So far I've thrown money at the SPLC.
As so many other people have been saying: if you've ever wondered what you would have done in 1936, when the Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei was seizing control of the German government, or in 1965, as Dr. King was marching on Selma, now you know. It's what you're doing now.
Ditch the box, and make homemade jello style gelatin at home. So easy, with only a few ingredients—and it’s actually good for you.
Making this easy homemade “JELLO” gelatin really requires just two ingredients: juice + gelatin. But, as with most intriguing things in life, the closer I looked, the more deliciously complicated it all became.
I’m boiling it all down for you here into just the facts. If you don’t really want to know much more and just want to get to the recipe, feel free to scroll down to the bottom for the video and the recipe. But don’t you want to know at least a little bit more?
Adding fresh fruit to homemade jello
At the very least, you’ll want to know the best way to put some fresh fruit in there and make sure it doesn’t sink to the bottom. Just let the gelatin chill for about 45 minutes in the refrigerator until it’s beginning to set. Press a few slices of your favorite fruit into the mixture, then finish chilling until it’s completely set.
When it’s summertime and fresh berries are affordable and at their peak, those are the flavors of homemade jello that I’m most likely to make. Strawberry tops the list for me.
But when you’re adding whole fruit to the gelatin, avoid chunks of pineapple, kiwi, mango, papaya or mango. When it’s fresh, those types of fruit can make it difficult for the gelatin to set up properly. (Here’s why.)
How pretty are these pineapple and blueberry “JELLO” flavors? No additives, no chemicals, no food dyes. Just food, glorious food.
What type of fruit (juice)?
I don’t generally keep any juice in the house other than pineapple. And that’s only for my gluten free Hawaiian Rolls since they’re some of the best burger buns around, and my gluten free pineapple upside down cake. I make that at least a couple times a year.
I do always have different types of fruit, both fresh and frozen at home. So I complicated things a bit by testing fruit purees in place of juice. I have good news and bad news.
The good news is that you most certainly can make homemade “JELLO” gelatin with fruit purees. The bad news? You must mix the puree with at least as much actual fruit juice or the “JELLO” simply won’t set up.
So even though this is really so simple as to almost not even qualify as a “recipe,” there were enough tips and tricks that I picked up along the way that I thought it was worthy of its own post.
Gelatin is actually quite healthy for you. So I’m often looking for ways to get some of it into my children without opening up a box of overly sugary JELLO.
If you’re looking to make this vegan, maybe try agar agar powder in place of the gelatin? I’ve been experimenting with making vegan cheese (!), so I’m becoming more and more familiar with vegan magic ingredients. But just enough to make me dangerous, so far.
Now click play ▶️ and watch me make some strawberry homemade JELLO style gelatin!
Egypt’s Al-Azhar criticized the recent calls for equality between men and women in inheritance issues and said that it doesn’t comply with Islamic teachings.
Al-Azhar made the announcement in response to the calls of the Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi to establish equality between men and women in terms of inheritance.
While the announcement of Al-Azhar didn’t directly address Essebsi, it was made a few days after his suggestion to form a committee to study the matter.
Deputy of Al-Azhar Abbas Shuman said that equal inheritance is not “fair and just” to women and goes against the Islamic teachings.
In most cases, males inherit double that of females except for a few cases in Islam. Shuman continued that in some cases, women inherit from more than one source.
Meanwhile, the office of the official Mufti in Tunisia supported the decision of Essebsi and said that they are in line with the Islamic teachings.
Egypt’s Al-Azhar also criticized the calls of Essebsi suggesting that Muslim women can marry non-Muslim men. Shuman said that this marriage will not be stable, adding that a non-Muslim husband will not allow his Muslim wife to freely exercise religious rituals.
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There’s just a lot of shit I wish I’d paid closer attention to. I know, in the end, we’re all made up of atoms that are held together by… I don’t know… masking tape? But today, when I was walking the dog, I squashed a bug on my forehead. Like disgustingly mashed it against my skin.
And then I wondered, how many of the atoms from that bug are now in my forehead?
Am I a mosaic of everyone who’s ever rubbed up on me? Are the dog and I sitting here now, him on the floor, his butt resting on my shoe, with atoms drifting between us?
How long would we have to sit next to each other to be fully intermixed?
While it may have died down a little this year, the gourmet burger craze is still alive and well in Cairo. Restaurants like Mince and Butcher’s Burger are amongst the most popular eateries in the city thanks to their creative, high-end(ish) takes on the classic bun-burger-bun combo; but one restaurant in Heliopolis has stepped up to the plate with what is likely to be the most expensive burger in all of Egypt.
Priced at an eye-watering 1,495LE, Food Gun’s Bazoka Burger has caused quite the stir on social media. But what is this expensive monstrosity of meat? Well, most of the 1,495LE probably accounts for the 250gm of wagyu beef. Also on the burger is two slices of reportedly high quality Swiss cheese, 50gm of what Food Gun calls ‘black mushroom’ – probably shitake mushrooms – a small steak slice and veggies, all wrapped up in a brioche bread bun.
Egypt’s ministries of electricity and investment and international cooperation signed an agreement on August 6 that would see landmines cleared from the Al-Dabaa area, where a nuclear power plant is being constructed.
Egypt’s entanglement with landmines has a dark history. It remains the country most contaminated by landmines in the world, and an estimated 7,923 Egyptians have fallen victim to landmines over the past 25 years. The areas with the highest contamination remain the north coast, which was saturated with landmines during WWII, and areas in Sinai, as a result of wars with neighboring Israel.
The EGP 2 million-protocol covers an area of 11,000 feddans on Egypt’s northern coast, and the implementation of the plant is expected to take place before the end of 2017. However, even before the landmine issue emerged, the Al-Dabaa nuclear power plant has sparked a huge debate in the country.
“We have the main two big factors: price and source,” Amena Sharaf, an environmental researcher, told BECAUSE.
“Why oh why are we taking this extremely costly road? Can we really afford it? And for how long are we going to depend on foreign resources?” she questioned. Russia and Cairo signed an agreement in November 2015 for Russia to build the nuclear power plant in Egypt. Russia will loan Egypt $25 billion to finance the building and operation of the nuclear power plant. Egypt will pay an interest rate of 3% annually, and installment payments will begin on October 15, 2029.
As the world turns toward focusing on renewable energy sources, with the Paris Climate Agreement taking the lead, Egypt seems to be taking a step backward. As a country with sunshine all year long and an abundance of renewable energy sources, Egypt had announced plans to supply 20 percent of generated electricity from renewable sources by 2022. Yet, around the same time, the nuclear power plant was being discussed. The power plant in Al-Dabaa is to consist of four power units with a capacity of 1,200MW each.
The Egyptian Parliament’s Energy and Environment Committee is discussing a new law that aims to regulate nuclear plants construction in Egypt. The new nuclear law consists of 19 articles, which aims at creating “the executive authority on the supervision of the construction of nuclear power station projects”.
Environmentalists have several other fears, on top of which is radioactive waste. The world has yet to devise a way to properly store the hazardous material that is an inevitable outcome of operating nuclear power plants.
Khalid Ouda, a geologist at Egypt’s Assiut University, previously warned about the region’s calcareous soil. This may lead to the formation of underwater caves affecting the construction of the reactor.
A parliamentary delegation visited a giant Russian nuclear reactor in St. Petersburg in April to “verify that the highest-level of risk-free operation of such reactors will be strictly observed,” according to state-owned Al-Ahram.
“Egypt’s sustainable development strategy mentions energy independence, [but] this is not in any way shape or form, reflected in the government’s actions,” Sharaf added.
Al-Dabaa nuclear power plant is expected to be completed by 2022, with the first of its four reactors set to start energy production in 2024.
“Why are they insisting on this? Is the only reason a need for energy or are there other reasons?” were Sharaf’s final thoughts.
I want to write him a summary of the Soviet Army officer's career path, what service branches are available, etc., but nothing I can find tells me the basic stuff. It's all focused on generals and stuff. (Looked on Wiki, looked on Google, neither helped. I found a monograph on dtic.mil that was from 1975 and provided *some* detail, but expected me the reader to know more than I do to make sense of stuff.)
To quote his draft summary: "(1) Early life. Born in 1959, he follows a similar course to Putin (joining the military instead, but attached as an "adviser" to one of the Soviet Bloc countries after a tour in Afghanistan which gave him a scar on his upper right arm from a Taliban attack). He resigned with a TBD officer's rank in the middle of the 1991 coup attempt (a la Putin; he's simply younger) rather than join in the attempt (which he percieved as doomed)."
He's trying to figure it out in more detail than that, but the problem is that he (the player) and I (the GM, one of two, responsible for helping him draw up his character - he does the important work of figuring out policies and stuff, the meat of gameplay, himself) can't find anything much about anything re the company-grade and field-grade officers of the Soviet Army and how they were trained, or how their careers progressed, or anything.
1. As the character was born in 1959, presume he enters officer training from civilian life sometime around 1977. How long is his officer training, and how is it decided whether he goes, say, infantry or airborne troops?
2. What's the career path like from initial officer training (including "what rank does he enter service at?" - the materials I can find state "Lieutenant", but the Soviet Army has 3 Lieutenant ranks!) to, say, battalion command?
3. What additional school-type training would he undergo during that career path, and at what times during his career? (I can help the player figure out good tour-of-duty mixes once I have that information.)
4. What service arms existed in the Soviet Army? I often hear of officers referred to as a "Colonel of Infantry", "Colonel of Air Defense", "Colonel of Strategic Rocket Forces" - but what are the possible options for the "of x" formula?
5. Were ordinary officers even assigned as "advisors" to Warsaw Pact forces, or only Political Officers?
I know these are really detailed questions in some regard. I'm trying to keep them general, but even the general stuff is hard to figure out. My objectives for this are:
B. Figure out what his career would have looked like - where would he have served, at what levels, doing what? (Especially key to figure out when he would have served in Afghanistan.)
C. Figure out if the early life posited is *plausible*.
I thus don't need to know deep details (at least not until a player requests a detailed bio of their Russian adversary from their intel people, at which point I may be back...), but only be able to work out a summary. I can do the hard part of the work myself and with the player, but I need help figuring out the foundational stuff before I begin that.
(Edited to add: Link to something Google *did* dredge up for me, and my note that what I was sent was a draft summary of the character, not a full bio. We'll be working on the full bio once we have the summary agreed to.)
I didn't love this; I'm not sure how much it's a weaker member of the series and how much it's me. It is book 10 in a set of 19, of which the last five are still to be written. I may have left it too long since I read the previous volumes, or maybe I just wasn't in the mood for it. I decided I couldn't be bothered following all the complex allusions to the meta-structure of the whole series, and as a single novel it's never more than just ok. I didn't find Vlad's voice or Loiosh's asides witty, and the pacing dragged, and I didn't care about the mystery. Because I hadn't been following the chronology properly, the twist at the end wasn't a delightful surprise, it just unsatisfyingly didn't make sense.
When I was reading 50 books a year, I intended to read the whole series, because both the individual novels and the way they fit together into a complex whole appeal to me. Now that I read more like 15 or 20, I'm thinking I may drop this. Not sure; one weaker book doesn't mean the whole series isn't worth bothering with.
Anyway, this is a really amazing fantasy romance story. It's beautifully written, great characters, twisty, thought-provoking plot. The worldbuilding is really deep; looking it up it turns out this is a companion novella in the setting of a novel, which I'm now definitely going to seek out. I had dismissed Wilson's Sorcerer of the Wildeeps mainly because the name is so clunky; I assumed it was parodic or just really generic swords and sorcery.
It's hard to describe exactly what's so great about AToH without spoilers, but it's a really moving romance, and has a lot to say about choices and sacrifices made for love. jack thought it maybe needed some content warnings; some of the content is about homophobia and abusive parenting. To me it didn't feel like misery porn, it felt as if it centred its variously Queer characters and described some of the bad things in their life as well as the good. But I can imagine some readers finding it hard going.
Up next: The Fifth Season by NK Jemisin. I'd been meaning to read this, though I'm a little scared of what I've heard about it, and I've now bumped it up my list since the sequel won a second Hugo.
This is terrible to watch. But this is also America today. And this is the same group the current President of the United States insists includes “very fine people.” No. No very fine people. Bigoted people. Hateful people. Evil people. No one should be surprised that Donald Trump is an unabashed racist – we knew that before. Fuck, some of us (cough, Hillary, cough) even tried to warn us. But we should be stunned at the moral precipice we find our country. From the first black president to this monstrous excuse for a man. There are no “many sides” when it comes to white supremacists who murder people. There is no moral equivalence between Nazis and people who protest Nazis. There is no blame to be cast on Heather Heyer or any of the others who stood up against wannabe fascists and KKK members shouting “Jews will not replace us!” and “Fuck you faggots!” And anyone who does not call it out now, anyone who looks at a crowd of torch-bearing racists and see “very fine people,” is a stain on humanity, let alone the presidency. So, yeah, watch this. Bear terrible witness to what is happening in our country and acknowledge our deeply ingrained institutional racism. And then promise to vote against Trump and all his enablers forever.
Probably it will rain all day, but at least I can say I tried.
So instead of books, since I will be doing a lot of driving in the middle of nowhere, my question this week is: What songs are on your eclipse playlist? "Total Eclipse of the Heart" and "The Sun Is A Miasma of Incandescent Plasma", obviously. But what else?
I have been working on the book collection, though! I went through and re-did my to-read lists, of which there are three: one on the library website, which has 300 books on it, of books the library has; the Goodreads one, which includes only books my library doesn't have and has about 250; and ~2500 owned-but-unread, so that's totally doable at my current rate as long as I never add any more to any of the three lists.
(Anybody want to be goodreads friends, by the way? if we aren't already, drop me a line. my gr is connected to my rl so I don't link it here but I will def. add people.)
Me and Mom also cleaned out the cookbooks over the weekend, which was fun! We both agreed on keeping the ones that had some kind of sentimental value to the family, of course. ( food, cooking, and diet as expressed in a collection of second-half-of-twentieth-century cookbooks. )
We got rid of about fifty cookery books. There's only about 200 left. That't TOTALLY reasonable for a family of two that cooks an actual meal at most twice a week, and usually from recipes we know by heart, right?
[This is a guest post by Richard Lynn. It is all the more appreciated, since he had written it as a comment to "Chinese, Greek, and Latin" (8/8/17) a day or two ago, but when he pressed the "submit" button, his comment evaporated. So he had to write the whole thing all over again. I am grateful to Dick for his willingness to do so and think that the stimulating results are worth the effort he put into this post.]
James Zainaldin’s remarks concerning the Lunyu, Mencius, Mozi, Zhuangzi, and the Dao de jing, his frustration by the limits of grammatical or lexical analysis, that is, the relative lack of grammatical and lexical explicitness compared to Greek and Latin texts, is a reasonable conclusion — besides that, Greek and Latin, Sanskrit too, all are written with phonetic scripts — easy stuff! But such observations are a good place to start a discussion of the role of commentaries and philological approaches to reading and translating Literary/Classical Chinese texts, Literary Sinitic (LS). Nathan Vedal’s remarks are also spot on: “LS is really an umbrella term for a set of languages. The modes of expression in various genres and fields differ to such a high degree that I sometimes feel as though I'm learning a new language when I begin work on a new topic.”
This last jogged my memory, a conversation with Achilles Fang 方志彤 many years ago, when he made three remarks that seem pertinent to this discussion (I paraphrase):
(1) Studying premodern Chinese letters is equivalent to learning the entire corpus of ancient Greek and Latin literature, including medieval Latin texts, plus all the early European vernaculars, from the earliest written versions up through the modern languages.
(2) When dealing with any Chinese text, one should gather every known version of it so, by comparing differences in wording, one might more accurately punctuate the version used for study and translation, bridge ellipses, and better establish contexts.
(3) If commentaries for texts existed, it would be unwise not to take full advantage of them, whatever their biases and limitations, for, if nothing else, interlinear commentaries can help with delimiting syntactic units.
As I said, this was a long time ago, but I think I remember the essentials rightly.
Now, as for the value of commentaries in interpreting texts, this varies enormously, and when multiple commentaries exist, say, for the Zhouyi (Classic of Changes), one is faced with the problem of deciding which one to trust, which one is “right,” etc. One way is to cherry pick from several or more of them: Richard Wilhelm’s Classic of Changes was done this way, whereas my The Classic of Changes: A New Translation of the I Ching as Interpreted by Wang Bi is restricted to one commentator; I attempted to integrate original text and commentary so that each defined and clarified the other. I did the same with my Wang Bi version of the Daode jing, and I am now (2/3 complete more or less) engaged in a similar project, the Guo Xiang version of the Zhuangzi. This is not to say that Guo Xiang is “right”—for with such early texts they are often so opaque in places that the meaning can be seen to differ with each different commentary.
Peipei Qiu (Vassar) is doing a Zhuangzi with the commenary of the Song era Neo-Confucian Lin Xiyi, so her translation will be very different from mine — as it should be. Text and commentary are inseparable, so it would be nonsense to tack on a new translation of a commentary to an earlier translation of the original text (benwen 本文), as one particularly inept reviewer of my Dao de jing book thought I should have done.
The Lunyu, Mencius, Mozi, Zhuangzi, and Dao de jing are all pre-Han and thus full of eccentric, irregular, erratic syntactic forms and peculiar terminology. With the Han era, syntax and vocabulary become far more regular, which, while helping considerably in some ways, presents problems in others, for the great majority of texts from the Han through the Qing, two millennia later, do not have attached commentaries, are not even punctuated, and when they do have commentaries these often are usually factual and not interpretive. This is especially true for poetry, where, for example with Du Fu, commentaries identify people, places, and allusions, but provide no help in explaining what particular lines mean.
Of course, in most recent times many such texts now exist in modern annotated editions with full punctuation, the annotations including baihua (modern Chinese) paraphrase (dayi 大意) interpretations — but beware, a paraphrase is not a translation! And this brings us to another problem: the continuity between LS and modern Chinese certainly seems much closer than, say, between Latin and Italian, ancient Greek and what one reads in an Athenian newspaper. I have always (as a non-native speaker of Chinese) found my ability in putonghua, such as it is, to be a great help in intuiting meaning in LS texts, for there often is much bai in old wen texts (and wen in modern bai texts, by the way). But as a non-native Chinese I have little trust in such intuitions, so tend to verify (or abandon) them after what a native speaker might regard as excessive philological investigation. I know I just need more help.
So then an enormous battery of Sinological sources is brought to play: dictionaries, leishu [VHM: encyclopedias; premodern reference books with material taken from various sources and arranged according to subjects / categories], background searches through local histories (difang zhi), global searches for comparable contexts in such resources as the electronic / digital Siku quanshu [VHM: Complete Library in Four Treasuries], Christian Wittern’s 漢リポ Kanseki Repository, http://hanji.sinica.edu.tw/, etc., etc. , as well as all the guidance provided by modern Chinese scholarship and pre-modern and modern Japanese Sinology (Kangaku 漢學) (I wish I knew Korean!).
I have been at this stuff for more than 50 years now, so experience and ever wider familiarity with texts seems finally to be paying off. Göran Malmqvist (b. 1924) once told me about a visit he made to his teacher Bernhard Karlgren (1889-1978) in hospital a few weeks before Karlgren passed away. Karlgren was propped up in bed reading the Zuozhuan, surrounded by other books. He said to Malmquist, “You know, Göran, after some 70 years I am finally getting the hang of these things!” I can hardly wait.
Among the other effects of socialism: twice as many orgasms. In a quite riveting piece, we are told
“.. it was so easy for women before the Wall fell,” Daniela Gruber, East Germany, told me, referring to the dismantling of the Berlin Wall in 1989. “They had kindergartens and crèches, and they could take maternity leave and have their jobs held for them. I work contract to contract, and don’t have time to get pregnant.”
This generational divide between daughters and mothers who reached adulthood on either side of 1989 supports the idea that women had more fulfilling lives during the Communist era. And they owed this quality of life, in part, to the fact that these regimes saw women’s emancipation as central to advanced “scientific socialist” societies, as they saw themselves.
The author of this fascinating piece, however, thinks we cannot achieve the same situation today. I myself am doubtful of her explanation of the obstacles:
Some liberal feminists in the West grudgingly acknowledged those accomplishments but were critical of the achievements of state socialism because they did not emerge from independent women’s movements, but represented a type of emancipation from above. Many academic feminists today celebrate choice but also embrace a cultural relativism dictated by the imperatives of intersectionality. Any top-down political program that seeks to impose a universalist set of values like equal rights for women is seriously out of fashion.
The Ministry of Antiquities announced on Tuesday the discovery of three Ptolemaic tombs in the El-Kamin El-Sahrawi area, south east of Samalout Town, in Minia governorate.
Head of the Ancient Egyptian Antiquities Sector at the Ministry Ayman Ashmawy explains that inside these tombs, excavators have unearthed a collection of sarcophagi of different shapes and sizes as well as clay fragments that date the tombs between the 27th Dynasty and the Greaco-Roman era.
“A fact suggests that the area was a great cemetery along a long span of time,” says Ashmawy.
Ali AlBakry, head of the mission, explains that the three newly discovered tombs have different architectural designs than the previously discovered ones.
He further explains that “the first tomb is composed of a perpendicular burial shaft engraved in the rock and leads to a burial chamber containing four sarcophagi with anthropoid lids. The second tomb consists of a perpendicular burial shaft and two burial chambers,” according to the statement of the ministry.
“This was the first time to find a burial of a child in Kamin Al-Sahrawi site,” adds AlBakry.
Excavation works at the third tomb has not finished yet.
AlBakry pointed out that studies carried out on bones show that the bones are for men, women, and children of different ages. This is a fact that affirms that these tombs were part of a large cemetery for a large city and not a military garrison as some suggest.
The first excavation mission started in 2015 when the mission unearthed a collection of five sarcophagi of different shapes and sizes as well as remains of a wooden sarcophagus.
The second session starts in October 2016 where five tombs were uncovered. Four of them have similar interior design while the fifth consists of a burial shaft.
Egypt’s women team won the bronze medal at The UIPM Modern Pentathlon World Championships for juniors in the city of Székesfehérvár, Hungary.
Egyptian athletes Sondos Abou Bakr, Salma Abdel Maksoud, and Mariam Amer marked victory after collecting 3749 points, according to UIPM official results.
The gold medal went to the Italian team of Aurora Tognetti, Irene Prampolini, and Elena Micheli, after they accumulated 3858 points.
The Russian team which included Sofia Serkina, Xeina Fralcova, and Adelina Ibatullina earned 3834 points, thus they received the silver medal.
Modern pentathlon is an Olympic sport which includes five different events: fencing, swimming, show jumping, with the last event being a combination of pistol shooting and a cross-country run.
Modern pentathlon has its origins in the traditional pentathlon which took place at the ancient Olympics. Traditional pentathlon concentrated on the artistries required at the time for an ideal Greek soldier.
Cairo, Egypt will be hosting the UIPM Senior World Modern Pentathlon Championships from 21 to 29 August.
We’ll skip the part about Despacito being the most popular video of all time on YouTube, or that it reportedly ignited a boom in Puerto Rican tourism – partly because the latter is in no tangible way true. But alas, the reggaeton-pop track has dominated airwaves, social media feeds and the world’s collective consciousness this summer; naturally, there have been many a pretender tackling it in their own way, including several Egyptian/Arab/Oriental spins.
With Ally Salama and Ahmed Wahba providing fantastic vocals, however, this version might be the best one yet. Based in Canada and the US respectively, the Cairo natives, recruited the talents of comrades, Mostafa Ghoneimy (oud and guitar), AbdelRahman Bagieldin (accordion) and Mareen El Masry (tabla), for the cover and it does what so many others covers have failed to do – keep it’s undeniable sultriness intact.
Recorded and filmed at iStudio in Heliopolis, the video – which is posted by Middle East music platform, Underground Spotlight – has already racked up an eye-brow-raising-ly impressive 23,000 views – a number that will almost certainly rise between now and the end of summer. You can check out more of Ally Salama on his SoundCloud page.
By Kalam El Qahaira
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Guest Post by Megan Stewart, American University, School of International Service
Late last month, HBO announced the next project for the creators of Game of Thrones. The new series, entitled Confederate, envisions a dystopian future where the Union Army lost the American Civil War while the southern territories in rebellion succeeded. In their vision, slavery remains a modern institution. The announcement provoked anger, skepticism and concern, igniting a social media movement against the series. Those opposed to the series argued that the trappings of slavery exist today, from white nationalist terrorism and KKK rallies in Charlottesville, VA to mass incarceration and President Trump musing that President Andrew Jackson would have prevented the Civil War if he were alive, because President Jackson, a slaveholder, would have recognized that there was “no reason” for it.
With these criticisms in mind, the importance of a Union victory in the subsequent political and social development of the United States cannot be overstated. Union victory heralded the passage of the Thirteenth Amendment that permanently abolished slavery. And without a Union victory, the federal government never would have embarked upon the post-conflict rebuilding of southern states through the Reconstruction Acts and military occupation.
In a new working paper by myself and Karin E. Kitchens, we find that Reconstruction and Union occupation may have been more effective than previously understood. While some have described the Reconstruction period as “winning the war but losing the peace,” the reality is far more complex: Reconstruction did indeed achieve some of its chief policy objectives, and in some places, created a more equitable (though certainly not equal) society. Yet these very successes may have been met with violent hostility, provoked by racial resentment.
To be re-admitted to the Union after the Civil War, the southern territories in rebellion passed the Thirteenth Amendment abolishing slavery, but white southern societies created new sociopolitical institutions that re-established slavery in all but name. Some former Confederates were elected to office (including former Confederate Vice President Alexander Stephens). Southern governments passed Black Codes restricting the freedoms of former slaves: freed persons were unable to bargain for a fair wage, but unemployment meant incarceration where black labor could once again be harnessed for free. White supremacist terrorist groups (like the Ku Klux Klan) attacked or murdered former slaves who became economically successful or exercised their newfound freedom. Though slavery legally ended, prior to Reconstruction, institutions remained that coerced blacks into providing cheap or free labor while circumscribing their social and economic rights.
Reconstruction was a direct response to the terrorist violence, Confederate rise, and Black Codes endemic throughout the South. Congress re-deployed 20,000 soldiers throughout the south, and invested in socio-economic programming meant to rebuild southern society. The most important of these initiatives was the Freedmen’s Bureau. Though it also helped whites left destitute after the ravages of war, typically, the Freedmen’s Bureau was created to aid former slaves by providing education and health care, working with blacks to secure employment or negotiate labor contracts, and locating family members ripped apart as a result of slave sales.
In our paper, we utilize historical, geo-spatial county-level data to evaluate the effect of occupation and Reconstruction. We investigate the impact of the number of troops stationed in a county, the duration of occupation, and the presence of a Freedmen’s Bureau office in a county on black and white illiteracy rates and school attendance rates from 1870 to 1920, black and white employment status in 1900 and wages in 1940, and black and white lynchings from 1877 to 1896. What we find is that a well-resourced occupation (with a minimum of approximately 500 troops per county) or the presence of a Freedmen’s Bureau not only improved black educational and employment outcomes, but it also reduced inequities between blacks and whites living in these counties (again, but did make things equal).
We argue that the reason for the success of Reconstruction and occupation is largely due to the federal government channeling resources to communities of freed slaves. Occupied territories provided a safe space for black communities to grow and establish institutions, such as the Union League or churches, that provided educational, employment and political opportunities. Occupiers thus created a safer space for black advancement relative to areas outside occupier’s control. Likewise, the Freedmen’s Bureau directly channeled resources like education, health care and legal support into the hands of former slaves who had been legally denied these tools of social and economic advancement for centuries. In placing significant resources in the hands of freed slaves, the effects of Reconstruction endured for decades, persisting into the 1920s and in some cases 1940, nearly seventy years after Reconstruction and occupation ended.
While meeting some success in the fields of education and employment, Reconstruction failed to remedy racial resentment, as well as a willingness to use violence to maintain white supremacy and, to the greatest extent possible, an antebellum social order. What we consistently find is that the presence of a Freedmen’s Bureau office is associated with an increase in the likelihood of a (typically white) mob lynching a black man or woman, while troop size and duration of occupation failed to reduce lynchings. We believe that this relationship could be correlative—in that Freedmen’s Bureaus were located in areas with high levels of racial resentment—or causal—in that the Freedmen’s Bureau’s success in decreasing inequities between blacks and whites exacerbated white anxieties about social change to the point of murdering blacks. Some of our statistical and qualitative evidence suggests the latter may in fact be accurate. This same pattern can be found today in the racialization of, and subsequent white backlash to, contemporary welfare institutions not unlike the Freedmen’s Bureau (see here and here).
Where Reconstruction failed was in the scope of its transformative goals and the lack of resources allocated to the cause. The federal government wanted to ensure slaves were self-sufficient and not dependent on government resources, but did not seek to create racial equity, especially as Congress grew more “moderate” throughout the 1870s and southern Democrats re-gained power. Reconstruction policies did not attempt to alter the attitudes of southern (or northern) whites, accustomed to a slave culture, and many politicians (northern and southern) held racist attitudes too. Reconstruction’s failure lies here: with resources to match a vision for a racially equitable nation, the profoundly unequal society in which we continue to live may have been made a little less unjust. But to dismiss Reconstruction as wholly unsuccessful or unimportant would not be fully accurate. Ultimately, while Union victory was essential to ending of slavery, it is during the years of Reconstruction that the political initiatives put forth began to make miniscule inroads in addressing the endemic injustices pervasive throughout American society.
Megan’s Stewart’s research interests lie at the nexus of state formation and civil war. Her work examines the strategic use of violence and governance during intrastate conflict, participation and civilian collaboration in civil war, and post-conflict institution building. Megan is currently working on a book manuscript, Governing for Revolution, which explores how the long-term strategic goals of insurgencies determine the inclusivity of their social service systems to both impact the war effort, as well as shape the nature of state institutions once conflict ends. Megan’s research has been published in Conflict Management and Peace Science, and is forthcoming in the Journal of Politics. For more information, www.meganastewart.org.