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Letters From Readers - June 2012 American History

Originally published on Published Online: March 28, 2012 
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Hollow Victory
In "Pieces of Peace" (From America's Attic, April 2012), the shortened quote from Ulysses S. Grant's Memoirs about the Confederate surrender left out his judgment about why the Civil War was fought. The complete quote: "I felt like anything rather than rejoicing at the downfall of a foe who had fought so long and valiantly, and had suffered so much for a cause, though that cause was, I believe, one of the worst for which a people ever fought, and one for which there was the least excuse."
Carl Schmidt
Cincinnati, Ohio

Optical Illusion
In the article on the Titanic (April 2012), a caption states that the wing propellers are 23.5 feet in diameter and weigh 38 tons and the center propeller is 16.5 feet in diameter and weighs 17 tons. A blind man can see that the wing propellers are smaller than the center one, or am I being fooled by perspective?
Lloyd J. Guillory
Lafayette, La.

Perspective is the culprit. Records from Titanic's builder, Harland & Wolff, indicate that the wing propellers are indeed 23.5 feet and the center propeller is 16.5 feet.

Money Trail
Richard Brookhiser missed the point in his attempt to blame William Jennings Bryan's loss in the 1896 presidential election on his bold populist rhetoric (We've Been Here Before, April 2012). The real reason Bryan lost is stated late in the article: The Democrats raised $300,000 while the Republicans raised $3.5 million. Elections are all about the money. Consider how candidates with funds are currently fighting to protect the status quo.
Richard L. Hogan
Miles City, Mont.

Textual Incarnation
John M. Barry is mistaken when he says the U.S. Constitution "has no mention of God anywhere" (Interview, April 2012). In providing its signature date, the Constitution's last paragraph says "in the Year of our Lord." Mr. Barry also neglects the fact that the Constitution gives the president 10 days to veto legislation, "Sundays excepted." This exception is obviously intended to facilitate Christian worship.
Les Leinaweaver
Alexandria, Va.

Rocker's Reincarnation
I just finished reading your article about Phil Collins and his Alamo collection (April 2012). As a lifelong student of history, as well as being a huge Phil Collins fan, I was mesmerized. I had no idea that Collins had such an obsession with the Alamo. For a boy raised in England to have such an obsession for a truly American event raises some interesting questions! Thank you for taking risks on articles that seem off the beaten path.
Scott Zachry
Newnan, Ga.


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