Harvard and Andrew Jackson

Sunday, March 11, AD 2012

In 1833 the administration of Harvard decided to bestow an honorary doctorate of laws on the President of the United States, Andrew Jackson.  Many Harvard alums, looking down their noses at the rough, uncouth and ill-educated Jackson, were outraged.  None was more angry than Harvard alum John Quincy Adams who had been ousted from the presidency in the election of 1828.  Adams gave his cousin the President of Harvard an earful stating “as myself an affectionate child of our alma mater, I would not be present to witness her disgrace in conferring her highest literary honors upon a barbarian who could not write a sentence of grammar and hardly could spell his own name.”

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11 Responses to Harvard and Andrew Jackson

  • Donald McClarey: This is a gem, a veritable diamond.

  • Thank you Mary. History is filled with such amusing gems and it is a shame that History is so poorly taught these days that most people never hear of them.

  • “The Harvard administration responded to critics by noting that it had bestowed such degrees on other presidents and it could not fail to do so on the grounds of simple partisanship.”

    If I remember correctly that was also the reasoning behind Notre Dame’s invitation to Obama for the 2009 commencement.

  • Exactly, Elaine. And in neither instance was it a sufficient explanation for honoring such unworthy individuals.

  • I’m pretty sure the Harvard alumni of the day weren’t too upset with Jackson’s brutal performance at Horseshoe Bend.

  • Andrew Jackson was a patriot fighting for American principles. Barack Obama is a traitor to American principles

  • ” . . . a barbarian that could not write a sentence of grammar . . . ”

    Absolutely! Harvard, etc. have since awarded both academic and honorary degrees to innumerable semi-literate barbarians, including Kennedys and Obamas.

  • In those days both the lettered and unlettered had moral character which is far more important than any academic achievement when judging a man’s worth. It is no longer the case now, where depending on the need of the day the Harvard types will enthuse over illiterate rap artists, while at the same time sneer at someone like Sarah Palin for studying in a degree mill. For a decade or more the weight of the mandarin classes in the UK and US is slanted towards destroying all that is good in those in countries. They should be treated like the enemy they are.

  • It may be considered a stretch by modern historians to describe the Battle of Horseshoe Bend as anything other than clearing Alabama for white settlement. Jackson’s role in the Florida Wars against Seminole Indians and fugitive slaves is likewise cast now-a-days as bespeaking a moral character we tend not to celebrate today.

  • Agreed, Bruce. There can be no argument that Andrew Jackson’s Indian policies as both a militia leader and as President could only be described as ethnic cleansing.

    Jackson’s Cherokee ally at Horseshoe Bend, Chief Junaluska, later regretted that he had co-operated with Jackson (and had even saved Jackson’s life) during the Red Stick War:

    “If I had known that Jackson would drive us from our homes, I would have killed him that day at the Horseshoe.”

    A lack of foresight that many (including myself) no doubt lament. It would not be an overstatement for me to say that I hold Andrew Jackson in lower esteem than any other U.S. President.

  • Jackson’s action at Horseshow Bend was nothing short of disgraceful. However, he is reponsible for saving the city of New Orleans being ravished by the British red coats in at the Battle of New Orleans. How much poorer a country we would be without the Crescent City, Queen of the South! I am proud that his statue occupies a space that is now instantly recognizable as a symbol of the city he saved.

    A proud member of the Who Dat Nation.

On Not Having Sex At Harvard

Sunday, July 25, AD 2010

From the New York Times:

There was a time when not having sex consumed a very small part of Janie Fredell’s life, but that, of course, was back in Colorado Springs. It seemed to Fredell that almost no one had sex in Colorado Springs. Her hometown was extremely conservative, and as a good Catholic girl, she was annoyed by all the fundamentalist Christians who would get in her face and demand, as she put it to me recently, “You have to think all of these things that we think.” They seemed not to know that she thought many of those things already. At her public high school, everyone, “literally everyone,” wore chastity rings, Fredell recalled, but she thought the practice ridiculous. Why was it necessary, she wondered, to signify you’re not doing something that nobody is doing?

And then Fredell arrived at Harvard.

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0 Responses to On Not Having Sex At Harvard

  • We need more Janie Fredells and Mary Anne Marks

  • We need to pray for them and the many others that have to live in a sex-saturated society such as ours.

  • Unforetunately one night about a year ago, I stopped at a serious tv documentary which was about a Catholic author who found extensive non marital sexual activity at Catholic colleges which went on to note then the gradual regrets of the females but with this caveat…that the females doing this outnumbered the males doing so but not by much.

  • Something which seems to be downplayed in the article is the belated realization that the annoying evangelicals of the first paragraph had a point.

    I think that both young evangelicals and young Catholics are young; they have things to learn about life. The evangelicals in this case seem to have not learned how to read Janie Fredell so as to speak with a potential ally in a winsome way.

    But Janie herself seems to have misunderstood her circumstances; it took immersion in Harvard to wake her up. Little or no sex amongst unmarried teens in Colorado Springs? I doubt that. The evangelical chastity ring culture may have seemed odd to her, but it grew up as a response to something. It was a rallying cry for Jesus, but also against a threat.

    The whole secular world is engaged in undermining the sexual virtue of the young so as to preemptively undermine their relationship with God before it can grow into something world-changing. From the WWJD shirts to the multicolored bead-bracelets to the chastity rings, evangelical expressions of counter-cultural fervor are like the redness and puffiness of a histamine reaction. They may border on kitch, but they are the signs of an immune system rising up to fight an invader.

    Miss Fredell is a Catholic; I hope however that now that she’s seen the infection up close, she’ll give her evangelical brothers and sisters their due props.

  • Catholics who insist that evangelicals have had a baneful effect on us (as evidenced in the recent sparring with Vox Nova) tend to deny the importance of chastity as a criterion of Christian fidelity. In so doing, they deny the importance of what the Church teaches is the very groundwork of a just society: strong family life. It may take people like Miss Fredell, educated in an elitist environment but respectful of the position of the evangelicals, to help our co-religionists to see the light here.

  • I’m not sure delaying sex until one is 30 is “pro-family.” I take that back, 30 is when they want folks to get married. Abstinance programs tend to delay sex only until 18-21. Certainly that is better than 14 or 16, but that is more a public health issue. If stop gazing at evangelicals long enough, we’ll see that they aren’t retaining their youth either.

    The time between when one is capable of producing a child and when one gets married has traditionally been called adolescence. Our model has now stretched that well past the early twenties. Having a large adolescent culture is not pro-family.

  • MZ, I do have to agree with you – adolescence has been unnaturally extended well beyond its due course. Largely due to materialism I would wager.

  • I take that back, 30 is when they want folks to get married.


  • I’m unclear what relation, if any, MZ’s comment is meant to have with the article quoted.

From Harvard To Her Religious Calling

Sunday, July 25, AD 2010

Mary Anne Marks graduated from Harvard University at the top of her class.  You may have heard of her, she is the one that gave the salutatory address all in Latin.

She received a standing ovation.

In addition to graduating with a Classics and English double major with honors, she will be entering the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

You may remember these nuns from their appearance on the Oprah Show earlier this year in February and how they dazzled the audience as well as Oprah Winfrey herself with their simple devotion and love of Jesus in the Eucharist.

The following video is Mary Anne Marks being interviewed by Net New York‘s Outstanding Anchor Francesca Maximé on the Currents program.

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5 Responses to From Harvard To Her Religious Calling