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Today in History with a Twist: December 2, 2013

teDay of Declarations!

     1823 - In his State of the Union message, President James Monroe proclaims American neutrality in future European conflicts, and warns European powers not to interfere in the Americas.  This would become known as the Monroe Doctrine and influences American policy in the Americas to this day.  Basically it said that European and other foreign powers could not establish new colonies or interfere in the internal politics in any nation in the Americas; established colonies were not affected by the policy.  Also often forgotten is that the doctrine also stated that the United States would not interfere with existing European colonies nor meddle in the internal concerns of European countries. - At least not when it is in our national interest.

     Take a quick break from the declarations with a fritter.  Today is National Fritters Day! Fritters are delicious fried cakes filled with fruit or meat.  They can be served as a snack, side dish, dessert, or even the main course!  There's actually not much difference between pancake and fritter batter.  They are both made with the same ingredients.  It is only once fruit or meat is dipped into the raw batter and then fried that it actually becomes a fritter.  The first historical record of the fritter dates back to 1665. Samuel Pepys, an Englishman who served as a Member of Parliament during the English Restoration period, noted in his diary that he would be enjoying some fritters before Lent! (Punchbowl.com)

     1845 - In his State of the Union message, President James K. Polk proposes that the United States should aggressively expand into the West.  This policy has become known as Manifest Destiny.  In essence it stated the United States had the moral right and obligation to expand its influence on the American continent and around the world.  It has three basic tenants:  1. The American people and their institutions demonstrate special virtues - superior to other countries   2. It is America's mission to redeem and remake the west in the image of agrarian America;   3. An irresistible destiny direction to accomplish this essential duty. - it is America's obligation to follow this policy.  It was used by President Polk to justify the War with Mexico and our acquisition of land as war spoils.  It also justified the expansion into the American West.  It would later be expanded to be the underlying theory in our international actions.  It was not universally supported in the United States, it was primarily a policy supported by the Democratic Party.  The Whig party and nascent Republican Party, including such notable future leaders Abraham Lincoln and U.S. Grant opposed it.  John Quincy Adams, originally a major supporter, turned against it when he realized it meant the spread of slavery into Texas.  The Republicans would reverse their stand and use manifest destiny to justify the Spanish-American War and acquisition of colonies and territories in the early 1900's.  The belief that it is America's mission to promote and defend democracy throughout the world is still very prevalent in our policies today. - Can't keep a good man down.

      1961 - In a nationally broadcast speech, Cuban leader Fidel Castro declares that he is a Marxist-Leninist and that Cuba is going to adopt Communism. - Seems like both of the above principles failed here.

     1804 - At Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, Napoleon Bonaparte crowns himself Emperor of the French, the first French Emperor in a thousand years.  During the ceremony Napoleon unexpectedly took the crown and crowned himself and Josephine as Emperor and Empress rather than having the Pope perform the act.  This symbolized that no earthly person had any authority over him. - A master propagandist he could of had a great career in advertising.

     1805 - At the Battle of Austerlitz Napoleon decisively defeated a Russo-Austrian army, commanded by Tsar Alexander I and Holy Roman Emperor Francis II, after nearly nine hours of difficult fighting. In one of the classic battles in military history Napoleon destroyed the Third Coalition and would result in the end of The Holy Roman Empire. - One heck of a one year anniversary present to himself.

     1954 - The United States Senate votes 65 to 22 to censure Joseph McCarthy for "conduct that tends to bring the Senate into dishonor and disrepute".  After dragging the United States through the 'Red Scare' he brought himself down trying to take on the Army and General Marshall. - Now where did he put that list?

Today's birthdays:

     1863 - Charles Edward Ringling - Co-founded the Ringling Brothers Circus (d. 1926) - His mother probably thought it was circus at home with him and his four brothers.

     1935 - David Hackett Fischer - American historian - His works include:  Albion's Seed: Four British Folkways in America (1989) ISBN 0-19-503794-4; Paul Revere's Ride (1994) ISBN 0-19-508847-6;  Washington's Crossing (Pivotal Moments in American History) (2004) ISBN 0-19-517034-2 and Historians' Fallacies : Toward a Logic of Historical Thought (1970) ISBN 0-06-131545-1 (in which he coined the term Historian's fallacy).  The historian's fallacy is an informal fallacy that occurs when one assumes that decision makers of the past viewed events from the same perspective and having the same information as those subsequently analyzing the decision. It is not to be confused with presentism, a mode of historical analysis in which present-day ideas (such as moral standards) are projected into the past. - Hind sight is 20-20.

To learn more about the above topics check out the following books from the Library's collection:


Amazon Says: Ideal for student research and debate, this is the first single-volume reference work to examine, country by country, the history of U.S. involvement in 24 Latin American and more...
Amazon Says: Ideal for student research and debate, this is the first single-volume reference work to examine, country by country, the history of U.S. involvement in 24 Latin American and Caribbean nations. It will help students to understand and debate the role of the United States in Latin America since the Monroe Doctrine in 1823 and whether in the long run U.S. intervention in the internal affairs of Latin American governments has been counterproductive. Each country and its relations with the United States is analyzed succinctly in an individual chapter. Dent, a noted expert on inter-American relations, organizes each chapter around major themes that illuminate both historical and contemporary issues, and shows how in recent years U.S. concerns have been transformed from issues of security and economic interests to drug trafficking, immigration, and trade pacts. Discussion of key events—wars, revolutions, and dictatorships—and lively accounts of the role of powerful individuals illustrate the causes and consequences of U.S. involvement.Each chapter features a timeline of events in the history of U.S. involvement in that country and a list of suggested readings on the country and its relationship with the United States. A glossary explains key terms used throughout the book. A number of comparative tables and charts put inter-American relations in perspective. A selection of editorial cartoons from the 1980's offer biting commentary on U.S. relations with its Latin American neighbors. Designed to meet the information needs of high school and college students and the general public, this reference work will guide the user to an understanding of the richness and complexity of the inter-American relationship over the last two centuries and provide both historical perspective and timely analysis of current problems confronting the United States and its neighbors to the south. less...
Amazon

The Fearless Frying Cookbook by John Martin Taylor
Amazon Says: Fried food is crispy, juicy, golden, and tasty. It's food that inspires passion, and no matter what anyone says about health you're going to find a way to eat it. But wait, ev more...
Amazon Says: Fried food is crispy, juicy, golden, and tasty. It's food that inspires passion, and no matter what anyone says about health you're going to find a way to eat it. But wait, even the health news isn't so bad-if food is fried properly. Hoppin' John Martin Taylor, well-respected food writer and author of Lowcountry Cooking, first shows how food that is cooked in clean, hot oil can be virtually greaseless. Hoppin' John's collection of over 125 fast, easy-to-prepare recipes not only includes the essentials-from fritters to corn cake, Smothered Steak to Pan-Fried Pork Chops-but offers lots of unexpected treats, too, with Asian, Mexican, Indian, and other influences. There are Vietnamese Spring Rolls, Italian Zucchini Pancakes, and Whole Fried Fish with Spicy Thai Sauce. less...
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Amazon Says: Book by Worth, Richard more...
Amazon Says: Book by Worth, Richard less...
Amazon

Amazon Says: The author of this book takes a highly original approach to understanding the past three decades of Cuban history—he offers an analysis and interpretation of the prolific wr more...
Amazon Says: The author of this book takes a highly original approach to understanding the past three decades of Cuban history—he offers an analysis and interpretation of the prolific writings and speeches of Fidel Castro and of numerous interviews with him. Through Castro’s own words, Sheldon Liss examines the evolution of the Cuban leader’s political and social ideas and evaluates the strengths and weaknesses of the Revolution.Liss first illuminates how intellectuals and political activists, such as Jos‚ Mart¡, Antonio Guiteras, and Ernesto “Che” Guevara, influenced Fidel’s ideological development. Next, he examines the Cuban and European origins of Castro’s political philosophy, probes his views on the deficiencies inherent in capitalism, and details why he established a vanguard Communist party. Throughout the book, Liss places Fidel’s ideas in international perspective, outlining, for example, his views of the Cuban-Soviet relationship, his reasoning behind Cuba’s support for revolutionary movements in the Third World, and his thoughts on the role of the United States in exacerbating social ills in Latin America. Finally, Liss investigates Castro’s controversial views on democracy, human rights, and freedom of artistic and intellectual expression. The book stands as a fine introduction to Cuba’s unique brand of Third World Marxism. less...
Amazon

Amazon Says: Ever since his untimely death at age fifty-one on the forlorn and windswept island of St. Helena, Napoleon Bonaparte has been depicted as either demi-god or devil incarnate. N more...
Amazon Says: Ever since his untimely death at age fifty-one on the forlorn and windswept island of St. Helena, Napoleon Bonaparte has been depicted as either demi-god or devil incarnate. Now, in The Rise of Napoleon Bonaparte, the first volume of a magisterial two-volume biography, we at last get Napoleon the man. Robert Asprey tells this fascinating, tragic tale in lush narrative detail. He invites the reader to look over Napoleon's shoulder as he dictates decrees and orders; deals with his ungrateful, greedy, unprincipled family; comes into conflict with the royalty of Europe; mingles with the intellectuals, writers, musicians, and actors of the day; leads and inspires his officers and men; and falls in love and fathers children with Josephine, Marie Louise, and various mistresses. The Rise of Napoleon Bonaparte becomes an exciting, reckless thrill ride as Asprey charts Napoleon's vertiginous ascent to fame and the height of power. Here is Napoleon as he was-not saint, not sinner, but a man dedicated to and ultimately devoured by his vision of himself, his empire, and his world. less...
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Amazon Says: Revealing new study of Napoleon's greatest victory. Dispels many of the myths surrounding the famous battle of the three emperors. Brought to life with numerous eyewitness a more...
Amazon Says: Revealing new study of Napoleon's greatest victory. Dispels many of the myths surrounding the famous battle of the three emperors. Brought to life with numerous eyewitness accounts. A Main Selection for the History Book Club. The Battle of Austerlitz is almost universally regarded as the most impressive of Napoleon's many victories. The magnitude of the French achievement against a significantly larger army was unprecedented. In this insightful new study the author analyses the planning of the opposing forces and details the course of the battle hour by hour, describing the fierce see-saw battle around Sokolnitz, the epic struggle for the Pratzen Heights, the dramatic engagement between the legendary Lannes and Bagration in the north, and the widely misunderstood clash of Napoleon's Imperial Guard and Alexander's Imperial Leib-Guard. The author has produced a detailed and balanced assessment of the battle that for the first time places familiar French accounts in their proper perspective and exposes many myths regarding the battle that have been perpetuated and even embellished in recent books. With 1805: Austerlitz, the reader is left with a new appreciation of Napoleon and his Grande Army of 1805, an army that decisively defeated not a hapless relic of the ancien regime but rather a formidable professional army that had fought the French armies on equal terms five years earlier. Robert Goetz has been studying the Russian Army of the Napoleonic Wars for the past seven years, an area of specialization that emerged from his longstanding interest in the French Revolution and Napoleonic era. He is the author of several award-winning articles concerning the Russian Army and its campaigns. less...
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Amazon Says: Recreates the life of the controversial senator, focusing on his fanatical accusations of communist influence in the federal government. more...
Amazon Says: Recreates the life of the controversial senator, focusing on his fanatical accusations of communist influence in the federal government. less...
Amazon

Amazon Says: "The writer's familiarity with his subject brings Ringling to the reader's doorstep . . . [including the] early influences on John Ringling's life, the family's success, Saras more...
Amazon Says: "The writer's familiarity with his subject brings Ringling to the reader's doorstep . . . [including the] early influences on John Ringling's life, the family's success, Sarasota in its early decades, Ringling's impact on boomtime Sarasota, his museum collection, the last years of his life, and the litigious period following his death."--Paul George, University of Miami "As a circus promoter, an inveterate patron of the arts, a self-styled art critic and connoisseur, and a real estate developer, [Ringling] sought to bridge the often disparate worlds of popular and high culture. . . .    "Based on a decade of research and writing, Ringling:  The Florida Years is a carefully crafted analysis of both the public and private life of one of American history's most colorful and influential culture brokers. . . .  "The triumphs and the tragedies, the genius and the decadence, the generosity and the self-indulgence--David Weeks recaptures it all in this even-handed and compelling biography."--From the Foreword by Raymond Arsenault, University of South Florida John Nicholas Ringling's years in Sarasota spanned the final quarter-century of his life.  On Florida's west coast, as the Ringling's Circus became "the greatest show on earth," he collected Baroque paintings, European decorative art, and Italian statuary, built the ostentatious mansion Ca'd'Zan, developed and marketed most of the barrier islands around Sarasota Bay, and became the focus of a confusing pastiche of acclaim, misconception, and suspicion.  Sarasota's Ringling Museum is his priceless cultural legacy to the people of Florida and the world of art--an inheritance at risk for the ten years that Ringling's estate was in probate.  The author of this first intensive look at Ringling's presence in Sarasota sets the man against the backdrop of Florida from World War I through the land boom and the turbulent twenties into the depression years and Ringling's lapse into obscurity.   Illustrated with nearly fifty black-and-white photographs, many never before published, this is the chronicle of a man, as the foreword claims, "who was not afraid to think or live on a grand scale, who knew what he wanted from life, and from art."David C. Weeks, occasional lecturer in Imperial studies at the Royal Empire Society and adjunct professor at the American University Center for Technology and Administration, Washington, D.C., is a docent at the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art in Sarasota, Florida. less...
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Amazon Says: This fascinating book is the first volume in a projected cultural history of the United States, from the earliest English settlements to our own time. It is a history of Amer more...
Amazon Says: This fascinating book is the first volume in a projected cultural history of the United States, from the earliest English settlements to our own time. It is a history of American folkways as they have changed through time, and it argues a thesis about the importance for the United States of having been British in its cultural origins. While most people in the United States today have no British ancestors, they have assimilated regional cultures which were created by British colonists, even while preserving ethnic identities at the same time. In this sense, nearly all Americans are "Albion's Seed," no matter what their ethnicity may be. The concluding section of this remarkable book explores the ways that regional cultures have continued to dominate national politics from 1789 to 1988, and still help to shape attitudes toward education, government, gender, and violence, on which differences between American regions are greater than between European nations. less...
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