of this time.  But perhaps I'll come up with something when I finish Menzies.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: nytempsperdu on August 26, 2007, 08:58:34 PM
Ten Days That Shook The World would definitely be of interest to me, though a wider view as in Three Who Made A Revolution : http://www.amazon.com/Three-Who-Made-Revolution-Biographical/dp/0815411774/ref=sr_1_4/105-1630489-9185247?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1188176486&sr=8-4
might be preferable.  European socialism and the Russian Revolution were subjects I read much about in college majoring in (get this) "Comprehensive Social Studies With Concentration in History."  I also read quite a bit about the Fabians and municipal socialism in London a la Sidney & Beatrice Webb.  If anyone wants to take a side trip in this field, count me in.  If some want this thread to be solely U.S. History, there's always the Nonfiction thread.

Yours truly,

Comrade NYTemps Perdu   ;)


Title: Re: American History
Post by: madupont on August 26, 2007, 10:49:02 PM
Not entirely "always".  I decided to begin the discussion of -- Peeling the Onion, by Gunter Grass; to accord with how the space has been used thus far.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Lhoffman on August 26, 2007, 10:58:17 PM
NYtemps....If no one is interested in reading Ten Days that Shook the World, or Three Who Made a Revolution in this forum, I would be glad to join a discussion of such over in nonfiction.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: nytempsperdu on August 26, 2007, 11:06:31 PM
And I can think of few people I'd rather have a discussion with, lhoffman!   I still have both books and am otherwise engaged workwise for a few weeks (and wouldn't want to interfere with any already-begun discussion, anyway).  I read posts in here and a few other threads in somewhat scattershot fashion, but always note/read your posts in any forum so will be on the lookout. 


Title: Re: American History
Post by: weezo on August 26, 2007, 11:10:36 PM
Than,

I think the most important lesson we can learn from the Menzies book is that history is not an absolute, and even facts from long ago can remain hidden until someone makes the effort to uncover them.

It is my hope that Menzies is the beginning or a search into, not only who was the First to Discover America, but also who else besides the Europeans made voyages to discover and sometimes to relocate to other places. DNA will be able to assist somewhat in this pursuit, but I think it is important to learn that what we learned in our youth is not necessarily set in stone.

If you want to consider what advice such a discovery (or seed of a myth) can tell us is the importance of documenting even that which we would otherwise want to forget. Sometimes I wonder about us putting so much of our knowledge on the Internet which can be destroyed as simply as pulling the plug. What scientific knowledge are we burying in the desert so that no one in our current times knows what evil we are up to?


Title: Re: American History
Post by: weezo on August 26, 2007, 11:22:04 PM
I've added the two titles to my list for the next poll. Anything else anyone wants to add?

I am taking titles from the original post for this month only if they have since been mentioned - that someone is reading it, or has it in hand to do so.

I do hope that Liquid will read of the problem on here and set up another book history list to accomodate those who do not want to be limited only to American History. I will try to get the poll up in the next few days, and it will, for now, be open-ended so that additions can be made as new suggestions come in between now and the first.

Than, I wish the best for you in reconciling the time and effort you've put into this book, towards a fuller understanding of the role of speculative history in opening anew closed doors.



Title: Re: American History
Post by: Lhoffman on August 26, 2007, 11:59:05 PM
Nytemps...As to interrupting other discussions, I didn't think you meant to begin tomorrow.  Have you already read both books, then?


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Dzimas on August 27, 2007, 01:44:57 AM
Dear, dear weezo, you don't seem to get it.  We discuss the options and then reach a mutual consensus.  This is what makes this history forum work.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: weezo on August 27, 2007, 05:54:56 AM
Dzimas,

Seems too me that a concensus can be attained better with the voting than by merely discussing the next book. Personally, I prefer to see what everyone on the board thinks, not just the vocal majority.

In the last polling, eight votes were cast, four for 1421. Seems to me that this is a better concensus than a discussion. It allows each voice to be heard. We have the capacity for a better way to reach a concensus - why not use it?


Title: Re: American History
Post by: thanatopsy on August 27, 2007, 07:15:01 AM
``history is not an absolute, and even facts from long ago can remain hidden until someone makes the effort to uncover them.``

True.  But in order for a book to be categorized as  ''history'', its author must not persist in making up stories and attempting to palm them off as truth.  We have already discussed several clear errors by Menzies on this thread. More are sure to follow.

I don't mind discussing Menzies and, in fact, previously wrote that it is worth discussing. My hope is, however, that henceforth we will stick with real history in this section rather than myths which can readily be discussed in the mythology section of the forum.

Therefore, it is OK to discuss mythology.  But let's do so there, not here.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Dzimas on August 27, 2007, 10:51:52 AM
We got along without straw polls before, so I don't see why we need one now, but if that is the consensus then so be it.  I just think the book readings will encourage more participation if we arrive at a mutual consensus.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: thanatopsy on August 27, 2007, 01:45:32 PM
Sometimes it's just a little difficult to follow what Menzies is describing. For example, he indicates that as the Chinese fleet approached Puerto Rico they ''would have sighted the menacing, anvil-shaped volcano El Yunque near the east coast and turned to it for water.'' {p 297}

El Yunque is a rainforest, not a volcano. Puerto Rico does not have volcanoes:

http://www.volcanolive.com/puerto.html

The rainforest is inland and water could have been found far closer to the coast.

http://www.hechoenpuertorico.org/yunque/images/m_caribb.gif





Title: Re: American History
Post by: Dzimas on August 27, 2007, 03:02:24 PM
There is an El Yunque volcano in Chile,

http://www.volcano.si.edu/world/volcano.cfm?vnum=1506-02=

which last erupted in 1743.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Bob on August 27, 2007, 05:00:46 PM
As far as choosing a book to read and discuss, I'm inclined to agree with Dzimas. We seldom had a vote in the other forum, but just discussed things in general until a sort of consensus was reached. Sometimes decisions were arbitrary, but on the whole the system seemed to work. We had  guidelines which were flexible as to timing--open ended as they were.

As far as 1421, the reason I voted for it was to discuss just what we were discussing over the last week. That is: Did the Chinese "discover" America in the eurocentric sense of the word? We could also point out both the flaws and the strengths of the Menzies theory. I saw the book as being as much about America as about China. So I saw as fitting the criteria of a book concerning American History, much in the same way as a book about Columbus generally contains a lot of Spanish history and culture. (There's a new biography out on Amerigo Vespucci-would that be  eligible under the heading of American History--or would it be treading the borderline)?

Regarding the methodology of the discussion, I see what thanatopsy is getting at and perhaps we can get back to the chapter by chapter method and select a leader for the discussion as we go along. It gives more order to things, and though diversions will occur, it helps everyone stick to the book. Sometimes we rely too much on outside books when discussing a particular selection....I for one am guilty of that. I'll can cut back on that.


As far as going into the discussion of books on subjects outside of American History, I'll go for that. If a number of us can utilize the Non-Fiction forum we can start on that soon....I'd love a discussion on Reed's book and  and on THREE WHO MADE A REVOLUTION. I recently finished STALIN: THE COURT OF THE RED CZAR by Simon Sebag Monteforte. It was really good. Next month or so he's to publish a companion volume regarding Stalin's early years.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: madupont on August 27, 2007, 05:07:24 PM
Bob, I beg you. I just started a discussion on the memoirs of Gunter Grass, Peeling the Onion. Because in all this time,desdemona and I have had approximately four topics leading from inter-English/French economics; Kershaw; Bloomsbury Circle, Cassirer family in Europe.  So, I sent a message off to admin for a stipulated reading discussion but have not had an answer today, after realizing that it never rains but it pours.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Bob on August 27, 2007, 05:29:50 PM
Quote
I found it most amusing to discuss the Euro-centric definition of "discovery", making it clear that only literate Europeans could ever be credited with a "discovery" in history. That, to me, makes it a self serving definition that cannot be applied in the 21st century exploration of what has gone before.

I don't know that anybody here said that only literate Europeans could ever be credited with a "discovery" in history. Georaphical discovery seems to a Euro-centric concept. From my knowledge of Chinese history--which admittedly is sparse---the Chinese thought themselves the center of the world and its absolute ruler and expected that all peoples give tribute to them--thus there was no need of our concept of discovery. In order for the Europ-centric concept of discovery to exist, the possibility competing claims needed to exist--thus the need to declare a discovery in order to take possession of a geographical area and exploit it. The Chinese had no reason to do this since in their mind, the entire Earth was subject to China....there were no competing claims----The TREASURE FLEET was sent forth to trade and exact expected tribute to the Emperor--not to discover  or claim possession of anything or any peoples. Any new lands were simply recorded as such and were added to the list of peoples from whom tribute was expected. (A neat system if you ask me).


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Bob on August 27, 2007, 05:35:37 PM
Like the others I didn't mean to go over to another forum immediately, thus interupting things. I meant for us to utilize the Non Fiction Forum  appropriately, that is, for people to suggest a book at the next opportunity and see if we can get others to join us--in other words to do things politely and appropriately....

I havent gotten to see the Gunter Gras book. I'll have to visit NON FICTION and  see how things are going...


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Bob on August 27, 2007, 05:41:10 PM
Actually, come to think of it, not only was discovery Euro-centric, it was uniquely a Christian Concept. Roimans, Moslems, etc, Westerners in other words were used to conquering other lands, but really weren't out to discover. That concept came much later --in the 1400's and lasted only until the about the 1700's-not a long period in the scheme of human history...


Title: Re: American History
Post by: weezo on August 27, 2007, 08:50:20 PM
Than,

Curious about that passage, I looked for a link that would describe the mountains on Puerto Rico. On:

http://topuertorico.org/geogra.shtml

I found that one of the notable mountains contain El Yunque Peak. More information on El Yunque including the fact that the rainforest at one time encompased most of the island, is at:

http://topuertorico.org/reference/yunque.shtml and http://www.solboricua.com/elyunque/

Apparently Menzies was referring to a mountain not a volcano. Apparently the rain forest is a more popular tourist stop the the mountain peak. I didn't look too far into the sites, but didn't quickly find a picture or description of the shape of the peak.



Title: Re: American History
Post by: thanatopsy on August 27, 2007, 11:48:28 PM
El Yunque (pronounced YOON-keh)!  Wow - evidently, according to Menzies the Chinese fleet had a remarkable knack for finding their way from El Yunque in Chile (Pacific Ocean) to Guadalupe in the Caribbean vitually overnight.  Even in this day of SST transport, it would be difficult to duplicate that remarkable achievement. ::) ::) ::)


Title: Re: American History
Post by: nytempsperdu on August 28, 2007, 12:31:03 AM
Quote
Nytemps...As to interrupting other discussions, I didn't think you meant to begin tomorrow.  Have you already read both books, then?

Yes, but an embarrassingly long time ago, so would need to reread any chosen volume(but not along with the very long Trotsky's My Life--no remarks about his life being shorter than--and others, as erstwhile).  Why can't I help thinking October would be appropriate for such?  ;)


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Lhoffman on August 28, 2007, 12:59:50 AM
NyTemps....I have both books, and haven't yet read either.  It seems that others will be interested in discussing, too.  Mid September or October would be fine for me.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Dzimas on August 28, 2007, 04:43:28 AM
El Yunque (pronounced YOON-keh)!  Wow - evidently, according to Menzies the Chinese fleet had a remarkable knack for finding their way from El Yunque in Chile (Pacific Ocean) to Guadalupe in the Caribbean vitually overnight.  Even in this day of SST transport, it would be difficult to duplicate that remarkable achievement. ::) ::) ::)

All this in a remarkable two years!  But, I suppose Menzies misconstrued the El Yunque peak with a volcano, as weezo said.  I have to wonder about the editor, who approved this text.  Obviously, (s)he didn't bother with any kind of fact checking, even of the most basic kind.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: weezo on August 28, 2007, 06:10:13 AM
Dzimas,

I don't think editors do much, if any, fact checking, anymore. At least that is the sense I get from my friends on the history list at Library of Virginia. The academic presses may still do it, but I don't think the commercial ones do any more than check for grammar and spelling errors if that.

The mountain El Yonque is in the north east of Puerto Rico. Menzies said they were approaching from the east and probably missing noting the small island on the south east approach. And, the rain forest with the same name runs to the coast, so other than the fact that it is a mountain rather than a volcano, it seems the information is pretty good. Of course, Than is looking for a higher standard of accuracy, but that is OK.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Dzimas on August 28, 2007, 10:07:02 AM
I thought this was a good and polite view of 1421 by John E. Wills, Jr., which also talks about the ramifications of using such a book in history classes,

He is instead an amateur seized by a great vision, unwilling to let it unfold in increments, only reluctantly acknowledging the weaknesses that needed to be dealt with before moving from one part of his big picture to another.
http://www.historycooperative.org/journals/whc/2.1/br_wills.html

Another thought on the massive treasure ships which Menzies describes.  If they were as big as he says they would have been bulky and slow going, especially when laden down with goods, and one would assume they would have brought back all kinds of goodies from the New World to share with the Emperor back in China.  This would have resulted in a serious drag on the timetable Menzies adheres to in the book.  I think it is as Wills says, "Menzies applies no critical standards to his sources of information, especially when they support his big picture."


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Dzimas on August 28, 2007, 10:25:20 AM
Probably one of Menzies' more interesting claims is that Columbus knew where he was going.  By his own accounts, Columbus remained singularly obsessed with the idea that he was on the outer fringes of the Orient.  No amount of land mass seemed to deter him from this vision.  As such, Columbus did not discover America, since he refused to admit the isthmus of Mexico was part of a larger continent.  Vespucci was the first to correctly surmise that the Brazilian coastline which he followed was a new continental land mass, for which Waldseemüller credited him when he produced a new world map in 1507.  Vespucci, being a true man of science, waited until after he had mapped more of the coastline on his subsequent voyages before making the claim, determining that the coastline didn't match with any part of Asia previously described or shown on maps.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Dzimas on August 28, 2007, 11:02:57 AM
Interesting article on the Piri Reis map which Menzies refers to,

http://www.world-mysteries.com/sar_1.htm

The most fascinating part is the accuracy to which the Antarctic coastline was transcribed using spheroid trigonometry.  The author notes that this could only have done around 4000 BC when the coastline was not under ice, suggesting that the map was the result of painstaking research, incorporating numerous maps found in Alexandria at the time.  I suppose it is either a great mystery or an elaborate hoax, but it seems enough experienced cartographers have reviewed it and determined its authenticity.  However, the author falsely notes that accurate longitudes were not done until John Harrison invented the chronograph.  The Greeks had determined the circumference of the earth to within 50 kilometers of its actual circumference.  Interesting article on one of the possible means of determing longitude back then, using an Antikythera,

http://www.21stcenturysciencetech.com/articles/Spring03/Antikythera.html


Title: Re: American History
Post by: madupont on August 28, 2007, 01:15:24 PM
Dzimas,re:#912

"... Menzies describes.  If they were as big as he says they would have been bulky and slow going, especially when laden down with goods, and one would assume they would have brought back all kinds of goodies from the New World to share with the Emperor back in China."

Can't imagine what. As Bob somewhat suggested in an earlier post, they were Chungquoren,at the very center of the world(Beijing was under the North Star by which they measured astronomically, until Li Matu that Italian priest,Fr.Matteo, compared Western and Eastern astronomies at their observatory). Thus, if they had landed, a conjecture I am using as an example, I am not saying that I believe they did, they were likely to have remained fairly close to which ever coast and that I cannot argue either. Although in their own country, they were for millennia used to river travel inland which had to be avoided in the Spring and Autumn flood seasons;and built extensive canal systems, drainage facilities and "weirs"(an English term) for inundating fields in the South for rice paddies; otherwise using terraced systems of agriculture (which we later see employed by Thomas Jefferson as one of his experiments).

My point?  I can't recall a period of their history now between five and six millenia when they weren't a Civilization, if somewhat barbaric in custom  comparative to Greek and Egyptian habits of funerary arrangements under a Supreme Authority Figure with "stripes" to boot, once they had used the Horse. What in the world would they have thought they needed to have chosen to bring back from the New World that they didn't already have?


Title: Re: American History
Post by: weezo on August 28, 2007, 02:04:38 PM
Dzimas,

Thanks for the link to the further information on the Piri Reis map. It would suggest that Menzies' assertions that the Chinese were responsible for the cartography that made the Portuguese and Columbus voyages a possibilities, may be even older than Zheng He's voyages, and that perhaps Zheng He sailed with such information at hand in order to fulfill his emperor's intent. The existence of accurate maps from BC would explain how Greenland was so well depicted without the Chinese having to explore it in the supposed "only year" when the ice would have receded enough to allow it.



Title: Re: American History
Post by: madupont on August 28, 2007, 02:07:01 PM
"I don't think editors do much, if any, fact checking, anymore."  weezo.

 And, Dzimas.  I just want both of you to know there is considerable fact "checking" going on and it is political.  Why resource material is not trustworthy is because material is "edited" and then deleted as if the events never existed.  A considerable amount of that has been going on for the last seven years. I check  for something that I wrote about back in 2001, and researched the hard way, through old newspaper files at a local municipal library; and then figured out with the help of a local news-press librarian how to access further information on the case from their files of back-copy (which are no longer accessible except by excessive cost  compared to what I paid in on-line fees then) and then applying the same process to the LATimes which had done editorials and columns as the case went on through the years.

Finally, I noticed when in discussion at immigration-forum where weezo and I both brought up varying things, I used a conventional resource to be sure of a locale that has come up mentioned in more recent news coverage about "prisons for illegal aliens" and disturbingly found out that no comment connects the identity of this place today to what it was.  Back then, before this new century, the local Republican authorities did what they wanted on this case until challenged by the state. Now, the State having gone through a process of becoming more Republican on the Federal level until forced to reverse, in trying to keep their local constituency and patriots intact,have hidden the matter which might be deemed embarrassing as revelatory of their though process. This was one of the first splashy cases of ignoring Habeas Corpus, and the news didn't even make it to New Jersey; but it was criticized from California!  In other words, in the usual manner of politicians, they assure the usual resources that they will be paid for their editing time and making a new and sleeker storage spot for data on-line. 

To me, this goes along with the "saving" of the Presidential papers of two Bush presidencies in libraries which will specialize at universities for which they have a special fondness; and I have argued that in letters to the editors, long before they were interested, you know where.

The more this policy spreads through all the media, pretty soon your intellectually astute publishing houses begin to bend the knee and the dumbing down begins. That is already a fact accompli in some of the academic press; but fortunately, not only are there some I.F. Stone -rs left in journalism but librarians did not take kindly to the current administration right from the start.  One of the best resources is still The New York Review of Books, on academic presses you can trust, and their continuing "review" of books on politics.

But, I rue the fact that I got bent out of shape last night in the wee hours of overnight trying to look back on an event as Proposition 13 which the resource calmly declares as" the event that brought Reagan to the Presidency"; and here we are.

If I get control of my temper somewhere before dusk, I may reformat the straight facts to the best of my ability.

 


Title: Re: American History
Post by: thanatopsy on August 28, 2007, 04:02:54 PM
``Than is looking for a higher standard of accuracy, but that is OK. ``

 You may think I'm being unduly harsh with Menzies. But that is not the case. All I'm basically looking for is the same degree of professionalism from the author as that shown by the others we discuss on this forum. As Gintaras pointed out, the book is poorly edited. And that does not speak well for its editors or those academicians who reportedly assisted in the book production.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: caclark on August 28, 2007, 04:09:09 PM
Menzies’ theory about the Chinese origin of the 1513 Piri Reis map is another of his fanciful theories that has been discredited. But Menzies is not the first crank to offer for the faith of the terminally gullible a self-serving explanation for how this remarkable map came about. In 1968 in his book Chariots of the Gods, Erich von Daniken postulated that the Piri Reis map was a view of Earth from outer space. He identified aircraft landing fields in South America, pointed to Egyptian artifacts found in the pyramids, and cited Bible passages as evidence that Earth had been visited in ancient times by extraterrestrials.

Scholars were much calmer in their study of the map citing well-known sources both medieval and ancient to explain its origin. At the risk of causing an uproar in here, I must add that one scholar published his research maintaining that the Piri Reis representation of the Caribbean was developed from maps drawn up on one of Columbus’ voyages.

And now I’ll duck out of here before the shooting starts.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Bob on August 28, 2007, 05:21:50 PM
Ya needn't duck...almost every book I've read opn he era explains how cartographers were notorious for filling in blank spaces with "islands" which were either speculative or just plain the figment of their imagination. They just loved to fill up blank spaces. Mariners knew this and knew or had a good idea which "islands" were valid. In the same vein, maps of known places were sometimes highly accurate, and even today show the skills and knowledge level was quite high then. So it's really hard to tell unless we have a good guide. I do know that Morrison points out that some of the so-called depictions of Puerto Rico were not really Puerto Rico, but just added space fillers. Not being that familiar with the map being discussed, I don't know what present day cartographers would say about its validity or reliability.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: weezo on August 28, 2007, 05:30:43 PM
Clark,

If there is room for Columbus in the theories of the origins of the Piri Reis map, then there is room for Zheng He and his cartographers as well. I am intrigued by the accuracy prior to the western discovery of how to measure longitude and latitude, but it is truely mind-boggling to understand that there were cartographers in a civilization that existed 4000 BC and whose evidence persists today. I would like to remind that the "explanations" offered by "scholars" are also theories with more or less support than Menzies has. I can accept expecting that Asians, Filipinos, and Australians may have at one time had a more advanced civilization that allowed for discovery especially of the north coast of Antarctica, that somehow was disseminated and reached the middle-eastern libraries. It would be interesting to be able to take samples of the coast of Antarctica and find out if there was once a civilization there that brought near or distant traders to those shore. Perhaps that's where the lost colony of Atlantis ended up at!

Now that you mention the theories of interstellar visiters to earth with evidence in Peru and elsewhere, I remember reading that book, The Chariots of the Gods. It did provide a neat explanation for the multiple and personally characterized gods of the Greeks. It also provided a theory on how similar pyramids exist in both Egypt and Central America. The theories have stayed with me longer than the source of same. Such theories are often the basis for sci-fi fiction and are perhaps given some credence in some Star Trek episodes.

In any event, studying speculative history is a nice way to expand one's horizons. Is it modern mythology? Probably now. Mythology has traditionally been believed by the majority of people, rather a select reading audience. What I find unconvincing are the "debunking" articles I've read so far on Menzie's book. So much seems to depend on downgrading what the Chinese were capable of doing at a time when western civilization was just beginning to emerge form a "dark age" that didn't happen to the Chinese. To me, that is a very suspect and easily rejected counter-argument.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Bob on August 28, 2007, 05:38:00 PM
Quote
By his own accounts, Columbus remained singularly obsessed with the idea that he was on the outer fringes of the Orient.  No amount of land mass seemed to deter him from this vision.  As such, Columbus did not discover America, since he refused to admit the isthmus of Mexico was part of a larger continent.

Now that's a real valid point. What did Columbus discover? Without a doubt he discovered a bunch of islands and part of  what is now  Central Amerca. Isn't the Central American discovery enough to award him the title? Or, as you suggest, did he have have to know he was discovering a new land mass in order to claim credit? Can you discover something holding a mistaken belief of just what the nature of the discovery itself is? Could he not have discovered America though he denied it was a new land, but was merely a part of Asia? So what if it wasn't Asia, he discovered those lands and validly claimed for God and Country in accordance with the custom of the day.

But the point you bring up presents a very valid piece of logic...I can readily see the objection

I'd have to loook this up, but i remember that Columbus finally acknowledged his discoveries were not a part of the Asian land mass he thought they were...but I don't know whether he ever acknowledged they were part of new continents.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Bob on August 28, 2007, 06:00:16 PM
I was wrong--or at least partially wrong....here's a quote to understand why:

Quote
During this voyage, Columbus became the first Renaissance European to set foot on the American mainland when he went ashore at the Paria Peninsula, in what was to become Venezuela. At first he considered it another island, then feeling the full force of the Orinoco, a mighty freshwater river, he was inspired to write, "I believe that this is a very great continent, until today unknown." Later, however, he reconsidered; it was, he said, actually an extension of China, perhaps paradise, situated on that part of the world that protrudes like a woman's nipple to be closer to heaven.

That's from an internet source but it indicates though he iniitially acknowledged a new continent he later retracted it...Makes Dzimas's point all the more telling.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: madupont on August 28, 2007, 06:13:42 PM
weezo,re:#921
"... when western civilization was just beginning to emerge form a "dark age" .  There's another conundrum, when was that?  I was just reminded recently in watching the PBS on the Iberian Peninsula that for their premise,Islamic culture and the cross-fertilization of science and architecture,etc. this would have been the 9th.century.

It sounds positive in terms of north of there because Charlemagne has been consolidating. Then it goes negative or south again as the Vikings arrive from the north,destroy everything in sight on the coast of what is France today(including monasteries where there were already comparison works of earlier civilization) sailing on up the Seine, delighted to see Paris in the Spring, sending the Parisi fleeing,screaming in every direction as the Northmen did their best to chop out this wonderful Roman city such as it was.

Six of one, half a dozen of the other because Iberia soon reverts into doctrinal divisiveness and slaughter, and there is a rather jagged record
of ups and downs

But if we use the reference point of the Chinese mariner, we are now in the 14th.(and 15th) centuries when the West has come through, Marco Polo has been and discovered, if not "instant noodles",something he can call Makaruni.  There are many dark periods in Chinese history so that I would be hard put where to begin; you will have to look at that aspect a little more before assuming that they didn't have set-backs. Start anywhere for a sample, like when did they build the wall and why, and who paid the price? It is all comparative.
 


Title: Re: American History
Post by: caclark on August 28, 2007, 06:24:04 PM
Here is a reposting my previous post of June 13, 2007. Bookmark it this time, Dzimas.
- caclark

* * * * * * * * * *

Blame it on the cartographer
(link provided below for the full article)

“Vespucci came to the world's attention chiefly through the publication in 1503 and 1504 of two brief letters he purportedly wrote to Lorenzo de Medici about a voyage undertaken for the king of Portugal. Obviously the work of an educated man (the Vespuccis were a prosperous family in Florence), the letters managed to be both scholarly and entertaining, combining a sober discussion of navigational issues with the news that the natives of the New World would have sex with anybody, including Mom. Vespucci, or perhaps his anonymous publisher, also had the wit to entitle the first letter Novus Mundus, the New World, an audacious and as it turned out accurate claim.
 
“The letters were by far the most interesting account of explorations in the Americas that had appeared up to that time and caused a sensation that if anything exceeded that created by Columbus's description of his first voyage ten years earlier. The letters were reprinted in every European language and soon came to the attention of Waldseemueller and his friends, who were members of a think tank of sorts in the town of Saint-Die, Lorraine, now part of France. The Waldseemueller group published Cosmographiae Introduction (Introduction to Cosmography), the first attempt to update the geography texts of the ancients. They were quite taken with Vespucci's idea that the Americas were a new land, since it meant they had gone beyond the knowledge of the ancients, in whose shadow they had long toiled. They thought it only appropriate that AV's name grace the new land, of whose extent they had at that point only the vaguest inkling. The naming of America after Amerigo Vespucci was thus a bit capricious but not entirely undeserved.”
- CECIL ADAMS


http://www.straightdope.com/classics/a4_021.html


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Dzimas on August 28, 2007, 06:36:18 PM
The letters certainly helped gain Vespucci noteriety, but don't forget that he extensively mapped the coastline of South America, providing valuable new information for mapmakers like Waldseemueller.  As such Vespucci was the first known person to give shape to the new continent.  In addition, Vespucci more thoroughly mapped the islands of the Carribean.  He was the celebrity of the day.  Columbus died in ignominity, and probably would have remained there had he not been rescued by Washington Irving and mythologized into the discoverer of America. 

Columbus had all sorts of theories for the fresh water eminating form the Orinoco.  Boorstin noted one wonderful theory that the fresh water sprang from the nipple of a giant fountain rising up from as yet undisclosed place in the Carribean, probably inspiring the search for the Fountain of Youth, which led Ponce de Leon to la Florida.  Columbus was all over the place, but hopelessly lost in his adventures, to read Boorstin and to read his own journals.  This is partly due to Columbus' religious beliefs, which grew all the more fervent with age.  It is this same religious fervor that led many missionaries to believe that the Mayans were one of the lost tribes of Israel because of the crosses atop their pyramids.

Vespucci is not only more entertaining to read, but puts forward much more plausible hypotheses for what he saw on his voyages of discovery.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Dzimas on August 28, 2007, 06:47:35 PM
The Piri Reis map may very well have used information gathered by Vespucci, not Columbus, since Vespucci mapped a very long stretch of South America, which some cartographers believe is what has been mistakingly read as Antarctica on the Piri Reis map.  But then I guess it depends on one's historical or political bent, as maddie noted upstream. 

I have no idea what maps the Chinese had at their disposal, and it doesn't seem Menzies knows either.  I imagine most of the maps were their own from previous travels, as the Chinese had long established trade routes to the Middle East and Africa.  Whether they came across Greek, Phoenician or Summarian maps on their journeys is anyone's guess, but suffice it to say there is no way Zheng He could have covered so much ground on a two year voyage, even if his flotilla branched out in all directions, as Menzies implies.  If they came in contact with so many places and so many people, why is there virtually no corroborating evidence of these contacts? 

Menzies' theories simply don't bear up under any scrutiny, and have been lambasted in one journal after another.  Apparently he is now gleaning information from the feedback he gets on his website, but as Wills noted, this is kind of a self-fulfilling effort, as he no doubt will take only that which supports his arguments. 


Title: Re: American History
Post by: caclark on August 28, 2007, 07:01:53 PM
"....Columbus died in ignominity, and probably would have remained there had he not been rescued by Washington Irving and mythologized into the discoverer of America."

You're right that Irving did perpetuate the Columbus legend. But CC was not sufficiently ignominious to keep the land allotted for the U.S. capitol from being named the District of Columbia more than three decades before Irving published his book.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: johnr60 on August 28, 2007, 08:26:13 PM
>This is partly due to Columbus' religious beliefs

I just want to point out that this might be better phrased as something like "worldview"-- the science and religion of what we call the civilized world in 1500 were in agreement.  Columbus believed the Orinoco to be the river of Purgatory from a Dantean picture.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Bob on August 28, 2007, 08:29:52 PM
On the other hand:

I didn't see any history of explorers flocking to get funding to go west in order to get to Asia prior to Columbus. His home country declined to fund Columbus, as did Portugal, and if memory serves, so did France. Only Spain  agreeed to fund him. And then he went and discovered the flock of islands and word spread throughout Europe of "new discoveries to the west." Columbus brought the western island to the attention of Europe and as a result of his voyages and discoveries, men like Vespucci then chose to follow in his footsteps. Had there been no Coumbian voyages, Vespucci probably might never even have thought of going west. No Columbus, no vespucci. Take Christopher Clolumbus  out of the picture and we have no Vespucci discovering anything. Vespucci was dependent on Columbus. It was Vespucci's "goal to fulfill Columbus's hopes of reaching Asia." (Boorstin, page 245).

I sort of like Felipe Fernandez-Armesto's view. In his biography of Columbus he points out that "the discovery of America was a process which began with Columbus but unfolded  bit by bit after his time, without being fully complete until our time." (Armesto--COLUMBUS--page 190.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Bob on August 28, 2007, 08:50:31 PM
Since neither Columbus nor  Vespucci never got to North America, we can't say they dscovered it---they never came here and never knew there was a continent or land mass here--John Cabot discovered the North American continent.

I have an 1827 History of the United States which credits Columbus with the discovery of America and gives Vespucci a one liner:

"In 1499, Alonzo de Ojeda, a companion of Columbus in his first expedition, sailing under the partronage of several Portugues merchants, discovered the continent at Paria, in the fifth degree of north latitude. Americus Vespucius, a Florentine gentleman who accompanied him, published, on his return, an account of the voyage and a description of the country which they had visited; and from him it derives its name." (HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES  published by Collins and Hannay [no author provided] 1827, page 11)

here we have an "unknown"  Alonzo de Ojeda being given credit, hmmmm!!


Title: Re: American History
Post by: thanatopsy on August 28, 2007, 09:30:21 PM
now I’ll duck out of here before the shooting starts.



Van Daniken was a fraud and his theories were exposed for the mysticism that they were.  He alleged that certain rocks were created by space alien intruders and years later the actual artist fessed up that it was he who invented those creative works of artistic fiction. Meanwhile Van Daniken made a lot of money from his bogus works such as his books, his radio show on WMCA-AM, and his documentaries. It is a good bet that Menzies is profiting quite handsomely because of his mythic collection in 1421 and will eventually stop when someone in his fold will expose him as happened with VD.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Dzimas on August 29, 2007, 03:08:08 AM
John, while it is true that most enligtened persons of the day tried to reconcile natural science with religion, not all explorers were as mythologically bound as Columbus.  Vespucci for one.  Cortez was another.  They sailed under the auspices of the church and state, but had very pragmatic views in regard to what they saw.  Cortez compared the Aztec cities to ancient Roman cities, not the lost cities of the Bible.   No telling what kind of perspective Columbus would have put the Aztecs in, if they didn't eat him for lunch. 

Columbus seemed a reasonable enough man at first, weaned on Ptolemy's Geographia, but seemed unwilling to update his views of the globe as most explorers had done.  Few accepted Ptolemy's circumference of the earth, but Columbus did.  Some say it was because it served his purposes, as the Spanish court would not have granted him an expedition if they had known just how far away China was.  In addition to misjudging the circumference, Ptolemy also made China quite a bit larger than it actually is on his map.  Understandable, given the time he made it.  But other Greek astronomers, like Eratosthenes came much closer, but not as close as I had previously given the Greeks credit for,

However a nagging question was how big was the Earth? About 200 BC. Eratosthenes, a Greek astronomer, discovered a way to measure the circumference of the Earth. He had heard reports from the city of Syene Egypt, which was on the equator, that the Sun shown directly down vertical wells on the first day of summer. Eratoshtenes did not observe such phenonmenon at his home, thus he concluded that the Sun never reaches Zenith at his home in Alexandria 7o north of Syene.

Eratosthenes measured the Sun to be about 7o south of his local zenith on the first day of summer (the summer solstice). Based upon this observation is concluded that distance from Alexandria and Syene must be 7/360 or 1/50 that of Earth's circumference since 360o make up a complete circle.

At the time the standardunit of measurement was called a stade and is thought to be about 1/6 of a kilometer. The distance from Syene to Alexandria was about 5000 stades. Thus, Eratosthenes estimated the Earth's circumference to be about

50 x 5000 = 25,000 stades = 42,000 km.

The modern value for the circumference of the Earth is 40,000 km. So Eratosthenes was correct to within 5% of the actual value.  (http://However a nagging question was how big was the Earth? About 200 BC. Eratosthenes, a Greek astronomer, discovered a way to measure the circumference of the Earth. He had heard reports from the city of Syene Egypt, which was on the equator, that the Sun shown directly down vertical wells on the first day of summer. Eratoshtenes did not observe such phenonmenon at his home, thus he concluded that the Sun never reaches Zenith at his home in Alexandria 7o north of Syene.

Eratosthenes measured the Sun to be about 7o south of his local zenith on the first day of summer (the summer solstice). Based upon this observation is concluded that distance from Alexandria and Syene must be 7/360 or 1/50 that of Earth's circumference since 360o make up a complete circle.

At the time the standardunit of measurement was called a stade and is thought to be about 1/6 of a kilometer. The distance from Syene to Alexandria was about 5000 stades. Thus, Eratosthenes estimated the Earth's circumference to be about

50 x 5000 = 25,000 stades = 42,000 km.

The modern value for the circumference of the Earth is 40,000 km. So Eratosthenes was correct to within 5% of the actual value.)


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Dzimas on August 29, 2007, 03:20:40 AM
By that logic, Bob, then one has to give credit to a lot of people, as the westward urge had been a strong one for some time, dating back to the Vikings, and according to Farley Mowat, to the Albans, and probably all the way back to the Greeks and Sumerians.  Surely, these stories and myths filtered into the European consciousness, not to mention maps that showed land masses between Europe and China.  Although Cipango most likely referred to Japan, even if floating a bit too far away from the Asian mainland.  One has to give Columbus credit for finally getting one of these exploration missions funded, and had he not brought back something it probably would have been the end of such voyages for some time. But, discovery implies knowing where you are, which you noted in one of your earlier posts, and Columbus after four voyages still felt he was the edge of the Orient.  Vespucci correctly felt he had discovered a new continent. 

However, if we are to believe Menzies both were about 80 years too late.  Unfortunately, no Chinese map survives which shows anything approaching the continental land masses of North and South America, although Menzies believes that the Piri Reis map was based on Chinese maps of the time.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Dzimas on August 29, 2007, 03:31:52 AM
It is interesting to me that the Chinese chose not to sail East, daring convention.  What makes Columbus's voyage special is that the defied convention by sailing in the opposite direction of European voyages at the time, because most everyone felt that the distant was far too great to reach China and that there was little or no land mass enroute to replenish supplies.  Alan Taylor, in American Colonies, felt that such a voyage would have never been undertaken had not the Ottoman empire been so powerful, as they controlled the Sinai, forcing Europeans to navigate around the horn of Africa.  Columbus thought he had found a shortcut to the Orient.  Magellan would later prove how wrong Columbus was.  It took 18 months for Magellan to reach Guam, completing roughly two-thirds of the journey, without side trips to Antarctica and Greenland and exploring the Eastern coastine of North America.  It took another 16 months for the survivors of this voyage to complete the circumnavigation.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Dzimas on August 29, 2007, 04:29:02 AM
Thanatopsy, I agree with you that Menzies is pretty much playing to the same audience that was attracted to Van Daniken books (weezo excepted).  However, he is much smarter than VD in that he is keeping his events terrestrial and therefor more in the realm of plausibility than were VD's bogus theories on alien encounters.  Menzies conveniently finds ways to skirt conflicting information, choosiing to accentuate the positive and eliminate the negative, as Johnny Mercer used to sing.


Title: Who Came First?
Post by: Dzimas on August 29, 2007, 05:45:56 AM
I have to wonder if we are going to have another spate of these books, like all those books on the Bermuda Triangle back in the 70s.  My question is why all these theories continue to skirt around the fact that the so-called native Americans found their way to the Amercan continents millinea before the Chinese, Columbus or even the Egyptians, if we are to believe Hyerdahl?  The Kon-Tiki expedition was probably one of the better expeditions at explaining how Polynesians may have come to the Americas so long ago.  We know that they came to Easter Island. 


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Bob on August 29, 2007, 08:33:05 AM
Quote
discovery implies knowing where you are, which you noted in one of your earlier posts, and Columbus after four voyages still felt he was the edge of the Orient.  Vespucci correctly felt he had discovered a new continent. 

Agreed--good point


Title: Re: American History
Post by: thanatopsy on August 29, 2007, 08:41:38 AM
Menzies conveniently finds ways to skirt conflicting information


Yup.  I'll give him credit for being clever as well as entertaining.


*************************************************************************************************


The Rhode Island Tower - p 329 et seq


Menzies claims it was created by Chinese settlers in what is present day Rhode Island.  Earlier investigations into it sugggest it was created by British settlers/colonialists:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Newport_Tower_(Rhode_Island)

While I certainly am no expert on architecture (heck, I wouldn't even qualify as a rank amateur on the subject), the structure clearly appears to be of Western origin. There are no reported Eastern inscriptions on it or any other proofs of Chinese origin.  But, again, Menzies is not convinced.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Bob on August 29, 2007, 08:45:38 AM
Quote
then one has to give credit to a lot of people, as the westward urge had been a strong one for some time, dating back to the Vikings, and according to Farley Mowat, to the Albans, and probably all the way back to the Greeks and Sumerians.

Not really, I was suggesting that if we take away Columbus and give it to Vespucci, then I would agree with Armesto's theory that the discovery of America was  a process and give due credit to others who came after Vespecci. Armesto's idea begins with Columbus, presupposes he is the discoverer, others presuppose Vespucci. My idea wouldn't  push things all the way back. I would still give Columbus credit for bringing the Western approaches to the attention of Europe and thus starting the voyages West.

Just an oppinion, yours is an interesting proposition. There's a new  biography of Vespucci out now. I'll have to buy it


Title: Re: American History
Post by: caclark on August 29, 2007, 12:10:28 PM
Dzimas, August 29, 2007 at 3:20 AM: ".....discovery implies knowing where you are, which you noted in one of your earlier posts, and Columbus after four voyages still felt he was the edge of the Orient....."

Since when did discovery imply knowing where you are? I don't grasp that logic at all. It's like saying that if you stumble onto something on your way to somewhere but don’t know exactly what it is you’ve turned up, then you haven’t really discovered anything. That's just silly. Many initial discoveries are accidental and all of them represent just the tip of a much larger iceberg. When Ben Franklin flew a kite and got a jolt, that didn't teach him how to build a hydroelectric power plant. But the experiment did seem to corroborate his long held theory that lightening was in fact electricity.

Columbus didn't set out to discover a new world. He was just seeking a shorter trade route to Asia than the route then in use. Toward that goal, he failed miserably. But along the way, he encountered something unexpected and it proved to be a watershed event in human history. That's why I find so irrational and fanatical the resistance to calling it a discovery.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: johnr60 on August 29, 2007, 01:39:46 PM
Dzimas:

We're going a bit astray here, but my (minor) point was that until fairly recently science and religion were generated from the same source.  Columbus's "religious beliefs" unnecessarily points to an issue that just didn't exist.

The numbers of Erastosthenes are a prime example.

This paraphrased from an article by C. W. Wilson. I'll find the link if somebody wants it. 

There are precisely 216,000 stade in the polar circumference of the earth. That happens to be sixty times sixty times sixty. Or 360 times sixty. It is easy to see at a glance that each degree of the earth's circumference must be sixty stades long. A degree is made up of sixty minutes, so each minute is one stade long. A minute is made up of sixty seconds, so each second is a sixtieth of a Greek stade. And this happens to be a hundred Greek feet.  This is staggering, for the classical Greeks of Plato's time did not know the size of the earth. Yet their measuring system proves that they took their stade from some civilization that did.

Further here:

http://theabysmal.wordpress.com/?s=campbell

search "her names"

In other words Eratosthenes uses these numbers because he believes in a what we call a mythological tradition and that tradition is repeated in Genesis, the Sumerian King List, India, Iceland, the Mayans and the ball courts of Mexico. 



Title: Re: American History
Post by: Bob on August 29, 2007, 04:21:21 PM
Quote
Since when did discovery imply knowing where you are? I don't grasp that logic at all. It's like saying that if you stumble onto something on your way to somewhere but don’t know exactly what it is you’ve turned up, then you haven’t really discovered anything. That's just silly.

At first glance it does sound silly, but there is a logic to it. Voyagers who stumble on lands and then leave those lands without knowing they  may have "discovered" something are generally not given credit by geographers, explorers or historians. I think the closest situation which might be classified as a pre-Columbian discovery was the Viking experience. But that's a whole other discussion.

I'm sure that sometime prior to Franklin "discovering" the connection between lightening and electricity, more than one person had already done so. But Franklin gets the credit--why? Because he recognized the importance of the discovery and passed that knowledge on to the general public. So knowledge of what you have is an important factor--not the only one, but an important one. Things are discovered every day--and ignored because the guy doesn't know what he has. He walks away from it. Clolumbus didn't walk away from it, of course...but what, after all, did he discover? A bunch of islands, part of Central America, and the mouth of the Orinoco? I say it's enough to give him credit--but others maintain its not---all of which makes for an interesting discussion.

I respect your opinion and I'm quite sure others do--but I'll hold to it for now.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: caclark on August 29, 2007, 05:45:11 PM
Bob, August 29, 2007 at 4:21 PM: "....Voyagers who stumble on lands and then leave those lands without knowing they  may have "discovered" something are generally not given credit by geographers, explorers or historians."

Bob,

I don't fundamentally disagree with that. But so what if Columbus mistakenly thought he had reached islands off the coast of India. Wrong though he was, it was no small feat. It would be surpassed by others, as Dzimas rightly argues. But would any of those who followed have even made their own journeys had it not been for Columbus?

I used the tip of the iceberg metaphor because any discovery is just a start no matter how meager it may appear in hindsight. I can't take anything away from Columbus simply because he didn’t make land on both North America and South America on that first voyage, came to realize that this was someplace other than Asia, and then proceeded to chart out coastlines. All that would have been more than one should reasonably expect. He accomplished enough as it was.

What stands out in this discussion are some of the reasons given for why Columbus’ first voyage should not qualify as a discovery; he wasn’t the first (no argument there from me or anyone else on that), he didn’t settle here, he didn’t know where he was, the Chinese may or may not have preceded him by 71 years, and so on. What comes through loudest and clearest in all these arguments is that the idea that Columbus discovered America is still a powerful idea, so powerful in fact that some people will resort to some pretty desperate reasoning in order to annihilate it.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: weezo on August 29, 2007, 06:06:16 PM
Clark,

Two earlier discoveries of American you are forgetting, are the Albans in about 1000 AD, who sailed first to Iceland to escape the Norsemen, then to Greenland, both east and west coasts, and then to Laborador and eventually to Newfoundland. The Albans, although trying to stay out of the way of the Norsemen, kept up their trade in Valuta, seal skins and blubber and traded with Europe, sailing south of Greenland to avoid detection. There is perhaps evidence of regular crossings of the North Atlantic between Laborador and Britain which included priests to perform marriages and baptisms. Such records would be in the vatican.

In addition, there is the evidence that Columbus found Portuguese speaking "natives" on Puerto Rico.

It seems to me that those who defend the "discoveryness" of Columbus are grabbing at straws in semantics to preserve the status of their "hero". Why should the "discovery" of America be treated differently from the "discovery" of Europe?



Title: Re: American History
Post by: Bob on August 29, 2007, 07:26:33 PM
caclark: I quite agree. You are repeating much of my position on the matter, ie., "it was no small feat. It would be surpassed by others, as Dzimas rightly argues. But would any of those who followed have even made their own journeys had it not been for Columbus?"

Although I can respect the other views, I still hold  the Columbian position. To cite yet another historian on the subject, Commager says this in his classic THE GROWTH OF THE AMERICAN REPUBLIC: "Yet Columbus was the efffective discoverer of America for Europe, because he was the first to do anything with it." (Commager, Vol I page 16) He points out that the enterprise "was his very own, suggested by no previous information, produced by no economic forces."

"Columbus personally led the first colony to the New World in 1493;he discovered the South American continent in 1498; and he obtained the first definite news of the Pacific Ocean. The history of the Americas stems from his first four voyages."  (Commager, Vol I at page 16)

That there are viewpoints which disagree with the above there is no doubt---but I hold with  the traditonal view that Columbus should be given due credit. As I presented in my other posts, at the very least he discovered a bunch of islands, discovered a piece of Central America and discovered the mouth of the Orinoco. In that respect Columbus is given the minimum due him. The only difficulty I have is that he had no knowledge of the reality of what he had found---and I see that as an important part of geographical discovery.

My other point is what you point out----that everybody followed Columbus---without him the Age of Exploration might have been seriously delayed. No Columbus, no Vespucci. If Columbus discovered nothing, why were all these guys sailing West. I submit they were doing so because they, if not Columbus, realized a new world had been found, or at least a new route to Asia.

I can also go along with Armesto's version that the dscovery of America was a process....not an event.
 


Title: Re: American History
Post by: thanatopsy on August 29, 2007, 11:45:59 PM
~~ there is the evidence that Columbus found Portuguese speaking "natives" on Puerto Rico. ~~


Reference to page 403 et seq.

I am troubled by this claim because it quotes Columbus as referring to Borinquen as Porto Rico. Historically, it is well established that he ''Christened'' his newly discovered {sic} island as La Isla de San Juan Bautista.  Columbus died in 1506. Juan Ponce de Leon became governor in 1509 and it was he who re-named it Puerto Rico.

Porto Rico is an Anglicized rendition of the new name made by the British. Therefore, Columbus could not have made any reference to ''Porto Rico'' as the name was never used during his lifetime.

BTW, the ''evidence'' that Colón  ''found'' natives who spoke Lusitanian in Borinquen was made by Portuguese historical accounts of las Casas' memoirs, not by Spanish historians.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Dzimas on August 30, 2007, 12:47:25 AM
This is staggering, for the classical Greeks of Plato's time did not know the size of the earth. Yet their measuring system proves that they took their stade from some civilization that did.

In other words Eratosthenes uses these numbers because he believes in a what we call a mythological tradition and that tradition is repeated in Genesis, the Sumerian King List, India, Iceland, the Mayans and the ball courts of Mexico. 

I don't quite see the connection.  As the article suggests, Eratosthenes worked out the circumference of the earty by correctly hypothesizing that if he established an arc, he could determine the diameter of the sphere that he imagined earth to be.  I'm not sure what are the origins of Geometry, probably the Egyptian or the Babylonian.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Dzimas on August 30, 2007, 01:04:02 AM
The Vikings knew they had discovered a new land, Vinland, and there is evidence of early settlements,

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vinland

To read Mowat, he thinks to the Albans had settlements in what is now Canada as well.  How does this differ from Columbus setting up a beach head on Hispaniola, other than the climate was probably better.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Bob on August 30, 2007, 01:47:17 AM
Columbus stayed and Europe followed; the Norsemen left and Europe didn't follow. 



Title: Re: American History
Post by: Dzimas on August 30, 2007, 02:59:51 AM
The Norse stayed, they just didn't stay long enough it seems, Bob.  It is kind of like the battle over the oldest city in Florida.  Pensacola predates St. Augustine as a settlement, but it was abandoned shortly after, and St. Augustine was able to lay claim to the title.  Anyway, it really doesn't matter from a native American perspective, since they were here first and have stayed, but their claim to the land was overruled by the Catholic church and the various nation-states that chose to subdivide America.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Dzimas on August 30, 2007, 03:09:17 AM
Since when did discovery imply knowing where you are? I don't grasp that logic at all. It's like saying that if you stumble onto something on your way to somewhere but don’t know exactly what it is you’ve turned up, then you haven’t really discovered anything. That's just silly. Many initial discoveries are accidental and all of them represent just the tip of a much larger iceberg. When Ben Franklin flew a kite and got a jolt, that didn't teach him how to build a hydroelectric power plant. But the experiment did seem to corroborate his long held theory that lightening was in fact electricity.

Columbus didn't set out to discover a new world. He was just seeking a shorter trade route to Asia than the route then in use. Toward that goal, he failed miserably. But along the way, he encountered something unexpected and it proved to be a watershed event in human history. That's why I find so irrational and fanatical the resistance to calling it a discovery.

The fundamental question remains, how can you discover a land that is already settled, being cultivated by a wide variety of people, and have extensive trade routes throughout the continents?  Not to mention, civilizations in the Aztecs, Incans, Mayans, and Mississippi mound builders that far exceeded the level of construction and sanitation found in Europe at the time.  The only thing Columbus discovered was that the Europeans seemed to have no idea two continents lay between them and China.  But, I guess one can't revel in one own's ignorance, referring to the Europeans.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: weezo on August 30, 2007, 07:58:10 AM
I can certainly understand the Europeans making a fuss over Columbus and his discoveries, although I think in so doing, they are overlooking the achievements of the Portuguese who were more secretive about their "discoveries" for reasons of their own. But, I do not understand why Americans, who should have greater knowledge of the others who preceeded Columbus, fauning over a man who contributions to the opening of the Americas to exploitation by the Europeans destroyed the original American civilizations and societies.

Earlier this year, when I wrote my Pocahontas story for children, I was discussing the issues on the Virginia History list and announced my intent to write the story from the Native perspective. One of the correspondents on that list was aghast that I would want to show the Natives in a "good light" when there was European "evidence" that they were cannibals and had the audacity to kill the European interlopers to their lands. In the story, I took a cue from Helen Roundtree and made mention of the lack of cleanliness among the settlers and the daily bathing rituals of the Natives. I'm sure that aghast correspondent skipped reading the finished story. Rather live in ignorance than upset one's preconceptions.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Dzimas on August 30, 2007, 10:01:08 AM
Weezo, the Portuguese were every bit as European as the Spanish and Italians.  I don't see why it would matter from your point of view, who reached America, the Portuguese or the Spanish.  As I said before, there really wouldn't have been any reasons to keep such "discoveries" secret, so my guess is the Portuguese never got any further West than the Azores.  They were busy setting up colonies along the African and Indian coasts, setting up the nefarious slave trade among other lucrative ventures.  The Portuguese also turned down Columbus' initial request for a fleet, as did the Dutch.  It was only after these failed bids that he appealled to the royalty of Spain, and managed to get a small fleet.

It would be interesting to investigate why Washington Irving felt so impelled to rescure Christopher Columbus from the dustbin of history, and why Americans have chosen to honor Columbus with so many place names.  I always liked the commercial where the look out spots land and cries out, I think I see Ohio, Columbus, to which Columbus says that's Columbus, Ohio.  But, as you can see by clark's posts, there are those who feel it important to honor Columbus.




Title: Re: American History
Post by: weezo on August 30, 2007, 10:21:01 AM
Dzimas,

I am making two points - one, that the Europeans were rather high-handed in proclaiming "discovery" of that which was known to others, and that Columbus, himself, was a egoist in "proclaiming" the new lands for Spain when he was fully aware that the Portuguese had preceded him.

It was highly presumptious of Europeans to think they could plant and flag and make a declaration in a foreign language that was supposed to subjugate the peoples of the land they invaded. Whatever were they thinking anyway?

In a sense, it reminds of the tv coverage of the fall of Baghdad when some unthinking Americans erected an American flag instead of planting the Iraqi flag. It was certainly an incident that planted the idea in the Iraqi minds that they had been "invaded", which persists to this day.



Title: Re: American History
Post by: liquidsilver on August 30, 2007, 11:05:12 AM
Quote
It was highly presumptious of Europeans to think they could plant and flag and make a declaration in a foreign language that was supposed to subjugate the peoples of the land they invaded. Whatever were they thinking anyway?

I'm not sure how it was presumptious at all.  Did they not conquer the land and subjugate those people?

I don't see how its any different from the Aztecs conquering all their neighboring states and subjugating those people.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: caclark on August 30, 2007, 11:24:27 AM
Dzimas, August 30, 2007 at 3:09 AM: "The fundamental question remains, how can you discover a land that is already settled....."

If that's what we’re to be forever hung up on, then who's to say who discovered America? We’ll never know with any certitude who exactly was first to leave the Eastern Hemisphere for the Western. Popular guesstimates says 40,000 years ago across the Bering land bridge from Siberia to Alaska but no one knows for sure. I'm convinced that pre-1492 Americans were descendants of several separate waves of migration over the centuries and God only knows how many there were or how many were never recorded by history. But no educated thinking person of today argues that Columbus was first so what exactly is your big gripe?

If you want to go after Christopher Columbus, you might take aim on his tenure as colonial governor of Hispaniola. Ferdinand and Isabella were pious Catholics who insisted that natives in conquered lands be treated gently. But under Columbus’ rule, 100,000 natives were slaughtered by the Spaniards, one third of the island’s population. Many of the survivors were forced into slavery. These are things upon which Columbus is most vulnerable in the historical record, not the credit he gets for his 1492 voyage which seems to be the thing that bugs you the most. I just don’t get it.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Dzimas on August 30, 2007, 11:25:06 AM
The flag and proclamation came first, liquid.  The conquest came later.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: weezo on August 30, 2007, 11:27:51 AM
The difference is that the Aztecs confined their empire-building to "neighboring states" rather than attempt to subjugate peoples on another contenent and far away from their home base. The Aztec conquered and subjugated in small steps, securing each new area before taking on another. They didn't merely declare that all of a continent was theirs due to their accidental landing thereon.

If we can live without knowing exactly who discovered Europe, I suspect we can live without attributing the "discovery" of America to any other than the multitudes who came here without a flag or proclamation.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Dzimas on August 30, 2007, 11:28:07 AM
Well, yes clark, there are many things to go after Columbus on.  He was removed as governor when it was discovered how badly the natives suffered under his rule.  I take exception to almost everything surrounding the Columbus myth.  He is not one of my favorite historical figures.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Dzimas on August 30, 2007, 11:30:47 AM
There's not much to defend in the Aztecs, weezo.  They brought back human sacrifices and cannibalism after it had pretty much been phased out.  They were ruthless in their control of the region, and if they had discovered how to make ships they no doubt would have extended their rule far beyond Mexico City.  I have no sympathy for the Aztecs.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: weezo on August 30, 2007, 11:40:30 AM
Dzimas,

I suggest you expland your knowledge of the Aztecs. You can start at http://library.thinkquest.org/27981/ and graduate to more mature information. It is possible that a people of the future will consider wars, and the sacrificing of young lives for political (in lieu of religious) purposes, as being just as immoral as the "human sacrifice" practiced by the Aztecs. Was not the Inquisition a form of human sacrifice for religious purposes?


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Dzimas on August 30, 2007, 11:52:35 AM
I've read quite a bit on the Aztecs, thank you.  I recommend Conquest by Hugh Thomas,

http://www.amazon.com/Conquest-Cortes-Montezuma-Fall-Mexico/dp/0671511041/ref=pd_bbs_1/105-5791205-4542015?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1188489000&sr=1-1

which we read in the NYTimes American History forum some years ago.  They were to the Mexican isthmus what the Romans were to Europe, relishing in their conquests and bloodsports, but oddly enough were no match for Cortez the Killer.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: liquidsilver on August 30, 2007, 01:31:48 PM
Quote
which we read in the NYTimes American History forum some years ago.  They were to the Mexican isthmus what the Romans were to Europe, relishing in their conquests and bloodsports, but oddly enough were no match for Cortez the Killer.

Cortés deliberately marched a route designed to recruit as many native allies as possible en route to Tenochtitlán.  I would think this fact alone underscores just how much the Aztec empire was despised.

But if not for Montezuma's naivete in seeing Cortés' arrival as the fulfilment of the Quetzalcoatlin  prophesy, who knows?


Title: Re: American History
Post by: thanatopsy on August 30, 2007, 04:16:35 PM
Gintaras posed an excellent question re Portuguese claims to having ''discovered'' the New World a full generation before Columbus.

For years I have read of Henry the Navigator having ventured as far as the Cape of Good Hope and no further.  Vasco da Gama it was said  ventured further.

My guess is that if the Lusitanians made claims of discoveries in hitherto unknown lands at the time of Columbus it was because they were seeking favor from the Papacy or license to  control  those lands. As I wrote above, Spanish historians do not acknowledge that any Portuguese stumbled upon these lands before they did.  Even the papacy never did so. And insofar as I know, European historians never did so as well.

Revisionist history can make for interesting reading.  But it must be backed up with evidence if it is to be believed.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: caclark on August 30, 2007, 04:43:59 PM
One possibility is that of a Portuguese ship lost or presumed lost at sea, or shipwrecked on a distant shore. That could account for there being no record or awareness of it in Europe which there surely would have been were there a formally organized colony. But that's just idle speculation on my part.

Hey, I just might be learning to be as enterprising as Menzies!


Title: Re: American History
Post by: weezo on August 30, 2007, 05:10:12 PM
Clark,

That's the spirit! Open you mind to the possibilities, and let the evidence take its place as it arises. If your mind isn't open to possibilities, you will miss the evidence when it comes your way.

To my way of thinking, the  only "evidence" needed is the fact that Columbus recorded that he found Portuguese-speaking natives on one of the islands. Just as interesting, although not datable, is the presence of Portuguese DNA in the Melungeon population of Virginia-Carolina. This is corraborated by the oral histories of these people (once historians got their heads out of the ivy on the walls and condescended to ask). The Lumbees, the other group Menzies named as potentially showing Chinese ancestory, seem to tie their own roots to Native, Negro, and Caucasian mixing during the early days of plantations. The Lumbees were one of the tribes that welcomed escaped slaves and white servants into their tribes.

A close mind is the bane of good educators. There is always new information coming to light that should elicit questions about what has been believed. Think of the enlightened lives snuffed out by the punishment for the crime of "heresy" in believing that it was possible the earth was round instead of flat. What has been lost or delayed in human understanding by killing off those with open minds?



Title: Re: American History
Post by: caclark on August 30, 2007, 05:24:10 PM
weezo,

Well, I'm glad I finally made the psychic breakthrough. Now I’ll get busy writing my own book advancing my theory that purple kangaroos inhabit the moon. Would you be so kind as to tell all of your friends to buy a copy when it gets published?


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Bob on August 30, 2007, 08:46:52 PM
I spent the day reading about Vespucci, using Morison and Fernandez's new biography. I need a little more time to complete them, then I'll post more. Morison discounts rather harshly the claims of the Portuguese and the Chinese. He raises doubts about giving  Vespucci any credence as the discoverer. Interestly enough, so does Fernandez.  I'll post more later.

In trying to keep my mind open, I'm searching for books which would support the Portugueses claim and can find none--Nor can I find anything to support the Vespucci claim. Can anyone direct  me to some literature supporting either claim?



Title: Re: American History
Post by: thanatopsy on August 30, 2007, 11:18:07 PM
weezo,

Well, I'm glad I finally made the psychic breakthrough. Now I’ll get busy writing my own book advancing my theory that purple kangaroos inhabit the moon. Would you be so kind as to tell all of your friends to buy a copy when it gets published?


HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!!

I'll be the first to sign up for a copy and  to stand on line to get your autograph.

That's a promise!!


Title: Re: American History
Post by: weezo on August 30, 2007, 11:39:19 PM
Clark,

If you publish your theory about purple kangaroos, I will certainly encourage all my family and friends to buy a copy. As with Than, each copy should be autographed so we can rub our sleeves on your greatness.

We, your future readers, will assume that you will travel to the moon and photograph the shadows of the purple kangaroos. You will not be expected to photograph a real purple kangaroo, but be sure to get splashy full color pictures of those shadows. Some pix of piles of dung of the wonderful creatures would also help sell the book. And, if you find a moon rock with a clear bitemark from a purple kangaroo, you should include that photograph as well.

Certainly, you should rush your book to print before you have any DNA analyzed from the purple kangaroo poo, so you can set up a website where you will announce the DNA results if they ever come about. In the meantime, you can send out e-newletters announcing how many emails you are getting from others who have sighted purple kangaroos during the eclipse of the moon through they five-and-dime telescopes. That will keep people interested while waiting for the poo DNA results.







Title: Re: American History
Post by: Dzimas on August 31, 2007, 01:00:12 AM
You know weezo, the first time I heard Polish I thought I was hearing French.  My wife laughed at me in the cafe when I mentioned this.  You can hear all sorts of things when you are hearing a foreign language for the first time.  Oddly, I found myself recalling Sesotho phrases and words when I was first learning Lithuanian.  I even found myself singing the African national anthem, in Sesotho, once, much to the delight of her kids. Is there some connection?  Could it be possible that the people of Lithuania and Lesotho have some sort of distant connection?  The ear can play funny tricks on you.

As for Columbus, he was so desperately trying to relate what he saw to what he knew that he imagined all sorts of interesting connections, none of which were founded on anything other than his active imagination.  You yourself discount his claims, so why should you accept that he thought he was hearing Portuguese. 

Many early settlers thought they came across European descendants among the natives, because some of the native Americans appeared to have European features.  There were many who felt they were confronting remnants of the Lost Tribes of Israel in the natives.  The Mormons built a whole religion around the assumption that Jesus materialized in the Americas.  People think really crazy things.  Oddly enough, sometimes these theories have some basis, but you have to make more of an effort to find the pieces than Menzies did to prove it, not just cut off corners of the pieces to make them fit.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Dzimas on August 31, 2007, 01:13:18 AM
Well, Bob, it doesn't seem that Vespucci gets much credit these days among historians, but he was considered the discoverer in his day, even if Waldseemuller had second thoughts about labeling the new continental land mass America, but the name stuck.  Vespucci was the one who gave these land masses shape and size, at least the southern half, no longer seeing them as a string of islands which was Columbus' contention, and many explorers continued to search for what they thought was a Northwest Passage all the way up to the time of Cook.  At best one can say that Columbus discovered the Caribbean, even if he thought it was the Indian Ocean, and the names stuck in this case as well.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Dzimas on August 31, 2007, 04:12:43 AM
But if not for Montezuma's naivete in seeing Cortés' arrival as the fulfilment of the Quetzalcoatlin  prophesy, who knows?

Tzvetan Todorov addresses this question and others in The Conquest of America: The Question of the Other,

http://www.amazon.com/Conquest-America-Question-Other/dp/0806131373/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1/105-5791205-4542015?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1188547816&sr=1-1

Paz's Labyrinth of Solitude is worth reading as well.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Dzimas on August 31, 2007, 05:08:32 AM
Columbus as a man's man,

The Last Voyage of Columbus: Being the Epic Tale of the Great Captain's Fourth Expedition, Including Accounts of Mutiny, Shipwreck, and Discovery

http://www.amazon.com/Last-Voyage-Columbus-Expedition-Including/dp/0316154563/ref=sr_1_12/105-5791205-4542015?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1188551138&sr=1-12



Title: Re: American History
Post by: Dzimas on August 31, 2007, 05:10:13 AM
Maybe you've checked out this title, weezo,

They Came Before Columbus: The African Presence in Ancient America

http://www.amazon.com/They-Came-Before-Columbus-Presence/dp/0812968174/ref=sr_1_6/105-5791205-4542015?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1188551138&sr=1-6


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Dzimas on August 31, 2007, 05:12:51 AM
Since we seem stuck in a pre-Columbian frame of mind, maybe 1491 would be a good group read,

http://www.amazon.com/1491-Revelations-Americas-Before-Columbus/dp/1400032059/ref=sr_1_8/105-5791205-4542015?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1188551138&sr=1-8

Certainly sounds much more well founded than Menzies 1421.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: thanatopsy on August 31, 2007, 09:02:49 AM
We read Charles Mann's 1491 in the Times' forum.

As for me, I'd like to go back to reading 19th or 20th century USA history, preferably Beneath the American Renaissance or one of those books on Truman.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: weezo on August 31, 2007, 09:38:36 AM
I just got "A Cross of Iron" in the mail, and started reading it. A bit tame compared to recent readings, but I'm ready to go if that is the choice.

I have already read 1491 and would be happy to discuss it. The title of "Under the American Renessance" does not appeal - but I am assuming it is something about a literary re-awakening, which seems boring. I like history with some action to it.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Dzimas on August 31, 2007, 12:28:47 PM
Too bad I missed that discussion.  What did you think of 1491, thanatopsy?


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Dzimas on August 31, 2007, 12:42:20 PM
Great Deluge also looks like a good read,

http://www.amazon.com/Great-Deluge-Hurricane-Katrina-Mississippi/dp/0061148490/ref=sr_1_154/103-7013896-7528667?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1188578214&sr=1-154

Or, if you want to go back in time, Rising Tide is very good,

http://www.amazon.com/Rising-Tide-Mississippi-Changed-America/dp/0684840022/ref=pd_sim_b_3/103-7013896-7528667?ie=UTF8&qid=1188578214&sr=1-154


Title: Re: American History
Post by: madupont on August 31, 2007, 02:31:45 PM
Too bad I missed that discussion.  What did you think of 1491, thanatopsy?


In case,thanatopsy is not in as yet, I began reading it at the time of the discussion, or when it was first mentioned, which seems quite a ways back, and it is a large book, dense with information; and, as you probably have noticed, I got blown away when finding out about Cahokia because I lived a large part of my life within traveling distance (in fact my sister lived across at St.Louis while raising her kids who are now all adults and well educated at well-reputed schools and enjoying their adult lives). I certainly would have made the trip had I known something like that was just sitting there from somewhere in proximity to the date as title of Mann's book.

FROM PICTURES, the thing is absolutely beautiful today in its unlived in condition because it is covered, every foot of it, in lawn, lawn between the pyramids, lawn up the pyramids and down the other sides; and I recall a web-site that had air shots so you get the full effect. The question of course occurs to me, how do they mow this thing?

Unlike the Guatemalan rain-forest, this is geographically where the North American Plains begin, across from Cahokia (they warn you, don't head for the town by that name! The former indigenous residents habitation is a separate site, and you have to be sure you are headed in the correct direction.), and on the western side  of the Mississippi River.

I had known that there were  early French-American settlements on the Missouri, that were visited by the Marquise de Lafayette  during his tour in the later 1820s. 

Keep in mind, the settlement of Cahokia by the indigenous at an important "lookout" you might say between the Southeastern tribal regions and the Northern forest tribes perpetually descending from about the St. Lawrence and intermarrying which brought about new tribal identifications--then looks northwestward as well as northeastward where there is a parlay point on the Shores of Lake Michigan, and another at Council Bluffs, Iowa; so this is a view of the major gatherings to discuss differences or agreement between the two most major cultures either side of the Mississippi.

Cahokia would have been at a point to exact tribute, whether it did or not is something I do not know; but, what we do know is that it was attacked as were settlements on the west bank of the Mississippi, as Desoto was told by his guides when he was the first white man to descend the river and asked about what seemed evidently signs of destruction. I have to take that with a grain of salt because he is arriving there about 200 years after the settlement and I haven't checked the time-lines to discover how long pre-Europeans kept residence in Cahokia or did they all disperse?

This topic is but a small smidgen of all that Mann covers in 1491.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: thanatopsy on August 31, 2007, 04:15:30 PM
Gintaras,

The book 1491 is outstanding and well worth a prolonged discussion. As I recall, it was one of the liveliest discussions we ever had on the Times' board.  Sadly, the board went kaput at that time and we stopped our excelent exchange about 2/3s of the way through the book.  Cahokia was one subject that was superbly well covered in the book.  Well, come to think of it, there probably wasn't a subject in it that was not thoroughly explained and fully documented.

Since we have new readers on this forum, it may well be worth having a vote as to whether Mann's book should be discussed here. For those who have not read it, please give 1491 your strongest consideration as you will greatly enjoy it.

As for Beneath the American Renaissance, it covers literary as well as historical and cultural history.  Professor Reynolds, the book's author, is about as thorough as one can be.  The book is quite compelling and superbly well documented. Its theme opens the door for all studies of subsequent American history.  Here are two reviews from Amazon:

```One of the most powerful pieces of scholarship and criticism on American literature in a very long time...[It exhibits] wonderful range, insight, verve, and critical sophistication. This is a most welcome and timely book; it helps set a new agenda for American literary and cultural studies.
--Alan Trachtenberg, Yale University

A rich, grand, transforming book, an inspired feat of literary and historical imagination...Reynolds massively recreates the vanished literary culture that was shared by both canonical and popular writers of the period. The surprising and exciting result is that the most familiar classics seem wholly new, as we come to understand for the first time the language in which they were written.
--Kenneth Silverman, New York University ```


Title: Re: American History
Post by: thanatopsy on August 31, 2007, 04:42:11 PM
Perhaps my last note on Menzies' numerous mistakes about Puerto Rico is his claim that Chinese introduced coconuts to the island in their alleged travels of 1421 et al.  Officially, the government of PR  acknowledges the importation of this fruit in 1542 which is well after Columbus's death:

http://topuertorico.org/history.shtml


Nothing I have ever read or heard prior to this time in any way acknowleges the claims made by Menzies that the Portuguese or Chinese colonized Borinquen. 

Lastly, Menzies needs to have a better translator as he alleges that the word ''tiburon" means drainage when, in fact, it means ''shark''.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: weezo on August 31, 2007, 07:20:06 PM
I sincerely hope the next book is not the American Renaissance, as I find the history of literature boring and clouded with lots of experts whose greatest significance is their ponderation of verbage.

I would much rather reread 1491 and discuss it. I am also going to read A Cross of Iron about Truman, and am now reading Esther Forbes' Paul Revere and His Times.

After so many of you have panned the poll, I am surprised that Than again wants to vote in a poll. Oh, well.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Bob on August 31, 2007, 07:36:20 PM
1491

But that's the way we get a consensus. Though it may appear to be a vote, its really a voicing of his choice at this time. Dzimas  said he'd like to discuss it also. You are for it at the moment, and at this point so am I. Any of us can make further suggestions, change or minds or just plain drop out....let it gel for a while, see if there are other suggestions, see if others  join us---see if others come up with  a better choice, talkthe book up. Then after a reasonable point, if all remains the same we'll go for it


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Bob on August 31, 2007, 08:12:04 PM
On page 300 Menzies points out that in Columbus' records there's a statement  that there were Portuguese in Antilia and that therefore the Portuguese were here before Columbus. He further states the story was confirmed by the Portuguese  historian Antonion Galvo 100 years later.  The story is used today by some to indicate they were in Puerto Rico.

"The crew were welcomed by the inhabitants, invited in good Portugeues." (Menzies, first edition, p 300)

The problem with the story is this. This a rendering of a story current to its time and believed by Columbus and other reputable people that there was an island  group in which Antilia was the largest land mass. Unfortunately, with the exception of a very few hold outs nobody believes Antilia ever existed. It was a legend akin to King Arthur and Camelot. The story revolved around seven priests or monks leaving Spain after the Moorish invasion and setting up house there to await a reconquest of Spain. In  the course of their stay there, of course, as legends would have it, the Monks found  seven cities and the cities were just filled with gold. Well, on the way over in the first voyage went to the exact  latitude designated as where Antilia was supposed to be (28 degrees). Of course he failed to find it. He failed because it didn't exist.

Another version of story has a caravel being swept across the sea to the "New World" and that they discovered Hispanolia and Cuba. When the captain got home to Portugal, he kept the discovery secret from the rest of the world, except he reported  it to the Venetian cartographer of 1424, on whose chart these  islands are represented by Antilla and Satanazes.

Morison, in his NORTHERN VOYAGES, says "If you can believe that, you can believe anything.  Why would anybody who knew the two biggest islands of the West Indies rotate them 90 degrees and place them only a few hundred miles off Portugal?"

"How can one explain  why these supposed Portugese discoveries appear  only on Italian, Spanish,  or other maps, never on a Portuguese map...how secret is a policy  of secrecy when every cartoigrapher outside of Portugal gets the word."

So the story isn't that Columbus encountered the Portugese, its a story which has Portuguese encountering Portuguese on a mythical island in the 1420's and passed on to Columbus by Toscanelli. Both of them believed it
to be the truth.

Maps of the era are filled with mythical islands mixed in with the real.

(See NORTHERN VOYAGES, page 102)

In 1514 the chief pilot of Portugal wrote a book of sailing directions which included "Courses for the islands NOT YET DISCOVERED" NOT YET DISCOVERED!!!!!  The list included Antilia---which was never discovered and was not Puerto Rico. (NORTHERN VOYAGES, page 100)

As to the Portuguese historian, rember that history and literature were intrertwined. The discipline did not require historical truth in order to be included in a history and be presented as the truth--myth was accepted.



Title: Re: American History
Post by: Bob on August 31, 2007, 08:30:21 PM
I was reading Fernandez-Armesto's AMERIGO--a biography of Vespucci. I can spend the rest of the night on the guy--the book is excellent. It's short but worth the money and worth reading. It gives Columbus the honor of discovering America in general, pointiong out that Amerigo was  a fraud of sorts in some instances. To make a long story very short the author points out that when Amerigo's accounts of his voyages were published, they claimed he was the first to discover South America. In order to do this somebody (Amerigo, the editors or publishers) invented a voyage which never occured. They did this by splitting the first voyage  in two--so that it appeared Vespucci was in South America before Columbus. In reality he got there a year after Columbus and, although he didn't correct his memoir, he readily acknowledged Columbus' feat with regard to South America. Samuel Eliot Morison  in THE NORTHERN VOYAGES says the same thing.

Armesto doesn't take away the importance of Vespucci. He readily acknowledges them (such as his recognition that South America was a separate Continent), but just as readily points out his personality and behavioral flaws. He also reminds his readers that Columbus was no saint in this area either---becoming more and more grandiose as the years rolled by.

By the way, these two guys lived together at one point. They were close friends and associates for many years. I never knew that. Columbus surely knew of the Vespucci claims--but seemingly ignored them. After Columbus died the Columbus family sued to straighten out some of the claims.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Bob on August 31, 2007, 08:38:24 PM
To balance my post on the Portuguese claim, the link below shows the controversy to be very much alive today---Here's the other side of the story:

http://www.americanheritage.com/articles/magazine/ah/1955/3/1955_3_16.shtml


Title: Re: American History
Post by: weezo on August 31, 2007, 10:42:41 PM
Bob,

Thanks for the link on the information on the 1424 map. I agree with the closing line that history is never a closed issue. There are always new discoveries that bring to question the traditional beliefs.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: nnyhav on September 01, 2007, 12:00:48 AM
This just in: Amerigo: The Man Who Gave His Name to America, Felipe Fernández-Armesto:

Vespucci's contemporaries were not in thrall to hard facts based on firm evidence. Their world view was far closer to the magic realism of such Latin American novelists as Jorge Luis Borges and Gabriel Garcia Márquez than to the methodology of modern historians. So Vespucci, a Florentine adventurer variously in the employ of the Portuguese and Spanish crowns, met the expectations of the reading public of his day when he let his imagination rip in describing his voyages along the eastern coast of South America. His encounters with lions, baboons and many other species alien to the New World were a familiar and acceptable genre.

http://www.economist.com/books/displaystory.cfm?story_id=9719515


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Bob on September 01, 2007, 02:30:38 AM
Article disputing the Menzies position with particular reference to the map:

http://www.sochistdisc.org/2006_articles/masson_article.htm


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Dzimas on September 01, 2007, 04:54:58 AM
I sincerely hope the next book is not the American Renaissance, as I find the history of literature boring and clouded with lots of experts whose greatest significance is their ponderation of verbage.

Who needs experts when you can have Menzies?  Actually the history of literature can be quite fascinating, it all depends on the author.  At the moment, I would like to read The Great Deluge or Leviathan.  It would take me awhile to get a copy of 1491, as things move pretty slowly from America to Europe these days.  Don't know why?  It used to take about 10 days, but now no less than three weeks to get a book from amazon. 

I think the Portuguese were probably playing games if nothing else, or spotted what they thought might be distant islands from the Azores and ascribed names to them.  Who knows?  Anyway, the Azores first appeared on a map in 1427, and colonization started in 1439,

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Azores

Kind of odd to me that they would have reached the Caribbean before the Azores. 

Columbus did indeed reach the coast of South America before Amerigo, but Amerigo was the first to extensively map it.  Amerigo's voyages brought back far more valuable information about the Caribbean and the coast of South America than did Columbus's voyages, as he seemed mostly interested in finding the mysterious passage to the Orient.  On his last voyage, Columbus even made it to the Mosquito Coast (modern day Nicaragua).  As I said, he was all over the place.  But, his mapping of the region left a lot to be desired.

Columbus always maintained that he had found the true Indies and Cathay in the face of mounting evidence that he had not. Perhaps he genuinely believed that he had been there; in any event, his disallowances of the “New World” hindered his goals of nobility and wealth and dented his later reputation.

http://www.britannica.com/eb/article-25450/Christopher-Columbus


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Bob on September 01, 2007, 06:24:31 AM
I recently finished   LEVIATHAN  and thought it was excellent.  If we don't go for1491 , I'd go for  LEVIATHAN. It's a compainion volume to MOBY DICK---I think it'll win a prize it's well written.

I haven't read the GREAT DELUGE yet. I'll look for it today when I go to B&N.



Title: Re: American History
Post by: Bob on September 01, 2007, 06:42:10 AM
Morison points out that Cartographers were notorious for filling up empty space with  imaginary islands--that's why they had strange texts like the one he pointed out: A list of  undiscovered islands.....and they really believed in them. Mariners would record the existence of islands which were really puffs of clouds on the horizon, bunches of rocks, etc--and they would end up on charts. 

Here's Armesto's note on Charts--
Quote
Charts were then luxuries for landlubbers. Real seamen did not normally use them. Faith in charts was an eccentricity of semi amateurs like Columbus.Experienced navigators  on familiar routes simply memorized the way. Alternatively, they relied on sailing directions orally transmitted or confided  by forebearers in written form. If they carried charts, they did so  chiefly to show passangers the route, or as a general guide to unfamiliar objectives. Not until  well into the seventeenth century did charts become a normal  part of shipboard  equipment
(Armesto, p 173-174)

Vespucci convinced landlubbers of the royal council that charts were critical at sea. He convinced them he was an expert  mapmaker, "even though no map from his hand has survived." Armesto says Columbus was the same way -- a lot of talk about producing charts without  action. "Neither explorer ever seems to have delivered [charts]"





Title: Re: American History
Post by: weezo on September 01, 2007, 07:36:44 AM
Dzimas,

With your insistance on only factual history, I am surprised that your read the fluff that is literary history. To me, reading of the history of literature seems like reading the history of cinema or television. Nice, but not really "history".

I notice that Leviathan is only out in hardback. I can no longer read hardback books - it create a terrific amount of pain in my hands and wrists. So, if that is the book choice, I will pass on it.

 


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Bob on September 01, 2007, 08:00:04 AM
Weezo

We share a malady--mine is relatively new as I find it difficult now to hold a book for a long period of time without experiencing pains in my wrist and hand. I have cervical stenosis.  I sit in a chair and  bring up my knees and prop the book on my legs. It works---so I know what you mean.  (and very few of my books are softcover)  :'(


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Bob on September 01, 2007, 08:02:04 AM
I just came on to  add a note to my other post

Charts and maps are different things--I don't want to produce confusion in that area.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: madupont on September 01, 2007, 09:27:06 AM
Dzimas, re:#993

"things move pretty slowly from America to Europe these days.  Don't know why?  It used to take about 10 days, but now no less than three weeks to get a book from amazon"

Have you tried Powell's from the UK ? I have no idea of the comparison rates but it was so often mentioned by our friends in Europe during my sojourn with Western Europe posters (who supplied me with so much archived stuff, particularly the German participants who like to collect the minutiae of history as well as their basic familiarity with a broad outline; can't say that I organized very officially,kept it rather in chronological order of when received as it usually came up because of current political events).

Might I suggest that something similar is occuring with your long wait for books to arrive; things did not work out with commerce quite up to the practicality so politically imagined.  I began complaining immediately  from the beginning of the administration when very practical items of clothing in Europe were no longer made available. The spinners, which every forum is allotted, chided me with cliches like,'the market corrects itself';in four years time, they made out like bandits in Alberta, as the oil business expanded their economy.

Along with the long-wearing textiles, cotton underwear, flannel nightgowns for cold weather(although the flannel bedding remained available from Germany),I was horrified the day that women's shirts from France took off into an extreme mark-up something like we used to find on Chinese textiles during their original probationary period in US trade. Last year at this time,expecting a guest, with the intent that we were going to a theatrical performance at one of Philadelphia's many Catholic colleges, I tried getting an appropriate evening sweater and was told the next shipment from Peru might arrive with Christmas. I finally was able to buy it this last month of so, as sale merchandise, because the weather was unsuitable for the item to be used and they did not want the expense of keeping it in inventory.

I corelate this with the blatant remark of Donald Rumsfeld that just popped out of him as he could not restrain himself,when he decided to publicly comment on our  having no need for "Old Europe", what with "New allies". It was about the dumbest differentiation, I'd ever heard except for one vague familiarity; it resembled things said from the White House during the Nixon administration.  I can't remember when it dawned on me that why,of course, Donald had been Nixon's "house-boy" in the same way as Scooter Libby might have been Cheney's "valet" in that wing, or friendly looking guard-dog,which ever you prefer.  Whatever Nixon had, it must have been contagious.  The only other thing that occurs to me is that the longer that they are in employ, the more personally ambitious they become until they end up behaving like Doris Duke's butler.           


Title: Re: American History
Post by: madupont on September 01, 2007, 09:43:32 AM
Dzimas

http://www.powells.com/s?kw=Charles+Mann%2C1491&x=49&y=13

They have it as a download from Knopf publishing for $8.46 as an e-book


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Dzimas on September 01, 2007, 10:15:29 AM
Personally, I prefer hardbacks, first editions if I can get them, which is why I buy a lot of books through abebooks.com and abebooks.co.uk, depending on which company I get a better deal through.  I figure if I'm going to plunk down $15-$20 for a book, including S&H, I might as well buy a book that has a chance to retain its value over time.  So I buy fewer books, but make them hardbacks.

It seems to me, weezo, that the only books you want to read are the ones you have already read or are planning to read, which is fine, but don't expect us all to go along with your reading selection each time. 


Title: Re: American History
Post by: weezo on September 01, 2007, 11:35:59 AM
Dzimas,

As you should know from the book before 1421, when the choice is a book I am not interested, I simply do not participate. I also do not complain about the book choice. One of the values of the poll, is that there is no reason to denigrate someone else's reading choice because it does not conform to one's own.

I am not snobbish in my buying of books, and I do not buy them to resell. I often buy the used books on Amazon, so that I can read the book. When I clean off my book shelves, every decade or so, the books are donated to some worthy cause.

My choice of reading in history is to ultimately produce children's historical fiction in order to induce children to come to enjoy reading history. I may well use the information in Menzies book to produce a children's book. It will probably be on the landing of the Chinese in Peru, Mexico, or California rather than the east coast, since I think it much more likely that the Chinese would cross the Pacific Ocean than the Atlantic. 

As a curiousity, I noted there were eight votes total in the poll, of which 4 were for 1421. I have not heard eight voices expressing their choice of books in the discussion for "concensus".


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Donotremove on September 01, 2007, 12:21:52 PM
Dzimas, as of 14 May 2007 books sent to foreign countries can no longer be shipped by surface mail (boat, train, horse carts) but must be shipped air mail. When I read that notice in the NYT I first thought about myself and how I would no longer be able to afford books I found elsewhere in the world and shipped to me by surface--which does take a bit of time in some cases, but mostly they got to me in about 2 weeks--and then I thought of you and how this would affect your book purchases.

I don't know who in the Bush administration thought this little item up--and for the life of me I can't remember, now, what reason was given--but I feel reasonably certain the U.S. Post Office would not have thought to make this rule on its own.

There was mention in the article that U.S. booksellers were concerned that this rule would severely affect their overseas buyers decisions to purchase from U.S. dealers.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Dzimas on September 01, 2007, 03:41:56 PM
I think historical fiction is right in regard to Menzies, so I can well see how it would suit your purposes.  Maybe you can come up with something along the lines of Harry Potter, traveling back in time and rewriting all the wrongs of history with a magic wand.  I can see it is going to be very hard to establish any kind of consensus in this forum, so maybe voting is the best thing.  I don't really care at this point. 


Title: Re: American History
Post by: thanatopsy on September 01, 2007, 06:01:28 PM
Maybe you can come up with something along the lines of Harry Potter, traveling back in time and rewriting all the wrongs of history with a magic wand.


A thought occurred to me: there hasn't been all that much discussion of Menzies in the past couple of days/weeks. Since four people voted for the book, they should make some analytical contributions ot the discussion.  So far, I seem to be the one who has posted the most analytical discussions and they have mostly been refutations of Menzies' obvious mistakes.

Oh, and just one (hopefully) final comment on his mistakes about Puerto Rico --- he alleges that because there is a ''Portuguese'' river in PR, this proves it was inhabited by Lusitanians.  Well, there is a Buenos Aires in the city of Mayaguez (my family is from that part of the town).  Does this prove it was ''discovered'' by Argentinians?  We have a New Ulm, New Brighton, and New York Mills here in Minnesota.  Does this prove it was discovered by Dutch, British, and New York explorers??

Lastly, I would like to see some commentary here from those who voted for Menzies --- what have you gleaned from the book? Did you like it?  Hate it?  Want to defend the author?  Condemn him?  Did you or will you follow up by checking out his web site?  Something obviously attracted you to the controversial book --- has your opinion about it changed??


Title: Re: American History
Post by: thanatopsy on September 01, 2007, 06:09:41 PM
Article disputing the Menzies position with particular reference to the map:

http://www.sochistdisc.org/2006_articles/masson_article.htm



This is a very telling comment:  ''a “grand vision,” but surrounds it with unsound or imaginary evidence, and rejects contrary information.''

Very telling, indeed.

As for hardback/softback, either type of book is OK with me.  The doctor tells me I'm in the early stages of arthritis though, in fact, I've feeling the irritating symptoms for 10 years.  But my real issue is that the book should have fairly large print as my eyes can get strained rather easily if I read for too long.  Yup, old age can be a problem.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Dzimas on September 01, 2007, 06:41:38 PM
I finally opted for reading glasses and it makes a big difference.  I hope I didn't sound like too much of a literary snob opting for first editions, but there is something about the feel of a hardback, especially a first edition, that makes it feel good as it rests in my lap.  The real value of a book is of course what is inside it.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: weezo on September 01, 2007, 07:13:46 PM
Dzimas,

Yes, you did sound like a literary snob. I have never noticed any difference of the feel of a first edition in my hand. The only exception was the first edition of a book in which I contributed a chapter. Now, that one felt good in hand.



Title: Re: American History
Post by: weezo on September 01, 2007, 07:28:37 PM
Than,

I suspect that others, like me, who enjoyed the book, were a bit off-put by the negatives posted on here and may have chosen to keep their comments to themselves.

Some of Menzies' comments were more worthy than others. I tended to discount them as surely as I discount unworthy comments in other books about history. There were apparently some unworthy comments made in The Shakespeare Riots about the tastes of Americans in how they chose to enjoy Shakespeare.

I still think that the Chinese predated Europeans in arriving on the American continents. I seriously doubt it was exclusively due to Zheng He's expeditions, but there is evidence of cultural and natural exchanges especially on the western coasts of North and South America which point to visit/s by the Chinese. If you choose to deride these evidences because there are others that are unworthy, that is your choice. It is not mine.

And, yes I have been to the website. I posted some information from the latest newsletter. I have sent a request for more information to the web address. The website is not manned in a timely manner, and I have yet to receive a reply from my request. It was in regard to the DNA evidence for the Melungeons, which I have found from other sources, places the ancestry of these people with shipwrecked Portuguese sailors, which corresponds to their oral history (aghast! Oral History?). What has not been done as yet, is to date when those Portuguese arrived on the Carolina/Virginia shores. DNA cannot establish a date, other than within a broad range. Oral history generally does not translate well to modern dating methods.





Title: Re: American History
Post by: thanatopsy on September 01, 2007, 08:52:41 PM
``If you choose to deride these evidences because there are others that are unworthy, that is your choice. ``

But the burden of proof lies with Menzies as it did with Van Daniken. Their failure to provide concrete evidence is what generated criticism. Moreover, Menzies' innumerable errors in regard to Puerto Rican history and geography are not only striking, they are utterly laughable.

You might recall our discussion of Ackerman's Boss Tweed in the Times forum.  It was a book I recommended. Yet, if you were in on the discussion, you will know that I did not hesitate to criticize several of the author's minor failings and a number of shortcomings by the editor.  Nonetheless, I enjoyed the book and our very stimulating exchange.

For the record, I have found our exchange on Menzies to be quite stimulating as well.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: weezo on September 01, 2007, 09:20:58 PM
Than,

No, I joined the American History forum shortly before it came down, so I did not see the discussion of Boss Tweed. If this is your usual approach to a book, I am now forewarned.

You may feel that the burden of proof rests solely on Menzies, but I do not agree. Certainly, he should have had a better editor to help him correct items you found laughable. Perhaps, I just do not feel the same need to laugh at the efforts of others. Perhaps my years teaching children have made me more accepting of the errors of others.  As a general sense, I felt a lot of enthusiasm for the subject in this author, probably more than his scholarship could support. But, he did make a strong effort to bring to the attention of the public that there could be other interpretations of existing data. He did make a strong case for further study. And, yes, that further study would be better pursued by those with more strengths under the many hats needed to explore the issues.

I feel the intent of his book was to open a dialogue on the possibilities he suggests. Some, I dismiss out of hand as implausible. Others, for which I've seen other similar suggestions from other sources, I am curious to see how it all pans out. 



Title: Re: American History
Post by: madupont on September 01, 2007, 11:19:26 PM
Dzimas, as of 14 May 2007 books sent to foreign countries can no longer be shipped by surface mail (boat, train, horse carts) but must be shipped air mail. When I read that notice in the NYT I first thought about myself and how I would no longer be able to afford books I found elsewhere in the world and shipped to me by surface--which does take a bit of time in some cases, but mostly they got to me in about 2 weeks--and then I thought of you and how this would affect your book purchases.

I don't know who in the Bush administration thought this little item up--and for the life of me I can't remember, now, what reason was given--but I feel reasonably certain the U.S. Post Office would not have thought to make this rule on its own.

There was mention in the article that U.S. booksellers were concerned that this rule would severely affect their overseas buyers decisions to purchase from U.S. dealers.


Donotremove and Dzimas,

I had no idea this rule for postal rates had come about, when I recommended Powells.(but then Dzimas has made clear that he sometimes deals with Abe.UK).

But it means that the Bush idea of things has succeeded in dumbing down in a detestable way because if the buyers overseas are disadvantaged in obtaining books published in America, it cuts back on the income of the US booksellers, whereas the publishers had done everything possible to encourage purchases through your local bookseller rather than allowing you to buy direct from the publisher. This may account for why I've avoided the franchised book market and gone to the academic publishers, and sought things from second-hands that collectors frequent, as well as the spring and autumn library-sales.

I must admit that I've found one little lady that offers me a deal for delivery of books, but then she knows how to locate them; whereas my last experience with the big remainder sales stores crossing the nation left me peeved because the employees do not know how to find their books in inventory on the computer. They might as well be selling boxes of soap as books.

More than ever, I realize at times like today, that I could kick myself for forgetting to carefully note something that I have searched for with the academic publishers, did I or did I not file it but where? Which university had which author, what was the title again?  So maybe, I  ought to track a few before they are gone out of sight, out of mind. One Japanese,several European.

Unfortunately, it seems like yesterday when I used to post manuscripts by Book Rate.  Now, everything is Fed Ex or Fax it to me.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Dzimas on September 02, 2007, 02:15:20 AM
Weezo, how does the burden of proof not fall on the author?  Even in a novel, an author has to create an air of plausibility, the feeling that these events might be real, to pull his reader into the story.  Menzies tried to write a history and as such it has to be able to bear up under close scrutiny by a jury of his peers.  He utterly failed in this regard.  I couldn't find a positive review anywhere of the book among history journals.  1421 is widely regarded as a joke.  The book is regarded as an object lesson in how not to present history to any age group, particularly young ones who are more susceptable to tall tales.  That any publishing company, particularly Harper, could publish this book as history is laughable.  As a teacher, I would think you would give this book much closer scrutiny, especially if you plan on using it to write children's stories.  But, you seem to accept almost everything Menzies wrote at face value. 


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Donotremove on September 02, 2007, 02:24:30 AM
Maddy, you can use the book rate from the USPS for mailing inside the U.S.

Thanatopsy, I voted for 1421 but you should recall very early on I opted out of the discussion.  I have followed the posts, however.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Dzimas on September 02, 2007, 02:29:22 AM
DNR, Maddie,

The day is soon coming when all books will be available over the Internet, so shipping will no longer be a problem.  I've bought 100s of books from amazon over the years.  I would have thought they would have started giving me a discount rate at some point, especially for all the reviews I write, but I still get jacked when it comes to shipping.  However, they offer the cheapest rates, even lower than their satellite company in Britain.  What galls me is that I can only buy new books, CDs and DVDs from them.  They won't mail used books, CDs and DVDs to Lithuania for some strange reason, despite being in the EU for three years now.  B&N and Abebooks have no problem sending used books to me, so it seems like it is just some crazy internal policy.  I've written to them, but get the standard responses from Indian service personnel.  I was still able to get books set surface as of June.  I wasn't aware of this change in policy that DNR mentioned, but I did notice that the last time I tried to order through Abebooks, surface mail was no longer an option.  But, it had ceased being much of a savings anyway.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Dzimas on September 02, 2007, 04:47:04 AM
The worst part about it is that amazon has become so big it is hard to get any response out of them whenever sending e-mails.  They've got a virtual closed loop when it comes to e-mails, as they can only pertain to specific orders, otherwise they don't get processed.  The companies in their amazon marketplace only take orders through amazon, like Caiman music which has some of the best deals on CD's and DVD's.  Amazon has also bought out British book stores like Waterstone's, which used to provide its own Internet service, but now you can only go through amazon.  Of course, if you live in the States you can get whatever you want and usually with free delivery.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: weezo on September 02, 2007, 07:16:06 AM
Dzimas,

Before I read the book, I was advised by local historians not to take it too seriously, and was guided to some websites that pointed out the errors in the book. I did not read the book expecting it to be a good history. I sat back and enjoyed the story. And, I did enjoy the story. It opened possibilities in my thoughts of how history is recorded and how history is disproved in time. I saw holes in the story, some of which I have shared on this forum. I have said, more than once, that I am inclined to dismiss the whole of the voyage to eastern North America and circling Greenland. It is not consistent with other points in the book. I cannot imagine how the Chinese could have made landfall in Carolina-Virginia, and not "discovered" the Chesapeake Bay. I am not wholly convinced that the structures found in Rhode Island were of Chinese origin, nor the structure on Newfoundland and Labrador. I tend to prefer the speculative history of Farley Mowat, that these structures were built by earlier settlers from Scotland.

Nevertheless, I had already read accounts that suggest a Chinese presence at some time in history, on the west coast of the Americas, and can readily accept that the Chinese may have made landfall in these areas. As to the stone carvings on the Cape Verde Islands, I neither belief nor disbelieve they are the result of a Chinese voyage. I am unclear why the wording of these monuments was not in Chinese, and wonder if other Asians made that voyage before or instead of Zheng He.

Some of the charges against Menzies are, to my mind, completely irrelevant, especially the claim that historians write for chump change and Menzies received a king's ransom for writing his book. At present, my own writings are published on the Internet and can be downloaded and read or printed free of charge. Does that raise my stature as a write? I don't think so. Some of my stories desperately need re-writing now that I have gained more skill in the art of writing stories. Do I expect historians to take my stories as serious history? No. My goal in writing them is more to induce children who are reluctant readers to take an interest in reading and move on to more substantive books from my stories.

I do not agree with you that this book does not belong in history. It is a speculative history book, and has a place in that genre. Speculative history has a place in opening minds to other possibilities than the traditionally accepted theories. And, the traditionally accepted histories are, for the most part, and at best, often speculative in and of themselves.

As I said in a earlier post, my use of this book in a high school classroom would be as a jumping off point to guide students into investigating the questionable parts of the book, and to help students learn that not all reading is expected to be taken at face value.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: thanatopsy on September 02, 2007, 08:38:46 AM
I voted for 1421 but you should recall very early on I opted out of the discussion.  I have followed the posts, however.


DNR,

Since you have followed the exchange, what is your opinion of the book at this point?


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Bob on September 02, 2007, 09:28:36 AM
My opinion of the book is that it is a very speculative venture indeed. I enjoyed reading it. It flows very well. I believe that everyone is entitled to their opinion and they certainly are free to write about it.  I also believe in "garbage in--garbage out." Anyone with any knowledge of the era spoken about would certainly question the initial assumptions Menzies makes. Once the reader accepts those assumptions as facts, the reader, following the logic of the author, is very apt to accept the conclusions. I'm amazed at the persistence of old mythologies. I was equally taken aback that Menzies, a mariner by trade, would even consider some of them.  I can see him making errors on the historical side,  he's not an historian. All in all, the book should never be portrayed as history. That's not to say everything in the book is intellectual do-do, some parts are rather informative and indisputable--but you need to know your stuff to separate the wheat from the chaff. To me it's OK for people to accept what I consider perfectly errouneous information as fact. That's human nature. There are still people around who believe William Henry Harrison was poisoned and that the deaths of Harrison, Taylor and Lincoln were all a part of the same conspiracy. More power to  them, but count me out.

Oh well, it was a very spirited discussion and I enjoyed it.

By the way, a very interesting point is this---the Dewey Decimal System classification for the book is 910.4 MEN. I'm a Dewey Decimal freak of sorts, I know the entire system, having nothing better to do when I was a kid except to sit down one day a do what every nerd dreams of doing--memorzing the general classifications. 910 is Geography and Travel---not history. History, Chinese History in particular, is 951; American History is 973--Historical Geography is 911----To the librarian the book is in among the travel books---not the history books or even historical geography books.

With that I close....


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Bob on September 02, 2007, 09:35:47 AM
Oh, one other point---the reason I voted for the book is that is does qualify as American History in that it has to do with the issue of who discovered America. I'm a traditionalist and beleve that Columbus did, or that in the very least the discovery was a process rather than a singular event.Others disagree with that. I thought the book would open that debate---and it did. 1491, should we get into it, fits much in the same way--its a pre-Columbian view of life in America---its a part of our history and while its scope is wider than what subesquently became the United States, its still encompasses it.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Bob on September 02, 2007, 10:06:39 AM
Dzimas

Remembering  how very good Hugh Thomas' ARMED TRUCE,THE SLAVE TRADE  and CONQUEST were, I ran across his later one, published in 2003. RIVERS OF GOLD: THE RISE OF THE SPANISH EMPIRE, FROM COLUMBUS TO MAGELLAN. I haven't read it, but certaintly will whenever I get through the pile I have on the floor (I dread to look at it anymore)

Have you read this one yet?


Title: Re: American History
Post by: thanatopsy on September 02, 2007, 12:25:01 PM
it is a very speculative venture indeed. I enjoyed reading it. It flows very well. I believe that everyone is entitled to their opinion and they certainly are free to write about it ... it was a very spirited discussion and I enjoyed it.

Agree 100 %.

Now let's hear from everyone else: what is your opinion of the book.

I'm at about page 430 and there is still a bit more to discuss so go ahead and lead away in the discussion ...


Title: Re: American History
Post by: weezo on September 02, 2007, 01:08:57 PM
Bob,

That is a very interesting point about the Dewey classification of the book under Geography and Travel rather than History. Although I found it more interesting to read books than to classify them, it is a good point that those who classify books do not see it as an entry in history. It is indeed an interesting book from the standpoint of geography, and I did enjoy learning about how cartography works, how the ocean currents make travel from point A likely to make for one to arrive at point B rather than point C or D. It does help explain why certain parts of the continents were explored before others, and the importance in Puerto Rico from its position on the ocean currents.

I never thought about their being a classification for geography books (although it makes perfect sense). Maybe next time I have occasion to visit a library, I will check out the books under 910 and see what is there. I started a new series in my children's books on Geography, and did one title this summer. I was wondering what else, beyond explaining continents, oceans, and country boundaries, I could put under the classification, and you have given me an idea. Perhaps the best use of 1421 for my children's books would be to bring out some of the geographical points in the book.

Thanks!


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Dzimas on September 02, 2007, 01:10:00 PM
By the way, a very interesting point is this---the Dewey Decimal System classification for the book is 910.4 MEN. I'm a Dewey Decimal freak of sorts, I know the entire system, having nothing better to do when I was a kid except to sit down one day a do what every nerd dreams of doing--memorzing the general classifications. 910 is Geography and Travel---not history. History, Chinese History in particular, is 951; American History is 973--Historical Geography is 911----To the librarian the book is in among the travel books---not the history books or even historical geography books.

With that I close....

Fascinating.  I would have probably filed it in historical fiction, but geography and travel is as good a heading as any.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: Donotremove on September 02, 2007, 02:16:08 PM
Bob, thanks for the Dewey lesson. 

Thanatopsy, When I first read the book I was very excited.  But I didn't know what, in the end, to think.  I was hoping . . . and I got the book back out intending to read it again--no I've never rummaged around at Menzie's web site--for clarification, maybe.  I was discouraged with the beginning remarks from you history buffs, which I'm not, from doing more than what I have: lurk.

I follow all the American History discussions although I do scroll a bit when you all begin to dig to China over some small (it often seems to me) thing.  :)  I don't begrudge you all of that.  It's fun for you and it's what you do.  Most importantly, I respect and appreciate your collective scholarship.

I believe the boats were that big, or close to it.  I believe they made voyages of what Westerners would call discovery.  But without written Chinese history who knows the details?  I think Menzies has taken the history he could find and has created a scenerio he believes is true, inviting people to "talk" about it, add to it, await further information.

So, there we are.


Title: Re: American History
Post by: madupont on September 02, 2007, 02:23:54 PM
Dzimas,

Glad you mentioned that was Harpers.  (Okay, I confess, I was not reading this book, hadn't planned on it but, then, pondered -- when thanatopsy began posting -- if some casual advice on Chinese sources might be helpful to investigate as you chose. Although that first page ,which was linked as from "China History" -- and I must tell you I always search anything that appears to be an "as from", to know whether it originates from the PRC or the people who today like to put labels: Republic of China, on their products or publications from Taiwan; yet, frankly I could not tell from that linked sheet or page where it originated.

Although it was suggested, while throwing in the matter of the coming up Olympic Games, that people in various parts of China unhesitatingly agree that yes, the world should know about China's contribution,re: this expedition, and I am paraphrasing, it was not clear who was attributing these agreeable ideas, and I start getting the Readers' Digest goose-bumps of dubious authenticity although "digested" from someplace else.)

Of course now that we all have service provided by various internet carriers, each of us probably has their own example of things they discover while they are weeding through their sign-on routine. Confess, I was amused at the camps of opinion that I encountered last night commenting on the Congressman from Idaho, or was it Ohio?, many of whom have simply no idea why police