Anonymous Account of the Boston Massacre 13 March 1770
A Short Narrative of the Horrid Massacre in Boston. Printed by Order of the Town of Boston. Re-published with Notes and Illustrations hy John Doggett, Jr., (New York, 1849), vp. 13-19; 21- 22; 28-30.
THE HORRID MASSACRE IN BOSTON, PERPETRATED IN THE EVENING OF THE FIFTH DAY OF MARCH, 1770, BY SOLDIERS OF THE TWENTY-NINTH REGIMENT WHICH WITH THE FOURTEENTH REGIMENT WERE THEN QUARTERED THERE; WITH SOME OBSERVATIONS ON THE STATE OF THINGS PRIOR TO THAT CATASTROPHE
It may be a proper introduction to this narrative, briefly to represent the state of things for some time previous to the said Massacre; and this seems necessary in order to the forming a just idea of the causes of it.
At the end of the late [French and Indian] war, in which this province bore so distinguished a part, a happy union subsisted between Great Britain and the colonies. This was unfortunately interrupted by the Stamp Act; but it was in some measure restored by the repeal of it. It was again interrupted by other acts of parliament for taxing America; and by the appointment of a Board of Commissioners, in pursuance of an act, which by the face of it was made for the relief and encouragement of commerce, but which in its operation, it was apprehended, would have, and it has in fact had, a contrary effect. By the said act the said Commissioners were “to be resident in some convenient part of his Majesty’s dominions in America.” This must be understood to be in some part convenient for the whole. But it does not appear that, in fixing the place of their residence, the convenience of the whole was at all consulted, for Boston, being very far from the centre of the colonies, could not be the place most convenient for the whole. Judging by the act, it may seem this town was intended to be favored, by the Commissioners being appointed to reside here; and that the consequence of that residence would be the relief and encouragement of commerce; but the reverse has been the constant and uniform effect of it; so that the commerce of the town, from the embarrassments in which it has been lately involved, is greatly reduced.
The residence of the Commissioners here has been detrimental, not only to the commerce, but to the political interests of the town and province; and not only so, but we can trace from it the causes of the late horrid massacre. Soon after their arrival here in November, 1767, instead of confining themselves to the proper business of their office, they became partizans of Governor Bernard in his political schemes; and had the weakness and temerity to infringe upon one of the most essential rights of the house of commons of this province-that of giving their votes with freedom, and not being accountable therefor but to their constituents. One of the members of that house, Capt. Timothy Folgier, having voted in some affair contrary to the mind of the said Commissioners, was for so doing dismissed from the office he held under them.
These proceedings of theirs, the difficulty of access to them on office-business, and a supercilious behavior, rendered them disgustful to people in general, who in consequence thereof treated them with neglect. This probably stimulated them to resent it; and to make their resentment felt, they and their coadjutor, Governor Bernard, made such representations to his Majesty’s ministers as they thought best calculated to bring the displeasure of the nation upon the town and province; and in order that those representations might have the more weight, they are said to have contrived and executed plans for exciting disturbances and tumults, which otherwise would probably never have existed; and, when excited, to have transmitted to the ministry the most exaggerated accounts of them.
Unfortunately for us, they have been too successful in their said representations, which, in conjunction with Governor Bernard’s, have occasioned his Majesty’s faithful subjects of this town and province to be treated as enemies and rebels, by an invasion of the town by sea and land; to which the approaches were made with all the circumspection usual where a vigorous opposition is expected. While the town was surrounded by a considerable number of his Majesty’s ships of war, two regiments landed and took possession of it; and to support these, two other regiments arrived some time after from Ireland; one of which landed at Castle Island, and the other in the town.
Thus were we, in aggravation of our other embarrassments, embarrassed with troops, forced upon us contrary to our inclination-contrary to the spirit of Magna Charta-contrary to the very letter of the Bill of Rights, in which it is declared, that the raising or keeping a standing army within the kingdom in time of peace, unless it be with the consent of parliament, is against law, and without the desire of the civil magistrates, to aid whom was the pretence for sending the troops hither; who were quartered in the town in direct violation of an act of parliament for quartering troops in America; and all this in consequence of the representations of the said Commissioners and the said Governor, as appears by their memorials and letters lately published.
As they were the procuring cause of troops being sent hither, they must therefore be the remote and a blameable cause of all the disturbances and bloodshed that have taken place in consequence of that measure.
We shall next attend to the conduct of the troops, and to some circumstances relative to them. Governor Bernard without consulting the Council, having given up the State House to the troops at their landing, they took possession of the chambers, where the representatives of the province and the courts of law held their meetings; and (except the council-chamber) of all other parts of that house; in which they continued a considerable time, to the great annoyance of those courts while they sat, and of the merchants and gentlemen of the town, who had always made the lower floor of it their exchange. They [the merchants] had a right so to do, as the property of it was in the town; but they were deprived of that right by mere power. The said Governor soon after, by every stratagem and by every method but a forcibly entry, endeavored to get possession of the manufactory-house, to make a barrack of it for the troops; and for that purpose caused it to be besieged by the troops, and the people in it to be used very cruelly;
The General Court, at the first session after the arrival of the troops, viewed it in this light, and applied to Governor Bernard to cause such a nuisance to be removed; but to no purpose.
the challenging the inhabitants by sentinels posted in all parts of the town before the lodgings of officers, which (for about six months, while it lasted), occasioned many quarrels and uneasiness.
Capt. Wilson, of the 59th, exciting the negroes of the town to take away their masters’ lives and property, and repair to the army for protection, which was fully proved against him. The attack of a party of soldiers on some of the magistrates of the town-the repeated rescues of soldiers from peace officers-the firing of a loaded musket in a public street, to the endangering a great number of peaceable inhabitants-the frequent wounding of persons by their bayonets and cutlasses, and the numerous instances of bad behavior in the soldiery, made us early sensible that the troops were not sent here for any benefit to the town or province, and that we had no good to expect from such conservators of the peace.
It was not expected, however, that such an outrage and massacre, as happened here on the evening of the fifth instant, would have been perpetrated. There were then killed and wounded, by a discharge of musketry, eleven of his Majesty’s subjects, viz.:
- Mr. Samuel Gray, killed on the spot by a ball entering his head.
- Crispus Attucks, a mulatto, killed on the spot, two balls entering his breast.
- Mr. James Caldwell, killed on the spot, by two balls entering his back.
- Mr. Samuel Maverick, a youth of seventeen years of age, mortally wounded; he died the next morning.
- Mr. Patrick Carr mortally wounded; he died the 14th instant.
- Christopher Monk and John Clark, youths about seventeen years of age, dangerously wounded. It is apprehended they will die.
- Mr. Edward Payne, merchant, standing at his door; wounded.
- Messrs. John Green, Robert Patterson, and David Parker; all danger- ously wounded.
The actors in this dreadful tragedy were a party of soldiers commanded by Capt. Preston of the 29th regiment. This party, including the Captain, consisted of eight, who are all committed to jail.
There are depositions in this affair which mention, that several guns were fired at the same time from the Custom-house; before which this shocking scene was exhibited. Into this matter inquisition is now making. In the meantime it may be proper to insert here the substance of some of those depositions.
Benjamin Frizell, on the evening of the 5th of March, having taken his station near the west corner of the Custom-house in King street, before and at the time of the soldiers firing their guns, declares (among other things) that the first discharge was only of one gun, the next of two guns, upon which he the deponent thinks he saw a man stumble; the third discharge was of three guns, upon which he thinks he saw two men fall; and immediately after were discharged five guns, two of which were by soldiers on his right hand; the other three, as appeared to the deponent, were discharged from the balcony, or the chamber window of the Custom-house, the flashes appearing on the left hand, and higher than the right hand flashes appeared to be, and of which the deponent was very sensible, although his eyes were much turned to the soldiers, who were all on his right hand.
What gave occasion to the melancholy event of that evening seems to have been this. A difference having happened near Mr. Grays ropewalk, between a soldier and a man belonging to it, the soldier challenged the ropemakers to a boxing match. The challenge was accepted by one of them, and the soldier worsted. He ran to the barrack in the neighborhood, and returned with several of his companions. The fray was renewed, and the soldiers were driven off. They soon returned with recruits and were again worsted. This happened several times, till at length a considerable body of soldiers was collected, and they also were driven off, the ropemakers having been joined by their brethren of the contiguous ropewalks. By this time Mr. Gray being alarmed interposed, and with the assistance of some gentlemen prevented any further disturbance. To satisfy the soldiers and punish the man who had been the occasion of the first difference, and as an example to the rest, he turned him out of his service; and waited on Col. Dalrymple, the commanding officer of the troops, and with him concerted measures for preventing further mischief. Though this affair ended thus, it made a strong impression on the minds of the soldiers in general, who thought the honor of the regiment concerned to revenge those repeated repulses. For this purpose they seem to have formed a combination to commit some outrage upon the inhabitants of the town indiscriminately; and this was to be done on the evening of the 5th instant or soon after; as appears by the depositions of the following persons, viz.:
William Newhall declares, that on Thursday night the 1st of March instant, he met four soldiers of the 29th regiment, and that he heard them say, “there were a great many that would eat their dinners on Monday next, that should not eat any on Tuesday.” <
Daniel Calfe declares, that on Saturday evening the 3d of March, a camp-woman, wife to James McDeed, a grenadier of the 29th, came into his father’s shop, and the people talking about the affrays at the ropewalks, and blaming the soldiers for the part they had acted in it, the woman said, “the soldiers were in the right;” adding, “that before Tuesday or Wednesday night they would wet their swords or bayonets in New England people’s blood.”
Samuel Drowne declares that, about nine o’clock of the evening of the fifth of March current, standing at his own door in Cornhill, he saw about fourteen or fifteen soldiers of the 29th regiment, who came from Murray’s barracks, armed with naked cutlasses, swords, &c., and came upon the inhabitants of the town, then standing or walking in Coruhffl, and abused some, and violently assaulted others as they met them; most of whom were without so much as a stick in their hand to defend themselves, as he very clearly could discern, it being moonlight, and himself being one of the assaulted persons. All or most of the said soldiers he saw go into King street (some of them through Royal Exchange lane), and there followed them, and soon discovered them to be quarrelling and fighting with the people whom they saw there, which he thinks were not more than a dozen, when the soldiers came first, armed as aforesaid. Of those dozen people, the most of them were gentlemen, standing together a little below the Town House, upon the Exchange. At the appearance of those soldiers so armed, the most of the twelve persons went off, some of them being first assaulted.
The violent proceedings of this party, and their going into King street, “quarrelling and fighting with the people whom they saw there” (mentioned in Mr. Drowne’s deposition), was immediately introductory to the grand catastrophe.
These assailants, who issued from Murray’s barracks (so called), after attacking and wounding divers persons in Cornhill, as abovementioned, being armed, proceeded (most of them) up the Royal Exchange lane into King street; where, making a short stop, and after assaulting and driving away the few they met there, they brandished their arms and cried out, “where are the boogers! where are the cowards!” At this time there were very few persons in the street beside themselves. This party in proceeding from Exchange lane into King street, must pass the sentry posted at the westerly corner of the Custom House, which butts on that lane and fronts on that street. This is needful to be mentioned, as near that spot and in that street the bloody tragedy was acted, and the street actors in it were stationed: their station being but a few feet from the front side of the said Custom House. The outrageous behavior and the threats of the said party occasioned the ringing of the meeting-house bell near the head of King street, which bell ringing quick, as for fire, it presently brought out a number of inhabitants, who being soon sensible of the occasion of it, were naturally led to King street, where the said party had made a stop but a little while before, and where their stopping had drawn together a number of boys, round the sentry at the Custom House. whether the boys mistook the sentry for one of the said party, and thence took occasion to differ with him, or whether he first affronted them, which is affirmed in several depositions,-however that may be, there was much foul language between them, and some of them, in consequence of his pushing at them with his bayonet, threw snowballs at him, which occasioned him to knock hastily at the door of the Custom House. From hence two persons thereupon proceeded immediately to the main-guard, which was posted opposite to the State House, at a small distance, near the head of the said street. The officer on guard was Capt. Preston, who with seven or eight soldiers, with fire-arms and charged bayonets, issued from the guardhouse, and in great haste posted himself and his soldiers in front of the Custom House, near the corner aforesaid. In passing to this station the soldiers pushed several persons with their bayonets, driving through the people in so rough a manner that it appeared they intended to create a disturbance. This occasioned some snowballs to be thrown at them which seems to have been the only provocation that was given. Mr. Knox (between whom and Capt. Preston there was some conversation on the spot) declares, that while he was talking with Capt. Preston, the soldiers of his detachment had attacked the people with their bayonets and that there was not the least provocation given to Capt. Preston of his party; the backs of the people being toward them when the people were attacked. He also declares, that Capt. Preston seemed to be in great haste and much agitated, and that, according to his opinion, there were not then present in King street above seventy or eighty persons at the extent.
The said party was formed into a half circle; and within a short time after they had been posted at the Custom House, began to fire upon the people.
Captain Preston is said to have ordered them to fire, and to have repeated that order. One gun was fired first; then others in succession and with deliberation, till ten or a dozen guns were fired; or till that number of discharges were made from the guns that were fired. By which means eleven persons were killed and wounded, as above represented.
There also is a British account by Captain Thomas Preston’s of the Boston Massacre, which takes a rather different point of view
This is a graphical lifespan timeline of Presidents of the United States. Forty-four people have served as President of the United States since the office came into existence in 1789. They are listed in order of office (Grover Cleveland is listed in the order of his first presidency).
The United States’ Secret Plan to Invade Canada
A time-honored tradition in the U.S. military, contingency plans have been drawn up for the defense against, and invasion of, most major military powers. In fact, in response to recent events on the Korean peninsula, the U.S. and South Korea recently signed on to such a plan. One of the most interesting episodes in this rich history of preparing for things that will probably never happen came when Uncle Sam planned to invade Johnny Canuck.
In the years leading up to World War II, beginning in fact in the 1920s, the army began planning for wars with a variety of countries, designating each plan by a different color: Germany (black), Japan (orange), Mexico (green) and England (red); as a dominion of Great Britain, Canada (crimson) was presumed to be loyal to England, and thus was included in the plan against a supposed British invasion (not to be confused with that of the 1960s).
The paranoid U.S. military strategists who devised War Plan Red believed that if the Britain and America were to battle again, it would begin from a trade dispute. Whatever the cause, army planners anticipated that any war with England would be prolonged, not only because of British and Canadian tenacity, but also from the fact that Britain could draw manpower and resources from its empire, including at that time Australia, Hong Kong, India, Kenya, New Zealand, Nigeria, Palestine, South Africa and Sudan.
Canadian Invasion Plan
Different versions of the plan were proposed, and one was first approved in 1930 by the War Department. It was updated in 1934-1935, and, of course, never implemented. Although it was far reaching and addressed some of Britain’s greatest strengths, such as the Royal Navy, one of the chief areas of concern was the U.S.’s long border with Canada. As a result, the plan addressed our northern neighbors with great detail, to wit:
With its vital naval base, military strategists planned a naval attack on Victoria, launched from Port Angeles, Washington, as well as a combined assault on Vancouver and its island. Successful occupation of this area would effectively cut off Canada from the Pacific.
The central hub for the Canadian railway system was located in Manitoba’s capital city, Winnipeg; army strategists felt that a land assault could easily be launched from Grand Forks, North Dakota, and Canada’s rail lines neutralized.
New Brunswick and Nova Scotia
Military planners apparently hoped to stun the Maritime Provinces with a poison gas attack on Nova Scotia’s capital city, Halifax, then also home to a major naval base. The chemical battle would then be followed by a sea invasion at St. Margaret’s Bay. It that didn’t work, an overland invasion and occupation of New Brunswick would, hopefully, isolate the valuable seaports of Nova Scotia from the remainder of Canada, effectively stopping British resupply of its forces.
A three-pronged attack, arising from Buffalo, Detroit and Sault Ste. Marie would gain control of the Great Lakes for the U.S. In addition to causing a crushing blow to British supply lines, it would allow the United States to control most of Canada’s industrial production.
An overland attack launching from adjacent New York and Vermont was planned. Control of this French-speaking province would, when combined with control of the Maritime Provinces, stop Britain from having any entry point to the remainder of the country from the Eastern seaboard.
Revelation of the Plan
Although it was declassified in 1974, portions of the plan were inadvertently leaked long before. During what was supposed to be classified testimony by military brass to the House Military Affairs Committee, two generals revealed some of the details of War Plan Red. That testimony was mistakenly published in official reports, which were picked up and printed by the New York Times.
Also revealed in the New York Times was the fact that the United States Congress had assigned $57 million in 1935 (nearly $1 billion today) in order to build three air bases near the U.S./Canadian border in line with War Plan Red’s recommendations, in case the U.S. needed to defend against or attack Canada. These air bases were supposed to be disguised as civilian airports, but the Government Printing Office accidentally reported the existence of the air bases on May 1 of 1935, blowing their cover.
Interestingly, War Plan Red’s recommendations also proposed that the U.S. not just invade in such a war with Britain and Canada, but take over, adding any conquered regions as states to the United States.
The Sad History of Americans Invading Canada Badly
Americans have a history of underestimating the Canadians:
In September 1775, Benedict Arnold (when he was still on our side) led an unsuccessful assault on Quebec City overland through difficult Maine wilderness; over 40% of Arnold’s men were lost making the attempt, and yet, inexplicably, he was promoted to Brigadier General.
War of 1812
During the second war with Britain, Thomas Jefferson opined that to occupy Canada was a “mere matter of marching” for U.S. troops. Yet attacks in the Old Northwest, across the Niagara River, and north from Lake Champlain, all failed.
Proxy “War” for Ireland
Over a period of five years from 1866 to 1872, Irish Catholics from the U.S. engaged in a series of raids on Canadian targets, including forts and customs houses. Known as the Fenian raids, the Fenian Brotherhood had hoped that their actions would force the British to withdraw from Ireland. They were unsuccessful.
Post Cold War
In 1995, Michael Moore created a fictional war between the United States and Canada in the comedy, Canadian Bacon. Like the real-life Americans who went before them, the fictional invasion in this farcical political commentary failed.
What Comes Around Goes Around
Before you get the idea that only Americans are aggressive bastards, you should know that the Canadians had developed a plan to invade the United States before the U.S. ever started on its scheme.
Characterized as a counterattack, the 1921 plan more accurately resembles a preemptive war. The brainchild of Lieutenant Colonel Buster Sutherland Brown of the Canadian Army, the plan called for a surprise attack on the U.S. as soon as the Canadians had “evidence” that America was planning an invasion; it was felt that a preemptive strike was required, as it would be the only way Canada could prevail in a battle with its larger, southern neighbor, which benefited from a far greater arsenal and much more manpower.
Other advantages of the quick strike included the fact that the war would be fought on American territory, so losses in civilian life and infrastructure would be borne by the Americans. Finally, the colonel thought this plan would best buy the Canadians time for their allies, the British, to come to their rescue before the Americans could launch an effective counter strike.
It’s always the quiet ones.
|Operation Teapot was a series of fourteen nuclear test explosions conducted at the Nevada Test Site in the first half of 1955. It was preceded by Operation Castle, and followed by Operation Wigwam. Wigwam was, administratively, a part of Teapot, but it is usually treated as a class of its own. The aims of the operation were to establish military tactics for ground forces on a nuclear battlefield and to improve the nuclear weapons used for strategic delivery.
This is an air burst explosion and we watch as the fireball actually touches the earth.
The U.S. Government Poisoned Alcohol During Prohibition and 10,000 people were killed.
In desperation to make effective the floundering Prohibition on alcohol, the U.S. government — unable to convince the public consumption of booze constituted a moral transgression — intentionally poisoned the supply in a last-ditch attempt to enforce State-mandated sobriety.
This “Chemist’s war of Prohibition” became, as the outspoken opponent and New York City chief medical examiner in the 1920s, Charles Norris, hauntingly described, “our national experiment in extermination.”
Rather than keep people away from bathtub gin and the constant flow of liquor in hidden speakeasies — the State-sanctioned toxic experiment killed thousands of people who simply wanted to imbibe.
Hospitals accustomed to treating illnesses caused by bad batches of homemade alcohol — bootleg supplies not infrequently were tainted with metals and other contaminants — were not prepared for a spate of deaths in New York City over the Christmas holidays in 1926. This wasn’t, they realized, a typical case of toxic back-alley booze — in a mere two days, 23 people lost their lives.
People began dropping like flies, in fact, and a list of similar incidents quickly lengthened.
Thirty-three people perished in just three days in Manhattan in 1928 from tainted hooch believed to be wood alcohol — and by that time, the public felt federal intervention might be necessary. However, as TIME reported shortly afterward.
“Everyone expected the intervention and assistance of Federal forces, lately so loudly active in Manhattan. But no one expected what actually happened. The Federals announced that the government could do absolutely nothing. The statement of the Federal Grand Jury read as follows: ‘Inasmuch as wood alcohol is not a beverage, but a recognized poison (analogous to prussic acid or iodine) and its use and sale are not regulated by any of the Federal laws, we respectfully report that in those particular instances the subject matter is for the consideration of the State authorities rather than the Federal authorities. The State laws regulate the sale of poisons and provide for punishment for their improper use and sale.’”
By the time of the repeal of Prohibition in the December 5, 1933, ratification of the Twenty-first Amendment, estimates surmise no less than 10,000 had perished as a direct result of the government’s horrendously ill-fated poisoning program. As Slate’s Deborah Blum reported,
“Frustrated that people continued to consume so much alcohol even after it was banned, federal officials had decided to try a different kind of enforcement. They ordered the poisoning of industrial alcohols manufactured in the United States, products regularly stolen by bootleggers and resold as drinkable spirits. The idea was to scare people into giving up illicit drinking. Instead, by the time Prohibition ended in 1933, the federal poisoning program, by some estimates, had killed at least 10,000 people.”
In order to poison the supply, the government had to turn to the base ingredient commonly used by bootleg manufacturers, as TIME Magazine explained,
“For years, that industrial alcohol had been ‘denatured’ by adding toxic or unappetizing chemicals to it — the idea was originally so that people couldn’t escape beverage taxes by drinking commercial-use alcohol instead — but it was still possible to re-purify the liquid so that it could be consumed.
“So, as TIME reported in the Jan. 10, 1927, issue, a solution emerged from the anti-drinking forces in the government: that year, a new formula for denaturing industrial-grade alcohol was introduced, doubling how poisonous the product became. The new formula included ‘4 parts methanol (wood alcohol), 2.25 parts pyridine bases, 0.5 parts benzene to 100 parts ethyl alcohol’ and, as TIME noted, ‘Three ordinary drinks of this may cause blindness.’ (In case you didn’t guess, ‘blind drink’ isn’t just a figure of speech.)”
Prohibition had widespread support, and although not everyone agreed with the government’s new method of coercion meant to quash the nation’s obvious love affair with alcohol — TIME noted New Jersey Senator Edward I. Edwards called it “legalized murder” — those who did pontificated on the supposed amorality of drinking as justification for poisoning deaths.
“The Government is under no obligation to furnish the people with alcohol that is drinkable when the Constitution prohibits it,” asserted poisoning and Prohibition advocate, Wayne B. Wheeler. “The person who drinks this industrial alcohol is a deliberate suicide … To root out a bad habit costs many lives and long years of effort. …”
The Chicago Tribune strikingly editorialized in 1927, as cited by Slate,
“Normally, no American government would engage in such business. … It is only in the curious fanaticism of Prohibition that any means, however barbarous, are considered justified.”
Myriad ruinous government programs, in particular, prohibitions on alcohol and cannabis, have been implemented under the premise of protecting the people from some misbegotten ill — but, in practice, these efforts too often play out more disastrously than if the State had never intervened in the first place.
Ratification of the Eighteenth Amendment to the Constitution in 1919 meant a ban on the sale, manufacture, and transport of alcoholic beverages — and the subsequent passage of the Volstead Act provided the rules for enforcement of Prohibition when it went into effect in 1920.
Anti-alcohol organizations constantly sermonized on the evils of drinking, and though the notion seems almost quaint in 2017, the post-war atmosphere in the U.S. welcomed any movement to prevent further degradation of morals — or, more accurately, the morals of a specific group of people whose grandstanding centered around alcohol.
Unsurprisingly, vocal support for the platform overrepresented the reality — the business of banned booze immediately and decisively boomed. Blum wrote,
“Alcoholism rates soared during the 1920s; insurance companies charted the increase at more than 300 more percent. Speakeasies promptly opened for business. By the decade’s end, some 30,000 existed in New York City alone. Street gangs grew into bootlegging empires built on smuggling, stealing, and manufacturing illegal alcohol. The country’s defiant response to the new laws shocked those who sincerely (and naively) believed that the amendment would usher in a new era of upright behavior.”
None of that shock nor the high-and-mighty stance from which the temperance movement preached moral uprightness ever targeted the government for recklessly condemning random alcohol drinkers to death.
When the State takes the reins of any flippantly righteous high horse, it’s a veritable guarantee the program is doomed to failure — and Prohibition was no exception.
Indiscriminately killing more than 10,000 people by deliberate poisoning, however, belies the less candid goal the government would never admit: control at any cost.
Congress and the White House doubled the amount of methanol in industrial liquor and added benzine to the mix. The poisonous substances were meant to discourage people from drinking bootleg products. (New York Times)
We don’t know their names, nor the photographer who immortalized them, but these men lunching 800 feet up show the daredevil spirit behind Manhattan’s vertical expansion.
In a fascinating episode of the wonderful Time series “100 Photos“, the voice of Rockefeller Center archivist Christine Roussel shares the history of the incredibly famous 1932 photo entitled “Lunch Atop a Skyscraper“, featuring brave, but unknown men eating 800 feet off the ground.
The question of the names of all these men comes up frequently who are these men because on the back of the photograph they’re not identified. …I think it’s kind of sad that they’re not recognized because everybody else gets the credit and yet the people who actually have built the building are forgotten. The fact that they are immortalized in this picture and they are the guys who risked their lives building this building. I think that what’s important about the picture is that it places them in history as being important in the development of New York City and Rockefeller Center.
As accusations fly that Russia manipulated the 2016 American election to put Donald Trump in the White House, some Americans are remembering that the United States also fiddled with elections in numerous nations during the Cold War, including Chile, Iran and Central America.
One of the most notorious examples is Italy, where the CIA mounted an aggressive—and successful—campaign to limit Communist success in the 1948 election, including handing bags of money to conservative Italian political parties (a tradition hardly unknown in American politics). From 1948 to 1968, the CIA gave more than $65 million to Italian parties and labor unions.
But instead of cash, the United States could have sent in the Marines to give Italy the government that America thought it deserved. As late as 1960, America was still contemplating using military force if the Communists took power. Of course, the United States would always have responded militarily if the Soviet Army invaded Italy during the Cold War. But note the difference: American intervention would have been prompted not by Soviet tanks, but rather if the Communists took power through a coup—or by winning an election.
The details have emerged in a newly declassified Pentagon study released by the private watchdog organization, the National Security Archive.
In 1954, the Joint Chiefs of Staff urged that if a Communist government took power in Italy, “the United States, preferably in concert with its principal Allies, should be prepared to take the strongest possible action to prevent such an eventuality, such action possibly extending to the use of military power.”
That position didn’t suit President Dwight Eisenhower, whose World War II experiences as Supreme Allied Commander in Europe made him smarter than most about how to keep an alliance like NATO together. Eisenhower warned that he “could not imagine anything worse than the unilateral use by the United States of its forces to overthrow a Communist regime. This simply could not be done except in concert with our allies.”
Nonetheless, the National Security Council approved a paper that stated: “In the event the Communists achieve control of the Italian government by apparently legal means, the United States, in concert with its principal NATO allies, should take appropriate action, possibly extending to the use of military power, to assist Italian elements seeking to overthrow the Communist regime in Italy.”
Note the words “apparently legal means.” Perhaps the attitude among American leaders during the Cold War was that “Communist government” and “legal” were oxymorons, and that no Communist government could have genuine legitimacy (which had certainly been the case of the Eastern European regimes that rode into office on the backs of Soviet tanks in 1945). Nonetheless, the U.S. Sixth Fleet would have performed the ultimate act of electoral nullification, by using force against a Communist Party that—as did happen in the 1940s and 1950s—enjoyed strong popular support.
Even as late as August 1960, just months before John F. Kennedy took office, an NSC paper proposed that regardless of whether the Communists took power in Italy by illegal or legal means, the United States should be prepared to use military force—unilaterally if need be—to “assist whatever Italian elements are seeking to prevent or overthrow Communist domination.” This was fifteen years after the chaos and devastation of World War II. While Italy has never been known for stable governments, in 1960 it was not still the political and economic basket case under the rule of Allied military government.
In the end, “Eisenhower and Dulles were willing to intervene militarily only if the Communists forcibly seized power and then only in concert with other European nations,” concludes the study’s author, Ronald Landa. And that was wise: as Eisenhower himself realized, U.S. tanks rolling into Rome—or supporting right-wing Italians overthrowing their own government—would have been a propaganda godsend for the godless Communists in Moscow.
All of which has nothing to do with the question of whether Russia influenced the U.S. election. Except as a reminder that political manipulation has been performed by many nations.
READ THE DOCUMENTS
On March 12, 1984, President Ronald Reagan was chatting with students at Congress Heights Elementary when he suddenly announced that he had chosen one of them to become his pen pal. The lucky winner was six-year-old Rudy Hines, who was picked because he had proven himself to be a good reader and writer.
The two wrote back and forth with surprising frequency, exchanging hundreds of letters until the end of Reagan’s presidency in 1989. They covered topics you would expect, like reading (“Rudolph, if you get in the habit of reading stories for pleasure you’ll never be lonely”), but also issues typically reserved for the political arena (Reagan lamented not getting to have a personal chat with Mikhail Gorbachev). The Gipper occasionally included some of the doodles for which he later became notorious and sent pictures of himself and the First Lady from their travels, always including a handwritten note on the back.
Rudy and his mom even had the Reagans over for dinner in their one-bedroom apartment on September 21, 1984 (pictured). Rudy told his pal Ron he could come over as long as he gave some warning first, so Rudy’s mom had time to pick the laundry up off the floor. The Reagans were thrilled to accept, but had a condition of their own: that they eat the way Rudy and his mother ate every night. They ended up dining on fried chicken, rice, and salad in the living room while watching TV.
After Reagan passed away in 2004, Rudy recalled how impressed he was with the president for giving personal attention to a young child: “I figured I will get just a generic response that typical politicians give when people write letters to them. But he was not a typical politician. He actually sat down and took the time and carefully thought out his responses to my letters. And I really appreciated that.”
Here’s a video of Rudy and his mother on The Early Show the day after Reagan died.
Comparing the Assassinations of Abraham Lincoln Abraham and John F. Kennedy.
American presidents Abraham Lincoln and John F. Kennedy were both tragically assassinated during their terms in office. Both men were admired by many but actually hated by those who opposed their political views. Shortly after Kennedy was assassinated on 22 November 1963, a comparison of the circumstances of his death and the assassination of Abraham Lincoln on 14 April 1865 surfaced. That comparison pointed out some amazing coincidences.
Comparison of events
The following chart compares the amazing coincidences in the deaths of Lincoln and Kennedy. Some items that are commonly listed in this comparison have been deleted as incorrect, thanks to reader feedback.
|Lincoln was elected to Congress in 1846||Kennedy was elected to Congress in 1946|
|He was elected President in 1860||He was elected President in 1960|
|His wife lost a child while living in the White House||His wife lost a child while living in the White House|
|He was directly concerned with Civil Rights||He was directly concerned with Civil Rights|
|Lincoln had a secretary named Kennedy who told him not to go to the theater *1||Kennedy had a secretary named Lincoln who told him not to go to Dallas *2|
|Lincoln was shot in the back of the head in the presence of his wife||Kennedy was shot in the back of the head in the presence of his wife|
|Lincoln shot in the Ford Theatre||Kennedy shot in a Lincoln, made by Ford|
|He was shot on a Friday||He was shot on a Friday|
|The assassin, John Wilkes Booth, was known by three names, comprised of fifteen letters||The assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald, was known by three names, comprised of fifteen letters|
|Booth shot Lincoln in a theater and fled to a warehouse *3||Oswald shot Kennedy from a warehouse and fled to a theater|
|Booth was killed before being brought to trial||Oswald was killed before being brought to trial|
|There were theories that Booth was part of a greater conspiracy||There were theories that Oswald was part of a greater conspiracy|
|Lincoln’s successor was Andrew Johnson, born in 1808||Kennedy’s successor was Lyndon Johnson, born in 1908|
|Andrew Johnson died 10 years after Lincoln’s death||Lyndon Johnson died 10 years after Kennedy’s death|
*1 Note: It is an urban myth that Lincoln had a secretary named Kennedy. There is no record of that.
*2 Note: There is no record whether or not Kennedy’s secretary warned him.
*3 Note: Booth actually fled to a farm and was killed in a tobacco barn. It might be a stretch to call it a warehouse. But two years after his death, Booth’s body was temporarily moved to a warehouse. Also, after the assassination, the government closed the Ford Theatre and turned it into a warehouse.
Other interesting facts
Some other interesting facts include:
Apparently Lincoln had a dream several days before the assassination that he had been killed. He told his wife that he had seen himself in a casket.
A Kennedy uncovers plot
In February 1861, there was a plot called the “Baltimore Plot” to assassinate Lincoln as he passed through the city. A NYPD offiicer, John Kennedy, claimed to have uncovered the plot. In 1951, a movie The Tall Target was made about the plot, staring Dick Powell as Kennedy.
Pet turkey names Jack
Also, Lincoln’s son Tad had a pet turkey named Jack. Tad asked his father not to kill the turkey for Thanksgiving. Although Harry S Truman started the official tradition, Lincoln was the first to “pardon” a Thanksgiving turkey. (Now what would be real interesting is if JFK had a pet named Abe or had pardoned someone by that name. Thus far, I haven’t heard of that.)
Some skeptics say that you could take any two famous people and find a number of similar-type coincidences between them. The only problem with that theory is that there really haven’t been any listings of such comparisons. And certainly none has been as extensive as the Lincoln-Kennedy similarities.
Facts concerning the assassination of Abraham Lincoln and John F. Kennedy are amazingly similar. It is uncertain if such coincidences have any meaning, but they certainly are strange.
The Forgotten Presidents (The presidents before George Washington)
Who was the first president of the United States? Ask any school child and they will readily tell you “George Washington.” And of course, they would be wrong—at least technically. Washington was not inaugurated until April 30, 1789. And yet, the United States continually had functioning governments from as early as September 5, 1774 and operated as a confederated nation from as early as July 4, 1776. During that nearly fifteen year interval, Congress—first the Continental Congress and then later the Confederation Congress—was always moderated by a duly elected president. As the chief executive officer of the government of the United States, the president was recognized as the head of state. Washington was thus the fifteenth in a long line of distinguished presidents—and he led the seventeenth administration—he just happened to be the first under the current constitution. So who were the luminaries who preceded him? The following brief biographies profile these “forgotten presidents.”
Peyton Randolph of Virginia (1723-1775)
When delegates gathered in Philadelphia for the first Continental Congress, they promptly elected the former King’s Attorney of Virginia as the moderator and president of their convocation. He was a propitious choice. He was a legal prodigy—having studied at the Inner Temple in London, served as his native colony’s Attorney General, and tutored many of the most able men of the South at William and Mary College—including the young Patrick Henry. His home in Williamsburg was the gathering place for Virginia’s legal and political gentry—and it remains a popular attraction in the restored colonial capital. He had served as a delegate in the Virginia House of Burgesses, and had been a commander under William Byrd in the colonial militia. He was a scholar of some renown—having begun a self-guided reading of the classics when he was thirteen. Despite suffering poor health served the Continental Congress as president twice, in 1774 from September 5 to October 21, and then again for a few days in 1775 from May 10 to May 23. He never lived to see independence, yet was numbered among the nation’s most revered founders.
Henry Middleton (1717-1784)
America’s second elected president was one of the wealthiest planters in the South, the patriarch of the most powerful families anywhere in the nation. His public spirit was evident from an early age. He was a member of his state’s Common House from 1744-1747. During the last two years he served as the Speaker. During 1755 he was the King’s Commissioner of Indian Affairs. He was a member of the South Carolina Council from 1755-1770. His valor in the War with the Cherokees during 1760-1761 earned him wide recognition throughout the colonies—and demonstrated his cool leadership abilities while under pressure. He was elected as a delegate to the first session of the Continental Congress and when Peyton Randolph was forced to resign the presidency, his peers immediately turned to Middleton to complete the term. He served as the fledgling coalition’s president from October 22, 1774 until Randolph was able to resume his duties briefly beginning on May 10, 1775. Afterward, he was a member of the Congressional Council of Safety and helped to establish the young nation’s policy toward the encouragement and support of education. In February 1776 he resigned his political involvements in order to prepare his family and lands for what he believed was inevitable war—but he was replaced by his son Arthur who eventually became a signer of both the Declaration of Independence and the Articles of Confederation, served time as an English prisoner of war, and was twice elected Governor of his state.
John Hancock (1737-1793)
The third president was a patriot, rebel leader, merchant who signed his name into immortality in giant strokes on the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776. The boldness of his signature has made it live in American minds as a perfect expression of the strength and freedom—and defiance—of the individual in the face of British tyranny. As President of the Continental Congress during two widely spaced terms—the first from May 24 1775 to October 30 1777 and the second from November 23 1885 to June 5, 1786—Hancock was the presiding officer when the members approved the Declaration of Independence. Because of his position, it was his official duty to sign the document first—but not necessarily as dramatically as he did. Hancock figured prominently in another historic event—the battle at Lexington: British troops who fought there April 10, 1775, had known Hancock and Samuel Adams were in Lexington and had come there to capture these rebel leaders. And the two would have been captured, if they had not been warned by Paul Revere. As early as 1768, Hancock defied the British by refusing to pay customs charges on the cargo of one of his ships. One of Boston’s wealthiest merchants, he was recognized by the citizens, as well as by the British, as a rebel leader—and was elected President of the first Massachusetts Provincial Congress. After he was chosen President of the Continental Congress in 1775, Hancock became known beyond the borders of Massachusetts, and, having served as colonel of the Massachusetts Governor’s Guards he hoped to be named commander of the American forces—until John Adams nominated George Washington. In 1778 Hancock was commissioned Major General and took part in an unsuccessful campaign in Rhode Island. But it was as a political leader that his real distinction was earned—as the first Governor of Massachusetts, as President of Congress, and as President of the Massachusetts constitutional ratification convention. He helped win ratification in Massachusetts, gaining enough popular recognition to make him a contender for the newly created Presidency of the United States, but again he saw Washington gain the prize. Like his rival, George Washington, Hancock was a wealthy man who risked much for the cause of independence. He was the wealthiest New Englander supporting the patriotic cause, and, although he lacked the brilliance of John Adams or the capacity to inspire of Samuel Adams, he became one of the foremost leaders of the new nation—perhaps, in part, because he was willing to commit so much at such risk to the cause of freedom.
Henry Laurens (1724-1792)
The only American president ever to be held as a prisoner of war by a foreign power, Laurens was heralded after he was released as “the father of our country,” by no less a personage than George Washington. He was of Huguenot extraction, his ancestors having come to America from France after the revocation of the Edict of Nantes made the Reformed faith illegal. Raised and educated for a life of mercantilism at his home in Charleston, he also had the opportunity to spend more than a year in continental travel. It was while in Europe that he began to write revolutionary pamphlets—gaining him renown as a patriot. He served as vice-president of South Carolina in1776. He was then elected to the Continental Congress. He succeeded John Hancock as President of the newly independent but war beleaguered United States on November 1, 1777. He served until December 9, 1778 at which time he was appointed Ambassador to the Netherlands. Unfortunately for the cause of the young nation, he was captured by an English warship during his cross-Atlantic voyage and was confined to the Tower of London until the end of the war. After the Battle of Yorktown, the American government regained his freedom in a dramatic prisoner exchange—President Laurens for Lord Cornwallis. Ever the patriot, Laurens continued to serve his nation as one of the three representatives selected to negotiate terms at the Paris Peace Conference in 1782.
John Jay (1745-1829)
America’s first Secretary of State, first Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, one of its first ambassadors, and author of some of the celebrated Federalist Papers, Jay was a Founding Father who, by a quirk of fate, missed signing the Declaration of Independence—at the time of the vote for independence and the signing, he had temporarily left the Continental Congress to serve in New York’s revolutionary legislature. Nevertheless, he was chosen by his peers to succeed Henry Laurens as President of the United States—serving a term from December 10, 1778 to September 27, 1779. A conservative New York lawyer who was at first against the idea of independence for the colonies, the aristocratic Jay in 1776 turned into a patriot who was willing to give the next twenty-five years of his life to help establish the new nation. During those years, he won the regard of his peers as a dedicated and accomplished statesman and a man of unwavering principle. In the Continental Congress Jay prepared addresses to the people of Canada and Great Britain. In New York he drafted the State constitution and served as Chief Justice during the war. He was President of the Continental Congress before he undertook the difficult assignment, as ambassador, of trying to gain support and funds from Spain. After helping Franklin, Jefferson, Adams, and Laurens complete peace negotiations in Paris in 1783, Jay returned to become the first Secretary of State, called “Secretary of Foreign Affairs” under the Articles of Confederation. He negotiated valuable commercial treaties with Russia and Morocco, and dealt with the continuing controversy with Britain and Spain over the southern and western boundaries of the United States. He proposed that America and Britain establish a joint commission to arbitrate disputes that remained after the war—a proposal which, though not adopted, influenced the government’s use of arbitration and diplomacy in settling later international problems. In this post Jay felt keenly the weakness of the Articles of Confederation and was one of the first to advocate a new governmental compact. He wrote five Federalist Papers supporting the Constitution, and he was a leader in the New York ratification convention. As first Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, Jay made the historic decision that a State could be sued by a citizen from another State, which led to the Eleventh Amendment to the Constitution. On a special mission to London he concluded the “Jay Treaty,” which helped avert a renewal of hostilities with Britain but won little popular favor at home—and it is probably for this treaty that this Founding Father is best remembered.
Samuel Huntington (1732-1796)
An industrious youth who mastered his studies of the law without the advantage of a school, a tutor, or a master—borrowing books and snatching opportunities to read and research between odd jobs—he was one of the greatest self-made men among the Founders. He was also one of the greatest legal minds of the age—all the more remarkable for his lack of advantage as a youth. In 1764, in recognition of his obvious abilities and initiative, he was elected to the General Assembly of Connecticut. The next year he was chosen to serve on the Executive Council. In 1774 he was appointed Associate Judge of the Superior Court and, as a delegate to the Continental Congress, was acknowledged to be a legal scholar of some respect. He served in Congress for five consecutive terms, during the last of which he was elected President. He served in that off ice from September 28, 1779 until ill health forced him to resign on July 9, 1781. He returned to his home in Connecticut—and as he recuperated, he accepted more Counciliar and Bench duties. He again took his seat in Congress in 1783, but left it to become Chief Justice of his state’s Superior Court. He was elected Lieutenant Governor in 1785 and Governor in 1786. According to John Jay, he was “the most precisely trained Christian jurists ever to serve his country.”
Thomas McKean (1734-1817)
During his astonishingly varied fifty-year career in public life he held almost every possible position—from deputy county attorney to President of the United States under the Confederation. Besides signing the Declaration of Independence, he contributed significantly to the development and establishment of constitutional government in both his home state of Delaware and the nation. At the Stamp Act Congress he proposed the voting procedure that Congress adopted: that each colony, regardless of size or population, have one vote—the practice adopted by the Continental Congress and the Congress of the Confederation, and the principle of state equality manifest in the composition of the Senate. And as county judge in 1765, he defied the British by ordering his court to work only with documents that did not bear the hated stamps. In June 1776, at the Continental Congress, McKean joined with Caesar Rodney to register Delaware’s approval of the Declaration of Independence, over the negative vote of the third Delaware delegate, George Read—permitting it to be “The unanimous declaration of the thirteen United States.” And at a special Delaware convention, he drafted the constitution for that State. McKean also helped draft—and signed—the Articles of Confederation. It was during his tenure of service as President—from July 10, 1781 to November 4, 1782—when news arrived from General Washington in October 1781 that the British had surrendered following the Battle of Yorktown. As Chief Justice of the supreme court of Pennsylvania, he contributed to the establishment of the legal system in that State, and, in 1787, he strongly supported the Constitution at the Pennsylvania Ratification Convention, declaring it “the best the world has yet seen.” At sixty-five, after over forty years of public service, McKean resigned from his post as Chief Justice. A candidate on the Democratic-Republican ticket in 1799, McKean was elected Governor of Pennsylvania. As Governor, he followed such a strict policy of appointing only fellow Republicans to office that he became the father of the spoils system in America. He served three tempestuous terms as Governor, completing one of the longest continuous careers of public service of any of the Founding Fathers.
John Hanson (1715-1783)
He was the heir of one of the greatest family traditions in the colonies and became the patriarch of a long line of American patriots—his great grandfather died at Lutzen beside the great King Gustavus Aldophus of Sweden; his grandfather was one of the founders of New Sweden along the Delaware River in Maryland; one of his nephews was the military secretary to George Washington; another was a signer of the Declaration; still another was a signer of the Constitution; yet another was Governor of Maryland during the Revolution; and still another was a member of the first Congress; two sons were killed in action with the Continental Army; a grandson served as a member of Congress under the new Constitution; and another grandson was a Maryland Senator. Thus, even if Hanson had not served as President himself, he would have greatly contributed to the life of the nation through his ancestry and progeny. As a youngster he began a self-guided reading of classics and rather quickly became an acknowledged expert in the juridicalism of Anselm and the practical philosophy of Seneca—both of which were influential in the development of the political philosophy of the great leaders of the Reformation. It was based upon these legal and theological studies that the young planter—his farm, Mulberry Grove was just across the Potomac from Mount Vernon—began to espouse the cause of the patriots. In 1775 he was elected to the Provincial Legislature of Maryland. Then in 1777, he became a member of Congress where he distinguished himself as a brilliant administrator. Thus, he was elected President in 1781. He served in that office from November 5, 1781 until November 3, 1782. He was the first President to serve a full term after the full ratification of the Articles of Confederation—and like so many of the Southern and New England Founders, he was strongly opposed to the Constitution when it was first discussed. He remained a confirmed anti-federalist until his untimely death.
Elias Boudinot (1741-1802)
He did not sign the Declaration, the Articles, or the Constitution. He did not serve in the Continental Army with distinction. He was not renowned for his legal mind or his political skills. He was instead a man who spent his entire career in foreign diplomacy. He earned the respect of his fellow patriots during the dangerous days following the traitorous action of Benedict Arnold. His deft handling of relations with Canada also earned him great praise. After being elected to the Congress from his home state of New Jersey, he served as the new nation’s Secretary for Foreign Affairs—managing the influx of aid from France, Spain, and Holland. The in 1783 he was elected to the Presidency. He served in that office from November 4, 1782 until November 2, 1783. Like so many of the other early presidents, he was a classically trained scholar, of the Reformed faith, and an anti-federalist in political matters. He was the father and grandfather of frontiersmen—and one of his grandchildren and namesakes eventually became a leader of the Cherokee nation in its bid for independence from the sprawling expansion of the United States.
Thomas Mifflin (1744-1800)
By an ironic sort of providence, Thomas Mifflin served as George Washington’s first aide-de-camp at the beginning of the Revolutionary War, and, when the war was over, he was the man, as President of the United States, who accepted Washington’s resignation of his commission. In the years between, Mifflin greatly served the cause of freedom—and, apparently, his own cause—while serving as the first Quartermaster General of the Continental Army. He obtained desperately needed supplies for the new army—and was suspected of making excessive profit himself. Although experienced in business and successful in obtaining supplies for the war, Mifflin preferred the front lines, and he distinguished himself in military actions on Long Island and near Philadelphia. Born and reared a Quaker, he was excluded from their meetings for his military activities. A controversial figure, Mifflin lost favor with Washington and was part of the Conway Cabal—a rather notorious plan to replace Washington with General Horatio Gates. And Mifflin narrowly missed court-martial action over his handling of funds by resigning his commission in 1778. In spite of these problems—and of repeated charges that he was a drunkard—Mifflin continued to be elected to positions of responsibility—as President and Governor of Pennsylvania, delegate to the Constitutional Convention, as well as the highest office in the land—where he served from November 3, 1783 to November 29, 1784. Most of Mifflin’s significant contributions occurred in his earlier years—in the First and Second Continental Congresses he was firm in his stand for independence and for fighting for it, and he helped obtain both men and supplies for Washington’s army in the early critical period. In 1784, as President, he signed the treaty with Great Britain which ended the war. Although a delegate to the Constitutional Convention, he did not make a significant contribution—beyond signing the document. As Governor of Pennsylvania, although he was accused of negligence, he supported improvements of roads, and reformed the State penal and judicial systems. He had gradually become sympathetic to Jefferson’s principles regarding State’s rights, even so, he directed the Pennsylvania militia to support the Federal tax collectors in the Whiskey Rebellion. In spite of charges of corruption, the affable Mifflin remained a popular figure. A magnetic personality and an effective speaker, he managed to hold a variety of elective offices for almost thirty years of the critical Revolutionary period.
Richard Henry Lee (1732-1794)
His resolution “that these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent States,” approved by the Continental Congress July 2, 1776, was the first official act of the United Colonies that set them irrevocably on the road to independence. It was not surprising that it came from Lee’s pen—as early as 1768 he proposed the idea of committees of correspondence among the colonies, and in 1774 he proposed that the colonies meet in what became the Continental Congress. From the first, his eye was on independence. A wealthy Virginia planter whose ancestors had been granted extensive lands by King Charles II, Lee disdained the traditional aristocratic role and the aristocratic view. In the House of Burgesses he flatly denounced the practice of slavery. He saw independent America as “an asylum where the unhappy may find solace, and the persecuted repose.” In 1764, when news of the proposed Stamp Act reached Virginia, Lee was a member of the committee of the House of Burgesses that drew up an address to the King, an official protest against such a tax. After the tax was established, Lee organized the citizens of his county into the Westmoreland Association, a group pledged to buy no British goods until the Stamp Act was repealed. At the First Continental Congress, Lee persuaded representatives from all the colonies to adopt this non-importation idea, leading to the formation of the Continental Association, which was one of the first steps toward union of the colonies. Lee also proposed to the First Continental Congress that a militia be organized and armed—the year before the first shots were fired at Lexington; but this and other proposals of his were considered too radical—at the time. Three days after Lee introduced his resolution, in June of 1776, he was appointed by Congress to the committee responsible for drafting a declaration of independence, but he was called home when his wife fell ill, and his place was taken by his young protégé, Thomas Jefferson. Thus Lee missed the chance to draft the document—though his influence greatly shaped it and he was able to return in time to sign it. He was elected President—serving from November 30, 1784 to November 22, 1785 when he was succeeded by the second administration of John Hancock. Elected to the Constitutional Convention, Lee refused to attend, but as a member of the Congress of the Confederation, he contributed to another great document, the Northwest Ordinance, which provided for the formation of new States from the Northwest Territory. When the completed Constitution was sent to the States for ratification, Lee opposed it as anti-democratic and anti-Christian. However, as one of Virginia’s first Senators, he helped assure passage of the amendments that, he felt, corrected many of the document’s gravest faults—the Bill of Rights. He was the great uncle of Robert E. Lee and the scion of a great family tradition.
Nathaniel Gorham (1738-1796)
Another self-made man, Gorham was one of the many successful Boston merchants who risked all he had for the cause of freedom. He was first elected to the Massachusetts General Court in 1771. His honesty and integrity won his acclaim and was thus among the first delegates chose to serve in the Continental Congress. He remained in public service throughout the war and into the Constitutional period, though his greatest contribution was his call for a stronger central government. But even though he was an avid federalist, he did not believe that the union could—or even should—be maintained peaceably for more than a hundred years. He was convinced that eventually, in order to avoid civil or cultural war, smaller regional interests should pursue an independent course. His support of a new constitution was rooted more in pragmatism than ideology. When John Hancock was unable to complete his second term as President, Gorham was elected to succeed him—serving from June 6, 1786 to February 1, 1787. It was during this time that the Congress actually entertained the idea of asking Prince Henry—the brother of Frederick II of Prussia—and Bonnie Prince Charlie—the leader of the ill-fated Scottish Jacobite Rising and heir of the Stuart royal line—to consider the possibility of establishing a constitutional monarch in America. It was a plan that had much to recommend it but eventually the advocates of republicanism held the day. During the final years of his life, Gorham was concerned with several speculative land deals which nearly cost him his entire fortune.
Arthur St. Clair (1734-1818)
Born and educated in Edinburgh, Scotland during the tumultuous days of the final Jacobite Rising and the Tartan Suppression, St. Clair was the only president of the United States born and bred on foreign soil. Though most of his family and friends abandoned their devastated homeland in the years following the Battle of Culloden—after which nearly a third of the land was depopulated through emigration to America—he stayed behind to learn the ways of the hated Hanoverian English in the Royal Navy. His plan was to learn of the enemy’s military might in order to fight another day. During the global conflict of the Seven Years War—generally known as the French and Indian War—he was stationed in the American theater. Afterward, he decided to settle in Pennsylvania where many of his kin had established themselves. His civic-mindedness quickly became apparent: he helped to organize both the New Jersey and the Pennsylvania militias, led the Continental Army’s Canadian expedition, and was elected Congress. His long years of training in the enemy camp was finally paying off. He was elected President in 1787—and he served from February 2 of that year until January 21 of the next. Following his term of duty in the highest office in the land, he became the first Governor of the Northwest Territory and the founder of Cincinnati. Though he briefly supported the idea of creating a constitutional monarchy under the Stuart’s Bonnie Prince Charlie, he was a strident Anti-Federalist—believing that the proposed federal constitution would eventually allow for the intrusion of government into virtually every sphere and aspect of life. He even predicted that under the vastly expanded centralized power of the state the taxing powers of bureaucrats and other unelected officials would eventually confiscate as much as a quarter of the income of the citizens—a notion that seemed laughable at the time but that has proven to be ominously modest in light of our current governmental leviathan. St. Clair lived to see the hated English tyrants who destroyed his homeland defeated. But he despaired that his adopted home might actually create similar tyrannies and impose them upon themselves.
Cyrus Griffin (1736-1796)
Like Peyton Randolph, he was trained in London’s Inner Temple to be a lawyer—and thus was counted among his nation’s legal elite. Like so many other Virginians, he was an anti-federalist, though he eventually accepted the new Constitution with the promise of the Bill of Rights as a hedge against the establishment of an American monarchy—which still had a good deal of currency. The Articles of Confederation afforded such freedoms that he had become convinced that even with the incumbent loss of liberty, some new form of government would be required. A protégé of George Washington—having worked with him on several speculative land deals in the West—he was a reluctant supporter of the Constitutional ratifying process. It was during his term in the office of the Presidency—the last before the new national compact went into effect—that ratification was formalized and finalized. He served as the nation’s chief executive from January 22, 1788 until George Washington’s inauguration on April 30, 1789.
Presidents of the Continental Congress of the United Colonies of America
This extra legal body of representatives from 13 colonies was officially found on Sept. 5 1774 in Philadelphia in response to King George III and House of Commons passing Intolerable Acts (Coercive Acts).
The 1774-76 leaders of the continental legislature of the Thirteen Colonies were:
September 5, 1774 to October 22, 1774
and May, 20 to May 24, 1775
October 22, 1774 to October 26, 1774
October 27, 1775 to July 1, 1776
Second Continental Congress of the United States of America
The Presidents who served under the “Declaration of Independence’s Confederation Congress” during this difficult period of American History and ratification consideration were:
July 2, 1776 to October 29, 1777
November 1, 1777 to December 9, 1778
December 10, 1778 to September 28, 1779
September 28, 1779 to February 28, 1781
Presidents of the United States in Congress Assembled Delegates to Second Continental Congress met May 10, 1775 and passed a new constitution – The Articles of Confederation on Nov. 15, 1777; the requirement that all 13 states ratify this document delayed passage until March 1, 1781.
Presidents of the United States in Congress Assembled
1st President of the United States in Congress Assembled
March 1, 1781 to July 6, 1781
2nd President of the United States in Congress Assembled
July 10, 1781 to November 5, 1781
3rd President of the United States in Congress Assembled
November 5, 1781 to November 4, 1782
4th President of the United States in Congress Assembled
November 4, 1782 to November 3, 1783
5th President of the United States of Congress Assembled
November 3, 1783 to June 3, 1784
Richard Henry Lee
6th President of the United States in Congress Assembled
November 30, 1784 to November 23, 1785
7th President of the United States in Congress Assembled
November 23, 1785 to June 6, 1786
8th President of the United States in Congress Assembled
June 1786 – November 13, 1786
Arthur St. Clair
9th President of the United States in Congress Assembled
February 2 1787 to October 29, 1787
10th President of the United States in Congress Assembled
January 22, 1788 to March 4, 1789
11th President of the United States
1789 to 1797
Via the The Patriot’s Handbook
- The first German serviceman killed in the war was killed by the Japanese (China, 1937)
- The first American serviceman killed was killed by the Russians (Finland 1940).
- The highest ranking American killed was Lt. Gen. Lesley McNair, killed by the US Army Air Corps.
- The youngest US serviceman was 12 year old Calvin Graham, USN. He was wounded in combat and given a Dishonorable Discharge for lying about his age. (His benefits were later restored by act of Congress).
- At the time of Pearl Harbor, the top US Navy command was called CINCUS (pronounced “sink us”), the shoulder patch of the US Army’s 45th Infantry division was the Swastika, and Hitler’s private train was named “Amerika”. All three were soon changed for PR purposes.
- More US servicemen died in the Air Corps that the Marine Corps. While completing the required 30 missions, your chance of being killed was 71%. Not that bombers were helpless. A B-17 carried 4 tons of bombs and 1.5 tons of machine gun ammo. The US 8th Air Force shot down 6,098 fighter planes, 1 for every 12,700 shots fired.
- Germany’s power grid was much more vulnerable than realized. One estimate is that if just 1% of the bombs dropped on German industry had instead been dropped on power plants, German industry would have collapsed.
- Generally speaking, there was no such thing as an average fighter pilot. You were either an ace or a target. For instance, Japanese ace Hiroyoshi Nishizawa shot down over 80 planes. He died while a passenger on a cargo plane.
- It was a common practice on fighter planes to load every 5th found with a tracer round to aid in aiming. That was a mistake. The tracers had different ballistics so (at long range) if your tracers were hitting the target, 80% of your rounds were missing. Worse yet, the tracers instantly told your enemy he was under fire and from which direction. Worst of all was the practice of loading a string of tracers at the end of the belt to tell you that you were out of ammo. That was definitely not something you wanted to tell the enemy. Units that stopped using tracers saw their success rate nearly double and their loss rate go down.
- When allied armies reached the Rhine, the first thing men did was pee in it. This was pretty universal from the lowest private to Winston Churchill (who made a big show of it) and Gen. Patton (who had himself photographed in the act).
Don’t believe me? Take a look at this:
- German Me-264 bombers were capable of bombing New York City but it wasn’t worth the effort.
- A number of air crewmen died of farts. (ascending to 20,000 ft. in an un-pressurized aircraft causes intestinal gas to expand 300%!)
- The Russians destroyed over 500 German aircraft by ramming them in midair (they also sometimes cleared minefields by marching over them). “It takes a brave man not to be a hero in the Red Army”. Joseph Stalin
- The US Army had more ships that the US Navy.
- The German Air Force had 22 infantry divisions, 2 armor divisions, and 11 paratroop divisions. None of them were capable of airborne operations. The German Army had paratroops who WERE capable of airborne operations.
- When the US Army landed in North Africa, among the equipment brought ashore were 3 complete Coca Cola bottling plants.
- Among the first “Germans” captured at Normandy were several Koreans. They had been forced to fight for the Japanese Army until they were captured by the Russians and forced to fight for the Russian Army until they were captured by the Germans and forced to fight for the German Army until they were capture by the US Army.
- The Graf Spee never sank, The scuttling attempt failed and the ship was bought by the British. On board was Germany’s newest radar system.
- One of Japan’s methods of destroying tanks was to bury a very large artillery shell with on ly the nose exposed. When a tank came near the enough a soldier would whack the shell with a hammer. “Lack of weapons is no excuse for defeat.” – Lt. Gen. Mataguchi
- Following a massive naval bombardment, 35,000 US and Canadian troops stormed ashore at Kiska. 21 troops were killed in the fire-fight. It would have been worse if there had been Japanese on the island.
- The MISS ME was an unarmed Piper Cub. While spotting for US artillery her pilot saw a similar German plane doing the same thing. He dove on the German plane and he and his co-pilot fired their pistols damaging the German plane enough that it had to make a forced landing. Whereupon they landed and took the Germans prisoner. It is unknown where they put them since the MISS ME only had two seats.
- Most members of the Waffen SS were not German.
- The only nation that Germany declared was on was the USA.
- During the Japanese attack on Hong Kong, British officers objected to Canadian infantrymen taking up positions in the officer’s mess. No enlisted men allowed!
- Nuclear physicist Niels Bohr was rescued in the nick of time from German occupied Denmark. While Danish resistance fighters provided covering fire he ran out the back door of his home stopping momentarily to grab a beer bottle full of precious “heavy water”. He finally reached England still clutching the bottle, which contained beer. Perhaps some German drank the heavy water…
As printed in, The Victory Division News. No. 4. December, 2000.
Declassified CIA Manual Shows How US Uses Bureaucracy to Destabilize Governments
When most people think of CIA sabotage, they think of coups, assassinations, proxy wars, armed rebel groups, and even false flags — not strategic stupidity and purposeful bureaucratic ineptitude. However, according to a declassified document from 1944, the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), which later became the CIA, used and trained a curious breed of “citizen-saboteurs” in occupied nations like Norway and France.
The World War II-era document, called Simple Sabotage Field Manual, outlines ways in which operatives can disrupt and demoralize enemy administrators and police forces. The first section of the document, which can be read in its entirety here, addresses “Organizations and Conferences” — and how to turn them into a “dysfunctional mess”:
- Insist on doing everything through “channels.” Never permit short-cuts to be taken in order to expedite decisions.
- Make “speeches.” Talk as frequently as possible and at great length. Illustrate your “points” by long anecdotes and accounts of personal experiences.
- When possible, refer all matters to committees, for “further study and consideration.” Attempt to make the committee as large as possible — never less than five.
- Bring up irrelevant issues as frequently as possible.
- Haggle over precise wordings of communications, minutes, resolutions.
- Refer back to matters decided upon at the last meeting and attempt to re-open the question of the advisability of that decision.
- Advocate “caution.” Be “reasonable” and urge your fellow-conferees to be “reasonable” and avoid haste which might result in embarrassments or difficulties later on.
On its official webpage, the CIA boasts about finding innovative ways to bring about sabotage, calling their tactics for destabilization “surprisingly relevant.” While they admit that some of the ideas may seem a bit outdated, they claim that “Together they are a reminder of how easily productivity and order can be undermined.”
- In a second section targeted at manager-saboteurs, the guide lists the following tactical moves:
- In making work assignments, always sign out the unimportant jobs first. See that important jobs are assigned to inefficient workers.
- Insist on perfect work in relatively unimportant products; send back for refinishing those which have the least flaw.
- To lower morale and with it, production, be pleasant to inefficient workers; give them undeserved promotions.
- Hold conferences when there is more critical work to be done.
- Multiply the procedures and clearances involved in issuing instructions, paychecks, and so on. See that three people have to approve everything where one would do.
Finally, the guide presents protocol for how saboteur-employees can disrupt enemy operations, too:
- Work slowly.
- Contrive as many interruptions to your work as you can.
- Do your work poorly and blame it on bad tools, machinery, or equipment. Complain that these things are preventing you from doing your job right.
- Never pass on your skill and experience to a new or less skillful worker.
The CIA is proud of its Kafkaesque field manual and evidently still views it as an unorthodox but effective form of destabilizing enemy operations around the world. Of course, so too might an anarchist or revolutionary look at such tactics and view them in the context of disrupting certain domestic power structures, many of which are already built like a bureaucratic house of cards.
It seems if any country should refrain from showcasing how easy it is to disrupt inefficient federal agencies, however, it would be the United States.
Italian emigration was fueled by dire poverty. Life in Southern Italy, including the islands of Sicily and Sardinia, offered landless peasants little more than hardship, exploitation, and violence. Even the soil was poor, yielding little, while malnutrition and disease were widespread.
By 1870, there were about 25,000 Italian immigrants in America, many of them Northern Italian refugees from the wars that accompanied the Risorgimento—the struggle for Italian unification and independence from foreign rule. Between around 1880 and 1924, more than four million Italians immigrated to the United States, half of them between 1900 and 1910 alone—the majority fleeing grinding rural poverty in Southern Italy and Sicily. Today, Americans of Italian ancestry are the nation’s fifth-largest ethnic group.