• Articles

    Reconstruction and 1876: Crash Course US History #22

    Episode 21: Reconstruction Hi, I’m John Green, this is Crash Course U.S. History and huzzah! The Civil War is over! The slaves are free! Huzzah! That one hit me in the head? It’s very dangerous, Crash Course. So when you say, “Don’t aim at a person,” that includes myself? The roller coaster only goes up from here, my friends. Huzzah! Mr. Green, Mr. Green, what about the epic failure of Reconstruction? Oh, right. Stupid Reconstruction always ruining everything intro So after the Civil War ended, the United States had to reintegrate both a formerly slave population and a formerly rebellious population back into the country, which is a challenge that…

  • Executive Power & the Louisiana Purchase
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    Executive Power & the Louisiana Purchase

    I think without a doubt, the Louisiana Purchase is one of the great turning points in American history. It’s hard to imagine the country succeeding the way it has without purchasing Louisiana. The Louisiana Purchase was the result of a treaty negotiated by Robert Livingston and James Monroe with, ah, Napoleon of France that gave the United States possession of a swath of territory that would cause us to double in size for $15,000,000, about three cents an acre. It was originally supposed to be the Louisiana Purchase because that’s all that Thomas Jefferson wanted, but the French, for a variety of reasons, offered this almost literally incredible deal. One…

  • Patrick Henry on Making America “Great”
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    Patrick Henry on Making America “Great”

    Patrick Henry did not want to make America “great.” A lot of people today seem to think the greatness of a country is in the size and scope of its government. They’ll point to the things it provides, like healthcare, social programs and other various services. Or they’ll talk about its military power and its place on the world stage. It wasn’t any different during America’s founding. After the Revolution, some people wanted to create a strong, centralized government so America could “be great.” During the Virginia Ratifying Convention, Patrick Henry was afraid the United States would end up with a powerful, consolidated National government, and that it would overwhelm…

  • The Bill of Rights and Other Amendments
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    The Bill of Rights and Other Amendments

    As our country has grown and changed over time, the Constitution has also needed to change. When the Constitution was written in 1787, some representatives believed that it did not strongly protect the rights of the people. So, a few years later, Congress agreed to make important changes to the Constitution. Changes to the Constitution are called amendments. In 1791 Congress added ten important amendments. These ten amendments are called the Bill of Rights. The Bill of Rights defines some basic rights of people in the U.S. and limits government power. The First Amendment of the Bill of Rights is very important. The First Amendment protects some of the most…

  • [Zetetic Astronomy] (7) Thoughts upon Tides and the Constitution of the Earth
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    [Zetetic Astronomy] (7) Thoughts upon Tides and the Constitution of the Earth

    Thoughts upon Tides and the Constitution of the Earth The doctrine of the Earth’s rotundity being fallacious, all ideas of “centre of attraction of gravitation,” “mutual attraction of Earth and Moon,” &c., &c., must be given up; and the cause of tides in the ocean must be sought for in another direction. It is certain that there is a constant pressure of the “atmosphere upon the surface of the Earth and ocean”. This is proved by ordinary barometrical observations, many Pneumatic experiments, and by the fact that during the most fearful storms at sea the surface only is disturbed; at the depth of a hundred feet the water is always…

  • New Federalism: Returning Power to the People
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    New Federalism: Returning Power to the People

    Ladies and gentlemen, good morning. My name is Sandy Quinn and I’m President of the Richard Nixon Foundation, and it’s my honor and delight to welcome you. This is our 13th Richard Nixon Legacy Forum. But before we start, I want to acknowledge the presence of a long time and good time friend of the Foundation and of the Nixon Library, an honorary citizen of Orange County, Sir Elton Griffin. Sir Elton? Sir Elton Griffith comes to us from England, Cambridge, and Yale. He served in just about every position in the British government, including being a member of Parliament. And he’s very active in world affairs council both locally…

  • The Constitution: Its Fate Depends on Civic Leaders
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    The Constitution: Its Fate Depends on Civic Leaders

    [John Hallwas Liberal Arts Lecture 2008] -The Constitution It’s Fate Depends On Civic Leaders- These are politically contentious times for the American people and perhaps even threatening times for our Democracy as Liberals and Conservatives alike reveal their deep anxiety about our future and the cert that we need to live up to our cherished ideals. It is not surprising that our Constitution, which enshrines those ideals and protects our liberties has been at the center of increasingly pointed and strident commentary books like Sanford Levinson’s [Our Undemocratic Constitution] and Larry J. Sabato’s [A More Perfect Constitution] both of which appeared this year argue for significant revision as many of…

  • Free Thoughts, Ep. 204: Lessons from the Anti-Federalists (with William J. Watkins, Jr.)
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    Free Thoughts, Ep. 204: Lessons from the Anti-Federalists (with William J. Watkins, Jr.)

    Trevor Burrus: Welcome to Free Thoughts. I’m Trevor Burrus. Aaron Powell: And I’m Aaron Powell. Trevor Burrus: Joining us today is William J. Watkins, Jr., Research Fellow at Independent Institute in California and Former Prosecutor and Defense Attorney who has practiced in various state and federal courts. He is the author of Crossroads for Liberty: Recovering the Anti-Federalist Values of America’s First Constitution. Welcome to Free Thoughts, Bill. William J. Watkins, Jr.: Guys, thank you for having [00:00:30] me. Great to be here. Trevor Burrus: The subtitle of your book says America’s First Constitution. I assume you’re referring to the Articles of Confederation? William J. Watkins, Jr.: That would be…

  • Executive Power under the Constitution
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    Executive Power under the Constitution

    People often say they want a strong president who can get things done. But that’s pretty much the exact opposite of what the founding fathers set up under the Constitution. Because of their experience with colonial governors and the who ruled with almost complete and total authority, the Founding generation was determined to limit the power of the executive branch. They certainly didn’t want a president who could make law with the stroke of a pen. As Revolutionary War general John Sullivan put it, “I can by no means consent to lodging too much power in the hands of one person.” So to ensure the president wouldn’t rule over the…

  • Rights are not Gifts from Government
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    Rights are not Gifts from Government

    Right aren’t gifts from government. Every-so-often, somebody tells us that “Non-citizens don’t have rights in America.” But this shows a complete misunderstanding of where rights come from. It implies that rights come from government. To say that non citizens have no rights is absurd. You don’t get rights because you were born inside some arbitrarily-drawn border. Some people were simply lucky to be born in an area where government violates their rights less than in other areas. Fact: Every person on Earth was born with the same natural rights. Thomas Jefferson alluded to this in the Declaration of Independence. He wrote: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all…