Archive for the ‘HIST299’ Category

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 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.

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.

PowerPoint pres. part 2

Saturday, December 4th, 2010

The Minute Men during the American Revolutionary War2

Final Paper

Saturday, December 4th, 2010

The Battle of Yorktown Final Paper

final paper draft

Saturday, December 4th, 2010

The Minute Men and the American Revolutionary War draft

PowerPoint pres. part 1

Saturday, December 4th, 2010

The Minute Men during the American Revolutionary War

Final Presentation on Calhoun

Wednesday, December 1st, 2010

John C. Calhoun final presentation

Final Presentation handout

Wednesday, December 1st, 2010

This was the handout that I gave out before my presentation.

John Caldwell Calhoun: pro-South, pro-Slavery

“But let me not be understood as admitting, even by implication, that the existing relations between the two races in the slaveholding States is an evil:—far otherwise; I hold it to be a good, as it has thus far proved itself to be to both, and will continue to prove so if not disturbed by the fell spirit of abolition”

            -John C. Calhoun

  • Background

                        -Early life



  • Paternal Influences

            -Patrick Calhoun

            -Stability through Slavery

  • Financial



  • Political

            -Tariff of 1828

            -Petticoat affairs

Contact Information: Bram Sims (University of Mary Washington, class of 2012)

Phone: 540-718-7931


Farther readings:  Frederic Bancroft’s Calhoun and the South Carolina nullification movement, 1928. This source is good for understanding the economics behind Calhoun’s argument as well as the financial argument of the South in general.

            Irving Bartlett’s John C. Calhoun: A Biography, 1993.  Bartlett’s work focuses on Calhoun’s ideology directly relating to his father

            Charles Wiltse’s John C. Calhoun, Nullifier, and John C. Calhoun, Sectionalist, 1949 and 1951 respectively.  These are the last two works of a three set volume where Wiltse focuses on Calhoun after his falling out with Andrew Jackson and other pro-Northern politicians.

Ridiculous historical thesis

Wednesday, December 1st, 2010

I don’t know if I’m just plain poor at this assignment, but nothing that I have read over the past three months in regards to a thesis even comes close to any of the ones on this page.  While these examples are not mainly historical ones, they are quite entertaining,