A Student of History

July 30, 2008

‘The Cure for all our Political Calamities’

Filed under: Early America,NC History,Wars — John Maass @ 8:09 am

My article, “‘The Cure for all our Political Calamities’: Archibald Maclaine and the Politics of Moderation in Revolutionary North Carolina,” is due to appear in the July issue of the North Carolina Historical Review, Vol. 85, #3.  The issue will come out in 3 weeks or so.

Those interested in obtaining a copy can contact the NCHR here:

North Carolina Historical ReviewHistorical Publications Section Office of Archives and History4622 Mail Service Center

Raleigh, NC 27699-4622


919-733-1439 (fax)





July 29, 2008

Saving Virginia’s Land

Filed under: Historic Preservation — John Maass @ 6:55 am

From the Daily News Record

STAUNTON – Timothy M. Kaine told land conservationists on Thursday that their help has helped his administration to be slightly ahead of a pace to permanently set aside 400,000 acres of open space during his four-year term.

Speaking at the Virginia Union Land Trust conference at the Stonewall Jackson Hotel & Conference Center, Kaine said between 260,000 and 270,000 acres would be conserved by mid-July.

The General Assembly appropriated $30 million for the program, although Kaine asked for $50 million.

Open-space efforts also will be aided, he said, by the state agreeing to match funding from the Civil War Preservation Trust, Kaine said.

The trust has agreed to match the $5 million state funding 2-to-1, providing a total of  $15 million for preserving Civil War sites in Virginia.

The council is a private, nonprofit organization that shares responsibility for preserving 14,000 acres of open space in a region that extends from Frederick and Warren counties in the north to Botetourt County in the south.

July 28, 2008

Why Historians Should Write Books Ordinary People Want to Read

Filed under: The Academy — John Maass @ 11:57 am

Check out grad student Jeremy C. Young‘s HNN piece on the need for academics to write for general audiences:

The amazing thing about history is just how many people want to read about it.  Step into any Barnes & Noble and you’ll find shelves full of glossy, high-priced history books on a wide variety of subjects.  Those volumes aren’t there just to fill space; popular presses literally sell millions of copies of history and history-related books each year.  While these books do tend to cluster around certain subjects — predominantly American history, political and military history, biography, and the Founding Fathers — there’s no denying that many lay Americans find history a stimulating and important subject worth spending their hard-earned dollars on.

The problem with Young’s argument, however, is that the he keeps going back to one simple (and troubling) point-that somehow sales of books at Borders, B&N, etc. should drive what we write about and study.  That ain’t the way it works, nor should it be.

July 14, 2008


Filed under: Uncategorized — John Maass @ 6:29 am

One of the most interesting history-related sites I have come across lately is “Strange Maps“.  It is fun to look back on earlier posts and see all kinds of news on maps, demographics, charts, etc.   Good analysis too, I might add.

July 11, 2008

NC Preservation

Filed under: Early America,Historic Preservation — John Maass @ 1:30 pm

The National Park Service American Battlefield Protection Program recently released its “Report to Congress on the Historic Preservation of Revolutionary War and War of 1812 Sites in the United States.”

Trading Ford was included in the survey, along with other historic sites that comprise the “Race to the Dan River,” which is included in the “Roads, Trails and Waterways Needing Further Study” section of the report.

Realizing that many historic sites of the Revolutionary War and War of 1812 were at risk from rapid urban and suburban development, Congress authorized the study in 1996.  More on the significance of Trading Ford is here.

Fighting the “Walmart of Abortion”

Filed under: The world today — John Maass @ 1:24 pm

Some Congressmen, it has been reported today, want to strike a blow for morality against Planned Parenthood, which they call the “Walmart of Big Abortion.”  According to LifesiteNews.com, “Planned Parenthood is the nation’s number one abortion provider, providing 290,000 abortions last year.  Planned Parenthood provided nearly one in five abortions nationwide in 2005, the latest year nationwide abortion statistics are available.”  They go on to report that “The idea that Planned Parenthood cares one whit about reducing the ‘need for abortion’ is absurd,” said the President of the Susan B. Anthony List, Marjorie Dannenfelser.  “But even if this were a sincere claim on their part, they have failed miserably by their own measure.  The number of abortions Planned Parenthood performs continually rises, this year reaching 290,000.  It is past time to de-fund Planned Parenthood.  It is time for a taxpayers’ revolt.”

According to its latest annual report, Planned Parenthood posted total revenues of $1,017,900,000 – over one billion dollars.  Nearly one third of that – $336.7 million – came from “government grants and contracts.” In 2007, the U.S. Congress, under new Democratic Leadership, approved a $17 million dollar increase in federal taxpayer funding for Planned Parenthood through the Title X Program.

Let us hope that this monster can be slain in record time.

July 8, 2008

New world heritage sites named

Filed under: Historic Preservation — John Maass @ 11:58 am

UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee on Sunday added three new sites to its heritage list, including a former slave hideout in Mauritius, the Nabataean archaeological site in Saudi Arabia, and China’s Fujian Tulou earthen houses.

 See more details here.

Additionally, The Armenian Monastic Ensembles in Iran, in the north-west of the country, were also added to the list.  They consist of three monastic ensembles of the Armenian Christian faith: St Thaddeus and St Stepanos and the Chapel of Dzordzor. These edifices – the oldest of which, St Thaddeus, dates back to the 7th century – are examples of outstanding universal value of the Armenian architectural and decorative traditions. They bear testimony to very important interchanges with the other regional cultures, in particular the Byzantine, Orthodox and Persian. Situated on the south-eastern fringe of the main zone of the Armenian cultural space, the monasteries constituted a major centre for the dissemination of that culture into Azerbayjan and Persia. They are the last regional remains of this culture that are still in a satisfactory state of integrity and authenticity. Furthermore, as places of pilgrimage, the monastic ensembles are living witnesses of Armenian religious traditions through the centuries.

July 2, 2008

Boyhood home of Washington found

Filed under: Early America — John Maass @ 1:53 pm

From the Washington Post:

On a swath of land overlooking the Rappahannock River 50 miles south of the District, archaeologists have unearthed a site that provides what they call the most detailed view into George Washington’s formative years: his childhood home.

The announcement of the find today comes after seven years of digging and several disappointments.

The nation’s Revolutionary War hero and “father of the country” spent his formative years at Ferry Farm, his family’s property on the Rappahannock River in southern Stafford. He moved there at age 6, inherited the property five years later when his father died, and continued to live there until he was 20.

The foundation owns the 113-acre site, along with Kenmore, a 1770s mansion in Fredericksburg built by planter Fielding Lewis for his wife, Betty, George Washington’s sister; and Accokeek Furnace, an iron-smelting operation in Stafford operated by George’s father Augustine.

See a related article in Slate about this event.

July 1, 2008

Victory in Canada!

Filed under: Canada,PC — John Maass @ 10:19 am

Maclean’s magazine is pleased that the Canadian Human Rights Commission has dismissed the complaint brought against it by the Canadian Islamic Congress. The decision is in keeping with our long-standing position that the article in question, “The Future Belongs to Islam,” an excerpt from Mark Steyn’s best-selling book America Alone, was a worthy piece of commentary on important geopolitical issues, entirely within the bounds of normal journalistic practice.

More here

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