Manifest Conquest

If the Maine frontier was quiet in the mid 1830’s, they were practically the only part of the American border to experience that sensation. In 1830 President Jackson’s administration enacted the Indian Removal Act, the legal basis for a series of sweeping forced expulsions of more than three dozen indigenous tribes across the United States.[1] […]

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The Gouda Compromise

In 1827 both Britain and the United States agreed to put the matter to a third party to help them decide. All told the entire debate feels quite modern, given the joint commissions, oodles of friendly cabling, and now the use of a neutral friendly sovereign. Since the Dutch literally invented the concept of maritime […]

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Tree to Be You and Me

Resolving the northern border was a matter of honor for Maine’s governors, but it was also seen as key to the state’s economic future. Rule, Britannia didn’t sustain itself passively; it required the world’s preeminent military and commercial fleet in the 19th Century. Maintaining that fleet required an awful lot of timber, which in turn […]

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Mainely a State of Mind

If the British of New Brunswick had plenty of reasons to dislike their southern neighbor, the new state of Maine had grudges of its own to settle. Like much of New England, Maine’s birth as a separate state came from their hatred for Massachusetts. The latter state controlled the area until 1820, but as early […]

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Highlanded Diplomacy

Fitting for an arboreal conflict, the roots of the Aroostook War are deep. As negotiators hashed out the terms of the treaty to end the Revolution in 1783, one of the newly open questions was where British Canada ended and New England began. Sitting in Paris and relying on decades old French maps, the negotiators […]

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A Prickly 4th of July

On July 4th, 1827 John Baker did what many Americans have always done. He invited a bunch of friends over to celebrate. There was a picnic in the afternoon, concluding with a ball in the evening at his friend’s house. Over the course of the day he talked about his country, the throwing off of […]

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A Colossal Appetite

By 99 BC, elephants were no longer just writing Latin in the sand or performing other tricks, they were killing other animals and men in the theaters of Rome and abroad. Apart from the violence and betting opportunities, part of the shifting taste for bloody sporting may have been the abundance of animals. Having come […]

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A Spectacula Display

No trip to Rome is complete without a stop in the Flavian Arena.[1] Better known as the Colosseum, at its height as many as 80,000 spectators packed the stands to watch the best entertainment of the day. On a given day there could be jugglers, acrobats, or plays, no one was bringing a picnic or […]

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Such Stuff As Dreams Are Made On

On September 13, 2019, the city of Rijeka awoke to discover a centennial commemoration of la impresa di Fiume.[1] The massive Italian flag adorning the gates of city hall was not how Rijeka’s government had intended to commemorate the event. Rather it was the initiative of a small group of Italian neo-fascists. In the same […]

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The Mutilated Vittoriale

In 1925, Il Duce paid a visit to his predecessor. The Vittoriale was now Gabriele d’Annunzio’s permanent home, his refuge from the world, his final literary project of note, and his prison. Construction on the building was a relentless affair, so much so that an architect was permanently on the household staff. After three years […]

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