Category Archives: History Articles

Why I admire President Truman

I’m not a Democrat or a Republican. I vote for causes, not political parties.

Okay. Where do I begin?

Harry met his wife in Sunday school and fell in love with her. He remained faithful to her all his life. As a young man, Harry failed at many professions. He failed, failed, failed. (Funny, writers face similar challenges.) Anyway, Harry never gave up. If he failed at something, he tried something else.

So what was Harry good at?

He didn’t do too badly at politics; but how did this Unknown become Vice President of the United States?

It was a long shot. FDR needed a running mate. At that time, the vice presidential candidate was chosen by their party, but there was a split among the liberal and conservative Democrats. To unite the party, the Democrats picked an unknown from Missouri.

When FDR died suddenly, Harry had big shoes to fill.

After the war ended in Europe, Harry visited burned out European cities and saw all the displaced men, women, and children. It devastated him. He wanted the war in the Pacific to end as quickly as possible to save American lives.

It’s foolish when people compare the attack on Pearl Harbor to dropping the bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. There is no comparison without stating the facts:

  1. The Japanese were a ruthless, fearless foe. It was honorable to die for their country. They didn’t know the meaning of defeat. In this way, they are similar to ISIS and Al Qaeda.
  2. Rather than be captured, Japanese soldiers would smile; then they blow themselves up with their own grenades.
  3. On the March to Bataan, the Japanese made American soldiers who had fallen behind dig their own graves before they shot them.
  4. The Japanese beat female inmates to death or they set them on fire for trying to smuggle in food and medicine to save their children in Japanese prison camps.
  5. The Japanese raped and killed Chinese women; they had beheading contests to kill Chinese men, and they made the Chinese dig their own graves before they buried them alive.
  6. Filipino women were forced into the sex trade to provide “comfort” for Japanese soldiers. I guess killing all those people wore them out.

President Truman knew who he was dealing with, and he ordered the Japanese to surrender or face sure and utter destruction. When they didn’t, he dropped the bomb, and he never regretted doing so.

What does President Obama do? Instead of executing war criminals, spies, and terrorists as FDR did, he frees the very worst from Guantanamo Bay, and he refuses to call the enemy radical Islam.

Ever since America left Iraq, the world has become unstable, allowing ISIS to fill the void America left behind. In short, terrorism has spread across the globe, which has endangered America and our allies.

Bottom line: We need another President Truman.

 

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The Bloody Roman Games: How They Relate To Us Today

There’s a distinction between the Greek games and the Roman games. The Greek games are still with us.They’re called the Painted WEBOlympics. The Romans poked fun at the Greek games. Athletics was considered exhibitionism. Poetry was also recited, and mocked by the Romans. The Roman games featured gladiator fights and sea battles. Yes, the Coliseum was flooded for mock ship battles.

Not all gladiator fights resulted in death. Most did not. If a gladiator survived for 3 years, he was freed. Of course, gladiators were popular with the ladies. Romans loved blood and gore. A riot broke out in the amphitheater in Pompeii. After numerous people were killed, the Roman Senate shut down the games for 10 years.

Today, America has WWE, one of the top-rated shows in our country. We know the violence is phony, but the crowd loves it. The wrestlers are modern-day gladiators: giant muscles, great physiques. The women wrestlers tear out each other’s hair and body slam each other. In my day, we had the Roller Derby. They were pretty tough broads. The Amazon-looking women always picked on the gorgeous women. We knew it was phony and loved it.

We also have violent movies. Cars blow up. People blow up. There is blood and gore. I recently watched a movie about Lizzie Borden. The movie had so much violence, it distracted me from the storyline. Anything that doesn’t add to the story or contribute to character must be cut. Either the director didn’t know what he was doing, or he had a penchant for violence. I covered my face during certain scenes. I rated the movie one star.

Then there is Ferguson, Missouri. This is the second George Zimmerman case. With George, the Media tried to make it a white-against-black crime, but the Media got it wrong. Old George was Hispanic. The Media didn’t care. They wanted ratings. Big ratings make them a lot of money to run their shows. The bigger the ratings, the more money they charge for air time. Years ago, a sixty-second commercial on All My Children cost $25,000. If the Media didn’t follow so-called “civil rights” leaders, there would be no story. After all, thousands of murders take place each day, but the Media focuses on certain stories to play them up for ratings. After Ferguson, there will be a second Ferguson, and a third Ferguson. Mark my words.

Throughout history, violence gets big ratings. If the Media can incite more violence by the way they cover stories, they will. Watch for inflammatory words like “unarmed teenager, another Emmett Till.” On the other side, “He looked like a demon.” Words have power: the power of life and death. You can tell a man by his words. Do political leaders and religious leaders use words that promote peace and unity? Or do they incite death and destruction?

Years ago, a TWA flight was hijacked by terrorists. A passenger was killed before other passengers. A terrorist wanted to kill another passenger, but a brave flight attendant interceded for him and saved his life with “calming words.” In so doing, she put her own life at risk, but she didn’t care. She was a hero. Thank God for people like her.

Where are the American leaders that promote peace and unity? After all, we’re not living in Roman times. Or are we?

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Eugenics in America

In my novel Julianna’s Secret, the evil Julian DeSantis is a member of the Race Improvement Society. What exactly does that mean?

Julianna and Nils

Julianna and Nils

Well, every country has its good and bad history. America has more good than bad, though some people believe it has all bad. That’s nonsense.

One stain on American history is the eugenics movement, which has its origin in Great Britain. Francis Galton, the cousin of Charles Darwin, a liberal scientist of many fields, believed that moral traits and intelligence was passed on through genes. He was so influential his policies influenced America and many other nations. Margaret Sanger, the founder of Planned Parenthood, was one of his early supporters.

So why was eugenics popular in the early 1900s?

One answer: fear. Eastern Europeans flooded into America. They had large families, and they were largely uneducated, unskilled workers; whereas, other waves of European immigrants were educated and from Anglo cultures. This put fear in the American ruling classes. White Anglo-Americans wanted to keep their position of power. They first responded by closing America’s borders to the mentally ill and to people with diseases. The same holds true today: Close America’s borders to unskilled workers and to the disease-ridden. However, these European immigrants came to America legally.

The next step, I’m sorry to say, was America practiced sterilization on “lowlifes,” that being white trash, blacks, idiots, rapists, the mentally ill, alcoholics, perverts, and so on. Eugenics can be found in numerous periodicals. Don’t take my word for it. Research it yourself. Margaret Sanger, as well as many prominent doctors and scientists supported bans on immigration and forced sterilization of people. Some physicians even killed defective newborns without the consent of their parents. Race Improvement Societies were formed to promote “good breeding.” They held beautiful baby contests.

The next step in the eugenics movement was to “euthanize” patients with poison gas. By this time, eugenics started to fall out of favor in most of America, but forced sterilization was still practiced in California, North Carolina, and Virginia into the 1960s and 1970s.

Are you shocked? I certainly was.

Unfortunately, Hitler and the Nazis practiced these horrible policies. If Hitler sterilized and euthanized his own people—mainly the mentally retarded and children with birth defects—is it any wonder that he murdered Jews, homosexuals, Gypsies, Poles, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and so on? The Nazis practiced eugenics, which North America and other European nations had also practiced.

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Crucifixion in Ancient and Modern Times

Painted WEBI always assumed that the Roman state put people to death in matters of capital punishment. This simply isn’t true. A slave owner had the power of life and death over his slaves. If slaves committed an offense, the master could have them crucified. He simply hired a crucifixion contractor, who would supply the wood, the nails, and the torturer. Before a person was crucified, he was usually tortured. Scourging was one method, but there were others. Crucifixion was reserved for slaves and non-Roman citizens. A Roman citizen could be beheaded, which was a quick death; whereas, a crucified person could suffer for days.

The Romans considered crucifixion a “necessary evil.” They placed crucified people on the outskirts of town as a warning to evildoers. Sadly, crucifixion hasn’t stopped in the world today. The Penitentes, a cult of Catholicism, practiced crucifixion in the American Southwest in the late 1880s. Radical Muslims have also crucified African Christians in recent times.

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Why The Dred Scott Case Was Important

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Oak Alley Plantation

The states of Illinois and Missouri are rife with Civil War history and American slave history. One such case that impacted the United States was the Dred Scott decision of 1857. Before then, slavery was supposedly confined to the South, but as we’ve seen in my previous posts, slavery wasn’t confined to the South.

Before Dred Scott, slaves who lived in Free States sued their masters and obtained their freedom. Irene Emerson “owned” Dred Scott while her first husband was stationed in Wisconsin, a Free State. Scott sued to gain his freedom and won, but Mrs. Emerson would have none of this, so the case went to the Supreme Court. The verdict was easily predictable because most of the justices were proslavery.

The questions remains: Why did slavery last so long in the United States?

The answer is simple. The Three-Fifths Clause in the Constitution allowed slaves to be counted as part of the population. Therefore, the South packed the Supreme Court with proslavery justices. Indeed, most of the American Presidents came from the South until Lincoln got elected.

Anyway, Mrs. Emerson won her case. Not only could slaves no longer sue their masters to obtain their freedom in Free States, but they were deemed as property, not individuals. As a result, slavery was no longer confined to the South. Slaveholders could bring their “property” into the North, as well as into the new states and territories. This directly led to the Civil War.

Was there any justice in this? Oh yes. After Mrs. Emerson’s first husband died, she fell in love with an abolitionist and was forced to manumit Dred Scott. In the end, Mr. Scott obtained his freedom, as would the rest of the American slaves.

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The Old Slave House

Years ago when I was at the hairdresser’s, I read a magazine article about an old slave house in southern Illinois. The house, called Hickory Hill, is supposedly haunted. The article described the house and the purpose of the house. It also said nobody would spend the night in the third floor attic because of the paranormal activity.

Interior of a slave cabin

Interior of a slave cabin

Years later I met a man who said the Old Slave House was fascinating; that I should definitely visit there. The last owner’s wife disliked the house and never felt comfortable living there.

With good reason, there are slave shackles, a whipping post, and other remnants of slavery. Unfortunately, the house is closed to visitors because the state of Illinois owns it, and the state is in financial ruins. My best friend, who is black, scoffed, “Illinois is in a financial mess, and they go buy something like that.” However, the fact remains, the Old Slave House is part of Illinois history, and the people who suffered there should be remembered.

John Crenshaw owned Hickory Hill and used his slaves to mine salt on his property. Instead of housing the slaves in cabins, he incarcerated them on the third floor of his mansion, which resembles a jail. Not only did Crenshaw use his slaves to mine salt, but he impregnated the females with a stud slave so they would be worth more money. When I visited the Laura Plantation in Vacherie, Louisiana, this was common practice. The mistress of the plantation ordered impregnated female slaves. To make matters worse, Crenshaw also kidnapped free blacks and sold them into slavery.

There is justice to this story, however. When a slave saw Crenshaw beating another slave, he took an ax and struck Crenshaw’s leg.

Since the Old Slave House is closed to the public, you can still view it on YouTube. A young man filmed the inside as well as the grounds. It’s a bit preachy, but it’s worth viewing if you’re interested in American slavery and Illinois history.

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Slavery In Illinois

Illinois was a Free State, right? Well, yes. And no.

Laura Plantation

Laura Plantation

The first people to settle Illinois were Native Americans. Then the French moved in and brought slavery with them. The first lieutenant governor of Illinois, Pierre Menard, owned slaves. You can visit his home in Ellis Grove, Illinois. Unfortunately, the slave cabins no longer exist. The French Colonial architecture is similar to the Laura Plantation in Vacherie, Louisiana. But yes, the French brought slaves into Illinois. In fact, the oldest towns in Illinois are French towns like Cahokia (1699), Kaskaskia (1703), and Prairie de Rocher (1722). It’s worth pointing out that many people in southern Illinois have their roots in Kentucky and Virginia, so they were sympathetic toward slavery.

Fast forward to the 1800s. Slaves were auctioned off in Market Square in Galena, Illinois, now a historic town in northwestern Illinois known for romantic getaways. It’s also home to several Civil War generals; the best known is Ulysses Grant. Rich Southerners owned mansions in Galena and brought their “servants” with them. Galena thrived from the 1840s until after the Civil War. It was a lead mining town, but many miners left once gold was discovered in California.

Illinois also allowed slaves to perform hard labor. John Crenshaw, a Southerner, in Equality, Illinois had slaves work his salt mines. He also captured free blacks and sold them into slavery. His house, known as Hickory Hill, will be the subject of another post.

Finally, the Dred Scott case of 1857 opened the door to slavery in all states. So slavery did exist in Illinois from French Colonial times onward. Southerners also brought their “servants” with them when they visited the North or lived up North.

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Christian Persecution in Ancient Rome

The first persecution of record occurred under Nero. He accused Christians of burning Rome and ordered a witch hunt to track them down. Historians argue over why Christians were hated, but it’s not too hard to figure out. Throughout history, dictators killed or imprisoned their enemies. Caligula, Nero, and other Roman emperors were serial killers. Needless to say, they had a lot of enemies. People, who are hated, tend to be paranoid. With the Church growing by leaps and bounds, this tight network of believers frightened emperors. Later in history, Mussolini, Hitler, Stalin, Mao, and Pol Pot, sent gangs of thugs to beat or stab their opposition, often in the middle of the night. When the opposition increased, they sent their enemies to concentration camps and to gulags, or they simply executed them. Why? They were terrified of being overthrown. The Communist hatred of religion stems from this fear. Hitler, on the other hand, minimized the Church by making Nazi orators preach Socialist propaganda in the pulpit. When priests and pastors objected, they were thrown into concentration camps. Truly, the first inmates were political dissidents. On a lesser scale, but just as harmful, American Presidents have used the IRS and the FBI to harass their political opposition.

Wall mosaic, Herculaneum

Wall mosaic, Herculaneum

Back to Rome….Nero was paranoid. To stop this tight network of believers from meeting in secret, he devised terrible tortures to kill Christians, which had the opposite effect. The Church grew, as it always does under persecution. Modern-day China has a huge underground Church, despite Communist efforts to subdue it.

After Nero was killed, Christians weren’t persecuted for a century. The persecution resumed after barbarians invaded Rome and the Roman Army suffered defeats. As with any crisis, when politicians are desperate, they want citizens to pray. In 250 AD, Emperor Decius wanted Christians to offer respect to Roman gods. Most complied rather than face torture and death. Who could blame them?

Emperor Valerian persecuted Christians around 258 AD. Emperor Diocletian had the most brutal of persecutions between 304 to 311 AD. Any Christian refusing to sacrifice to the gods was put to death. It’s worthy to note that some Christians still worshiped pagan gods along with Jesus, and people of other religions also died for their faith. The Church continued to grow, however, until it took over the Roman Empire.

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Slavery in Ancient Rome to Modern Times

Prostitutes of Ancient Rome belonged to a guild. They were called lupenare because they howled to lure their victims. Many prostitutes were slaves and had no choice in the matter. Far worse, child prostitution was accepted in Rome, for both boys and girls. Sadly, Roman emperors engaged in this perversion. Preaching the Gospel changed this, but this is a constant battle even today.

Slave Cabin, Laura Plantation

Slave Cabin, Laura Plantation

American history points out the horror of Black Slavery. However, slavery is nothing new. In Ancient Times, slaves were the spoils of war. Whenever a new shipment of exotic slaves came to Rome, people rushed to buy them. Later, pirates of the Barberry Coast in North Africa captured white women off ships to sell them into harems and brothels. White men were sold as galley slaves in ships. A monastic order in Rome worked hard to ransom people back from White Slavery. The North Africans raided coastal towns as far away as Ireland and Iceland. This practice went on for 600 years; whereas, American slavery lasted less than 250 years. One line in the Marine Hymn reads, “to the shores of Tripoli.” This refers to President Jefferson sending  American Marines to Tripoli to stop pirates from taking sailors off American ships.

Fast forward….If you study Chinese history, you’ll know Chinese women were treated with disdain. Some were sold for pennies in China. Where did they go? To American brothels on the West Coast. This was called Yellow Slavery. Chinese women worked in cribs and brothels until they dropped dead from disease. This started in the 1850s and lasted into the 1920s. Enter: Donaldina Cameron, a street evangelist in the 1870s, who raided cribs and brothels wielding her ax. She and her helpers rescued 3,000 Chinese slaves, bringing them back to her mission to rehabilitate them.

Forward to recent times. During the George W. Bush administration, brothels were raided in California, where women from Central America had been chained to beds to service 10 to 15 men a day. Their Hispanic madams lured them to the United States with the promise of great jobs. These young women were recruited from villages in Central America. As a result, Congress passed a law to protect these women, giving them legal rights and protection. This law is now being abused as thousands of illegals flood America’s borders, who are not victims of sex trafficking.

Sadly, slavery/sex trafficking exists all over the world and must constantly be fought against. Widows, orphans, and the poor are usually exploited. Women At Risk helps women escape sex trafficking and exploitation, as does Reclaim13. Unfortunately, slavery is nothing new, and it has affected people from every racial spectrum.

 

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Chinese Missionary History

I was never interested in China until I visited the torture museum in Wisconsin Dells. I know that sounds strange, right? I didn’t want to go by myself, but my family refused to go, so I begged my daughter to come, but she would only go if I promised to take her to the outlet mall and give her a high spending limit. Okay. What the heck? GEDSC DIGITAL CAMERA

She bolted after five minutes. The first exhibit was the Chinese death cage. The executioner put a prisoner in a bamboo cage that enclosed his neck; then he removed stones stacked under the prisoner’s feet until he slowly suffocated because his tongue would swell from water deprivation. Death could take days.

Afterward, I went back to my hotel and googled China, and lo and behold, I found a journal from a missionary dating from the 1880s, the time period of The Preacher’s Daughters. It was quite a lengthy journal, so I read it, completely fascinated. Later, I realized Pearl S. Buck introduced the West to China.

The Chinese, considered pagan by the West, were far from ignorant. Admiral Zheng He (pronounced Chang Ha) served the Ming Dynasty in the early 1400s. China was the superpower of its day, an advanced civilization that traveled around India and the west coast of Africa; some say they even reached North America, though this is hotly contested. After China left the Indian Ocean, this power vacuum was filled by the Portuguese, the Dutch, and later the British.

Naturally, the British wanted ports for their navy and for trade. In exchange for Chinese tea, silk, and porcelain, the British smuggled in opium. (This article isn’t meant to bash the British. Every country has done good and bad.) Sadly, the Chinese became hopelessly addicted to opium. You could find opium rooms in banks, restaurants, and shops. At the same time, Europeans and Americans sent missionaries to evangelize China. As you can surmise, the Chinese mistrusted foreigners.

On the bright side, missionaries taught the Chinese proper agriculture, childcare, hygiene, mathematics, science, modern medicine, and famine relief. But mistrust of the West was still prevalent because opium addiction was at an all-time high.

In 1900, the Boxer Rebellion tried to expel foreigners from China. Missionaries and Chinese Christians were tortured and killed. The Rebellion was put down by the West, but you can’t blame the Chinese for taking their country back.

The Preacher’s Daughters is written against this background. I wanted to give Kathleen Sanderson a past. At first, she seems wild and rebellious until we learn what happened to her in China. Kathleen’s past is the reason she stays with Wayne Sanderson as long as she does. Breaking away from him is a drastic step, a brave move. Chinese missionary history gave me the backstory I needed to make my novel work. Kathleen is a brave woman. A true survivor.

By the way, my daughter got her trip to the outlet mall.

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