Saturday, October 21, 2017

Sam Houston, Dual Citizen

During his lifetime, Sam Houston (1793-1863) was, at various times, a citizen of the United States, Mexico, the Republic of Texas, and the Cherokee Nation.  One of my favorite characters in American history (for more, read Sam Houston: The Raven), I was not aware until today that his Cherokee citizenship was actually embodied in a document, and that the document still survives (see below).  It was issued on October 21, 1829, one hundred and eighty eight years ago on this date.

Houston had a long history with the Cherokee, having run away to live with them for three years as a teenager.  Several years later, he became the US government Indian agent for the Cherokee, though it is likely he was representing the tribe's interests to the government as the reverse.  Then, after the publicly humiliating collapse of his marriage caused him to resign the governorship of Tennessee, he fled to join his friends, now exiled to the Arkansas-Oklahoma borderlands.

In 1829 no one anticipated that Sam would go on to lead Texas to independence, becomes first president of the new republic, and then a U.S. senator and governor of the Lone Star State.

Document admitting Sam Houston to Cherokee nation, October 1829"

____ [?] an order has been published by the agent of
the cherokee Nation requiring all white men who re-
side in the Nation without the consent of the chiefs
of the Said Nation to comply with certain rules
and regulations set forth in Said order. Now be it
Known by them present, that Genl Samuel Houston,
late of the State of Tennessee, has been residing in
the Nation for Some time past, and has manifested
a disposition to remain with us. In consideration
of his former acquaintance with and Services rend-
dered to the Indians, and his present disposition,
to improve their condition and benefit their cir-
cumstances, and our confidence in his integrity, and
talents, if he Should remain among us; We do as
a committee appointed by order of the principal
chief John Jolly; Solemnly, firmly, and irreconcil- [?]
ably Grant to him for ever all the rights, privileges
and numunities [immunities] of a citizen of the cherokee Nation
and do as fully impower [sic] him with all rights  and
liberties as tho he was a native cherokee, w[hile]
at the Same time the Said Houston be [?]
required to yield obedience to [text missing]


(Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, via Foundation for Economic Education)

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Words Of Wisdom

From Glenn Reynolds at Instapundit.

I endorse his thoughts below.  We have a remarkably resilient society in the United States, but all societies, including ours, have breaking points.  Constructing and maintaining a civil and civilized multi-ethnic society, is a unique achievement, but one that has not been easy, and we should not take it for granted.

SO I SPOKE AT AN EVENT TONIGHT, TALKING ABOUT CIVILIAN DISASTER RELIEF AND SOCIAL COHESION, and a guy came up to me afterward saying that since Robert Putnam found that diversity is associated with decreased social trust, how did I feel about a bunch of white people going off to start their own country. (My response: Unenthused). But you see this sort of thing on the Internet enough that some people believe it, and while Putnam’s point is supported by research, I don’t think it actually supports the solution. “Diversity,” I suspect, is one of those things that actually is a social construct. If you make people hyperaware of their differences — as is done on college campuses today — you can make things much worse than they otherwise would be. (See also Tito’s Yugoslavia). If you encourage people to think about what they have in common, you can make things much better. And where it suits their interests, politicians will create ethnic cleavages. (Hutus and Tutsis are both “black” in American conception, but politicians were still able to inflame passions that led to genocide.) My prediction is that if you created some sort of racially segregated society, politicians would soon be at work finding other differences to inflame, differences that nobody’s even aware of now. The only real answer is a strong social norm that supports, for example, our common humanity and, in this country, our common Americanness. This seems to be what ordinary Americans believe, and act upon, but politicians will do whatever it takes to gain power. Keeping politicians in check is the key to getting along. Can we do more of that?

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Aja Drums

The recent passing of Walter Becker induced a fit of Steely Dan listening on my part.  This is one of my favorite bits of musicianship on a Dan recording; Steve Gadd's drums on Aja.  This is a cover by Joe Nocella (one of the nice touches is that Joe responds to most of the comments on the video).  It's just lovely, particularly from 3:00 on.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Sure Looks Hot

Taken from cockpit of Air National Guard C-130 preparing to drop fire retardant on forest fire near Fresno, California on August 29, 2017.  From Strategy Page.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Cool, And Not Cool

Keeping your cool.  Watch it all the way.

And not cool:
A Coolidge man remained hospitalized Friday after surviving a rattlesnake bite to the face while trying to show off to friends at a party by attempting to cook the reptile on the barbecue.