The lead Sunday editorial in the Indianapolis Star (here) and a recent edition of Howey Politics Indiana (here) feature a piece of mine arguing for renewed emphasis on “home rule” by the Indiana state legislature. The idea, modeled off the national principle of federalism, gives more choice, options, flexibility, and freedom to local leaders. Now those ideals are under greater attack than at any time since Hoosier home rule began.
This month marks the 100 year anniversary of America’s entrance into World War I. American Thinker published a new piece of mine examining this anniversary and its relationship with modern American Exceptionalism. Click here to read it.
As we enter the second quarter of 2017, it seems worthwhile to summarize here some of my academic and popular press pursuits during the first quarter, some of which I have not yet highlighted here. In the month of February I published five popular press pieces:
- Erasing History Makes Us More Likely To Repeat Its Mistakes, The Federalist, 20 February 2017
- Gov. Pence faced comparison with Daniels, Howey Politics Indiana, 17 February 2017
- The Bannon-Trump Arc of History, American Spectator, 13 February 2017
- How Congress made it easier to sue Israel, The Hill, 6 February 2017
- Republicans face a great fork in the road, Howey Politics Indiana, 2 February 2017
In January I presented to the Southern Indiana Civil War Roundtable on the topic of “Little Egypt Goes to War,” the roots and beginnings of the 80th Illinois Volunteer Infantry Regiment. Later in March I presented to the Indiana Political Science Association, first in a roundtable on the American Presidency and then with a paper titled “The Arc of Our New History.”
I recently completed minor pages on the history of several Civil War monuments in Southwestern Indiana:
- Soldiers and Sailors Monument in Jasper, Indiana
- Gibson County Civil War Memorial
- Gibson County Civil War Honor Roll Memorial
- Posey County Soldiers and Sailors Memorial
The Jasper monument is particularly interesting because it is one of the rare Union memorials erected in part by a veteran of the Confederate army. After serving for a period with the Confederate army, John Gramelspacher fled and would go on to serve in the Union army. He was even admitted as a member of the Grand Army of the Republic.
Also of note is the Gibson County Civil War Honor Roll Memorial. This was the first regimental monument erected in Indiana in memory of soldiers of the Civil War. Moreover, it claims to be the only monument in Indiana, or in the United States, that was erected and dedicated by any regiment in honor of its dead while that regiment was still in the service.
Confirming rumors that have been swirling for some time, the Chicago Manual of Style announced this week that it will introduce its 17th edition in September. Included among the changes in the 17th edition, E-mail will become email (no hyphen), Internet will become internet (lowercased), and the use of ibid. for repeated citations will no longer be preferred. The citation chapters will also reflect the ever-changing universe of electronic sources, including social media posts and comments, private messages, and app content.
After years of careful study and in-depth discussion with a couple other historians I respected, I reached conclusions that ran wholly contrary to what everyone else had ever written about Civil War strategy, General Sherman, the Atlanta Campaign, his March to the Sea, and even the beginning of his 1865 Carolinas Campaign.
The work appears to dramatically change and illuminate our understanding of the importance of Augusta and Sherman’s decision regarding the city and its ordnance complex. Savas’s essay is divided into two sections: “Part 1 sets the foundational importance of Augusta and its war industries, and Part 2 combines the objective data balanced against Union decision-making).”
Thank you to the 2017 annual conference of the Indiana Political Science Association for inviting me to participate as a panelist on “The American Presidency” with Dr. Thomas Kazee, Prof. Kristina Sheeler, and Prof. Nick LaRowe. I also presented a paper at the same conference titled “The Arc of Our New History: How a theory of history shapes the Bannon-Trump worldview.”
In spring 1861, five women in Sparta, Illinois — Mrs. Mary Ann McHenry, Mrs. James Ward, Mrs. Barbara Gordon, Mrs. Ann McLaughlin, and Mrs. Mary McLaughlin — gathered to hand-piece and stitch a unique American flag with 34 stars, the stars themselves in the shape of a large star. Making a flag may seem like trivial work, but soldiers placed great importance on regimental flags and sacrificed their lives defending them from enemy capture. Those flags symbolized pride and honor. Moreover, regimental flags had an important practical use: identifying a unit’s place on the battlefield.
Officers used the Sparta-made flag to recruit Union troops in Belleville, Illinois; and it traveled with various units throughout 1861. James McHenry carried the flag while recruiting for Company H of the 22nd Illinois, and it then went to Belleville, Illinois, with companies H and I in May 1861. The flag returned to Randolph County and was carried by Henry McDonald with Captain Alexander Wybus’s company to Jefferson Barracks in St. Louis, Missouri. The company disbanded there, some men going into the 10th Missouri and others into the 5th Illinois, but most into Company C of the 30th Illinois. Then the flag was carried by McDonald with Companies C and E of the 30th Illinois to Belleville, thence to Birds Point, Missouri. At Birds Point, flag owner James McHenry presented the flag to Charlie E. Brown of Blaire.
Charlie E. Brown used it to recruit for Company G of the 80th Illinois. Although he took it with him to Centralia as the company flag, it was so striking and effective that Col. Thomas G. Allen decided to use it for the entire 80th Illinois regiment until the unit received an official flag from the government at Louisville, Kentucky.
After the war, Mr. Brown presented the flag to the high school museum at Sparta, Illinois. The flag now belongs to the University Museum at Southern Illinois University. The museum expects to stabilize, preserve, and share the flag with the public.
Earlier this year I was excited and honored to be selected as a delegate to the 2016 Republican National Convention. However, due to political developments since that time, and after considerable thought, I decided not to attend. I could not in good conscience attend a coronation and celebration of Donald Trump. My statement on the subject is below along with a summary of some of the firestorm that followed.