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Feb 18, 2006 7:08 pm


More Quick Notes



In case you need something else to do department: Joanna Lopianowski-Roberts of Texas recreated the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel in counted cross-stitches. The piece is 40" x 80" and took 10 years, 628,296 stitches, and 1,809 color combinations. Here's the JPG image of her finished work. Here is a close-up and more information. Wears me out just thinking about it. Thanks to Boing Boing and Ancarett's Abode for the tip.

Shooting executives department: On 11 July 1804, Vice President Aaron Burr shot and killed former Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton in a duel. Less than two years later, on 30 May 1806, future President Andrew Jackson shot and killed Charles Dickinson in a duel over a gambling debt. Two hundred years later, shortly after the Vice President of the United States wounded a friend in a hunting accident, Dean Barnett's"Godfather of Democracy," Weekly Standard, 17 February, reviews H. W. Brands' new biography, Andrew Jackson: His Life and Times, and recommends Old Hickory to us as a model of national leadership.

Alternate History department: Kevin C. Murphy gives a thumbs-up to Spike Lee's and Kevin Wilmot's new satire documentary, C. S. A.: The Confederate States of America. Here's the trailer for it. By contrast, Murphy gives Philip Roth's The Plot Against Americaa thumbs down. In order to work, alternate histories have to walk a nimble line between what did happen and what might have happened. Roth stumbles, says Murphy, where Lee and Wilmot succeed.

Yale department: Yotam Barkai,"Search for Scholar Spotlights Politics in Classroom," Yale Herald, 17 February. A student weekly newspaper at Yale reports that Juan Cole of the University of Michigan is under consideration for an interdisciplinary appointment at the Yale Center for International and Area Studies.

Congratulations department: To Sharon Howard, whose Early Modern Notes has just been named Best Expert or Scholar Weblog in A Fistful of Euros' European Blog Awards! We already knew it was, but it's great to see other people recognizing that.

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Dale B. Light - 2/19/2006

It just goes to show that Jackson was a protean character who can be enlisted to support radically differing perspectives. That's the neat thing about doing history -- it all depends on what dots you choose to connect and how you do it. With Jackson there are so many dots and they stand out so dramatically that the only question I have is how people could ever choose to ignore him as, apparently, many have. I find him fascinating.


Ralph E. Luker - 2/19/2006

I think that's right, Dale. On the other hand, there's considerable tension between the neo-con argument for the Jacksonian presidential model and Wilentz's approach which traces the Bush presidency to Whig antecidents.


Dale B. Light - 2/19/2006

There seems to be a Jackson revival going on. Walter Russell Mead has popularized the term "Jacksonian" to designate a tendency he claims to discern in American political culture; John Lewis Gaddis has recently discussed Jackson in the context of describing and American tradition of pre-emptive military action. Sean Wilentz discusses him at length in his "Rise of American Democracy" [how could he not?]. And Brand's book seems to be selling well. Jackson's back, and it's about time.

You've gotta admire a President who threatens to hang his Vice President.


Ralph E. Luker - 2/18/2006

Thanks very much. The tone of the article is a bit alarmist, but I will correct the post.


Dave Stone - 2/18/2006

Minor correction: the Yale _Herald_ isn't a conservative publication. It's a straight newspaper, only a weekly as opposed to the Yale _Daily News_, which is, surprise, a daily. There are conservative publication at Yale--the _Free Press_ and _Light and Truth_, but the Herald isn't one of them.

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