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John Marquardt

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Southern Humor in Congress

The halls of Congress today are seldom filled with the sound of laughter.  The humor that pervaded congressional proceedings over a century ago has now given way to only angry shouts and hateful partisan rhetoric engendered by a variety of ever-growing regional, political, racial and social differences.  Not that such divisions did not exist during the latter half of the…
John Marquardt
November 29, 2022
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Never the Twain

In today’s America, to paraphrase Rudyard Kipling, North is North, and South is South, and never the twain shall meet. This dichotomy, of course, was not always the case, for after the many years of bitter sectional rancor and four years of bloody internecine warfare that took place over half a century before, the North and the South finally managed…
John Marquardt
October 17, 2022
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Give Me That Old Time Rebellion

A while back, some of the folks at Abbeville Institute turned out a fine anthology of the greatest Southern rock melodies of the present day. Music, of course, like most everything else, changes with the times and there were other golden eras for country music that gave the listeners of their day a far different sound and put them in…
John Marquardt
September 19, 2022
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The War that House Built

It might truly be said that the death, funeral and burial of Thomas Jefferson’s American republic came about at the hands of the nation’s three most prominent wartime presidents . . . with Abraham Lincoln digging the grave, Woodrow Wilson constructing the coffin and Franklin Roosevelt performing the final interment of America’s body politic. As to the wars themselves, while…
John Marquardt
August 10, 2022
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The Lost Cause of Conservatism

The history of political parties in America is as old as the United States itself and while the seeds of England’s Whig and Tory Parties goes back to 1679, those in America even predated the rise of most such factions in Europe by several decades. However, for half a century many of America’s founding fathers, particularly those in the South,…
John Marquardt
July 13, 2022
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Dixie Africanus

Black slaves toiling in the fields of large plantations, gentlemen in frock coats and ladies in hoop skirts relaxing on the verandas of large mansions . . . all set in places named Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland and Mississippi. Most would imagine this to be a picture of the antebellum American South, but they would be mistaken, as it would…
John Marquardt
June 14, 2022
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Boston, Home of the Bean, Cod, and Slaves

In a penitent act of fiscal flagellation, Harvard University recently reported that it was establishing a hundred million dollar “Legacy of Slavery Fund” in an effort to atone for its century and half history of using enslaved people.  In the report, it was cited that from its founding in 1636 until 1783, when the Massachusetts Supreme Court declared slavery to…
John Marquardt
May 10, 2022
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The War of Secession

A line from Shakespeare asked, “What’s in a name?” In the case of the great American conflict of 1861, the name by which it has become generally known is, of course, the "Civil War." This term was, however, only occasionally used during the war, such as Lincoln’s reference in his 1863 Gettysburg Address that the country was “engaged in a…
John Marquardt
April 12, 2022
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Segregation on Track: Plessy v. Ferguson

In most minds today, the word segregation and the term “Jim Crow” immediately evoke a picture of the American South at the start of the Twentieth Century. It is, however, a false image that has been carefully crafted over the years to mask the actual genesis of the legal separation of black and white races in public facilities. This is…
John Marquardt
March 18, 2022
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Beyond the Hunley

As far back as the days of ancient Greece and Rome, people have dreamed of various means of underwater travel and warfare. Over two thousand years ago, Alexander the Great even devised a type of diving bell that allowed his Macedonian troops to make surprise underwater attacks on enemy positions. It was not until two millennia later, however, that an…
John Marquardt
February 21, 2022
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Orphans of the Storm

There once were more than fifteen hundred Confederate memorials, including over seven hundred major monuments and statues, erected all across the United States and Canada, as well as in such far-flung locations as Brazil, Ireland and Scotland.  These memorials were erected from 1867 to 2017, and during the first century and a half of their existence, only five of them were ever removed…
John Marquardt
January 10, 2022
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White Supremacy, Yankee Style

In the warped minds of today’s so-called “woke,” even such an evocative holiday song as Irving Berlin’s “I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas” can take on a far different connotation than when Bing Crosby sang it eight decades ago.  Going back much further in time, the simple “OK” hand gesture which has been in use around the world for well…
John Marquardt
December 9, 2021
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Rally ‘Round the Flag!

As in the practice of lingchi, the ancient Chinese form of slow and painful execution by a thousand cuts, Southern history and tradition are today dying a similar death. The first of these virtual cuts was inflicted over twenty years ago in South Carolina when the Confederate Battle Flag was taken down from the dome of the State Capitol in…
John Marquardt
November 16, 2021
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The Reparations Rip-Off

      In the dis-United States today, far too many of its people have now lost all sense of proportion and as movie magnate Richard Rowland said over a century ago . . .“the lunatics have taken over the asylum.” What was formally accepted as standard American history and sociology are now being replaced with the 1619 Project and…
John Marquardt
October 6, 2021
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The Journey from Canaan to Carolina

Biblical history tells us that Abrahamic monotheism, the foundation of not only Judaism but Christianity and Islam as well, began some four thousand years ago in Ur, the ancient land that is now southern Iraq. There, the patriarch Abraham made his sacred covenant with God in which the followers of Abraham were to someday inherit the promised land of Canaan.…
John Marquardt
September 9, 2021
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The South’s Monument Man

The Ten Commandments of the Old Testament (Exodus 20:2-17) are the creed of both Christians and Jews, but the Second Commandment posed a special dilemma for Jews in relation to the arts.  This admonition states in part that no one shall make for themselves any  . . . “carved image or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above…
John Marquardt
August 9, 2021
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The Amendment That Never Was

The date of the latest federal holiday, June 19th, was touted as the one marking the end of slavery in America. While few today would argue with the idea of honoring emancipation, the selection of that date in 1865 leaves much to be desired. If one truly wanted to commemorate the legal end of American slavery, the date for such…
John Marquardt
July 14, 2021
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A Plague on the South

While the current worldwide COVID-19 pandemic has also wreaked havoc throughout the South, there was an even more deadly epidemic that attacked a number of Southern states almost a century and a half ago.  In the spring of 1878, thousands of refugees from Cuba fled to New Orleans at the end of an unsuccessful ten-year war to gain their  independence…
John Marquardt
June 24, 2021
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Angers Away

Over half a century before the Imperial German Navy launched its new and deadly method of undersea warfare against the Allied navies and merchant shipping in World War One, the Confederate Army was making history’s first successful submarine attack on an enemy warship.  On the night of February 17, 1864, First Lieutenant George E. Dixon, a former steamboat engineer before…
John Marquardt
May 13, 2021
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Foxes in the Henhouse

During the past half century, there has been an ever-increasing tide of derogatory comments about the South in general and the Confederacy in particular.  In more recent years, what began merely as verbal sneers and written slurs have now evolved into far more sinister acts of actual violence being perpetrated on our memorials and monuments.  Even worse, there is now…
John Marquardt
April 14, 2021
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Dixie, Quo Vadis?

Many today feel that true Southerners living in the eleven States of the former Confederacy are, in many ways, once again fighting for their very existence and face the dismal prospect of the South they once knew becoming, as in Margaret Mitchel’s classic novel, a dream that will all too soon be gone with the wind.  Virtually everything they now…
John Marquardt
March 24, 2021
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The Big Monochrome Picture

The principal character in Joyce Maynard’s 1992 novel “To Die For” said that if you look too closely at a black and white photograph, all you see are a series of black dots on a white background and then added that one must step back in order to see the big picture.  That, of course, is the problem today with…
John Marquardt
February 25, 2021
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The Tarnished Tarheel

Harriet Beecher Stowe’s 1851 phantasmagorical image of slave life in the South has long been regarded as one of the sparks that ignited the War Between the States.  However, a now almost forgotten anti-slavery polemic by the North Carolina abolitionist Hinton Rowan Helper did far more to inflame the nation at that time than did “Uncle Tom’s Cabin.”  In fact,…
John Marquardt
January 13, 2021
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The War in the Pacific

The dramatic events leading up to the secession of the Southern States, the tragedy of the War Between the States and the ensuing final act of the South’s Reconstruction period were, for the most part, staged east of the Mississippi River, as well as in the waters surrounding the East Coast.  A lesser part of the drama was played out…
John Marquardt
December 7, 2020
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Slavery and Emancipation 101

The roots of the myth that slavery was primarily a white Southern institution were planted three decades prior to the War Between the States by the abolitionists in New York and New England.  This myth also included the idea that those same abolitionists of the 1830s had introduced the freeing of slaves in America.   Actually, however, the first seeds…
John Marquardt
November 13, 2020
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1619 Plus 2020 Equals 1984

In George Orwell’s novel “1984,” the central governmental agency in his fictitious country of Oceania is the antonymic Ministry of Truth, a body charged with the duty of erasing actual history and then rewriting it to meet what was considered to be more acceptable ideological concepts.  In America today, the same type of inane metaphorical thinking is also taking place,…
John Marquardt
October 12, 2020
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As Luck Would Have It

The tiny hamlet of Lake Hill in New York State’s Catskill Mountains was my mother’s hometown, and her ancestors there, the Howlands, could trace their family history to its roots in Fifteenth Century England and to Bishop Richard Howland of Peterborough who officiated at the burial of Mary Queen of Scots in 1587.  During the next century, Henry Howland sailed…
John Marquardt
September 14, 2020
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Knead to Know

Today we are besieged with raucous cries on both America’s streets and its social media platforms, as well as by all too many in the halls of government, to bring to an end what is now termed “systemic racism.”  To bring this amorphous demand about, we are led to believe that the systems that formed the very foundation upon which…
John Marquardt
August 7, 2020
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1619 Lies Matter

The dogs of racial war were released this May in Minneapolis by the senseless death of George Floyd, a black man, under the knee of Derek Chauvin, a white police officer.  Even though Chauvin had a long record of misconduct, the charges against him had been mainly disregarded by the local authorities, including former prosecutor, now Senator and failed Democratic…
John Marquardt
July 17, 2020
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A Voice of Reason

Today, as it was a hundred and sixty years ago, America stands on the edge of an ever-widening chasm of cultural, ideological, political, racial and sectional divisions.  In 1860, there was at least one prominent voice of reason that cried out to end the nation’s mad rush into the abyss, that of Charles Mason of Iowa.  Mason was a Northern…
John Marquardt
June 23, 2020
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Emancipate This!

A Japanese neighbor of ours in Tokyo, a former university professor, has written a number of books on American and Western humor, with some of his material covering the witticisms of Abraham Lincoln.  One such example was drawn from an 1858 Illinois debate with Senator Stephen Douglas in which Lincoln attempted to deflect Douglas’ charge that he was two-faced by…
John Marquardt
June 5, 2020
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The South in Arms…What Might Have Been

Literature, be it works of fact or fiction, might well be described as a window through which the reader is invited to view the world as the author chooses to see it.  Between fact and fiction though there is a third world in which the writer is granted literary license to transform the two other worlds into the fantastic realm…
John Marquardt
April 8, 2020
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The Economy, Stupid

Just as the Earth revolves on its axis each day and travels around the Sun in an equally regular pattern, so has world history tended to be cyclical in nature throughout the centuries, with many episodes seemingly being repeated countless times over.  In many cases the basic cause behind such recurring cataclysmic events as war, radical changes in political systems…
John Marquardt
March 13, 2020
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Confederate Christmas

It was Thursday, Christmas day of 1862, and the guns at Fredericksburg had fallen silent just ten days before with over ten thousand Union soldiers of the Army of the Potomac and half that number of Confederates from the Army of Northern Virginia lying dead or wounded beyond the city. That night, a twenty-one year old cannoneer from Richmond, Lieutenant…
John Marquardt
February 21, 2020
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The Ghosts of Impeachment Past

If one bothered to turn back the pages of history it should become quite evident that the 1868 impeachment of President Andrew Johnson bears a most eerie resemblance to the current two-count indictment that has been drawn up against President Trump by the Judiciary Committee of the present House of Representatives. A century and a half ago it was the…
John Marquardt
January 8, 2020
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Not Just Whistling Dixie

There are few Southern hearts that still fail to skip a beat or two when a military band strikes up “Dixie,” the de facto national anthem of the Confederacy and the song that has undoubtedly become the one most closely associated with the antebellum South.  This, however, was not the case with the creator of that iconic tune, Daniel Emmett,…
John Marquardt
December 13, 2019
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The Stoning of Stone Mountain

There are really only two basic opinions when it comes to the world’s largest carving on the face of the fifteen million year old granite monolith just outside Atlanta, Georgia . . . revere it as an important chapter in American history or destroy it as a shameful altar to the Ku Klux Klan.  While there are many Americans with…
John Marquardt
November 11, 2019
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Behind Enemy Lines

Just before Christmas of 1860, the chain of events that was to soon to lead the nation into four bloody years of undeclared war began with South Carolina exercising its constitutional right to leave the Union and revert to its original status as a sovereign entity.  Six of South Carolina’s neighboring States quickly followed her out of the Union and…
John Marquardt
October 23, 2019
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Reconstructing the Reconstruction

A book condemning the left-wing bias of one of the most widely read and educationally used histories of the United States was recently written by Mary Grabar who received her Ph.D in English from the University of Georgia and went on to teach at various Georgia institutes of higher learning, including Emory University in Atlanta. The focus of her book,…
John Marquardt
September 26, 2019
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Town Line, C.S.A.

In his recent book, Call Sign Chaos : Learning To Lead, former Secretary of Defense James Mattis cited what he termed the current “tribalism” in America as the greatest threat to the nation’s future.  Mattis stated in the book that “We are dividing into hostile tribes cheering against each other, fueled by emotion and a mutual disdain that jeopardizes our…
John Marquardt
September 11, 2019
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The Psychosis of Slavery

When most Americans hear the word slavery today, their minds instantly conjure up only images of either a black African in chains or a group of such people toiling away in the fields of some Southern plantation.  This distorted, even psychotic, mental picture of an institution that is as old as civilization itself is now, of course, being used not…
John Marquardt
August 22, 2019
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The Dukes of “Hazzard”

Following the senseless racial murders at a Charleston, South Carolina, church in 2015, Hollywood’s moonshining Duke boys from fictitious Hazzard County, and more particularly their 1969 Dodge Charger “General Lee,” replete with a Confederate Battle Flag painted on its roof, were placed on the growing list of Southern images to be erased from public view. Not only were scheduled reruns…
John Marquardt
July 26, 2018
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Tom Foolery

There are neither Confederate monuments to be torn down in Japan nor Battle Flags to be lowered . . . but if there were, there could well be some Japanese who might wish to protest such symbols. While my wife Rieko would certainly not be among them, when she was attending high school one of her standard 1953 English text…
John Marquardt
June 20, 2018
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White Knights of the North

When the majority of people think of the Ku Klux Klan, there undoubtedly comes to mind a relic of post-Confederate racism that has now morphed into dangerous groups of rabidly anti-Black Southerners dressed in white hoods, burning crosses and waving Confederate Battle Flags. However, the real story of the White Knights of the Invisible Empire, as they were also referred…
John Marquardt
May 24, 2018
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The Pickens Plot

When the Pacific phase of World War Two began in December of 1941, Great Britain’s main bastion of power in Southeast Asia was its eighty-five thousand man army behind the fortifications at Singapore, the so-called Gibraltar of the Pacific. The problem was, however, that all the island’s massive protective firepower faced the Straits of Singapore rather than the Malay Peninsula…
John Marquardt
April 23, 2018
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The Arkansas Traveler

It was Tuesday evening, September 16th, and people all across America were settling down for the first performance of a new CBS comedy and music program.  Rather than watching the show on fifty-inch TV screens with names like Sony, Samsung and Panasonic, since the year was 1941, they would be gathered in front of AM radio sets bearing such then…
John Marquardt
April 5, 2018
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Parallel Lines Of Division

The complex issues which have and continue to divide America’s North and South have a long and at times violent history, as well as having involved an extensive list of differences.  Almost a century before the War Between the States and even prior to the establishment of a formal geographic boundary roughly dividing the two sections along the thirty-ninth parallel,…
John Marquardt
March 16, 2018
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In the Eye of the Beholder

Once upon a time in America, in a far different and far more gentle age, it was possible for four young men from Memphis, Tennessee, to appear at a performance in a Northern city dressed as Confederate officers and sing a song entitled “Save Your Confederate Money Boys, the South Shall Rise Again” without being booed off the stage. Not…
John Marquardt
February 5, 2018
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They Took Their Stand in Dixie

Advance the flag of Dixie For Dixie’s land we take our stand To live or die for Dixie And conquer peace for Dixie Anyone singing the above lyrics from the patriotic Confederate song of 1861, “Dixie to Arms,” would today, as with its earlier counterpart “Dixie,” be considered most politically incorrect and would probably ignite a firestorm of protest demonstrations…
John Marquardt
January 10, 2018
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Through a Lens Darkly

There is an old saying in the theater that when one is acting the part of a butler in a play, the actor tends to regard it as a play about butlers.  This manner of observing personages and events, both past and present is, of course, a sad fact of life within many levels of modern society.  All too often,…
John Marquardt
December 4, 2017
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A Little Change in the Weather

We hear endless accounts today concerning the dire effects of global climate change, as well as the horrific devastation caused by the recent hurricanes that have mainly struck the Southern states. However, if one studies the five billion years of Earth’s climatic history, it should soon become evident that climate change has been an ongoing cyclical occurrence during the latter…
John Marquardt
November 10, 2017
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Russia vs. the Confederacy

Russian-American relations over the past two and a half centuries, like the weather in Alaska, the land Russia sold to the United States in 1867 for ten dollars a square mile, have blown from very warm to extremely frigid; but its balmiest period by far was during the War Between the States. In stark contrast to America’s sixteen-year hiatus in…
John Marquardt
October 16, 2017
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A Monumental Folly

The gentle wave of what had been termed “monumania” that rolled over the South and parts of the North during the late Nineteenth and early Twentieth Centuries was one which saw the dedication of numerous monuments in memory of the Confederacy and its heroes. That long dormant wave has now suddenly turned into a manic tsunami dedicated to the tearing…
John Marquardt
September 11, 2017
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“Furl That Banner”

During the past few decades, there has been an ever-growing sentiment throughout the Unites Sates to erase from the public mind, if not from American history itself, all vestiges of the Confederate States of America, and in particular, all memorials dedicated to the heroes, leaders and symbols of the Lost Cause. Following the senseless murder of a number of African-American…
John Marquardt
August 24, 2017
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A State of Mind

On June 7, 1776, Richard Henry Lee of Virginia offered a resolution to the Second Continental Congress, then meeting in Philadelphia, which began with the epic demand, “ That these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent States.”   After a month of heated deliberation, the Congress finally adopted Thomas Jefferson’s Declaration of Independence which…
John Marquardt
January 5, 2017
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They Came From the East

 It is generally thought that when the earliest Homo sapiens arrived on the scene in Africa and Asia less than a hundred-thousand years ago, all of North and South America was devoid of human habitation.  Most in the scientific community also contend that it was no more than twenty to thirty-thousand years ago, as the glaciers from the last Ice Age…
John Marquardt
December 9, 2016
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Rebel Redux

Rumblings of open rebellion were in the air . . . a certain group within the state had felt for some time that their state’s wealth and resources were being unfairly used by the federal government to subsidize other areas of the nation.  Moreover, it was deemed that the social values of these other areas were in direct conflict with…
John Marquardt
November 14, 2016
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The Other William C. Falkner

The date was Tuesday, November 5th . . . the year was 1889 . . . federal and local elections were being held in twenty states throughout America.  In addition to the elections in Virginia that day, the newly launched steamer “New York” was setting out on her trial run from Norfolk.  Further south, after winning a seat in the…
John Marquardt
November 1, 2016
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Nullification vs. Secession?

On the 21st of this June, Americans celebrated the 228th anniversary of the nation’s Constitution, making it the world’s oldest existing governing body of laws. It was then that our founding fathers met in their effort to form a union more perfect than the one under which the thirteen sovereign states had been operating since 1781, the original Articles of…
John Marquardt
October 13, 2016
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Healing the Wounds of War

Over the years, countless thousands the New Yorkers have passed by monuments in their city that were dedicated to two eminent physicians who were related by marriage, but there is little doubt that few of them, until recently at least, had ever realized that the statues were erected in memory of former Southerners. The two men of medicine were Dr.…
John Marquardt
April 22, 2016
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The Muckraker and the War

It was the spring of 1865 . . . the remnants of what once had been Confederate regiments had stacked their arms, the tattered battle flags were furled, the cause which had been so gallantly defended was lost and one by one the Army of Northern Virginia, the Army of Tennessee and the Army of the Trans-Mississippi were disbanded. Those…
John Marquardt
March 10, 2016
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Elephants in Dixie

The origin of the elephant as a symbol of the Republican Party occurred in 1874 after a political cartoon by Thomas Nast appeared in the popular New York newspaper, “Harper’s Weekly.” It was during the congressional elections of that year when Nast, a renowned Republican satirist, drew a picture of the Democratic donkey dressed in a lion’s skin frightening away…
John Marquardt
February 9, 2016
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Southern Stars of David

I am a Jew. Hath not a Jew eyes? Hath not a Jew hands, organs, dimensions, senses, affections, passions? Fed with the same food, hurt with the same weapons, subject to the same diseases, healed by the same means, warmed and cooled by the same winter and summer as a Christian is?    The Merchant of Venice (Act 3, Scene…
John Marquardt
January 14, 2016
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South from Egypt

Illinois has been known as the “Land of Lincoln” for the past sixty years . . . the state legislature having officially adopted the motto in 1955, but a century prior to that most residents of the state’s sixteen southern counties would certainly have objected to the term.  That area of Illinois has been called “Little Egypt” or merely “Egypt”…
John Marquardt
December 18, 2015
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Kentucky’s Baron Munchausen

A century prior to the War Between the States, a German magazine writer, pseudo-scientist and notorious swindler, Rudolf Erich Raspe, penned a series of fictional articles describing the fantastic adventures of a military character he called Baron Münchhausen.  In 1785, a book of Raspe’s collected stories was published in England under the title Baron Munchausen’s Narratives of His Marvelous Travels…
John Marquardt
November 23, 2015
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King Kudzu

“Cotton isn’t king in the South anymore … Kudzu is king!”                Channing Cole, Atlanta Constitution The mysterious disappearance of England’s first settlement in North America, Sir Walter Raleigh’s  “Lost Colony” which was established in 1584 on Roanoke Island in what is now North Carolina, may never be solved, but it is safe to assume that starvation must have played…
John Marquardt
November 5, 2015
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Believe It Or Not…

Criss-crossing the South, from Virginia and Maryland to Texas, and from Missouri and Tennessee to South Carolina and Florida, there are thirteen museums dedicated to the myriad oddities of life . . . Robert Ripley’s “Odditoriums.” Almost a century ago, as a reporter for the New York Globe, Ripley created what would soon become the world-famous media feature, “Believe It…
John Marquardt
October 9, 2015
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Civil Rights at the Casa Mañana

At the Battle of San Jacinto in April of 1836, the badly outnumbered Texas forces under the command of General Sam Houston avenged the historic defeat at the Alamo in San Antonio the month before by soundly crushing General Santa Anna’s vastly superior Mexican Army.  After that battle, Santa Anna was forced to sign the Treaty of Velasco which granted…
John Marquardt
September 28, 2015
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Japan and the South

When William Faulkner visited Japan in 1955 to attend a literary symposium in Nagano, he noted certain parallels between the aftermath of the Confederacy’s defeat in 1865 and that of Japan’s a century and a half later. In an address, “To the Youth of Japan,” Faulkner summed up these mutual experiences by saying; “My side, the South, lost that war,…
John Marquardt
August 27, 2015
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Digging For Southern Roots

With all due apologies to Samuel Clemens, I like to think of myself as a Connecticut Confederate. Therefore, I was delighted to find recently that, in addition to being a self-made devotee of the “Lost Cause” and an ardent admirer of the South in general, I also have at least two actual ancestors who served gallantly in the Confederate Army…
John Marquardt
August 17, 2015
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The War of Words

The guns of the War Between the States fell silent a century and a half ago, but the verbal and written battles related to that great conflict have continued. In the more than 50,000 books, as well as the countless thousands of additional articles and discussions which have taken place during the intervening years , it would seem that every…
John Marquardt
July 30, 2015