Language is in its potency a trap—in this case an inducement to action even when careful consideration warns of potentially dire consequences. Put differently, the axioms handed down from earlier policy practice have demonstrated their capacity to overrule prudent calculation. That insight leaves us with a set of genuine questions.
Before the war began, few would have foreseen Hampton emerging as a die-hard Confederate. After President Abraham Lincoln called for troops to suppress the Southern rebellion, however, Hampton no longer hesitated.
For all his genius as a political theorist (we remember him as “the Father of the Constitution”) and despite remarkable success as a politician (he lost only one election in a public career spanning forty years) James Madison has never been ranked among the greatest of presidents. The War of 1812 permanently stained his reputation. Yet Madison’s wartime leadership deserves a second look.
He ordered them to leave the camp as soon as possible, but they received permission to stay one more day because of bad weather “if they behave themselves properly.” They did not.
For too long, popular interpretations of the Civil War have portrayed foreign-born soldiers as hirelings and mercenaries, similar to the hated “Hessians” who had fought for the British during the American Revolution. It is high time to acknowledge that they had as many ideological reasons for fighting as their native-born counterparts.
Turning to the war, Davis confirmed reports that some slaves were armed and fighting for the South, but he assured his audience that it “was done solely on compulsion.” Having been a slave foreman, he perceptively compared their plight to that of slaves who “were often made to fill the place of whipping-master.” He maintained that the best way to prevent the South from continually taking military advantage of the enslaved community was to free the slaves so they could “go forth conquering.”
The attack at Fort Donelson proved to be anything but easy. In fact, the Federals tackled a job that was far more difficult than taking Fort Henry.
Most Americans have been inoculated against the notion that our country can behave like an empire. Therefore, some readers may well find the focus on empire unsettling. After all, we are regularly reminded by our politicians, clergy, teachers, and the media that the U.S. is an exceptional country. We don’t do empire. That’s for the bad guys. We like to believe that whatever America does internationally is for the common good of humanity. As authors, all we ask is that readers consider our general definition of empire on its historical merits and give our treatment of the U.S. case a fair hearing.
The history of American empire building and warfare in one region speaks to the current imbroglio across the Middle East and Central Asia in a striking variety of ways. U.S. policymakers have ignored or have deliberately forgotten the lessons from the conflicts in eastern Asia.
Turning our backs on the grim prospects for Afghanistan is part of a long tradition. We drew a veil over the struggle against insurgents in the Philippines. A combination of amnesia and speculative might-have-beens disposed of the Korean stalemate and the Vietnam defeat, and it seems likely the Iraq invasion and occupation will suffer the same fate.
The fourth bag, the one for which O’Hair had to pay, contained weapons, essential implements of warfare that speak to the harsh conditions one would expect to find in a war zone. Yet no one has ever asked what is, in my opinion, the most important question: What was in the other three bags?
Historian Meredith Lair explores the role of consumer goods in boosting troop morale in a war zone.
From Matthew F. Jacobs’ book ‘Imagining the Middle East: Building American Foreign Policy, 1918-1967,’ how consumer culture influenced U.S. foreign policy.
For Chile, Latin America, & the world beyond, understanding what happened on 11 September 1973 has been a slow process of discovery, debate, & forensic science.