The Blue Wall

“Democrats held the entire ‘blue wall’. They have now won 18 states in at least six consecutive elections, the most states they have won that often ever, since the formation of the modern party system in 1828,” says CNN Senior Political Analyst and National Journal Editorial Director Ron Brownstein.


Princess Feodora of Leiningen

~ Anna Feodora Auguste Charlotte Wilhelmine

~ b. 7 December 1807

~ d. 23 September 1872

Feodora was the daughter of Princess Victoria of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld and her first husband, Emich Carl, 2nd Prince of Leiningen – thus she was the half-sister of Queen Victoria.  She and Victoria enjoyed a close relationship from their early years growing up together in Kensington Palace.

Feodora married Ernst I, Prince of Hohenlohe-Langenburg on 18 February 1828, and she maintained regular correspondence with Victoria until her death in 1872.  One of her descendants is the current King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden.

- Sarah Goodridge, Beauty Revealed. Self portrait miniature on ivory. 2 5/8th inches by 3 1/8th inches. American. 1828.

Let me just type that year again: 1828.

A variation on a Lover’s Eye, this was a gift from Goodridge to Daniel Webster (he who bargained with the devil in Stephen Vincent Benet’s short story) and discovered in his possessions after his death. Most descriptions of the duo’s relationship depict them as “friends and correspondents.”

Right. She painted 12 portraits of Webster over the years. He burned her letters. She kept his, and never married.

Here’s the rest of Sarah Goodridge, in another self-portrait from a couple of years later.

This little piece kills me. Cell phone porn and texted seductions are nothing new. We just keep reinventing ways to tell each other we’ve fallen in love.

Dante Gabriel Rossetti – Ladies of Staggering Beauty

She gazed and listened and then said,
      Less sad of speech than mild, —
‘All this is when he comes.’ She ceased.
      The light thrilled towards her, fill’d
With angels in strong level flight.
      Her eyes prayed, and she smil’d.

(I saw her smile.) But soon their path
      Was vague in distant spheres:
And then she cast her arms along
      The golden barriers,
And laid her face between her hands,
      And wept. (I heard her tears.)

–’The Blessed Damozel’ (final lines) by DG Rossetti, born on this day (12 May) 1828. Read this poem (1850) and see the painting of its scenes (last, above). And to learn much more about Rossetti’s life and works, READ THIS BIOGRAPHY EXHIBIT, ‘An Introduction to D.G. Rossetti’, BY JEROME MCGANN.

  1. A Sea-Spell (1875-77) [Fogg Art Museum, Harvard]
  2. Monna Pomona (1864) [Tate]
  3. Sibylla Palmifera (1865-70) [Liverpool Museums]
  4. Aurelia (Fazio’s Mistress) (1863-73) [Tate]
  5. Joan of Arc (Joan the Maiden) (1882) [Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge]
  6. A Christmas Carol (1867) [via Sotheby’s]
  7. La viuda romana (Dîs Manibus) (1874) [Museo de Arte de Ponce (fourth at bottom)]
  8. The Blessed Damozel (1871-8) [Fogg Art Museum, Harvard]

For more on DG Rossetti, the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, and Victorian painting, click the links.

Enjoying the Evening Cool under a Gourd Trellis
Artist: Utagawa Toyohiro (Japanese, 1763–1828)
Period: Edo period (1615–1868)
Date: early 19th century
Culture: Japan
Medium: Hanging scroll; ink and color on paper

The Met

But seriously, never ask a student of history a simple question without expecting a road trip response:

“Politics today, amirite?”

“Actually, this really traces back to the Election of 1828, which pitted Jackson against Adams, which marked the beginning of what we now recognize as modern professional politics with the election of the Democratic Party, though even that can be rooted back to the Election of 1800, which cemented party politics firmly into the Constitution with the ratification of the 12th Amendment. Also, the French Revolution is probably to blame somehow, too.”

Lakshmi Bai was Rani (queen) of the Indian state of Jhansi during the mid-19th century and a military leader during India’s First War of Independence.

Born in Varanasi sometime between 1828 and 1835, Lakshmi Bai was the member of a high-class Marathi Brahman family. She was principally raised by her father and in addition to academic studies she was trained in horse riding, shooting and fencing. In 1842 she was married to the Maharaja (king) of Jhansi, Gangadhar Rao. In 1851 she gave birth to a son named Damodar Rao, however the child died at just four months old. In 1853 the Maharaja adopted the son of a cousin to preserve his line, also naming him who Damodar Rao. The Maharaja died the next day, leaving Lakshimi Bai to rule Jhansi as regent for her new son.

However because Damodar Rao was adopted, the British East India Company claimed that Jhansi no longer had a legitimate ruler and annexed its territories, forcing Lakshmi Bai to leave the palace at Jhansi Fort. Replaced by an agent of the Company, Lakshmi Bai refused to accept the rule of the British. When the Indian Rebellion broke out in March 1857 she supported the uprising, rapidly assembling an army to reclaim Jhansi Fort and once again declared herself the regent ruler.

Initially Lakshmi Bai was not interested in fighting the British beyond maintaining order in Jhansi and her forces were principally involved in border skirmishes with other regional lords. According to some accounts she led the charge in two of these battles personally, riding on horseback armed with swords. Her armies included a significant portion of women, who she ordered should be trained how to shoot.

In early 1858 the East India Company forced her hand by invading and laying siege to the city of Jhansi for 2 weeks. Lakshmi Bai’s forces resisted fiercely, hoping to hold out long enough for the army of their ally Tatya Tope to assist them. However Tope was defeated before they could reach Jhansi and the British eventually breached Jhansi’s defenses. Lakshmi Bai herself escaped with a small contingent of guards. Regrouping with Tope, Lakshmi Bai then scored a significant victory by successfully assaulting the city-fortress of Gwalior, seizing it’s treasury and arsenal. She then marched toward Morar to counterattack the British in defense of Gwalior. During the ensuing battle she was unhorsed while fighting a British cavalry officer and killed. Gwalior was retaken by the British 3 days later.

Following her death the British General Hugh Rose described Lakshmi Bai as “the most dangerous of all Indian leaders”. She is remembered today as a heroine of India, with numerous memorials in her name. The Indian National Army’s first female regiment was named after her.