Ebenezer Allen – Statesman, Entrepreneur, and Spy

I am pleased to announce that Ebenezer Allen – Statesman, Entrepreneur, and Spy is now available on Amazon.

Paperback Edition – check out the preview

Kindle Edition – check out the preview using an e-reader

Ebenezer Allen – : Statesman, Entrepreneur, and Spy by [Allen H.  Mesch]

Over the next few months, I will be conducting web based lectures on Ebenezer Allen’s life. I will also be offering a signed edition of the paperback at a reduced price.

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Progress Report and Petition

Ebenezer Allen – Statesman, Entrepreneur, and Spy is nearing the final stages. I don’t know the exact publishing date.

If you want a copy please see Ebenezer Allen – Statesman, Entrepreneur, and Spy on the Waldorf Publishing site.

Meanwhile, I am working on a new fiction book based on the events taking place in America in 2020. So far I have over 62,000 words and, thankfully, no footnotes, bibliography, or index.

On a completely different topic, I have been working with a colleague on a petition to change Fort Hood to Fort Oveta Culp Hobby. Please check out the Change.org page to read about this amazing lady. Also see #RenameFortHoodtoFortHobby.

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What About Post-1865 Heroes?

There seems to be an idea supported by President Trump that we should not change the names of U.S. military bases.  I question the belief that the names of these bases are etched in stone never to change and that the United States does not have many post-1865 heroes.

Names of public places are changed all of the time. In some cases, it is because the building is used for other purposes, the mission of the organization has changed, or people forget why the building was named that way. I am not talking about monuments which as I have said in the past are an issue that each community should resolve. We have plenty of heroes in the past 150 plus years. When are we going to honor them?

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General John Bell Hood

Let’s consider Fort Hood in Texas. General John Bell Hood had mixed reviews during his time in command of Confederate troops. He was praised for his actions in the Penninsula Campaign but criticized for his actions in the battles around Atlanta and Nashville. This may have to do with the wear and tear on his body and loss of limbs.  Incidentally, he was doing exactly what his commander-in-chief Jeff Davis wanted in the Atlanta Campaign. Davis replaced Joe Johnston with Hood and ordered John Bell to fight.

 

 

Here are some Texans who might be worthy of replacing Hood.

U.S. Army

  • George Lawson Keene – Most decorated American soldier in WW I
  • Audie Murphy – Most decorated U.S. soldier in WW II
  • Staff Sergeant Marcario Garcia – Medal of Honor, WW II
    Garcia became the first Mexican immigrant to win the nation’s highest award for valor.
  • Benavidez

    Master Sergeant Roy Benevidez

    Roy Benavidez – Medal of Honor, Vietnam – He made Rambo seem like a wimp – amazing story – Please read Roy Benavidez’s story

 

 

 

 

 

  • Oveta Culp Hobby – Colonel Women’s Army Corps, first secretary of the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare
  • Major_General_Dwight_Eisenhower,_1942_TR207

    Major General Dwight D. Eisenhower

    Dwight D. Eisenhower – Army general and statesman who served as the 34th president of the United States from 1953 to 1961. During World War II, he became a five-star general in the Army and served as the Supreme Commander of the Allied Expeditionary Force in Europe. He was responsible for planning and supervising the invasion of North Africa in Operation Torch in 1942–43 and the successful invasion of Normandy in 1944–45 from the Western Front.

U.S. Navy

  • Chester Nimitz – commander of Allied naval forces in Pacific during World War II
  • Doris “Dorie” Miller – Navy Cross for valor at Pearl Harbor 
  • David “Tex” Hill – Naval aviator, Flying Tiger ace, immortal fighter pilot

About eleven Medal of Honor honorees.

My personal choices are Eisenhower and Benavidez. 

 

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Wrong Again – Please Read History

In the last few days, I have read two erroneous statements made about the Emancipation Proclamation and Union soldiers fighting to end slavery.

Emancipation_Day_celebration_-_1900-06-19

Juneteenth Celebration

In an article about Juneteenth, a reporter wrote that on June 19, 1865, that Union General Granger arrived in Galveston, Texas and told the slaves that by virtue of the Emancipation Proclamation, they were free.  An article in USA Today said, “On June 19, Americans around the country will celebrate Juneteenth, a holiday commemorating the Emancipation Proclamation in the USA.” The article was later corrected to: “Correction: An earlier version of this story misstated Juneteenth’s relation to slavery. It celebrates the Emancipation Proclamation, but the Emancipation Proclamation didn’t apply to all states in the USA. The 13th Amendment brought an end to slavery.” Thanks for the correction. To learn more about this celebration, please read the 2015 Juneteenth Celebrated with Joy, Sorrow, and Courage. To learn more about the Emancipation Proclamation and laws dealing with Black Rights, please read Lincoln Freed the Slaves and Other Myths.

In President Trump’s commencement speech to West Point cadets on  June 13, 2020, the President referred to West Pointers who fought in the Civil War. However, he only referred to those West Point graduates who fought for the Union between 1861 and 1865. Trump called them, “American patriots … who fought a bloody war to extinguish the evil of slavery within one lifetime of our founding.” Let’s review the reasons why we fought the Civil War.  For a brief overview, please read the Causes of the Civil War. There are many reasons why we fought this war and they differ depending on where you stood in the military hierarchy.

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    U. S. Grant

    Government: Preserve the Union and Put Down the Rebellion

  • Officers: Preserve the Union, Advance in the Military, and Enhance Their Resume (political officers)
  • Soldiers: Preserve the Union, Avoid Condemnation from Community, Friendship, and Participate in a Great Adventure (“See the Elephant”)
  • No one fought to free the slaves!

 

Confederate Perspective

  • Government: Preserve Slavery as the Foundation of their Wealth and Maintain Southern Society. The initial statements from seceding states sited preserving slavery as the primary reason. Please read Why Virginia Seceded.
  • Officers: Loyalty to State Rather Than Country (Lee refused position to lead Union Army because he would not fight against Virginia), Defend Confederacy from the North (South named war the War of Northern Aggression), Preserve Family Wealth, and Enhance Personal and Family Reputation
  • Soldiers: Defend Confederacy from the North (South named war the War of Northern Aggression), Avoid Condemnation from Community, Friendship, and Participate in a Great Adventure (“See the Elephant”). Not to defend slaveowners’ rights (“It’s a rich man’s war and a poor man’s fight)

Lee_and_Generals

Lee and his Generals


Update and Correction

I received an interesting response concerning my statement “No one fought to free the slaves!” My comment was way too broad. I would rephrase it to read “Most Northerners did not fight to end slavery, but to save the Union.”  My original comment was based on things I have read which indicated this was a widespread attitude. Certainly, US Colored Troops fought to end slavery. Of course, I don’t know what every Union soldier thought. I would point out the New York City draft riots in which Blacks were killed.

Union Soldiers Condemn Slavery – “Although the attitudes of many white Union soldiers toward slavery and emancipation ranged from indifference to outright racial hostility, others viewed the issue as central to their participation in the war. The following quotations, taken from letters, diary entries, and contemporary newspaper interviews with white Union soldiers, reveal the attitudes of those who viewed slavery as both a primary cause of the conflict and a key rationale for fighting.”

Why White Soldiers Fought to End Slavery – “Historians agree that most Union Army soldiers, no matter what their national origin, fought to restore the unity of the United States, but emphasize that:  “… they became convinced that this goal was unattainable without striking against slavery.” - James M. McPherson, For Cause and Comrades: Why Men Fought in the Civil War, p. 118.  McPherson’s book adds that witnessing the Southern slave system first-hand significantly strengthened the anti-slavery views of white Union soldiers, leaving them appalled by the system’s brutality: “Experience in the South reinforced the antislavery sentiments of many soldiers. One Pennsylvanian Union soldier spoke to a slave woman whose husband was whipped, and was appalled by what she had to tell him of slavery. He stated that “I thought I had hated slavery as much as possible before I came here, but here, where I can see some of its workings, I am more than ever convinced of the cruelty and inhumanity of the system.” – Ibid., pp. 36-37.

The Civil War Was About Slavery. Confederate Leaders Were Totally Clear On This. – “I would save the Union,” Lincoln wrote. As for enslaved Africans, they were just pawns in his war strategy: “If I could save the Union without freeing any slave, I would do it; and if could save it by freeing all the slaves, I would do it. … What I do about Slavery and the colored race, I do because I believe it helps to save this Union.” This link contains quotes by Confederate leaders on slavery.

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Writers and the First Amendment

There is a reason America’s Founding Fathers placed the freedoms guaranteed in the First Amendment ahead of other amendments in the Bill of Rights.

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

us-first-amendment-1The First Amendment guarantees freedoms concerning religion, expression, assembly, and the right to petition.  It forbids Congress from both promoting one religion over others and also restricting an individual’s religious practices.  It guarantees freedom of expression by prohibiting Congress from restricting the press or the rights of individuals to speak freely.  It also guarantees the right of citizens to assemble peaceably and to petition their government.

Today, threats to our democracy make enforcing the First Amendment rights more important than ever.

As writers, the First Amendment guarantees freedom of speech and the press. This allows us to compose political and societal fiction and include our opinions in non-fiction works. Freedom of the press allows us to publish portions of our books and write articles based on these books. This press freedom permits us to be interviewed by the media about our books and/or the subject matter.

Consider how impossible it would be to write without these rights. Could we author inspirational and spiritual works, self-help guides, fiction and non-fiction histories and biographies, how-to manuals, and social commentaries?

Who do we have to thank for these gifts? James Madison. Future-President Madison is honored as the “Father of the Constitution” for his pivotal role in drafting and promoting the Constitution of the United States and the United States Bill of Rights.

James_Madison

President James Madison

During the 1st Congress, Madison led efforts to pass several constitutional amendments that would form the United States Bill of Rights. Madison hoped to protect individual liberties against the actions of the federal government and state legislatures. He believed listing the specific rights would fix those rights in the public mind and encourage judges to protect them. After studying over two hundred amendments that were proposed at the state ratifying conventions, Madison introduced the Bill of Rights on June 8, 1789. His amendments contained numerous restrictions on the federal government and protected freedom of religion, freedom of speech, and the right to peaceful assembly. 

 

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The Time for Action is Now

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Author’s Photo from the African American Heritage and Education Center

As the nation deals with two epidemics, Covid 19 and racism, it is time for American writers to address the longest-lasting disease — racism.

 

 

 

Black authors have written on the subject for decades. They have described the cruelty they suffered and how they have dealt with it. They do not need encouragement to continue telling the story, reminding young Blacks about their history, and advocating for change.

 

Adobe Photoshop PDF

Twelve Years a Slave

Now is the time for White authors to increase their efforts. Racism is not just a Black problem. Nor is it a Latino, Asian, Moslem, or Jewish problem.  It is a worldwide problem, but especially an American problem. Our racist society began with the importation of slaves in the 17th century to work on plantations. These slaves brought farming technology with them. Technology that their slave owners were happy to employ. Slaves were bred like farm animals to produce children who would grow into strong adults to labor in the slave owner’s fields. This slavery was accompanied by lash and rape. Slavery became THE stain on America. Racism institutionalized and perpetuated that disgrace.

 

345px-UncleTomsCabinCover

Uncle Tom’s Cabin

White writers should explore the roots of this inherited disease. They should produce books for all ages. We must recognize that racism is maintained and disseminated by ignorance. I believe this can be cured through education. Black authors should tell the story of how Blacks have suffered, how they have triumphed over adversity, and recommend courses of action. However, Blacks cannot solve the problem alone. Racism exists in the minds of White people and its eradication must include changing these minds.

Twenty-five Crucial Books About Racism In America

From 25 Crucial Books About Racism In America

Books about American slavery

From Books About American Slavery

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Preorder for Ebenezer Allen – Statesman, Entrepreneur, and Spy

Waldorf Publishing has just announced that Ebenezer Allen – Statesman, Entrepreneur, and Spy is available for preorder.  The cost of the biography is $19.95, and the release date is August 2020.

Ebenezer_Allen_Final_Cover

Please see a summary to learn more about this overlooked Texan.

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McFarland Military History Book Offer

This is a great time to purchase that military history book on your wish list. As Memorial Day approaches, McFarland Publishers is offering readers a chance to pick up a good military history book for personal reading, or perhaps as a Father’s Day gift for dad. Beginning on Monday, May 18th, and running through Memorial Day, May 25th, McFarland Publishers will offer 40% off all military history titles with coupon code MILITARY40. 

Please check out my military publications: Teacher of Civil War Generals and Preparing for Disunion.

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Writing During the Current Crisis

Stay-at-home restrictions, whether they be from governments or personal decisions, provide opportunities to write.  The time saved from commuting and leisure-time activities can be used to create new stories using various formats and media. While this suggestion may seem inappropriate, I believe that expressing your feelings and fears may help you and others deal with the sickness, job loss, isolation, and anger during the health and economic crisis.

The topics may include both fiction and non-fiction formats. You might write about the effect of the crisis on charity or charities.  The scope could be local, state, or national. You could write about how a real or fictional director of a charity is managing the crisis.

Here are a few examples of subjects that can be non-fiction or fiction:

COVID 19 or Job Loss and …

  • Health Care Worker
  • Farmer
  • Auto Worker in Kentucky
  • Researcher
  • Reporter
  • Small Business Owner
  • Single Parent
  • Children
  • Minister
  • Teacher
  • College Student

Best wishes and stay safe.

 

 

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Review of Ebenezer Allen-Statesman, Entrepreneur, and Spy

Ebenezer_Allen_Final_CoverAuthor Allen Mesch captures a quarter-century of Texas history through the life of Ebenezer Allen in his latest book — Ebenezer Allen-Statesman, Entrepreneur, and Spy.  As the Attorney General and Secretary of State for the Republic of Texas, Allen was at the center of the transition of Texas from an independent nation to statehood to the Confederate States of America.  A visionary, Allen, a New Englander, led an effort that ultimately connected the Gulf of Mexico to the Red River in North Texas via rail.

Just as he did with his previous books, Mr. Mesch diligently gathered original documents, photos, and letters to develop this biography.  Making extensive use of those writings, the author takes the reader back to the mid-nineteenth century using the language of the day.  He does not try to over-interpret the documents. Mr. Mesch allowed the original correspondence and official documents to speak for themselves. In addition, Mr. Mesch also connected with Allen’s great-great-great-granddaughter who provided him insight into the family history.

Today, many Texas politicians like to proclaim their long-term family ties to Texas with words such as “I am a fifth-generation Texan.” What they never mention is the fact that many of their forebears were transplanted Northeasterners like Ebenezer Allen. Ebenezer Allen quickly became part of his community; first in Clarksville and then in Galveston.   He held prominent positions in both the Republic of Texas and the State of Texas.  He was the first elected Texas attorney general.  The Collin County city of Allen bears his name.  Interestingly enough, the current Texas attorney general, Ken Paxton, lives in Collin County.  Neither Paxton nor Allen were native Texans.

Alan E. Mesches, author of Major General James A. Ulio: How the Adjutant General of the U.S. Army Enabled Allied Victory (Casemate Publishers, June 2020).

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