Saturday, January 31, 2009
1. Impressment/Boston Tea Party/Boston Massacre
You can lump these causes into one big category, because they are all connected in some way to the people finally saying, "I have had enough". Forced into war or labor, taxed on every product and war fought, and told when you can and can't assemble together will eventually lead to revolution. History has all kinds of examples of the people standing up and taking control from the oppressor. (See French and Russian Revolution)
2. Attack on Pearl Harbor
For a World War that started in 1939, the United States stood back and made all kinds of money selling and loaning arms and supplies to all the European countries at war. Attacks on American trading vessels by German U-boats was not enough to get the US to enter into war. However, on December 7th 1941, when the Japanese attacked the US navy base Pearl Harbor in a supposedly surprise attack and over 1,000 American soldiers were killed. The United States declared war on Japan and later Germany and Italy.
3. Manifest Destiny
What has a better sound to it? We are taking this land from you and sending you where ever you are out of the way, because I said so or because this is what God wants. Well I guess it would make the conquerors feel a lot better if its all for the sake of God. Which is why most of the cities in California are Spanish and Native American names are spread throughout our rivers and lakes like ghosts from the past.
4. Sinking (explosion) of the Maine
A battleship that sank in very mysterious ways was the incendiary to the powder keg that was the Spanish-American War, in 1898. Over 200 soldiers lost their lives in this explosion that was never really investigated thoroughly, but was declared a naval mine and that it was definitely Spain, because it was off the coast of Havana, Cuba. This led to the famous rally cries of, "Remember the Maine! To Hell with Spain!" Many researchers however believe that the Maine sank because of an internal explosion in the hull.
5. Gulf of Tonkin Incident
Even though the US had been involved in Vietnam for several years prior to the Gulf of Tonkin Incident in 1964, this event led to a great surge in troops, supplies and money into a war that was just beginning to escalate. The claim of the US military was that the destroyer USS Maddox was attacked by three North Vietnamese torpedo boats and that these attacks were unprovoked because it was international waters. This event gave the President and future Presidents the power to declare war without actually declaring it.
Others that deserve mention: South Carolina Secession and 911/Weapons of Mass Destruction
When I lived in Erie, PA, I quaffed quite a few local beers. While I enjoyed the stronger Railbender and the crisp Presque Isle Pilsner, I was most intrigued by Mad Anthony's Ale. This beer was named for "Mad" Anthony Wayne, who served as a general under George Washington in the Revolutionary War and took fort after fort for the United States in the late 1700's.
Wayne even established Fort Recovery, which is a great Centro-Matic album. Mad Anthony died from complications from gout, a disease both Jesse and I hold dear here at Doomed to Repeat.
Not trying to diminish the good General's achievements freedom-fighting for the United States...in fact Wayne's vistory at Fallen Timbers ended for all time the power of the British on American soil... but the real interesting part comes after his death. 13 years after Wayne was buried in Erie, PA, his son decided that his father should be buried in the family burial plot in Radnor, PA. When the coffin was opened, the body had not decomposed! The Mad general's body was burned in a large kettle, to separate the bones from the flesh. So, Mad Anthony Wayne is buried in two places. I've visited his burial site in Erie, and seen the replica kettle used to boil his bones at the Erie Historical Society.
(Right now, you can listen to his story on their website).
Fascinating man, fascinating history!
1. Common Sense - Thomas Paine
2. Uncle Tom's Cabin - Harriot Beecher Stowe
3. the Jungle - Upton Sinclair
4. How the Other Half Lives - Jacob Riis
5. Silent Spring - Rachel Carson
One incited a revolution. One sparked a civil war. One exposed the American meatpacking industry. One used muck racking photojournalism to expose New York City slums. One launched the environmental movement. All these books served as a catalyst to something major in our history, and their repercussions are still felt today. Does anyone have any other suggestions? Has anyone read these books and can testify on their worthiness or unworthiness? Let's hear it.
When you think about history, the first thing most people think of is huge textbooks with very dry and boring writing about how great a person the President was and what kind of tree they chopped down or what log cabin they lived in. This leaves all the interesting stories and controversial events to be desired. Well here at Doomed to Repeat, we refuse to duplicate this rubbish that people call history and we plan to look at the intriguing historical stories and people that changed the world for better or worse. Its important that we understand exactly what George Santayana meant when he said, "Those who can't remember the past, are condemned to repeat it". This means when humans create their own history (swim in the spoils), then we will not learn from the past and the same problems and conflicts will keep coming up over and over again. So fasten your seat belts and hold onto the wheel as we venture through the streets of history and do some window shopping. Hopefully you learn something new along the way.