01/27/20

75th Anniversary of the Holocaust Liberation

By: Denise Simon | Founders Code

1.1 million were herded like sheep through the gates of death. Survivors are few today and their stories are fading from history. Take some time to remember and then share some facts as noted below. #NeverAgain

Most people are familiar with the names of the major concentration camps – AuschwitzBuchenwaldDachau, and Treblinka, for example – but few realize that these were not the only places where Jews and other prisoners were held by the Nazis. Each of the 23 main camps had subcamps, nearly 900 of them in total. These included camps with euphemistic names, such as “care facilities for foreign children,” where pregnant prisoners were sent for forced abortions.

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The Nazis established about 110 camps starting in 1933 to imprison political opponents and other undesirables. The number expanded as the Third Reich expanded and the Germans began occupying parts of Europe. When the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum first began to document all of the camps, the belief was that the list would total approximately 7,000. However, researchers found that the Nazis actually established about 42,500 camps and ghettoes between 1933 and 1945. This figure includes 30,000 slave labor camps; 1,150 Jewish ghettoes, 980 concentration camps; 1,000 POW camps; 500 brothels filled with sex slaves; and thousands of other camps used for euthanizing the elderly and infirm; Germanizing prisoners or transporting victims to killing centers. Berlin alone had nearly 3,000 camps.

These camps were used for a range of purposes including: forced-labor camps, transit camps which served as temporary way stations, and extermination camps, built primarily or exclusively for mass murder. From its rise to power in 1933, the Nazi regime built a series of detention facilities to imprison and eliminate so-called “enemies of the state.” Most prisoners in the early concentration camps were German Communists, Socialists, Social Democrats, Roma (Gypsies), Jehovah‘s Witnesseshomosexuals, and persons accused of “asocial” or socially deviant behavior. These facilities were called “concentration camps” because those imprisoned there were physically “concentrated” in one location.

Millions of people were imprisoned, abused and systematically murdered in the various types of Nazi camps. Under SS management, the Germans and their collaborators murdered more than three million Jews in the killing centers alone. Only a small fraction of those imprisoned in Nazi camps survived. As many as 15-20 million people may have died in the various camps and ghettoes(source)

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In the final days of the camp, the commanding SS officers “evacuated” 56,000 prisoners, most of them Jews. Leaving Auschwitz, however, did not mean the end of their ordeal. Instead, the SS ordered their charges into columns and marched them into the miserable winter. At first, the prisoners went on foot, monitored by officers who shot those who fell behind or tried to stay behind. Malnourished and inadequately clothed, the marchers were subject to random massacre. Eventually, they were shipped back toward Germany in open train cars. Up to 15,000 of the former camp inhabitants died on the death march.

“[The Nazis] wanted to continue to use those tens of thousands of prisoners for forced labor,” says Steven Luckert, senior program curator at the Levine Family Institute for Holocaust Education at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and former chief curator of the museum’s permanent collection. “Those prisoners got dispersed over all of the remaining camps.”

Back at Auschwitz, where by some estimates 9,000 prisoners remained, only a few SS guards maintained their watch. Most of the prisoners were too sick to move. “There was no food, no water, no medical care,” says Luckert. “The staff had all gone. [The prisoners] were just left behind to die.”

Among the last acts of the SS were to set fire to huge piles of camp documents, a last-ditch effort to hide the evidence. “They understood the enormity of the crimes they committed,” Luckert says.

Concentration and Extermination Camps and Major "Euthanasia" Centers

Between 1933 and 1945, the Nazi regime set up about 20,000 camps to imprison, exploit, and annihilate its declared enemies. This map shows major camps, grouped according to function. The term “concentration camp” applies to those camps built from 1933 on for the purpose of imprisoning political and ideological opponents of the regime and “racial enemies” under the pretense of “protective” or “preventative” custody. In the first years of the Nazi dictatorship, most of those imprisoned in the camps were Communists and Socialists, Social Democrats, Roma and Sinti, Jehovah’s Witnesses, homosexuals, and individuals deemed “asocial.” After the Kristallnacht pogrom of November 9, 1938, Jews in the German Reich were imprisoned en masse for the first time.

After the beginning of the Second World War, the camp system was quickly expanded and supplemented with POW camps and work camps in the occupied territories. Additionally, the camps began to function more and more as execution sites for members of particular groups, for example, Soviet POWs, members of the resistance, and partisans. To this end, gas chambers were built in the camps Auschwitz, Majdanek, Sachsenhausen, and Mauthausen starting in 1941. To implement the National Socialists’ plan for the “final solution of the Jewish question,” extermination camps were built in occupied Poland. The sole purpose of these camps was to carry out the mass murder of the European Jews in an efficient manner. The first of these camps, which were supposed to remain secret, was opened in December 1941 in Chelmno. In 1942, the camps Belzec, Sobibor, and Treblinka were built, and Auschwitz was equipped with a neighboring extermination camp, Auschwitz II-Birkenau. Jews from all over Europe were deported there via transit camps and were usually murdered within 24 hours after arrival.

The map also shows the places where the National Socialists carried out their secret “Euthanasia Program.” Starting in the fall of 1939, various institutions euthanized individuals who were deemed “unworthy to live” on account of either actual or alleged hereditary illnesses. After the revelation of the “Euthanasia Program” met with public protest, gas-administered euthanasia was halted in August 1941. It was replaced by lethal injections in “euthanasia clinics,” which continued until the end of the war. (source)

01/13/20

Black America Before LBJ: How the Welfare State Inadvertently Helped Ruin Black Communities

By: Sam Jacobs | Ammo.com

Lyndon B. Johnsons Great Society: How LBJs Welfare State Helped Ruin Black Communities“We waged a war on poverty and poverty won.”

President Ronald Reagan, 1988 State of the Union Address

The dust has settled and the evidence is in: The 1960s Great Society and War on Poverty programs of President Lyndon Baines Johnson (LBJ) have been a colossal and giant failure. One might make the argument that social welfare programs are the moral path for a modern government. They cannot, however, make the argument that these are in any way effective at alleviating poverty.

In fact, there is evidence that such aggressive programs might make generational poverty worse. While the notion of a “culture of dependence” is a bit of a cliché in conservative circles, there is evidence that this is indeed the case – that, consciously or not, the welfare state creates a culture where people receive benefits rather than seeking gainful employment or business ownership.

This is not a moral or even a value judgment against the people engaged in such a culture. Again, the claim is not that people “choose to be on welfare,” but simply that social welfare programs incentivize poverty, which has an impact on communities that has nothing to do with individual intent.

We are now over 50 years into the development of the Great Society and the War on Poverty. It is time to take stock in these programs from an objective and evidence-based perspective. When one does that, it is not only clear that the programs have been a failure, but also that they have disproportionately impacted the black community in the United States. The current state of dysfunction in the black community (astronomically high crime rates, very low rates of homeownership and single motherhood as the norm) is not the natural state of the black community in the United States but closely tied to the role that social welfare programs play. Or as Dr. Thomas Sowell stated:

“If we wanted to be serious about evidence, we might compare where blacks stood a hundred years after the end of slavery with where they stood after 30 years of the liberal welfare state. In other words, we could compare hard evidence on “the legacy of slavery” with hard evidence on the legacy of liberals.”

Here’s a peek into how black America has been a victim of LBJ’s Great Society and War on Poverty.

Defining Terms: What Is the Great Society and the War on Poverty?

Before going further, we must define the terms “Great Society” and “War on Poverty.” These are two overlapping but somewhat distinct terms that are, in any event, not the same as “welfare” as a whole.

The “War on Poverty” refers to one part of the Great Society, namely the part focused specifically on poverty. When the War on Poverty was started in 1964, the poverty rate in America was 19 percent. Seeing an opportunity to recreate the same New Deal magic that had propelled President Franklin Delano Roosevelt to the White House in four successive elections 30 years earlier, Johnson pushed his War on Poverty.

It’s worth noting that the New Deal has some success to boast in terms of lifting some extremely poor communities, particularly those in the rural South, out of grinding forms of poverty. This was through, for example, mass electrification and other similar campaigns, which radically redefined the experience of the poor in the United States. One can argue about the ethics of redistributive wealth programs, but one cannot argue about whether or not, for example, the electrification of the Tennessee Valley elevated people out of crushing and abject poverty – it did.

There are four primary initiatives of the War on Poverty:

  1. The Economic Opportunity Act: This was the flagship effort of the War on Poverty. It created the Community Action ProgramVolunteers in Service to America (VISTA) and Job Corps.
  2. The Food Stamp Act of 1964This created a food stamp program that remained largely in place until President Bill Clinton “ended welfare as we know it.” At this time, food stamps were open-ended and could, in theory, be a means of feeding a family for life.
  3. Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1964This is known as the most sweeping legislation impacting education passed by the United States Congress. It sought to level an alleged “achievement gap” in public education. It has been reauthorized by both Democratic and Republican presidents under the names Improving America’s Schools Act of 1994No Child Left Behind Act of 2004, and the Every Student Succeeds Act of 2015.
  4. Social Security Act of 1965Created both Medicare and Medicaid.

The Economic Opportunity Act, in particular, was insidious in that it gave broad leeway to create programs without Congressional approval or oversight. An example of this is the Head Start program, which is shown to have only extremely limited and short-term effects on the ability of children to succeed in public schools.

The Great Society refers to a far broader set of programs, some of which still exist today, others of which were casualties of both the massive budget for the Vietnam War, LBJ’s other pet project, as well as the passage of time and subsequent Republican administrations. It’s difficult to summarize the Great Society as a whole, precisely because its scope was so broad. Education, health, welfare, culture (the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, for example, is a product of the Great Society), transportation, the environment, housing, labor, and rural development were all areas where the Great Society had some hand.

Whereas the New Deal has demonstrably impacted communities with crushing and severe forms of poverty, the Great Society has demonstrably not only not “worked” by any available metric, it has also created a negative impact, most severely felt in the black community in the United States.

This article will make the case that the Great Society is the greatest disaster to befall America’s black community since slavery.

What Were the Goals of the Great Society?

Lyndon B. Johnsons Great Society: How LBJs Welfare State Helped Ruin Black CommunitiesSome discussion of the goals of the Great Society and its historical context is in order. The Great Society was seen by LBJ as nothing less than the completion of the New Deal as pioneered by his predecessor and mentor, Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

The thinking was basically this: The New Deal proved that government intervention could have some impact on poverty. As we stated above, there is some truth to this, albeit in a limited sense. The New Deal was able to lift incredibly poor people out of what were effectively Third World conditions in the United States. Because Johnson had at his disposal “the best and the brightest,” he believed that all he needed to do was apply their technocratic acumen to the problem of poverty and it would be solved.

One of the glaring and immediate differences between the New Deal (where it was successful) and the Great Society was the definition of poverty. Poverty, the kind the New Deal was effective at reducing, was largely an objective condition. For example, people without electricity or running water in their homes. For the Great Society programs, however, poverty was largely defined in subjective, albeit quantifiable, terms like educational attainment and income level.

Here’s the problem with defining poverty in those terms: We now live in a world where the overwhelming majority of people who wish to get one can obtain a college degree. All this has done is devalue the college degree and saddle people with both unmarketable skill sets and a high level of nondischargeable debt. A college degree simply doesn’t mean much anymore because anyone who wants one can have one.

Similarly, consider income in real terms – the ability to buy things. The poorest people in America now have access to more computing power in their pockets than NASA used to go to the moon. Cheap consumer goods are plentiful, even for people with very low incomes – part-time minimum wage jobs, for example.

Poverty, defined as “making much less than rich people” or even “struggling to get by” simply means one is at the bottom of the economic ladder. The bottom of the economic ladder will always exist as long as there is one. Grinding, Third-World-style poverty – in the vast overwhelming majority of cases – is a thing of the past. The United Nations puts the percentage of Americans with access to electricity at 100.

A report estimated that 1.6 million Americans lack access to “clean” water, “clean” here being a weasel word that is undefined. Even if we took the 1.6 million figure at face value (which we should not), this means that approximately 0.48 percent of all Americans (i.e., less than half of one percent) do not have access to “clean” water.

In the absence of significant poverty conditions to attack, the “War on Poverty” was largely about hitting a moving target subjectively defined as “having less than some other people.”

Despite the best intentions (to which, it should be noted, “the road to hell is paved with”), the Great Society was bound to fail simply because there were no clear targets. In this sense, the War on Poverty prefigured other government wars on abstract concepts, such as the War on Drugs and the War on Terror.

The failure, of course, is seen by big government advocates as a sign that not enough has been done. Since the War on Poverty began, $15 trillion has been spent, with a negligible impact on lifting people out of poverty. For context, the Apollo program cost $25.4 billion, $146.1 billion in 2019 dollars. Put simply, for the cost of the War on Poverty, America could have funded almost seven Apollo programs.

Unlike the War on Poverty, the Apollo program was a resounding and verifiable success.

The Breakdown of the Black Family

“The black family, which had survived centuries of slavery and discrimination, began rapidly disintegrating in the liberal welfare state that subsidized unwed pregnancy and changed welfare from an emergency rescue to a way of life.”

Thomas Sowell

The biggest problem resulting from the Great Society is the breakdown of the black family. This is a sensitive subject, but one that must be broached to fully understand the devastating impact that the Great Society has had on the black community in the United States.

In 1965, when the Great Society began in earnest following the massive electoral landslide reelection of LBJ, the out-of-wedlock birthrate among the black community was 21 percent. By 2017, this figure had risen to a whopping 77 percent. In some cities, this rate is as high as 80 percent, with most of the unwed mothers being teenagers. We have documented extensively in our article on the death of civil society in the United States the negative effects of the single-parent household on child development and outcomes. The black community is now entering its third generation of single parenthood as the norm, something that rose astronomically with the advent of the Great Society.

To provide some historical context, the out-of-wedlock birth rate in the black community was already rising before the Great Society. In 1938, that rate stood at 11 percent. Still, it’s worth noting the difference between the slow and steady increase of 1938 to 1965, and the explosive growth from 1965 until the present day. In any event, black women were more likely to be married than white women as late as 1950. It’s also worth looking at single parenthood over time: In the 1950s, 52 percent of all black children lived with both parents until the age of 17. By the 1980s, that number had plummeted to 6 percent.

In addition to outcomes, there is also a wide divide between the percentage of black families in poverty when there is a father present. Among married black families, the poverty rate is 8 percent. Among black households headed by a single mother, that rate jumps to 37 percent.

And again, while we outline a number of negative consequences resulting from single-parent families, it’s worth pulling one out in relation to the destruction of the black family in America: There is no better predictor of male criminality than being raised in a fatherless home. 70 percent of all juvenile offenders in state reform institutions were raised in fatherless homes. This includes 60 percent of all rapists, 72 percent of all murderers, and 70 percent of long-term inmates.

Black Participation in the Labor Market

There is another statistic that is significant when it comes to evaluating the role of the Great Society in the destruction of the black family and, by extension, black society: participation in the labor market.

This is an important metric for a very simple reason: Few would argue that it’s better to not work than to work. Data provided by every census between 1890 and 1954 shows that black Americans were just as active – and sometimes more – in the labor market than their white counterparts. In 1900, for example, black unemployment was 15 percent lower than white unemployment. In 2017, it was 30 percent higher.

If the conventional narrative on black American poverty and general social dysfunction were correct – that this was caused by the legacy of slavery, Jim Crow, and private discrimination – wouldn’t we expect to see a decline in black unemployment rather than the opposite?

Black Business Ownership

Lyndon B. Johnsons Great Society: How LBJs Welfare State Helped Ruin Black CommunitiesOf course, participation in the labor market is not the only metric of economic activity. Another is business ownership. The years between 1900 and 1930 are known as “the Golden Age of Black Entrepreneurship.” By 1920, there were tens of thousands of black businesses in the United States, the overwhelming majority of them very small, single proprietorship. This in no way diminishes the importance of this sector of the black economy. People who had, in many cases, started their lives as slaves were now, even when “poorer” in terms of income, freer than many of their white counterparts who worked for wages.

There was also a social aspect to this period of black entrepreneurship. Black insurance companies and black-owned banks represent the apex of the economic pyramid in the black community. While the black community was comparatively poorer than its white counterparts, money spent by black Americans could stay within the black community. Thus, the black community could enrich itself from the bottom of the ladder all the way up to the top.

This concept was known as “double duty dollars.” The idea is that money spent at black businesses not only purchased goods for the consumer but also played a role in advancing the black race in America. This, and not government handouts, was seen as the primary means of achieving, if not perfect equality with whites, a social parity with them.

Another aspect of why black entrepreneurship was so important in the black community was that national businesses tended to ignore the black market entirely. This, however, began to change in the 1950s and, to a much greater extent, by the dawn of the next decade. No one forced national businesses to begin marketing their products to black America. National businesses simply saw that there was an emerging black middle class with money to spend and didn’t want to get cut out of the market.

Today, black business ownership is in a state of “collapse” according to Marketplace.org. This cannot entirely be laid at the foot of the Great Society. For example, the unlikely culprit of integration is one of the reasons that the black business districts began to fall apart. For example, once the biggest burger joint in town would serve black people, there was no reason to go to “the black burger joint” anymore.

Still, it’s impossible to separate the end of the thriving black business districts from the Great Society. These were once centers of the community, in addition to being centers of commerce. Now they are virtually extinct. While other factors are in play, it’s difficult to not notice the overlap between the rise of the welfare state through the Great Society, the overall decline in the black community’s civil society anchored by the black business community, and black business ownership in general.

The Decline in Black Homeownership

Another area where the impact of Great Society policies is seen is in statistics on black homeownership. The black homeownership rate is basically the same today as it was 50 years ago. There was a spike in black homeownership during the Bush years. However, these were largely a function of subprime mortgages being given out to people who couldn’t really afford them.

Few places saw the hand of government on the scale more than housing. One of the final policy initiatives of the Great Society was the Fair Housing Act, which banned discrimination in housing sales (but not in lending practices). This effectively meant an end to “restrictive covenants,” which allowed a homeowner to specify that their house could not be sold to a black family, not just for an individual sale, but in perpetuity.

As a brief aside, this is, as are many other parts of the Great Society, an egregious attack on freedom of association, property rights, and ability to transact and dispose of one’s property in a manner of one’s own choosing.

Which Way Forward for the Black Community

Lyndon B. Johnsons Great Society: How LBJs Welfare State Helped Ruin Black CommunitiesIt’s difficult to ignore that black Americans vote overwhelmingly for the Democratic Party, who champion the policies of the Great Society, which have largely destroyed the black family and black civil society. Why is this?

There are a number of factors in play here. First, the Democratic Party has little incentive to provide innovative solutions for such a loyal voter bloc. Black Americans have voted at over 80 percent for Democratic Party candidates since 1964. In several elections (1964, 2000, 2008 and 2012) they voted over 90 percent for the Democratic Party candidate. The highest share of the black vote received by the Republican Party since 1964 was 15 percent, achieved by Richard Nixon in 1968 and Gerald Ford in 1976. While Donald Trump’s performance among black voters has been touted for its strength, he received only 8 percent of the vote, reversing a trend where the black vote dropped as low as 4 percent in 2008. Despite the much-touted “Blexit,” 2018 saw no significant exodus from the Democratic Party on the part of black voters – a scant 9 percent voted for Republicans.

The flip side of this is that there is not much incentive on the part of Republicans to court black voters. While the Nixon “Southern Strategy” is slightly distorted when presented, the core of this narrative is true – when presented with various strategies for victory, Nixon chose to appeal to northern, union Catholic workers and Southern Protestant conservatives, both of whom were white. This is simple math: A large increase in the black vote doesn’t represent a whole lot of votes, but a minor increase in the white vote moves the needle significantly. The so-called “Sailer strategy,” named after Steve Sailer, exploits this math: Spiking the rural white vote to record levels while effectively ignoring all other voting blocs is what delivered Donald Trump the presidency.

The point here is that neither party is incentivized to offer solutions to black Americans. But black Americans are also not demanding solutions from either political party, as evidenced by the lockstep voting for Democratic Party politicians, despite failing to deliver anything of value in 50 years.

One historical example that might represent a way forward is the National Black Independent Political Party. Formed in 1988, it had virtually no impact on electoral politics. However, its model might represent something of value for black Americans looking to break free of the two-party duopoly and demand actual policy solutions from Washington. The purpose of the NBIPP was not to obtain power in its own right, but rather to form black America into a political voting bloc that could act as kingmaker in elections. This is in the broader tradition of self-reliance in the black community.

Whatever the way forward is, one thing is clear: Social welfare programs ostensibly designed to help the black community have done little more than put the boot of government on the neck of black Americans. Rather than raising up the black community, these programs have acted to – despite whatever their intentions might be – destroy the black family, the black business community, and black social solidarity.

What might “work” depends on what the goal is. However, the evidence is in and the Great Society’s War on Poverty has been a resounding failure.

01/4/20

Charles Parker: The Forgotten History of Parker Brothers and its Legacy of Collectible Shotguns

Ammo.com

history of Charles ParkerCharles Parker is one of those quintessential “American Dream” stories whose business success was forged during the War Between the States and America’s subsequent western expansion. It’s a rags-to-riches tale that combined ingenuity, hard work, and determination to create a multi-generational, family-owned business known for both introducing small-bore shotguns and producing collector pieces. His firearms were so inspiring that nearly 90 years since the company was sold, and over 75 years since a gun has been crafted with the Parker name, these high-quality guns are still sought out among collectors and the Parker Brothers name is considered a classic among gun enthusiasts.

The eleventh of 12 children, Charles Parker was born on January 2, 1809, in the town of Cheshire, Connecticut. Although the family was poverty-stricken, Charles was not deterred in his ambitions and always strived for success. To help make ends meet, Charles started working as a farmhand during his teen years, and as he grew into adulthood, he worked as a button maker and then made coffee mills.

After four years in the coffee mill industry, Charles decided he was tired of working for others and was determined to create his own business. At the age of 23, with 70 dollars in his pocket, Charles Parker started a coffee mill plant. The original plant ran on literal horsepower (which rumors claim was blind and half lame) until 1844 when sales increased to the point that consumer need demanded he switch to steam engine power.

The Beginning of Parker Brothers

This same year, Parker joined forces with Oliver Snow and formed Parker, Snow, Brooks, & Company, which would eventually become known as the Meriden Machine Company and later include Parker Brothers, a side company that would manufacture the iconic Parker shotgun. A machinery and foundry, the company employed 120 men and produced coffee mills, lamps, tools, silverware, and grain mills. It also helped put Meriden, Connecticut, on the industrial map, where it would stay for years to come.

Always a shrewd businessman, Parker released a catalog that showcased not only items crafted from his plants but also goods that other companies were selling. These companies included in Parker’s catalog were companies he had invested in, allowing him to provide a secondary source of income for himself and his family.

But in 1860, the American Civil War broke out and the Parker Snow Company, as it was then called, was contracted to produce 15,000 Springfield rifled muskets for the Union army. As he knew little about firearms, Parker hired gunsmith brothers, William and George Miller, who assisted in the transition to manufacturing arms.

By the end of the Civil War, Charles was joined by his brothers Edmund and John, and the three of them, intrigued by the success of their war gun sales, decided to continue manufacturing long guns.

While the company continued to manufacture the breech-loading rifles that had been commissioned by the Union forces, the brothers started work on a design for a shotgun, which they figured could be marketed to those “going west,” who would need reliable and effective firearms to both protect and provide.

Parker Brothers’ Innovative Shotguns

Around 1867, Charles was elected as the first Mayor of Meriden and his three sons, Wilber, Charles Eddy, and Dexter, all took a company role to the newly rebranded Parker Brothers – the division of Meriden Machine Company that would continue to make firearms. The following year, they released the first Parker shotgun, an innovative double-barrelled breech-loading percussion hammer gun. Parker Brothers eventually offered shotguns in various configurations, including 8 gauge, 10 gauge, 11 gauge, 12 gauge, 14 gauge, 16 gauge, and 20 gauge.

Charles Parker Senior died on January 31, 1902, just a few weeks after he turned 93, but the companies he built continued to thrive for decades.

In 1903, Parker Brothers released the first-ever 28 gauge, a small-bore shotgun at only 0.550 inches. Even with its small size, the 28 gauge proved effective and became a trusted standard in both upland hunting and competition shooting.

In 1926, Charles’ grandson Wilbur Parker Junior and Wilber’s son Charles debuted the first .410 bore Parker shotgun, which Charles had actually crafted in 1924 while apprenticing at Gun Works.

The manufacturing of firearms continued at Parker Brothers until 1934 when the impact of the Great Depression led to the sale of the company to Remington Arms, which continued to use the Meriden, Connecticut plant for another four years. In 1943, the last Parker shotgun left the Remington plant, ending an era that lasted 80 years and accounted for an estimated 245,000 shotguns.

Charles Parker’s company and the guns it created are highly prized additions to any gun collector, and many bring in upward of $100,000. Parker shotguns are considered by many to be the best and most collectible shotguns in America. They’ve graced the shooting shoulders of American icons like Annie Oakley and her husband Frank Butler (who were rumored to have owned at least 12 Parker shotguns), Clark Gable, and Ernest Hemingway.

Today there is even a Parker Gun Collectors Association, which celebrates and memorializes Parker muskets and shotguns.

12/14/19

Book Review: The Hermit King

By: Terresa Monroe-Hamilton

Purchase on Amazon

Recently, I received a copy of “The Hermit King: The Dangerous Game Of Kim Jong Un” by Chung Min Lee. I found it to be a fascinating read.

From the beginning, I have appreciated President Trump’s efforts to tame this rogue regime. I have had little faith, in the end, he would do so. I still consider the regime to be a puppet for communist China with a power-hungry madman at the helm.

The Kim Dynasty is the world’s longest-running family dictatorship and has had an iron grip on North Korea since it was founded in 1948. Many believe that the country stands at a historical crossroads. But for a gulag-tainted hellhole, that is basically one monstrous prison and mafia state, I don’t see them making a wise choice here. Wiley yes, wise no. Kim Jung Un is a megalomaniac who fancies himself to be a god.

The Kim family has ruthlessly silenced dissidents and has ruled mercilessly by holding its neighbors hostage with nuclear weapons. To actually change North Korea, Kim Jong Un has to dismantle North Korea’s totalitarian system. He will never willingly do that as his status as a living god will inexorably weaken.

In “The Hermit King,” Asian geopolitical expert Chung Min Lee relates the story of the rise of the Kim Dynasty and its atrocities, motivations, and diplomatic goals. He also discusses the possible outcomes of its aggressive standoff with world superpowers. It’s a tantalizing look into a dictator’s mindset. Kim Jung Un is brilliant in many ways and very, very dangerous. The world should not and dare not underestimate him.

He has been groomed since birth to take control of his country and stay in power at all costs. Kim Jung Un now stands at a fateful crossroads. Will he make good on decades of threats, liberalize North Korea and gain international legitimacy, or watch his regime possibly crumble around him? Lee analyzes the likelihood and consequences of each of these possibilities, cautioning that in the end, Kim won’t be able to maintain totalitarian control.

The Hermit King is a thoughtful and compelling look at the world’s most dangerous and complicated military-political problem. My belief is that eventually there will be another world war and North Korea will, of course, align with the communist Chinese in a bid for power across the globe. I believe that as Lee states that in the end Kim Jung Un will not be able to maintain control, but he will be replaced by Xi of China who will be even more ruthless and deadly at this game. I still believe that diplomacy with North Korea is a fool’s errand but we will see in the end how this plays out.

No matter what you believe about North Korea, this book is an incredible read and I would highly recommend it. For many years I have been immersed in geopolitics and this is yet another window into a communist regime and the evil we fight. Americans should know who the enemy truly is and that we are and always have been a force for good. You can purchase a copy here on Amazon.

12/9/19

The Culpeper Minutemen Flag: The History of the Banner Flown by a Militia of Patriots

Ammo.com

The Culpeper Minutemen Flag: The History of the Banner Flown by a Militia of PatriotsThe Culpeper Flag is often mistaken as a modern variation of the iconic “Don’t Tread On Me” Gadsden Flag – and rightly so. What many don’t know is that the Culpeper Flag was inspired by its Gadsden counterpart, and both have become touchstones of the Second Amendment Movement.

While remarkably similar to its Gadsden relative, the flag of the Culpeper Minutemen is arguably cooler – and significantly more obscure. While it has the same coiled rattlesnake and “Don’t Tread on Me” legend, the Culpeper Flag is white, it carries the additional motto “Liberty or Death,” and when historically correct, a banner bearing the name of the Culpeper Minutemen.

The rattlesnake had been a symbol of American patriotism since the time of the French and Indians Wars. In 1751, Benjamin Franklin wrote an editorial satirically proposing that, in return for boatloads of convicts being shipped to the American Colonies, that the Colonies should return the favor by shipping back a boat filled with rattlesnakes to be dispersed. Three years later in 1754, Franklin published his famous “Join or Die” comic. This early symbol of American unity urged colonists in Albany to join the collective defense of the American Colonies during the French and Indian Wars. The rattlesnake symbol once again became a popular mascot of American unity after the Stamp Act.

The Origins of the Culpeper Militia

The Culpeper Minutemen were formed on July 17, 1775, in a district created by the Third Virginia Convention. This district consisted of the Orange, Fauquier and the titular Culpeper counties. In September of that year, 200 men were recruited for four companies of 50 men from Culpeper and Fauquier, with an additional 100 men for two companies from Orange. By order of the District Committee of Safety, the Culpeper Minutemen met under a large oak tree in a large field currently part of Yowell Meadow Park in Culpeper, Virginia.

When the Revolutionary War came, the Culpeper Minutemen chose the Patriot side. It was at this time that they also adopted their standard-bearer that can be seen adorning pickup trucks of modern-day patriots from sea to shining sea. Their first action during the American Revolution was to defend Virginia capital Williamsburg after the Royal Governor, John Murray, Lord Dunmore, confiscated the gunpowder.

The Culpeper Boys Arrive in Williamsburg

They cut quite a sight arriving in the aristocratic capital, wearing heavy linen shirts dyed the color of the local foliage and carrying tomahawks and knives for scalping. Philip Slaughter, who served with the Culpeper boys as a 16-year-old, said that the colonists looked at them much as they might the Indians themselves. The Culpeper Minutemen, however, were no roughnecks, but a disciplined and orderly squad who quickly earned the respect of their new charges.

During the Revolutionary War, the area where the Culpeper boys were organized was still the frontier. So they were often called to more populated and settled areas. For example, the Culpeper Minutemen fought in Hampton when the British tried to land troops there, at the request of the local authorities. The Culpeper Militia successfully mounted an attack on the arriving ships, shooting the men who were manning the cannons and guns on the ship, preventing the British from landing.

The Battle of Great Bridge

The Culpeper Minutemen were also involved in the December 1775 Battle of Great Bridge, which is one of the places where historians agree that their flag was carried in battle. Here they met the troops of their old enemy Dunmore. This was an American rout. It marked the final gasp of colonial power in Virginia.

While it doesn’t get as much attention in history books, the situation in Revolutionary Virginia was arguably as tense as it was in Revolutionary Massachusetts. Dunmore had dismissed the colonial assembly, the House of Burgesses, as well as the aforementioned confiscation of gunpowder. The gunpowder was confiscated without incident, but Dunmore feared for his life and fled the colonial capital, placing his family on a Royal Navy ship in the harbor.

In October, Dunmore had finally gained enough military support among Loyalists in the colony to begin military operations. This included attacks on the local civilian populations in an attempt to confiscate military materials that might be used by the rebels. On November 7, Dunmore declared martial law and even went so far as to offer emancipation to all slaves willing to fight in the British Army. Indeed, he was able to raise an entire regiment to that effect.

The local forces numbered a scant 400. However, reinforcements from neighboring areas, including the Culpeper boys, helped to balloon this number. Dunmore, however, had old intelligence that left the numbers at the original 400. The battle ended with the British forces spiking their guns to avoid capture by the Revolutionary forces.

When all was said and done, there were 62 British casualties by British count and 102 by the count of the rebels. The rebels had only a single casualty – a slight thumb wound. The Virginians considered this to be their Bunker Hill. The Patriots refused to allow the overcrowded ships (where the Tories sought refuge) to be resupplied, which resulted in the bombardment of Norfolk and its looting and destruction by rebels. Dunmore, considered the greatest threat to the Revolution by many senior rebel officers, was eventually forced out of Virginia entirely in August 1776.

Reports indicated that the British were highly intimidated by the reputation of the frontiersmen who would be arriving at the battle. This undoubtedly provided them with a psychological advantage in what was an important battle.

The Death and Resurrection of the Culpeper Minutemen

The Committee of Safety ordered the group to disband in January 1776, however, almost all of the Culpeper boys kept on fighting – either as Continental militiamen or underneath senior officers such as Daniel Morgan.

The fourth Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, John Marshall, was one of the first Culpeper boys.

When the War Between the States came, the Culpeper Minutemen were reconstituted under the old oak tree where they first organized generations prior. This was in 1860, and they once again carried the same flag as their forefathers. They were eventually integrated into the regular army of the Confederate States of America, as part of Company B of the 13th Virginia Infantry, where they served for the duration of the Civil War.

The Minutemen came together again during the Spanish-American War but were never activated. During World War I, the Culpeper boys organized once again, this time under the auspices of the 116th Infantry. The modern-day Alpha Company Detachment, 2nd Regiment of the Virginia Defense Force, considers themselves to be a descendent of the Culpeper Minutemen, probably with their roots in the First World War.

While many of the Revolutionary War flags flown by Patriots today have dubious origins, the Culpeper Flag is one of the few banners that we know for certain was flown by Patriots during the Revolutionary period. It also offers a succinct statement of the values of the American nation: Liberty or Death – and a stern warning to those who would threaten our liberty.

12/7/19

USMCA “Trade Agreement”, the North American Union, an Article V convention, and Red Flag Laws: Connecting the Dots

By: Publius Huldah

The Globalists have long been in the process of setting up a dictatorial and totalitarian oligarchy over the United States.  Now they are putting the last pieces in place.  That is what is behind the pushes for the USMCA “Trade Agreement”, an Article V convention, and red-flag and other laws to disarm the American People.  The Globalists want to move the United States into the North American Union.

USMCA “Trade Agreement”

The USMCA “Trade Agreement” is, in reality, a Transfer of Sovereignty Agreement.  It provides for the economic and financial integration of Canada, the United States, and Mexico.   In addition to putting the three countries under global regulation of a host of issues such as patents, environmental regulation, labor, immigration policy, prohibition of discriminatory practices respecting sexual preferences and “gender identity” in the workplaces; 1 it puts the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in control of our economy and binds us to submit to an international monetary system which is to be administered and enforced (at least initially) by the IMF and which will replace our collapsing Federal Reserve system.2

Every word, clause, sentence, paragraph, page, chapter, and appendix of the USMCA “Trade Agreement” is in blatant violation of our Declaration of Independence and Constitution.

North American Union

The North American Union brings about the political integration of Canada, the United States, and Mexico.  The Task Force Report on Building a North American Community [link] sponsored by The Council on Foreign Relations provides for (among other horrors):

  • increasing the “cooperation and interoperability among and between the law enforcement agencies and militaries.” The Report thus indicates that the plan is to combine the functions of law enforcement and the militaries of the three countries, so as to create a militarized police force consisting of Canadians, Mexicans, and Americans (pages 10-12). 3
  • a North American Advisory Council, with members appointed by Canada, the United States, and Mexico, to staggered multiyear terms to “provide a public voice for North America”; and a “North American Inter-Parliamentary Group” which will have bilateral meetings every other year; and a trinational interparliamentary group to meet in the alternating year (pages 31-32).

To merge the functions of our police and military and combine it with those of Canada and Mexico; 4 and to permit a Parliament to be set up over and above the United States, is altogether repugnant to our existing Constitution.  But this is what the Globalists and the Political Elite of both parties want.  Before they can impose it on us, they need to get a new Constitution for the United States.

An Article V Convention

And that’s the purpose of an Article V convention – to get a new constitution for this Country which legalizes the USMCA “Trade Agreement” and transforms the United States from a sovereign nation to a member state of the North American Union.

But Americans don’t want another constitution, and they don’t want to be moved into the North American Union.

So!  Some of those pushing for an Article V convention, such as the “Convention of States Project” (COS) are marketing a convention to appeal to conservatives.  COS and their allies such as Mark Levin claim to be for limited government and say they want a convention to get amendments to “limit the power and jurisdiction of the federal government”.  Sadly, those who don’t know that our Constitution already limits the power and jurisdiction of the federal government to a tiny handful of enumerated powers [they are listed on this one-page Chart] fall for the marketing.5

But some of those pushing for an Article V convention, and certainly those financing the push for a convention, 6 actually do intend to “limit the power and jurisdiction of the federal government”; and they intend to do it by transferring the powers our Constitution delegates to the federal government (plus the powers reserved to the States or the People) to the global government which they are setting up over us.7

This Flyer shows why Delegates to an Article V convention (called for the ostensible purpose of proposing amendments to our existing Constitution) have the right and power to ignore their instructions and impose a new Constitution which puts us under a completely new Form of government – such as the North American Union.  

Red flag Laws & Gun Confiscation

When Americans finally see what has been done and how they have been deceived, they will be angry.  That’s why they must be disarmed now.  But all federal gun control laws for the Country at Large are unconstitutional as outside the scope of powers granted to Congress; as in violation of Article I, §8, clauses 15 & 16; and as in violation of the Second Amendment.  And any pretended State law which contradicts its State Constitution or which interferes with Congress’ power (granted by Art. I, §8, cl. 16) to “organize, arm, and discipline, the Militia”, is also unconstitutional [link].  

Red flag laws also violate the privileges and immunities clause of Article IV, §2; and the due process clauses of the 5th Amendment and §1 of the 14th Amendment. US Senator Marco Rubio’s (Fla.) malignant red flag law [link] appropriates a total of $100 Million to pay to States and Indian Tribes which pass the red flag legislation set forth in Rubio’s bill.

And Trump says respecting red flag laws, “Take the guns first, go through due process second.” [link].

Stop the Globalists: Oppose the USMCA “Trade Agreement” and an Article V Convention

While the Trump Administration hammers the Globalists’ nails into our coffin, his trusting supporters censor criticism of the USMCA “Trade Agreement” – even though the Agreement is so long and incorporates so many other Agreements it is unlikely that any of them (including Trump) have read it.

And demagogues in the pay of Globalists have convinced constitutionally illiterate Americans that the solution to all our problems is to get an Article V convention.

Endnotes:

1 Christian Gomez: USMCA and the Quest for a North American Union & What’s Really in the USMCA?  Publius Huldah: The USMCA “Trade Agreement” violates our Constitution and sets up Global Government.

2 Publius Huldah: So You Think Trump Wants To Get Rid Of The Fed?

3 Meanwhile, the UN is building a global military & police force.  See “United Nations Peacekeeping” [link] and think of the ramifications of such a militarized global police force.  Who will be able to resist?

4 Mexico’s culture is notoriously criminal.  If we permit Globalists to get an Article V convention and a new Constitution which moves the United States into the North American Union, you can expect to see militarized Mexican police operating within our [former] Country.  And soon, they will be wearing blue helmets.

5 It is possible that Mark Levin and the hirelings promoting a convention (such as Mark Meckler, 6 Tom Coburn [link], and Jim DeMint [link]) don’t know what the actual agenda is.  And it is almost certain that COS’s constitutionally illiterate celebrity endorsers and lemmings don’t know.  People who don’t know that our Constitution already limits the federal government to a tiny handful of enumerated powers and that our problems are caused by ignoring the Constitution we have are easily deceived by the ridiculous claim that we must amend our Constitution to make the federal government obey it.

Our Framers always understood that the purpose of an Article V Convention is to get a new Constitution [link].  This is why James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, and four US Supreme Court Justices, among others, warned against it [link].

6 It is the Globalists, primarily the Kochs and George Soros, who are funding the push for an Article V convention.  See, e.g.,

  • Kochs Bankroll Move to Rewrite the Constitution [link].
  • George Soros assault on U.S. Constitution [link]
  • Mark Meckler is president of “Citizens for Self-Governance” which launched the “Convention of States Project”. This website discusses funding for Citizens for Self-Governance.
  • Koch brothers from Conservapedia [link]

7 The transfer of power from our federal government to global government by means of the USMCA “Trade Agreement” is illustrated here.

12/3/19

Did Pelosi, Schiff and Nadler Read Federalist No. 65?

By: Denise Simon | Founders Code

While Nancy Pelosi has been ‘prayerful’ during this impeachment inquiry process, Congressman Adam Schiff, HPSCI Chairman has been touting the Constitution and poor old Congressman Jerry Nadler, Chairman of the House Judiciary remains lost as he was forced to give up control of the impeachment process after the stupid hearing with Corey Lewandowski. Meanwhile…

Whitaker will testify before House panel after tense back ...

Nadler, a lawyer himself, has previously railed against impeachment during the Clinton scandal, has invited 3 Constitutional lawyers as witnesses for his first impeachment hearing and the Republicans were only granted 1 witness. Seems Nadler needs several law classes and he and the others meaning Pelosi and Schiff should actually read Federalist No. 66. More on that later.

Nadler has called: Noah Feldman, a Harvard Law professor. His position on impeachment and argument is that President Trump can be impeached even without evidence of a crime. He published an article in The New Yorker in May of 2017 stating his argument which is all the actions of the president are a pattern and can be collectively used in sum as impeachable. Feldman has also called for a Special Counsel to be assigned to investigate Rudy Giuliani and AG William Barr.

Another Nadler witness is Pamela Karlan, a law professor at Stanford. Her concentration including being on the faculty at Stanford is voting rights and political processes. Karlan was on the Obama shortlist to be a Supreme Court Justice while her resume includes being an attorney for the NAACP Legal Defense Fund and was a commissioner on the California Fair Political Practices Commission. Outside of being known as snarky, she often quotes poetry in her classes. Karlan was one of the 42 legal scholars that signed a letter before Trump took office urging him to change his views on several issues and was very critical of his rhetoric.

The last Nadler witness is Michael Gerhardt, a law professor at the University of North Carolina. Gerhardt penned an article in the Atlantic stating that impeachment proceedings are fully legitimate. Gerhardt is also a CNN legal analyst and was once the deputy media director for Al Gore’s senate campaign. Further, Gerhardt counseled Clinton on judicial selections and was Special Counsel to Senator Patrick Leahy on the nominations to the Supreme Court of Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor.

The only witness the Republicans were allowed to invite was Democrat and George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley. Turley appears to be an okay feller when it comes to Constitutional law. He has provided testimony often on The Hill. He is often the ‘go-to’ person for being a Constitutional originalist and protector of separation of powers within government. Turley has called out the Democrats several times including over the Russia investigation. In a recent interview, Turley had this summary on the impeachment:

The fact is I think that this is the – well certainly the shortest investigation, it’s certainly the thinnest evidentiary record, and it’s the narrowest impeachment ever to go to the Senate, if they were to go on this record….did they prove something was contemptible or impeachable? Contemptible is not synonymous with impeachable. The President does set policy. They have three conversations, two of them directly, one with Senator Johnson, one with Ambassador Sondland, where Trump denies a quid pro quo….so you have a conflicted record. And the question is what do you need to remove a sitting president?…

Whether this is intentional or not, it seems designed to fail in the Senate.

Meanwhile back to Federalist No. 65:

Hamilton argued that the Senate was the body to hold the impeachment trial and not the Supreme Court where evidence of misconduct of public men was a violation of public trust, meaning that society is a victim of that violation. That misconduct would contain injuries to society itself. In Federalist No. 66, Hamilton went on to further argue that the impeachment proceedings would seldom fail to agitate the passion of the whole community and divide parties into less friendly factions stating it would become a condition and test of political strengths between warring political tribes.

It is no wonder that President Trump reminds the nation often of his accomplishments as they are hardly injurious to society, in fact just the opposite.

11/30/19

Celebrating the Birthday of Oliver Winchester

By: Alex | Ammo.com

Oliver Winchester was born in Boston, on November 30, 1810. He started his career with a clothing company based out of New York City and New Haven, Connecticut. After successfully running this aspect of his business, Winchester began to look for new opportunities. Horace Smith and Daniel Wesson (yes, that “Smith & Wesson” who later formed the Smith & Wesson Revolver Company) acquired and improved a rifle design with the help of shop foreman, Benjamin Tyler Henry. Talk about a genius cluster! In 1855, they began to manufacture what would be known as the “Volcanic” lever-action rifle. The company would become incorporated as the Volcanic Repeating Arms Company; its largest stockholder was Oliver Winchester.

After limited success with this new rifle, Winchester seized the opportunity to take control over the failing company and renamed it the New Haven Arms Company. Although initial returns were slow, Benjamin Henry, the company’s leading engineer, improved the Volcanic repeating rifle’s design by enlarging the frame and magazine to accommodate the all-new brass-cased .44 caliber cartridge. This ingenuity put the company on the map, and in 1860, the patent for the infamous Henry rifle was issued. The next six years of production produced over 12,000 Henry, many of which were used in the Civil War. In the following months, Benjamin Henry, who was angered over what he believed was inadequate compensation, filed a lawsuit for ownership of the company. Oliver Winchester hastily reorganized the company as the Winchester Repeating Arms Company to circumvent this issue.

The Model 1866 soon rolled out as the first Winchester rifle. Based on the Henry rifle, it came with an improved magazine and a wooden forend. In the following years, larger caliber rifles such as the infamous Model 1873, “The Gun That Won The West”, brought more notoriety and foundation to the company. Although Mr. Winchester would miss the opportunity to see his company’s greatest achievements; he passed away in December of 1880.

Winchester Repeating Arms Company’s collaboration with John Browning brought about much success with a host of shotguns, including the still produced Model 1885. The turn of the 20th century hosted a series of new arms developments, many from the top engineer at the time, T.C. Johnson. But it was the start of the First World War that set development and production requirements into full force. The company became a major producer of the .30-06 M1917 Enfield rifle for the United States military and worked once more with Browning to develop the .50 caliber BMG.

During the war, the company borrowed heavily to finance the expansion. In an attempt to pay down its debt following the war’s end, they used their surplus production capacity to manufacture consumer goods such as kitchen knives, roller skates, and refrigerators. The strategy was a failure, and the Great Depression sent the company into bankruptcy. John M. Olin’s Western Cartridge Company purchased the Winchester Repeating Arms Company at auction in 1931, with plans to restore the brand to its former glory. The Second World War helped this cause tremendously as Winchester produced the U.S. M1 Carbine and the M1 Garand rifle during this time period.

Over the following decades, the Olin Winchester-Western division struggled with rising labor costs and other companies’ cast-and-stamped production methods. By 1980, Olin decided to sell the company back to its employees, which re-incorporated as the U.S. Repeating Arms Company. Olin retained the Winchester ammunition business. U.S. Repeating Arms went bankrupt in 1989, and after a number of sellouts to foreign holdings companies, the New Haven plant closed its doors on January 16, 2006, after 140 years of producing rifles and shotguns.

In August of 2006, Olin Corporation, owner of Winchester trademarks, entered a new license deal with Browning to make Winchester brand rifles and shotguns once again. The Model 1885, Model 1892, and Model 1886 are all produced by Miroku Corporation of Japan, then imported to the U.S. by Browning. Currently, Fabrique Nationale d’Herstal (FN) makes the remainder of Winchester’s rifle and shotgun lineup in various locations around Europe.

Winchester-branded ammunition continues to be produced by the Olin Corporation. Some of the most successful cartridges ever invented have been under the Winchester name: the .44-40 WCF, the .30-30 WCF, the .32 Winchester Special, the .50 BMG, the .270 Winchester, the .308 Winchester (the commercial version of the 7.62x51mm NATO), the .243 Winchester, the .22 WMR (aka the .22 Magnum), and the .300 Winchester Magnum. In North America, the .30-30 and .308 Winchester are some of the best selling cartridges in firearm history.

Through its history, the Winchester name has experienced great successes and significant failures; but it’s truly an important story to know in the realm of firearms. Here’s to the man that started it all, happy birthday to Mr. Oliver Winchester.

11/27/19

Thanksgiving: The Forgotten History of America’s Thanksgiving and What It Commemorates

Ammo.com

Thanksgiving: The Forgotten History of America's Thanksgiving and What It CommemoratesThanksgiving is the oldest national holiday in the United States. However, it’s observation is not a continuous presence in American history. While the celebration of Thanksgiving predates even the founding of the nation, it was proclaimed by George Washington, then ignored by Thomas Jefferson. From then on, it was sporadically observed until Abraham Lincoln, who once again introduced a National Day of Prayer and Thanksgiving to the United States.

Indeed, it was Lincoln who set the day as the last Thursday in November. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt changed the day between 1939 and 1941, which was highly controversial. The days were called “Franksgiving.” Roosevelt changed the date because retailers communicated to him through the Retail Dry Goods Association and the Secretary of Commerce, that the late date of Thanksgiving that year (the last day of November) might negatively impact retail sales. It was considered bad form to put up Christmas decorations or put on Christmas sales before Thanksgiving.

If only we still lived in such times.

In 1942, Congress set Thanksgiving as the fourth Thursday of the month, and here it has stood since then.

The Early Days of Thanksgiving

Harvest feasts date back centuries, with the earliest “thanksgiving” celebrations in the New World dating to the 16th Century with the French and the Spanish. The Commonwealth of Virginia had regular celebrations of this type dating back to 1607. The first permanent settlement, Jamestown, Virginia, had a thanksgiving celebration in the year of its founding, 1610.

Of course, anytime someone says “Thanksgiving,” one immediately thinks of the Pilgrims. “Thanksgiving” as we know it is generally dated back to when the Pilgrims first celebrated it in 1621. This was in response to a successful harvest, however, it was not the first of a consistent celebration. The Pilgrims celebrated this only sporadically.

No one is entirely sure when the Thanksgiving celebration took place. There was a three-day celebration following their harvest, sometime between September 21 and November 11, with the Feast of Michaelmas (September 29) being the most likely date. We do, however, know that all 50 surviving Mayflower passengers were there, as well as 90 Native Americans. The feast was cooked primarily by four women, all of whom were on the Mayflower. Two years later, in 1623, following another boat of colonists arriving, the first civil (not religious) Thanksgiving took place in July.

The Revolution to the Civil War

The day of national Thanksgiving jumped around until the founding of the nation. During the late Colonial period, the Continental Congress merely recommended the day be celebrated by the various colonies. Samuel Adams drafted the first national proclamation, issued in 1777 – something to remember when you tip back one of his beers while watching the game. Revolutionary Commander General George Washington set the date in December of that year to celebrate early revolutionary victories.

In 1789, President George Washington would proclaim November 26, 1789, to be a National Day of Prayer and Thanksgiving. This day also provides the roots for America’s National Day of Prayer. In 1795, Thanksgiving was celebrated, again by presidential proclamation, on February 19. President John Adams continued the tradition in 1798 and 1799. The tradition was undone by deist and skeptic President Thomas Jefferson. President James Madison revived the tradition in 1814, but it remained sporadic until the Civil War. Many governors proclaimed celebrations statewide.

In November 1863, however, President Lincoln made the celebration national again. He was inspired by an editorial series written by “Mary Had a Little Lamb” author Sarah Josepha Hale. Secretary of State William H. Seward wrote the proclamation. During this period, traditions were regional and some of the food is decidedly not what we would consider to be traditional Thanksgiving fare today (pigeon pie, for example).

Franksgiving

Franksgiving is one of those things like the court-packing plan that made FDR’s opponents squeal with laughter. FDR’s moving of the date of Thanksgiving caused his opponent in the previous election, Alf Landon, to compare him to Hitler. James Frasier, chairman of the Plymouth, Massachusetts board of selectmen heartily disapproved of the change.

The change caused a number of problems, not least of all holiday travel plans. Football teams around the nation played before empty stadiums because they couldn’t change their schedule. Many games were canceled. In what is a familiar scenario to anyone who has followed 21st-century politics, Democrats narrowly supported Franksgiving (52 to 48), Republicans widely despised it (79 to 21) and most of America didn’t like it (62 to 38).

All told, 23 states and the District of Columbia recognized the new date, while 22 preferred the traditional date. The remaining three (Colorado, Texas, and Mississippi) went with both dates, meaning there was plenty of time off for everyone. In 1940, 32 states and the nation’s capital went with Franksgiving, while the remaining 16 opted for what was called “Republican Thanksgiving.”

A report from the Department of Commerce issued in 1941, found that there was no difference in retail sales due to the day of the month. Indeed, barely more than a third of all retailers even observed Franksgiving. What’s more, only two out of every seven Thanksgivings would fall on a fifth Thursday rather than a fourth. Still, a joint resolution of Congress, signed into law by President Roosevelt, permanently moved the date to the fourth Thursday, where it has stood ever since. Most states concurred, and while revelry was on the back burner thanks to the war, Thanksgiving in its final form took root by 1945.

If you ever find yourself watching the Merrie Melodies cartoon Holiday Highlights, you’ll notice a reference to two different Thanksgivings – one for Republicans and one for Democrats – that will now make sense to you.

Texas was the last state to observe the traditional “last Thursday” Thanksgiving in 1956.

Thanksgiving Haters

While it has its roots in European harvest festivals, there is perhaps no more quintessentially American holiday than Thanksgiving. Americans eat more food this day than they will any other day of the year, including the Fourth of July and Christmas Day. Unsurprisingly, there are people who think that the celebration of Thanksgiving is shameful and should be abandoned.

Both liberal college professors and some Native American activists believe the traditional story of Thanksgiving has been whitewashed by conquerors. They believe in replacing the day with a National Day of Atonement and fasting. Other prominent Native Americans such as Tim Giago, who founded the Native American Journalists Organization, believe that the celebration of Thanksgiving is a synthesis of both European and Native American traditions and is, as such, uniquely American.

The rest of us, however, will enjoy stuffing ourselves with turkey, slipping into a tryptophan coma, and waking up just in time to catch the big game or the parade. Real Americans, as it turns out, would much rather enjoy a day off than complain.