The Personal Website of Mark W. Dawson


Containing His Articles, Observations, Thoughts, Meanderings,
and some would say Wisdom (and some would say not).

History Articles

Having an interest in history, and especially American history, I have written several essays on history. I hope that you will enjoy these thoughts, or a least they will provoke your own thoughts on these subjects.

  • Condemned to Repeat It - (May 2019) - A perspective on how to view history and make judgements on civilizations and personages.
  • United States History Perspective - (May 2019) - My perspective on United States History focusing on the many turning points in U.S. history that changed our country.
  • The Meaning of the American Revolution - (Jun 2019) -What was the meaning of the American Revolution? Why was it so important to the development of civilization? How can we assure its continuing impact and importance to American society? This article will attempt to succinctly answer these questions by examining the most important documents regarding our founding.
  • The Meaning of the American Civil War - (Apr 2019) -My mullings on the most consequential meaning of the Civil War.
  • The Underlying Meaning of the Bill of Rights - ( Aug 2019) - The reason for and the underlying meaning of the Bill of Rights in the Constitution.
  • Blacks are Three-fifths of a Human and the Explosion of Slavery - (May 2019) - Blacks are 3/5 of a Human in the Constitution is a phrase that is often misused, as it was not for the purposes of placing a value upon a person, but for political power within the House of Representatives. This is my thoughts on this subject.
  • The 18th Century (Jul 2019) – An overview of a truly remarkable century in the history of mankind.
  • The Life and Contributions of Benjamin Franklin - (Aug 2019) - A few years back my best friend (now deceased) and manager of the cigar lounge that I frequented sat next to me in the empty (except for myself) lounge and inquired that as I knew much about Benjamin Franklin would I tell him something about Franklin. I spent the next thirty to forty minutes telling him Benjamin Franklin stories. At the end of my stories, I inquired “So, what did you learn about Benjamin Franklin?”. He replied, “I learned never to ask you again about Benjamin Franklin!”. But here it is anyway.

Documents, Letters and Speeches


The most important documents to be read for the purposes of United States History are, of course, The Declaration of Independence, The United States Constitution and its Bill of Rights and Amendments, as well as the Gettysburg Address.

The following are additional letters and speeches from American history that I have found to be very wise and inspiring. I believe all Americans should read and ponder these letters and speeches, and take them to heart.

Books, DVDs, & CD Music

There are several very good books and DVDs on United States history. DVDs are a good introduction to United States history but should only be utilized as an introduction and starting point. A good book will provide a better understanding of the complexities of United States history. Here is my list of books & DVDs that I would recommend. Due to my love of music I have also included several audio CD's of American music:

Books:

The Oxford History of the United States series of books are a comprehensive (read long and through) examination of 18th and 19th century American history. If you wish to fully understand American history of this period I can highly recommend these books.

Finally, for a history of America before the 19th century I would recommend:

Reference Books:

 Please note that the following books are very concise, paperback, and of a size that can fit into your pants pocket, which makes them convenient to carry and read in small bites:

DVDs:

And finally, the following are not documentaries but provide a very good biographical movie of the people and/or times:

Audio Music:

A Personal Note

You may be wondering about my qualifications to pontificate on these subjects. I believe that I am qualified because I am a thinking human being. I utilize my knowledge and experience in life, as well as researching both the facts and opinions of others, including those with whom I may disagree. I then apply my reasoning and logical skills to reach an opinion. And it is just my opinion which I readily admit. I am also willing to admit that I may be wrong, and if I discover that I am wrong I am just as readily willing to change my opinion. Therefore, check-back every so often to determine if I have changed my opinion which can be determine by the date of the article.

The incandescent light bulb has often been described as a heat source that provides some light, given that a light bulb generates more heat than it does light. In today's public debates we often find the proponents of an issue providing a lot of heat and only a little light. These observations are meant to provide illumination (light) and not argumentation (heat).

Opponents in today's society often utilize the dialog and debate methodology of Demonize, Denigrate, and Disparage their opponent when discussing issues, policies, and personages. To demonize, denigrate, or disparage the messenger to avoid consideration of the message is not acceptable if the message has supporting evidence.

The only acceptable method of public discourse is disagreement - to be of different opinions. If you are in disagreement with someone you should be cognizant that people of good character can and often disagree with each other. The method of their disagreement is very important to achieve civil discourse. There are two ways you can disagree with someone; by criticizing their opinions or beliefs or critiquing their opinions or beliefs.

  • Criticism - Disapproval expressed by pointing out faults or shortcomings.
  • Critique - A serious examination and judgment of something.

Most people, and most commentators have forgotten the difference between Criticism and Critique. This has led to the hyper-partisanship in today's society. In a civil society critiquing a viewpoint or policy position should be encouraged. This will often allow for a fuller consideration of the issues, and perhaps a better viewpoint or policy position without invoking hyper-partisanship. We can expect that partisanship will often occur, as people of good character can and often disagree with each other. Criticizing a viewpoint or policy position will often lead to hostility, rancor, and enmity, which results in the breakdown of civil discourse and hyper-partisanship. It is fine to criticize someone for their bad or destructive behavior, but it is best to critique them for their opinions or words. We would all do better if we remember to critique someone, rather than criticize someone.

I would ask anyone who disagrees with what I have written here to please keep this disagreement civil. I am open to critique and will sometimes take criticism. I will always ignore demonization, denigration, and disparagement, or point out the vacuous nature or the character flaws of those that wish to silence the messenger rather than deal with the message.

Please remember that if you disagree with the messenger it is not acceptable to kill the messenger. You may kill the messenger, but the message will remain.

If you have any comments, concerns, critiques, or suggestions I can be reached at mwd@profitpages.com. I will review reasoned and intellectual correspondence, and it is possible that I can change my mind, or at least update the contents of these articles. This is why these articles are dated. Whenever I make a change to these articles they will be re-dated. So check back and see if any articles have been updated (or perhaps I shall add articles).