Blue Cereal's blog

The Great Depression / The Dust Bowl (from "Have To" History)

Black Tuesday NewspaperOn October 29, 1929, the bottom fell out of the stock market. There’d been signs – the previous Thursday had almost been the day, but a handful of big money types shored up confidence by buying shares in major industries at well-above market value. It didn’t hold. “Black Tuesday” set off a domino effect of selling, panic, business failures, bank runs, and even a few suicides. It wasn't what you'd call a "good day" for America.

What Started the Civil War? (From "Have To" History)

Am I Not A Man...Even before declaring independence in 1776, slavery had been a controversial topic in the American colonies, but it was not a strictly North/South issue. Over time, the North became increasingly industrialized while the South grew more and more reliant on large-scale cash crops. Slavery ceased to make economic sense in the North, allowing ideological concerns to eventually prohibit it altogether.

As the cotton gin made the institution wildly profitable and seemingly essential to the South, slavery was increasingly promoted as a positive good for all involved – including the slaves themselves. 

Who Was Frederick Douglass? (From "Have To" History)

Frederick DouglassI'm trying something new – a section called "Have To" History, aimed at folks who feel like they should know stuff but don't otherwise have a natural interest. It could conceivably grow into a reference of sorts for students who've put themselves in a bad position and have limited time to try to claw their way out. We'll see.

Here's a sample post about a guy who we were recently told is doing very well for himself. I'm glad. He certainly paid his dues along the way.

Who Was Andrew Jackson? (From "Have To" History)

Andrew JacksonI'm trying something new – a section called "Have To" History, aimed at folks who feel like they should know stuff but don't otherwise have a natural interest. It could conceivably grow into a reference of sorts for students who've put themselves in a bad position and have limited time to try to claw their way out. We'll see.

Here's a sample post about a guy who couldn't possibly have prevented the Civil War because he was long-dead. (He did almost start it 30 years early, but the "Nullification Crisis" wasn't quite "Have To" enough to make the cut. Sorry, POTUS.)

A Wall of Separation: The Ten Commandments (Part Two)

10 YellowIt was in 2005 that things got really interesting. On the same day, the Supreme Court announced its decisions in both McCreary County v. ACLU of Kentucky (2005) and Van Orden v. Perry (2005) – both cases involving the Commandments on public land. While Kentucky’s displays were determined to be unconstitutional, the monument in Texas was acceptable. Both were split decisions, and the difference came down to context – both the displays themselves and the history behind them – particularly in terms of intent.

That’s where we left off last time. Now the real fun begins.

A Wall of Separation: The Ten Commandments (Part One)

Ten Commandments MonumentOklahoma is one of several states which simply cannot get over the desire of an influential minority to have a monument of the Ten Commandments placed at the Capital. The stumbling point is constitutionality, and Supreme Court rulings on this issue appear a bit murky at first glance. Is it constitutional to post the Ten Commandments on public grounds? Is it constitutional to prevent it, if someone else wants to put them there? The short answer to both questions is… Yes. Sort of. But not really. So, no. Well… maybe.

Boomers & Sooners, Part Three (Sooner Born & Sooner Bred)

Far & AwayEven before the census codified it, the sense that the nation was filling up and land was running out was hardly news to Boomers and others chasing those last few opportunities in the west. The future state of Oklahoma, once so disparaged that they put the Indians there so white guys could have the GOOD land, was looking better and better as other options fell away. 

Necessity, it seems, was the mother of invasion.

Boomers & Sooners, Part Two (An Editorial, A Payne, and Some Booming)

David L. PayneLike many who make history, David L. Payne had the unwavering conviction that he was right. A hunter, scout, politician, and businessman, he was certainly never at a loss for things to do. Then again, he rarely stayed in the same place for more than a few years at a time… so there’s that. He had a common-law wife and a son who was, by definition, “out-of-wedlock.” He volunteered to fight for the Union as soon as the war broke out, then stayed in the army to help “civilize” the Great Plains after. He fought under Custer and befriended Kit Carson and Wild Bill Hickok – suggesting he must have been something of a character himself, just to keep up.

Why all the background? Because for all practical purposes, if you're an Okie, he’s your Daddy.

Boomers & Sooners, Part One (The Unassigned Lands)

Boomer Marching GuyMost of you are at least generally aware that both “Boomer” and “Sooner” refer to some sort of law-breaking, rule-bending, cheating, stealing, land-grabbing behavior on the part of the state’s earliest settlers. A broader view, however, suggests that cheating and stealing land are actually way down the list of atrocities involved in the birthing and developing of our 46th State. Compared to Indian Removal, the Dawes and Curtis Acts, lynching, the Tulsa Race Riots, fracking, and the current state legislature, a little hiding in the grass seems rather tame.

Defining Moments

Holmes Sexy"The ejaculation had been drawn from my companion by the fact that our door had been suddenly dashed open, and that a huge man had framed himself in the aperture. His costume was a peculiar mixture of the professional and of the agricultural, having a black top-hat, a long frock-coat, and a pair of high gaiters, with a hunting-crop swinging in his hand…" 

So Holmes’ tastes seem to have run a bit Village People or Steam Punk. Fair enough.