Archive for the ‘History’ Category

Free Trade: Theory and Reality


By John Feehery

15-cent prices on notebooks at Walmart.jpg

“15-cent prices on notebooks at Walmart” by B137 at English Wikipedia. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

The first major law passed by the Congress under our current Constitution and signed by President Washington was the Tariff Act of 1789. Declared the Second Declaration of Independence by the local newspapers at the time, the new law put taxes on products made overseas to benefit American manufacturers.

James Madison, as a leader in the newly formed legislative branch, navigated passage of the law, attempting to balance the sectional interests of the country. Southerners largely favored lower tariffs, because they exported the bulk of their products (mostly cotton and tobacco) overseas, while Northern manufacturers favored higher duties, because they didn’t want the competition from Europe and their market was largely domestic.

Before the income tax was enacted, tariffs made up the bulk of revenues for the government. (more…)

The Residence and Its Lessons


By John Feehery

1122-WAS-The White House.JPG

“1122-WAS-The White House” by Ingfbruno – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons. 

(This originally appeared in The Hill)

They were about the most paranoid people I’d ever seen in my life.”

That’s how Skip Allen, who served in the White House Usher’s Office, described Bill and Hillary Clinton in Kate Andersen Brower’s fascinating new book about life in America’s most famous house, called The Residence.

Andersen Brower describes the back stories behind the Clintons’ domestic disputes, Hillary Clinton’s foul language, an incident in which the first lady angrily threw a lamp at the president, and the drama that suffused the White House during those long eight years. (more…)

Lincoln Is Murdered


By John Feehery

An iconic black and white photograph of a bearded Abraham Lincoln showing his head and shoulders.

“Abraham Lincoln November 1863″ by Alexander Gardner – Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons.

“The past is never dead.  It is not even past.”  So wrote William Faulkner and truer words were never written.

I am slightly older than a half century, and three of my lifetimes ago, Abraham Lincoln was gunned down at Ford’s Theater.  He died at 7:22 on Tax Day, although when he died, the Internal Revenue Service hadn’t yet been established.

The Civil War was a marvel of technology, and it would usher in military tactics and engineering that would make World War I and then World War II possible. (more…)

Defending Religious Freedom in the Middle East


By John Feehery

Tigris River and bridge in Mosul

“Tigris river Mosul” by Sgt. Michael Bracken – Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons.

It turns out, Saddam Hussein was actually pretty good for the Christians in Iraq.

That’s just one of the ironies of our efforts to dislodge him a decade ago.

Watching 60 Minutes last night and seeing the plight of Christians near Mosul is heartbreaking.

ISIS has little regard for Christianity and in their 13th century mindset, destroying history, especially Christian history, is part of their theology. (more…)

Restore The Congress to Counter the President


By John Feehery

US Capitol west side.JPG

“US Capitol west side” by Martin Falbisoner – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

(This originally appeared in The Hill)

In 1989, the first year I arrived in Washington as a staffer to House Minority Leader Bob Michel, the Heritage Foundation released a tome called The Imperial Congress.

In the minds of the authors, Gordon Jones and John Marini, the legislative branch had assumed the dominant power in the federal government. For close to 40 years, Democrats had run the House of Representatives, and towering figures, like Dan Rostenkowski at Ways and Means, John Dingell at Energy and Commerce and Jamie Whitten at the Appropriations Committee, ran the government as their own personal fiefdoms. (more…)


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