Since the end of the immediate post-War depression in US financial markets, occurring in 1922, share prices rose dramatically. Naturally this encouraged a speculative boom and by 1929 the financial history of the US had never been more hay-wire. Nearly ten million investors, many hardly knowing where Wall Street was, bought shares not for income but to sell for a quick profit. Not only that, but they bought without paying cash, using ‘credit’ or ‘on margin’. It was bound to head for disaster. (more…)
Dwight D. Eisenhower was born in 1890, of Dutch-American stock. He became a general and the 34th President of the United States. He saw war in a quite different way than another American officer, George Patton (q.v.): ‘I hate war,’ he often said, ‘as only a soldier who has lived it can, only as one who has seen its brutality, its futility, its stupidity.’ (more…)
Mexico became independent from Spain in 1821, the same year as Perú. Plenty of Mexicans had already settled in parts of northern Texas, but not enough to work the land properly, so Mexico offered cheap land grants to Americans, and by 1830 at least 20,000 Americans, mostly southerners, had taken advantage of the offer.
The Government of Mexico decided, in a state of nervousness, to forbid any more immigration by North American settlers. At the same time the government got itself into hot water by trying to ban slavery, as it was already illegal in Mexico. As a result, Texans declared their independence from everybody, and set up their own Republic of Texas. (more…)
In practice, the nickname or epithet ‘Monty’ was not used when addressing Bernard Law Montgomery, except possibly by the few other soldiers senior to him in rank, and even then, with caution. He was born in 1887, and became a middle-sized, clip-toned, fiery exponent of the philosophy that insists that anything will be achieved by will-power. Montgomery rose so fast after leaving Sandhurst that he was appointed Lt. General, commander of the British Eighth Army in North Africa in August, 1942. He was a greyhound-like fifty-five.
Montgomery found his troops fed up, dispirited, low in morale. He adopted slightly unmilitary dress, favouring light fawn trousers of decidedly military cut, with a grey pullover peeping below a standard battle dress jacket. On his head he wore a distinctly peculiar beret, more like a Basque farmer’s headgear than a British general’s. On it he wore not one cap badge but two or perhaps three. The men loved it. He used to give them what he called ‘pep-talks’ which enthused them. (more…)
The twenty-seventh President of the United States was born in 1856 in Virginia, son of a Presbyterian minister. The family were slave-owners. Thirty-four years later Woodrow was made a professor at Princeton, one of the ‘Ivy League’ American universities of great prestige. He taught History and Political Science and in 1902 became president of the university.
Soon he was elected Governor of New Jersey, where he easily gained the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination, promising a ‘New Freedom’ by destroying the trusts, decreasing taxes and tariffs, and beginning a severe revision of the financial system which was the life blood of ‘The American Way of Life’. He was the first Southerner to become President since A. Johnson, and the first Democrat. (more…)
Give us your answers in the form of a Comment
“I must have a drink of breakfast.”
“Somebody left the cork out of my lunch!”
“She’s all done up like a well-kept grave.”
“I exercise extreme self control. I never drink anything stronger than gin before breakfast.”
“If at first you don’t succeed, try again. Then quit.”
“I never vote for anyone. I always vote against.”
A female neighbour rushed out to the new green lawn where our subject was engaged in shooting singing birds with an air rifle. She remonstrated. He replied, “I’ll go on shooting them till they shit green!”
Our subject said he hated all children and small animals. When questioned, he responded: “Anyone who hates small dogs and children can’t be all bad.”
And also: “A woman drove me to drink but I never had the courtesy to thank her.”
You can treat the last two quotations as a clue.
This successful but invariably severe soldier with a Native American middle name – Tecumseh – was born in 1820, went into the Army in his teens, and rose so fast he was commanding a division at Shiloh in the American Civil War. The latter was a real blood-letting affair fought among family and friends between 1861 and 1865. The most important issue is thought to be the rights and wrongs of slavery, but many significant leaders in the North of the US rightly believed that most Southern States were determined on secession before and during the conflagration. This, in a new and blooming, hugely land-rich nation would have meant disaster. (more…)
In previous posts we have seen how the two largest countries in the world, Russia and Canada, were to plan, construct and successfully manage transcontinental railways, a marvellous example of the skills, patience, endurance and sheer toughness of the human race. (more…)
Edmund Burke was born in Dublin in 1729. Educated in this city, it was not long before he quit ‘the bogs of Ireland’ and moved to London, where he got the job of being private secretary to Lord Rockingham in 1765, when Burke was 36. So far so slow, but the Irishman never wasted a moment of his long apprenticeship with Rockingham, which lasted until the latter’s death in 1872. (more…)
The name of the longest railway in the world may confuse. It is transcontinental, not a railroad running along the western or Pacific coast of Canada. Work began in 1880, under a Conservative government led by Sir John Macdonald. In order to persuade capitalists to invest in it, Macdonald offered potential investors millions of acres of fertile arable land running alongside the proposed tracks. He also offered subsidies and tax exemption. (more…)