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Noah and the Erie Canal: Amos Eaton, Rensselaer Institute

This year marks the onset of the bicentennial of the construction of the Erie Canal. As part of that event the world conference of canals is being held this September in Syracuse with various field trips to canal-related sites. In this post, I wish to address one aspect of the creation of the Erie Canal […]

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County and Borough Historians Institute

On August 25, 2017, I attended the one-day County and Borough Historians Institute at the New York State Museum. The session was called by Devin Lander, the New York State historian. In part it was a continuation of a process started last year in a similar session held last October in conjunction with the New […]

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Jerusalem Throne Games

I interrupt the normal flow of history and political blogs for an announcement of great importance. My new book Jerusalem Throne Games: Bible Story Battles after the Death of David (Oxbow Books) has been published. The book is a relentlessly political approach to the battle for power after the death of David as fought through […]

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New York and Robert E. Lee

New York State has the potential to seize a leadership position in the national discussion over the Robert E. Lee statues and the place of slavery and the Confederacy in American history. It can do so not because pre-Civil War Lee was stationed in New York while he was part of the military [and not […]

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King George III and Robert E. Lee

Once upon a time there was a statue to King George III in Manhattan, then there wasn’t. The statue was dedicated on April 26, 1770 at Bowling Green, the southern tip of the Manhattan island. It had been commissioned by the General Assembly of the New York colony. It was resolved: That an Equestrian Statue […]

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Path through History 5th Anniversary, August 28, 2017

Governor Cuomo Unveils New York’s “Path Through History” to Support Tourism and Economic Development, and Highlight the State’s Historic Past (Press release, August 28, 2012) On August 28, 2012, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced the creation of the Path through History at a conference at Empire State Plaza. According to the press release, the Path through […]

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The Twilight Zone and the Confederacy

In times of confusion, trouble, and uncertainty, who better to turn to for guidance than Rod Serling? The upstate-New Yorker created The Twilight Zone which in ways he never anticipated continues to be available to us today to help show us the way. As it turns out he devoted several episodes that shed light on […]

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The Importance of Robert E. Lee Today

Robert E. Lee has been in the news a lot. His statues have become a battleground for the culture wars between the alt right and the alt left, the Neo-Confederates and the Politically Correct. Lost in the heat of war is the light of understanding. We are at a teachable moment to use a jargon […]

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Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey White House

It’s all fun. It’s all a circus. It’s all a rodeo. [It’s all a professional wrestling arena.] Until it smacks of racism.” David Letterman on Trump’s birther movement (quoted in “Chemistry, with Complications,” NYT August 16, 2017 paper copy).  Above, a segment from 2012 in which Mr. Letterman mocked Mr. Trump for outsourcing his clothing […]

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