Archive for December, 2010

Final Presentation

Tuesday, December 7th, 2010

Powerpoint wasn’t able to upload.

Lit Review

Tuesday, December 7th, 2010

On January 8th, 1815, Andrew Jackson provided America with its greatest land victory of the War of 1812, secured the United States’ most significant port, and ensured American control of the Mississippi River. Although it has been almost two hundred years since the Battle of New Orleans, as time has passed, the knowledge and understanding of the subject has consistently improved. This should be attributed to the constantly improving availability of primary documents due to technology, combined with a growing passion for the topic, with Alexander Walker, son of famous whiskey distiller Johnny Walker, was the first author to compose a focused work on the subject in his book Jackson and New Orleans 1856. Walker was born in Great Britain and inherited his fathers company the year directly after his book was published in 1857. Throughout his book, Walker provides multiple facts, which he claims to have gathered from interviews with British survivors of the battle. He lists no other sources for his work, but being the closest author to the actual event, modern historians liberally cite him. Walker makes several significant contributions to the subject and he fills in numerous gray areas regarding the tactics and command decisions of the British. Although modern scholars utilize Jackson and New Orleans as a foundation for their work, Walker’s information has been impossible to verify based on his method of research. Instead of breaking down Walker’s blatant faults in research and obvious bias, it is more sufficient for this essay to analyze and connect modern works on the subject.

Charles Brooks’ The Siege of New Orleans (1961) is the first story of the battle since Alexander Walker’s Jackson and New Orleans, written in 1857. His research consists of secondary works and well-known primary documents. Despite this, Brooks provides no new research on the subject. He acknowledges libraries, librarians, two professors from San Diego State College, and he notes a special debt to a professor from the University of California. Considering the technology at the time, Brooks was most likely limited to what resources he was able to acquire on the subject. He makes no remarks in the preface of any travels to Universities in the region and doesn’t list any professors who would be experts on the subject. The preface foreshadows the narrative-like content of the book. Accordingly, the style of Brooks’ content becomes immediately evident, “Thus the British Empire flexed its muscles and grinned across the ocean at the mistress of the Mississippi”[1]. The way Brooks combines his words to produce flamboyant and irrelevant sentences suggests that his goal was to entertain his audience rather than make a significant historical contribution to the subject. Being the first work written on the battle in the twentieth century, Brooks perhaps smartly saw a financial opportunity. Overall he produced a very entertaining retelling of the battle, but he shows no passion for the subject unlike the other scholars mentioned in this essay.

Wilburt Brown was a Major General in the United States Marine Corps when he began work on The Struggle for Gulf Borderlands: The Creek War and the Battle of New Orleans, 1812-1815 (1969). Brown served in World War 1, World War 2, and the Korean War. After thirty-three years of service Brown became a professor of military history at the University of Alabama. Notably, he was the first scholar to refer to the battle of New Orleans as an “amphibious campaign”. This points to his affiliation with the Marine Corps, which is a navy based faction of the military. At the time Brown’s work was published, it was seen as the most complete account of the battle of New Orleans. Brown’s research on the subject is more thorough than any other attempted previous work. Unlike Charles Brooks, Brown utilized papers from the Library of Congress, American and British government archives, and read every surviving eyewitness account of the battle. His work should be considered a military history of the subject, as the author tends to avoid social and political aspects of the time. Brown examines the military strategy, tactics, and intelligence relative to both the Americans and British armies. He concludes that the immeasurable leadership of Andrew Jackson combined with poor support from the British government, ultimately led to the demise of the competent, but unlucky British commanders. Charles Brooks, who’s previous work The Siege of New Orleans was widely criticized, praised Browns book in 1970 stating, ” To gather the facts, he utilized the Jackson and Mason papers of the Library of Congress and British and American archives as well as published eyewitness accounts and later histories”[2]. Brooks did not apply these resources in his previous narrative and did not hesitate to appreciate Brown’s extensive research. Nicknamed “Big Foot” by his military buddies, Brown undoubtedly set the tone for aspiring scholars of the subject. The general passed away before his work was published.

Frank Owsley Jr.’s The Struggle for Gulf Borderlands: The Creek War and the Battle of New Orleans (1980), was the first work published on the subject prior to General Brown’s praised text. In 1970, Owsley Jr, a professor at the University of Florida, critically reviewed the late General Brown’s book. Owsley, like Brooks, also applauded the Generals work stating, “he has used far more of the British manuscript materials than any other historian so far”[3]. Owsley Jr. seemed to be inspired by Brown’s work ethic towards new research. Accordingly when he released his own work on the subject in 1980, Owsley Jr. included more sources and research than any other work previously written on the subject. In his acknowledgments, the author thanks countless National archive directors along with the University libraries of Alabama, Auburn, Florida, South Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Louisiana State, and Oklahoma. The most notable acknowledgments however, are the author’s thanks to the historians John K. Mahon and Robert V. Remini. Both men are experts on the subject and ironically, each of them have works reviewed in this particular essay. Perhaps a product of his research, Owsley Jr. produces several new aspects and ideas on the outcome of the battle that previous historians have neglected to analyze. He predicts that without the Indian Creek War, the British would not have been drawn to the gulf theater and that New Orleans may have remained unchallenged. Owsley’s knowledge and views on the Indians relating to the British effort against New Orleans and the Gulf also surpass any previous related text. He also cites the low British morale as a factor that led to the end result while he credits Andrew Jackson with the “perfect” defense of New Orleans. Owsley’s dedication to the subject combined with the constantly improving technology of the time allowed him to procure the research necessary to produce this outstanding work.

The most recent account of the subject to date is Robert V. Remini’s The Battle of New Orleans written in 1999. It is the most specific explanation of the actual battle of New Orleans. He does not include the background information regarding the influence of Indians unlike the previous works discussed. Instead, Remini focuses primarily on the military history and tactics of the British and American armies at New Orleans. An obsessive scholar of the subject, John K. Mahon categorizes Remini’s work as, “the most detailed, best documented, and most interesting account that I have read of the battle”[4]. Mahon’s compliments should be taken with great appreciation from the author as he has written numerous articles on the subject, and a full history of the War of 1812. It should be noted that Remini did not publish his work through a University unlike the previous texts discussed, instead his book was published by the well-known Penguin Group. His lack of affiliation with a University did not hinder his research whatsoever. His footnotes include each work previously mentioned in this essay along with new research made possible by the National archives of the United States, Britain and Scotland. Lastly, Remini categorizes the battle of New Orleans as “one of the great turning points in American history”[5], and recognizes the victory as “a defining moment in the national character”.

Minus Walker, each author aforementioned has written reviews on each other’s books mentioned in this essay. Although one might predict a competitive nature between the scholars of this topic, these specific authors all assisted each other with their respective works and were not negative in their reviews. The fact that in some cases these scholars worked jointly together points to their ultimate infatuation with the battle of New Orleans. No work has been written since Remini’s in 1999, which suggests that the technology used by scholars to review documents has temporarily reached a plateau. Remini’s The Battle of New Orleans best compliments the topic and proves that it’s improved understanding truly has been a gradual process.


Brooks, Charles. The Siege of New Orleans. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1961.

Brown, Wilburt. The Amphibious Campaign for West Florida and Louisiana, 1814-1815: A Critical Review of Strategy and Tactics at New Orleans. University of Alabama Press, 1969.

Brooks, Charles. Review of The Amphibious Campaign for Florida and Louisiana 1814-1815: A Critical Review of Strategy and Tactics at New Orleans at the University of Alabama, by Wilburt Brown. 1969.

Mahon, John K. Review of The Battle of New Orleans, by Robert Remini. 1999

Owsley Jr., Frank. The Struggle for the Gulf Borderlands: The Creek War and the Battle of New Orleans. Gainesville: University of Florida Press, 1980.

Owsley Jr., Frank. Review of The Amphibious Campaign for Florida and Louisiana 1814-1815: A Critical Review of Strategy and Tactics at New Orleans at the University of Alabama, by Wilburt Brown. 1969.

Remini, Robert. The Battle of New Orleans. New York: Viking, 1999.

Walker, Alexander. Jackson and New Orleans. New York: J.C. Derby, 1856

[1] Brooks, Charles. The Siege of New Orleans. (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1961), 27

[2] Brooks, Charles. Review of The Amphibious Campaign for Florida and Louisiana 1814-1815: A Critical Review of Strategy and Tactics at New Orleans at the University of Alabama, by Wilburt Brown. 1969.

[3] Brooks, Charles. Review of The Amphibious Campaign for Florida and Louisiana 1814-1815: A Critical Review of Strategy and Tactics at New Orleans at the University of Alabama, by Wilburt Brown. 1969.

[4] Mahon, John K. Review of The Battle of New Orleans, by Robert Remini. 1999

[5] Remini, Robert. The Battle of New Orleans. (New York: Viking, 1999) 195.

Final Paper

Monday, December 6th, 2010

On the morning of January 8th, 1815, the British Army clashed with a small American force led by Major General Andrew Jackson on the outskirts of New Orleans on the Chalmette Plantation. At the end of the day, the British suffered over 2,000 men killed, wounded or missing, while the victorious Americans lost only 13 dead. The men of the U.S. 7th Infantry Regiment stood alongside Kentucky militiamen, slaves, Louisiana locals, freed blacks and Baratarian pirates as they repelled the British assault. Andrew Jackson provided America with its greatest land victory of the War of 1812, secured the United States’ most significant port, and ensured American control of the Mississippi River. Numerous aspects of the events leading up to and during the Battle of New Orleans should be seen as critical to the eventual lopsided outcome. Poor British command decisions combined with Andrew Jackson’s perfectly constructed defense of the city led to the favorable American outcome.

At the beginning of the year of 1814, the British Empire had completely dedicated itself to destroying Napoleon’s army. British General Sir Arthur Wellesley was on the verge of defeating the petite leader and finally on April 14th, Napoleon abdicated and was exiled to the Island of Elba. This significant victory for the British meant that they could ultimately avert soldiers and military resources to the much smaller conflict taking place in the United States. These soldiers and resources were accompanied with a new military strategy. The British Parliament agreed on a three pronged attack which focused their forces in Southern Canada, the center of the Atlantic coastline, and the Gulf of Mexico. The largest field army ever assembled by the British in North America (eighteen thousand men) was poised to sweep into the northern United States in the late summer of 1814. Their advance was thwarted in an Ameican naval victory near Plattsburg at Lake Champlain, resulting in the retreat of all eighteen thousand men back to Canada. The second prong which was meant as a diversion for the northern campaign, was initially successful as the British landed unopposed in the Chesapeake Bay. Undermanned, they were able to raid and burn the American capitol of Washington and briefly enter Baltimore, before they were forced to return to their ships. These failed forays ultimately convinced British commanders to thrust the third prong of their plan at the Gulf of Mexico.

Vice Admiral Sir Alexander Forrester Inglis Cochrane was appointed commander of the North American station on April 1st of 1814. He immediately recommended to his government an invasion of the United States through the Gulf of Mexico, specifically New Orleans and the Mississippi Valley. Before he was able to embark upon this campaign, Cochrane oversaw the British invasion of Washington which was led by Major General Robert Ross with a force of thirty two hundred men. After the burning of Washington, Cochrane urged Ross to make an unorganized advance upon Baltimore. Charles Brooks in his book, The Siege of New Orleans 1961 stated that, “some felt that the fruitless attack upon Baltimore had been inspired by Admiral Cochrane’s greed”. General Ross was killed by American marksmen as he and his army approached Baltimore. Ross’ second in command recommended to Cochrane that they withdraw but the Admiral “glared so disapprovingly that he marched his army on towards Baltimore”. Cochrane’s selfish leadership and poor judgement first surfaces during this specific campaign. His best General was killed and his forces retreated back to their fleet eventually sailing to the West Indies.

The British War Office eagerly sent Major General John Keane with reinforcements to the aid of General Ross when they learned of his overwhelming success at Washington. Ironically, the order was given on the same day Ross was pointlessly slain at Baltimore on September 12th. When news reached London of Ross’ death on October 17th, the disappointed War Office decided to continue with plans to send ten thousand men and two more Generals to aid in Cochrane’s effort against the Americans. Due to  this generous addition to his command, Admiral Cochrane determined that the support of Indians and the slave population would no longer be necessary to take New Orleans. The Admiral had previously proposed to Parliament that he would be able to easily overthrow New Orleans with a force of three thousand British troops, Indians, and French or Spanish locals. Famous British historian Sir John Fortescue called Cochrane’s initial plan “a piece of folly so childish that it ought to have warned the British ministers against listening to any of his projects”. Cochrane’s consistent underestimation of American troops is evident throughout his preparation for the New Orleans campaign.

The senior General the British Parliament determined to replace Ross with was Sir Edward Pakenham, son of the Earl of Longford and brother-in-law of Sir Arthur Wellesley. This would be the General’s first independent command and unfortunately for him, the structure of the campaign was solidified prior to his arrival. This left Admiral Cochrane and General Keane responsible for selecting the invasion route of New Orleans. Cochrane had previously asserted that Indian support would no longer be needed therefore a direct ship to shore route would be selected. As Cochrane and Keane narrowed their options of assault, the Bay of Barataria was strongly considered. The Island of Grand Terre located in the Bay was the settlement of Jean Lafitte and his followers which undoubtably provided the British with their best approach to New Orleans. Cochrane intended to ally with Lafitte which would enhance his knowledge of the terrain and provide even more military support. Unfortunately for the British, Lafitte saw Cochrane’s attempt to befriend him as “overbearing”. The Baratarians ultimately sided with Andrew Jackson and his dismal force of Americans. Cochrane’s haughty attitude again resulted in a factor that would eventually lead to his army’s defeat.

The Admiral’s tactical and political mistakes are thought to have been a product of his extraordinary taste for plunder. This was first evident when Cochrane needlessly advanced toward Baltimore solely, “because of the loot known to be there”. General Sir Arthur Wellesley shared the same opinion in regards of Cochrane’s aspirations at New Orleans, “plunder was its object,” and “the Admiral took care to be attended by a sufficient number of Sharks to carry the plunder off from a place in which he knew well that he could not remain”. Although Wellesley most likely never intended for these lines from his letter to be made public, it gives crucial insight into Cochrane’s reputation among his most respected counterparts. The previously critical historian Sir John Fortescue also commented on the intentions of Cochrane, his heritage and the agenda of the Royal Navy. In 1899 Fortescue ascertained regarding New Orleans, “prize money had for nearly two centuries been the motive for all amphibious operations recommended by the Navy” and “if any naval officers had shown stronger lust for prizes than others, they were the Scots; and all three of the Admirals engaged in this expedition were Scotsmen.” No matter Cochrane’s nationality, the evidence supplied agrees with the Admiral’s greedy ways.

The British command determined that the best route to New Orleans would be via Lake Borgne to the east of the city. The advance body of the expedition moved to Pea Island, in the mouth of the Pearl River, near which Cochrane considered a vulnerable shore. From there the British force penetrated the Bayou Bienvenu waterway which led them to a good road which ran adjacent to the Mississippi River. General Keane had his doubts about this approach to the city and when he expressed them to the Admiral, Cochrane “browbeat” him into the final decision. At this point General Pakenham finally arrived to assume command of his infantry on the outskirts of New Orleans. Historian Alexander Walker claimed that Pakenham was unhappy with the position of his troops and considered a withdrawal. Walker again claims, using actual dialogue, that Cochrane shamed Pakenham into not retreating and said the sailors would take the city while, “the soldiers brought up the baggage”. The young Pakenham whom most likely wanted to preserve his honor in the eyes of the aged Admiral, decided to continue with Cochrane’s plan of assault.

General Andrew Jackson’s defense of New Orleans has been deemed as perfect among scholars of the subject. His men defended earthworks extending from the Mississippi River to the edge of a dense swamp. Jackson extended his defensive line further towards the cypress swamp moments before the British assault. Famous Baratarian pirate leader Jean Lafitte originally recommended this move to Jackson as he foresaw a potential British sneak attack.  Had there not been American soldiers there to repel this faction of the British assault, their defensive line could have been outflanked and eventually overwhelmed. This one aspect of the battle is the only facet which the Americans could have possibly made their one blunder. Luckily for Jackson, troop placement was the largest tactical decision he had to make. The actual defense was very straightforward and it seemed that any unorganized band of men would have been able to thwart the British assault that day. Accordingly, British General Pakenham was killed, General Keane was severely wounded, two Major Generals were killed along with, eight colonels, six majors, eighteen captains, and fifty four lieutenants.

The defeat of the British at the battle of New Orleans was strategically and geographically inevitable. Rushed and rash decisions made by Admiral Cochrane severely deflated any chance of a British victory. It is more prudent to examine British faults than American success. Andrew Jackson’s plan was very straightforward, while the British had multiple options leading up to the battle. This moment in American history should be seen as a turning point and some scholars classify it as a defining moment of national character.

John K. Mahon, British Command Decisions Relative to the Battle of New Orleans, Louisiana, (Winter 1965) 53-73.

2 Charles B. Brooks, The Siege of New Orleans (1961). 104

3 Charles B. Brooks, The Siege of New Orleans (1961). 56

Sir John Fortescue, A History of the British Army (13 vols., London, 1899-

1930), X, 150-51

5 John K. Mahon, British Command Decisions Relative to the Battle of New Orleans, Louisiana, (Winter 1965) 70

6 Charles B. Brooks, The Siege of New Orleans (1961). 104

7 Wellington to Longford, May 22, 1815, Louisiana Historical Quarterly, IX

(January, 1926), 8

8 Sir John Fortescue, A History of the British Army (13 vols., London, 1899-

1930), X, 150-51

9 Charles B. Brooks, The Siege of New Orleans (1961). 203

10 Alexander Walker, Jackson and New Orleans, 212

John K. Mahon, British Command Decisions Relative to the Battle of New Orleans, Louisiana, (Winter 1965) 70


Brooks, Charles. The Siege of New Orleans. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1961.

Brown, Wilburt. The Amphibious Campaign for West Florida and Louisiana, 1814-1815: A Critical Review of Strategy and Tactics at New Orleans. University of Alabama Press, 1969.

Brooks, Charles. Review of The Amphibious Campaign for Florida and Louisiana 1814-1815: A Critical Review of Strategy and Tactics at New Orleans at the University of Alabama, by Wilburt Brown. 1969.

George R. Gleig, The Campaigns of the British Army at Washington and New Orleans 1814-1815 (London, 1827)

Mahon, John K. British Command Decisions Relative to the Battle of New Orleans. Louisiana, (Winter 1965)

Mahon, John K. Review of The Battle of New Orleans, by Robert Remini. 1999

Owsley Jr., Frank. The Struggle for the Gulf Borderlands: The Creek War and the Battle of New Orleans. Gainesville: University of Florida Press, 1980.

Owsley Jr., Frank. Review of The Amphibious Campaign for Florida and Louisiana 1814-1815: A Critical Review of Strategy and Tactics at New Orleans at the University of Alabama, by Wilburt Brown. 1969.

Remini, Robert. The Battle of New Orleans. New York: Viking, 1999.

Walker, Alexander. Jackson and New Orleans. New York: J.C. Derby, 1856

Wellington to Longford, May 22, 1815, Louisiana Historical Quarterly, IX

(January, 1926)

The Great Flood of 1927: A Measure of Herbert Hoover and His Associative Theory

Monday, December 6th, 2010

Final Draft

Literature Review(Hoover and the Flood)

Monday, December 6th, 2010

Literature Review

Topic Proposal

Monday, December 6th, 2010

Jacob McMahon

Topic Proposal

One of the more significant events of early 20th century America was the Mississippi Food of 1927. The flood was greater in magnitude than any other that American residents of the Lower Mississippi Valley had been subjected to and wreaked massive economic and emotional damage on the region. This paper will investigate in detail Herbert Hoover’s role in relief efforts as chairman of the Special Mississippi Flood Committee, and its relation to his underwhelming response to the Great Depression as President a couple of years later. Other points of discussion will include the historical role of the state in American society, Hoover’s own political philosophy, namely the concept of the “associative state”, and the ways in which the role of government during the flood of 1927 foreshadowed the vast expansion of governmental involvement as a result of the Great Depression.

Out of this set of key focuses, special attention will be given to the shifting role of government during that time and the inadequacy of government’s limits, as seen by Hoover, Coolidge and their contemporaries, when faced with a problem on the scale of the 1927 flood. To do this, the political thought of Hoover and the Coolidge administration will be examined. The expenditures of relief organizations such as the American Red Cross will be compared with the expenditures of the federal government and the overall relief response in which the government had a hand will be evaluated. The paper will also try to draw a connection between the political response to the ’27 flood and later New Deal efforts. Currently, few sources regarding this last point have been collected, but a research trail is being blazed and will be expanded upon in the coming weeks.

Fortunately, many wonderful sources concerning this topic and the 1927 flood generally, are available. The most prominent and exhaustive of these is John Barry’s 1997 book, Rising Tide: The Great Mississippi Flood of 1927 and How It Changed America. Rising Tide, which is considered an authority on the subject, is a comprehensive history of U.S. policy concerning the Mississippi, race relations in the affected areas, and all the political maneuvering surrounding the disaster. Hoover is one of the main focuses of the book and much attention is paid to his political utilization of his role after the disaster to get elected. Though Rising Tide is a secondary source, the text contains many primary materials, including conversations between regional and national decision makers, which Barry was lucky enough to find the minutes of.  Rising Tide provides a wealth of information on the flood, its antecedents and aftereffects however other sources must be consulted to provide other viewpoints and information on the Depression era connections.

Primary sources to be used include, but will not be limited to, a Red Cross report of its efforts written by John Payne, former chairman of the American Red Cross, and published by the Congressional Digest in 1928; a collection of letters between two Arkansas residents affected by the storm, compiled by Ethel Simpson and published in 1996 by the Arkansas Historical Quarterly, and Hoover’s own memorandum on his planned reorganization of affected farmland. Many other secondary sources have been found including Hoover and the Red Cross in the Arkansas Drought of 1930, written by Roger Lambert and published in 1970 also in the Arkansas Historical Quarterly, and Herbert Hoover, Spokesman of Humane Efficiency: The Mississippi Flood of 1927, which examines his work after the flood and his views on government and bureaucracy. Spokesman For Humane Efficiency was written by Bruce Lohof and published in 1970 in the American Quarterly.

The relevance of this topic to American society has rarely been more pronounced than it is now. In the last half decade the federal government has been tested numerous times by disasters, most of which affected the same region of the country the flood did in 1927. In addition to that, the role of government has been a constant debate in American politics but seldom has it been argued about as much as it was both then and now. Hopefully this paper can shed light on the far-reaching affects of such disasters.


Barry,John M. Rising Tide: The Great Mississippi Flood of 1927 and How It Changed America. 1 ed. New York, NY: Touchstone, 1997.

Bearden, Russell. “Jefferson County’s Worst Disaster: The Flood of 1927.” The Arkansas Historical Quarterly 43, no. 4 (1984): 324-338.

Cobb, James C. “”Somebody Done Nailed Us on the Cross”: Federal Farm and Welfare Policy and the Civil Rights Movement in the Mississippi Delta.” The Journal of  American History 77, no. 3 (1990): 912-936.

Dawes, Richard and Ethel C. Simpson. “Letters from the Flood.” The Arkansas Historical Quarterly 55, no. 3 (1996): 251-285.

Destler, Chester M. “The Opposition of American Businessmen to Social Control During the “Gilded Age”.” The Mississippi Valley Historical Review 39, no. 4 (1953): 641-672.

Fusfeld, Daniel R. “The Source of New Deal Reformism: A Note.” Ethics 65, no. 3 (1955): 218-219.

Haas, William H. “The Mississippi River-Asset or Liability.” Economic Geography 7, no.3 (1931): 252-262.

Hawley, Ellis W. “Herbert Hoover, the Commerce Secretariat, and the Vision of an “Associative State,” 1921- 1928.” The Journal of American History 61, no. 1 (1974):116-140.

Heiberg III, E.R. “A corps chief looks at Rising Tide.” Civil Engineering (08857024) 68, no. 2 (February 1998): 54-56. Academic Search Complete, EBSCOhost (accessed September 11, 2010).

Hobson, Edythe S. “Twenty-Seven Days on the Levee: 1927.” The Arkansas Historical Quarterly 39, no. 3 (1980): 210-229.

Hoover, Herbert and Bruce A. Lohof. “Herbert Hoover’s Mississippi Valley Land Reform Memorandum: A Document.” The Arkansas Historical Quarterly 29, no. 2 (1970):112-118.

Keller, Robert R. “The Role of the State in the U.S. Economy during the 1920s.” Journal of Economic Issues 21, no. 2 (1987): 877-884.

Lambert, Roger. “Hoover and the Red Cross in the Arkansas Drought of 1930.” The Arkansas Historical Quarterly 29, no. 1 (1970): 3-19.

Lohof, Bruce A. “Herbert Hoover, Spokesman of Humane Efficiency: The Mississippi Floodof 1927.” American Quarterly 22, no. 3 (1970): 690-700.

McBride, Mary G. and Ann M. McLaurin. “The Origin of the Mississippi River Commission.” Louisiana History: The Journal of the Louisiana Historical Association 36, no. 4 (1995):389-411.

McMillen, Niel R. “Perry W. Howard, Boss of Black-and-Tan Republicanism in Mississippi, 1924-1960.” The Journal of Southern History 48, no. 2 (1982): 205-224.

Means, Gay G. “Louisianians and Natural Disasters: A Glimpse into the Years, 1927-1934.”Louisiana History: The Journal of the Louisiana Historical Association 30, no. 3 (1989): 317-321.

Mills, Nicolaus. “Herbert Hoover and Hurricane Katrina.” Dissent 53, no. 1 (2006): 12-13.

Nash, Gerald D. “Herbert Hoover and the Origins of the Reconstruction Finance Corporation.” The Mississippi Valley Historical Review 46, no. 3 (1959): 455-468.

Pabis, George S. “Delaying the Deluge: The Engineering Debate over Flood Control on the Lower Mississippi River, 1846-1861.” The Journal of Southern History 64, no. 3 (1998):421-454.

Payne, John Barton. “Review of Red Cross Relief Activities in Mississippi Flood Area.” Congressional Digest 7, no. 2 (February 1928): 42-43. Academic Search Complete, EBSCOhost (accessed September 11, 2010).

Pearcy, Matthew T. “A History of the Ransdell-Humphreys Flood Control Act of 1917.”Louisiana History: The Journal of the Louisiana Historical Association 41, no. 2 (2000): 133-159.

Reuss, Martin. “The Army Corps of Engineers and Flood-Control Politics on the Lower Mississippi.” Louisiana History: The Journal of the Louisiana Historical Association 23, no. 2 (1982): 131-148.

Spencer, Robyn. “Contested Terrain: The Mississippi Flood of 1927 and the Struggle to Control Black Labor.” The Journal of Negro History 79, no. 2 (1994): 170-181.

Wernet, Mary L. “The United States Senator Overton Collection and the History It Holds Relating to the Control of Floods in the Alluvial Valley of the Mississippi, 1936-1948.” Louisiana History: The Journal of the Louisiana Historical Association 46, no. 4 (2005):             449-464.

The Unjust Enrichment of American POWs by Japanese Corporations

Sunday, December 5th, 2010

The Unjust Enrichment of Japanese Corporations by American POWs

During World War II, the Empire of Japan used captured American soldiers as slave labor to fill the void left by Japanese soldiers sent off to war. Of these captured soldiers, almost half came from the American surrender at the Battle of Bataan, the largest surrender in American history. Over twelve thousand American soldiers surrendered to an overwhelming Japanese force on the Bataan Peninsula in the Philippines on April 9th, 1942. On empty stomachs and sore limbs, the soldiers were marched through sixty miles of Philippine jungle in the boiling heat. Many became so weak they collapsed along the march and were subsequently beaten or executed by their Japanese captors. The Bataan Death March, as it would come to be known, was only the beginning of the horrors these captured soldiers would experience. After being released following the Japanese surrender three years later, the American government did nothing to help these captured soldiers, even after using the Death March as a propaganda tool. When the soldiers were finally freed after the war, they were welcomed home with orders not to speak of their time in captivity and received little governmental support and compensation for their lost years. The American government neglected their own veteran’s needs by providing little for their time in captivity, and blocked any attempts for compensation from the Japanese companies for which they worked in order to maintain a strong economic and political link with the Japanese in the quickly emerging globalized economy.

The American public was unaware of the tragedy on Bataan until almost two years after the Death March. The New York Times first ran a story on January 28th, 1944, after the military released what they knew of the Death March.[1] The New York Times article stirred up nationalist feelings across America, which did not go unnoticed by the government, which would subsequently use the story as a tool for creating propaganda. The American government acted quickly to use the Death March to their advantage. Images of the Death March were incorporated into military training videos and recruitment posters. One famous recruitment ad flashed the New York Times headline[2] and encouraged the reader to “stay on the job until every murdering Jap is wiped out!” Even President Truman used the march as a means to justify the use of atomic weapons in his radio address following the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945, telling the world that “we have used it (The atomic bomb) against those… who have starved and beaten and executed American prisoners of war, against those who have abandoned all pretense of obeying international laws of warfare.”[3] From this one can gather that the American government wanted to use the Death March as a means of creating anti-Japanese sentiments in America and using it as a rallying cry for new recruits. With so much public exposure, one might expect for those that survived their internment in Japan to receive a hero’s welcome back home, however the American government apparently had other ideas.

The American prisoners were released from captivity following the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, understandably eager to return home. However, most of the soldiers captured by the Japanese were detained by military officials for a debriefing period in order to determine where the soldiers had been held and what they were forced to do. These debriefing periods were also used to determine the mental stability of the soldiers. Lester Tenney and Anton Bilek recall the reception that awaited them back home in their memoirs, My Hitch in Hell, and No Uncle Sam: The Forgotten of Bataan, respectively.[4] As the rest of the nation celebrated the end of the war, Tenney recalls returning to America “…quietly, anonymously, without any fanfare or banners waving to welcome us…”[5] For many soldiers this was unexpected, especially considering the regal reception many soldiers experienced upon their return from Europe. Tenney attributed this to the delay in the soldiers return home, and that the post-war euphoria the country experienced immediately after the war’s conclusion had begun to die down.

However, in her book Unjust Enrichment, Linda Holmes suggests that the American government had ulterior motives in keeping these former POWs out of the limelight. As many of the former POWs had become severely emaciated and sick during captivity, Holmes suggests that the government purposely delayed the soldier’s return home in an attempt to keep the public unaware of the kind of suffering these soldiers experienced. Further supporting this idea is the fact that the soldiers were forbidden from talking about their time in captivity to anyone.[6]

After their return home, the former POW’s struggle for justice began. As many former POWs were still busy rebuilding their lives, the American and Japanese governments signed the Peace Treaty of 1951. The soldiers would soon find that this treaty waived any claims of war crimes against Japan, therefore prohibiting any soldier from suing the Japanese corporations for which they worked for any reparations. This was immediately met with sharp criticism from those who had been held in captivity in Japan. According to accounts from Elizabeth and Michael Norman’s Tears in the Darkness, multiple former POWs claimed that they were told during their debriefing period that the Japanese corporations responsible would fund the majority of their post-war support system.[7] However, no POW ever received any monetary reparations from the Japanese corporations, and the only compensation many soldiers received came the American government. According to a report in the American Journal of International Law, the survivors were paid $2.50 a day for time in captivity, adding up to approximately $3,103 for over three years in captivity.[8][9] This clearly inadequate compensation did little to mollify the soldiers whom it affected. However, the treaty had been signed and it was clear the American government was not siding with its own veterans.

With so much of the public eye still fixed on the reconstruction of Europe and tensions with the Soviet Union beginning to escalate in the late 1940s, there was very little public support for the soldiers’ cause. Furthermore, the soldiers were still not allowed to discuss their time in captivity with anyone, including any reporters who were interested in their story.[10] With no one telling their stories, the fates of these former POWs slowly faded out of the public consciousness. Since most of Europe was in shambles after the war, the American government began funneling millions of dollars into the war-ravaged continent, in hopes of gaining allies and reestablishing Europe as an industrial competitor.[11] On the Pacific front, the government also realized a unique opportunity in Japan. Unlike the slow recovery process in Europe, Japan’s infrastructure and economy experienced an incredibly swift recovery in the few years following the war. As the Supreme Commander of Allied Powers, General Douglas MacArthur was charged with helping rebuild and stabilize post-war Japan. With American supervision, Japan was put on the fast track to industrialization. By the time the Peace Treaty of 1951 was signed, Japan had industrialized so quickly that it prompted General MacArthur to proclaim that “The Japanese people… have undergone the greatest reformation recorded in modern history.”[12] In the emerging globalizing economy, the Truman administration realized the value in maintaining strong ties with nations that could be considered valuable trade partners. This gave America a valuable ally in the global economy; one the American government knew it could not risk losing. The lingering problem of reparations for former Japanese POWs was solved by simply forbidding them to sue Japanese companies. After 1951, the soldiers captured at Bataan had little choice but to move on with their lives.

Ironically, the Peace Treaty of 1951 only addressed the American soldiers captured by the Japanese, and not the Japanese-American citizens who were held in internment camps throughout much of World War II. Possibly inspired by the Civil Rights Movement in the early 1960s, former Japanese internees began campaigning for reparations from the American government. This continued until 1988, when President Ronald Reagan signed the Civil Liberties Act of 1988, which provided $20,000 for each surviving detainee and included a formal apology from the American government.[13] Many former POWs were insulted that Japanese-American citizens received reparations, while America’s own soldiers did not.[14] This could very well have inspired some of the remaining POWs to continue their fight against the Japanese corporations for reparations.

With the Peace Treaty of 1951, the American government successfully curbed the efforts of the former POWs in their attempt to gain compensation from their Japanese captors. Most of the former POWs moved on with their lives, putting the past behind them. However, recently there has been a surge of interest in the field, possibly due to the publicity of Ghost Soldiers by Hampton Sides and Tears in the Darkness by Elizabeth and Michael Norman. Ghost Soldiers tells the story of the heroic rescue of five hundred captives from Bataan by a regiment of Army Rangers. In Tears in the Darkness, Elizabeth and Michael Norman conducted hundreds of interviews with former POWs from Bataan. This surge of public attention in the early 2000s led to the revival of attempts by former POWs to gain reparations, almost sixty years after their internment. In 2000, after realizing Japan was not going to pay reparations from World War II, former Allied powers Canada and the United Kingdom allotted close to fifteen thousand dollars to every former POW held in Japan. These reparations were funded by the nations themselves, and served as a “debt of honor” to those that had served.[15] The Congressional record from July of 2003 shows the push by Iowa Sen. Tom Harkin for the appropriation of benefits to the former POWs, to be paid by the Japanese corporations who used them as slave labor. However, the notion was struck down almost immediately, as the American government worried that they would “undermine our relations with Japan, a key ally.”[16] Here we can again see the continuation of the international policy established in the years following World War II. From this, one can gather that in today’s globalized world, economic security is still more important to the government then rewarding its veterans.

By establishing themselves as the authority in Japan after World War II, the American government managed to forge a strong ally in the rapidly industrializing world. However, this came at a high cost to those imprisoned and enslaved by the Japanese during the war. The American government neglected their own veterans’ needs by providing little to no compensation for their time in captivity, and blocked any attempts for compensation from the Japanese companies for which they worked; all to maintain a strong economic and political link with the Japanese in the quickly emerging globalized economy. Today many of the veterans of Bataan are nearing the end of their lives and many have given up hope of ever seeing a dime from their Japanese captors. Many are simply seeking a public apology, perhaps to gain some closure on what must be their darkest years.[17] Unfortunately, the American and Japanese governments have become far too intertwined in today’s world to risk losing their alliance for a few “Battling Bastards from Bataan.”[18]


Albrecht, James, and Edwards, Joseph, and Popravak, Terrence. “’Come as You Are’ Warfare: The Bataan Example” Military Review Vol. 83, Issue 2 (2003), pg. 84-89.

Bilek, Anton. No Uncle Sam: The Forgotten of Bataan. Ohio, Kent State University Press, 2003.

Falk, Stanley L. Bataan, A March of Death. USA: Penguin Publishing, 1987.

Frazier, Glenn D. Hell’s Guest. GA: Williams & Company Publishers, 2007.

Harkin, Tom (Iowa). Congressional Record 17 July 2003: 18511.

Holmes, Linda. Unjust Enrichment. IN: Stackpole Books, 2004.

Jackson, Charles, and Norton, Bruce. I Am Alive!: A United States Marine’s Story of Survival in a World War II Japanese POW Camp. CA, Presidio Press, 2003.

MacArthur, Douglas. “Farewell Speech to Congress.” United States Congress. April 19. 1951.

Morton, Louis. “The Battling Bastards of Bataan,” in Military Affairs, Vol. 15, No. 2. Society for Military History, 1951.

Nelson, Jim. US-Japan Dialogue on POWs. “Issues of the Bataan Death March Revisited.” (Accessed September 10th, 2010)

Norman, Michael, and Norman, Elizabeth. “Surviving Bataan” American Heritage Vol. 59, Issue 2 (2009), pg 56-63.

Norman, Michael, and Norman, Elizabeth. Tears in the Darkness: The Story of the Bataan Death March and It’s Aftermath. USA: Macmillan Publishing, 2009.

Norman, Elizabeth. We Band of Angels: The Untold Story of American Nurses Trapped on Bataan by the Japanese. CA: Atria Publishing, 2000.

Payne, Stephen. “Lest We Forget: World War II” Propaganda. (Accessed September 10th, 2010)

Reynolds, Gary. “U.S. Prisoners of War and Civilian American Citizens Captured and Interned by Japan in World War II: The Issue of Compensation by Japan.” Congressional Research Service Report for Congress. Congress Research Service: 12/17/2002.

Sides, Hampton. Ghost Soldiers: The Forgotten Epic Story of World War II’s Most Dramatic Mission. IL: Doubleday Publishing, 2001.

Tenney, Lester. My Hitch In Hell: The Bataan Death March. NY: Potomac Books, 2007.

Tokudome, Kinue. “The Bataan Death March and the 66-Year Struggle for Justice.” Asia-Pacific Journal: Japan Focus (April 14, 2008) (Accessed September 10th, 2010)

Truman, Harry S. Public Papers of the President, 1945.

Waldron, Ben, and Burneson, Emily. Corregidor: From Paradise to Hell!. IN: Trafford Publishing, 2006.

Wilkinson, Stephan. “The Seven Most Daring Raids Ever” Military History Vol. 26 Issue 4 (2009), p34-41.

Woods, Lewis. “Horror Tale Bared: 3 Survivors Say Thirst Sent Men Crazy on ‘March of Death’”. New York Times, January 28, 1944, pg. 1.

Young, Donald J. The Battle of Bataan: A History of the 90 Day Siege and Eventual Surrender of 75,000 Filipino and United States Troops to the Japanese in World War II. NC: Mcfarland Publishing, 1992.

American Society of International Law. “World War II Era Claims against Japanese Companies.” The American Journal of International Law, Vol. 95, No. 1, January 2001. Pg. 139-143.

Commission on Wartime Relocation and Interment of Civilians. “Personal Justice Denied.” February 1983.

General Announcement. “Jap Newspapers Ordered to Tell of Atrocities” The Canberra Times, September 15, 1945, Front Page.

PBS American Experience. “Bataan Rescue: The Most Daring Rescue Mission of World War II.” PBS Online. (Accessed Sep 10, 2010)

PBS American Experience. “Capture and Death March” PBS Online. (Accessed Sep 10, 2010)

“War Department Orientation Film”. Know Your Enemy – Japan – 1366A, produced by US Army Pictoral Service, 1944.

[1] Lewis Woods, “Horror Tale Bared: 3 Survivors Say Thirst Sent Men Crazy on ‘March of Death’,” New York Times, 28 Jan. 1944, 1.

[2] This is the same headline from January 28th, 1944, when the public was informed of what happened on Bataan.

[3] Harry S. Truman, Public Papers of the Presidents, 1945, 212.

[4] Anton Bilek, No Uncle Sam: The Forgotten of Bataan,(OH: Kent State Press, 2003) and Lester Tenney, My Hitch in Hell: The Bataan Death March (NY: Potomac Books, 2007).

[5] Lester Tenney, My Hitch in Hell, 147.

[6] Linda Holmes, Unjust Enrichment (IN: Stackpole Books, 2004).

[7] Michael & Elizabeth Norman, Tears in the Darkness, 313.

[8] When adjusted for inflation in 2000, this totaled only about $20,000.

[9] American Society of International Law, “World War II Era Claims against Japanese Companies” (The American Journal of International Law, 95.1. Jan. 2001) 139-143.

[10] This trend of silence continued throughout the century. Linda Holmes, author of Unjust Enrichment, states in her introduction that she tried to write her work in the early 1990’s, but there were too few former POWs willing to discuss their time in Japan.

[11] Linda Holmes, Unjust Enrichment (IN: Stackpole Books, 2004).

[12] Douglas MacArthur, “Farewell Speech to Congress,” United States Congress (April 19, 1951).

[13] Overall, this cost the American government about 1.2 billion dollars for approximately 60,000 former detainees. Only about 6,000 American troops returned home from Japanese internment. Therefore, similar reparations for American troops would have cost the American government only about 10% of what they spent on reparations for Japanese-American detainees.

[14] Michael and Elizabeth Norman, Tears in the Darkness, 2009 & Hampton Sides, Ghost Soldiers (IL: Doubleday Publishing, 2001) 376-390.

[15] Gary Reynolds, “U.S. Prisoners of War and Civilian American Citizens Captured and Interned by Japan in World War II: The Issue of Compensation by Japan,” Congressional Research Service Report for Congress, Congress Research Service: 12/17/2002.

[16] Tom Harkin (Iowa), Congressional Record 17 July 2003: 18511.

[17] Michael and Elizabeth Norman, Tears in the Darkness, iv.

[18] Louis Morton, “The Battling Bastards of Bataan,” Military Affairs, Vol. 15, No. 2 (Society for Military History, 1951) i.

demography of Colonial New Orleans (final paper)

Sunday, December 5th, 2010

Calvin Sherwood

Louisiana is famous for its Creole culture, a legacy from its time as a French colony. Since its creation in 1699, Colonial Louisiana absorbed and retained much of its colonizers’ identity despite changing political hands and coming under Spanish and then American domination. While this view of Louisiana’s history has become commonplace, there are many other demographic trends that distinctly shaped Louisiana outside the purely Francophonic, White, French, Creole culture. It is the contributions of these less acknowledged groups that give Louisiana, and New Orleans in particular, such a rich, diverse blend of cultural, racial and ethnic background that has lasted several centuries. Of the many different immigrant groups that helped forge the multi-faceted foundation of Colonial Louisiana, Africans (especially the Free Men of Color), the Spanish and the Cajuns/Acadians in particular deserve special recognition for helping shape the cultural legacy during the early years of Colonial Louisiana and preserving that identity until long after the Louisiana Purchase.
From the very beginning, Colonial Louisiana relied heavily upon its black population for its survival. Unlike English colonies that depended heavily on dense settling of areas by white colonists, French Louisiana consisted of sparse white settlements with weak regional influence. With only gradual settling by small groups of Alsatian or German farmers, and due to the terrible working conditions in the colony, immigration from Europe always remained scarce and insufficient for large-scale plantations. As a result, the French turned to the importation of slaves from Africa, which fulfilled the requirement for labor within a few years of the colony’s founding. By 1743, after 24 years of the colony’s existence, almost 6,000 slaves had been imported into the colony for sustenance. By 1746, blacks outnumbered whites in New Orleans by a 2-to-1 margin and had grown to almost 5,000 strong, over half the colony’s population. This entrenching of a huge African population in the area would heavily influence and help shape the regional culture in the absence of a demographically dominant white presence.
As time passed and the growing reliance on the African population continued, the French rewarded the Blacks with concessions and privileges, revealing how influential Africans had become as an ethnic background. While most were still enslaved, a growing number were gaining their freedom through militia service against Indian revolts, like the Natchez Rebellion, or as the children of white planters with black slave women. Their numbers exploded in the 1740s and 1750s as this ethnic intermingling and growing birthrate produced a demographic wave of free mulattos that filled a unique position in the social order. These freed blacks became known as ‘free men of color’ and enjoyed many of the legal rights of whites, but not the social graces reserved for white Creoles. While ethnically African, they adopted many French customs, such as Catholicism and the French language, and even became slaveholders themselves.
In terms of population, the Free Men of Color grew rapidly from only a handful in the 1730s until they were several hundred strong and formed a unique community when compared to enslaved Blacks or white French Creoles. While they now shared a common culture with the Whites, the Free Men of Color’s roots and close contact with the slaves brought in a tinge of Animistic influence, especially since most slaves had been imported from a single region and had retained their main cultural identity. This mix of culture marks the start of an Afro-Creole identity, which would be preserved by the large population of Africans when compared to the smaller white population. At the onset of the transition from being a French colony to a Spanish colony in 1763, the enslaved African population and Free Men of Color numbered just over 4,600 out of population of around 8,000, making Blacks the largest ethnic community by over one thousand people.
The Spanish period of the colony marked resurgence in importing slaves, bringing more Africans into the area and effectively preserving the importance of Afro-Creole culture as a foundation to the region. An equally important development was the continued population increase of the Free Men of Color, whose numbers rose dramatically during this period from 165 at the onset to about 1,500 by the end of the Spanish period in 1803. This rise can be attributed primarily to refugees escaping the slave rebellion in Saint-Domingue, for Free Men of Color there had more in common with the white Creoles than the rebelling slaves. This group of Francophonic refugees became extremely influential culturally as other immigrants poured into Louisiana who did not speak French, for they preserved the Creole culture more efficiently than white Creoles at this period. Often overshadowed by their white counterparts, it was the Free Men of Color who preserved Louisiana’s unique heritage the best.
As ethnic groups outside the Gallic culture, especially the Americans, immigrated to the colony in greater numbers, their demographic presence threatened the cultural identity of the colony. The white Creoles had to deal with the large numbers of English speaking whites, but since there was no significant free Black population that spoke English, the Free Men of Color’s culture remained unchanged far longer than the other ethnic groups. This preservation of Afro-Creole culture maintained the unique blend of diversity to Louisiana’s culture just as much as the Franco-European influence by the white Creoles.
While the African influence in Louisiana demographics proved undeniable due to their large population, the Spanish influence on the colony remained subtle due to their miniscule population and general indifference to the region. However, Spanish authority over Louisiana was surprisingly beneficial in molding the regional identity because it gave the raw, local, French culture a civil infrastructure and helped retain the blending cultures while adding a few subtle influences of its own.
Despite its 40-year rule over the colony, only a few immigrants arrived from Spain. Of the Spanish who did settle in Louisiana, they were mostly government officials who were quickly assimilated into the French culture by marriage and association with French Creoles. Initially, Louisiana natives rejected this new authority because of their foreign culture and relatively small numbers, culminating in a threat of rebellion in 1768 that forced the first Spanish governor out before a larger Spanish force restored order. While at first the French Creoles and even the newly settled Acadians distrusted and resisted Spanish rule, eventually they warmed to their rulers once they realized that their culture was not seriously threatened. In fact, it was under Spanish rule that the Louisiana colony began to thrive as it received more economic attention and funds, which allowed for further cultural growth. The French language continued to dominate and Spanish did not ever come to rival the existing identity. However, Spanish law did become incorporated in much of Louisiana and the colony in general benefited greatly from its new judicial administration. Spanish surnames began to appear on maps, and Spanish words like ‘Picayune’ became integrated into everyday Creole life.
Another visible impact Spain left upon Louisiana would be in the architecture it left behind after much of New Orleans burned down during fires in 1788 and in 1794. Much of the old, wooden, colonial French style was replaced with a more Spanish style of patios, cast-iron and roofing tiles that later became associated with the French Creole culture. While this influence could be seen thereafter in the streets of New Orleans, perhaps the greatest legacy of Spanish domination was their efficient management of the colony that opened the door to massive immigration. During the Spanish period, Louisiana’s population increased sixfold and New Orleans’ population nearly tripled, transforming the previously backward colony into a bustling trading center. Among these newcomers were vast numbers of imported slaves, ‘Foreign French’ refugees from Saint-Domingue or France itself, and most importantly the Acadians from Canada, who would populate the swampy bayous to the west of New Orleans. The arrival of these resourceful backwoodsmen in increasingly large numbers would add a new dimension to the Creole culture throughout the colony.
Having been forced out of their homes in ‘Acadiana’ by the English invaders, Acadian émigrés started arriving in Louisiana in large numbers as early as 1765. By 1770, over a thousand Acadians had settled in the colony and by 1788, over two thousand more had arrived to reunite with the previous Acadian settlers. Clannish, uneducated and fiercely independent, the way of life these new immigrants brought was vastly different than their Creole counterparts who lived in New Orleans. While both groups were originally French in origin, spoke French and practiced Catholicism, their cultures remained different in every other form. Creoles tended to own more slaves and live on plantations or in the more urban areas of the colony; they looked down upon these new arrivals as poor whites that were of a lower standard than the Creoles. The Acadians, on the other hand, viewed the Creoles as ‘the other French’ who were not to be trusted, and mostly stuck to themselves in their close-knit villages.
Over time, Acadian settlers began settling in farming communities and ranches along the bayous and prairies, isolating themselves as much as possible from the Creoles in New Orleans. This isolation helped form a new, unique Francophonic culture that was not Creole but distinctly Acadian, or ‘Cajun’. As time passed and the number of Cajuns increased in the region along with their relative isolation, their language even became a separate dialect from the Creoles. Eventually, with the continual influx of African slaves, Cajuns began to grudgingly accept slavery into their culture, which somewhat changed their independent lifestyle. Even that, however, did not assimilate the Cajun culture into the Creole lifestyle. In fact, the African slaves themselves slowly mixed with the Cajun culture to help create a new hybrid Afro-Cajun culture that remained vastly different from ‘sophisticated’ Creole culture. By the time of the Louisiana Purchase, these Acadian and Afro-Cajun backgrounds had formed into cultural identities that differed greatly from the Creole culture of New Orleans, which would come to be associated with the whole region.
As time passed, the demographic figures changed wildly with the coming of thousands of white Americans and European immigrants, but the cultural foundation had already been set. While distinctly French in its linguistic roots, Colonial Louisiana’s demographic growth under Spanish domination contributed to creating the cultural background of Africans, Creoles and Cajuns that mixed together into a unique form. The dominant French Creole influence shows throughout the colony, but the African heritage remained very clear simply through their vast population. Creole culture also owes some of its sophistication and efficiency to the Spanish who helped form its civil and judicial identity, and the Cajun influence on the rest of the colony remained just as strong. With the help of these lesser-known ethnic groups, Colonial Louisiana helped retain its unique culture far longer than it could have had it been purely French White Creole.

Works Cited

Brasseaux, Carl. The Founding of New Acadia: The Beginnings of Acadian Life In Louisiana, 1765-1803. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1987.

Brasseaux, Carl. French, Cajun, Creole, Houma. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University, 2005.

Calwell, J.M. and Charles R. Goins,. Historical Atlas of Louisiana, University of Oklahoma Press, Norman / London 1995, XV-99-L.

Conrad, Glen.The French Experience in Louisiana, University of Southwestern Louisiana Pass, La Fayette, 1995, VIII-666

Desdunes, Rodolphe L. Our People and Our History: Fifty Creole Portraits. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State Universtiy Press, 1971

Dessens, Nathalie. “The Saint-Domingue Refugees and the Preservation of Gallic Culture in Early American New Orleans. “ French Colonial History (8). 53-69.Michigan State University Press, 2007.

Dominguez, Virginia. White by Definition; Social Classification in Creole Louisiana. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 1986.

Faulkner, William. The Cajuns. Toronto: McGraw-Hill Ryerson, 1979.

Freiberg, Edna. Bay St. John In Colonial Louisiana 1699-1803. New Orleans: Harvey Press, 1980.

Giraud, Marcel. A History of French Louisiana (1698–1715), tome 5, Louisiana State University Press, Baton Rouge, 1991.

Gould, Virginia M. and Charles Nolan, eds. No Cross, No Crown: Black Nuns in Nineteenth-Century New Orleans. Bloomington: Indiana University, 2001.

Hirsch, Arnold and Joseph Logsdon, eds. Creole New Orleans; Race and Americanization. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1992.

Hubert, V. A Pictorial History, Louisiana. New York: Ch. Scribner,1975.

King, Grace. New Orleans: The Place and the People. New York: Macmillan Company, 1926.

Ladurie, Emmanuel. Histoire de France des Regions. Paris: Editions Du Seuil, 2001.

Lanusse, Armand. Les Cenelles. Shreveport: Les Cahiers du Tintamarre, 2003.
Newman, Robert. An Introduction of Louisiana Archeology. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1984.

Maduell, Charles. Mèmoire sur la colonie de la Louisiane en 1746. Paris: Archives Nationales, C13.

Mettas, Jean. Répertoire des expeditions négrières françaises au XVIIIièmesiècle, ed. Serge Daget and Michelle Daget (Paris: 1978, 1984), Vol. 1-2.

Moore, John. Revolt In Louisiana; The Spanish Occupation, 1766-1770. Baton Rouge:
Louisiana State University, 1976.

Rowland, Dunbar and A.G Sanders. Mississippi Provincial Archives 1729-1740; French Dominion. Jackson: Mississippi Press of the Mississippi Department of Archives and History, 1927.

Smither, Nelle. A History of the English Theater in New Orleans. New York: Ben Bloom, 1964.

Webmaster, “Colonial Louisiana”., Sept. 10, 2010.

Wilson, Samuel Jr. “Religious Architecture in French Colonial Louisiana”.

—. “Plan de Nouvelle Orleans”


Sunday, December 5th, 2010

New Orleans Powerpoint

Hell Hath No Fury Like a Woman Learned: Rachel Speght & Her Quest for Equality (Final Paper)

Saturday, December 4th, 2010

Imagine a war.  One waged not on a bloody battlefield, but instead upon leaves of paper; a war that lasts not for years, but for centuries.  The literary debate, “La Querelle des Femmes,” translated to “The Debate about Women,” is a war of words that addressed questions regarding the role and status of women.  Constantly under scrutiny, the character of women suffered many attacks.  Where did they belong in society?  Did they deserve to receive an education?  This particular battle, the querelle, involved many writers divided into two camps:  misogynists and defenders of women.  In response to an attack on women written by Joseph Swetnam, a woman by the name of Rachel Speght stepped to the forefront of this argument.  She wrote her way into polemic history in 1617 with her pamphlet entitled A Mouzell for Melastomus.  In this work, Rachel Speght combined her superior education and religious upbringing to rush to the defense of women, relighting the fire of the querelle and consequentially influencing other writers for centuries to come.

The querelle reaches back to the very beginning of time, finding roots in the story of Adam and Eve in the book of Genesis.[1] The point of conflict in this debate centered on women’s behavior—taking their nature into consideration, what was their purpose in society?  In order to take this question in to consideration, one must understand the opinions of the time.  At the onset of, and throughout, the debate, society harbored a strongly misogynistic attitude toward women.  In short, because of the actions taken by Eve, “women were regarded as the source of sin and mortality, and, consequently, all women should be punished throughout their lives.”[2] During this time in history, society dictated that women be quiet, mild-mannered, orderly, and nurturing.  Essentially, a proper woman made up for those characteristics men lacked.[3] This idea, however, clashed with the views of women from the eyes of misogynists.  Misogynistic behavior acted as the norm; strict divides existed between the behavior of males and females, and women were objects to many men.  This idea of gender differences is termed “structural misogyny” by Alcuin Blamires, and is a spin-off of a phrase used by author Alasatir Minnis.[4]

Without a doubt, this type of environment fueled and encouraged input to the debate by individuals with attitudes like Joseph Swetnam’s.  In 1615, Joseph Swetnam published his first pamphlet addressing the querelle des femmes.  Entitled The Arraignment of Lewd, Idle, Froward [sic], and Unconstant Women, this piece accuses women of being “dangerously deceptive, expensive, desperate about maintaining their beauty, shallow, and deceived of their role on Earth as submissive wives, helpmates and mothers.”[5] He sees women as simply following in the footsteps of Eve—taking advantage of men, leading them astray.  It was with these ideas in mind that Swetnam penned The Arraignment and provided the pamphlet that would set in motion a new level to the debate.

Two years after the publication of The Arraignment, Rachel Speght, at the time a young woman of about 19 years of age, stepped up and submitted her response to Swetnam’s attack, coincidentally with the same publisher Swetnam used.  Though the true ambitions behind the motivation involved in publishing are unknown, it is believed that Speght had garnered some sort of reputation within the community for being intelligent, as the publisher seems likely to have sought her out.[6] The analysis of Speght’s educational background plays a huge role in the evolution of her thought.  Unlike many of her peers, Rachel Speght seems to have received a classical education that would have been rare for a woman of any class.[7] This academic upbringing would have led to a heightened awareness and understanding of social issues.

One of the points of conflict within the querelle des femmes involved the concept of women receiving an education.[8] Using her intellectual background to help defend and promote equality for women within this heated debate, it would be likely that an educated woman, like Rachel Speght, would step in and confidently submit her actual name with her literary defense.  Thus, Lewalski’s analyses of her background are more than fitting and support the idea that Speght’s writing would have the power to reach out and captivate readers, potentially inspiring others to join her side of the debate—her lack of fear of drawing attention to herself in the name of what she believed rallied others to join the cause.  This confidence in her educational standing is one of the factors that support the notion that Speght’s involvement in the debate left a lasting impact on future defenders in the debate.

Two major points can be gleaned from the above information on Speght’s educational background.  First, said background is likely what drew the attention of the publisher to Rachel Speght.  Second, and most importantly, had Speght not agreed to allow the publisher to print her pamphlet, the querelle would not necessarily have carried on in the direction it followed.  After two years, Swetnam’s work was dying off and had lost the attention it once brought about.  Speght’s work, upon publishing, revived the glowing embers of the Swetnam effect into a roaring fire—the Querelle des Femmes had been brought back to life.  She also brought with her a new style of addressing the querelle.  Rather than merely using rhetorical means to address readers and propose different ideas and taunts, Speght’s work directly counters the examples of evil, idle women, and uses just as many exaggerations of superiority as Swetnam did to prove her point that Swetnam was out of line and unfair in his accusations.[9] An example can be seen in a particular instance in which Swetnam attempted to use the Bible as his support, Speght counters with:  “To the second objection I answer, That the Apostle doth not hereby exempt man from sinne, but onely giveth to understand, that the woman was the primarie transgressor; and not the man, but that man was not at all deceived, was farr from his meaning.”[10] In this quote, her method of numbering the objectives and systematically tearing them apart one by one is clearly demonstrated.  This new approach also demonstrates the impact left by Rachel Speght and her work.  No longer did writers in this debate merely submit strictly rhetorical pieces—she inspired other writers to follow suit and address specifics; to not fear breaking with pattern for a stronger effect.

In her review of Lewalski’s work in The Renaissance Quarterly, Margaret J. Arnold also calls to attention Speght’s religious upbringing with a Calvin minister as her father.[11] The knowledge of this element in her youth establishes a foundation for its expansion; if religion played a major role in her youth, then Speght likely carried those ideas with her into adulthood.  In turn, her Calvinistic beliefs may in turn have resulted in her differing views on the patriarchal role in society.  In another insightful source, Women, History, & Theory, author Joan Kelly highlights an interesting point–women on the feminist side of the debate tended to repeat the established ideas of the arguments, rather than contributing new material to the mix.[12] This indicates that her work set off a reaction of responses that filed in behind hers, restating her ideas.  It may be that, as she evidently possessed a higher level of education than the majority of females at that time, Rachel Speght held the ability to put forth an idea in defense of her gender, and that her impact involves spurring responses that echoed her beliefs.  To support this idea, almost immediately after A Mouzell for Melastomous began to circulate, two other significant writers, though operating under pseudonyms, Ester Sowernam and Constantia Munda, came into the picture, inspired by Speght’s piece.  The former evolved in defense of Swetnam, the latter supporting the claims of Rachel Speght.

Overall, one of the most obvious impacts Speght had involves Joseph Swetnam.  Originally, the first copy of his Arraignment was published under the pen name “Thomas Tel-troth.”[13] This protected Swetnam from any direct negative heat from his work. Author F.W. Van Heertum mentions the multiple printings of Joseph Swetnam’s The Araignment of Lewd, Idle, Froward, and Unconstant Women.[14] Clearly, this demonstrates great popularity of this particular diatribe.  It was so successful, in fact, that Swetnam promised to publish another work, however this work never surfaced.[15] It is fair to assess that he did not imagine a mere two years down the road a young girl would cause much embarrassment and trouble for him.  Speght often cut right to the point she sought to make:  “Thus if men would remember the duties they are to perform in being heads, some would not stand a tip-toe as they do, thinking themselves Lords & Rulers…”[16] She used mean names to shame and embarrass him, names such as “Bear-baiter of women”, or stating that calling him a dunce would even be too worthy of him.[17] Her religious and education background proved to be more in depth than Swetnam’s.  Looking at an excerpt from Joseph Swetnam’s Arraignment, it seems that he relied more upon biased ideas likely resulting from his own experiences, rather than an image of a typical woman:  “For commonly women are the most part of the forenoon painting themselves, and frizzing their hairs, and prying in their glass like Apes, to pranck up themselves in their gawdies, like Poppets, or like the Spider which weaves a fine web to hang the fly.” [18] By simply comparing the two writing styles, she makes him seem uneducated and childish.  Speght’s work not only inspired other polemics, but she also left an impact in theatre.  As a direct result of her 1617 response, in 1620, a comedy surfaced, known as Swetnam the Woman-hater Arraigned by Women, in which Swetnam’s character was made fun of, muzzled, and tormented.[19] That deep-rooted sentiment of Swetnam being a foolish, unintelligent bully correlates to all the ideas generated by Speght’s response.

Moving ahead in time, perhaps the most telling aspect that demonstrates Rachel Speght’s impact on the querelle can be seen in a more modern example.  Many have heard of the Glass Ceiling Debate.  This is an argument that encompasses the business realm that began in the 1970s and has continued on.  The sources evaluated in the writing of this paper shared a trend in that they were all published by female authors between the ‘80s and ‘90s.  As women everywhere began to challenge the idea of oppression and inequality in the workplace, they turned to the history books to provide guidance.  Speght’s resounding impact on, and after, the

querelle cannot be denied—centuries later, people from the North American continent sought out her work to aid them in the formation and development of their ideas.  Had she not been skillful enough, had she not made as solid of a point that women are not, in fact, evil beings, and that they do deserve equality, modern individuals would not have bothered examining her literary contributions to the querelle.

For such a young individual, it is evident that she played a tremendous role in the literary debate about women, the Querelle des Femmes.  This paper demonstrates that not only did Rachel Speght’s work influence other writers during and after the time of the Querelle des Femmes, it also transcended the boundaries of time and carried on into later years, allowing herself to revive the querelle not once, but twice.  She managed to break down the rhetoric within Swetnam’s work, painting him to be an ignorant individual, while articulately defending women and drawing more supporters to the pro-women side of the battle.  A true soldier of verse, Rachel Speght battled long and hard, following up her first piece with many more as the years continued on for the debate about women.  Though the centuries were long, a name stands out among the many:  Rachel Speght:  Great polemic, dedicated defender of women.  Without a doubt, the querelle would not have been the same without the contributions of Rachel Speght and her impact can still be seen to this day.

[1] “The Nature of  (Wo)men:  Gender and Controversy in 17th Century England,” (accessed October 31, 2010).  The book of Genesis acted as the spring board for the misogynistic grouping of the debate.  The defense of women found an ally in the translated works of Henricus Cornelius Agrippa, “De nobilitate et praecellentia foeminei sexus” (On the nobility and preeminence of women), written in 1529.  The clash of these ideas spurred on the querelle in England.

[2] Katherine M. Rogers, “The Troublesome Helpmate:  A History of Misogyny in Literature,” (accessed September 20, 2010).

[3] Alcuin Blamires,  The Case for Women in Medieval Culture (Oxford:  Clarendon Press, 1997)  92.

[4] Blamires,  The Case for Women, 234.

5 Marai Ratajzack, “Articles & Essays”, (accessed October 29, 2010).

6 Barbara Kiefer Lewalski, ed., The Polemics and Poems of Rachel Speght (Oxford, NY:  Oxford University Press, 1996), xv.

[7] Lewalski, The Polemics and Poems, xi-xiv.

[8] Blamires, The Case for Women, 236.  For more information on supporters of women’s education rights, see the section on Christine de Pizan.  Pizan is likely to have been the inspirational force behind Rachel Speght’s ideology on women’s education and the idea of equality for women.

[9] Lewalski, The Polemics and Poems, xx.

[10] Betty S. Travitsky and Patrick Cullen, eds.  The Early Modern Englishwoman:  A Facsimile Lilbrary of Essential Works Part 1:  Printed Writings, 1500-1640:  Rachel Speght, “A Mouzell for Melastomus” (1617) (England:  Scholar Press, 1996) 3.

[11] Margaret J. Arnold, review of The Polemics and Poems of Rachel Speght, by Barbara Kiefer Lewalski, Renaissance Quarterly 51:3 (Autumn 1998):  1065-1066.

[12] Joan Kelly, Women, History, & Theory (Chicago:  The University of Chicago Press, 1984), 75.

[13] Lewalski, The Polemics and Poems, xiv.

[14] F. W. Van Heertum, “A Hostile Annotation of Rachel Speght’s A Mouzell for Melastomus(1617),” English Studies, (1987):  490.

[15] Anna E. C. Simoni, review of A Critical Edition of Joseph Swetnam’s The Arraignment of Lewd, Idle, Froward, and Unconstant Women, by F. W. Van Heertum, English Studies 71:3 (June 1990):  283.

[16] Travitsky and Patrick Cullen.  The Early Modern Englishwoman, Rachel Speght, “A Mouzell for Melastomus,” 17.

17 Ratajzack, “Articles & Essays”.

18 Elizabethan Attitudes:  An Anthology, “Of Women, Marriage, and the Family” (accessed October 23, 2010).

19 Lewalski, The Polemics and Poems, xvii.


Arnold, Margaret J.  Review of The Polemics and Poems of Rachel Speght, by Barbara Kiefer.  Renaissance Quarterly 51:3 (Autumn 1998):  1065-1066.

Blamires, Alcuin.  The Case for Women in Medieval Culture. Oxford:  Clarendon Press, 1997.

Elizabethan Attitudes:  An Anthology, “Of Women, Marriage, and the Family” (accessed October 23, 2010).

Heertum F. W. Van. “A Hostile Annotation of Rachel Speght’s A Mouzell for Melastomus(1617).”  English Studies (1987):  490.

Kelly, Joan.  Women, History, & Theory. Chicago:  The University of Chicago Press, 1984.

Lewalski, Barbara Kiefer, ed. The Polemics and Poems of Rachel Speght.  Oxford, NY:  Oxford University Press, 1996.

Ratajzack, Marai.  Articles & Essays. (accessed October 29, 2010).

Rogers, Katherine M.  The Troublesome Helpmate:  A History of Misogyny in Literature, (accessed September 20, 2010).

Simoni, Anna E. C.   Review of A Critical Edition of Joseph Swetnam’s The Arraignment of Lewd, Idle, Froward, and Unconstant Women, by F. W. Van Heertum.  English Studies 71:3 (June 1990):  283.

“The Nature of  (Wo)men:  Gender and Controversy in 17th Century England,” (accessed October 31, 2010).

Travitsky, Betty S. and Patrick Cullen, eds.  The Early Modern Englishwoman:  A Facsimile Lilbrary of Essential Works Part 1:  Printed Writings, 1500-1640:  Rachel Speght, A Mouzell for Melastomus, (1617).  England:  Scholar Press, 1996.