How global warming poses a threat to historic sites; is broadway’s Hamilton bad history?; hecklers, Andrew Johnson, & Trump; Lawrence of Arabia’s bullet?; reenacting southern Unionism


We have had lots of stories lately about how global warming is causing sea levels to rise and the dire consequences of that problem. But here is one that you might not have thought of yet: rising sea levels threaten many historic sites and structures. And we are talking about some serious stuff here; from Boston’s historic sites, to the Statue of Liberty, to Jamestown, the danger is real.

We all know that Hamilton is the toast of broadway right now, and across the country teachers are having great success using the soundtrack in classrooms. Thus far the musical has garnered mainly praise from historians. Yet today the New York Times has an article that questions just how solid the show’s history lesson is, calling it out for glossing over the racial issues involved in our founding and perhaps exaggerating Hamilton’s anti-slavery sentiments. Still, notice that the two historians in the article that make the critical remarks are a Jefferson scholar that has been criticized for liking Jefferson too much, and another that has done much work to revive the reputation of Andrew Jackson. I think that is a bit telling as to why they might dislike a show that champions Hamilton and the Hamiltonian vision for the country.

Anyone that has taught Reconstruction in classrooms knows that it can be a bit tough to make the story colorful enough to keep students tuned in. Yet one story that always works (if presented with a bit of energy and gusto) is President Johnson’s mixing it up with hecklers while he campaigned against congressional Republicans in 1866. Over on We’re History, they’ve posted an essay from Professor Aaron Astor, making a connection between Andy’s raucous rallies and those of a certain current presidential candidate.  If he is smart (a dubious proposition) he would do well to learn from Johnson’s mistakes.

During World War I, one of the most pivotal skirmishes in the Arab revolution against the Turks was a train ambush that many military historians point to as having defined modern guerrilla warfare tactics. In his memoir, T.E. Lawrence claimed to have been very involved with the attack, but some biographers have accused him of lying about it. However, a recent archeological find tends to confirm that he was indeed there. Is this a bullet fired by Lawrence or Arabia?

Now here is something you don’t see every day: a Civil War living history program (involving reenactors)  in a deep south state for the purpose of educating the public about the fact that not all Southerners supported the Confederacy.  I sure wish this story had reported on crowd turnout.


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