May 3, 2017

Thought experiment: Consider the possibility that Trump's Civil War talk was a genius trick.

I have my theory, and I'll tell you it later, but I don't want to short-circuit your ingenuity.

Here's yesterday's post with 3 Civil War historians addressing — and disparaging — what Trump said, with Trump's remarks broken down into 5 discrete statements: 1. "[Jackson] was a swashbuckler... They love Andrew Jackson in Tennessee," 2. "He was a very tough person, but he had a big heart," 3. "I mean, had Andrew Jackson been a little later, you wouldn't have had the Civil War," 4. "He was really angry that he saw what was happening with regard to the Civil War. He said: 'There's no reason for this,'" 5. "People don't realize, you know, the Civil War - if you think about it, why? People don't ask that question, but why was there a Civil War?"

Now, what if you had to argue that Trump had a brilliant, devious reason for throwing that out into the public discourse and that the 3 Civil War historians and other disparagers are — in failing to see the reason — running into a trap and serving Trump's interests?

UPDATE: I reveal my answer here

176 comments:

Kylos said...

He's framing himself as someone who wants to bridge the political conflicts in this country.

cubanbob said...

Trump at times reminds me of the Roadrunner and Wile E Coyote with Trump as the Roadrunner and the Left as Wile E Coyote.

DanTheMan said...

Perhaps Trump wants us to make the association that "Trump is like Jackson"
This puts the D's in a bind:
1) They attack Trump for being like Jackson - Bad for D's
2) They agree that Trump is like Jackson - Bad for D's
3) They say that Trump is like Jackson's bad bits, but not like Jackson's good bits - Bad for D's since they are saying both 1 & 2


But I honestly don't think it's devious on Trump's part. He was, as usual, speaking off the cuff, not something we allow our Presidents to do anymore, thus people are shocked at this "new" way of communicating.
After 4 (or 8?) years of this, Trump will have reset the expectation that everything the President says is a finely crafted and focus group tested remark.

traditionalguy said...

It is all about Nullification crisis and Old Hickory's brilliant handling of the Cotton Aristocracy. Jackson rammed National authority down their throat. One result of that beating was the South Carolina ruling class turning to Secession next time.

But today it is a perfect example of Sanctuary Cities and States v. National authority.

Stay tuned to Tweeter-in-Chief. More education coming.

And Breitbart just ran a story on Trump considering breaking up the big banks. Old Hickory also brilliantly smashed Nicholas Biddle's Little Thing. Biddle was outplayed by Jackson. The Biddle Bank was a favorite of the South Carolina Cotton Aristocracy that needed expansion capital and European banking connections. When Jackson finished with him he was Bankrupt.

Let little Paul Ryan take heed.

sparrow said...

I think Trump sees himself as Jacksonesque, but that the comment was sincere, not calculated.

Once written, twice... said...

Ann, I do not remember you ever trying to explain away gaffs by Obama—who admittedly made very few of them. But you seem to fall all over yourself doing so for Trump.

Why is that?

sparrow said...

Obama made many gaffes. The media regularly explained them away or ignored them (eg 57 states, you didn't build that etc)

AReasonableMan said...

Althouse said...
Consider the possibility that Trump's Civil War talk was a genius trick.


We really are in retirement mode here at Althouse.

Inga said...

Of course, everything Trump utters is really an ingenious devious plot to trick, troll, and trap America. Or maybe it's just plain dumb ignorance spoken out loud by a man who speaks in a rambling, incoherent, train of thought manner. I'll give him this, he was insightful when he said can shoot someone Fifth Avenue and his followers would still love him.

AllenS said...

“I don’t know what the term is in Austrian” for “wheeling and dealing.” -- Obama

Go ahead, Althouse help out Once written... Explain that gaffe!

Gretchen said...

Trump says he's like Jackson, liberals (journalists included) rip Jackson apart. Trump reminds them Jackson founded the Democrat party and Democrats still have dinners, etc honoring him.

exiledonmainstreet said...

cubanbob said...
Trump at times reminds me of the Roadrunner and Wile E Coyote with Trump as the Roadrunner and the Left as Wile E Coyote.

5/3/17, 8:55 AM

Unfair to Wile E.Coyote. Wile E. never gave up but at least he knew when an anvil had been dropped on his head.

DanTheMan said...

>>Unfair to Wile E.Coyote

He would have caught that road runner, but the Russians hacked Acme.
And Comey. And sexism.

He should have been 50 birds ahead!

TosaGuy said...

While I am a historian by trade, I am not immersed in the Jacksonian period, nor have I paid too much attention to the details of this latest brouhaha.

What I can say though is lefty academic historians who hate Trump first and love history second were rushing to jump all over this. They don't go after Holocaust deniers with such gusto, which is the problem.

The response was way out of proportion to the statement and the rush to jump all over this was in the realm of responding to modern politics, not explaining the history. Historians disarm their creditability when they react in such a manner.

Matthew Sablan said...

I don't think we're going to get a Le Pen like, "I trolled you" from Trump any time soon. He used up his "I'm trolling the media" during the campaign, especially with the press conference with Bill Clinton's accusers. I think at this point, the simplest answer is the correct one; he said something off-the-cuff, trying to hit a general theme, and ended up being vague/wrong in some particulars.

traditionalguy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
traditionalguy said...

Nullification proposed State laws that could call a referendum in a State on whether a State was bound by a particular Federal Laws...such as protective Tariffs on imports from England.

That created sanctuary States. Jackson threatened the States leaders with hanging if they would not back down, and Calhoun accepted a compromise worked out with Clay rather than obey Jackson. Calhoun actually accepted more Tariffs with less exceptions in order not to surrender outright. Jackson accepted that Deal, which he had forced on South Carolina by his threats.

The Governor of Texas has threatened to arrest Texas officials who do try any Sanctuary tricks. That is what DJT will need to do next.

Gretchen said...

Tosa

None of them go after the horrors of communism at all. They like to ignore that history.

TosaGuy said...

I also don't think Trump is the master rhetorical genius who can jujitsu his opposition into knots with 8-dimensional verbal chess. Nor is he a dumbass who can't string two words together.

He simply operates a bit differently then the political pundit class is used to and they simply charge in like WWI troops who leave the trench and hurl themselves against a wall of machine gun fire.

Someday pundit responses will change, but until they do, it doesn't take much for Trump to swat most of it away because it is so predictable.

exiledonmainstreet said...

At least Trump doesn't use a teleprompter to talk to a class of grade school kids.

http://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2010/01/24/obama_uses_teleprompters_during_speech_at_elementary_school.html

TosaGuy said...

Gretchen,

The point in my academic career where I knew I had to get out is when my colleagues thought it was wrong for the US to drop atomic bombs on Japan.

bridgecross said...

Or, maybe, Trump just says stuff.

Left Bank of the Charles said...

The question to ask Donald Trump is how he thinks Andrew Jackson would have stopped the Civil War from happening if he had still been around to do it. That's how you invite him to commit a true gaffe.

Nonapod said...

I'm still not convinced that most of the things like this that Trump does are done in a contrived manner. If Trump is indeed a "master persuader", as Scott Adams postulates, I don't think he's conscious of it. I think his persuasive abilities are what people in the Role Playing Game world would refer to as a passive skill. His entire personality seems so unpremeditated.

Darrell said...

Many college-age kids today think that Lincoln was succeeded by JFK. If those kids pick up any fact during this current discussion, Trump will have done a real service.

exiledonmainstreet said...

TosaGuy said...
I also don't think Trump is the master rhetorical genius who can jujitsu his opposition into knots with 8-dimensional verbal chess. Nor is he a dumbass who can't string two words together.

He simply operates a bit differently then the political pundit class is used to and they simply charge in like WWI troops who leave the trench and hurl themselves against a wall of machine gun fire."

I would agree with this. He says things in his own blunt way and they go apeshit because they are so used to pols reading off teleprompters and not saying anything that hasn't been tested on focus groups.

If you have ever watched "Question Time," you'll discover how bland and careful American pols are compared to the Brits.

Darrell said...

Obama—who admittedly made very few of them

Are you fucking kidding? Obama was the gaffe master. Ask a corpseman.

Chuck said...

Professor Althouse have you ever stopped to consider how bizarre it is, that purported Trump-explainers like you and Scott Adams always have to resort to some secret code, some hidden meaning, some hard-to-understand "genius", in order to make some sense out of Trump's regular outbursts?

I'm not inclined to put too much effort into trying to make any sense out of Trump. If he has something to say, he has a very large communications team at his disposal. He can get a speech written. Put out a press release. Something that has been carefully (and even artfully) written. With clear language, full of intent.

Let's face it; if, in order to understand Trump, we have to engage in the kind of hieroglyphic interpretation that you are suggesting, then Trump's a terrible communicator.

Personally, I don't think that Trump is such a bad presenter of himself. He knows quite well how to work a television performance. The real problem is much more profound. The real problem is that he has no real ideas. No philosophy. No ideology. No policy; no school of thought. Nothing, apart from "watching the shows" that is a thought process tested by reality.

Sebastian said...

As usual: 1. No genius trick: Trump was being Trump. 2. Some of what he said, though not based on actual knowledge, makes sense. 3. Trump is blessed with the right enemies. 4. Certain intellectuals will make up any rationalization; they have their "theories."

Henry said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Once written, twice... said...

Inga wrote "I'll give him this, he was insightful when he said can shoot someone Fifth Avenue and his followers would still love him."

That's brilliant Inga. It also covers Ann's adoration of Trump.

Henry said...

He's got the left saying "War is good."

I sure hope he isn't a secret genius.

The anti-Trump framework requires a great man of history theory. It requires the idea that if you give a guy like Trump the levers of power, he will use them to do massively destructive and irreversible things. He will destroy the climate. He will start wars. He will declare martial law.

But when Trump brings up Jackson, the response is to deride the great man of history theory:

Trump context: "Trump will start a war."
Jackson context: "Wars are inevitable."

Trump context: "Trump is an impulsive demagogue."
Jackson context: "History is determined by long-term social and economic forces not by individuals."

Ann Althouse said...

It doesn't have to be true that he really meant to do this. It's a thought experiment: What if you had to argue...?

Once you identify the reason a genius might deviously make this move, you will be in a position to see how this discourse benefits Trump in the long run. That is, you don't need to believe he had his chess moves all envisioned. You only need to predict the moves that will ensue and see how good the game is for Trump, even if he only blundered into it.

Please try to do the thought experiment! It will blow your mind when you see it.

John said...

Blogger Once written, twice... said...

Ann, I do not remember you ever trying to explain away gaffs by Obama—who admittedly made very few of them. But you seem to fall all over yourself doing so for Trump.

What "gaffe" did President Trump make re Jackson?

That you don't read and/or understand the history or Constitution of our country is a shame.

John Henry

Ann Althouse said...

What are the historians giving him that will be incredibly useful, which they are giving him because they are failing to see the use?

Henry said...

I'm not sure if it's the word "thought" or the word "experiment" that confuses some people.

harrogate said...

"He's framing himself as someone who wants to bridge the political conflicts in this country."

How's the bridge reaching anywhere towards liberals, again?

Maybe you're thinking of one of those bridges to nowhere?

Paddy O said...

"I'm not inclined to put too much effort into trying to make any sense out of Trump. If he has something to say, he has a very large communications team at his disposal. He can get a speech written. Put out a press release. Something that has been carefully (and even artfully) written. With clear language, full of intent."

This was George W. Bush's approach.

Ann Althouse said...

Please don't get distracted by the routine old subject of whether I was equally helpful to Obama or whatever. That's not the subject of the post, and it could be called trolling. Don't do wheel-spinning back-and-forth. Try to lock into the thought experiment. I could have just put my idea in the post. If you don't see the value of searching for the answer, that's okay, but I don't see the value of comments like Once written, twice at 9:11 AM. Boring.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Without getting into the details of it (I don't have time.), there were MANY economic reasons for the Civil War. Slavery was a part of it, but tariffs and unfair treatment of the Southern Economy by the North had a very large part.

One source There are many many more...search for economic causes civil war

The other critical economic issue that divided the North from the South was that of tariffs. Tariffs were taxes placed on imported goods, the money from which would go to the government. Throughout the antebellum period, whenever the federal government wanted to raise tariffs, Southern Congressmen generally opposed it and Northern Congressmen generally supported it. Southerners generally favored low tariffs because this kept the cost of imported goods low, which was important in the South's import-oriented economy. Southern planters and farmers were concerned that high tariffs might make their European trading partners, primarily the British, raise prices on manufactured goods imported by the South in order to maintain a profit on trade.
In the North, however, high tariffs were viewed favorably because such tariffs would make imported goods more expensive. That way, goods produced in the North would seem relatively cheap, and Americans would want to buy American goods instead of European items. Since tariffs would protect domestic industry from foreign competition, business interests and others influenced politicians to support high tariffs.
Americans in the West were divided on the issue. In the Southwest, where cotton was a primary commodity, people generally promoted low tariffs. In the Northwest and parts of Kentucky, where hemp (used for baling cotton) was a big crop, people supported high tariffs.


Social differences....urban versus rural also were a big part. (Sound familiar to today's discontent?)

John said...

Blogger Matthew Sablan said...

ended up being vague/wrong in some particulars.

Which particulars?

I don't see anything erroneous in what he said.

I don't see anyone pointing out anything erroneous.

John Henry

Ann Althouse said...

"I'm not inclined to put too much effort into trying to make any sense out of Trump. If he has something to say, he has a very large communications team at his disposal. He can get a speech written. Put out a press release. Something that has been carefully (and even artfully) written. With clear language, full of intent."

Then you are missing my point. He is getting something FROM the historians that he couldn't just come out and say. He is giving them a motivation to speak up, very strongly, and say things that are useful to him because THEY said them.

exiledonmainstreet said...

Harrogate said:

"How's the bridge reaching anywhere towards liberals, again?"

The liberals burn the bridge down and then whine that it's not reaching them.

Ann Althouse said...

Ironically, here I am saying something to try to make YOU say something and telling you that I could just come out and say it.

I guess if you can't figure it out, it's less likely to be true, but maybe it's more likely to be genius, since no one will see that it's something he's doing for a particular and very useful reason.

exiledonmainstreet said...

Once written, twice... said...
Inga wrote "I'll give him this, he was insightful when he said can shoot someone Fifth Avenue and his followers would still love him."

That's brilliant Inga. It also covers Ann's adoration of Trump.


5/3/17, 9:48 AM

No, it's just hypocritical given the slavish adoration you guys gave to President Boyfriend.

TosaGuy said...

"What are the historians giving him that will be incredibly useful, which they are giving him because they are failing to see the use?"

The historians are detaching themselves from their craft to play in politics. They are out of their element and as a group are not particularly nimble in the field of present-day politics. Trump can simply hop over them to the next thing and leave them neutered and exposed as ideologues.

Yancey Ward said...

The problem with the Left here is that it is an argument they cannot win, and the more they try, the more they end up making themselves look foolish.

Trump's argument is plausible on its face and cannot be proven to be wrong. There are literally no facts that can be brought to bear to disprove it. One does best, if one is going to argue about it at all, to simply state Trump is wrong and leave it at that, but writers on the Left have never been able to do that. Instead, they go about endlessly fact-checking a hypothetical- about as pointless a task as I can imagine.

Chuck said...

Ann Althouse said...
...

Then you are missing my point. He is getting something FROM the historians that he couldn't just come out and say. He is giving them a motivation to speak up, very strongly, and say things that are useful to him because THEY said them.

And in the meantime, the (now; April 4, 2017) 60-61% of American voters who think that Trump is not honest and not intelligent get their biases confirmed. Actually, more than their biases are being confirmed. They're getting more evidence.

Bay Area Guy said...

Andy Jackson is a hugely important figure of American history.

Yes, he had many flaws. Guess what? Martin Luther King, Jr had many flaws too including adultery, consorting with 2 known Communist agents, and total ignorance about why we needed to protect peaceful South Vietnam from the aggressive North.

Nonetheless, MLK is a great American historical figure too.

That's what history is all about - flawed men taking on great challenges.

So any Presidential comparisons to Old Hickory are fine by me. And these 3 whiny civil war historians trying to play "gotcha" with Trump got got themselves.

Once written, twice... said...

Of course Ann you find it "boring" that I highlight how you over and over come up with these bizarre posts ("thought experiments," right—LOL) to prop up Trump.

Ann, have you yet to realize that you have gotten yourself too invested in this clown?

Dust Bunny Queen said...

My thoughts on what Trump may be getting by raising this issue and getting historians to speak up....

1. People will be able to hear from historians about the run up, prequel to the Civil War, instead of the pop culture, "it is all about slavery" meme. There is a lot of history that happened before the first conflict.

2. People will be able to draw comparisons to what had happened then, the divide between urban/rural and the economic suppression of the rural....to what is happening today.

3. Trump saying these things...people will dismiss. It is just dumb Trump. Historians saying these things people will listen. Ohhhhh Professors...how smart!

4. The schools do a terrible job of teaching history of any kind and especially that of the Civil War. Most of what students learn is propaganda with an emphasis on only ONE issue of the Civil War. (slavery) Actual historians addressing this issue and discussing among themselves, will be instructive (we hope)

David said...

Trump is smart but not that smart.

But the historians are being stupid, so it makes him seem even smarter.

Darrell said...

Here's hoping "Inga" spends all her free time on Fifth Avenue.

Ann Althouse said...

You're going to kick yourself when I tell you, but I'm not going to say it until about 5 pm.

TosaGuy said...

Are you sure it is 60-61 percent of VOTERS? Mark Penn just published an article about how pollsters, as they always do, switch to generic adult for polling purposes rather than separate out those who vote and don't vote. They may glean a moment of the opinion of the entire society, but that does not necessarily mean they are capturing the opinion of those who show up and vote.

bagoh20 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ann Althouse said...

I'm going to go out walking on this fine May day while listening to an audio biography of Andrew Jackson.

bagoh20 said...

When your opposition is driven by unbridled hatred and considers themselves smugly superior, it's really easy to look genius. They do all the work for you. Even when you're wrong, they make being right look ugly.

Matthew Sablan said...

"I don't see anything erroneous in what he said.

I don't see anyone pointing out anything erroneous."

-- The general characterization of Jackson; and the unclearness about being around for the Civil War/the stuff before the Civil War. Again, I think that was mainly because Trump was going for something thematic and big picture, and so he didn't really care about the nuance. The fact we're talking about it now, what, two days after he said it?

It's probably taking Obama's Stray Voltage strategy and using it bigly.

Darrell said...

Chuck has polls. Indeed.

Bob Boyd said...

"What are the historians giving him"

They're lending him their status as experts by arguing the finer points of American history with him? They're showing him as someone who thinks about how we can learn from history which is contrary to the narrative that Trump is a mindless tweeter with no grasp of the grand scheme?

bagoh20 said...

It looks like the hostess and I just hit "enter" at exactly the same time. I felt a shock in my finger and a feeling of connectedness with all of mankind, which for a second overpowered the creepiness that normally permeates my person.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Industrial state versus agricultural state. Cities versus the heartland less urbanized areas economically and politically. The North (in the Civil War era) or the Coastal enclaves (today) controlling the political climate to the detriment of Ohio and other fly over type areas.

The interests of one area over the other with no care whatsoever about those in the disadvantaged area.

Arrogant and dismissive attitudes of the Northern industrial/urban states towards the rural Southerners. The same attitudes towards today's deplorable and unrepentant rubes.

All these things that existed before the Civil War and which were crucial in precipitating
"that" Civil War. Conditions that exist now that are dangerous to the unity of the United States.

Those that don't learn from history are doomed to repeat it.

Chuck said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
buwaya puti said...

I am content to wait. I have scratched my head over this and gotten nowhere. This is not a surprise, as Althouse (and Trump of course) are smarter than I am.

The "historians" response is much too MEGO in any details to seem rhetorically significant. The details seem unlikely to matter in messaging. The only real public message is implied in the headline is "Trump dumb".

Now, you could say this goes to Scott Adams prediction that Trump would herd the media into transitioning to "dumb" from "evil".

Darrell said...

The majority of "historians" see no connection between National Socialism and Socialism. None. Ask them.

Once written, twice... said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
TosaGuy said...

Modern Democrats hate Andrew Jackson, one of the father's of the Democratic Party. Gone are the days of the local party's annual Jefferson-Jackson dinners. Obama's minions stripped him off the $20 bi11.

There are a lot of traditional Democrats who don't like the rejection of the man in the name of modern political correctness.

With his Jackson reference, Trump reaches out to that portion of the Dem base that supported him. The unintended consequence of having lefty historians go berserk is a side benefit.

Chuck said...

Skip that YouTube link just above. Should be this one:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=70rMrFm3ZUs


Drago said...

"lifelong republican" and Noted Historian Chuck takes time out from swimming in lunatic and bizarre Russian influence and blackmail porn as well as rhetorical attacks on young children to bitterly and ignorantly complain about Althouse dangling an interesting thought experiment for her readership.

This is what comes of a "lifelong republicans" mind when that "republican" is exposed as a complete buffoon.

Chuckie and his Dem allies are not capable of objective analysis as their self-worth is tied to "proving" Trump is wrong and dangerous about everything which is why dem-explainer Chuck invests so much time supporting and defending every Dem action and policy.

The Vault Dweller said...

Well I haven't read or heard much about what the Historians said, but assuming it was something like, "The civil was inevitible" "There was nothing Andrew Jackson could have done" Then perhaps Trump wants to use that as a foil to paint his policies just short circuiting the inevitable. "You may not want a border wall, but it is bound to happen" I am just doing it first and earlier where we have more wiggle room and clarity to act before it is an exigency. Though I doubt Trump would use the word exigency. He strikes me as a more Ernest Hemingway sort of guy.

Once written, twice... said...

Is anyone more "smugly superior" than Ann? She is treating her Althouse Hillbillies here as if they are substitute students now that she is retired from her teaching job. (God knows she never published much.)

Hey Althouse Hillbillies! How you enjoyin' Ann baby layin' some Socratic method on your backsides? Don't worry you dummies! She will share her bountiful wisdom with you at 5 pm and it will blow your minds!

Chuck said...

Chuck said...
Alright, here's my theory on "devious" communications "genius" for the day.

Althouse is talking about Andrew Jackson, and the Civil War, and the biases of elite historians, so that we aren't focused on Trump's bizarre, hysterical, idiotic and slightly frightening interview with John Dickerson of CBS.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=70rMrFm3ZUs


Darrell said...

Remember when the Left was chuckling at Sarah Palin's "gaffe" of "Let's party like it's 1773?"

Michael said...

It is not necessary for Trump's "genius" to be something he is doing consciously. The man has been in the public eye and the media cross-hairs every day for 50 years, and has not only survived but thrived (for better and worse.) At some level somewhere between intellectual analysis and conditioned reflex training, he has learned what works for him. Anything beyond that is over-thinking it.

Left Bank of the Charles said...

The reporter going for the kill asks a followup like, "Andrew Jackson was able to resolve the Nullification Crisis by giving the South tax cuts. Do you think that tax cuts would have also worked to avert the Civil War and end slavery?"

For the thought experiment, I suppose Trump might be able to make something of a bunch of academics being unable to come up with a way to avoid the Civil War as a way of saying academics lack the initiative and imagination to solve big problems. So we shouldn't listen to the academics, especiallya consensus of academics.

Drago said...

Once written: "Is anyone more "smugly superior" than Ann?"

Yes, a lefty and/or "lifelong republican" type just wrote that.

Once again, history began anew this morning for our resident lefties.

Bob Boyd said...

Trump will inspire half the country to rid themselves of their ten dollar bills as fast as possible, thus stimulating the economy?

Chuck said...

Drago, stop your personal attacks on me.

COMMENTS ARE MODERATED some but not all of the time. This is for the purpose of excluding/removing a small handful of commenters who, I believe, intend to ruin this forum. They already know who they are. For everyone else, try to be responsive to the post, don't make personal attacks on other commenters, bring some substance or humor to the conversation, and don't do that thing of putting in a lot of extra line breaks.

Drago said...

Left bank: "For the thought experiment, I suppose Trump might be able to make something of a bunch of academics being unable to come up with a way to avoid the Civil War as a way of saying academics lack the initiative and imagination to solve big problems. So we shouldn't listen to the academics, especiallya consensus of academics."

Sounds like Trump is perfectly aligned with one William F. Buckley.

"I would rather be governed by the first 2000 names in the Boston phone book than by the 2000 members of the faculty of Harvard University."

bagoh20 said...

They are confirming the Jacksonian-ism of Trump. He likes it, and benefits from it. Jackson was a winner, a strong leader, and someone who scared his enemies. That's a great position to work from, when your enemies are already hostile, and everyone else wants the strong horse.

buwaya puti said...

Though I went Christian Brothers for the most part, and not Jesuits, for the most part, we did also get piles and piles of Socratic method. It's a good method, if you have a capable teacher, of teaching the smart ass some humility. Do this for years and it's good combat training.

I can see how the unfamiliar and, of course, the nakulturny, would find it off-putting.

exiledonmainstreet said...

Drago said...
Once written: "Is anyone more "smugly superior" than Ann?"

Yes, a lefty and/or "lifelong republican" type just wrote that"

Once written appears to be having some sort of psychotic breakdown. The wise course is to simply steer clear and hope the nurse brings the meds soon...

Drago said...

Chuck: "Drago, stop your personal attacks on me."

Your ignorance and lunatic obsessions are not possible to avoid.

My observations are just that. I am sorry if you feel that unavoidable observations constitute personal attacks.

Perhaps you ought to ponder that a bit more.

bagoh20 said...

"She will share her bountiful wisdom with you at 5 pm and it will blow your minds!"

You'll be here for it.

Hagar said...

Jackson did not "found" the Democratic party; Jefferson did as the leader of the opposition to the new national Constitution.
Van Buren organized them into a national party based on the pattern of the Democrat party in New York while serving as Jackson's secretary of state.

Trump may be musing about something needing to be done about the current prponents of "nullification" or "interposition" before that drifts farther into outright seccessionism, and perhaps considering Jackson as a model.

Drago said...

buwaya puti: "Though I went Christian Brothers for the most part,.."

My father would often go Christian Brothers in the 70's, which meant we had plenty of wine at the house.

Kristian Holvoet said...

Social differences....urban versus rural also were a big part. (Sound familiar to today's discontent?)

Note that today, the % of households that are well armed is MUCH, MUCH higher in the rural areas than the Urban. There may even be a absolute advantage (MS-13 and ilk notwithstanding) due to gun control. So Rural areas learned an important lesson: keeping large swathes of the population disarmed is bad. The urban areas, not so much.

David said...

I think it's fair to say "No slavery? Then no Civil War." Slavery underlies all of the other aspects of the conflict.

But his is also true: "No slavery? Then no United States."

The United States could never have formed without accepting slavery.

If there had never been slavery in British America, the Spaniards or the French would likely have dominated the unpopulated south, and the whole history would have been massively different.

And if the Constitution had not (silently) accepted slavery, there probably would have been at least two countries in formerly British North America, maybe more.

Consider what Texas might be now if if had not joined a consolidated Union in 1845. Perhaps the most powerful nation in North America. Or the world.

Finally, Jackson. Jackson was a Unionist and a slave owner. Had an Andrew Jackson been available to the South in 1860 and the years leading up to it, he might well have persuaded the South to accept some of the lesser compromises that diminished the slave power but preserved the Union. In any event, the days American cotton and rice plantations were numbered. Their competitive advantages were about to be destroyed by competition from all over the world. The result would have been impoverished planters, and millions of slaves whose economic value had been destroyed by competition. Just imagine where that might have lead.

These "great" historians are really pretty unimaginative. The Civil War seems inevitable because it was so costly and consequential. But it was not inevitable. Inevitability is the greatest of the historical fallacies.

John said...

Blogger Ann Althouse said...

I'm going to go out walking on this fine May day while listening to an audio biography of Andrew Jackson.

Which one?

All this talk has gotten me thinking that I should read a Jackson bio after I finish McMaster and Nixon.

But I haven't started looking to see which one I should read.

Recommendations from you and others would be appreciated.

John Henry

bagoh20 said...

"Is anyone more "smugly superior" than Ann?"

It is her worst quality, but she spent her life in a University. That's like ground zero for smug superiority. It's the product they sell, it's very expensive, but amazingly, you can make it yourself at home with stuff readily available from the local goodwill store.

bagoh20 said...

The Civil War was caused by smug superiority, on both sides.

buwaya puti said...

We boys once found where they stashed the Mass wine at La Salle (I may still be able to lead you to the right locker). The results were educational in several ways.

Mattman26 said...

Hey Once Written, you're aware that you're not required to be here, right?

FWBuff said...

Trump is using the historians to rehabilitate Jackson (a la the musical "Hamilton") in order to keep him on the $20 bill!

John said...

OT here, perhaps but we were talking about relative numbers of slaves to various American countries. Just ran across an article, not read it yet. on the subject (H/T Extragoodshit.com) from the article:

Map showing flow of slaves across the atlantic by origin and destination


https://cdn.theconversation.com/files/166122/area14mp/file-20170420-21495-62z61a.jpg

Article here:

https://theconversation.com/a-digital-archive-of-slave-voyages-details-the-largest-forced-migration-in-history-74902

John Henry

TosaGuy said...

"Jackson did not "found" the Democratic party; Jefferson did as the leader of the opposition to the new national Constitution."

Jefferson was a Democratic-Republican, the opposition party to the Federalists. The Feds went away and the D-R's then split into four factions. Jackson's presidency transformed one of those four elements of the D-Rs into the Democratic Party.

BillyTalley said...

Trump's interest is to assert federal power over recalcitrant states, as Jackson had once done. Tossing the bait of what would be suspicious historical facts, he gets chum in the press and heightened public interest in what had actually happened in Jackson's administration. In the ensuing discussion, a groundwork for accepting what Trump might have to do in the near future.

Now, how did I do, Ann?

Dave said...

Historians are giving him the fact that the Civil War was unavoidable.

Now when Trump starts a war he can claim it is for some unavoidable reason.

John said...

Sort of a wild idea what is going on:

1) 12mm slaves imported to the Americas

2) Slavery universal across the world since recorded history

3) Slavery virtually eliminated worldwide in a single century (1800-1900)

4) No wars needed to do this other than in the US

5) A better negotiator probably would have managed to get the slaves freed in the US without the War Between the States

6)"Buy my book, The art of the Deal. Available at the Althouse portal" (How cool would that be, Ann?)

7) More seriously: "I am a great negotiator and could have avoided the war"

Drago said...

The criticism of Trump by the historians is somewhat similar to criticism leveled at Winston Churchill.

Churchill was accused of being a poor historian by the academic class because Churchill did indeed allow himself to swept up in the Great Men/Great Events perspective of history.

When you read Churchill's accounts of events you too can get swept up by his prose and the larger than life drama and personalities that Churchill "paints". Churchill is moved deeply by great courage, brilliance under fire, perseverance under tremendous crisis factor.

Chuchill's writing and world view is quite "thematic" in nature and, in his own way, so is Trump.

Ironically, some quite famous academics who study Leadership for a living over many decades seem to align with much of that "themes are whats important" kind of thinking. Here's one that I always found compelling in his analysis (and ironically, a Harvard guy)

"People change what they do less because they are given analysis that shifts their thinking than because they are shown a truth that influences their feelings."

John P. Kotter, "The Heart of Change", (Harvard Business School Press, 2002)

eric said...


Ann,

The answer is,


They are giving him Slavery as the entire reason for the civil war.

Jack Wayne said...

": 1. "[Jackson] was a swashbuckler... They love Andrew Jackson in Tennessee," 2. "He was a very tough person, but he had a big heart," 3. "I mean, had Andrew Jackson been a little later, you wouldn't have had the Civil War," 4. "He was really angry that he saw what was happening with regard to the Civil War. He said: 'There's no reason for this,'" 5. "People don't realize, you know, the Civil War - if you think about it, why? People don't ask that question, but why was there a Civil War?"

Trump sees himself as somewhat of a Jacksonian president/personality: swashbuckler, big heart, historical timing is important, angry about the political situation on behalf of the people, that maybe he can stop the coming confrontation. We'll see won't we? My money is on No. the rag we call a Constitution will force us to a confrontation.

Drago said...

Trump clearly accepts the basic idea that his a modern day Andrew Jackson. Whether or not that acceptance leads to an impact on Trumps political strategies and policy prescriptions remains to be seen.

buwaya puti said...

I can see how our style of the Socratic method would be upsetting in US high schools and colleges.
The style of teaching may have died out here.
Also typical was what can be seen in "The Paper Chase".

Darrell said...

Trump will inspire half the country to rid themselves of their ten dollar bills

$20, not $10.

Sebastian said...

""Is anyone more "smugly superior" than Ann?" It is her worst quality, but she spent her life in a University." But also entertaining, don't you think, for example when she touts her sense of humor? Someone should write a paper about how, in academia, ordinary Dunning-Kruger self-overestimation turns into smug superiority. Maybe it already exists.

Rusty said...

Blogger Chuck said...
"Chuck said...
Alright, here's my theory on "devious" communications "genius" for the day.

Althouse is talking about Andrew Jackson, and the Civil War, and the biases of elite historians, so that we aren't focused on Trump's bizarre, hysterical, idiotic and slightly frightening interview with John Dickerson of CBS."

Uh. No.
The others didn't want me to say this, but, you're a bore.
Thought you should know.

Bob Boyd said...

"$20, not $10"

Oh. Shit. Um...that's what I meant. Look! A squirrel!

buwaya puti said...

Complaints about teachers personalities are sophomoric. Literally so.
Complain about their content, or their abilities, or their results, these are valid. Whether they are otherwise pleasant is taking your eyes off the prize.

Mattman26 said...

Speaking of the prize, if we get it right do we win something?

eric said...

Uh. No.
The others didn't want me to say this, but, you're a bore.
Thought you should know.


Incorrect. We wanted you to say it.

Also, during the next Republican primary, it's going to be tough not to reflexively hate any candidate Chuck likes. Isn't it?

Hagar said...

Jackson was a "Democrat-Republican." Jefferson was an "Old Republican," and there were "New Republicans" between them.
But there is a thread running from Jefferson to today's Democrats as there is from Washington/Hamilton to the present day Republicans.

Bob Boyd said...

Mattman26 said...
"Speaking of the prize, if we get it right do we win something?"

Only undying glory.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

5. "People don't realize, you know, the Civil War - if you think about it, why? People don't ask that question, but why was there a Civil War?"

This is the real genius part. People DON'T ask why was there a Civil War. They've been told SLAVERY, no other reasons and shut up because you are a racist.

Yes. Slavery and the economic system that made slavery possible was a big part but not the ONLY part. Now, Trump has us talking about the Civil War and getting people who don't think much about things in the first place to consider the similarities between then and now.


Bob Boyd said...

How about this?

Trump has the media bringing in historians to talk about him in comparison to one America's great presidents, effectively conferring on him a similar status.

Lyle Smith said...

Trump may be making a point about Syria.

Lyle Smith said...

Slavery was the sole reason for the Civil War. Trump isn't trying to start a discussion about that.

Bob Boyd said...

The media were eager to do this for Obama, he's FDR, he's JFK.
Maybe Trump has tricked them into doing the same for him.

wwww said...

People don't realize, you know, the Civil War - if you think about it, why? People don't ask that question, but why was there a Civil War?


This is a standard essay question for a college or AP level intro course on American history, colonial era - 1876. Discuss the causes of the Civil War with a concentration on the events of 1850-1861.

Answer generally includes events

Compromise of 1850 and the other political compromises
Mexican American War & political debates on transforming new territories into slave or free states
Bleeding Kansas
Dred Scott decision
John Brown
division of the Senate free vs. slave
Free Soil Party
Formation of Republican Party
Lincoln-Douglas Debates


What struck me about yesterday was the absence of Civil War or Jacksonian era historians who were interested in doing press. I don't know if were not contacted or if they were not interested.

Many usual suspects didn't post anything on twitter or facebook.

exhelodrvr1 said...

President Trump has a gift for setting traps by saying things that can be taken two ways. Inevitably:

1) The media and the left (I know) take it in the most-negative-to-Trump way.
2) That is quickly followed by an overreaction, which
3) Includes wild and inaccurate statements.

This has the effect of confirming the media's bias, showing that the left is not interested in working with him, and showing that the media and the left are not especially intelligent.

pacwest said...

DBQ got it. Is there a prize for second place?

When President Trump tweets he is clearing a battlespace. Controlling the national conversation as it were. Do we really want to have another civil war? Could sanctuary cities really be ready to fight federal law? Are deep blue states seriously considering secession? Jackson could have solved the problem with hard line action. Trump may have to implement such actions himself if only to save the union. Oh what a genius (evil variety) he is. Save the union!

n.n said...

as Althouse (and Trump of course) are smarter than I am

Perhaps. I would characterize it more as strategic versus tactical thinking.

R.J. Chatt said...

I have no idea in whether Trump is right or a complete fool about Jackson as the experts claim, but the point is that I am now interested in learning about Jackson and finding out what the fuss is about. I know that Trump is no fool, he didn't win the presidency by accident or some Russian conspiracy so I will look into it to find out what he meant. But whether you love him or hate him all of a sudden a lot more people are studying the history about Jackson. Provocation is interesting as a teaching technique. Maybe even genius.

Chuck said...

wwww said...
...
...
What struck me about yesterday was the absence of Civil War or Jacksonian era historians who were interested in doing press. I don't know if were not contacted or if they were not interested.


Jon Meachum was on CNN.com, and was later interviewed live:

http://www.cnn.com/2017/05/02/politics/donald-trump-andrew-jackson/

As I write this, I presume that Professor Althouse is out walking in West Madison and listening to Meachum's biography of Jackson as an audible book.

Drago said...

wwww: "What struck me about yesterday was the absence of Civil War or Jacksonian era historians who were interested in doing press. I don't know if were not contacted or if they were not interested.

Many usual suspects didn't post anything on twitter or facebook"

The reason for this is rather obvious. If any historians chimed in with additional context that information might be used to provide a basis for why there might be some arguable points in favor of what Trump discussed.

No academic anywhere, would ever dare to cross the current fever swamp of lefties/"lifelong republicans" and put their careers at such risk.

n.n said...

Trump may be setting up a scenario where each party approaches the field riding on their high horses, ready to do battle and conquer their enemy in whatever twilight gleam that inspires them, only to learn that their deficiencies and mortality will force a reconciliation. The first line were the JournoLists. The second line were the experts. I wonder what it would take to manage a national enterprise.

wwww said...

Jon Meachum was on CNN.com, and was later interviewed live:


oh yeah I saw clips of Meachum from yesterday and the night before. He's regularly on with Morning Joe & comfortable doing press.

Maybe the cable tv bookers didn't have the numbers of others. Press takes a fast turn around time. Its the end of the semester. People are busy.

Didn't see Ken Burns yesterday, but wasn't watching much so I could have missed him.

Drago said...

exhelodrvr1: "President Trump has a gift for setting traps by saying things that can be taken two ways"

Has there ever been a Presidential candidate and then President who had spent decades communing with the media class and thus, gaining an incredible insight into who they are, their beliefs, what motivates them, etc? Not to mention the deeper understanding of how to play to the audience.

This is why even when Trump is "wrong" about some detail the overall theme of what he puts forth seems to hold up very well in the back and forth in public sphere.

W.B. Picklesworth said...

Trump has gotten them to say that the Civil War was a moral war to end slavery. And to treat anyone who would disagree with that or nuance it as being ridiculous. This undercuts the racial hucksters and polarizers.

wwww said...

No academic anywhere, would ever dare to cross the current fever swamp of lefties/"lifelong republicans" and put their careers at such risk.


I do think people wanted to stay out of it. Almost anything said would appear to be partisan for one side or the other. would have been stupid for anyone pre-tenure to say anything.

that mess with the philosopher in other other post shows why its prudent to stay away from political controversies.

traditionalguy said...

I love Professor Althouse. She is so smart that you always learn something from hanging out with her mind.

wwww said...



Jackson is a fascinating character. well worth your time to read about him.

there's something of interest for everyone between his duels and his military exploits, his dramatic approach to the banks, and even soap opera material about his wife's first marriage.

I would far prefer a Hamilton or a Lincoln as President. But Jackson is extremely interesting.

exhelodrvr1 said...

"This is why even when Trump is "wrong" about some detail the overall theme of what he puts forth seems to hold up very well in the back and forth in public sphere."

And it is blindingly obvious that the left and the media do not, and probably cannot, see "the big picture" - part of the reason that they lost.

Henry said...

Trump plans to disband the national bank.

sparrow said...

I'm sure bagoh20 has it right. Trump is Jacksonian in some ways (the first real populist, the reaction of the elites, the opposition by the courts). This idea has been floating around a while and has some resonance. I expect Trump finds it flattering, so he promotes it.

Bill Harshaw said...

What are the odds you'll be able to keep up the Trump is a PR genius meme for 4 years?

traditionalguy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
traditionalguy said...

I recently watched a British version of The Battle of New Orleans. It was funny how they gave Jackson so little credit. It seems that a lucky fog delayed the British attack until a frustrated Packingham ordered the charge of Jackson's ramparts before the ladders were in place and sugar barrels were used as artillery cover by the Brits blew sugar down the vent holes of British cannon. etc, etc. Jackson won by accidents.

The Brits were especially pointed in slandering the frontiersmen with squirrel rifles slaughtering 2,000 British Soldiers to 7 American deaths. It was LaFitte's cannons using grapeshot. But Jackson still arranged it all and commanded it all done from on site.

That so reminded me of DJT today getting no credit for accidents that lead to his slaughtering superior forces.

wwww said...


Battle of New Orleans

Johnny Horton's song is still a lot of fun.

exhelodrvr1 said...

"What are the odds you'll be able to keep up the Trump is a PR genius meme for 4 years?"

That's up to the left and the media. If they continue going down the road they are currently on, Trump will still be spooling them up four years from now, and they will be looking foolish. I don't think most of them have the self-realization to see what is happening, and even if they do, the self-control to stop it.

dbp said...

"What are the historians giving him that will be incredibly useful, which they are giving him because they are failing to see the use?"

The "historians" are saying that no man, no matter how great, can prevent an inevitable war. So when war comes (say with N. Korea), Trump can honestly say, "Look, all the historians say that war is inevitable--even Old Hickory couldn't have stopped this."

I haven't read the whole thread, so if I am not first with this, I apologize.

Infinite Monkeys said...

Yesterday I commented that the Civil War seems inevitable to us but wasn't to the people of the time. I was thinking about part of a lecture by Yale professor Joanne Freeman. Her course on the American Revolution is online.

She was talking about a different war, but I think it also applies to the Civil War:

Think for a moment about all of the things that we assume about the Revolution. We assume that the colonists were right and that the British were wrong. We assume that a Revolution was inevitable. We assume that there was broad agreement at any one time about what should be done. Right? Of course we need to declare independence. Of course the colonists are going to win the war. Of course there should be a national union. Those are all the sorts of things that I think we do assume and that's a lot of assumptions; that's a lot of "of courses," but in fact it's important to remember that people didn't know what was going to happen.

Brando said...

Well it gets them talking about something purely academic that has nothing to do with (1) the budget capitulation; (2) the health care mess; or (3) taxes. Distracting the media is rather easy--they seem to always go for the bait and he happily feeds it to them. They cant' talk about everything all the time so any time devoted to this takes heat off of other setbacks.

No one can really answer "whether Jackson could have stopped the Civil War". It's like asking if Lincoln had put Grant in charge of the Army of the Potomac in 1861.

Birches said...

When President Trump tweets he is clearing a battlespace. Controlling the national conversation as it were. Do we really want to have another civil war? Could sanctuary cities really be ready to fight federal law? Are deep blue states seriously considering secession? Jackson could have solved the problem with hard line action. Trump may have to implement such actions himself if only to save the union. Oh what a genius (evil variety) he is. Save the union!

I think you nailed it.

Rusty said...


Blogger traditionalguy said...
"I love Professor Althouse. She is so smart that you always learn something from hanging out with her mind."

It's fun isn't it.

furious_a said...

Obama without his teleprompter TOTUS was a stumblebum. "Uh, uh...spread the wealth...bitter clingers...Uh..."

furious_a said...

When President Trump tweets he is clearing a battlespace.

Media: "Trump said 'Lock her up'!!"
John Q: "Why did he say that?"
Media: "...uh, that's not important. Look, RUSSIANZZZ!!"

Comanche Voter said...

Neither side wanted war--but the war came. James Buchanan didn't have the stones to nip South Carolina in the bud--and handed a presidency to A. Lincoln where six states had already seceded.

Andy Jackson--during South Carolina's earlier nullification efforts whupped S. Carolina up longside the head--figuratively speaking. The Old Trumpster had a point.

Ryan said...

Trump states that Jackson is XYZ.

Historians correct him.

Trump himself is XYZ.

Trump therefor can do what Jackson could not.

Comanche Voter said...

Neither side wanted war--but the war came. James Buchanan didn't have the stones to nip South Carolina in the bud--and handed a presidency to A. Lincoln where six states had already seceded.

Andy Jackson--during South Carolina's earlier nullification efforts whupped S. Carolina up longside the head--figuratively speaking. The Old Trumpster had a point.

Lem said...

Trump got people who are always against War (no matter what) to argue that there are wars that are... gasp... inevitable.

Althouse is right. The future Trump conflict peace-nicks are on the record arguing some conflicts cannot be resolved peacefully.

Lem said...

Feigned ignorance is irresistible bait. I guess that's what they mean by derangement syndrome. You don't see what should be obvious.

Bay Area Guy said...

"Hey Althouse Hillbillies! How you enjoyin' Ann baby layin' some Socratic method on your backsides? Don't worry you dummies! She will share her bountiful wisdom with you at 5 pm and it will blow your minds!"

This actually gave me a good chuckle this morning. I reckon that many of us sling arrows, so we have to take a few, too.

Whether AndyJack would have stopped the Civil War, doesn't interest me, because it's too hypothetically remote.

AndyJack's life, does greatly interest me. Great historical figure.

Whether and/or how we could have hypothetically ended slavery, but not had such a bloody Civil War does greatly interest me too, because, heck, within 100 or 200 hundred years, we, as a country, could face such unforeseen circumstances again.

furious_a said...

The Brits were especially pointed in slandering the frontiersmen with squirrel rifles slaughtering 2,000 British Soldiers to 7 American deaths.

The American order of battle reads like the Star Wars Bar Scene:

Tennessee Mounted and Un-mounted Militia, Kentucky Militia, New Orleans Battalion and City Rifles, Louisiana Militia, Jugean's Choctaws, Lacoste's and Daquin's Free Men of Color, Lafitte's cannoneers, U.S. Marines, Mississippi Dragoons...

Meanwhile the British infantry were Napoleonic and Peninsular War veterans.

Cue Johnny Horton!

Lem said...

The idea that Trump could alter the settled? perception about why the civil war was fought, alarmed the stakeholders of the settled perception. Couple that with the person who said it and you have the immediate reaction.... Charles M Blow: What the hell is this? WHAT THE HELL IS THIS?! "Worked out"? What is the compromise position btw slavery and abolition? Semi-slavery? UGH...

FullMoon said...

Once written, twice cried... said...

Is anyone more "smugly superior" than Ann? She is treating her Althouse Hillbillies here as if they are substitute students now that she is retired from her teaching job. (God knows she never published much.)

Hey Althouse Hillbillies! How you enjoyin' Ann baby layin' some Socratic method on your backsides? Don't worry you dummies! She will share her bountiful wisdom with you at 5 pm and it will blow your minds!

5/3/17, 10:15 AM


And you gonna be first in line. Maybe you can get mommy's attention if you say bad things.

Brando said...

""Worked out"? What is the compromise position btw slavery and abolition? Semi-slavery? UGH..."

I don't know--what about buying and freeing all the slaves? Would have cost less than the war did. (I know it's also far fetched--most slaveowners probably would have rebelled over that. But then, maybe it would have divided or muted pro-slavery opinion...anyway, we're back in the realm of alternative history and counterfactuals).

FullMoon said...

Chuck said...

Chuck said...
Alright, here's my theory on "devious" communications "genius" for the day.

Althouse is talking about Andrew Jackson, and the Civil War, and the biases of elite historians, so that we aren't focused on Trump's bizarre, hysterical, idiotic and slightly frightening interview with John Dickerson of CBS.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=70rMrFm3ZUs


5/3/17, 10:16 AM


Whoa, goddammit Chuck, I thought fer shure Trump was gonna give that guy the ol' titty twist!. Whew, close call ! Frightening is way too mild a description.

exiledonmainstreet said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
surfed said...

There was a Civil War in America because we Americans like fightin' for our principles be-it States Rights or the Union forever. And in 1861 when that firebell in the night rang both sides answered it's clanging call. That's why there was a Civil War. That and killin' which mankind is very good at and seems to like inordinately.

exiledonmainstreet said...

Lem said...
Trump got people who are always against War (no matter what) to argue that there are wars that are... gasp... inevitable."

Ha! When Dubya was president and the anti-war protesters (who vanished the day after the 2008 election) were out in force, I got into an argument with a smiling featherheaded woman who approached me on the street with a sign that read "War doesn't solve anything."

I said that it sure seemed to have solved the question of whether there would be a 1000 year Reich.

She was taken aback and a bit confused. She clearly wasn't accustomed to anybody challenging her bumper sticker clich├ęs.

She said, finally, "We didn't have to go to war. We could have avoided that war."

I said, "Chamberlain tried but the Nazis and the Japanese had other ideas."

I'm sure that ditz probably thinks Trump is a complete idiot.

gravityhurts said...

Sanctuary cities are the new confederacy. They are trying to thwart and nullify immigration law.

Jason said...

The historians are making the case for a Jacksonian-style crackdown on sanctuary cities for him.

Martin said...

My first reaction was also that Trump has a purpose in mind, though I confess to not having thought through what that might be. I look forward to Althouse's theory.

But Jackson possibly DID prevent a Civil War, when SC and maybe other Southern states were voting to nullify Federal law (tariffs), with the threat of secession behind it, and Pres. Jackson brought them up short by telling them that he would not stand for it and if they tried, he would make them regret it.

Contrast with 1860 and a supine Buchanan and a Lincoln who was inexperienced and (incorrectly) seen as weak, and the fire breathers convinced 7 states to secede because they would get away with it. (The others seceded after Fort Sumter.) Objectively, the South was in a far better economic and military position in 1830 than in 1860, though they did not see slavery as directly threatened in 1830 as they did in 1860.

Applying the experience of 1830-33 to 1860-61 is a hypothetical, and no one can really know. But Trump is not saying anything ignorant or insane, though the outer-borough phrasing and accent continues to fool academics into thinking he is unintelligent. But that's just their prejudice.

johns said...

What is the left saying about Trump's Jackson comments? Here is Jamelle Bouie in Slate:

First, he says that even if Trump's dealmaking could have prevented the Civil War, the effect would have been to delay the conflict and thus leave slavery in place. Then he concludes with:
"[Trump] suggests a worldview in which everything can be resolved by deals, where there are no moral stakes or irreconcilable differences, where there aren’t battles that have to be fought for the sake of the nation and its soul...Trump seems to see presidential leadership as a game of dealmaking...But this just isn’t true...Simply striking a deal for the sake of a deal is a recipe for terrible missteps or outright capture by antagonistic interests."

I don't see anything particularly good or bad for Trump from this. And of course, whatever the left says today is forgotten tomorrow when the opposite conclusion is called for.

chuckR said...

""Worked out"? What is the compromise position btw slavery and abolition? Semi-slavery? UGH..."

Are you familiar with indentured servitude? Slavery with some more rights and with a fixed term of performance. Could it have worked? Beats me, I am not an historian, alt- or otherwise.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

What the hell is this? WHAT THE HELL IS THIS?! "Worked out"? What is the compromise position btw slavery and abolition? Semi-slavery? UGH...

Why yes! That solution had already been tried and was concurrent with slavery. Indentured Servitude. Mostly Irish, Scottish and low class Britons. Slaves in everything but name.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

The Irish Slave Trade

The Irish slave trade began when James II sold 30,000 Irish prisoners as slaves to the New World. His Proclamation of 1625 required Irish political prisoners be sent overseas and sold to English settlers in the West Indies. By the mid 1600s, the Irish were the main slaves sold to Antigua and Montserrat. At that time, 70% of the total population of Montserrat were Irish slaves.

Ireland quickly became the biggest source of human livestock for English merchants. The majority of the early slaves to the New World were actually white.

From 1641 to 1652, over 500,000 Irish were killed by the English and another 300,000 were sold as slaves. Ireland’s population fell from about 1,500,000 to 600,000 in one single decade. Families were ripped apart as the British did not allow Irish dads to take their wives and children with them across the Atlantic. This led to a helpless population of homeless women and children. Britain’s solution was to auction them off as well.

traditionalguy said...

Surprisingly, Johnny Horton's 1959 ballad was historically accurate, except for the Tennessee Volunteer Militia's using an alligator for a cannon.

The British did literally flee down the Mississipi to the Gulf of Mexico. They had to sneak up and cross two bayous in small barges to get around a River Fort that the British fleet would not challenge, just to get as far as the battle field.

Then the defeated British troops were trapped there, and they had to flee overnight back the way they had come. It took two weeks of horrible labor to get back to their ships so they could all sail back around to Mobile and decide what to do next.

Of course by then the Treaty of Ghent had been negotiated. But it was not yet ratified and signed. Had the British taken New Orleans and with it the entire Mississippi River system up to Canada, no one doubts they would have held onto the USA west of the Mississippi and laughed at the Louisiana Purchase as a Title of stolen lands still belonging to Spain and therefore to England after its thief, Napoleon, was conquered.

Danno said...

Ann said..."I'm not going to say it until about 5 pm."

As Jimmy Buffett? said, "It is always five o'clock somewhere."

Danno said...

TradGuy said..."Surprisingly, Johnny Horton's 1959 ballad was historically accurate, except for the Tennessee Volunteer Militia's using an alligator for a cannon."

And maybe the thing on barrels melting down.

eric said...

It's past 5pm in Madison Wisconsin isn't it? Or are they on Central time?

Martin said...

The compromise would have been to reverse most of the Dred Scott decision, outlaw slavery in the territories and any states where it was not currently legal, and then work out "compensated emancipation" where the Federal govt would in essence buy the slaves and free them. Probably with some distant date certain after which slavery would simply be outlawed. Because of Dred Scott, all this would probably have had to be done by Constitutional Amendment, or wait for Taney and some other Justices to retire and be replaced, then bring back some new cases. Ending slavery in existing slave states would have required Con Amendment in any case--as was actually done in 1865 with the 13th Amendment.

With the exception of that last part, a lot of 1860 Republicans saw that or something much like it as a solution, and even many strong abolitionists would have backed compensated emancipation as the best way to get where they wanted to go. On its face this was not acceptable to the Southern planter aristocracy and because of their fantasies war may well have been inevitable, but in some circles people were trying to work something out.

Ann Althouse said...

"You're going to kick yourself when I tell you, but I'm not going to say it until about 5 pm."

Okay. The new post went up and I didn't look at the time, but the time stamp ended up being exactly 5:00.

So I guess I nailed it!

Bad Lieutenant said...

Mattman26 said...
Hey Once Written, you're aware that you're not required to be here, right?

5/3/17, 10:35 AM

Matty, after blowing Meade, Zeus and whoever else Ann lined up, in order to be allowed to remain here, Oncey is gonna get his money's worth!

Speaking of which, Onesie, how're those Dow shorts working out for you?

And have you got the taste out of your mouth yet? Or is it more a question of "savoring" for you?