Conservative Opposition to Establishing a Department of Education – American History for the Modern Patriot

22 AHMP: Conservative Opposition to Establishing a Department of Education What were the thoughts of Founding Fathers with respect to the subject of education? How was race used as a motivating factor for the establishment of the Department of Education? What conservative principles served as the basis for objections to the collection of statistics regarding education and predicted what the Department of Education has grown into today? What was the surprising twist in the debate over establishing a new department in the Federal Government? We will learn the answers to these questions in this edition. After taking the summer months off to spend time with my family, I thought I would begin with a podcast or two about what is, and is not, taught about the Founding and our Founding Documents in classrooms across this great nation. While researching that material, I came across a debate which embodies the struggle between those who seek to retain the limited nature of the Federal Government, and those who believe that an expanded centralized government is beneficial for all citizens. That debate has raged on since the Federal Convention, but this story took place after the Civil War. There is even an interesting twist to this story that I’ll tell you about at the end of the podcast. Let’s begin by hearing quotes from Locke and Montesquieu about education. You will recall...

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The Signing of the Declaration – American History for the Modern Patriot

  21 AHMP The Signing of the Declaration In celebration of the signing of the Declaration of Independence, I thought you might like to hear a fascinating recount of the events that surrounded the signing. It was published in Scribner’s Monthly in July of 1876, and the article which is entitled “The Story of the Signing” will be included in a new colonial style pamphlet that I will be publishing about the Declaration in a few weeks. Stay tuned for more information about that, but for now I am proud to tell you the “Story of the Signing”: “In the days of the Continental Congress the delegates used to travel to the capital, at the beginning of each session, from their several homes, usually on horseback ; fording streams, sleeping at miserable country inns, sometimes weather-bound for days, sometimes making circuits to avoid threatened dangers, sometimes accomplishing forced marches to reach Philadelphia in time for some special vote. There lie before me the unpublished papers of one of the signers of the great Declaration, and these papers comprise the diaries of several such journeys. Their simple records rarely include bursts of patriotism or predictions of national glory, but they contain many plaintive chronicles of bad beds and worse food, mingled with pleasant glimpses of wayside chat, and now and then a bit of character-painting that recalls the jovial narratives of...

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Benedict Arnold and the 25th of September – American History for the Modern Patriot

20 AHMP Benedict Arnold and the 25th of September Was there a consequence for Benedict Arnold’s egregious behavior in Philadelphia? How did the Great Chain that we learned about in a previous episode factor into Arnold’s plot to surrender West Point to the British? What were the dramatic events that took place on that fateful day in September, 1780, Benedict Arnold’s betrayal of his country is well known. What is more interesting, perhaps, is the time immediately preceding what he anticipated to be the surrender West Point to the British, as well as what happened as the plan began to unravel. Let’s quickly review what occurred from the point in time that we left off in the last episode and move quickly through the events of the first half of 1780. I concluded the previous podcast with the statement of J.J. Thomas. Mr. Thomas was a waggoneer who had transported confiscated property from storage in Philadelphia to the port. He did so under orders from Benedict Arnold who promptly tried to cheat the waggoneer out of several days’ pay. Arnold, who had become totally absorbed in his role as Supreme Commander of the United States in Philadelphia, was seemingly oblivious to the fact that residents such as Mr. Thomas did not take lightly to being cheated given their awareness of his opulent lifestyle. Arnold had seized one of the...

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Benedict Arnold A Thief in Command – American History for the Modern Patriot

  t 19 AHMP Benedict Arnold A Thief in Command How did Benedict Arnold abuse his role as the “Commander in Chief of the United States of American, in the city of Philadelphia” for his personal gain? Will the information that we have about his intimate relationships confirm that he is a narcissist? What colonial body investigated his actions and drove him from the city? We will learn the answer to those questions in this episode. In the past two editions, we have learned about how Benedict Arnold’s narcissism prompted him to clash with Ethan Allen and the Continental Congress. We have also learned how his risk taking behavior led to a reputation for valor, but also how the troops who served under him were placed in harm’s way because of the goals he set. But how did he change after he was placed in a position of power that was not associated with a battlefield? The part of his life that had thrilled him since he was a teenager was taken away from him after a third injury to the same leg during the Battle of Saratoga. Although he remained a part of the military, his new role would involve interacting with the residents of Philadelphia rather than the enemy. I suspect the answer is that it left him bored and in a role where his resentments were left...

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Benedict Arnold The Narcissist – American History for the Modern Patriot

 18 AHMP: Benedict Arnold The Narcissist In edition 17 of this podcast, we learned about a bevy of personality traits, and dare I say flaws, of Benedict Arnold. Today we will explore how those characteristics or propensities led him down the path to engage in a drama royal which involved George Washington and the Continental Congress, as well as engage in what can be viewed as either extreme acts of valor or unnecessary risk taking due to unrealistic views of the self. In Arnold’s case, that would mean viewing one’s self as having almost super human capabilities on the field of battle. Benedict Arnold’s personality was indeed ripe with negative traits or issues. Included in those were: Poor impulse control. Narcissism, grandiose thinking, and other issues related to an inflated sense of self. Anger management issues, and the willingness to physically punish and humiliate those whom were under his control. Significant risk taking behavior which placed himself and others in peril. Assuring personal gain to the detriment of those around him. However, to really grasp how those traits and issues negatively impacted his life, we must study his actions at pivotal points. In particular, those moments which were either situationally stressful (such as a battle) or those which were threatening to his sense of self. We will rejoin Benedict Arnold’s journey in the year 1777.  By that time, he had...

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The Fatal Flaws of Benedict Arnold – American History for the Modern Patriot

17 AHMP The Fatal Flaws of Benedict Arnold My question today is simple: What fatal flaws of Benedict Arnold’s personality contributed to his decision to transform from an ardent patriot into our country’s most well-known traitor? We will explore this question as we travel with him from his youth through the Continental Army’s 1775 invasion of Canada in this episode. A long favored topic amongst mental health professionals is whether someone can truly make a significant change during the course of treatment. It is certain that the individual we are talking about today, Benedict Arnold, was never in therapy. In fact, it wasn’t even available to him. Although topics such as the soul, psyche, and the mind have long been discussed by philosophers from Plato and Aristotle to Locke and Descartes, and Founder Benjamin Rush advocated humane treatment for the mentally ill in America’s first textbook of psychiatry: Medical Inquiries and Observations Upon Diseases of the Mind,  individual analysis in a clinical setting didn’t really get going until the late 1800’s with the work of Freud and others. Moreover, people with certain personality features or types, such as are evident in individuals similar to Benedict Arnold, are fairly unlikely to make significant change. In fact, they are ego-syntonic. Meaning that they are fairly comfortable in their own skin and seeing the world through the glasses which they have been...

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The Great Chain – American History for the Modern Patriot

16 AHMP The Great Chain What was the greatest barrier built by the Continental forces on the Hudson River? What do we know about the patriot who designed and oversaw the construction of that barrier?  Let’s learn the answer to those questions in this episode.  In the 15th episode of American History for the Modern Patriot, we learned about several barriers constructed by the Continental forces to restrict the movement of the British Navy on the Hudson River. Those included a chevaux-de-frise which stretched between Fort Lee and  Fort Washington, a chain that floated between Forts Montgomery and Clinton, as well as another chevaux-de-frise  which was constructed between Plum Point and Pollepel Island.  We also learned about an extremely successful attack on several British ships by colonial fire rafts. Today we will learn about the greatest of all barriers on the Hudson. It happens to be called “The Great Chain.” The fact that such a chain could be constructed in 1778 is remarkable in and of itself. However, it is what was done with the chain that is truly astonishing. The chain was ultimately strung across the Hudson River and floated between capstans affixed on  Constitution Island and West Point. From the earliest recommendations of New Yorkers Major Christopher Tappen and Colonel James Clinton, as to how to best defend the Hudson and obstruct the movement of British, a chain...

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Revolutionary Barriers & Blazes – American History for the Modern Patriot

  15 AHMP Revolutionary Barriers & Blazes What extraordinary steps were taken by the Continental Army to limit British navigation of the Hudson River? What is a chevaux-de-fries, a boom, and a fire raft? Is it truly possible that a chain could be stretched across the Mighty Hudson? We will learn the answers to these questions in this episode. In the 14th edition of American History for the Modern Patriot, we learned about the Separation of Powers which is a barrier created for us by our Founders to assure our liberty. We will learn in this episode about a series of great barriers created across one of the most important waterways during the American Revolution. Strategists for the Continental Army, with drastically limited resources in comparison to their opponent, looked for clever ways to achieve success. It was far easier for both men and supplies to travel along the rivers than on foot. They knew that British would be crippled if their war and supply ships could not freely travel along the Hudson River. Not only did the ships carry supplies, but they carried soldiers, munitions, and communications as well. Of the river, George Washington said in a letter to General Israel Putnam on December 2, 1777: “The importance of the Hudson River in the present Contest, and the necessity of defending it, are Subjects which have been so frequently...

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The Separation of Powers According to Montesquieu, Locke, and the Founding Fathers – American History for the Modern Patriot

14 AHMP The Separation of Powers According to Montesquieu, Locke, and the Founding Fathers Who was the philosopher known as Montesquieu? What governmental structure did he believe would be assure political liberty, and why did he believe so strongly that each branch must be firmly separated from one another? When we meld the ideas of Locke and Montesquieu together, how can we hear them in the writings of the Founding Fathers? We will explore these questions in this episode. First, let’s learn a bit about his life history Who was Montesquieu? First of all, his name is a mouthful to say the least! Let me see if I can stumble over it for you. His full name is Charles-Louis de Secondat, Baron de La Brede et de Montesquieu. In the 13th edition of American History for the Modern Patriot, we learned about the life and philosophy of John Locke. You will recall that he was an empiricist, meaning the he believed that knowledge arises not from a series of deductions, but from the sensate or experiential collection of data. He talked about broad concepts such as natural law, the state of nature, property, liberty, and tyranny. Montesquieu focused on much more concrete systems such as the structure of government. Is it any surprised that Locke was trained in medicine, and Montesquieu was trained in the law? But let’s start...

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John Locke and The Whigs – American History for the Modern Patriot

13 AHMP: John Locke and The Whigs Who was John Locke? Which English Lord was Locke’s patron, and why did the events of his life impact the development of Locke’s theories? Which party in Parliament was led by Locke’s patron, and why was the name given to that party so derogatory? What are some of the ideas from Locke’s Second Treatise of Civil Government  that impacted the Founding Fathers and were echoed in documents such as the Declaration of Independence? We address those questions in this episode. As you study the Founding period and the Founding Documents, you will hear about terms, concepts or ideas that were espoused by several philosophers of the Enlightenment period. Do your eyes glaze over when you hear someone talking about philosophy? It’s no doubt that for most people the idea of researching a particular line of reasoning can be about as interesting as watching paint dry.  In my mind, it is important to not only understand those premises  and ideas, but the context in which they were developed. Things often seem much simpler when you understand what was going on in the person’s life as those ideas were formed. In this episode, we will study one such philosopher, John Locke, as well as the social context in which he wrote a document that was of particular interest to many of the Founding Fathers. John...

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