It is a bit hard to believe, but the U.S. Mint is issuing — right now — dollar coins featuring the likeness of the 17th president, Andrew Johnson of Tennessee.  When they rolled it out in Greeneville, Tennessee (his hometown), they passed the dollars out for free to kids!  A measure of Johnson’s greatness?  Arguably.  This…

Read More

The riveting news of rebellion in Libya, and possible American involvement against Tripoli, brings to mind the first time American forces attacked the North African shore, in the early 1800s.  The episode, unsurprisingly, intersected sharply with the path of Aaron Burr.  (So much did!) The events are enshrined in the Marine Hymn, of course (“From the Halls…

Read More

Adopted in 1913, the Seventeenth Amendment changed the way American choose their senators.  Until then, each state legislature selected that state’s two senators for six-year terms.  After 1913, the voters have chosen senators in elections.  Repeal of the Seventeenth Amendment is a centerpiece of the state’s rights push behind the Tea Party movement and its close…

Read More

The swelling Tea Party movement embodies a fascinating contradiction.  Its leaders profess a near-religious awe for the U.S. Constitution.  This has led to stunts like the reading of the Constitution on the floor of the House of Representatives.  Should it also lead to greater sales for The Summer of 1787, I will be hard-pressed to complain. …

Read More

The recession may be over!  Openings available in Philadelphia for Founding Father impersonators!  (Thanks to fellow blogger at Northwest History, for highlighting this howler): Founding Father Performers, Historic Philadelphia, PA December 10th, 2010 Historic Philadelphia, Inc. seeks historical interpreters to portray Founding Fathers. Thomas Jefferson: mid-late 20s/early 30s; at least 5’10”; Virginia accent; red hair…

Read More

I usually root for the defense, especially in an impeachment case, since I lost one of those 21 years ago.  (I represented Judge Walter L. Nixon, Jr. of Mississippi.)  But there’s no criticizing the Senate’s conviction yesterday of District Judge G. Thomas Porteous of New Orleans.  The case, as detailed in a Senate committee report, presented a…

Read More

The Washington Post ran a piece on Saturday about how current senators ignore the deeply-felt farewell addresses of their departing colleagues.  Having just completed my manuscript about Aaron Burr’s Western expedition, which will be published next fall — American Emperor: Aaron Burr’s Challenge to Jefferson’s America — I was reminded of Burr’s emotional departure from the Senate in…

Read More

The capitalist tilt in China continues!  ANA Beijing has agreed to publish The Summer of 1787 in a Chinese language edition. Though I am optimistic that this development presages a new dawn of freedom and democracy in the Far East, candor compels me to disclose that the initial print run will only be 3,000 volumes. …

Read More

Books about Theodore Roosevelt are booming these days, including the third volume of Edmund Morris’ biography, the immense treatment of Roosevelt’s conservation record by Douglas Brinkley, and a volume (forthcoming at an undetermined date) from Doris Kearns Goodwin.  Indeed, in May Smithsonian Press issued a heavily edited version of TR’s own History of the United States.  Roosevelt, as the…

Read More

I just wrote about the final witness in the Senate committee proceedings for the impeachment of Judge G. Thomas Porteous of New Orleans.  Not a good way for the judge to end his presentation.

Read More