Madison’s act of belevolence: the Venezuela Earthquake and 200 years of American foreign aid.

James Madison is often quoted as having been against hand-outs,

“I cannot undertake to lay my finger on that article of the Constitution which granted a right to Congress of expending, on objects of benevolence, the money of their constituents.”*

Although these probably weren’t James Madison’s exact words, Congressman Madison probably said something similar.

Portrait of James Madison
Portrait of James Madison

Continue reading Madison’s act of belevolence: the Venezuela Earthquake and 200 years of American foreign aid.

Covered (a tale of Caracas in 1812)

Men will tell you that the Republic had no faith in God; but then, why were the churches in the Capital full that day?

Some may have been there to display their gratitude (to their fellow atheists perhaps), or to ask forgiveness (from a God who they apparently did not think existed).

Ernesto Malego was there out of habit. Continue reading Covered (a tale of Caracas in 1812)

When Tecumseh made the Mississippi flow backwards

Here the Earth, river, &c torn with furious convulsions, opens in huge trenches, whose deep jaws are instantaneously closed; there throws a thousand vents sulfurous streams gushed from its very bowels, leaving a vast and almost unfathomable caverns. – William Leigh Pierce, eyewitness

1812 was a year of science.  The discovery of dinosaurs, the electric battery, iodine and many other marvels firmly placed the year within the “Age of Reason.”

Portrait of Tecumseh
Tecumseh, from John Frost's Illustrated Historical Sketches of the Indians

At the same time, new “superstitions” were developing.  One of these was helped by three of the most powerful earthquakes America had ever known.  Some scientists fear such earthquakes could come again, and this time, the devastation could be much greater. Continue reading When Tecumseh made the Mississippi flow backwards