Recently I’ve been casting about for reviews of Gordon S. Wood’s recent volume of the Oxford History of the United States, Empire of Liberty: A History of the Early Republic, 1789-1815. This has been harder than expected: for such an important recent work of history, Wood’s volume has been pretty much ignored by most major newspapers and magazines (at least from what a Westlaw search reveals).
Much to my surprise, the Weekly Standard published a review by historian James Banner, and even more to my surprise, it was quite a thoughtful review. But this is the Weekly Standard, and so we get snippets like this, when (accurately) discussing the bitter political hatreds of the early national period:
Yelling “You lie!” at the president is nothing compared (for example) with the hammer-and-tongs fight on the floor of the House between Federalist Roger Griswold and Democrat-Republican Matthew Lyon that helped inaugurate congressional history.
Emphasis mine. You see that? Democrat-Republican. As far as I know, the Jeffersonians were never called the “Democrat-Republicans.” Sometimes they were called Democrats, and sometimes Republicans, and sometimes Democratic-Republicans, but never this.
Was this Banner’s mistake? I doubt it. Rather, what obviously happened was that some moronic copy editor changed “Democratic” to “Democrat”, or more likely, the Standard programmed their computers to always change “Democratic” to “Democrat.” It’s sort of like when Christian newspapers wound up referring to sprinter Tyson Gay as “Tyson Homosexual“.
Given what is now the casual stream of outright lies, support of treason, and calls to violence now spewing from American Right, this isn’t huge in the grand scheme of things. But it would be nice if someone in the Conservative Movement had an emotional maturity greater than that of a toddler.