Lincoln Blogs

Photos From the Naval Academy and Washington, D.C.
April 19, 2009, 6:39 pm
Filed under: History, Life, Photos

I recently went on a trip with a friend on a trip to the Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, and Washington, D.C. These are a few snapshots from the trip. The entire album can be found here, here, here, and here.

John C. Calhoun: Father of Secession
February 23, 2009, 1:57 pm
Filed under: History, School Papers

I recently finished a paper on John C. Calhoum, a nineteenth century statesman from South Carolina who was very influential in bringing about the American Civil War. Click here to read it.

John Locke and Natural Rights
October 20, 2008, 3:38 pm
Filed under: History, School Papers

John Locke was an English philosopher who lived in the seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries; his beliefs and writings helped bring about the American Revolution. A devout protestant, Locke strongly believed in the natural rights of man. His basic thesis maintained that in a state of nature, men have a “perfect freedom to order their actions, and dispose of their possessions and persons as they think fit, within the bounds of law and nature, without asking leave or depending upon the will of any other man.” He professed the idea that man has a natural right to life, to liberty, and to property, and he justified his beliefs on the foundation of natural law. Locke’s view of natural law was simple: there are certain laws whose content is set in nature by God and that have validity everywhere.

Locke believed in the natural rights of man, but he also believed in the sin nature of man, which is why he saw the need for government. He said that we should have government because due to the “corruption and viciousness of degenerate men” they would not be able to defend their rights. Without government, man’s sin nature would overcome their sense of natural law, and their rights would be exploited for evil. “The great chief end” for men to have government “is the preservation of their property; to which in the state of nature there are many things wanting,” he wrote. It was his strong opinion that men should give up as much power as is needed to defend themselves in exercising their natural rights, an idea called the “social contract theory.” His beliefs on government can be summarized in the following statement:

“[The] freedom of men under government is to have a standing rule to live by, common to every one of that society and made by the legislative power erected in it; a liberty to follow my own will in all things where that rule prescribes not; and not to be subject to the inconstant, uncertain, unknown, arbitrary will of another man; as freedom of nature is to be under no other restraint but the law of nature.”

John Locke’s writings were extremely influential in bringing about the American Revolution. The list of his major works includes An Essay Concerning Human Understanding, Some Thoughts Concerning Education, and Two Treatises on Government. Clearly, he was highly knowledgeable in many fields. Two Treatises on Government, perhaps his most famous work, had a great impact on many of America’s founding fathers, including Thomas Jefferson, Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and others. As mentioned above, he wrote of man’s right to “life, liberty, and property,” a belief that is also explicitly stated in the Declaration of Independence. His social contract theory, promotion of governmental separation of powers, and belief that revolution is a right had a significant effect in bringing about the American Revolution against England, as well as in writing the Constitution of the United States.

Thomas Hooker and the Fundamental Orders of Connecticut
September 15, 2008, 12:31 pm
Filed under: History, School Papers

Thomas Hooker was a prominent Puritan and Colonial leader who is well known for his role in founding Connecticut and creating the Fundamental Orders of Connecticut in the 1600s. He was a very pious man with strong character, and was once called “The Light of the Western Churches and the Pillar of Connecticut Colony.” An independent thinker, he became a Puritan and devoted himself to God. His influence on the American colonies was great; in 1636 he and his congregation formed the Hartford colony in the Connecticut area. Later, Hartford and two other colonies merged to form Connecticut. Hooker was also significant in the future of the United States, as he assisted in creating the Fundamental Orders of Connecticut.

The Fundamental Orders of Connecticut is considered to be the first written Constitution in the Western tradition, and many of its ideas are seen in the American Constitution. Perhaps the most important point in the Fundamental Orders of Connecticut is the first, which lays out the method for electing the officials of the Colony, and the duties of these officials.

The first [of two yearly assemblies] shall be called the Court of Election, wherein shall be yearly chosen from time to time, so many Magistrates and other public Officers as shall be found requisite: Whereof one to be chosen Governor, which being chosen and sworn according to an Oath recorded for that purpose, shall have the power to administer justice according to the Laws here established, and for want thereof, according to the Rule of the Word of God.

This section is important because it describes a means of electing official that is still used today in America. Its ideas were used in the United States Constitution over one hundred years later. The concept of democracy is one of the things that makes America great, and it is and was very important in the colony of Connecticut, and the United States of America. This section in the Fundamental Orders also speaks of “the Rule of the Word of God,” which shows that the very earliest founders of the United States believed the Bible, and used it as their basis for all of their actions.

First Essay of the School Year
August 20, 2008, 6:16 pm
Filed under: History, School Papers

King John reigned as king of England from 1199 to 1216. He was despised by his subjects for his injustice towards them. They had reason to hate him, for though they were punished harshly if they did not follow the law, he was above the law in his own mind. The evil king is said to have murdered his nephew with his own hands, a crime for which he should have been severely punished. However, he was not prosecuted in the least. As well, King John taxed his subjects unfairly, causing many of them to starve. He grew more and more wealthy by stealing from the dying commoners. Finally, John imprisoned those who he thought deserved it, without even giving them the right to a fair trial by jury.

The actions of King John were the direct cause of the writing of the Magna Carta. All of the provisions in the historic document were responses to specific injustices of the king. For example, the Magna Carta stated that the king could not collect new taxes without the agreement of the barons and the bishops. This was the effect of John’s harsh taxing of the people. Also, it was written in the Magna Carta that no man could be put in prison without a proper trial with a jury. John’s unfair imprisonment of people brought about this provision in the Magna Carta. Another section in the Magna Carta said that the king would be subject to all laws, a response to King John’s belief that he was above all laws. Lastly, the Magna Carta also provided for the separation of Church and State. Since John’s officials had attempted interfere with religious officials and ceremonies, it is clear that this section of the Magna Carta was written with this fact in mind.

The Magna Carta contains many important themes and ideas, many of which would be significant for the future of both Europe and North America. One of the main points in the Magna Carta is that the king must be under the law. This is an idea still found in Europe and America today. This document also prohibits the king from taxing the people unjustly, one of the main theme in the Declaration of Independence. The Magna Carta gives people the right to a fair trial by jury. This system is still used in the Europe and the United States today. The Bill of Rights, which give the people of the United States many liberties, contains many ideas first seen in the Magna Carta. Samuel Adams, one of America’s founding fathers, mentioned the Magna Carta and its importance in the Boston Gazette in 1769.

Edward Jenner: The Great Lifesaver
April 11, 2008, 6:04 pm
Filed under: History, School Papers

I wrote this paper on Edward Jenner for biology class. I found that he was a fascinating person to write about. Click here to read the paper.

‘Something of a Dandy’
April 27, 2007, 12:37 am
Filed under: History

I am reading Suetonius’ The Twelve Caesars, and in the chapter on Julius Caesar, the first century writer describes Caesar’s appearance. Apparently, Julius was somewhat self-conscious.

[Caesar] was something of a dandy, always keeping his head carefully trimmed and shaved; and has been accused of having certain other hairy parts of his body depilated with tweezers. His baldness was a disfigurement which his enemies harped upon, much to his exasperation; but he used to comb thin strands of hair forward from his poll, and of all the honours voted him by the Senate and People, none pleased him so much as the privilege of wearing a laurel wreath on all occasions–he constantly took advantage of it.

I bet Rogaine would have been a big hit in ancient Rome.

Human Nature
April 15, 2007, 9:36 pm
Filed under: Faith, History

I am currently reading The Early History of Rome by Titus Livius (Livy) for school. In the part of the book I read today, the common people (plebians) of Rome want land from the rich people (patricians), but there is none available because the patricians have it all. The plebians are mad at the patricians because of this. But then the Romans acquire more land, and they decide that the plebians can have it. “Human nature, however, does not change,” says Livy. “The mere fact that there was plenty for everyone blunted the edge of appetite and so few applied [for the land] that Volscian families had to be induced in order to bring the number of settlers to a satisfactory figure. The bulk of the plebian families preferred to demand [other] land.” Even Livy, who lived in the pagan ancient Rome, identified man’s nature to sin. He did not, however, realize that although sin will always dwell with us until we reach heaven, it will not reign over us if Christ regenerates us, and thus can be changed.

Brains and Brawn
November 29, 2006, 8:40 pm
Filed under: History

In the Persian War, the Persians had more then 5 million soldiers, including cavalry, infantry, and a navy with 1,207 ships. The Greeks, however, had far fewer troops, and a navy with but 271 ships. But the Greeks won the war. How, you may ask, did they do it? The Greeks won with brave and skillful fighting, but mostly with an excellent military strategy. Two important battles of the war illustrate this perfectly.

The first battle is the Battle of Marathon, in which the Persians fought the Athenians. In this battle, the Athenians were outnumbered three to one. So, to make up for their size, they made their line thinner and longer, with extra men on the flanks, so they would not be surrounded by the many Persians. This minimized the Persians’ size advantage by not allowing them to have more then one man fighting an Athenian at one time. The Athenians’ plan worked extremely well; although the Persians killed most of the Athenians on the inside of the line, the Athenians controlled the outside. They surrounded the remaining Persians, and went on to a great victory, killing 6,400 Persians, and losing only 192 men.

The next battle is the Battle of Salamis, a navy battle. The Greeks were on the island of Salamis, and had planned that they should fight in the narrow strait between the island of Salamis and the mainland of Greece. Fighting in a small area was to the Greek advantage, for the Persian ships did not have room to spread out and use all their ships, and they were not able to use their superior speed. The Greeks, now almost evenly matched with the Persians, won the battle easily, which was the “knockout punch” of the war.

The wise Greeks figured out how to minimize the size advantage of the Persians, and proved their skill in battle. They should be praised for their bravery and skill, but most of all, their brains.