Archive for the ‘History’ Category

BookReview, Long Updated Review of James D. Long, Riddle of the Exodus:

Prostitutes of the South

Posted: April 9, 2011 in History

During the Civil War, Union general Benjamin Butler managed to defeat an army of trashy Southern women without firing a single shot.  See how he did it:

Reading List

Posted: January 2, 2010 in History, Politics, Theology

Among all the other things I need to do, here are some books I’m going to try to read in 2010:

1.  The Reformed Objection to Natural Theology, Michael Sudduth, 2010

From the publisher’s blurb: “Michael Sudduth examines three prominent objections to natural theology that have emerged in the Reformed streams of the Protestant theological tradition: objections from the immediacy of our knowledge of God, the noetic effects of sin, and the logic of theistic arguments. Distinguishing between the project of natural theology and particular models of natural theology, Sudduth argues that none of the main Reformed objections is successful as an objection to the project of natural theology itself. One particular model of natural theology – the dogmatic model – is best suited to handle Reformed concerns over natural theology. According to this model, rational theistic arguments represent the reflective reconstruction of the natural knowledge of God by the Christian in the context of dogmatic theology. Informed by both contemporary religious epistemology and the history of Protestant philosophical theology, Sudduth’s examination illuminates the complex nature of the project of natural theology and its place in the Reformed tradition.”

2.  Natural Law and the Two Kingdoms: A Study in the Development of Reformed Social Thought, David M. VanDrunen, 2010.

Publisher’s blurb: “Conventional wisdom holds that the theology and social ethics of the Reformed tradition stand at odds with concepts of natural law and the two kingdoms. This volume challenges that conventional wisdom through a study of Reformed social thought from the Reformation to the present. / ‘The strength of this book is the overwhelming amount of historical evidence, judiciously analyzed and assessed, that positions the Reformed tradition clearly in the natural law, two kingdoms camp. This valuable contribution to our understanding of the Christian life cannot and should not be ignored or overlooked. The growing acceptance of the social gospel among evangelicals puts us in jeopardy of losing the gospel itself; the hostility to natural law and concomitant love affair with messianic ethics opens us up to tyranny. This is a much needed and indispensable ally in the battle for the life of the Christian community in North America.’ — John Bolt / Calvin Theological Seminary

3.  The Church and the Market: A Catholic Defense of the Free Economy, Thomas E Woods, Jr., 2005.

While I don’t agree with Woods’ Catholicism, or his ideas on foreign policy, he has a keen grasp of economics.  You can get a flavor of it by reading his essay on Catholicism and the market economy, which by the way, is indirectly tangential to the secular-sacred distinction we discussed in our last post:


Slavery & the Civil War

Posted: February 14, 2009 in History, Lincoln

Over at the American Spectator, Rich Rostrom made some good comments regarding the issue of whether slavery was the cause of the Civil War.  While neo-confederates or Lincoln-haters deny it, or belittle it as a cause, there is no real doubt among serious historians that slavery was the issue that brought about the Civil War.  See:


Mississippi Declaration of Causes: “Our position is thoroughly identified with the institution of slavery…”

Georgia Declaration of Causes: “For the last ten years we have had numerous and serious causes of complaint against our non-slave-holding confederate States with reference to the subject of African slavery.”

Texas Declaration of Causes: “In all the non-slave-holding States… the people have formed … a great sectional party, now strong enough … to control the affairs of … those States, based upon an unnatural feeling of hostility to these Southern States and their beneficent and patriarchal system of African slavery…”

Florida Declaration of Causes: “The nullification of [fugitive slave] laws by… two thirds of the non slaveholding States… [is] evidence of an open disregard of constitutional obligation, and of the rights and interests of the slaveholding States and of a deep and inveterate hostility to the people of these States.”

South Carolina’s Address to the Slaveholding States: “Experience has proved that slave-holding States can not be safe in subjection to non-slaveholding States.”

Etc. (Full texts of these and related documents may be seen at

The Southern secessionists themselves openly, repeatedly, and at great length stated that secession was necessary to preserve slavery and for no other reason. Why deny it now?