Major General John F. Reynolds: The Highest Ranking Officer Killed at the Battle of Gettysburg


Major General John F. Reynolds





West Point Graduate




John Fulton Reynolds was born on September 20, 1820, in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.  In 1837, he was nominated to the United States Military Academy at West Point by future President James Buchanan, a friend of Reynolds’ father.

After the Battle at Gaines’ Mill, an exhausted Reynolds was captured while attempting to get some sleep.  Reynolds did not remain a prisoner for long; just weeks later he was involved in a prisoner exchange, soon after he received the  command of the entire division of Pennsylvania Reserves.

He commanded at several conflicts; Seven Days Battles, Second Battle of Bull Run, Battle of Fredricksburg, Battle of Chancellorsville, and the Battle of Gettysburg.

Kate was secretly engaged to Major General Reynolds.


Reynolds was engaged to Katherine May Hewitt, they were from different religious denominations–he was Protestant, Hewitt a Catholic–so their engagement was kept a secret.   Hewitt’s parents never learned about the engagement until after his death. She promised Reynolds  to enter  the convent should they never marry. As a result of his death she joined the Order of the Daughters of Charity.  She received her habit on October 2, 1864, as Sister Hildegardis.  She was sent on a mission to St. Joseph’s School in Albany, N.Y.


It was noted at her last address, St. Vincent’s home, Philadelphia, September 3, 1868 that she left the order.  No further records were found.

On the morning of July 1, 1863, he was commanding, as Confederate brigades approached on the Chambersburg Pike to the town of Gettysburg, Pa., In response from General Buford for reinforcements  Reynolds rode out to command the 2nd Wisconsin near Herbst’s Woods.  He yelled at them, ” Forward men!  For God’s sake forward!’

At that moment in time, he fell from his horse with a wound in the back of the upper neck, or lower head. and died almost instantly.  His command passed to Abner Doubleday.

Today, a monument marks the spot of his death on the Battlefield at Gettysburg, Pa

Monument sits on the exact place of the General’s death. See in composite’s background.


July 1, 1863 a fallen hero of the Civil War.

Civil War Horses: Life and Death of a War Horse


Civil War Horses: Life and Death of a War Horse

General Lee on Traveller at the Battle of Gettysburg, 1863.

Although the soldiers of the Civil War realized that the horse was the backbone of the Northern and Southern army; many readers of history have lost sight of their contribution to the war effort. Mounts of famous generals became almost as well-known as their riders ; among others, U.S. Grant’s Cincinnati, Lee’s Traveller, Stonewall Jackson’s Little Sorrell, Phillip Sheridan’s Rienze, , George G. Meade’s Old Baldy (wounded five times in battle) to name the most famous. By contrast and of less renown were the “War Horses” that moved caissons, guns, ambulances, cavalry, and messages between and during battles. During the American Civil War (1861-1865), soldiers preferred to shoot and kill horses rather than enemy combatants, because without horses, artillery became passive objects of heavy metal and without mounts the swift cavalryman was reduced to a foot soldier now powerless to scout, locate, and strike the enemy and its supply lines. Sharpshooters were ordered to take away the horse, it stripped the enemy of two of its major forces for combat, cavalry and artillery, leaving only disadvantaged infantry to carry the brunt of the battle.
During the conflict it is estimated that between one million and three million equines died, including horses, mules, donkeys, and even confiscated children’s ponies. It was estimated that the horse causalities at the Battle of Gettysburg alone, July 1 to July 3, 1863, exceeded 3,000. Diaries and letters of soldiers often mentioned the stench of dead steeds rising up from the killing fields.

Dead Horses after the three day Battle at Gettysburg, July 1-3, 1863.

An account of an event at Gettysburg, General Gibbons of the Union army made an observation for all to hear:
“One thing which forcibly occurred to me was the perfect quiet with which the horses stood in their places. Even when a shell, strong in the midst of a team, would knock over one or two of them or hurl on struggling in its death agonies to the ground, the rest would make no effort to struggle or escape but would stand stolidly by as if saying to themselves It is fate, it is useless to try and avoid it. “
The horses that died from gunfire or artillery shells were the more fortunate ones. The majority suffered a much more cruel death. Many were simply ridden to death, either due to the exigencies of battle or to poor judgement by cavalry riders. Some were worn down over time, became sick and lame, and were shot or abandoned.
Feeding the horses was always a big issue. The feed ration for a horse was 14 lbs. of hay and 12 lbs. of grain per day. Multiply that by the hundreds of horses in a unit and you can see the logistical problem required to garner 800,000 lbs. of feed each day to maintain their horses. It was an overwhelming task and forced the army to languish the farms and towns to find horse feed.

General John F. Reynolds at the rear was exhalting  the charge of the Union light brigade at the Battle of Gettysburg, July 1, 1863. He was shot in the head and died that day.

In most cases, generals rode horses and didn’t walk. The horse provided added height, enabling them to see their men on the battlefield. In addition, the mounted the officers’ voices carried  as they commanded in the field while at the same time the sight of the commander majestically poised on his horse gave the soldiers a symbol of bravery and honor.

Finally, one clause in the surrender terms at Appomattox reflected on the importance of the War Horse.   Every Confederate cavalryman was entitled to take his horse home with him. This provision, insisted on by General Lee, was accepted by General Grant when he was told that once the soldiers returned to civilian life, they needed the “War Horse,” to plow the fields and plant spring crops.




:   every Confederate cavalryman was entitled to take his horse home with him. This provision, insisted on by General Lee, was accepted by General Grant when he was told that once the soldiers returned to civilian life, they needed the “War Horse,” to plow the fields and plant spring crops.

Thaddeus Lowe; Chemist, Inventor, and an American Civil War Aeronaut.


Who was America’s first Aeronaut?   Technology and the Civil War: A Story of an Innovator Ahead of His Time–Thaddeus Lowe; Chemist, Inventor, and an American Civil War Aeronaut.

Thaddeus Sobieski Constantine Lowe, Aeronaut, (1832-1913) in just eight days after the first shots of the Civil War were fired made a balloon ascension. He was a self taught scientist. His ground breaking work in the of field aeronatics resulted in a 500 mile air balloon voyage departing from Cincinnati, Ohio to parts unknown.

Lowe wrote an account of his adventure on his balloon, the Enterprise, shared in newspapers across the country. The Keowee Courier (Pickens Court House, S.C. 1849-), a newspaper published in a town about 75 miles distant from Union, S.C. printed this colorful and detailed description, on May 25, 1861, of Lowe’s voyage. Having waited for over a month for optimal flying conditions, Lowe commenced preparing his balloon on April 19, 1861. Lowe left Cincinnati before dawn, at about 4 a.m., to great fanfare from the people of that city “Below and for miles around, was a barren wilderness, but at some distance I could see an occasional farmhouse.” He descended and sang out to men working in a field, asking “What state is this?” The Virginians never thought to look up from whence the mysterious voice came, certainly the idea of a voice originating from above their heads being inconceivable during this early period in aeronautical experimentation. Lowe continued on to parts of western South Carolina, where he attempted to land his balloon, but local inhabitants insisted that he continue with his “hellish
contrivance” and land elsewhere.


Deciding that he must land soon, he neared the plantation of Kelton in rural Union County, South Carolina. “I heard many discharges of muskets. Not knowing, but being apprehensive that the globe was the object of firing, I prepared for making signals, when I should again near the earth.”  Professor Lowe, dressed in his finest evening wear, descended to the ground with hat in hand and valve rope in the other. The Enterprise struck terror in the earthlings. Old folks prayed, people scattered in all directions, and cowered behind a log hut nearby. A 6 foot tall young woman assisted Professor Lowe in securing the balloon. “Men arrived with muskets, threatening destruction to the ‘devil’ that could travel through the air…but the tall woman assured [him] there was no danger, for all the men then in the neighborhood were cowards, the brave ones having gone to the wars.” Lowe was taken into town by wagon where a hotel keeper recognized him as a distinguished scientist whom he had seen the year previous on his travels north. The local newspaper editor corroborated the far-fetched story, avowing that the damp recently printed newspapers Lowe had brought with him were real. Amid cries of “tar and feather the Yankee,”  Lowe was taken on to Columbia where professors at the University of South Carolina attested to the verity of his tale, being familiar with the various scientific instruments he brought along on his flight. Treated as a celebrity, save for a few scowls and threats by newly minted Confederates, he was graciously sent north on the train with all of his equipment and a passport granted by Columbia’s mayor to see Lowe safely through the Confederate States.

When Lowe arrived in Washington, D.C., he decided to offer his services to the U.S. Government, persuading them that the use of his balloons for reconnaissance during the recent conflict would be beneficial to the Union Army.

On the evening of July 11, 1861 Lowe met President
Lincoln and offered to perform a demonstration with
the Enterprise and a telegraph set from a height
some 500 feet (152.4 m) above the White House. In
the telegraph message Lowe asserted:
“I have the pleasure of sending you this first dispatch
ever telegraphed from an aerial station… “

Word of his exploits got back to the President, who ordered General Winfield Scott to oversee Lowe’s formation of a balloon corps, with Lowe as Chief Aeronaut.

On June 1, 1862, Thaddeus Lowe floated above a fierce Civil War battle in a silk hydrogen balloon. From the wicker basket dangling a thousand feet above ground, he telegraphed a message to Northern generals on the ground: Union troops were finally driving back the Confederate forces. Lowe’s message was transmitted to the War Department in Washington, where President Abraham Lincoln read his flying spy’s good news with relief. For two years during the Civil War, a corps of balloonists led by Thaddeus Lowe spied on the Confederate army. They counted rebel soldiers, detected troop movement, and directed artillery fire against enemy positions. Lowe and his aeronauts provide valuable intelligence to the Union army, even after the balloons became targets of Confederate shooters and saboteurs (note the telegraph operator seated in the foreground is connected to the balloon in the background).

“Confederate fire attempted to bring down the balloon of Thaddeus Lowe. He wrote, “when within a mile of the earth, troops commenced firing at the balloon, I descended to hear the whistling of the bullets and the shouts of the soldiers. ‘Show your colors.’ I had no flag with me, and knowing that if I attempted to effect a landing there, my balloon would be riddled, I concluded to sail on and to risk descending outside of their lines. I escaped the enemy.” If caught he would have been hanged as a spy.  His wife searched the countryside and found him in a field unharmed.  They packed up the balloon and basket, then returned back to the safety of the Union lines.

Lowe was given use of a converted coal barge, the George Washington Parke Custis, onto which he loaded two new balloons and two new hydrogen gas generators, with which Lowe performed the first observations over water thereby making the GWP Custis the first ever aircraft carrier. Prof. Lowe ascending in the Intrepid to observe the Battle of Fair Oaks “I have the pleasure of reporting the complete success of the first balloon expedition by water ever attempted.


Thaddeus Lowe rode his horse during the Peninsular Campaign of 1862, “I joined General Stoneman’s command, and on the morning of the 20th we arrived near the Chickahominy.

On the following morning, accompanied by General Stoneman, I ascended and there had a distinct view of Richmond, the general being the first to point out the city as we were rising. As we gained altitude we saw that the Confederates who had made their way from Yorktown were camped about Richmond, “–Thaddeus Lowe.

What happened to the Balloon Corps?  The Corps was disbanded in early 1863, in spite of their valuable service. Partly because the Corps was a civilian operation of which the pay was much higher than military pay, and partly because the entire operation was extremely expensive to maintain. All of this led to political problems for Lowe and the entire corps. On April 8, 1863, Lowe resigned his position as Chief Aeronaut in disgust and returned to the private sector. As a post script: Lowe and the Balloon Corps were always viewed with disdain and mistrust by many in the Union army. Some Confederate ballooning operated for a short time in 1861. Little evidence was found.

Lowe’s personal pair of binoculars.

10 Trivia Questions about Thomas Jefferson

  1. Ten Questions and Answers about Thomas Jefferson 

Jefferson Memorial modeled after Pantheon in Rome


Jefferson statue of bronze at 19 feet.


1. Did Jefferson have an affair with Sally Hemming, his slave in residence?  In 2000, DNA results concluded that he was the father of Sally Hemming’s son Eston and likely other children.


2.Did Thomas Jefferson and John Adams die on the same day?   These two revolutionaries renewed their friendship over their golden years through correspondence.  On July 4, 1826, exactly 50 years after the Declaration of Independence, John Adams died at the age of 90 years, erroneously thinking that Jefferson had survived him in his last words.  Jefferson had died five hours earlier at Monticello at the age of 82.


Front view resembles Jefferson’s Monticello.

3.What was the greatest scandal of his life?  Many of his contemporaries said he was a coward for fleeing Monticello on horseback on the morning of June 4, 1781, just as a squadron of British cavalrymen began to gallop up the little mountain toward his home.

4.Was Thomas Jefferson a confirmed bachelor?  Patty Jefferson died, September 6, 1782. ” On her deathbed, holding her hand in his, Mr. Jefferson promised her solemnly that he would never marry again.  And he never did.”–Edward Bacon, overseer.

5.Was Thomas Jefferson an alcoholic?  While in France, Jefferson developed a taste for exorbitantly expensive fine wines.  The wine bill for his first term as president ran to roughly $10,000 (nearly $190,000 in today’s dollars.)



Construction began in 1939 and completed in 1943 with the bronze statue added in 1947.


6.Did Jefferson attend college?  He studied at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Va.  After graduation from Wm&Mary he began reading law with George Wythe.

7.What did Jefferson really think of slavery?   He used slaves on his plantation for profit where they were taught a trade for which they earned extra money outside their work day. He was in favor of abolishing slavery, he realized that such a social change needed to be planned over time to be successful.


8.Did Jefferson solely write the Declaration of Independence?  Jefferson was the true author with five appointed people to draw up the articles; Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, Roger Sherman, Robert Livingston, and Jefferson himself.

Jefferson Memorial

Jefferson Memorial



9. Who influenced Thomas Jefferson’s writing of the Declaration of Independence?  John Locke influenced him.  For example, Jefferson paraphrased Locke’s ideas in the Declaration of Independence, changing “life, liberty and property” to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”

10. Was he the “Father of the University of Virginia?”  This phrase was coined by Marquis de Lafayette on his grand tour of the United States in 1854-1825.  Lafayette dined with former President James Madison and Jefferson in the Dome Room of the unfinished Rotunda at the University’s inaugural banquet,  where he coined the phrase in a toast to Jefferson.






“Was President Obama the Worst President in U.S. History?”

“Was President Obama the worst president in U.S. history?”

President Obama’s approval rating has averaged about 48% to date in contrast to Congress’ approval rating averaging around 15% in the eye’s of the American public(Gallup, 2014).  The President’s job rating for the sake of this writing will be viewed from the vantage point of its effect on the American economy.

The job market hit a milestone this year, after 52 consecutive weeks of job growth, the market has recovered all the jobs lost in the 2008 financial crisis.

Job loss from the 2009 economic crash have been recovered to date.

Job loss from the 2008 economic crash have been recovered to date.

Those jobs gains came entirely from the private sector, as government jobs were flat.  This could be a turning point for workers and their wages.  Some feel that this a meaningless benchmark, because it doesn’t feel like a recovery.  7.4 million people are working part-time, even though they would prefer full-time hours.  These figures lead to the conclusion that the job market is tougher with a growing population creating a higher supply of available workers.  Even with the President’s success in job recovery, it may take another 5 years to create another 5 million jobs to bring down the unemployment rate to 5.5%(Shierholz, 2014).

The U.S. Treasury Department reported that the federal deficit has decreased from approximately $1.4 trillion dollars in 2009 to a dramatic $680 billion dollars.  This news comes in light of Republicans insisting that the president has been a poor steward of the economy.  It maybe noted that fiscal battles on capital hill have gone from a boil to a mild simmer as knowledge of the improvement reaches the voting public.

The country has heard the cries of ” trillion dollar deficits as far as the eye can see.”  Such cries are being replaced by a more rational prediction of the rapidly diminishing national deficit.  Jan Hatzius of Goldman Sachs expects the deficit to be down to $500 million dollars or just under 3% of GDSmithsonian 003P.  What is contributing to the reduction?  Is it less spending and less taxes on the rich?  Not at all, despite the pundits call for both measures to improve the economy.  President Obama has affected the deficit reduction by fueling economic growth with his stimulus program.  For decades deficits as a % of  GDP have been closely correlated to economic improvement.  In a nutshell, if the current trend continues, and if it plays out, America will be shocked!

The next area to  examine as a factor  to determine president Obama’s rating in history must come from Wall Street, the economic hub of the world.

Dow Jones Average

Dow Jones Average

The Dow remains a Bull market during its record breaking climb from the summer of 2008 where it closed at a low of 6,500 to the present incredible high.  The Dow continued upward to surpass its prior all-time record setting performance with an inflation adjusted average of 17,000 for the best milestone since the end of 1999.

Did the president’s policies help this remarkable growth?  The answer is a proven yes. As the the statistical facts found in the  above illustrated;  examples of growing financial markets,steady job growth,  a soon to be shocking deficit reduction, and a targeted stimulus policy which has worked in concert to bring American back from a near financial collapse in 2008.  So, why does the public believe he has been ineffective?  According to Nancy Pelosi in her television appearance, the president needs to do a better job of communicating his achievements.  His critics had avoided the true facts as they  twisted and turned information into half truths in an effort  to cause confusion and chaos with the public.  Obviously, after an examination of the U.S. economy and its related facts, President Obama is closer to being one of our foremost leaders.


My Grandfather and the Ku Klux Klan in Retrospect 1924

Evidence of membership into the Klan.

Evidence of membership into the Klan.

Clinton Barlet Moore, my grandfather, of Kittanning, Pa joined the KKK in September of 1924. He lived in a small town with a population of about 2500, his highest year of education was elementary school. He joined the Klan as did 250,000 others in Pennsylvania in the name of American patriotism, white supremacy, and his faith in God.
The Ku Klux Klan of the 1920’s became a powerful political force backing prohibition and immigration reform.  They were a powerful political force that supported new laws and legislation in the name of social justice. The Klan, in robes and hats, visited churches on Sunday as they recruited pastors, and visited schools bringing American flags to classrooms to gain the support of children and teachers.The Klan’s propaganda was based on white supremacy which created and produced biased attitudes of racial, ethnic, and religious prejudice against minorities; such as, Jews, Catholics, African-Americans, and Eastern Europeans.
The blue-collar membership of the Klan feared a loss of their jobs and their way of life as minorities moved into their communities. The Klan was conservative and wanted the status quo calling for their version of family values to continue for its members. The Klan cloaked the truth behind its white robes while scripting propaganda with its pen. Clinton was one of many unsuspecting Americans convinced that he was following the gospel truth.  The Protestant ministers spoke from the pulpit using religion and Bible verses to justify the need for supporting patriotism, family values, and political action.

Clinton was a young man with a small town perspective, conforming to the wave of propaganda that was fueled by Klan views on religion and patriotism.

In defense of his choice to join the Klan, Clinton did not have a modern day view of the world and the nation, and he was living without a Civil Rights Act that would have protected the constitutional rights of minorities. Another factor that contributed to his choice was the Klan’s appeal to the working class. The working man of the day was seeking a voice in politics. Women were seeking equality with their constitutional right to vote. The Klan appealed to both groups. The Klan accepted women and their political opinions into the culture of the Klan, and supported blue collar worker’s rights.  In short, the 1920’s was a time for the Klan to seek and find a voice in American social change.

In later years, the Klan would self destruct and fall .It was during the depression of the 1930’s that the Klan went underground only to re-surface again later in the Southern states in the name of JIm Crow Laws. The Klan was disappearing, but social, religious, and political bias continued to plague the country into the twenty first century, as the majority of citizens of the country sought to protect the human rights of all Americans.

My grandfather will be remembered for his love of family, life, and God. He was a gentle, thoughtful, dedicated man who always wanted to do the right thing. Clinton’s joining the Klan in 1924 was influenced by a perceived righteousness and was wrong.  What can be learned? Discrimination was cloaked in patriotism, religion, and family values to give the members a perceived permission to violate the rights of other Americans.

In America today protecting human rights is important to the equality and  freedom of all Americans.

An acclaimed author,  Eric Fonner wrote in his book, The Story of American Freedom,  “Over the course of our history, freedom has been a living truth for some Americans and a cruel mockery for others.”













Walt Whitman’s: Song of Myself — A Historical Prespective



Song of Myself: Walt Whitman (1819-1892): A Personal Perspective
Historically, as nations around the world searched for the right to freely choose their sovereignty without interference from external forces; Whitman described a similar desire for independence through a renewed “American democratic self” to be found in every American.  Walt Whitman’s “Song of Myself” is a great American epic poem that has been read as the poem that best describes America’s search for self –determination during the romantic period of literature.

Whitman questioned the main things that influenced the thinking of people as he went out into the world and recorded and noted the diversity of people’s voices. His research found a renewed personal spirit in himself, that he expressed in his poem. He wrote of an enlightened perspective of self as he sang to one and all in “Songs of Myself.” He exemplified in his writing a reality of assumptions based upon a set philosophical, psychic, and aesthetic truths that contradicted many of the truths held by his fellow Americans. The core of these truths were to be found in every the heart and mind of every American. Whitman wanted a spiritual awakening for his country. He loved America and its oneness with him.
Stanzas 1&2 were examined for evidence of how the poem exemplified and contradicted the philosophical, psychological, and aesthetic assumptions of the romantic period.
Philosophically, as Whitman probed the nation’s new democratic- self, the country’s democracy was ever changing. How would it change?
Would it be dissolved into atomic particles caused by mankind’s contradictory rhetoric? “My tongue, every atom of my blood…and …Creeds and schools in abeyance” were expressed as issues… He gained the attention of his reader by being including them in his poem. He spoke face to face, man to man, American to American. His poem gained acceptance from the reader with an all- inclusive invitation of everything from nature to the universe. Whitman saw us communicating ideas, emotions, and affections as we shared the universe with all living things.
In American of the 1850’s pollsters and scholars found evidence that the majority of the country continued to believe in supernatural forces, identify themselves in religious terms, and desired for a spiritually enhanced life. By contrast, religious leaders of various denominations gave way to a wave of nationalism and became more distinct in their religious groups. Prevailing theological narratives of the day used psychological and religious dogma to gain and maintain their church membership.
Politics was influenced by printed texts and newspapers that shaped intellectual views, national myths. This media influenced elected officials who created and enacted immoral, unjust laws. These laws adversely affected Americans as a result of their regionalism, ethnic heritage, or social class.
These restrictive laws divided America’s young democratic nation into polarized factions.
Whitman hoped to re-unite the country. Whitman’s god voiced to him, not what we labeled ourselves, but what were, and what we did. The Quaker religion influenced his early childhood life and his poem. Whitman stressed the practical lessons learned from his Biblical lessons; while he gave less importance to the theoretical meaning of such lessons. He stressed the importance of living in the moment and in knowing the truth in all things, rather than, just blindly following obligations of belief from scripture. “Born here of parents born here from parents the same, and their parents the same,” reminded us of his heritage. As a result, his teaching freed mankind from holding onto fixed conceptions, obstructions, and immovable frames of thought.
Whitman pondered the importance of truth around questions of slavery, education,
Temperance, immigration, prostitution and democratic representation for his fledging new nation.
In the middle of the issues, he mediated and inspired his reader to look inward and discover an awakened self. Whitman may have asked, “Can America be awakened from itself?’
Whitman’s voice whispered and bellowed as he persuaded and romanticized the ego of Americans. In an aesthetic sense, Whitman created a cosmic breathe, a common heartbeat, and a shared impulse in poetic verse, as he orated ideological differences of the day. He wrote the poem his way, and not as those of his time expected and decreed that he should write. As an aside, did Whitman write the poem or did the poem write itself? His message– united we stand and divided we fall as a nation.
History has told of Whitman’s emotional and psychological crisis in nearly every biography written about him (1857-1859). Briefly, he lost his job, his lover, and his self –respect as became depressed and fell into an emotional state of mind, self- described, as a “slough.”
He attempted to find his inner peace during America’s chaotic, historical period, as he reduced the complexity of his life into something authentic. In these chaotic times, people were stuck in the mud. Whitman had a plan to free them and himself from a muddy reality—it was with his shared recognition that the truth had been suppressed and that a realization of the real truth would set everyone free… In another lesson in his poem; he learned acceptance of himself from his new found spirituality, he invited the reader to share his awakened mind and consciousness. Whitman lived in the now; he breathed in the air of intoxicating, artificial perfumes while he attempted to avoid being corrupted by their fragrance. He had a new identity at age thirty-seven; he saw himself in everything; nature, mankind, and the cosmos with a relaxed oneness of self. Whitman viewed his new world through visual imagery and investigation, as did some future pioneers of human psychology.
Sigmund Freud (1856-1939) used a technique for investigating the connection between the conscious and the unconscious mind. This method of therapy encouraged the patient to talk freely, in such a way that his repressed fears and conflicted feelings became an awareness for a changed conscious mind. Whitman’s psychological investigative efforts were somewhat ahead of their time.
Whitman conducted an informal, poetic psychoanalysis of the individual’s conscious and unconscious mind. He was trying to raise a conscious awareness in America to create a mindful democratic system of government to serve all the people. Whitman assumed the role of mediator or analyst as he encouraged the resolution of moral, spiritual, and religious questions.
His approach to his audience was very different from conventional poetry of the day. Whitman ignored customary etiquette, in that, he made the reader apart of his poem, and reached out with an erotic message personifying every part of his being to seek spiritual enlightenment for all. What is the grass? Whitman empathized with the reader as they joined in the question about the grass. He avoided being the answer; “You shall not look through my eyes either, nor take things from me.” The reader is left to question alone, but, as the same time, to stand in a kinship with him–a brotherhood. Whitman wanted the reader to look inside of his inner-self to find a spiritual answer.
Whitman used the imagery of grass on various levels; physical and natural in meaning, the pages of his book, the form of his poetry, and the physical piece of grass that grew on the earth. He said that his creativity is unexplainable, just a representation of his hopes, dreams, fears, and spirit.
Whitman put himself; his being, his soul onto paper and into words. Here he used visual imagery, “I celebrate myself’ “…I assume, you assume, every atom” …. Belongs to you.” Whitman told us who he was while at the same time he showed us who he was. Whitman’s goal was a natural, relaxed freedom, with less compulsiveness and a lowered stress level for all Americans.
His psychological belief in the supernatural inspired a shaman like spirituality in his poem. He called on the supernatural powers of the cosmos to evolve the nation into one with an authentic self-image.
Aesthetic and cultural values in America were changing like an anthill of activity in the 1850’s. The Puritan work ethic prevailed, people working long hours and six days per week. The average adult saw leisure and games as a waste of time. In the 1850’s a boom in railroad development across the North changed business models, influenced a rise in real estate values, increased regional concentrations of industry, and stimulated growth in investment banking and agriculture.
Health care was still largely in a state of ignorance regarding the treatment of disease and sickness. Although in the North there was some optimism, with predictions that electricity and machinery would be transforming life and relieving mankind from drudgery. This period of history found the Puritan values in America in conflict with American Romantics like Whitman.
The Romantic Movement and its aesthetic quality was characterized by the belief in imagination, individualism, emotion, and freedom. Such romantic ideals attempted to change the boundaries, rules, and societal structure of America. Whitman supported these ideals; as he challenged the country’s religion and religious morals. He saw the country’s corrupted government; ruled by immoral, wicked men, criminals elected by the populace, supported by the populace, and shielded from punishment by their political allies.


Whitman sermonized that the natural world was beautiful, while human society was filled with corruption (Rousseau). Nathaniel Hawthorne, a contemporary, dark romanticist, whose many works were inspired by Puritan New England, suggested that guilt, sin, and evil were the most inherent natural qualities of humanity. Hawthorne described his aesthetic style to romance writing as using “atmospherical medium as to bring out or mellow the lights and deepen and enrich the shadows of the picture.”  Whitman and Hawthorne’s visual imagery expressed the needed change. Whitman’s “Song of Myself,” stitched a quilt of random imagination with patches of beauty to enrich man’s perception of self-worth and self-image. This poetic quilt covered the reader’s suffering and pain; as he found comfort in the words of Whitman. Once comforted, as a literary artist, Whitman used the beauty of the earth, sun, fields and hillsides in his verse; as he influenced and deepened the reader’s search for freedom from traditional thinking.

Whitman implied an aesthetic quality in the naturalness of self. Whitman described a meeting between his body and soul. He invited his soul to relax and “loaf with me on the grass” where he celebrated self and all parts of him with the reader. Whitman saw the inherent beauty in the hearts and minds of the American people, as he discovered a new self-identity with them.
Uniting in harmony with the oneness of man, and God; Whitman created a metaphorical holy trinity with a supernatural beauty.
Whitman wrote with his natural voice as he encouraged the reader and the country to come closer to a voice that was developed by personal choice. He wanted the country to have made a shift of consciousness; to where they were not dominated by compulsive, unconscious thinking. His poetic shift of consciousness had the effect of a spiritual awakening for the country. Whitman believed that living in the moment gave one the power of life itself, that which has traditionally been called God. Whitman believed the fate of America depended on their conscious awakening. Whitman’s message– oneness of all. You are the song of myself.
A descriptive passage lifted from a newspaper obituary of March 1894 expressed an epitaph to Whitman:
“The trees and the flowers talked to him, the sunshine held philosophy for him, the voices of children and twittering of birds were music in his ears till those organs were hopelessly dulled.”

Song of Myself and Leaves of Grass

Song of Myself and Leaves of Grass

Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring Comes Home

Did Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring inspire rational thought or higher emotions?  Stravinsky’s stylistic diversity as a composer, conductor, and pianist created a musical masterpiece that was revolutionary in its design.  It pushed the boundaries of musical composition beyond anything else.  This description of the composition was the consensus of the day among his contemporaries.

Personally, the need to hear rational thought and logical rhythm was erased after hearing this piece several times. The  surrendered rational thought came from having  experienced Stravinsky’s  musical emotionalism.. The heart felt emotionalism came from listening to the composition with its intensity and with its thunderous brutality.  Those powerful, overwhelming musical rhythms trumped my sensibilities.  There was an unnerving quality that was felt throughout the untamed piece.  Those powerful rhythms gave no time for relaxation, and the relentlessness of the horns and percussion enveloped my senses into a mood of emotional surrender.

As the crescendo climbed, emotions rose with the music, as the rite of spring was witnessed outside my window.  In the early morning, the sun was met by the cacophony of birds chirping to the celebration of life.  A bird feeder hung from a crepe myrtle tree that invited the migration of birds to feed.  The flutes and horns slid with sounds of tweets and chirps as the small birds relished the nourishing seeds.  The bassoon played its magical sounds of wonder and danger as a Red Tailed Hawk soared above the bird feeder. The hawk descended with the bassoon’s increased volume and intensity until a thunderous pounding of kettle drums announced the brutality of a killed finch. The sounds were felt with a crescendo of emotion.  Stravinsky’s the Rite of Spring came to my home.Stravinsky

St. Helena Island, S.C. M.L. King Speaks on Violence

Speech Written on St. Helena’s Island, November 14, 1966 at Penn Center

Violence may murder the murderer, but it doesn’t murder murder.

Violence may murder the liar, but it doesn’t murder the lie; it doesn’t establish

Truth. Violence may even murder the dishonest man, but it doesn’t murder

Dishonesty. Violence may go to the point of murdering the hater, but it doesn’t

Murder hate. It may increase hate. It is always a descending spiral leading nowhere.

Martin Luther King

This is the ultimate weakness of violence: It multiplies evil and violence in the universe.

It doesn’t solve any problems.

Did Emperor Constantine Save Christians from Islam?

The spread of Christianity was dying out at the beginning of the second century, many of them were Essenes, who believed in celibacy.  Had it not been for one man, Paul of Tarsus, a Pharisee, who converted to Christianity on the basis of a vision of Jesus that he claimed to see while on the road one day.  In this vision he was told to spread the word of Christianity. Being a Jew, he realized that the fate of the faith lay not with the Jews but with the non Jews. 

Paul sold to the pagan world the moral dream of Judaism — love, fairness, honesty, and monotheism.  He was also telling of the coming of redemption of the world with the second coming of Jesus which he believed was imminent.  The appeal to non Jews and others went to many that were vassals or slaves beholden to Rome, where human freedom was unimaginable.  The new Christian message changed the world with  the idea of human freedom grounded in Jewish moral values, and in a life style that professed that slaves were as good as masters; that the poor was as good as the rich; and  that the weak were as great as the mighty.  Christianity offered a new, much more appealing vision of the world, promoting a simple viewpoint of life, love, and religion.

 Christianity was one of many religious groups that existed in the Roman Empire for centuries, however, the Roman government viewed them with suspicion and persecution for the refusal to conform, as a result followers were tortured and punished.  The Roman persecutions failed to make Christians conform, it merely created Christian martyrs which inspired futher oppositon against Rome.   Ultimately, the persecutions failed to destroy Christianity,  it was around 311, Constantine found the persecutions he witnessed to be disturbing.  He realized that the persecutions had failed and caused disharmony; secondly, he had a deep admiration for the values of Christians.  He believed that their love, charity, and mercy would bring about unity and harmony to the Roman Empire.  Constantine decided to proceed with caution to Christianize the empire.  

In 313, Constantine came to an agreement with the Eastern emperor, Licinius which resulted in the Edict of Milan.  Through his church, Constantine controlled the Christians in his empire.  The church was legitimized and legalized. The majority of people were pagans who held control over the empire, but his new policies worked to weaken the pagan communities through his new practices. Constantine confiscated the precious metals of pagan temples to fill his treasury for his builiding projects. By the end of his reign in 337, Constantine succeeded in crippling paganism, making Christainity the official religion of the Roman Empire.

As the first Christian emperor, Constantine changed the world forever.  He laid the foundation for many emperors to follow him in the future.  The rise of Christainity over paganism was probably inevitable, he did much to hasten the process.  As a result, the medieval ages and much of Europe became Christian thanks to him.

Had Constantine decided to promote paganism or Islam for the betterment of the Roman Empire, could today’s Christians be Muslms?