When the Union was fighting to preserve itself in the Civil War, the France of Napoleon III moved troops into Mexico, overthrew the regime of Benito Juarez, set up a monarchy and put Austrian Archduke Maximilian von Habsburg on the throne as Emperor of Mexico -- one month before Gettysburg.

Preoccupied, the Union did nothing.

At war's end, in 1865, however, at the urging of Gens. Ulysses S. Grant and William Sherman, the Union sent 40,000 troops to the Mexican border.

Secretary of State William Seward dispatched Gen. John Schofield to Paris with the following instructions: "I want you to get your legs under Napoleon's mahogany and tell him he must get out of Mexico."

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Speaking in Conroe, Texas, last weekend, former President Donald Trump accused his successor of allowing millions of migrants to enter the country illegally across our Southern border.

"The most important border ... for us is not Ukraine's border but America's border," thundered Trump.

"Before Joe Biden sends any troops to defend a border in Europe, he should be sending troops to defend our border right here in Texas."

Thus did Trump not only frame a compelling issue for the fall election; he has framed an issue that touches on one of the great and deepening divides of our time.

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Is the territorial integrity of Ukraine a cause worth America's fighting a war with Russia?

No, it is not. And this is why President Joe Biden has declared that the U.S. will not become militarily involved should Russia invade Ukraine.

Biden is saying that, no matter our sentiments, our vital interests dictate staying out of a Russia-Ukraine war.

But why then does Secretary of State Antony Blinken continue to insist there is an "open door" for Ukraine to NATO membership -- when that would require us to do what U.S. vital interests dictate we not do: fight a war with Russia for Ukraine?

NATO's "open door policy" is based on Article 10, which declares that NATO members, "may, by unanimous agreement, invite any other European State ... to accede to this Treaty."

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"What do we mean by the Revolution? The war? That was no part of the revolution; it was only an effect and consequence of it. The revolution was in the minds of the people."

What did John Adams mean when he wrote this to Thomas Jefferson in 1815, after both had served as president?

Adams was saying that America, the country that took up arms and fought for its independence from the British, was already a nation -- before 1775.

America preexisted the Constitution, Adams is saying. America had been conceived and born before he and Jefferson began to write its Declaration of Independence in Philadelphia in 1776. America had come into being even before Lexington and Concord in 1775.

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Before he appeared at his first solo news conference of 2022, President Joe Biden knew he had a communications problem he had to deal with.

Namely, how to get off the defensive.

How to avoid spending his time with the White House press corps defending his decisions and explaining his actions as allegations of failure, one after another, were tossed up at him?

Biden entered knowing what issues would be paramount and what questions would be raised:

Why had he been unable to control a coronavirus pandemic now killing 2,000 Americans a day? Why was he unable to contain an inflation eating up the wages, salaries and savings of American families at a yearly rate of 7%? Why was he unable to secure a southern border that 150,000 illegal immigrants were crossing every month?

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