Archive | July, 2007

But What About Jade and Theodosia?

Aaron Burr versus Green Lantern In related news, does anyone remember that Green Lantern once dueled Aaron Burr? It was back in 1974-75, in a two-part story running in the back of issues 230 and 231 of that era’s Flash series.

Despite what the premise might imply, the portrayal of Burr is quite sympathetic – probably reflecting the influence of Gore Vidal’s 1973 novel.

Burr Blur

[cross-posted at Liberty & Power]

I’ve been interested in Aaron Burr revisionism for a while. Burr had the bad luck to make enemies of both Jefferson and Hamilton, thus earning the ire of historians across the political spectrum; but I’ve long suspected that Burr, like Jefferson and Hamilton, was a complicated mix of good and bad and not the plaster villain he’s been cast as. (Besides, a man who wears a locket of Mary Wollstonecraft can’t be all bad!)

Aaron Burr I just saw a C-Span talk by Nancy Isenberg on her Burr-revisionist book Fallen Founder. The book sounded interesting, and less blindly adulatory of Burr than, say, Roger Kennedy’s book. (Kennedy’s Burr, an uncompromising abolitionist hero trying to carve out a territorial enclave of racial and sexual equality, always seemed a bit too good to be true.)

Unfortunately, I was put off by the fact that Isenberg said several things that seemed to me historically dubious:

1. Isenberg said that Hamilton wrote ahead of time that he planned to fire into the air during his duel with Burr. No; he wrote ahead of time that he planned not to fire at all. (Or at least he said that he planned to “reserve and throw away” his shot. “Throw away” is ambiguous, I suppose, between firing into the air and not firing, but “reserve” seems to favour the latter.)

2. She said that James Monroe’s military interventionism was at odds with the anti-interventionism of his own Monroe Doctrine. No; the Monroe Doctrine was not anti-interventionist – quite the contrary.

3. She said that Hamilton was a slaveowner. Maybe; but although Hamilton was complicit in slavery in various ways, as far as I know his actually owning slaves hasn’t been proven. (He had black servants, but I don’t believe it’s ever been determined whether they were free or slave. Of course, I haven’t read her book; perhaps she proves this?)

More Tucker Online

Benjamin R. Tucker I’ve begun placing Benjamin Tucker’s Instead of a Book online in HTML format. So far I’ve got the Preface, Part I, ten chapters from Part II, eleven chapters from Part III, three chapters from Part IV, and one chapter from Part VIII. More to follow!

But next up: the Bastiat-Proudhon debate!

Super Amazing!

Super-Skrull Amazo is an evil android with all the powers of the Justice League of America. The Super-Skrull is an evil alien with all the powers of the Fantastic Four. The Super-Adaptoid is an evil android with all the powers of the Avengers.

The moral? With great power comes great dorkiness of name.

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