Category Archives: History

September 9, 2017

The Myth of the Noble Savage – Stefan Molyneux (Video)

Are we better in a state of nature, before authority brings down the hammer on “misbehavior”? Do you ever yearn for a simple life, deep in the woods, free of social constraints? What do you think would happen to us all in the absence of the rule of law? Would we learn to cooperate, or end up fighting endlessly? Dr. Duke Pesta joins Stefan Molyneux to discuss the ancient idea of an earthly paradise that existed before the fall of man. What was it really like? Better, or worse? Where would you prefer to live?

September 7, 2017

Winston Churchill’s Worst Mistake That We Are Still Paying For (2004) – Video

Christopher Catherwood (born 1 March 1955) is a British author based in Cambridge, England and, often, in Richmond, Virginia. He has taught for the Institute of Continuing Education based a few miles away in Madingley and has taught for many years for the School of Continuing Education at the University of Richmond. He has been associated each summer with the University of Richmond’s History Department, where he is its annual summer Writer in Residence, and where most of his recent books have been written.

Pancho Villa Pt. II: The Rise to Power

The difference between the two armies was great. Witnesses said that while Zapata’s humble troops begged for food in Mexico City, Villa’s went on a drunken spree, raping, pillaging.

The Mexican Revolution of 1910 gave Pancho Villa the opportunity to get involved in a cause and make his countrymen forget that he was a bandit. He and his band of outlaws joined the rebels in the first year of the fighting. At the age of 22, he was appointed a captain. The dictator of Mexico at the time was Porfirio Diaz, who had ruled with an iron fist since the death of the legendary Benito Juarez, in 1872. Diaz’s slogan was “Bread and the Club.” Bread for the elite; bread for the army; bread for the bureaucrats; bread for the foreigners; and even bread for the Church—and a club for the common folk and those who chose to differ with him, was efficiently wielded by the ruthless Ruales, Diaz’s’ personal police. His rule by force made him the most efficient despot to rule in this part of the world. Haciendas were like feudal estates; and elegant monuments to the rich were everywhere as aristocracy was in full bloom!

Most of the revolutionaries fought to free Mexico from the dictator Diaz and create a democracy. At first, Villa was in the fight only for personal profit. Later, he became a True Believer in the rebel cause.

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Complete text linked here.

September 6, 2017

The Saga of Pancho Villa Pt. I

Villa’s bravos lost nearly 140 men in the fight while killing 17 Americans. It marked the last time the continental U.S. has ever been attacked by soldiers from a foreign nation.

A bright orange glow spread across the eastern New Mexico horizon on the morning of March 9th, 1916. The sleepy border town of Columbus was slowly coming to life. In the pre-dawn, the first group of Mexican soldiers cut through the barbed wire and crossed quietly into the United States. They began moving towards the little town of Columbus, three miles to the north.

About a mile from the slumbering town, General Francisco “Pancho” Villa divided his five hundred raiders into two columns. One set out for the U.S. Army post at Camp Furlong, while the other went forward to strike the town of Columbus.

Shouting “Mata los gringos!”—“Death to the whites!” the Villistas stormed the town, shooting civilians in cold blood as they ran out of their homes to see what all the commotion was about. Bullets were flying in all directions, breaking windows as the pistoleros rode up and down the streets. The wooden buildings of the business district were looted and then set on fire. Any home with its lights on was fired upon.

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Complete text linked here.

PBS – The Civil War: Most Hallowed Ground (Part 7/9) – Video

The episode begins with the presidential election of 1864 that sets Abraham Lincoln against his old commanding general, George McClellan. The stakes are nothing less than the survival of the Union itself: with Grant and Sherman stalled at Petersburg and Atlanta, opinion in the North has turned strongly against the war. But 11th-hour victories at Mobile Bay, Atlanta, and the Shenandoah Valley tilt the election to Lincoln and the Confederacy’s last hope for independence dies. In an ironic twist, poignantly typical of the Civil War, Lee’s Arlington mansion is turned into a Union military hospital and the estate becomes Arlington National Cemetery, the Union’s most hallowed ground.

September 5, 2017

PBS – The Civil War: Valley of the Shadow of Death (Part 6/9) – Video

Episode Six begins with a biographical comparison of Ulysses S. Grant and Robert E. Lee and then chronicles the extraordinary series of battles that pitted the two generals against each other from the wilderness to Petersburg in Virginia. In 30 days, the two armies lose more men than both sides have lost in three years of war. With Grant and Lee finally deadlocked at Petersburg, we visit the ghastly hospitals north and south and follow General Sherman’s Atlanta campaign through the mountains of north Georgia. As the horrendous casualty lists increase, Lincoln’s chances for reelection begin to dim, and with them the possibility of Union victory.

September 4, 2017

Bertrand Russell on his meeting with Vladimir Lenin in 1920 (Video)

“I didn’t much like that..”

September 1, 2017

PBS – The Civil War: The Universe of Battle (Part 5/9) – Video

This episode opens with a dramatic account of the turning point of war: the Battle of Gettysburg, the greatest ever fought in the Western Hemisphere. For three days, 150,000 men will fight to the death in the Pennsylvania countryside, culminating in George Pickett’s legendary charge. This extended episode then chronicles the fall of Vicksburg, the New York draft riots, the first use of black troops, and the western battles at Chickamauga, Georgia, and Chattanooga, Tennessee. The episode closes with the dedication in November of a new Union cemetery at Gettysburg, where Abraham Lincoln struggles to put into words what is happening to his people.

August 31, 2017

PBS – The Civil War: Simply Murder (Part 4/9) – Video

The nightmarish Union disaster at Fredericksburg comes to two climaxes that spring: at Chancellorsville in May, where Lee wins his most brilliant victory but loses Stonewall Jackson; and at Vicksburg, where Grant’s attempts to take the city by siege are stopped. During the episode we learn of fierce northern opposition to Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, the miseries of regimental life, and the increasing desperation of the Confederate home front. As the episode ends, Lee decides to invade the North again to draw Grant’s forces away from Vicksburg.

August 30, 2017

PBS – The Civil War: Forever Free (Part 3/9) – Video

This episode charts the dramatic events that led to Lincoln’s decision to free the slaves. Convinced by July 1862 that emancipation was now morally and militarily crucial to the future of the Union, Lincoln must wait for a victory to issue his proclamation. But as the year wears on, there are no Union victories to be had, thanks to the brilliance of Stonewall Jackson and Robert E. Lee. The episode climaxes in September 1862 with Lee’s invasion of Maryland. On the banks of Antietam Creek, the bloodiest day of the war takes place, followed shortly by the brightest: the emancipation of the slaves.