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Archive for September, 2007

New Yorker Book Review of The Insurgent: Garibaldi and his Enemies

Sunday, September 30th, 2007

Suddenly you are looking in his eyes. Officially, they’re brown, but for you they’ll always be blue. He is speaking in a soft, seductive voice. Glory if you follow, eternal shame if you don’t. Rome or Death. In a moment, your destiny shifts. Incredibly, you have volunteered. You are given a red shirt, an obsolete rifle, a bayonet. You are taught to sing a hymn full of antique rhetoric recalling a magnificent past, foreseeing a triumphant future. You learn to march at night in any weather and over the most rugged terrain, to sleep on the bare ground, to forgo regular meals, to charge under fire at disciplined men in uniform. You learn to kill with your bayonet. You see your friends killed. You grow familiar with the shrieks of the wounded, the stench of corpses. If you turn tail in battle, you will be shot. Those are his orders. If you loot, you will be shot. You write enthusiastic letters home. You have discovered patriotism and comradeship. You have been welcomed by cheering crowds, kissed by admiring young women. Italy will be restored to greatness. From Sicily to the Alps, your country will be free. Then, with no warning, it’s over. A politician has not kept faith. An armistice has been signed. Your leader is furious. You hardly understand. Rome is still a dream. Your group disbanded, you receive nothing: no money, no respect, no help in finding work. But, years later, when he calls again, you go. You will follow him to your death.

The Insurgent: Garibaldi and his Enemies

Garibaldi and his Enemies Response Sheet

Full CBS Interview with Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad

Wednesday, September 26th, 2007
Full CBS Interview with Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad

Britannia Redux: The Economist’s Special Report

Monday, September 24th, 2007

The birthplace of globalisation in the 19th century is coping well with the latest round, writes Merril Stevenson. But can it keep it up?

To thee belongs the rural reign;
Thy cities shall with commerce shine:
All thine shall be the subject main,
And every shore it circles thine.

Rule Britannia, Britain‘s unofficial national anthem dating from 1740, celebrated not only Britain‘s military might but its commercial prowess as well. A century later Britain had fully risen to the advance praise. This was the high-water mark of its influence in the world, which coincided with the last great wave of globalisation. The first country to industrialise, Britain was soon turning out more than half the world’s coal, pig-iron and cotton textiles. In 1880 its exports of manufactured goods accounted for 40% of the global total, and by 1890 it owned more shipping tonnage than the rest of the world put together.

Less than a century on from those glory days Britain had become the “sick man of Europe”, infamous for wild swings in inflation and growth and for confrontational trade unions. Shorn of its empire and a late and reluctant arrival in the European Community, Britain was grappling with the prospect of irreversible decline.

Now its fortunes are looking up again. Steady economic expansion for the past 14 years has pushed its GDP per head above that of France and Germany. Its jobless figures are the second-lowest in the European Union. Inflation has been modest, and sterling, the Achilles heel of governments from Clement Attlee’s to John Major’s, is if anything too strong for Britain‘s good.

Read the rest of the report here

On the House of Lords

Monday, September 24th, 2007

The cure of admiring the Lords is to go and look at it. (Walter Bagehot)

The House of Lords is like a glass of champagne that has stood for five days (Clement Atlee)

A Brief History of the Lords

On the Wakeham Report

On the White Paper

Implications on Democracy

Response Sheet for Lords Readings (using the four readings above)

——More on the Lords…

Blair’s Vacillating Stance(s)

ummm…the other House of Lords (I can’t say which is more nauseating)

House of lords Whats forever for

If that is not disturbing enough, you can watch the real House of Lords here

Response Sheet for Three Articles on Paternalism

Sunday, September 23rd, 2007

The articles in question are:

  • The New Paternalism
  • A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Council
  • The Fulton Report on the Civil Service

Response sheet for Three Articles on Paternalism

Lecture on Paternalism of Westminister (readings summary)

Re-imagining State-Market Relations

Sunday, September 23rd, 2007

Read the following four articles on the theme of privatization and private-public partnerships.

Private prison drive

Can Gordon fix the National Health Service?

Privatize the BBC?

What are Public Private Partnerships?

Answer these reading questions:

15 Questions – Re-imagining Market-State Relations

Internal Improvements

Saturday, September 22nd, 2007


Madison’s Veto of the Public Works Bill of 1817

Andrew Jackson’s Veto Message, 1832

June 19-25, 1848 Congressman Abraham Lincoln Assails President Polk’s Veto of Internal Improvements

Henry Clay’s Famous Speech on The American System, 1832


Native Removal

Saturday, September 22nd, 2007

Wikipedia on Indian Removal

Statements on the Debate over Indian Removal from Colombia University

The House and Senate Journals on the Native Removal Debates

Treaties Signed between the US and Native Tribes

Chief Joseph Speaks

Secondary Source on Indian Removal from PBS

Catlin’s Notes on the Manners, Customs and Conditions of North American Indians, 1844

Andrew Jackson’s Seventh Annual Message to Congress

Worcester v. Georgia, 1832

The Removal Act of 1830

Sequoyah Research on the Trail of Tears

The Effect of Removal on American Indian Tribes


The Gag Rule

Saturday, September 22nd, 2007

Again I remind you, this is not a debate over the institution of slavery. This is a debate over whether or not petitions regarding slavery should reach the floor of this legislative body.

A simple summary of the narrative of the gag rule; and another sumary from senate.gov

A five-page essay on the Gag Rule

A more advanced summary from two political scientists, one from MIT, the other from Northwestern

A Review of the book, Arguing About Slavery: The Great Battle in the United States Congress

J.Q. Adams’ 1837 Speech on the Gag Bill

John C. Calhoun’s Speech on the Abolition of Petitions, 6 February 1837

The petition controversy from the Congressional Record, 1837

Here are excerpts from the Congressional debate from January and February 1837.

Resources on Slavery and abolitionism from yours truly

The Bank of the United States

Saturday, September 22nd, 2007

Wikipedia on the First BUS and  the Second BUS

Jefferson’s Opposition to the first BUS in a Letter to Washington, 1791

Hamilton’s Opinion as to the constitutionality of the BUS, 1791

The Charter of the the First BUS

McCulloch v. Maryland by Chief Justice Marshall (Opinion of the Court) | 1819

Andrew Jackson’s 1832 veto of the BUS