John Fazio holds a B.A. and J.D. from Case Western Reserve University. Retired, after practicing law for fifty years, he is a student of history, with an emphasis on the Civil War. He teaches the Civil War at Chautauqua Institution in Chautauqua, New York, has published numerous articles on the war and recently completed writing a book on the assassination of Abraham Lincoln and the attempted assassination of other Northern leaders on April 14, 1865. The book is titled Decapitating the Union: Jefferson Davis, Judah Benjamin and the Plot to Assassinate Lincoln. Copies are available directly from the publisher (Morris Gilbert Publishing Company), from the author, from Amazon and other on-line book sellers and in some book stores. Reviews have been excellent, with one reviewer stating that it is “…probably the best (book) on the market on the American Civil War” and another saying that it is “…perhaps the most (significant) work on this topic ever written”. For additional information, please contact the author.
The Emancipation Proclamation
This PowerPoint presentation covers the genesis, the preparation, the promulgation, the interpretations and the effects of the Emancipation Proclamation, perhaps the strangest document in American history. The presenter discusses the moral imperatives that inspired the war measure as well as the more concrete motives of preventing foreign intervention in the war and depleting Southern manpower—the engine that drove the Southern economy—and, the opposite side of the same coin, increasing Northern manpower, especially in the Union armies and navy. The presenter also discusses the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution and how this amendment and the proclamation were viewed by later generations of African-Americans. Lastly, the presenter speaks of how the proclamation was received in Ohio and what effect it had on Ohio politics.
This is a PowerPoint presentation of the saga of the only major battle between ocean-going vessels in the Civil War. John A. Winslow and Raphael Semmes had become best friends while serving together during the Mexican War. However, during the Civil War, Semmes captained the C.S.S. Sumter and the C.S.S. Alabama and became the scourge of Federal commercial shipping, sinking or capturing 85 merchant ships and one Union warship. As Captain of the U.S.S. Kearsarge, Winslow pursued his former friend and the Alabama for 14 months before cornering him off the coast of Cherbourg, France, where the two ships fought to the death. Their last view of each other and the action taken by Winslow in consequence of it is the stuff of legend. The story is not only history; it is supreme literature.
Francis and Arabella; John and Fanny: Love and War
This PowerPoint presentation tells the story of Union General Francis C. Barlow and his wife, Arabella, and Confederate General John B. Gordon and his wife, Fanny. Both wives followed their husbands from battlefield to battlefield and each nursed her spouse back to good health after life-threatening wounds. At Gettysburg, Gordon saved Barlow’s life by ministering to him on the battlefield and by arranging for Arabella to come through his lines to be with her husband, only to face him in head-to-head combat ten months later at Spotsylvania. After the war, the two warriors –each thinking the other dead –met at a dinner party and were “resurrected” to each other, becoming fast friends for the rest of their lives. So ironic are the encounters that one would think the story was scripted in Hollywood.
The Confederate Secret Service and the Assassination of Abraham Lincoln
This PowerPoint presentation reviews the evidence linking the Confederate Secret Service, as well as Confederate President Jefferson Davis, Secretary of State Judah Benjamin and Secretary of War James Seddon, to the assassination of Abraham Lincoln and the attempted decapitation of the Federal Government on April 14, 1865. John Wilkes Booth and his action team are considered in detail, but only in the context of an underground mosaic that included numerous other individuals and action teams who and which were primed to carry out multiple assassinations for the purpose of snatching Southern independence from the jaws of a toothless and chaotic government.
Rationales for the Welfare State
This is a discussion of the history of our Republic from the standpoint of the development of welfare state legislation and institutions. Included is a description of liberalism as a political philosophy, historically and at present, and its role in such development. The speaker charts American history from the progressive era (1890-1920) through the Administration of Lyndon Johnson and the turning point represented by the election of Ronald Reagan in 1980. The current assault on the concept of the welfare state and the fallacious reasoning that underlies such assault are considered and five solid rationales in support of the concept are offered.
Better and Better
This is a discussion of why we should honor our country and its fallen. More specifically, it is a treatment of our history from the standpoint of mistakes we have made (e.g. slavery; annihilation of Indians); the voices that have always been raised in opposition to those mistakes; and what we learned from the mistakes and from those who opposed them. The speaker discusses our accomplishments (e.g. the defeat of fascism and communism) and the positive force for good that we now play in the world. The process of getting better and better as a country is shown in our foreign affairs as well as in our democracy, in our Constitution, in the relationship between management and labor, in legislative reforms and in the distribution of wealth.
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