Saturday, December 24, 2016

A Hundred Minutes of History: American Expansion Into the West

Mac Deford and Tom DeMarco present their eleventh annual hundred-minute history show.  Each year they choose as their topic something at least vaguely relevant to the subject of that year’s upcoming Camden Conference.  The 2017 Camden Conference is entitled, "Refugees and Global Migration: Humanity’s Crisis.”

And the topic of the Tom and Mac History Show will be “Go West Young Man - Settling the American West from Louisiana Purchase into the New Century: A Hundred Years in A Hundred Minutes”

The migrants, of course, are the settlers, attracted by the wide open spaces of just-acquired Louisiana Territory and beyond.  Some are foreign immigrants while others are “secondary migrants,” people whose families had been settled for a generation or more in the eastern states and then decided to move on to greener pastures and leave behind the over-crowded, over-taxed, and over-regulated coastal states for a new life on the frontier.  The frontier moves west at about a mile a month, with civilization being reinvented continuously at the edge.

The refugees are the Native Americans, pushed out of their land along a Trail of Tears only to settle in empty land and then be pushed out of that a generation later.

You’ll meet a few unlikely heroes, like the teenage Shoshone woman, Sacagawea, who led Lewis and Clark to the Pacific and back (carrying her infant son all the way), the Virginian, Charles D. Skirden, Senators Henry Clay and John C. Calhoun, a few Whigs and No-Nothings, Jacksonian Democrats like the Little Magician, Martin Van Buren, and orphaned Federalists like Daniel Webster, plus a troop of Mormon pioneers, and one prescient climatologist.  You’ll also meet — as in every Mac and Tom Show — a generous serving of scoundrels and rogues and witless intriguers, including John Tyler, the only president in US History who was ever drummed out of his own party while president.

The show will take place Tuesday, January 17, 6:00 p.m. at the Portland Public Library, Friday, January 20, 7 p.m. at the Camden Opera House and Sunday, January 22, 2 p.m. at the University of Maine’s Hutchinson Center in Belfast.   No advanced registration is necessary, but a suggested $10 donation is appreciated.

Tom DeMarco is the author of fourteen books (A Ruby Beam of Light: Book One of Dark World Chronicles is the most recent) and a Principal of The Atlantic Systems Guild, a technology think tank with offices in the United States, United Kingdom and Germany.   Mac Deford is a retired Foreign Service officer with service primarily in the Middle East.  He had a subsequent career with Merrill Lynch International, mostly in South America and Asia, and is a regular columnist with The Free Press.

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