As critics scoff at President Trump’s recent remarks suggesting an Andrew Jackson presidency might have prevented the Civil War, Dr. Tracy McKenzie points out the fairness of suggesting that the Civil War may not have been inevitable. But he also argues that the current president’s stirring of the people’s passions against the government would have been more likely to fuel than abate civil war.
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About Tracy McKenzie
Wheaton University Professor McKenzie is Chairman of the History Department. For most of his professional career, his research has focused on the effects of the American Civil War on the economy and society of the Upper South. Recently he has turned his attention to the ways in which American evangelicals have remembered their national heritage; toward that end, he has recently written a book on memory of the “First Thanksgiving.” The First Thanksgiving: What the Real Story Tells Us about Loving God and Learning from History was published in October, 2013 by Intervarsity Press. Professor McKenzie blogs about Christian faith and American History.
Entries by Tracy McKenzie
Last summer, Dr. Tracy McKenzie wrote, “In [Andrew Jackson’s] elevation to the presidency almost two hundred years ago, we see a foreshadowing of the emotional, frequently irrational politics of 2016. And in Jackson, we see the combination of reckless, anti-intellectual, populist bravado that the current “presumptive nominee” of the Republican Party has so wonderfully perfected.” Now as president, Donald Trump has honored his populist predecessor on the occasion of his 250th birthday.
Editor’s Note: Each weekday of Christmas, the Raven is delivering a favorite holiday article. On the third day of Christmas, the Raven gave to me… A Civil War Christmas Carol (Originally Published…
Dr. Tracy McKenzie reflects on the holiday classic “It’s A Wonderful Life” as it illuminates sound historical thinking by illustrating the “interrelatedness of human experience.”
The Electoral College has been in the news lately. Dr. Tracy McKenzie helps us understand why the Founding Fathers found it desirable, how the values of voters have changed since then, and why it may continue indefinitely despite being anachronistic. What do you think of the electoral college?
The first hotly-contested election between two political parties, led by John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, ended with civility and a peaceful transfer of power, Dr. Tracy McKenzie reminds us. Donald Trump’s potential dismissal of this tradition that has preserved our union is frightening.
“America is great because she is good,” may be smart politics, but it is poor history and can lead to dangerous theology and “badly muddle[d] thinking about democracy,” Dr. Robert Tracy McKenzie warns… yet again. While it is clear Hillary Clinton did not hear Dr. McKenzie’s wisdom between her acceptance speech and the second presidential debate, we may glean insights from it.
Reflecting on Brown University President Christina Paxson’s Labor Day editorial suggesting that academic freedom can exist unfettered within “safe spaces,” Dr. Tracy McKenzie presents a dissenting point of view. He offers the concept of “Christian hospitality” as a better metaphor for the interconnection of affirmation and challenge that are the hallmarks of an ideal classroom.
“Each party portrays the other as a combination of evil leaders and stupid followers. What is destroyed in these characterizations is the possibility of what political scientists call ‘persuasive engagement…'” Lamenting the bullying and attacks of this year’s electoral rhetoric on all sides, Dr. McKenzie uses Lincoln as a model for respecting others through serious disagreement.
Dr. Tracy McKenzie finds timely advice in the words of Alexis de Tocqueville, “When religion seeks the support of worldly interests, it becomes almost as fragile as any temporal power,” as he considers the deterioration of the church’s witness as prominent evangelical leaders align themselves with Donald Trump’s presidential candidacy.
The Wicked Truth
The Thinking Person’s Guide to The Wildly Successful Broadway Musical
Employing political, social, and historical examples against the backdrop of the musical Wicked, The Wicked Truth: When Good People Do Bad Things explores the ways in which modern society is not so different than the mythical land of Oz, challenging the very framework of our culture, our understanding of Good and Evil, as well as our sense of right and wrong. Written by Raven Foundation Co-Founder Suzanne Ross.
Tangles of Desire
In her second book, The Wicked Truth About Love: The Tangles of Desire, Raven Foundation Co-Founder Suzanne Ross examines the trials and travails of romantic love through the lens of mimetic theory.
On the page, you can watch videos, take a quiz, download music, read a chapter of the book, and discover your romantic pattern. It's wicked fun!
Illustrations by Susan Drawbaugh of Wee Five Designs.