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Category: History (page 2 of 3)

Vocab: encomium

After retirement, Thomas Jefferson engaged in the founding of the University of Virginia.  In a response to a letter from Jefferson explaining the planned innovations in education, John Adams expressed support.

To his encomium, [John Adams] added a grim prophecy: namely, that if there should be anything “quite original and very excellent” in the institution, deeply rooted prejudices would prevent it from lasting long.

[Source: D. Malone, The Sage of Monticello (Boston: Little, Brown and Co., 1981), p. 249.]

From Merriam-Webster online:  n. an expression of glowing and warmly enthusiastic praise.

This post is part of a series, in which I look up words from my reading.  These entries include foreign phrases, archaic and technical terms, and words for which my understanding is too approximate for my liking.

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Vocab: bantling

After retirement, Thomas Jefferson engaged in the founding of the University of Virginia.

Opposition to Central College [later to become the University of Virginia] and to Jefferson’s plans for it was to be expected from the Scotch-Irish of Staunton, who wanted to make that little city the capital of the state as well as the site of the University, and from the Presbyterians of Lexington, seat of Washington College, which would be the “bantling of the Federalists.”

[Source: D. Malone, The Sage of Monticello (Boston: Little, Brown and Co., 1981), p. 249.]

From various sources:  n. a very young child; it is slang with a derogatory connotation, and may be derived from a German word for bastard.

This post is part of a series, in which I look up words from my reading.  These entries include foreign phrases, archaic and technical terms, and words for which my understanding is too approximate for my liking.

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Vocab: Carthago delenda est

In retirement, Thomas Jefferson advocated public education, which he viewed as a vehicle to democratize Virginia by creating smaller units of administration around the local school that would create experience with direct democracy like the town hall meetings of New England.   Related to his passion:

[Jefferson] said that as Cato ended every speech with the exhortation “Carthago delenda est,” he would end every opinion with the injunction “Divide the counties into wards.”

[Source: D. Malone, The Sage of Monticello (Boston: Little, Brown and Co., 1981), p. 249.]

Definition from Wikipedia:

Carthago delenda est (English: “Carthage must be destroyed”) or the fuller Ceterum censeo Carthaginem esse delendam or also Ceterum autem censeo, Carthaginem esse delendam (English: “Furthermore, I think Carthage must be destroyed”) are Latin phrases, clarion calls in the Roman Republic which came in the latter years of the Punic Wars.

Although no ancient source gives the phrase exactly as it is usually quoted in modern times (either Carthago delenda est or the fuller Ceterum censeo Carthaginem esse delendam), something like this wording can be inferred from several ancient sources, which state that the Roman statesman Cato the Elder would always end his speeches with some variation of this expression even if he had not been discussing Carthage in the speech.

This post is part of a series, in which I look up words from my reading.  These entries include foreign phrases, archaic and technical terms, and words for which my understanding is too approximate for my liking.

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Vocab: expostulation

Following their terms as President, Thomas Jefferson and John Adams through their private correspondence demonstrated that shared values should supersede disputes over partisan disagreements.  In an exchange related to differentiating natural from artificial aristocracies:

Notwithstanding his qualifications, definitions, and expostulations, [John Adams] declared that he saw no disagreement between himself and Jefferson.

[Source: D. Malone, The Sage of Monticello (Boston: Little, Brown and Co., 1981), p. 240.]

Definition from Merriam-Webster online:  n. an act of earnest reasoning with a person for the purpose of dissuasion or remonstrance.

This post is part of a series, in which I look up words from my reading.  These entries include foreign phrases, archaic and technical terms, and words for which my understanding is too approximate for my liking.

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Vocab: entails

Following their terms as President, Thomas Jefferson and John Adams through their private correspondence demonstrated that shared values should supersede disputes over partisan disagreements.  In an exchange related to differentiating natural from artificial aristocracies:

[Thomas Jefferson] reminded [John Adams] of the law, fathered by [Jefferson], by means of which [Virginia] got rid of entails and primogeniture.

[Source: D. Malone, The Sage of Monticello (Boston: Little, Brown and Co., 1981), p. 239.]

Definition from Dictionary.com:  n. the act of limiting the passage of (a landed estate) to a specified line of heirs, so that it cannot be alienated, devised, or bequeathed.

Wikipedia describes:  “The purpose of an entail was to keep the land of a family intact in the main line of succession. The heir to an entailed estate could not sell the land, nor usually bequeath it to, for example, an illegitimate child. The complications arising from entails were an important factor in the life of many of the upper classes, especially from about the late 17th to the early 19th centuries, leaving many individuals wealthy in land but still heavily in debt.”

This post is part of a series, in which I look up words from my reading.  These entries include foreign phrases, archaic and technical terms, and words for which my understanding is too approximate for my liking.

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Vocab: escheat

The following sentences reports on Virginia’s efforts to establish public financing of education during the early 18th century; such funds were to later be applied to support the establishment of the University of Virginia:

The Act of February 2, 1810, provided that all escheats, confiscations, fines (except militia fines), penalties, forfeitures, and derelict personal property accruing to the state be appropriated for encouragement of learning.

[Source: D. Malone, The Sage of Monticello (Boston: Little, Brown and Co., 1981), p. 236-7.]

Definition from Wikipedia:  “Escheat is a common law doctrine that operates to ensure that property is not left in limbo and ownerless. It originally referred to a number of situations where a legal interest in land was destroyed by operation of law…The term is often now applied to the transfer of the title to a person’s property to the state when the person dies intestate without any other person capable of taking the property as heir…In some jurisdictions, escheat can also occur when an entity (such as a bank) holds money or property (such as an account in that bank) and the property goes unclaimed. In many jurisdictions, if the owner cannot be located, such property can be revocably escheated to the government.”

This post is part of a series, in which I look up words from my reading.  These entries include foreign phrases, archaic and technical terms, and words for which my understanding is too approximate for my liking.

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Vocab: contretemps

During a fictional conversion between the ghost of General George Washington and Thomas Fleming (the former President of the Society of American Historians), the historian asks the following, regarding General Mifflin (quartermaster) colluding with members of Congress to bring about Washington’s resignation:

How did you resolve that contretemps?

[emphasis added; Source: T. Fleming, “Channeling George Washington:  Illusions of Victory,” History News Network, 3/2/2010]

Definition from Dictionary.com:  n. an inopportune occurrence; an embarrassing mischance.

This post is part of a series, in which I look up words from my reading.  These entries include foreign phrases, archaic and technical terms, and words for which my understanding is too approximate for my liking.

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Vocab: excrescence

The following sentences reports on Thomas Jefferson’s comment on a draft book by William Wirt (later U.S. Attorney General), titled Sketches of the Life of Patrick Henry:

They would appeal to the young, [Jefferson] said, but would be better liked by the old if some of their excrescences were removed. (emphasis added)

[Source: D. Malone, The Sage of Monticello (Boston: Little, Brown and Co., 1981), p. 228.]

Definition from Dictionary.com:  n. an  abnormal  outgrowth,  usually  harmless,  on  an  animal  or  vegetable  body.

This post is part of a series, in which I look up words from my reading.  These entries include foreign phrases, archaic and technical terms, and words for which my understanding is too approximate for my liking.

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Quick Hits 3/12/2010

“The gullible are often the most dishonest. If they’re foolish enough to believe the big lies of others, then they’re foolish enough to expect others to believe  their own deception.” — Dr. Michael J. Hurd

Reaction to the recent Amazon tax in Colorado, demonstrates the demagogic aspects of public lies as an effort to use fraud to wield force against those that dissent. A collection of letters to the editor of the Denver Post demonstrates the echo effect. However, activist and scholar Diana Hsieh’s letter correctly identifies the issue:   “…I don’t blame Amazon. I blame our Colorado politicians for enacting an unjust law. They’ve made business through affiliates impossible in Colorado by  imposing a mess of costly red tape and taxes. Amazon is not just a victim in this mess, but the primary victim. Honest people do not blame business for  the sins of government.” At Free Colorado, Ari Armstrong goes into detail about how the Colorado statute violated the protections our federal constitution.

At RuleOfReason novelist Edward Cline reviews Al Gore’s defense of anthropomorphic global warming fraud and Gore’s financial interest in advancing disinformation. Cline writes in part,

Gore comes off sounding like a television evangelist claiming  that God exists, is all-merciful, and will forgive you your sins if you only obey him. The evangelist’s audience is composed of stunted minds for whom the  proofs that God is a metaphysical impossibility would roll off their frontal lobes like water off a duck. It is the same with Gore’s true believers. They must  believe, because they refuse to think and accept the evidence of their senses. These are the people, laymen and “scientists” alike, for whom faith is as  trustworthy as certainty. So many people believe in anthropogenic global warming (decades ago it was global cooling); who are they to question such an  impressive consensus? It must be true.

In response to Chief Justice Roberts recent comments, George F. Will attacks the custom of the State of the Union speech, and calls for a general boycott of the process. Will is entirely wrong, and his explanation demonstrates the second-hand nature of conservative thinking with its emphasis on non-essentials and deference to  the out-of-context thoughts and actions of the past’s titans. The defects of the current State of the Union practice is symptomatic of the defects of our  recent Presidents; Will advocates ignoring the symptoms as a solution to the problem. Of course, the defect is that the American people have been  selecting inferior individuals to be President.

The New York Times reports, for more than a decade, the Kansas City School board evaded the  reality of their failing schools, and now fiscal reality has resulted in a plan to close 28 of their 61 public schools. In the past decade, enrollment has been  halved as individuals chose suburban districts and charter schools as a solution for their children’s education. Fewer than 25% of the school district’s  students perform at grade level.

During his campaign, candidate Obama promised that his presidency would strengthen our relationships in the world. Recently, the European Parliament  responded to the Administration’s diplomacy, by ending  cooperation with the US in fighting terrorist financing, which reversed a major diplomatic achievement of the Bush Administration. Now, the Washington Post reports that Sec. of State Clinton is threatening Israeli  Prime Minister Netanyahu with weakening our bilateral relations, in an effort to compel him to negotiate with terrorists. The Obama Administration’s efforts to embrace our enemies and rebuff our friends have done the opposite of what candidate Obama promised. This reminds me of Jackson Diehl’s report that Administration officials had trouble identifying any foreign leader with whom President Obama had formed a strong personal relation and the most credible claim was Dmitry Medvedev, the puppet President of Russia…which makes sense as they have so much in common in that regard.

Paul McKeever, leader Ontario’s Freedom Party, reports on dishonest public budgeting and its tendency for cost overruns. In opposing public financing of the 2015 PanAm Games in Toronto, McKeever reminds the  taxpayers that the original budget for this year’s Vancouver Olympics was $874 million, which was exceeded by solely the actual expense of security,  while estimates for actual costs are $6 BILLION. Retrospectively, the anticipated and actual costs for Social Security and Medicare would demonstrate a similar duplicity, which could be exceeded by the enactment of PelosiCare.

Ex-Senate Parliamentarian Robert Dove (1981-1987) expounds upon the history of Senate rules that have been subject to dishonest political attacks upon the role the Senate plays within our constitutional system. He concludes that current issues within the Senate operations are not the fault of the rules, but the fault of the current Senators.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R96FVmYuthQ]

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Quick Hits 3/11/2010

This week’s Objectivist Roundup is posted at Titanic Deck Chairs.  Check it out.  Post subjects include:  autism, witnessing, political bedfellows, political abuses against language, gardening, and hiking.

At the New Clarion, Jim May makes an interesting observation about Cargo Cult Conservatives.  As devotees of traditions detached from reality, conservatives fail to understand the principles of our Founding Fathers, whom they claim to champion.  Instead, conservatives make a show of the outward appearances, recite rituals, and engage in ritualistic dances.  An example of this superficiality is conservative claims that our Founders were Christians without accounting for differences.  The Europeans and Americans were Christians but developed distinctly different political systems, why?  Christians are more divisive than Democrats, what flavors of Christianity are they talking about?  England was a Christian state with a state church, so why did our forefathers rebel?  Getting into the details clearly demonstrates that Christianity is non-essential, and at best coincidental, to America’s founding.

The New York Times reports that Dems’ deprivatization of student loans has been rescored by the CBO and determined to actually result in increasing the deficit as savings are less than previously anticipated and costs of expanded grant programs will be higher.  It takes no imagination to accurately predict that if actually implemented the policies would skew towards even greater additional deficit spending than anticipated.  However, if this legislation fails, this diminished industry should not cheer at its pyrrhic victory as statutory price controls and other compliance costs will still push private capital from the program while government spending constraints will limit student access to credit.  Net program changes since 2007 remain bad for students and schools as the private-public partnership is broken and new paradigms for post-secondary education finance are needed to fill the void.

The Ineffective Communicator, President Obama, has said that he is tired of talking about health care “reform” [HT: ReasonPharm].   Rejecting persuasion and political dialogue, the President appeals to naked majority power to force the Dems’ health care plans upon the dissenting minority.  According to the President, you must be compelled by force to pay for your neighbors’ health care.  I am reminded of my observations [“Post-election Comments” @ 4:49] about the choice in the last election:  Obama championed immediate compelled sacrifice, while McCain only advocated compulsion as a last resort when individuals failed to volunteer to be sacrificed.

In response to a question, Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts criticizes the jeering at the Court during the State of the Union address, and essentially says that the speech has degenerated into an unsubstantial pep rally for which the Court’s presence may no longer be needed.  This is a stinging and truthful rebuke to the sorry state of the modern presidency.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ARV_eHsyaHo]

Related to President Obama’s lies during his State of the Union speech and the Dems support for his attack on free speech, Steve Simpson writes, in a Spring 2010 article in The Objective Standard, “Citizens United is a truly radical decision, in that it returns to the constitutional principle that the government must protect and not violate freedom of speech. Unfortunately, because few people understand the moral foundation of free speech—namely, the principle that each individual morally must be left free to speak his own mind for his own sake because each individual morally should act on his own judgment for his own sake—freedom of speech remains not only vulnerable but in severe danger. Until the First Amendment is interpreted in a manner consistent with the purpose of government envisioned by the founders—that is, to protect the rights of individuals to act on their own judgment regardless of what others think or feel about it—the battle over free speech will continue.”

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