American History for Truthdiggers

The swampy environs of Jamestown, Virginia, claim the life of another 17th-century English settler in this painting by National Park Service artist Sydney King. (National Park Service / Public Domain)

I highly recommend this 2018-19 series of articles written by Maj. Danny Sjursen, a retired U.S. Army officer and former history instructor at West Point. Danny is among a growing number of former insiders who had an epiphany, saw the light, and turned against the system they once served often with a vengeance. Here is an excerpt from the tongue-in-cheek bio on his website.

Daniel Albert (Danny) Sjursen is just another exasperating, insufferable, self-centered Leo with a minor Messiah complex, born on August 5, 1983. He grew up in the sort of Staten Island neighborhood where streets are named for firemen and cops killed on 9/11 and is best known for its blue-collar chic. That said, it was a great childhood on a block replete with countless kids ready to play stickball, street hockey, touch football, or kick-the-can. After doing his best Good Will Hunting impression in New York City public schools – combined with his deep-seated toxically masculine patriotism – he found his way to West Point in July 2001.

And here is the Truthdig editor’s note about his 38-essay series with the above title:

The past is prologue. The stories we tell about ourselves and our forebears inform the sort of country we think we are and help determine public policy. As our current president promises to “Make America great again,” this moment is an appropriate time to reconsider our past, look back at various eras of United States history and re-evaluate America’s origins. When, exactly, were we “great”?

All 38 essays are linked below.

Part 1: Original Sin

Part 2: Roots in Religious Zealotry

Part 3: Whose Empire?

Part 4: Were the Colonists Patriots or Insurgents?

Part 5: Independence and Civil War (1775-1783)

Part 6: Whose Revolution? (1775-1783)

Part 7: Flowering or Excess of Democracy? (The 1780s)

Part 8: Counterrevolution of 1787? New Constitution, New Nation

Part 9: Washington’s Turbulent Administration (1789-1796)

Part 10: Liberty vs. Order (1796-1800)

Part 11: The Jeffersonian Enigma (1800-1808)

Part 12: The Forgotten and Peculiar War of 1812

Part 13: Birth of an ‘Era of Revolutions’

Part 14: Andrew Jackson’s White-Male World and the Start of Modern Politics

Part 15: The Fraudulent Mexican-American War (1846-48)

Part 16: A Broken Union (1851-1861)

Part 17: The Slow, Perilous Shift to Emancipation

Part 18: Reconstruction, a Failed Experiment

Part 19: Lies We Tell Ourselves About the Old West

Part 20: Wealth, Squalor in the Progressive Era

Part 21: Tragic Dawn of Overseas Imperialism

Part 22: A Savage ‘War to End All Wars,’ and a Failed Peace

Part 23: The Decade That Roared, and Wept

Part 24: FDR and His Deal for a Desperate Time

Part 25: From Isolationism to a 2nd World Conflagration

Part 26: Just How Good Was the ‘Good War’?

Part 27: A Cruel, Costly and Anxious ‘Cold’ War

Part 28: JFK’s Cold War Chains

Part 29: Vietnam, a U.S. Tragedy

Part 30: Civil Rights, a Dream Deferred

Part 31: Nixon’s Dark Legacy

Part 32: Carter’s Cage of Crisis

Part 33: The Reagan Revolution

Part 34: Bush 41—Struggling in Reagan’s Shadow

Part 35: Bill Clinton, the ‘New Democrat’

Part 36: Bush II and the Birth of Forever War

Part 37: The Obama Disappointment

Part 38: A Once, Always and Future Empire

Shalom (שלום), MAA

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