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9 Apr
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Appomattox 150: A Nation Reunited


By: Chris C.

Today marks the 150th anniversary of Appomattox, where General Robert E. Lee surrendered his Army of Northern Virginia to General Ulysses S. Grant. It was arguably most important step in ending the Civil War because it paved the way for the peace that would follow. The significance of this event as well as how the Civil War ended is little discussed today, but crucially important.

By April 1865, the Civil War had been raging for four bloody years, and it appeared as though the end was near. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia was the Confederacy’s last hope for winning independence, and it was now at its breaking point. Lee had been pinned down in the trenches surrounding Petersburg for eight months, and came to the conclusion that the only chance of saving his army and their cause was to escape the trenches and link up with Joe Johnston’s army in North Carolina. This maneuver was risky and initially unthinkable as it would cause the abandonment of the Confederate capital, Richmond.

Upon leaving the trenches, an administrative mix up caused Lee’s men to go without food for days. Grant was closing fast, and Lee’s back was against the wall. He had two options. One was to disband the army and fight a guerrilla war, and the second was to see Grant to discuss terms for surrendering. . Lee decided that enough blood had been shed, and that there was no honor in pursuing a drawn out guerrilla war. He proceeded to meet with Grant at the McLean House in Appomattox Courthouse, Virginia.

This meeting occurred on the heels of Lincoln’s second inaugural address, where he set the stage for a soft peace. Lincoln had been developing a plan for reunification where the South would be welcomed back with open arms. There would be no hangings or reprisals. Lincoln stated that when the war is over, “There must be no bloody work.” There had been enough bloodshed over four years. Lincoln wanted honorable terms for the South’s surrender in order to rapidly bring them back into the Union. With this in mind, Grant was prepared to offer Lee very generous terms of surrender.

When Lee and Grant met on the morning of April 9, 1865, neither man was quite sure how the proceedings would develop. They began the meeting with small talk about their days in the old army and the Mexican War, and then Lee broached the subject of surrender. Grant offered the following: “The officers to give their individual paroles not to take up arms against the Government of the United States until properly exchanged, and each company or regimental commander sign a like parole for the men of their commands. The arms, artillery and public property to be parked and stacked, and turned over to the officer appointed by me to receive them. This will not embrace the side-arms of the officers, nor their private horses or baggage. This done, each officer and man will be allowed to return to their homes, not to be disturbed by United States authority so long as they observe their paroles and the laws in force where they may reside.” These were terms in line with the forgiveness Lincoln had preached at his second inaugural address, and they were terms Lee could not refuse.

Lee would later say he surrendered to Lincoln’s goodness as much as he did to Grant’s army. In addition to the terms presented, Grant allowed the Confederates to keep their horses and mules for the spring planting season, and provided Lee’s starving army with a good supply of food rations. Lee stated that these gestures would “have a happy effect on his men, and do much to reconcile the country.”

Following the surrender, cheers broke out along the Union lines. Grant ordered all celebrations to halt immediately. He would not allow salt to be rubbed in the wounds of his countrymen. Grant determined that a formal surrender ceremony was necessary where the rebels would lay down their arms and be paroled. This formal surrender would be supervised by Union Brigadier General Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain. Chamberlain had been the quintessential citizen soldier having left his position as a college professor to fight for the Union cause, and became a hero at Gettysburg. When Chamberlain accepted the surrender, he ordered his men to shoulder arms which was the greatest show of military respect. This gesture, though seemingly simple, helped to mend the rift between men who had just days before been mortal enemies.

With several Confederate armies still in the field, the war was not over yet. However, Lee urged speedy reunification, and told his men that if they became as good citizens as they were soldiers they would do well. Being the South’s most respected and revered leader, his example prompted the remaining armies to to follow suit, and the last elements of the rebellion surrendered by May 1865. Many in the South had wanted to take to the hills and continue the fight, but Lee’s rejection of guerrilla warfare also set an example that likely saved the reunited nation years of bloodshed.

As much as American Independence was a miracle, so was our reunification after the Civil War. Historically, civil wars don’t end peacefully. The victors punish the losers, and instability and violence reign. There would be no retribution in our civil war. Appomattox set the stage for a peaceful end to the Civil War, and the examples set by Lincoln, Grant, and Lee would save our nation.

Civil War cost over 620,000 American lives which is more than all other American wars combined. Magnanimity in victory by Lincoln and Grant forged the reunification process. They, along with help from Lee, reminded the country that enough killing and suffering had already been endured, and that we are all one people. With malice towards none and charity for all, Lincoln brought the South back into the Union. If not for Lincoln’s vision of the South being welcomed back with open arms, we would not be the country we are today. Grant made Lincoln’s vision a reality with the terms set forth at Appomattox, and the nation’s course was set for reunification.

8 Apr
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Appomattox 150: Robert E. Lee

By: Chris C.

As we approach the 150th anniversary of Appomattox, we will take a look at the commanders at the surrender, and how their leadership lessons can be applied today.

“Duty is the sublimest word in the English language. Do your duty in all things. You cannot do more. You should never do less.”

General Robert E. Lee was the reason the Civil War lasted as long as it did, but he was also instrumental in making the reunification of the country as seamless as possible. At the war’s onset, Lee had struggled to determine what his duty was. He hailed from one of Virginia’s great families, one that had been instrumental in bringing America her independence. Two family members had been signers of the Declaration of Independence, and his father was a Revolutionary War hero. Additionally, he married into the Custis family, which united his family with that of his hero, George Washington. Lee loved the United States and had dedicated his life to serving it. He graduated second in his class at West Point in 1829 and proceeded to serve in the army until 1861. Lee became a hero during the Mexican War and was even called “the best soldier in the field.” He was instrumental in building fortifications throughout the country and went on to serve as superintendent of West Point. He even commanded the action, which took down John Brown’s attempted insurrection.

At the dawn of the Civil War, the Lincoln Administration offered Lee command of the U.S. army. He was faced with the most difficult decision of his life; whether to accept command of the army he had dedicated his life to or resign his commission and join his state of Virginia in opposition to the country he loved. Lee decided it was his duty to side with Virginia and the South. He was unable to raise his sword against his family or ancestral home. Despite being bitterly opposed to the war, once Lee was resigned to the fact that his duty was to his home state and his family, he put all his skills and abilities towards achieving the end of southern independence. Lee began the Civil War as commander of Virginia’s forces, and moved on to become chief military adviser to Confederate President Jefferson Davis. In a move that changed the course of the entire war, Lee became commander of the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia in May 1862. Lee knew the war could not be won by merely holding back Union assaults on Richmond. Consequently, he employed an offensive strategy where he would strike whenever possible. Despite constantly being outnumbered and under supplied, Lee delivered crushing blows and dispatched four Union generals. When Ulysses Grant took command as general in chief of the Union armies in the spring of 1864, Lee had met his match. Although Lee continued to win battles and strike at the Army of the Potomac, Grant would not yield unlike the previous Union generals. In the spring of 1865, Lee realized that he and his army had exhausted their efforts to achieve southern independence. Out of military options aside from resorting to guerrilla warfare, Lee’s duty became the prevention of further bloodshed. Lee stated “it is our duty to live” and he would again be resolved to doing his duty, which was healing the nation after four bloody years of civil war. Lee began this service with his surrender at Appomattox, and then continued by imploring southerners to peacefully rejoin the Union. As the most revered person in the south, Lee set an example for reunification by laying down his sword, and encouraging the restoration of the United States. Just as he had given his all to try to win the Civil War, Lee would do everything in his power to reunite the nation once the war was over.

To Lee, the highest calling was doing one’s duty. Your duty is to dedicate and commit yourself totally to the tasks assigned and those you are called to. Like Lee, it’s important to determine what your duty is and pursue it vigorously. You can never do more than this, and you should never do less.

8 Apr
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Appomattox 150: Ulysses S. Grant

By: Chris C.

As we approach the 150th anniversary of Appomattox, we will take a look at the commanders at the surrender, and how their leadership lessons can be applied today.

“In every battle there comes a time when both sides consider themselves beaten, then he who continues the attack wins.”

Ulysses S. Grant was perhaps the most unlikely of Civil War heroes. Though a West Point graduate, Grant’s pre-war accomplishments were lacking. He resigned from the army in 1854 clouded by suspicions of drunkenness. After his army career was over, Grant tried his hand at a variety of civilian ventures including farming and running a tannery. He failed at each pursuit. He was even rejected as a field officer at the Civil War’s onset. None of this deterred Grant however, and through dogged determination he rose to become General in Chief of the Union Armies. These failures and the ability to bounce back from them, shaped Grant into the man who could defeat the seemingly invincible Robert E. Lee and the Army of Northern Virginia.

The Army of the Potomac had been beaten repeatedly by Lee, and prior to Grant becoming General in Chief could only be credited with one major victory in three years of combat. When Grant took command of all the Union Armies in spring 1864, he decided to stay with and personally supervise the Army of the Potomac whose primary objective became defeating Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia. Previous Union commanders were easily deterred when the slightest setback occurred. This was not the case for Grant. His first campaign as General in Chief was the bloodiest of the Civil War and despite losing almost every battle, Grant’s relentless pursuit trapped Lee. The Overland Campaign began May 5, 1864 with the Battle of the Wilderness. Grant took the initiative and was soundly defeated by Lee. Instead of regrouping, Grant pushed ahead and engaged Lee at Spotsylvania Courthouse which resulted in another defeat. Grant continued to press forward, and fought Lee to a stalemate at the Battle of North Anna. Following North Anna, Grant then engaged Lee at Cold Harbor which was a staggering defeat and what Grant termed his most regrettable decision of the war. Despite all the defeats, Grant had continued to push Lee’s smaller army until it was trapped in defensive works surrounding the strategically important city of Petersburg. The Campaign had cost Grant 55,000 men in the course of 40 days compared to Lee’s 33,000. However, Grant’s dogged resilience in the face of defeat won the campaign by continually forcing Lee to withdraw despite winning the battles.

Grant’s lesson is that even when it looks like a losing cause, it’s important to stay the course and forge ahead. Grant’s objective was Lee’s army, and despite defeats and staggering casualties he kept charging towards his objective. This determination set him up to ultimately win the Civil War. During his life, Grant was defeated personally and militarily on numerous occasions. This did not dampen his resolve to become the victor. You should never lose sight of the end goal and always push towards it despite adversity.

30 Mar
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Ted Cruz’s Right Ideas

By NYYRC Blogger Lawrence Jeffords

Whether or not he becomes the Republican candidate for president in 2016, during his announcement, Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) floated some winning ideas that all Republicans should embrace.

The Promise of America. Many in our country take for granted the great opportunities and hope the United States offers to both our citizens as well as people worldwide. In his speech, Cruz began by talking about America’s promise and how without it he would not be where he is today. This is a point that can resonate with both natural-born citizens and immigrants. People do not flock to America because she is the same as the lands they left, but because she is different and offers the greatest opportunities and best advantages. “You can come here with nothing and achieve anything,” said Cruz. Liberals would have you believe that this country only provides an edge to the wealthy. However, there is no greater edge than being an American, all of our citizens have it, and millions have come here to get it, and this is a point that should be driven home by the Republican Party. Cruz rightly reminded our country of “the American exceptionalism that has made this nation a clarion voice for freedom in the world, a shining city on a hill.”

Liberty. Regulations from the executive agencies are stifling our freedoms. Cruz talked about standing for and restoring the liberty given to us by the Founders. The government installed by them was designed to protect our liberty, but today’s government has eroded it. The federal government spies on its citizens without warrants; it stifles economic growth through over-regulation; and it eliminated large swaths of the healthcare market and reduced citizens’ choices through Obamacare. Reigning in the bureaucratic government will increase economic opportunity through reducing regulations and allow for more growth and innovation in energy, healthcare, and a myriad of other areas. School choice is another area where restoration of liberty will help our citizens by giving all of them the opportunity to get a quality education of their choice. Republicans need to stand and promote liberty as the way to turn our country around.

Restoring the Constitution. Cruz stated “it’s time to restore the Constitution,” and “as Thomas Jefferson put it,the Constitution serves as chains to bind the mischief of government.” As we have seen during this administration the citizenry is imperiled when the officers sworn to uphold and obey the Constitution show nothing but contempt for it. We have been living through arguably the most lawless and Constitutionally ignorant administration in our history.
In fact, the Supreme Court has unanimously ruled actions taken by the Obama Administration to be unconstitutional 20 times, and many more not as a whole panel. The Constitution requires that the president faithfully execute the laws. Obama has violated this mandate repeatedly by making law through executive fiat and blatantly ignoring laws on the books. Obama’s unconstitutional actions include his executive amnesty. The Republican Party needs to present and tout a plan for restoring a constitutionally limited government.

Reducing the Federal Government. Whether it’s abolishing the IRS as Cruz suggested, or reducing federal control over local education by eliminating Common Core, the Republican candidate and the party needs to attack the leviathan that is the federal government. Without reducing the Federal Government, liberty and the Constitution cannot be restored.

Ultimately, Republicans need to focus on what makes our country great and how to restore it to its full potential by fixing the follies of the current administration. While Senator Cruz may not become the Republican nominee, whoever is selected should run with some of the same ideas he has in mind.

27 Mar
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Weekly Talking Points

by the NYYRC Staff

Here are your weekly talking points. You won’t find any early April fools here.

The Price is Wrong
–The U.S. Army announced charges against Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl for desertion.
–The desertion charges allege that Bergdahl ended up in enemy hands because he intentionally abandoned his post with no intent to return.
–Last May, the Obama Administration broke our country’s long standing policy against negotiation with terrorists by trading the “Taliban Five” for Bergdahl.
–The “Taliban Five” were high value detainees held at Guantanamo Bay.
–Aside from fundamentally shifting U.S. policy by negotiating with terrorists, members of Congress were concerned that the executive action was illegal as federal law requires consultation with Congress prior to such exchanges. After investigation, the. GAO determined that the administration had in fact broken the law by executing the swap.
–The Obama Administration had celebrated the exchange stating that Bergdahl had served with distinction, but now he faces life in prison for desertion.
–Since the swap, three of the five terrorists have already rejoined the fight against the United States.

–Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) became the first Republican to officially enter the 2016 presidential race.
–Cruz told his audience at Liberty University that as president, he would stand for the Constitution, liberty, and restoring America unique role as the “shining city on a hill.”
–Due to their disdain for these ideals, Cruz’s announcement was met with disgust from both the liberal media as well as some members of the Republican establishment. Rep. Peter King (R-NY) went so far as to say that he “would jump off a bridge” if Cruz got the nod.

Supreme Court keeps Wisconsin voter ID law in place
–The new legislation requires voters to show government-issued identification. Governor Walker stated, “As we’ve said, this is a common sense reform that protects the integrity of our voting process, making it easy to vote and hard to cheat.”
–Voter ID should be a requirement in all states to ensure honest elections. Without an ID requirement, voter fraud is easy to commit.
–Support for Voter ID laws crosses racial and party lines. 60% of Democrats, 65% of Blacks, and 64% of Hispanics support Voter ID requirements, according to the Washington Post.
–Nevertheless, the Democratic Party and the liberal advocacy groups that support it contend that photo ID laws suppress voting rights and placed additional burdens on voters.
–The absurdity of Voter ID opponents is demonstrable when applied to other instances in which IDs are required. Commercial airlines are not accused of “suppressing minority flying” because IDs are required to board planes. Liquor store owners are not accused of “suppressing minority drinking” for asking all patrons to show a photo ID. When bankers ask loan applicants for photo IDs to open accounts, are they engaging in “banking suppression?”

Obama’s Budget
–President Obama’s $4 trillion budget proposal was defeated in the Senate by a vote of 98 to 1.
–President Obama’s budget earned a single vote this time, which is an improvement. Past budgets have been trounced having been defeated by 97-0 and 99-0 votes in 2011 and 2012, respectively.
–The budget had faced criticism for including tax increases and adding to the deficit through increased spending. It also planned to keep the nation in the red with no proposed balancing.
–Later this week, the House will vote on a Republican budget that would balance in a decade with $5 trillion in cuts and a full repeal of Obamacare will be voted on.
–The Republican budget will never be enacted due to Presidential veto, but it outlines Republican spending preferences, and the potential budgetary impact of Republican control of the White House.

Obama is Just Too Darned Busy to Meet with NATO’s Secretary General
–The vast majority of the NATO heads of state have met with new NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, but despite numerous requests Obama is just too busy.
–Obama’s calendar is purportedly light; the only things schedule were a meeting with the Afghan President on Tuesday, and two short speeches on Wednesday and Thursday.
–Meanwhile, Russian jets continue to conduct mock attacks in the Baltic and off the coast of the U.K. The Russians have also leased 12 bombers to Argentina, and claimed that they’d look favorably to Argentina’s claim to the Falklands.
–Baseball season is coming, so maybe the President is training to throw out the first pitch. He needs the practice –

10 Mar
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Hillary Clinton, Teflon Queen

By Carrie Shemwell

One may question how Hillary can be a part of so many scandals, and yet, nothing sticks. Recently, the public found out that Hillary had been using a personal email account for official business while she was Secretary of State and conveniently it was through her own personal server. Of course, daily, there seems to be more and more information exposed that compounds the scandal.

Compared to previous Clinton scandals, this one seems light. The first scandal that comes to mind is Whitewater. That could be followed up by the death of Vince Foster, Travelgate, Filegate, the recent acceptance of money from foreign countries to the Clinton Foundation, at the same time the Secretary of State was arranging business contacts , and the list goes on. Throw in the affair that Bill Clinton had with Monica Lewinsky, and she has one heck of a scandal list.

Aside from the latest email scandal, another more recent one is Clinton’s involvement with Benghazi. The first reports on the attacks in Libya said that the reason behind them was a YouTube video. President Obama proceeded to say that it was just a bump in the road. Then we got the ever so famous line, “what difference does it make” from Hillary. Well, Hillary, to the House Select Committee (and the families that lost Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens, Officer Sean Smith, and two CIA contractors, Tyrone S. Woods and Glen Doherty) it makes quite more than just a “difference.”

On Wednesday, Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) who serves as Chairman on the House Select Committee on Benghazi, issued subpoenas for the emails that Clinton had pertaining to Benghazi. Rep. Gowdy stated, “I want the documents. Sooner rather than later.”

Hillary of course took to Twitter to say, “I want the public to see my email. I asked State to release them. They said they would review them for release as soon as possible.” Of course, this refers only to the 55,000 emails that Hillary has released thus far. Since these emails were from her personal server, we won’t know what we didn’t get. Obviously, the Clintons don’t have a great track record. The thing about owning your own domain is that whatever you delete is gone forever. AOL, Yahoo, Gmail, etc.- any of those emails can stick around forever, even if you delete them.

To add to Emailgate, the grassroots group Veterans for a Strong America is preparing to sue the State Department. Back in July 2014, Veterans for a Strong America filed an FOIA request of Hillary’s emails and telephone log, but of course the FOIA never reached the emails from Hillary’s private server. This all circles back to wanting answers about Benghazi.

The hits just keep on coming for Hillary. A document was obtained by Fox News Channel’s Catherine Herridge that shows in 2011 Mrs. Clinton barred her state employees from using personal email accounts. Well how funny is that? Do as I say, not as I do. With all of this piling up, it sure makes Watergate look like child’s play.

Will this scandal finally stick? Considering the multitude of scandals that she has been involved in, this one has to top it off. Many presidential hopefuls (not just Republicans, but also Democrats) are crossing their fingers that this is the straw that breaks the camel’s back. Elizabeth Warren is just waiting in the wings for another shoe to drop.

15 Feb
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Who was our Most Badass President? The case for Zachary Taylor

In honor of Presidents’ Day, the NYYRC contributors, in conjunction with the Saunders Report, decided to duke it out written-word style to see, once and for all, who was our Most Badass President. Stay tuned for more installments.

Most Badass: Zachary Taylor


So who is the most badass President? Zachary Taylor. Who’s that, you ask? Our 12th President. And a serious badass.

You see, the consummate badass human is John Wayne, and Taylor (nicknamed “Old Rough and Ready”) is the most John Wayne-esque President. The Duke was basically the same character in each of his films, the American we wanted to project to the world. Jimmy Carter (when was the last time we cited him approvingly?) said, “John Wayne was…a symbol of many of the most basic qualities that made America great. The ruggedness, the tough independence, the sense of personal conviction and courage – on or off the screen – reflected the best of our national character.”

Using that criteria for badassness, it’s got to be Zach Taylor. First, look at the guy. He’s got gravel in his guts, and spit in his eye. He is going to put up with precisely no nonsense from you or anyone else.


Even though Taylor was a general, he always wore beat-up old jackets and pants that had seen better days. He was no Winfield “Fuss and Feathers” Scott, that’s for sure, am I right people? (Scott was also a general and presidential candidate who wore fancy, frilly jackets and big fluffy hats.) Taylor liked chewing tobacco – a lot – and he could hit a spitoon from six feet out.

Let’s talk battlefield bravery. Taylor and his fifteen healthy men fought off six hundred Potawatomi, Kickapoo, Shawnee, and Winnebago warriors during a night attack during the Battle of Fort Harrison. Seriously? 600 to 15? That’s Rooster Cogburn-on-steroids-caliber stuff.

Want to talk bigger battles?  Ok, let’s talk Zach Taylor’s Mexican American War battles of Palo Alto, Resca de la Palma, Monterrey, and Buena Vista, all of which he won even though he was outnumbered. At Buena Vista (not Del Boca Vista) Taylor was outnumbered four to one, facing General Santa Anna – the same guy who slaughtered Davy Crockett and the boys at the Alamo. Atop Old Whitey, his prized horse, Taylor directed the American forces from a plateau in full view of the enemy. Taylor dispatched Jefferson Davis’ Mississippi Rifles against the Mexican lines, sending them reeling back, then ordered Braxton Bragg to open up on the enemy with artillery. “[D]ouble shot your guns and give ‘em hell, Bragg.” Taylor said. At least two shots tore through Taylor’s clothing, but he never flinched and won a resounding victory.

His men adored him, and his four military victories elevated the war hero Taylor to the Presidency on the Whig ticket. On his way to Washington, Taylor’s ship got ice-bound in between Cincinnati and Pittsburgh, and President-elect Taylor walked 13 miles through the snow to fetch a sleigh. That’s even farther than my Granddad had to walk to school uphill both ways.

In office, Taylor had one big problem to face – which he faced like an ultimate badass, staring down Congressmen, Governors, and even his own Vice President. After the Mexican-American War, America got a huge swath of Mexican territory, which Southern governmental leaders, backed by Vice President Millard Fillmore, thought should be open to slavery. Since Taylor was a Southern slave owner, it was expected that he would allow slavery in the territories.

Taylor foresaw that allowing slavery in the territories would tear America apart. Taylor put Union over sectionalism, and he was prepared to stop Southern agitation of the issue forever. “No man could have been more devoted to the Union or more opposed to the slavery agitation,” wrote Thomas Hart Benton, “and his position as a Southern man and slave-holder, his military reputation and his election by a majority of the people would have given him a power in the settlement of these questions which no President without these qualifications would have possessed.” When Southern Congressmen and Governors called for a Secession Convention, Taylor threatened to resign his office and personally lead troops to quash any rebellion, followed by hanging the leaders. Talk of secession collapsed for the time being amidst pro-Union, pro-Taylor sympathy, especially in the Upper South. Nobody messed with Zachary Taylor.

Unfortunately, cholera morbus (not bad cherries, as some believe) did Old Rough and Ready in, and he died in the Executive Mansion after just sixteen months in office. In his eulogy of Zachary Taylor, Abraham Lincoln spoke of the man’s quintessential badassary, “It did not happen to Gen. Taylor once in his life, to fight a battle on equal terms, or on terms advantageous to himself—and yet he was never beaten, and never retreated. In all, the odds was greatly against him; in each, defeat seemed inevitable; and yet in all, he triumphed. Wherever he has led, while the battle still raged, the issue was painfully doubtful; yet in each and all, when the din had ceased, and the smoke had blown away, our country’s flag was still seen, fluttering in the breeze…His rarest military trait, was a combination of negatives—absence of excitement and absence of fear. He could not be flurried, and he could not be scared.”

14 Feb
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Who was our most badass President? The case for Andrew Jackson

In honor of Presidents’ Day, the NYYRC contributors, in conjunction with the Saunders Report, decided to duke it out written-word style to see, once and for all, who was our Most Badass President. Stay tuned for more installments.

Most Badass: Andrew Jackson

By Chris C.

When wondering who the most badass president is, you need to look no further than number seven, Andrew Jackson. His badass exploits are so numerous that it was challenge to whittle them down to fit this forum. Jackson summed himself up with the sentiment, “I was born for a storm and a calm does not suit me.” He was a man who was a standout leader and a reckless frontiersman. He crushed all his enemies, staked honor above all else, and was a loving husband and surrogate father.

You might wonder how Andrew Jackson developed into such a badass. It begins in the Waxhaw region of South Carolina where he grew up in a fatherless frontier household. At age 12, his leisure activity was joining the local militia to aid in our revolution against the British. Jackson was taken prisoner, and forced into servitude. A British officer demanded he shine his shoes, but Jackson refused. The British officer consequently slashed Jackson with his sword. Jackson attempted to block the blow but wound up with gashes on both the hand and head. He was placed in a British prison camp where he caught smallpox and defeated it, as he did with all other enemies. He was eventually released and served out the rest of the Revolution in the militia. To this day, he is the only president to serve as a prisoner of war. The Revolution took the lives of both of his older brothers, as well as his mother, leaving Jackson with a lifelong hatred for the British that would fuel some of his later actions in battle.

Following the Revolution, orphan Andy bounced around the homes of different relatives until he wound up in Salisbury, North Carolina where he took up practicing law. It was here that Jackson really hit his stride. He spent his free time dueling, drinking, and gambling. The man would proceed to fight 103 duels, or affairs of honor, in his life. As a result of this, it was proclaimed that he had so much lead in him that he rattled like a bag of marbles. The most exemplary incident occurred in the defense of his wife’s honor. Jackson squared off at ten paces against a renowned marksman and allowed him to shoot first. Jackson took a bullet to the chest. Unfazed, Jackson raised his pistol and shot the man dead. The bullet that struck Jackson was too close to his heart for removal, and remained lodged there for the rest of his life.

Jackson gained much of his badass reputation from the Creek War and the Battle of New Orleans. It was during the Creek War that his soldiers gave him the nickname “Old Hickory.” This was a testament to his toughness. At the Battle of New Orleans (fought after the war had ended but before news reached him that the British had already surrendered), General Jackson was outnumbered almost 2:1 by the British, and proceeded to crush them with his rag-tag army of volunteer militia, army regulars, free blacks, Indians, sailors, and pirates. Making this motley group into a cohesive fighting force was a testament to Jackson’s strength as a leader. His men proceeded to inflict over 2,500 British casualties while only suffering 71, making New Orleans the greatest land victory of the War of 1812.

How many presidents can lay claim to militarily conquering Florida? Only one, and it’s Old Hickory. Jackson was given orders by the Monroe administration to terminate a conflict with the Seminole Indians near the Georgia/Florida border. Jackson believed the best way to do this was by seizing all of Florida from Spain. He informed the administration it would be done within sixty days, and it was. During the campaign, his ruthlessness in battle earned him the nickname “Sharp Knife” from his enemies.

Old Hickory also lays claim to being the first president to face an assassination attempt and the only president to beat the hell out of his assailant. A deranged Englishman aimed a pistol at Jackson, which misfired . He then proceeded to pull out a second pistol, which also misfired. Jackson would not have any of it, and proceeded to beat the assailant senseless with his cane. Jackson had to be restrained by several congressmen who were accompanying him.

Leadership, duels, wounds, and conquests, these exploits should leave no doubt in your mind that Andrew Jackson was the biggest badass to lead our great nation.

14 Feb
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Who is our most badass President? The case for Teddy Roosevelt

In honor of Presidents’ Day, the NYYRC contributors, in conjunction with the Saunders Report decided to duke it out written-word style to see, once and for all, who was our Most Badass President. Stay tuned for more installments.

Most Badass: Theodore Roosevelt

By Brian M.

Teddy Roosevelt isn’t just the most badass President of the United States. The dude was a f#@&ing superhero. Know why the US could “walk softly and carry a big stick” when he was in charge? Because foreign leaders knew that he would walk softly to their front door and punch their dumb faces off if they got out of line. Here’s how I know.

At 54 years old, he was shot in the chest by a crazy unemployed bartender before delivering a speech in Milwaukee. So he went to the hospital, right? Nope. He said, “It takes more than that to kill a bull moose,” pulled out his notes, which had a bullet hole through them, and spoke for 90 freakin’ minutes, adding, “No man has had a happier life than I have led…”.

Not convinced yet? Ok. Well, during the Spanish-American War, he got bored in his “desk job” as Assistant Secretary of the Navy. So, he basically demoted himself to Lieutenant Colonel, rounded up a group of guys, named the group the Rough Riders, and hopped on a ship to Cuba where he fought hundreds of Spaniards with guns and fists and won the Medal of Honor.

I feel like you still might be on the fence, so here’s another one. When he was President, his hobby was boxing with 20-something, champion fighters. In fact, he took a hit that mostly blinded him in his left eye. His reaction was to say, “Fortunately it was my left eye…if it had been the right eye I should have been entirely unable to shoot.” Then, he took up jujitsu. JUJITSU. I am not creative enough to make that up.


Want more? You got it. My man had no patience for complaining. When Teddy was 51 years old, he received letters from cavalrymen complaining about having to ride horses for 25 miles a day during training. So he got on a horse, rode 100 miles in a single day, and told them to stop whining.

After he was done being President and showing up men half his age, he took a vacation…to go on a 2,500 mile safari in Africa hunting elephants, hippos, and rhinos. In fact, he was such a badass hunter, that the Teddy Bear is named after him. He was on a bear hunting trip where nobody was having any luck until a dude found an injured bear and tied it to a tree for Teddy to shoot. Teddy don’t roll like that. He was all like, “That’s unsportsmanlike.” So somebody drew a cartoon of that moment, and then a guy in Brooklyn sold stuffed “Teddy Bears” to kids, and everybody got on board. Oh, almost forgot – he had a PET BEAR. He named it Jonathan Edwards. I’m serious.

Don’t get me wrong, Teddy wasn’t all badass all the time. Once in a while he got sad. Like the day in 1884 when his first wife and mom died on the same day. His grief expression of choice was to take off for the Badlands in the Dakota Territory to drive cattle and hunt big game. Then, somebody stole his boat in the middle of the winter on the Little Missouri River, and that really pissed him off. So, Teddy hunted the perps down and dragged them, and the boat, back to the sheriff.

While engaging in all this badassery, Teddy was like the husband and dad of the millennium, raising six kids and writing his family all kinds of tender lovin’ letters.

Whenever I’m in doubt from now on, I’m just going to ask, “What would Teddy do?” And then I’m going to curl up in the fetal position and suck my thumb. Because whenever Teddy was in doubt, he probably wrestled with his pet bear, or beat the hell out of a bigger, quicker, younger man while he thought up his next badass move, which would surely be better than whatever crap I can come up with.

13 Feb
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Kicking off President’s Day Weekend with Some Lincoln Lessons

By: Chris C.


Happy 206th Birthday Abraham Lincoln! Lincoln might embody the American Dream more than any other man to inhabit the White House.  He was born in a log cabin and was almost entirely self-taught. He overcame the poverty of his youth through hard work and perseverance eventually becoming a lawyer, state legislator, congressman, and finally President.  The wisdom of our 16th President is timeless, and in celebration of his birth here are some Lincoln Lessons.

“With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation’s wounds; to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan…”

Magnanimity in victory was perhaps Lincoln’s greatest gift to our country. Lincoln delivered his second inaugural address slightly more than a month before Lee’s surrender at Appomattox. Lincoln was preparing the nation for peace after four brutal years of war, and he decided the best way to bring the nation back together was forgiveness and not additional killing. There would be no retribution as is seen in most civil wars. Lincoln reminded the country that we are all one people, and that enough suffering had already been endured. If not for Lincoln’s vision of the South being welcomed back with open arms, we would not be the country we are today.

“…she has two sons who want to work. Set them at it, if possible. Wanting to work is so rare a merit, that it should be encouraged.”

Lincoln was right in that the desire to work is rare, and that is especially true in today’s entitlement culture. We should be pushing people towards jobs as opposed to the government dole. Lincoln labored from his early childhood as a farm hand, mill operator, rail splitter, and flat-boatman. The hard work involved forged his character. He appreciated the value of working as should we.

“… in this country, one can scarcely be so poor, but that, if he will, he can acquire sufficient education to get through the world respectably.”

Lincoln had a great appreciation for education, and saw it as a stepping stone to self-improvement. Lincoln was primarily self-taught, having had only about 18 months of formal schooling. However, lack of formal education didn’t hold Lincoln back as he redoubled his efforts to educate himself and build a better life. Lincoln had an insatiable thirst for knowledge and from his childhood read voraciously. Even though he was poor and uneducated, Lincoln’s drive propelled him to learn and better himself.  As with Lincoln, all Americans, regardless of monetary situation, can better themselves through their own hard work, and commitment to learning.

“Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed, is more important than any other one thing.”

Lincoln’s determination was perhaps his greatest character virtue. Whether overcoming lack of education and poverty or saving the Union, Lincoln’s will was unbending.  His perseverance saved the Nation. He was committed to restoring the Union at all costs despite immense pressure to let the southern states walk. Lincoln weathered a storm as no other president had to. In the face of open rebellion, he had to fight many in his own party and the press to convince them the cause should not be abandoned. A weaker president may have allowed the Union to slip away, and may have given up after losing battle after battle in the war’s eastern theatre.  Commander after commander failed Lincoln until he found a winner in Grant. Despite the hardships and the challenges, Lincoln never wavered in his resolve to restore the Union. His determination and perseverance serves as a model for us all.