The Crusades Terry Jones

Crusades hosted by Terry Jones (Monty Python) is a 1995 British television series, which examined European Christians’ efforts to take Jerusalem and other cities in the Holy Land from the Muslim Turks. In four episodes, Jones provides a basic understanding of the motivations both European Christians and the Muslim Turks. Its use of dark humor to deal with many of the unpleasant episodes of the Crusades makes the series useful in the classroom. Jones brings all his skills to the presentation of the series: trained historian, writer; comedian all can be seen in his presentation. Additionally, he holds the students attention. Below is the list of links to the programs in the series.

  1. Pilgrims in Arms
  2. Jerusalem
  3. Jihad
  4. Destruction

One of my favorite series, it is my go to program on this topic. As a historian myself, I fully understand that the historiography of any event needs to be examined from as many aspects as possible in order to obtain complete understanding of it.

Lectures on YouTube

This week I discovered that PowerPoint has the capability to record presentations as videos that can be uploaded to YouTube or any website. This capability provides the opportunity for me to actually give the lectures I write. Below are examples of this capability. However, they are not the best from a performance standpoint; but the information is accurate.

This lecture and the three above are part of the unit Duck, Cover, and Conform America in the 1950s.

This lecture is part of a group materials on Watergate, which I created some years ago.

Duck, Cover, and Conform America in the 1950s Notes

I suppose what follows is a journal or a log. It is by no means complete. It covers July 2019-August 2020. It starts two years after I started the project. The project took a detour in July-August 2017, when I discovered that I did not know enough about McCarthyism to include it in the lecture; so I researched and wrote an article, which was published in 2018. Then, life happened and the project had to be put on the back burner. Notes begin near the end of July 2019 and end in the beginning of August 2020 when the creation of all the content was completed, and work switched to preparation for publication.

I completed the Consumer Culture section of the lecture. I need to move on to the suburbs and the changing population of the American city. Then, the major events that occurred in the Civil Rights Movement in the 1950s.

Work continues on the Civil Rights section of the lecture. I am taking notes from the American Pageant Chapter 38.

I have completed notes on the NAACP’s court efforts. Next I will explain the Little Rock crisis of 1957. Then, I will move on to Rosa Parks and the Alabama Bus Boycott of 1955 and the formation of the Southern Christian Leadership conference (SCLC).

I decided not to include the SCLC in the lecture for reasons of space and time. Space, the lecture was getting too long, and time; although formed in 1957 most of the group’s activities took place in 1960s.

I have almost completed first subsection of the Civil Rights portion of my lecture. Brown v. Board of Education (1954). I still need to explain Brown II and with all deliberate speed. Additionally, in April, I added the section on the Cold War.

Created a 1950s folder in soc Document Archive directory. It contains all the files that where in Duck and Cover sources. The 1950s folder will be used from now on as I continue to work on the unit. Additionally, I have completed the PowerPoint lecture. The only remaining slides or works cited and publication information. Furthermore I have decided to split the presentation into several smaller parts.

I have completed the last two slides of the lecture. I have divided it into four files, and made PDF handouts. Additionally, I have created links to each file and embed code for the web page, and I have started putting the research and opinion questions into worksheet form.

I have completed the research and opinion questions, and I have created a question sheet for the Point of Order video; and the Eisenhower video on his reasons for sending the 101st Airborne to Little Rock. I have also sourced The Great Black Migration reading from Chapter 38. I still need to make questions for it.

I have completed all the content for the 1950s unit. I’m moving on to construct the webpages.

The Day the Universe Changed


The Day the Universe Changed is a 1985 BBC television series, which aired in the United States on PBS. Written and presented by James Burke, the series postulates a very simple; yet very powerful idea that when what a society knows changes, for them the universe changes. Thirty-five years on, the main theme and its presentation hold up. Burke walks through the advancement of Science and Technology throughout Western Civilization, starting with the Greeks and ending with what was then the present. Along the way, he highlights the main theme, and concludes that increasingly we live in a world in which change occurs quicker than our ability to understand it and is the only constant.

Burke’s argument is one of the main reasons I became a historian. Viewing the series on PBS when it originally aired in the United States, the argument and its presentation made it lasting impression, which is why it has importance today. Available for free at, the series has had the impact that James Burke intended.

Below are links to the programs in the series:

  1. The Way We Are
  2. In the Light of the Above
  3. Point of View
  4. A Matter of Fact
  5. Infinitely Reasonable
  6. Credit Where It’s Due
  7. What the Doctor Ordered
  8. Fit to Rule
  9. Making Waves
  10. Worlds Without End


Nixon Impeachment Coverage



Several months ago, I discovered that the House Judiciary Committee Impeachment Hearings were posted on the American Archive of Public Television website, out of sequence. After many months of work I have, I believe, placed them in the proper order. Additionally, the video does not work on iOS; nor is the link to the May 9, 1974, transcript available to the general public. The link given is to an academic archive which requires access to a university library.

The project started by linking the video with page numbers in the transcript, a link to which was provided on the website. Some segments were mislabeled and some segments were listed under the wrong date. For example, the video segments for July 25, 1974 were listed under July 30, 1974 on the website. The simplest way to deal with the problem was to construct viewing order tables putting each segment in the correct sequence under the right date. Unfortunately, the project took too long to complete and the Archive discovered and corrected the problem without any help from me. Nevertheless, the viewing order that follows is still useful because it references the beginning speaker and page number of the transcript for each segment, which the Archive website does not.

Viewing Order

Senate Watergate Video Now Available on iOS


John Dean testifying June 27, 1973

An earlier post discussed the monumental and important work done by the American Archive of Public Broadcasting (AAPB)—putting the Senate Watergate Hearings and the House Judiciary Committee Impeachment Hearings online. At that time, the collection had some issues:

There are some technical issues with the repository. None of the videos can be embedded into a website, and only the first week’s videos can be played on an iOS device. Hopefully, it is a minor glitch with a website or the operating system that AAPB and/or Apple will eventually fix. However, all the videos run well on Windows 10.
Watergate Hearings Online

Recently, the above problem has been solved. All of the Senate Watergate Hearings can be viewed on an iOS device. The Judiciary Committee Impeachment proceedings still can only be viewed on Windows 10. Hopefully, that will be fixed soon. In addition to the problem of the Impeachment videos being out of sequence. A corrected sequence will be posted here in the future.

Watergate Hearings Online


Post in Word Format microsoft-word-icon

Watergate is the most important political scandal of the twentieth century. Because of his actions and those of his staff Richard M. Nixon the Thirty-Seventh President of the United States resigned on August 8, 1974. Nixon chose to resign rather than face an impeachment vote in the House of Representatives and conviction in the Senate. Those actions ranged from breaking into the office of Dr. Lewis Fielding, Daniel Ellsberg’s psychiatrist,1 the use of the Internal Revenue Service to attack the President’s enemies; to the break-in and wiretapping of telephones at the offices of the Democratic National Committee in the Watergate complex on June 17, 1972, and its cover up.

Such a criminal conspiracy and obstruction of justice could not be kept from the public. Newspaper reporters Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward of the Washington Post and others investigated the Watergate break-in as well as other questionable activities of the Committee to Reelect the President (CREEP). One of the most unfortunate, yet descriptive acronyms in American History. The Justice Department indicted the Watergate Seven on September 15, 1972.2 By January 1973, all but two of the Watergate Seven plead guilty. James W. McCord and G. Gordon Liddy were tried and found guilty on January 30, 1973. On March 23, 1973, facing the possibility of severe sentence, James McCord wrote a letter to Judge John Sirica in which he stated pressure had been applied to the defendants to ensure silence. Perjury was committed in the courtroom. Sirica made the letter public and imposed harsh sentences, ranging from twenty to forty years, to force the defendants’ cooperation.3 By May 17, 1973, what would become known as the Senate Watergate Committee had completed its preparations and began fifty-one days of televised hearings on the Watergate break-in and other CREEP activities.

The public was mesmerized. Almost every TV in the country was tuned to the hearings. The major television networks ABC, NBC and CBS took turns televising the hearings during the day. Soap operas, game shows, and cartoons were preempted to show the Watergate Hearings. Additionally, the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS), still in its infancy, rebroadcasted gavel to gavel coverage of the hearings in prime time. For more than forty years this tremendous primary source material was virtually inaccessible to the public and most scholars. On November 3, 2017, the Library of Congress and WGBH, Boston announced that all fifty-one days of the hearings had been digitized and were available online:

The Library of Congress and Boston public broadcaster WGBH announced today that gavel-to-gavel television coverage of the Senate Watergate hearings in 1973, donated to the Library by WETA Washington, D.C., has been digitally preserved and made available online. Produced by the National Public Affairs Center for Television (NPACT), the hearings were taped during the day and rebroadcast every evening on public television for 51 days, from May 17 to Nov. 15. These broadcasts became one of the most popular series in public broadcasting history. 4

Additionally, the repository includes the House Judiciary Committee Impeachment Hearings. Until now, students of Watergate, too young to have seen the hearings live, have had to rely on transcripts of the hearings, and sound bites of testimony from John Dean, Alexander Butterfield, H. R. Haldeman, and John Ehrlichman among others. Thanks to the American Archive of Public Broadcasting (AAPB), scholars and the public can experience the testimony of all the witnesses before the Senate Watergate Committee in context the way Americans did at the time.

There are some technical issues with the repository. None of the videos can be embedded into a website, and only the first week’s videos can be played on an iOS device. Hopefully, it is a minor glitch with a website or the operating system that AAPB and/or Apple will eventually fix. However, all the videos run well on Windows 10. I have viewed testimony on both my Surface 3 and my laptop. Despite this minor inconvenience, the AAPB has done a tremendous work digitizing, cataloging, and preserving the Senate Watergate Hearings and the House Judiciary Committee Impeachment Hearings




1 Daniel Ellsberg, while a consultant for the RAND Corporation, a private think tank with close ties to the Defense Department, copied and then leaked to the New York Times The Pentagon Papers. See George C. Herring, ed., The Pentagon Papers: Abridged Edition. (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1993), xv.

2 The Watergate Seven: E. Howard Hunt, G. Gordon Liddy, Bernard L. Barker, Eugenio Martinez, Frank A. Sturgis, Virgilio R. Gonzales, and James W. McCord.

3 “James W. McCord Letter to Judge John Sirica March 23, 1973,” United States v. George Gordon Liddy, et al., C.R. 1827-72, United States District Court for the District of Columbia; Records of District Courts of the United States, Record Group 21; NARA, College Park, MD

4 “Library and WGBH Acquire Historic TV Coverage of Senate Watergate Hearings,” Library of Congress, last modified November 3, 2017,

The Mazzei Letter

Philip Mazzei

The Teaching Guide for the Equal Justice Under Law series stated that John Marshall and Thomas Jefferson disagreed over many issues including The Mazzei letter, in which Jefferson maligned George Washington.1 However, in the letter Jefferson did not attack Washington by name he attacked the Federalist party and the government; which under the United States Constitution was his right.2 The original letter was private, not meant for publication. The offending passage which was not even the full paragraph was published without his knowledge or consent.3 First in France and then in many newspapers in the United States. Even in the published version, printed in a New York newspaper, Washington is not mentioned by name.4

The commentary was only tangentially related to the passage and provides no insight into the meaning of the passage. Furthermore, the Executive Branch of the government is more than just the president. Jefferson more than likely was not referring to Washington with the phrases “all officers of the government…” and “all timid men who prefer the calm of despotism to the boisterous sea of liberty…”.5

Many words can be used to describe George Washington timid is not among them. Washington was not a Federalist. In fact, he was against political parties, or factions as he referred to them. That was why Alexander Hamilton was considered the leader of the Federalist party. Washington was held apart from his cabinet and the other officers in the Executive Branch. While Jefferson maligned Hamilton and other federalist cabinet members, he certainly would not have maligned Washington. Federalists commonly interpreted the letter as a thinly veiled attack against Washington, but they would, wouldn’t they. That’s what political parties do.6

It was clear that John Marshall and Thomas Jefferson had “deep-rooted philosophical differences,” and were “members of opposing political parties with often irreconcilable positions.7 But, John Marshall was far from a party ideologue. Marshall voted against the Federalist party on several occasions.8 Furthermore, his dislike of Jefferson did not cause Marshall to support Burr in the presidential election of 1800. In fact, he did not use his influence to support Jefferson either. Marshall took Alexander Hamilton at his word regarding Aaron Burr’s character. Marshall made clear while he could not support Jefferson, he was less dangerous than Burr. In that same letter to Alexander Hamilton, Marshall made only one reference to the Mazzei letter stating, “the morals of the Author of the letter to Mazzei cannot be pure.”9

That phrase comes at the end of a paragraph in which Marshall explains to Hamilton his opinion of Thomas Jefferson, which is negative. Nevertheless, if the letter was a major irreconcilable issue between them why doesn’t Marshall clearly name Jefferson as a person of impure morals, instead of the word author? In any case, Marshall and Jefferson’s adversarial relationship had been clearly established. Referring to the letter introduced an unnecessary and confusing item into an unrelated complex event. It should have been removed.


1Equal Justice Under Law Teaching Guide, (Judicial Conference of the United States, 1976): 20,
2 “Thomas Jefferson to Philip Mazzei,” The Papers of Thomas Jefferson, Volume 29: 1 March 1796 to 31 December 1797 (Princeton University Press, 2002), 81-83,  accessed June 22, 2017,

3 “Jefferson’s Letter to Philip Mazzei,” Editorial Note The Papers of Thomas Jefferson, Volume 29: 1 March 1796 to 31 December 1797 (Princeton University Press, 2002), 73-88, accessed June 22, 2017,

4 “Extract and Commentary Printed in the New York Minerva,” The Papers of Thomas Jefferson, Volume 29: 1 March 1796 to 31 December 1797 (Princeton University Press, 2002), 86-87, accessed June 22, 2017,

5 “Thomas Jefferson to Philip Mazzei”; “Extract and Commentary Printed in the New York Minerva.”

6 “Jefferson’s Letter to Philip Mazzei,” Editorial Note.

7Equal Justice Under Law Teaching Guide, 20.

8 Harold H. Burton, “John Marshall. The Man,” University of Pennsylvania Law Review, 104.1 (October 1955): 5.

9 “To Alexander Hamilton from John Marshall, 1 January 1801,” Founders Online, National Archives, last modified March 30, 2017, [Original source: The Papers of Alexander Hamilton, vol. 25, July 1800 – April 1802, ed. Harold C. Syrett. New York: Columbia University Press, 1977, pp. 290–292.]

Equal Justice Under Law

Equal Justice Under Law was a television series that first aired in 1976 and again in 1987, to mark the 200th anniversary of both the Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution. A production of the Judicial Conference of the United States and WQED Pittsburgh, The programs were intended “to inform the general public as well as educational and professional audience on the American constitutional heritage as exemplified in the major decisions of the Supreme Court under Chief Justice John Marshall” (1).

I started the process of creating activities for the Equal Justice Under Law videos. I found the videos and teaching guide sometime ago. The videos I found on YouTube, and the teaching guide I found at I am working on United States v. Aaron Burr (The Treason Trial of Aaron Burr). Going through the background section of the teaching guide, I found a mistake. The guide states that Thomas Jefferson Vice President of the United States presided over the House of Representatives (2). That was not the case the United States Constitution Article 1 Section 3 Clause 4 states that the Vice President is President of the Senate.

The Vice President of the United States shall be President of the Senate, but shall have no vote, unless they be equally divided.

Finding such an error, I decided to research Aaron Burr because any author or group of authors that would make such a mistake may gloss over or simplify Aaron Burr’s background. As a historian and teacher, I understand the need to condense content at the high school level, but accuracy should not be a casualty of that exercise.

The most recent biography of Burr was published in 2007 by Nancy Isenberg. The next piece “The Real Treason of Aaron Burr” by Gordon S Wood was published in 1999 in the Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society. There are a variety of other articles dating from 1951 to 1896. This information comes from a search of Jstor, search term Aaron Burr. This research may show that except for the one error teaching guide is accurate or it may reveal other flaws in the document.


(1) William F. Swindler, “Justice Under Law,” William and Mary Law School Scholarship Repository, Popular Media. Paper 264 (1977): 1099,

(2) Equal Justice Under Law Teaching Guide, (Judicial Conference of the United States, 1976): 19,