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Posts Tagged ‘HISTORY’

WHAT I LEARNED BY 5TH GRADE

Posted by Tim Bryce on March 27, 2019

BRYCE ON HISTORY

– I suspect it is a lot more than what they teach today in high school.

Click for AUDIO VERSION.
To use this segment in a Radio broadcast or Podcast, send TIM a request.

I have recently been a guest on various radio talk shows to discuss the fundamental mechanics of American government. Inevitably, we discuss the teaching of Civics and History in schools, which I believe is lacking. I then recounted what I had learned during my elementary grade school years, which I believe was better than most high schools today.

Let me preface this by saying I attended Fox Run Elementary in Norwalk, Connecticut from 1961-1965, over fifty years ago. I have many fond memories of the school and enjoyed going there. Connecticut is, of course, a part of New England and, as such, there is a great sense of history in terms of the founding of our country. There is also an attachment to the sea as exemplified by the Mystic seaport.

I was attending class at Fox Run when the student body was told of the assassination of President Kennedy by our principal, Mr. Kelly. I was in 4th Grade at the time and vividly remember how it was announced to us, after-which we were dismissed from school. Nonetheless, Fox Run taught the usual subjects of reading, writing, and arithmetic, but there was also a very strong curriculum for history.

During my time there, we watched the NASA Mercury and Gemini space programs during lunch hall on televisions brought in for us. Knowing the historical significance of the space program, the teachers made a concerted effort for us to watch the space shots which enraptured many of us.

In Social Studies class, we learned about the famous explorers of the world and why they traveled the seas to find new lands. We learned about Christopher Columbus, Ferdinand Magellan, Vasco da Gama, Hernando de Soto, and others. We also learned about the Pilgrims, the Virginians, and the native Indians. The intent was to discuss how these various cultures affected each other, both good and bad. There was no discussion of political correctness, just “this is what happened” and when.

In all grades, we began the day by reciting the Pledge of Allegiance to the flag, and sang a patriotic song, such as “God Bless America,” “America the Beautiful,” and of course, the “Star-Spangled Banner.” We also observed Columbus Day by reviewing his voyage.

It was in 5th grade where the teachers zeroed in on American history. Naturally, we had a text book to study, but there was a lot of discussion on how the country was founded, going back to the French and Indian Wars, followed by the Revolution, and the Declaration of Independence. Keep in mind, as New Englanders we were all familiar with various historical sites in the area, so the Revolutionary War was near and dear to our hearts.

We read the Declaration, discussed how and why it was created, and committed quite a bit of it to memory, particularly, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

Likewise, we memorized the preamble of the Constitution, to wit: “We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

In discussing the Constitution, it was impressed upon us the three “separate but equal branches of government”; the executive, legislative, and judicial, and how this formed “checks and balances” on each other. We also reviewed the Bill of Rights and discussed how to amend the Constitution.

We spent considerable time discussing the Civil War, including why we went to war, the horrors of it, and the principals involved on both sides. Although we were Connecticut Yankees, I do not remember my teachers ever besmirching the names of southerners like General Robert E. Lee, or President Jefferson Davis. Again, there was no discussion of political correctness, just “this is what happened” and when.

In addition to the generals and politicians of the day, we also learned about Abolitionist John Brown, Nurse Clara Barton, Assassin John Wilkes Booth, the Underground Railroad, and the Gettysburg Address. As to the Address, we studied it carefully. Although we were not asked to memorize it, I know of others who had to do so as it was considered almost as important as the Constitution and Declaration of Independence.

After the Civil War, we studied Reconstruction, the various Presidents, World War I (which our grandfathers served in), and World War II (which our fathers served in). We spent time discussing Hitler’s rise to power, as well as the Holocaust, which was a real eye-opener to us if memory serves me right.

In looking back on this curriculum, it wasn’t too bad and we had no problem digesting it. I don’t know if Fox Run still teaches it, but I hope they do. I suspect we weren’t unique as I have discussed this with other friends my age who experienced similar teachings elsewhere.

It was this teaching that planted the seeds of history within me, which would later be supplemented in High School with more in-depth discussions, but the foundation was carefully laid at Fox Run. From my experience, what I learned there is much better than what is taught in the high schools today.

And, Yes, we learned the differences between a Democracy and a Republic.

By the way, thank you Mr. Hamilton and Mrs. Gilmore, wherever you may be.

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 40 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb1557@gmail.com

For Tim’s columns, see:   timbryce.com

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Copyright © 2019 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

Listen to Tim on WZIG-FM (104.1) in Palm Harbor,FL; Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube. Click for TIM’S LIBRARY OF AUDIO CLIPS.

 

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Posted in Education, Government, History | Tagged: , , , , , | 6 Comments »

HEATED POLITICAL DEBATES

Posted by Tim Bryce on July 12, 2013

BRYCE ON POLITICS

– If you think political fighting is bad now, you don’t know your history.

(Click for AUDIO VERSION)
To use this segment in a Radio broadcast or Podcast, send TIM a request.

As members of the 21st century, we tend to believe the political discourse of this country has reached new heights. The sad reality though is we pale in comparison to our predecessors. For example, the parallels between the Obama era and that of Jefferson is actually quite remarkable. To illustrate, I recently completed Jon Meachum’s book, “Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power” (2012) and read about the presidential election of 1800 pitting Jefferson against his old friend, John Adams (the second President). Like Washington before him, Adams had been a Federalist. Jefferson, on the other hand was a Democrat-Republican (the origin of the Democratic Party as we know it today).

By 1800 there were already sharp ideological differences between the parties. Whereas the Federalists sought a strong federal government patterned after the British monarchy, Jeffersonian Democrats were more in favor of states rights and upholding the rights of the common man. The Federalists controlled New England, while the Democrats controlled the South. The disparity between the two parties is essentially no different than the Democrats and Republicans of today. Interestingly, Jefferson won New York which ultimately broke the log-jam (and edging out Aaron Burr).

Both parties controlled different newspapers, thereby providing a vehicle to attack each other and communicate their positions to the public. This was long an accepted form of communication until 1798; as the country approached the election of 1800 where it became apparent the Democrat-Republicans were gaining momentum, the Alien & Sedition Acts were passed by the Federalist controlled Congress, and signed into law by Federalist John Adams. The Sedition Act prohibited criticisms of the government and was viewed as a serious threat to the First Amendment by Jefferson and Madison who fought to overturn it.

The Federalists also tried to pack the courts. There is no clearer example of this than Adams picking his Secretary of State, John Marshall, to become Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. Interestingly, even though Marshall didn’t share Jefferson’s views, he was a cousin and administered the oath of office to Jefferson. The Federalists also passed the Midnight Judges Act which made sweeping changes to the judiciary before the Democrat-Republicans took control of both the executive and legislative branches.

The discourse in Congress was much louder and violent than what we are familiar with today. To illustrate, in a Congressional debate in 1798, Democratic-Republican Congressman Matthew Lyon implied that Connecticut Federalists, including Roger Griswold, were corrupt. Hearing this, Griswold called Lyon a coward on the Senate floor. Lyon responded by spitting in Griswold’s face. Following this, a motion to expel Lyon from the Senate failed. Two weeks later, Griswold charged across the Senate floor and began striking Lyon with a heavy wooden cane about his head. Lyon retrieved hot tongs from a nearby fire pit and defended himself. However, Griswold was able to disarm him. The two exchanged blows briefly until they were finally broken up. This was not the first or last time, Congressmen would physically fight on the floor of the Capitol, but it gives you an idea of the heated passion of the day. Despite today’s political hyperbole, I am not aware of an incident in recent memory involving fisticuffs on the floor of the House or Senate.

Such incendiary oratory has actually been with us for a long time. For example, consider the debates over issues such as the Missouri Compromise, the Kansas-Nebraska Act, Jackson’s dismantling of the National Bank, and just about every other argument leading up to the Civil War. All were just as inflammatory as the discourse of today, maybe more so.

I just wonder what effect television has had on Congressional arguments. I cannot help but believe it has somehow calmed the passions of the speakers. Without it, I can well imagine some rather loud and visceral arguments, with maybe some canes and tongs thrown in for good measure. Hmm…sounds like a good angle for reality TV doesn’t it?

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim’s columns, see:
timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2013 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

NEXT UP:  TRAVEL PLANNING – I resent being turned into a travel agent.

LAST TIME:  BILLY MITCHELL – THE ORIGINAL WHISTLE BLOWER – What we can learn from a famous whistle blower of the yesteryear.

Listen to Tim on WJTN-AM (News Talk 1240) “The Town Square” with host John Siggins (Mon, Wed, Fri, 12:30-3:00pm Eastern), KGAB-AM 650 “The Morning Zone” with host Dave Chaffin (weekdays, 6:00-10:00am Mountain), and KIT-AM 1280 in Yakima, Washington “The Morning News” with hosts Lance Tormey & Brian Teegarden (weekdays. 6:00-9:00am Pacific). Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube.

Also look for Tim’s postings in the Palm Harbor Patch, The Gentlemen’s Association, and throughout the Internet.

Posted in History, Politics | Tagged: , , , , , | 3 Comments »

BILLY MITCHELL – THE ORIGINAL WHISTLE BLOWER

Posted by Tim Bryce on July 10, 2013

BRYCE ON SEEKING THE TRUTH

– What we can learn from a famous whistle blower from yesteryear.

(Click for AUDIO VERSION)
To use this segment in a Radio broadcast or Podcast, send TIM a request.

We’ve been hearing a lot about whistle blowers lately, particularly Edward Snowden, the NSA contractor who ignited the U.S. surveillance program scandal. There are also the whistle blowers involved with the Benghazi scandal and the IRS intimidation program. Whistle blowers have actually been with us a long time. In my life, it goes back to Daniel Ellsberg who in 1969 released the “Pentagon Papers” to the “New York Times,” detailing the military activity in Viet Nam under LBJ and Nixon. This, of course, ultimately triggered Watergate. However, let’s go a little further back in time to 1925 when the Army instigated a court-martial against Colonel Billy Mitchell, an episode which has quickly been forgotten in history, but has an important bearing on the whistle blowers of today.

Although Mitchell is primarily credited for building Air Power in this country, his military history goes as far back as the Spanish-American War where he served as the youngest Army officer (at age 18). Mitchell’s notoriety though began during “The Great War” (WWI) where, as Major, he became the first American officer to come under fire in the trenches of France. During the war, he earned several decorations and citations. More importantly, it was in France where he developed his fascination and passion for the airplane as a military weapon.

Mitchell understood the potential of the airplane. His superiors did not, and saw it as nothing more than a trivial instrument for observing enemy forces. They laughed at him when he claimed airplanes could sink a ship by dropping bombs on it. At the time, battleships were considered invincible. He finally got an opportunity to prove his claims and sank the German battleship “Ostfriesland” which was to be scuttled following the war. Nonetheless, the military was unimpressed. Following the war, in peacetime, there was an emphasis on shrinking the military. Even though Mitchell begged for money for research and development, he was ignored. He even urged the military to form a separate branch dedicated to an air service, but was denied. Consequently, American Air Power diminished almost to obscurity. The English, French, Italians, even the Germans had far superior airships than the Americans, and Mitchell made sure the newspapers knew about it.

Knowing Mitchell’s image was growing larger in the press, the military sent him on assignments in order to make him disappear. In 1924 he was sent to study military defenses in the Pacific. During this time, he visited Japan and witnessed firsthand how the Japanese were embracing Air Power and realized America was far behind their counterparts. Following his tour he produced an extensive 323 page report on his assessment of American defenses in the Pacific. It was in this prophetic report that he predicted how Japan would attack Pearl Harbor with remarkable accuracy. Even though the military dismissed his report as ridiculous, Mitchell’s predictions would come true 17 years later. Nonetheless, he was buried again by the military.

One year later, in 1925, the Navy dirigible “Shenandoah” was destroyed in a storm in Ohio, with a loss of thirteen lives. Mitchell was outraged as he knew the ship was archaic and denounced the Navy for its “almost treasonable” attitude towards aviation:

“As a patriotic American citizen, I can stand by no longer and see these disgusting performances…at the expense of the lives of our people and the delusion of the American public. We may all make mistakes but the criminal mistakes made by armies and navies, whenever they have been allowed to handle aeronautics, show their incompetence…This, then, is what I have to say on the subject, and I hope that every American will hear.”(1)

Although Mitchell became a hero to the American people for his bold statements, his superiors felt otherwise and was given a court-martial for insubordination. Actually, the court-martial was what Mitchell was hoping for as he figured it was the best way to bring attention to the problem and create change. The case garnered a lot of attention in the press, and many notable proponents of Air Power testified on his behalf. In the end though, Mitchell was suspended from the Army for five years. Instead, Mitchell resigned in 1926 and spent the remainder of his life speaking on behalf of Air Power. He would die in 1936 never knowing how accurate his predictions would become in World War II. In 1942, President Roosevelt, recognized Mitchell’s contributions to Air Power by restoring his status and elevating him to the rank of Major General. In 1946, he was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal, “in recognition of his outstanding pioneer service and foresight in the field of American military aviation”…10 years after his death.

There are some similarities, as well as differences, between Billy Mitchell and Edward Snowden. Both tried to do what they perceived to be right. Mitchell was a visionary who used his court-martial to draw public attention to the problems of Air Power. Snowden is not a visionary. He just stumbled on a problem and reported it. Whereas Mitchell stood and took his medicine as a military officer, thereby garnering the support of the American people, Snowden took flight as he didn’t want to suffer through a career ending court case as Mitchell did.

The big problem with becoming a whistle blower is that it doesn’t pay well. You might earn the admiration of the American people, but you must also face the wrath of the establishment. For example, State Department witnesses in the Congressional hearing on Benghazi have reported their career is essentially over. Likewise, Cincinnati IRS witnesses have allegedly been intimidated. It takes someone with a lot of character to stand up and report a problem, whether it be in the corporate world or government. The prime difference between Billy Mitchell and Ed Snowden is simple: Mitchell stood and took his medicine; Snowden has not. Understand this though, the American Air Power we knew today can be directly attributed to the efforts of Billy Mitchell. Had he not spoken up when he did, our air defenses would have been primitive by the start of World War II. Mitchell knew what he was talking about and would not be intimidated by the powers in authority.

Keep the Faith!

1-“The Billy Mitchell Story” by Burke Davis, page 102

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim’s columns, see:
timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2013 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

NEXT UP:  HEATED POLITICAL DEBATES – If you think political fighting is bad now, you don’t know your history.

LAST TIME:  PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES – How would our founding fathers in today’s electoral circus?

Listen to Tim on WJTN-AM (News Talk 1240) “The Town Square” with host John Siggins (Mon, Wed, Fri, 12:30-3:00pm Eastern), KGAB-AM 650 “The Morning Zone” with host Dave Chaffin (weekdays, 6:00-10:00am Mountain), and KIT-AM 1280 in Yakima, Washington “The Morning News” with hosts Lance Tormey & Brian Teegarden (weekdays. 6:00-9:00am Pacific). Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube.

Also look for Tim’s postings in the Palm Harbor Patch, The Gentlemen’s Association, and throughout the Internet.

Posted in History, Social Issues | Tagged: , , , , , | 4 Comments »

 
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