Monthly Archives: October 2017

Andrew Jackson’s Battle Against the Native Americans

Hymn Before Action

(by: Rudyard Kipling)

                                  The earth is full of anger,

                                   The seas are dark with wrath;

                                    The Nations in Their Harness

                                      Go up against our path!

                                      Ere yet we loose the legions-

                                       Ere yet we draw the blade,

                                       Jehovah of the Thunders,

                                        Lord God of Battles, aid!…

                                         Lord, grant us strength to die!

     This poem was written in 1896, when war was thought to be honorable and necessary.  Rudyard Kipling also wrote a poem to honor the machine gun, because it made the business of colonizing that much easier.  I do not list the verses to that poem because it is so vicious.

     Before we get into Andrew Jackson and his battles against the Native Americans, we should point out one historical discrepancy.  Many have heard of the Battle of Hastings in the early Middle Ages.  In it, King Harold the Saxon is killed by an arrow through his head, which is listed in history as being launched by the hands of King William the Conquerer, who shot the arrow in the 1100’s.  The Saxon people are part of the group that invaded England in the 500’s AD.  Over the 500 years of their occupation, they merged with the Anglo’s and succeeded in taking over the nation, which was, under King Arthur, believed to be formed when the eighteen kingships of the Knights of the Round Table, were decimated in battle.

     Enter the Plantagenet era.  The Plantagenet line was a line of kings who emanated from the loins of King William the Ist.  It was a family that was to rule England for five hundred years.  Where am I going with this.  Well, about ten years ago they found the remains of Richard III, the last Plantagenet king, who was defeated in the War of the Roses, by Henry Tudor, the bastard son of the sitting Plantagenet king.  Henry Tudor fought against Richard, if my memory serves me correctly, and killed him.  He then made himself the King of England.  He declared the Tudors to be the Kings of England.

     Here is my problem.   In order to identify the remains of King Richard III, it was necessary to do a DNA test by finding a member of the royal line of the Plantagenets.  The Windsors, who currently occupy the throne, had to find a direct descendant of William the Conqueror, and they were not it.  The man they found was a direct descendant of the Plantagenets, and as such, in my opinion, is the rightful King of England.  His line is directly connected to Richard III.  The Windsor’s have no direct line to the rightful Kind of England, William the Conqueror.

     I just thought some of you might find that fact to be interesting.

Andrew Jackson and his Treatment of Native Americans

     The current president likes to compare his presidency to that of Andrew Jackson and there are parallels.  Both spoke directly to the people, both thought that they were speaking for the people.  Both had a low account of their poorer people, and both were probably, in history, the lowest ranked presidents in History.  Andrew Jackson debunked the Bank of the United States because he felt that it was too powerful, much like Mr. Trump and his protection of the wealthy.  Mr. Jackson felt that President of the Bank of the United State, Mr. Nicholas Biddle, had too much say over the banking processes of the federal government.  He was fired.

     What Jackson replaced the bank with, was a slew of smaller banks, including National Banks, which were empowered to make their own national bank currency.  There the comparison ends.  We have no real idea where Mr. Trump is taking us.  President Jackson was very clear in his stated goals.  Most of his term was dedicated to furthering the manifest destiny of the United States.  He wanted to move the Native Americans and found room for them in the  Southwest.  Now, early Eastern nations, and they were not tribes, they were nations.  They should have been treated as such.  Instead they were treated like non-citizens.  They had no rights.  Jackson just moved them west, leading the Cherokees to travel their “Trail of Tears.”  That is how great the deaths were in the forced march out of the Cherokee nation in the Eastern United States.  Jackson’s actions killed thousands.

     Conversely, the Creek nation in Florida and southern Georgia was wiped out by Jackson militarily.  He attacked the Creek towns and villages in force.  From November 1813 to March 1814, he had nine separate battles with the Creek people,  and many of the dead Creeks were women and children.  Native American towns were burned to the ground and hundreds of Creeks were killed.  “The end came at the battle of Horseshoe Bend on the Tallapoosa River.” (History of the American People)  On March 27, 1814, he fought the Battle of the Tallapoosa River, where he killed, or had killed, over one thousand men, women, and children of the Creek nation.  The Mississippi Valley was finally open to American trade.  But the cost was too high.

     As a result of his victory, he became the head of the American Army in New Orleans.  In New Orleans he successfully turned back the British invasion by utilizing the cover of a dried canal and using the muskets like they were automatic rifles.  As each soldier readied his musket to fire on the British, he stepped off of the dirt mound in the canal, readied his rifle, and fired when it became his time to fire into the British wall of soldiers.  His commanders even told the soldiers to fire at the part of the British uniform that crossed the chest.  With such an easy target, he was able to have his men severely kill almost every soldier.

      It was a battle fought after the cessation of the war, but it was a decisive victory.  The Americans took the ground by doing what they learned to do in the Battle of Concord, Massachusetts.  They fought from behind trees, the canal bed, and a brick house in the middle of the battlefield.  The victory eventually made the simply dressed General President of the United States.  As President, he invited on Inaugural Day, the common man to the White House, much to the chagrin of the people who used the White House as their place of employment.  He fired most of them over time, and had the positions filled with friends or friends of friends.

     As President, and this is why he is considered a great one, he oversaw the hiring of people that he knew, but who were not tested, as his administration.  He used patronage to its greatest level.  He worked with President of Texas, Samuel Houston, to solidify the desires of certain Texans, including President Houston, to make Texas a state.  Texas became a state by one vote, the vote of the Indiana Senator to the United States Senate.  The effort quickly became a movement to include the southwestern states and California as the Manifest Destiny of the United States.  What that meant is that the United States, without caring about the Native Americans in its way, was to occupy the United States from the Atlantic to the Pacific Oceans.  It was a popular move at the time, and the first cross country railroad was built under the eyes of Abraham Lincoln.

     By taking the banks and turning small banks into banks that could do everything, including printing money, he destabilized the banking system to the point that Woodrow Wilson had to start the Federal Reserve System to make the economy solid once again.  He was a brilliant general, a far-reaching President, but his administration was filled with holes.  That is why I do not share the view that he was a great President.

Reporting Versus Reviewing

I like to say that CityLife does not just report the news, it also makes the news.  As an example, I use George Anthes’ statement that we need a City Architect, while I agree with him.  But, I often say to George that we are not reporting a news item, we are trying to change the structure of the city administration.  That is not reporting news, that is making the news.  It is a very sensitive area.  The Lowell Sun on Sunday, the twenty-second of October, did the same thing.  There is no doubt that the Lowell Sun does this type of thing, headlines often are not what we would like to have them be, instead they are goals that the reporter tries to acheive.  Someone at the newspaper makes a decision to headline a story and it is not worthy of a certain type of exposure.  In that case, the news organization “makes the news,” and does not just report it.

In my opinion, that is what happened in the Sunday Sun on October 22, 2017.  The Sun did put it on the front page, but saved the largest title for an innocuous story about whether or not students from the high school are attending after-school programs in the various programs that are available to them.  The main headline in the Sun was pushing an aspect of support for the Cawley option.  It read, “LHS Near Services, but Usage Not Great.”  Then the article is about the number of students who do not go to after-school programs available to them.  This is a direct swipe at a major point that the Downtown group makes, the swipe being that downtown is not necessarily used by a great many students from the high school.

In reality, it is probable that no students would take the time to go to those after-school programs if the high school was outside the perimeters of the downtown.  It would just be too much trouble to go back downtown to attend a program offered after school hours.  The Sun contradicts itself when it says “There appears to be at least dozens of students who walk after school to programs at places like the Lowell Community Health Center or the Boy’s and Girl’s Club of Greater Lowell.”  The Sun then goes on to say that that is “a small number in relation to the school’s student body…but a significant number to the agencies that provide them services.”

You cannot have it both ways, Lowell Sun, dozens of students is a significant  number.  Even the Superintendent of the Lowell National Park is quoted as saying, “If you’re just across the street, it’s a quick transit.”  Obviously Cawley would not be across the street.  It would be about two miles away.  That is a significant walk.  Especially in bad weather.

As I said, a real tragic thing happened in Lowell that  same edition, and it should have been the main story.  Instead, the Sun made a main story out of “Easy downtown access, but survey indicates no clear flood of students.”  Surveys are easy to make up,  I use to audit and come to conclusions for Wang all of the time.  I have completed hundreds of surveys.  They  are just pieces of paper that carry virtually no weight.  In my opinion, the Lowell Sun wanted to find survey results that echoed the premise that students were not attending after-school programs at various provider’s locations.

So, they did.  I could write a directly opposite survey result by talking to the students who attended these after-school programs.  It would be a valid survey and I could conclude that many students visited the National Park or the Boys and Girls Club, or some other place.  I could conclude that students were attending those after-school programs in droves.  And they are, it just was not published in the Sun.  Because, and this is just speculation, the Sun has come out for the Cawley option.  They want to win and they will do what they can to do that.  Isn’t politics fun?

Interesting Historical Educational Facts – Lowell, Massachusetts

I found these historical facts among some of my papers on my desk.   You do not want to go searching on my desk.   Heaven knows what will emanate from the stacks of papers.

In an early carnival, in 1911, there was the “Golden Balloon” ride, where you would ride in a balloon and look over the terrain below.  It was a very popular ride.  The Mayor even would sing “Up in a Balloon Boys.”  There are no records of harrowing adventures or people hanging on the outside of the balloon.  It was a very safe ride.

At about the same time, the Lowell schools were finally built.  The jewels were the new High School consisting of one well-built building with the capability, in what became known as “Coburn Hall,”   of holding up to 1,000 students in the hall under the eye of one solitary teacher sitting on a perch above the students.  They sat at tables throughout the hall.  When I went to Lowell High School, Coburn Hall was still there.  My father knocked it down by replacing it with six normal sized schoolrooms.

Outside the high school, the plan was for President Taft to tour the first automobile racetrack and start the festivities attached to the holding of the first automobile race of its size.  That was in 1911.  The high school was already filled to capacity and in a decade, the larger old building, referred to as the 1922 Building, would hold students in relative comfort for the next eighty years.  In 1983 a new building would be built across the canal, over the Locks and Canals Corporation’s claimed “air-space.”  That building is at the center of the current controversy on the building of a new high school.

In 1893, successive buildings were added to the Lowell School system.  The Bartlett, Moody, Butler, Pawtucket Memorial, and smaller schools would be described as the jewels in the throne.  Around this time, Justice Oliver Wendall Holmes said that the First Amendment did not mean you had the right to yell ‘Fire’ in a crowded theater.  He also said you could take all of the medicines in the United States, put them on a ship, sail it as far as it could go, sink it, and not be any the worse for the lack of medicine in the country.  There is no information on what Lowell’s patent medicine industry had to say about this.

Most medicine, he pointed out, was alcohol.  Medicine was to become very popular during the exercise called Prohibition.  That was because of its alcoholic content.

At the time, an injunction against auto racing would not pass muster.  Drivers got ready for Lowell’s answer to what would become the Indianapolis, Indiana’s “Indy 500.”    Meanwhile, in education, in Lowell at the time, the Directors of the Greek community opened a Greek school.  Teachers were at the Greek School and would be taught in Greek and English.

On the racing circuit, Al Poole ran the oval in eighteen minutes  and twenty-eight seconds.  We know that the mills closed for the race, it is assumed that the schools did too.  There is no verification for that, though.

Students were not overlooked by the race officials.  In 1911, there were no licenses apparently because the race officials put aside a new car for a lucky boy or girl.  It is unknown who won the drawing, or which lucky boy or girl walked away with the prize.  But, he or she could legally drive it home.

On an earlier note, the Irish School, which was opened by the early Lowell School Committee, was closed because all of the Irish distrusted the English and Americans so much that they refused to enroll their children in a Protestant-oriented school of the city’s making.  They went to Catholic Schools.  There was a test of basic skills which was to be coordinated by publishing the times it was to be held in the “papers of the time.”  Each of the above examinations would take place at two o:clock.  Ten Primary Schools were included.  The unfortunate Irish School was still funded at the amount of eighty dollars per year, which it was not to exceed.       Around the year 1834, long before the Lowell Auto Race, Lowell High School was to occupy a spot on Merrimack Street at the Concert Hall, which was rebuilt to hold the students from the high school.  The School Committee paid $95.00, a princely sum, to Mark Rogers to make desks and seats for the students.  It was largely because of the expense of making seats and desks, that students were soon acquainted with the fact that education was seen as a feeder system for the mills and their projects.  Now, meaning today, in education, it is believed that the reason for such regimentation was to keep the students ready for the discipline and rigor of millwork.

The high school was not omitted.  William Dauncey was to be “admitted to (give) examinations for admission to the high school.”  The seventh grader, at this time, was old enough to be a school teacher so she or he did not need a high school education.  The mills put so much time into this effort that it was noted that the Hamilton Corporation had three primary schools, with paid teachers.  To give you a better sense as to how much the aforementioned money amount of $95.00 was, the man who was hired by the Hamilton Corporation to sweep and clean  the stoves in the school received fifty cents per week. (School Committee Minutes)

There was a proposed rhetoric to be used in the high school.  The city was growing and had seventeen schools organized by twenty eight instructors.  A comparision was made to Charlestown, which had 9,000 inhabitants, with 1581 students; compared to Lowell’s 2,300 students who were supported by the schools.

The School Committee of 1834, was determined to be ready to open the high school on the 25th. of August.  A “Committee of Two (to) be appointed to make the necessary inquiries respecting a Master for the High School.”  They “recommended to the Committee some suitable power for the appointment.”  (of the Master of the High School).  The Committee recommended that Members Austin and Barnaby “be a committee to ascertain what suitable room can be obtained for the use of the high school.” (Committee Minutes)  They settled on someone and voted that the salary of the Master of the High School be “One thousand dollars.”  (July 23, 1834).

They also voted that “Mr. William Hale of Millbury be the Master of the High School.”   Rent of the Concert Hall was decided on being $120.00 per annum.  They further decided that Messrs. Barnaby and Austin be a committee to prepare the hall for the use of the high school.

“The town voted to choose a general superintending School Committee to consist of seven and that Theodore Edson, James Barnaby, John W. Graves, Joshua Merrill, Eliphalet Case, and Samuel F Hueun, and William Austin were elected to fill”… “the vacancy on the Board.”  Samuel A. Coburn was the Town Clerk, and Theodore Edson, pastor of St. Anne’s downtown was the Chairman of the School Committee.

Around the same time, at the Third Grammar School, they elected Mr. Isaac Whittier  as Assistant Master.  No salary was given.  At the North Grammar School Mr. James Bean was voted in as “Assistant Master to fill  the term of Mr. Healey.”

In a remarkable move, they voted for a woman as “Assistant Master also at the North Grammar School.”  The South Grammar School had a woman as Assistant too.  Her name was Mrs. Marsha B. Daves.

Not all of the schools were ready by the end of August.  They voted that Mr. Austin “be a committee to provide a stove for the Third Grammar School room.  Make the necessary arrangements for its commencement.”  (School Committee Minutes)

The purpose of this exercise was to put into some perspective the lives of the average person of the time.  I started with the 1911 race because those notes were more in depth than those related to 1834, although, as you have seen, the 1834 notes were very voluminous.  So I could have reversed it a bit, but I wanted to show the school department as it existed in 1834.  Hopefully, I did that adequately.   The race information was recently discussed on a television show called “Lowell Remembers.”

This document is Copyrighted by James A. Peters.  No aggrandizement will be tolerated.

Cawley Site Makes No Cents

Cawley Site Makes No Cents

I spent twelve years working as an auditor and accountant.  I took accounting courses at UMASS-Lowell, as well as Suffolk University.   I do not talk about it because I loved teaching, but did not care for my previous work.  But I think I can use my experiences to make a simple statement about the Cawley site.  It makes no sense.

We have a useful building for a high school.  The 1922 building by itself is worth millions of dollars if used as an academic building.  The 1893 building further accents the argument.  It is in very good structural shape, and is a useful academic building.  The problem is that we are, if we choose another site to build on, throwing out the baby with the bath water.  Now, that saying comes from an old Pioneer custom, hot water on the Plains was hard to come by, so the first bath went to the head of the household.  After he was done, the second bath went to the mother.  As the water slowly cooled down the third bath went to the oldest child, and that continued until the water was so dirty that the baby was the last one washed in it.  It was easy to lose the baby in the muddy water.  He or she was the last one to use the by then, muddy water.  Losing the baby in the bathwater was a real possibility.  Thus the saying.

The baby in the high school argument is the 1980 building, it is perfectly useful but not currently in great shape.  That will come if we choose the right option.   It  will end up empty if we choose the Cawley option.  The 1922 building is the mother using the father’s dirty water.  She has to be utilized or the bath was a waste.  Finally, there is the 1893 building.  It can handle students but gets closed down while being perfectly useful in its handling of students.  The Freshman Academy is just out there.  Nobody wants to move it but it cannot, with the Cawley option, stay in the educational loop.  Each building can be used, we have just given up on them.  I know more about the history of those buildings than most people.  There is no logical reason to throw them out.  They are useful and pragmatic.

We are asking too much of the Cawley building.  It cannot do all of the things the current high school can do.  It will be too small and we are going to have to put in multi-millions of dollars to make it useful.  As is, it is too small for a swimming pool.  We have to be prepared for the building failing.  Millions are going to be spent to keep the aging building, and it will be aging in just a few short years.  It will not be new for long, because the constancy of  being like the 1980 building is great.  Leaky roofs are probably being factored in by the earliest architects. The Cawley will have problems from the beginning.  John McDonough  has a bunch of sheets on which are the need for maintenance of every school, including the newest ones, and the list is massive.  The Cawley building will be old before its time.  That is not being pessimistic, that is being realistic.

We have a full campus at the existing high school.  If you placed an educational value on the current high school, it would be in the hundreds of millions of dollars.  Let’s say 250 million dollars.  If you add the 336 million dollars offered by the state, we could have one heck of a building adding those two sites together and keeping the Freshman Academy where it is.  The minimal value would be 586 million dollars.  We would have a new high school for slightly over a half a billion dollars.  That means that the new building, which will cost approximately 336 million dollars, will be one heck of a building.

As I said, I was an auditor at Wang.  I once, working by myself for a day, found one million dollars for the corporation in maintenance costs which were not being billed.  That is one million dollars per year.  If Wang was still in business, and simply had that one audit intact, times twenty years since the inception of the audit, Wang would have an extra 20 million dollars.  We have some City Councilors who pride themselves on being able to add and subtract.  They should spend a lot of time adding and subtracting the cost of having Cawley as the high school.  I think that they would  be as surprised as I  was when I decided to determine the cost of not using the current buildings.  It is very sobering.

That is just my take on it.   I am using life experiences to come up with my arguments.  But they are good experiences.