March 1, 2010

Samuel Eliot Morison uses an exclamation point

In volume 2 of the Oxford History of the American People, written in 1964, Samuel Eliot Morison speculates in a section on James K. Polk's Presidency:
Had Henry Clay become President in 1845, he would undoubtedly have managed to placate Mexico, and with no Mexican War there would have been no Civil War, at least not in 1861.

But would Clay have acquired California?

California! The very name connoted mystery and romance. It had been given to a mythical kingdom "near the terrestrial paradise," in a Spanish novel of chivalry written in the lifetime of Columbus. President Polk did not read novels, but he wanted California much as Don Quixote wooed Dulcinea, without ever having seen her, and knowing very little about her. The future Golden State, with forests of giant pines and sequoias, broad valleys suited for wheat and narrow vales where the vine flourishes, extensive grazing grounds, mountains abounding in superb scenery and mineral wealth, was then a Mexican province, ripe for the plucking.

My vague impression is that California loomed largest in the national imagination in the years around 1964. The introduction of commercial domestic jet travel in 1959 integrated California, which had previously been thought of by East Coast elites as attractive but remote (somewhat the way Australia and New Zealand are thought of today), into the life of the leadership class.

Today, however, the word "California" is usually not used with an exclamation point.

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

48 comments:

Anonymous said...

Ah, if only we had a punctuation mark for this:

California[http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2559/4199675334_66c3e3d61d.jpg]

robert61 said...

California! My family moved to La Jolla from Ann Arbor in 1963, when I was 2. The drive through the desert and the vista of the Pacific opening up are my first memories. We moved to Morison country in the late sixties. I still think of California with the exclamation point. Paradise.

mnuez said...

Having recently been to Baja California, I've been advocated a reawakening of Manifest Destiny sentiments.

You've got this absolutely wonderful peninsula with adequate beaches and excellent weather that's languishing as an impoverished narco-state RIGHT ON OUR BORDER and unattached to any other state that could cause complications.

We've already taken in more Mexicans than we care to think about and should be willing to accept the natives of Baja Californians as citizens provided they were born there (the TJ riffraff who came from the rest of Mexico to do so border-hopping and acid-soup concocting would obviously have to go, excepting the under 25 females of course).

Honestly, there's nothing quite so blessed as good weather and Baja California's got it.

Yes we can!

mnuez

Serf Culture said...

Here's another story on the emergence of your New California: a police state funded by drug money. This AP article doesn't connect those dots though. The reader is not supposed to imagine that their local law enforcement has been totally paid off, as is normal in the Latin/mestizo culture.

The quotes here from the walking dead Anglo-Saxon establishment representative, a DOJ guy named Brent Wood, are just plain sick. He sounds like a functionary from mid twentieth century Rhodesia. The international elites wanted stable western Rhodesia gone. They want stable western California gone too. They want stable western Britain, Sweden, Netherlands and France gone too, by the way.

The elites know that introducing a "drug war" is an important part of destabilizing a nation. The British did it to the Chinese in the Opium War.

AP IMPACT: Drug gangs taking over US public lands

"It's amazing how they have changed the way they do business," Wood said. "It's their domain."

Henry Canaday said...

That is what made Disneyland so magical to East Coast kids in the 1950s; it was this wonderful, absolutely amazing place that you could never actually go to and thus be disappointed in.

Anonymous said...

Yes, everyone thought everything was going to Southern California until at least the 80s. By the nineties, the dream basically lay shattered - and stories of pollution, corruption, Compton, illegals, unsustainability of the oasis in the desert, and traffic dominated the news.

New York stunningly reemerged in the 90s as the center of the American universe and cultural life, despite the simultaneous rise of Silicon Valley, which was thought to be a haven for immigrant entrepreneurs (especially Indians) and high iq misfits, so an important place, but by no means any fun.

Conrad Bibby said...

I'm curious to know why it is believed that, without a Mexican War, there would have been no Civil War.

Black Death said...

An excellent modern account, which I just read:

A Country of Vast Designs: James K. Polk, the Mexican War and the Conquest of the American Continent

Robert W. Merry (Author)

Clay and the Whig party opposed the Mexican war, Texas annexation and even the acquisition of most of the Oregon territory. Polk, one of our most underrecognized presidents, had a transcontinental vision of the United States. Polk opposed the annexation of the entire country of Mexico and wanted only the sparsely inhabited parts such as California and New Mexico. Abraham Lincoln was a big admirer of Clay and opposed the Mexican war, which cost him his congressional seat.

anony-mouse said...

California-raised Herbert Hoover had been President and a long time member of the leadership class long before 1959.

Heck, Civil War Generals Grant and Hooker had lived in California at one time, Hooker even when he was outside the army.

Anonymous said...

President Polk did not read novels

Boy, talk about a Yankee nihilist dismissing a Scots-Irish backwoodsman with disdain...

Peter A said...

Wasn't it really the rapid growth of Hollywood into a multi billion dollar global industry that integrated California into the leadership class? I think that process began a little earlier than the jet age - arguably by the 1930s. Judging by the writings of people like Kerouac and the other Beats, California already loomed very large in the popular imagination by the early 50s.

Pío de Jesus Pico said...

It was spelled with "Alta", as in "Alta California"

Anonymous said...

Ah, if only we had a punctuation mark for this

How 'bout an exclamation point for folks who learn how to insert a simple HTML link?
Here ya go
.

Today, however, the word "California" is usually not used with an exclamation point.

It might be, if elites had managed to maintain the same (mostly) reality-based thinking of Presidents Jackson, Polk and Eisenhower. Instead of those three today we worship Lincoln, who believed the manifest destiny inherent in the War with Mexico was evil but who was perfectly fine turning the ground red in order to free the slaves.

pearv said...

Let's change that:

Écrasez California!

Mr. Anon said...

"Today, however, the word "California" is usually not used with an exclamation point."

And someday soon it will be typed with inverted question and exclamation marks.

http://users.erols.com/tonip625/characters.htm

Planet Grok said...

I disagree. There can be a diversity of thoughts behind using an exclamation point, including an wide assortment of negative ones. This diversity is strength, so the California exclamation point isn't going anywhere. For example:

Which state will be the first to collapse?

California!

But don't worry, soon we will be adding some Spanish diacritical marks to the word, and it will appear dangerously exotic once again.

Paul Mendez said...

Heck, I'm the same age as you, Steve, and I remember when California still was a magical place. I traveled around CA visiting college friends in the very early 1980's and was entranced. The weather and the people were nice, and the LA punk scene much different from NY.

Taking the Greyhound bus from LA to San Diego one morning, the morning shift ticket window person had not shown up. So there was a long line. A night shift worker cheerfully stayed on, and the line voluntarily triaged itself so that nobody missed their bus.

Last time I was in LA, I had that feeling you have in a foreign country, like everybody can tell from looking at you that you don't belong.

Sam said...

Give California back to Mexico or maybe some joint administration agreement where Americans there now could stay and have dual citizenship.

That would make it easier to deport illegals from the rest of the country- they wouln't be going back to Mexico, they would be going to California!!

The US could also make some agreement that any refugees they take in could be settled there. So instead of plopping Somalis, Afghanis, etc. in Maine or Minnesota, they could be settled in East LA- still better from whence they came.

California wouldn't be a pleasant place to live, but it would spare other states from the wonders of diversity.

OhioStater said...

Texas and California have immigration but the former is a welfare state. You can flee to Texas, but what happens when you have a welfare country?

We've crossed the abyss, the point of no return. For the first time since the Depression Americans received more from the government than was paid in taxes.

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2010/mar/01/americans-reliance-on-government-at-all-time-high/

One thing we should remember is we have a services based economy and not an agricultural or manufacturing economy. Farming and making goods is simple and you can stop an assembly line and start it back up. Same for mining and farming.

However a services based economy is people based and people disperse. Some people are irreplaceable and when they are gone the output is gone. If a magazine closes and the editors and writers leave, its gone forever, that economic footprint is gone forever.

The government needs to spend less, but entire swathes of the economy will go away if it does.

Anonymous said...

The elites know that introducing a "drug war" is an important part of destabilizing a nation. The British did it to the Chinese in the Opium War.

Just legalize the damn drugs and let nature - and Darwin - take its course!

The only ones that gain from the Drug Prohibition / Drug Wars are organized mafias, Big Pharmas, and hypocritical Jesus freaks. At the same time, the little people they try to protect are the ones that suffer.

JeremiahJohnbalaya said...

I really enjoyed Blood And Thunder, The Epic Story of Kit Carson and the Conquest of the American West . I have a public school kid's ignorance of American history here, but I was really impressed w/ the stories presented: military, political, good/bad americans, mexicans, indians. And Kit Carson was a complete bada$$.

Anonymous said...

"The elites know that introducing a "drug war" is an important part of destabilizing a nation. The British did it to the Chinese in the Opium War."

Except of course the British were the drug dealers (well suppliers), which turns your comparison on it's head.

Thrasymachus said...

California has been ruined at least as much by the left-wing white people from the Northeast and the Upper Midwest who decided California's schools and governments would be nice places to work as by the illegal Mexicans. Of course the two go hand in hand, notwithstanding Sailer's claim that the public employee unions are the saviors of white people.

Anonymous said...

Heck, I'm the same age as you, Steve, and I remember when California still was a magical place. I traveled around CA visiting college friends in the very early 1980's and was entranced.

I never made it to California until the mid-80s, and I had the same impression the first time I went [I had never in my life seen chicks as hot as the girls playing beach volleyball in Santa Barbara].

If you look back at how it must have been in the late 50s / early 60s - Hitchcock filming Vertigo up in SF, Hewlett & Packard churning out scientific equipment, Skunk Works tooling up for the SR-71, Noyce et al about to revolutionize the semiconductor industry, Beach Boys cutting epic tunes - it must have been like heaven on earth.

That's certainly how Bruce Brown's The Endless Summer makes it seem...

Anonymous said...

Upper class people vacationed and "wintered" and sometimes "summered" in California before the age of air conditioning and jet travel, e. g. Wrigley bought an Island for his purpose.

Anonymous said...

California is more exciting if your are from the East or the "Midwest" that if you are from somewhere like Washington state with equally dramatics and beautiful natural wonders and a beautiful port city.

Anonymous said...

Wasn't it really the rapid growth of Hollywood into a multi billion dollar global industry that integrated California into the leadership class?

Nope. It was defense, aerospace, and electronics - in short, the Cold War. It is not an accident that California Presidents Nixon and Reagan were Cold Warriors. It is not an accident that California went to shit when the Cold War ended.

Harry Baldwin said...

>>Civil War Generals Grant and Hooker had lived in California at one time<<

Also W. T. Sherman:
"While many of his colleagues saw action in the Mexican-American War, Sherman performed administrative duties in the captured territory of California. He and fellow officer Lieutenant Edward Ord reached the town of Yerba Buena two days before its name was changed to San Francisco. In 1848, Sherman accompanied the military governor of California, Col. Richard Barnes Mason, in the inspection that officially confirmed the claim that gold had been discovered in the region, thus inaugurating the California Gold Rush.Sherman, along with the above-mentioned Edward Ord, assisted in surveys for the sub-divisions of the town that would become Sacramento." (Wikipedia)

What made California seem magical to me in the early 1960s was the music of the Beach Boys.

Anonymous said...

A lot of Midwesterners use exclamation points after California, Steve.

As in "[Redacted Vulgar Gerund]California!" Or "[Redacted Vulgar Imperative] California!" See this video.

Anonymous said...

Serf wrote
"The international elites wanted stable western Rhodesia gone"

__

I agree that it was tragic that whites in Rhodesia were forced to yield to majority rule. But what was the motivation for the international elites to force this to happen ?

Educate me

jack strocchi said...

Steve Sailer said:

My vague impression is that California loomed largest in the national imagination in the years around 1964. The introduction of commercial domestic jet travel in 1959 integrated California, which had previously been thought of by East Coast elites as attractive but remote (somewhat the way Australia and New Zealand are thought of today), into the life of the leadership class.

Hollywood loomed rather large in the US national consciousness between the wars.

Anonymous said...

Tragedy of the commons

Anonymous said...

Hollywood loomed rather large in the US national consciousness between the wars.

Yes, but was California qua California an obsession [really a self-obsession] of Hollywood prior to, say, the 1950s?

Some time in the period between Vertigo (1958) and Bullit (1968), it became pretty clear that Hollywood no longer had the self-discipline to conceal its own narcissistic self-infatuation, but did this obsession display itself in the period between the wars [1919-1939]?

I'm glancing through Wikipedia's list of the highest-grossing films by year, and through IMDB's lists of the favorite movies of the 30s, and I'm not recognizing much in the way California qua California.

Heck, even the storylines of the westerns used to be portrayed as having taken place in [relatively] mid-western-ish venues like Texas and Oklahoma and Kansas - my impression is that the state of Arizona made for a really far-western western.

Anonymous said...

But don't worry, soon we will be adding some Spanish diacritical marks to the word, and it will appear dangerously exotic once again.

¿Queliforñia?

daveg said...

What we need is a "liberate baja" movement. The central government in Mexico City clearly oppresses its people and particularly in baja where people are leaving the country for the US in droves to escape that oppression.

As policeman and liberator to the world, the US has a moral duty to free the people of baja from this oppressive and illegitimate regime.

Once we are there we can have a vote with blue finger paint and everything to see if the people of baja want to join the US, with the simple offer of US citizenship and maybe a plot of land to the current inhabitants.

I have 100% confidence this vote would pass.

To get this going all we need is some neocon agitators to start blovating for about six months and the ball would be rolling. Maybe would could find and incident or two of antisemitism in baja or even a possible threat of WMD for the cause celeb...

The rest would just flow naturally as that is just what neocons do.

Ok, where's my Rancho?

Dutch Boy said...

Conrad Bibby said...
I'm curious to know why it is believed that, without a Mexican War, there would have been no Civil War.

Explanation: The war resulted from a squabble over whether or not slavery would be allowed in the new territories acquired as a result of the Mexican War. BTW -had Mr. Clay been elected, he would have faced the same conundrum as Mr. Polk: Polk wanted to purchase the territories from Mexico but Mexico was determined to re-conquer Texas. Once the US acquired Texas, war was inevitable. Polk got his way after all - the US bought the territories from Mexico and the Mexicans' war effort was a total waste of blood and money.

Anonymous said...

California is more exciting if your are from the East or the "Midwest" that if you are from somewhere like Washington state with equally dramatics and beautiful natural wonders and a beautiful port city.

HAHAHAHAHAHAH

AHAHOOHAHAH

Keep telling yourself that! Oh god how I hate the Pacific Northwest.

headache said...

I agree that it was tragic that whites in Rhodesia were forced to yield to majority rule. But what was the motivation for the international elites to force this to happen ?

Educate me


SSouthern African whites and former Rhodesians have been busting their heads over this. There are many theories and there exists ample circumstantial evidence. Henry Kissinger and Oppenheimer had a heavy hand in this, and Lord Carrington came out of the woodworks recently when it became apparent just what a bad ass Mugabe is. He was trying to salvage his own reputation since Carrington installed Mugabe. Maybe the right question is to see who benefitted from this useless destruction. From my knowledge the mining houses who were already listed in London as Mugabe came in.

Anonymous said...

I'm from Brooklyn, 43 years old, and moved to California 10 years ago. I still feel great to wake up and be in California.

Anonymous said...

Some time in the period between Vertigo (1958) and Bullit (1968), it became pretty clear that Hollywood no longer had the self-discipline to conceal its own narcissistic self-infatuation

Not sure how you'd classify Sunset Boulevard (1950) - I suppose it's at least introspective, if nothing else.

Whiskey said...

My guess is Rhodesia was pressured to give up White Minority rule under a Cold War assumption that it enabled Soviet influence in the region. Under Mugabe, access to Rhodesia's resources basically plummeted to nothing. Nobody is getting access, and that experience was entirely predictable after Ghana, Congo, and other West African resource-nations independence, particularly Nigeria. The late 1970's to mid 1980's were the final heyday of global Soviet expansion and Western weakness.

South Africa of course was demographic. There simply were not enough White people to insure White majority rule. Sanctions played their part, but Botha could see the writing on the wall (and could have been deposed by Afrikaaners).

After disclosing his IIRC 27th child, and this one out of wedlock, Jakob Zuma had considerable debate around the globe as to which of his five polygamous wives he would take to visit the Queen in London. I believe he took Wife number 3.

Zuma and his defenders, and indeed the ANC, have said that polygamy is just the way Africans live. It certainly however is not conducive to a well-run society, or social peace. I had a picture from the FT on my blog of Zuma dancing at his wedding -- in full tribal dress but smoking a cigar and wearing running shoes.

alonzo portfolio said...

As recently as the mid-1980's, the Hendrik Herzberg-led New Republic editorialized that, "of course, California is wasted on Californians."

Svigor said...

I agree that it was tragic that whites in Rhodesia were forced to yield to majority rule. But what was the motivation for the international elites to force this to happen ?

Educate me


Globalists want to nip any potential white racial beachhead situation in the bud, especially in the Anglosphere. Obviously this was foremost in only a few minds but liberalism/globalism would be nowhere without useful idiots.

Harry Baldwin said...

Maybe history will repeat itself. Maybe the current Mexican War, the reconquista that Mexico is currently winning, will lead to a second American Civil War.

Just a thought.

Anonymous said...

I saw a picture of Zuma with his three wives. They all looked eerily alike - and butt-ugly - though they aren't related as far as I know.

Anonymous said...

Ahh, here they are. And here, also.

John Seiler said...

1964. That's when my family drove out to California in an airconditioningless '64 Impala, when I was 9, seeing the USA in a Chevrolet. Surfer girls. The Beach Boys, whom we listened to on frozen dark winter evenings. Annette and Frankie. My Great Uncle Fred, Navy veteran of WWI and WWII, lived in Orange, where we kids shot off firecrackers -- illegal in Michigan -- on Independence Day. Disneyland. Marineland of the Pacific. The Golden Gate Bridge. Redwoods. Hollywood.

No wonder I ended up out here.

Anonymous said...

California now deserves an exclamation point in the sense of OMG!