On July 21, 1861, exactly 155 years before Donald Trump accepted the nomination of the Republican Party last Thursday, the US Army set out into Virginia under some of the most ossified Generals in American history to take control of the Manassas railway junction and quell a disturbance among its southern citizens. Unfortunately, they ran into some of the finest Generals in American history, who had joined the revolt. For the Union, General Stonewall Jackson couldn’t have picked a worse day to earn his nickname. He single-handedly turned the tide here on Henry House Hill, saved the Confederacy, and changed a bumbling police action into a vicious and ruthless war.
That war eventually produced on both sides the greatest generation of military leaders in American history. They invented modern industrial warfare–their battle plans and logistics were still being studied 100 years later all over the world. But the key feature, IMHO, was just how angry their citizens were. I would agree with President Obama that Americans are not generally an angry people—in fact, they are one of the sunniest and friendliest communities on earth–but as both they and other belligerents have found, you really don’t want to piss them off.