The Emptiness of the Coming Presidential Primaries

By |2019-04-21T22:16:39-05:00April 21st, 2019|

Emptiness is defined negatively as the absence of something. It can involve structures which are not occupied or filled, as in empty bottles. Emptiness can refer to situations lacking reality, substance or meaning, as in empty pleasures. Actions can be empty when they have no consequences, as in empty gestures or threats. […]

The Wall: Echoes of a Distant Empire

By |2019-03-03T22:19:09-05:00March 3rd, 2019|

How often have we not seen, even in our own lives, that actions we take to preserve something we cherish end up destroying that which we seek to protect? Patriotism may be the last refuge of a scoundrel, but the desire for security and the yearning for justice are forever the final refuge of [...]

What President Trump Has in Common With President Polk

By |2019-02-15T11:41:08-05:00February 15th, 2019|

If James K. Polk can be credited with adding a huge swath of territory to the American empire, might Donald Trump one day be credited with preserving that long ago victory by reversing the gradual makeover of the southwestern United States? The game of presidential parallels can be endlessly fascinating. Sometimes it can also [...]

Our Enemy: The (Imperial) Presidency

By |2019-04-07T17:41:30-05:00November 5th, 2018|

Many Americans fear the dysfunction in Congress and the rise of an “activist” Supreme Court. Both worries are misplaced, at least in relationship to the larger problem at hand: the growth of presidential imperialism… Albert Jay Nock Albert Jay Nock was an important literary and social critic of the first-half of the twentieth [...]

Putting Old Hickory in Context: Bradley Birzer’s “In Defense of Andrew Jackson”

By |2018-10-18T09:55:24-05:00October 17th, 2018|

Rather than justify Jackson’s deeds, In Defense of Jackson instead depicts its subject in the context of his own world. In doing so, author Bradley Birzer makes a remarkable contribution to the Jackson historiography that effectively tackles Old Hickory’s political disposition in a concise single volume. Whether one enters into its pages admiring or loathing Jackson, Dr. [...]

Donald Trump and the Path to a New Conservatism

By |2018-10-16T23:32:22-05:00October 16th, 2018|

It was Donald Trump’s sense of fraternity that most incensed his opponents. For the liberals, it was his solidarity with people they thought deplorable. For the libertarians, it was the safety net he’d offer Americans. For both he was toxic, but his fraternity brought him to the sweet spot in American presidential politics, the place [...]

What Andrew Jackson’s Critics Get Wrong

By |2018-09-24T23:31:52-05:00September 24th, 2018|

Like all human beings, Andrew Jackson certainly had his faults—sometimes spectacular, brutal, and violent ones—but is it just to label him, as one recent critic has, simply as "a slaver, ethnic cleanser, and tyrant"? Sometime in the last several years, it has become the cultural norm to see President Andrew Jackson as the sum of [...]

In Defense of Andrew Jackson

By |2018-09-10T13:12:16-05:00September 10th, 2018|

The vast majority of Americans think of Andrew Jackson as a despicable man: a scoundrel, an uncouth violent redneck, hell-bent on the imperial expansion of the United States with the American Indians his burnt offerings to whatever god he worshipped. But my research has revealed Jackson as a true American republican, a virtuous man of the [...]

Can the President Pardon Himself?

By |2018-07-01T22:06:18-05:00July 1st, 2018|

It used to be a fundamental article of faith among American conservatives that the Constitution can only be understood in the context of the Founders’ original intentions. So, is it reasonable to believe that the Founders intended a president to have the power to pardon himself? The Constitution gives the president “Power to grant [...]

Andrew Jackson and Republican Virtue

By |2018-06-25T22:16:42-05:00June 25th, 2018|

One of the greatest causes of concern in American society by the 1820s was the perceived loss of virtue necessary to undergird a republic. All republicans knew that America would not last forever. They did, however, hope that by example, norms, education, and sacrifice, the American people would keep their republic alive as long [...]

The 1820s: The Decade of Andrew Jackson

By |2019-03-07T10:45:21-05:00June 18th, 2018|

Nothing dominated the American conversation of the decade of the 1820s more than the idea of Andrew Jackson as president. The back-and-forth between the pro-Jackson and anti-Jackson forces is bewildering and dizzying even to the biographer who has the grand advantage of hindsight... The Great Depression of 1819 and the Missouri slavery question of the [...]

Andrew Jackson as Territorial Governor of Florida

By |2018-06-15T22:36:31-05:00June 12th, 2018|

Andrew Jackson revealed his most republican self in his governorship. He not only continued Spanish civil and property law, thus ensuring that Spanish citizens would not be harmed, but he also extended English common law to Florida, especially in criminal matters… Though Andrew Jackson only served a very short term as governor of Florida, [...]

Ronald Reagan, Donald Trump, & the Future of the Republican Party

By |2018-06-07T10:46:18-05:00June 6th, 2018|

Reagan Rising: The Decisive Years, 1976–1980 by Craig Shirley (432 pages, Broadside Books, 2017) The Working Class Republican: Ronald Reagan and the Return of Blue-Collar Conservatism by Henry Olsen (368 pages, Broadside Books, 2017) Of all the questions that divide conservatives in 2018, the most basic might be this: Are we living in wilderness years under [...]