Leon Trotsky Assassinated, 1940

2019-08-19T18:36:35+00:00August 19, 2019|HH 2019|

“All they that hate me love death.” —Proverbs 8:36b

Leon Trotsky Assassinated, August 20, 1940

The names most commonly associated with the Bolshevik Revolution that overthrew the Czar of Russia, Nicholas II, are the Russian revolutionary Vladimir Lenin and the Ukrainian “Iron Man” Joseph Stalin. Very few of their comrades survived both the revolution and its consolidation. Just as well-known at the time, and the man most identified with the creation of the Soviets, an architect of the terrorism of Communist policies, and one of the longest surviving of the revolutionaries was Leon Trotsky. He garnered many followers in the United States and England, and his memory has been kept alive by socialist ideologues ever since his assassination by secret agents of the Soviet Union in 1940.

Leon Trotsky, born Lev Devidovich Bronstein (1879-1940)

Born Lev Devidovich Bronstein in 1879, on a remote farm of a well-to-do Jewish family in the Ukraine, Trotsky attended school in the port city of Odessa, where he excelled in his pursuit of a mathematics degree. He got involved in political opposition to the Russian monarchy, and dropped his studies to support agrarian socialist populism. He converted to Marxism through the influence of the woman who become his first wife. His writing and agitation to organize radical students and industrial workers landed him in prison in 1898. He and his wife were exiled together to Siberia, and there had two children.

They all escaped from their Siberian captivity and Lev immigrated to London, changed his name to Leon Trotsky and joined with Lenin as a writer and theoretician of Russian Marxism. He also remarried. Eventually the Russian cell in London divided into two major factions, the Mensheviks and Bolsheviks. The latter group believed in violent revolution and close-knit, revolutionary cells. The Mensheviks tended to be more moderate and many of them thought revolution could be brought about by peaceful means. Trotsky supported the huge labor strikes in St. Petersburg and joined the local Soviet under an assumed name. Before long, he became the director. Arrested again and exiled to Siberia, Trotsky again escaped and made his way to London to continue support of revolution. He wrote for and supported Socialist parties in Switzerland and Germany while agitating for radical change in Russia.

Lev Devidovich Bronstein at age 8

Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov, best known by his alias Vladimir Lenin (1870-1924) in 1897

Joseph Vissarionovich Stalin (1878-1953) in 1902

Although living in New York City when the Czar was overthrown in 1917, Trotsky returned to Russia (after arrest by the British in Canada). Joining the Bolsheviks, Trotsky became the “People’s Commissar” and took a strong hand in the new Communist state’s foreign policy. There was great opposition to the Bolshevik takeover by Mensheviks, Socialist Revolutionaries, Czarists, and Western countries. Trotsky built up the “Red Army,” from 800,000 to 3,000,000, turning them into a well-disciplined and efficient fighting force, which fought and won a protracted civil war against the more numerous, but totally non-unified, sixteen factions and foreign troops of the “White Army,” including the United States.

The Communists “translated their revolutionary faith into practical instruments of power.” They nationalized banks and industry, requisitioned the food sources from the peasants, and used terror to annihilate resistance and consolidate centralized government. The Central Committee of the “Soviet Union” fought among themselves over strategies of control and expansion.

Trotsky in 1918 in military garb, including the budenovka hat, symbol of the Red Army

“Trotsky bears a great deal of responsibility both for the victory of the Red Army in the civil war, and for the establishment of a one-party authoritarian state with its apparatus for ruthlessly suppressing dissent… He was an ideologist and practitioner of the Red Terror. He despised ‘bourgeois democracy’; he believed that spinelessness and soft-heartedness would destroy the revolution, and that the suppression of the propertied classes and political opponents would clear the historical arena for socialism. He was the initiator of concentration camps, compulsory ‘labour camps,’ and the militarization of labour, and the state takeover of trade unions. Trotsky was implicated in many practices which would become standard in the Stalin era, including summary executions.” —Historian Vladimir Chernyaev

Leon Trotsky addresses soldiers of the Red Army during the Polish-Soviet War

With the deteriorating health of Lenin, he and Trotsky sought to devise a strategy that would make Trotsky the General Secretary of the Party. Stalin formed a “troika” to insure his own control of the Party when Lenin died. After the death of Lenin, Trotsky remained the most popular and powerful leader of the Communist party, though Stalin’s factions never stopped plotting his downfall. A veneer of solidarity kept the peace until 1927 when Trotsky was expelled from the Soviet Union, first into exile in Kazakhstan, then to Turkey. His followers all publicly admitted their mistaken allegiance to Trotsky, and most of them were murdered during the purges of 1936-38.

Trotsky lived in a number of different countries who offered him asylum, finally settling in Mexico, where he met with American and Chinese Communists to carry the Revolution to their respective nations. After several failed attempts, Stalin’s assassins finally caught up to Trotsky. The NKVD hitman Ramon Mercader mortally wounded him with an ice axe at his Mexico City home.

A wheelchair-bound Vladimir Lenin in 1923

NKVD hitman Ramón Mercader (1913-1978) is arrested in Mexico City following his assassination of Leon Trostky, August 20, 1940

Leon Trotskys’s writings and legacy did not die with him and his admirers continued to advance his ideas in the United States and other countries. His home in Mexico is now a museum run by his grandson, but his memory lives in the deep shadows of the grave with those of his comrades and opponents who await Judgement Day for their atheism, their revolutionary crimes, and their rejection of Christ.

The Birth of David Crockett, 1786

2019-08-17T20:22:18+00:00August 12, 2019|HH 2019|

“I have set watchmen upon thy walls, O Jerusalem, [which] shall never hold their peace day nor night: ye that make mention of the LORD, keep not silence…” —Isaiah 62:6

The Birth of David Crockett, August 17, 1786

“Be sure you are right, then go ahead!”

The Crocketts were primarily of French Huguenot descent. They eventually made their way to western Carolina and, like thousands of others of their countrymen, settled in the mountainous frontier in times of bitter conflicts. Most of Crockett’s family were massacred by Indians, but David’s father, John, was away on militia duty and missed out on the raid. During the War for Independence, John Crockett joined his fellow over the mountain men at the Battle of King’s Mountain and returned home only to move further west into the area that became part of the state of Tennessee. David grew up in the rough and tumble world of economic difficulty, hard work, and manhood by the age of twelve.

David Crockett (1786-1836)

David held jobs that forced him to travel extensively, primarily in Virginia and Tennessee. He helped his father pay off debts and, on the day before his birthday in 1806, he married Polly Finley, with whom he sired two boys and a girl. After the death of his wife, he married a widow with two children, and had three more of his own, thus eventually becoming the father of eight, a typical frontier family.

A replica of John Crockett’s family cabin where Davy Crockett was born at the Davy Crockett Birthplace State Park

War came to Tennessee in 1812 with the Fort Mims massacre in Alabama, followed by General Andrew Jackson’s call for volunteers to avenge the victims and protect Tennessee. As the saying went at the time, “you don’t tell a Tennessean what the fight is about, just where it is” and, true to form, the frontiersmen gathered to settle scores with the Creek Indians, a war that would greatly advance the fortunes of General Jackson. David Crocket joined in and became a respected leader himself, so much so that he was appointed as a justice of the peace and Lieutenant Colonel of militia after the war. In 1821 Crockett was elected to the state General Assembly. Three principles seem to have been at the center of his political philosophy: opposition to Andrew Jackson and candidates supported by him, advocacy for the interests of the poor on the frontier, and rejection of proposals contrary to the Constitution, whether state or federal.

Fort Mims Massacre (August 30, 1813) about 35 miles North of present-day Mobile, Alabama

Crockett had moved so often and lived in so many different counties, he was known throughout his region. Never particularly successful in business or farming, he had well-honed skills at hunting, telling stories, and effective frontier oratory, the latter which he employed in his legislative positions in Tennessee and in the United States House of Representatives. He was elected to serve in Washington, D.C. for two terms, 1827-1831. Crockett was the only Tennessee delegate to vote against Jackson’s Indian Removal Act, which cost him his seat in the U.S. House but earned a letter of thanks from Cherokee Chief John Ross. He was returned to the House for one more term in 1833. He published an autobiography in 1834.

The Texas Revolution inspired men young and old across the South, especially in Tennessee. Hundreds of families headed west, leaving the letters GTT scrawled on the walls of their cabins—Gone To Texas. Ex-Congressman David Crockett, fed up with politics and attracted to the cause of Texas Independence, and eager for a fresh start for his family in the seemingly limitless vista west of the Mississippi, left his family to await his call, and travelled to the scene of the action, with thirty fellow Tennesseans, “armed to the teeth.”

Davy Crockett, by William Henry Huddle, 1889

On January 14, 1836, David Crockett signed an oath in Nachedoches, Texas, swearing allegiance to the Provisional Government of the Republic of Texas, and with five other men, made his way to San Antonio de Bexar, where a handful of Texians had seized an old Spanish mission called the Alamo, to await reinforcements or a Mexican army of retaliation. Crockett arrived on February 8, and the army of General Antonio de Santa Ana on the 23rd, sealing the doomed garrison inside their adobe walls. A siege ensued which lasted until March 6, when the Mexican General decided to force the issue and attacked with overwhelming force. There are many books and speculative accounts concerning the fall of the Alamo and the role played by David Crockett. Popular movies and songs have dramatized the ninety-minute fight, creating in the mind of the American public an image of what might have occurred. David Crockett’s role in the battle and last moments in combat are the subject of much speculation and disagreement. What is certain is the willingness of the defenders, or most of them, to die for Texas independence, a goal achieved in the months ahead by the efforts of General Samuel Houston.

Antonio López de Santa Anna (1794-1876)

The Fall of the Alamo or Crockett’s Last Stand, by Robert Jenkins Onderdonk

While the current interpreters of the Alamo are interested in continuing accuracy, if not for storytellers and parents that know the duty to keep our history, with all its tales of courage and heroism and providence, David Crockett could disappear from our collective memories, or be at risk of becoming one of our greatest villains. This is why we exist, to tell the tales and equip you to do the same.

  1. The Autobiography of David Crockett, by David Crockett
  2. Three Roads to the Alamo, by William C. Davis

Cane Ridge Revival, 1801

2019-08-05T15:24:53+00:00August 5, 2019|HH 2019|

“Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior;” —Titus 3:5,6

Cane Ridge Revival, August 6-12, 1801

There were still a few people living who remembered the “Great Awakening” of the 1740s when Jonathan Edwards, George Whitfield, Gilbert Tennant, Samuel Davies and other preachers witnessed the “outpouring of the Holy Spirit” in America. Since that time, the United States had come into being, George Washington had recently died, and multiple thousands of Americans had moved westward into Kentucky, Tennessee, and the Ohio Valley. Most church denominations had been unable to keep up with hardy frontiersmen due to a lack of men with formal theological training and the hardships of pioneer travel and settlement. Lack of spiritual sustenance or fellowship and the opportunity to hear preaching after years of benign neglect brought several thousand frontier people together at Cane Ridge, Kentucky in 1801. The spiritual dry spell in America was about to end in dramatic fashion, and prompt a new religious awakening that would last for decades, strike many different geographical areas, and spawn a plethora of counterfeit “revivals” and cults.

1819 print of a Methodist camp meeting in North America

Small congregations of Presbyterians, Baptists, and Methodists were scattered throughout the region. Some of the Scots-Irish and Scottish immigrants from Virginia and North Carolina had been able to retain some of their religious tradition, but vital “heart-religion” was not as apparent as in generations past. One of the practices that came from Scotland was known as “Holy Fairs,” more usually called “camp meetings” in America, in which multiple congregations would gather for a week or so to celebrate the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper. One such occasion called by frontier pastor James McGready, attracted eighteen Presbyterian and an unknown number of Baptist and Methodist preachers to Cane Ridge in Bourbon County Kentucky, in August of 1801. While there had been revivals of vital spiritual awakening in the late 1790s, no one had ever witnessed the scale and impact of what occurred on that occasion.

Courthouse of Bourbon County, named in honor of the French House of Bourbon in gratitude for King Louis XVI’s assistance during the American War for Independence

The Holy Fair, by Robert Bryden

People travelled many miles to attend the preaching and communion—some estimated between 20-25,000 attendees arrived to camp there for a week, till they ran out of food. The population of the Kentucky capital in Lexington was less than 2,000. Street after street of wagons and tents, full of families hungry for the Word of God, listened intently to the Gospel preaching. None who attended ever forgot the effect on thousands of hearers. Emotions ran high and physical reactions to conviction of sin took various forms among many. It was not uncommon for people to faint or fall into a stupor. Others danced and shouted, while some laughed with the relief from sin. Altogether, the Cane Ridge “revival” resulted in the founding of numbers of new churches of all three denominations. While their theology differed in various ways, the proclamation of the Gospel had a unifying effect during the awakening.

Cane Ridge Meeting House in 1934, the site of the revival in 1801 hosted by the local Presbyterian congregation that met in the building

The spiritual impact of Cane Ridge extended to other states, both west and east. Revivals in New York, including New York City, Pennsylvania, Ohio and across the South, occurred in following years. While the Presbyterians were initially the most active and successful church planters with men trained at Princeton and Hamden-Sydney, by 1820 the Methodists and Baptists had streaked past the “confessional” churches in adherents on the frontier, since their ministers, initially, needed only “feel the call” and not be formally educated in the original biblical languages, hermeneutics, or systematic theology. Their hardiness and appeal to the individual attracted many who lived with uncertainty and death daily. With the revivals came new denominations, founded by former Presbyterians and Baptists, as in the “Christian Church” of Alexander Campbell and Barton W. Stone, or the Cumberland Presbyterians. Cults, such as Mormons, Spiritualists, and Jehovah’s Witnesses evangelized alongside the traditional groups. A radical change from the historic Calvinism of the Scots and Scots-Irish produced a “revivalism” by rejecting the doctrines of Grace and replacing them with a more man-centered gospel, manifested in innovations in evangelistic meetings. The “Second Great Awakening” is a subject broad and deep with many historic convolutions, some of which survive to this day. Historians trace many of the “reform movements” of the 19th Century to the religious ferment set loose.

Barton W. Stone (1772-1844), American evangelist during the Second Great Awakening (c. 1790-1840)

Cane Ridge has gone down in history as the largest spiritual awakening, and perhaps the most far-reaching on the frontier, in American history.

  1. Revival and Revivalism: The Making and Marring of American Evangelicalism 1750-1858, by Ian Murray
  2. Holy Fairs: Scotland and the Making of American Revivalism, by Leigh Eric Schmidt
  3. A Religious History of the American People, by Sydney Ahlstrom

The Death of Maximilien de Robespierre, 1794

2019-07-29T16:39:00+00:00July 29, 2019|HH 2019|

“But he answered and said, it is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.” —Matthew 4:4

The Death of Maximilien de Robespierre,
July 28, 1794

Lawyers led the French Revolution. They were able to manipulate and inspire the mobs in the streets and co-opt some of the army to bring about political instability, revolt against the monarchy, and support for the destruction of private property, the power of the aristocracy, and the Church. Their revolutionary ideology sought to level all social classes and create in France a utopian nation that would bring about worldwide change, what historian Otto Scott deemed a “republic of virtue.” Eventually the creation of the perfect revolutionary society fell to the power of the “Committee of Public Safety,” led by Maximilien François Marie Isidore de Robespierre who would bring about the execution of thousands of innocent people before he himself fell victim to the guillotine on July 28, 1794.

Maximilien de Robespierre (1758-1794), French lawyer and politician, and leader of the French Revolution

The opening of the Estates General May 5, 1789 in the Salle des Menus Plaisirs in Versailles

Historians have argued for a smorgasbord of factors leading to the revolution, including royal despotism, ideas promulgated by French political philosophers, financial crisis in government and economic crisis among the poor (including the increase in the price of bread, the staple of the masses), and a desire to emulate the success of the Americans to establish an independent republic. In 1789, the Estates General was formed to represent the nobility, clergy and the 95% of the rest of the people (Third Estate). When Louis XVI closed their meeting hall, the Estates met on a tennis court and concluded to write a constitution in non-stop meetings.

King Louis XVI of France (1754-1792), the last king of France before the fall of the monarchy during the French Revolution

Fearing that the king would send a mercenary army to stop the proceedings, riots, looting, and killing swept through Paris, joined by some of the French guard. The mobs attacked and destroyed the Bastille, a fortress and jail which symbolized royal authority. Only a handful of prisoners were there to be liberated and the small garrison was massacred. Bastille Day, July 14, is still celebrated every year in France.

The storming of the Bastille on July 14, 1789 and the arrest of the French Governor of the Bastille Bernard René Jourdan Marquis de Launay (1740-1789)

Members of the nobility fled the country and the National Assembly abolished feudalism, taxes, and obedience to royal authority. Mobs and militias developed across France, eventually forming a revolutionary army to repel foreign troops on their borders and enforce the new “republic of virtue.” The Third Estate abolished the other two, executed the king and queen, and continued the restructuring of society using the death penalty for aristocrats, property owners, and anyone connected to royal authority. A period known as the “Reign of Terror,” led by the Committee of Public Safety, lasted from 1792 to July 1794, when about 17,000 death sentences were carried out across France, and perhaps ten thousand more died in prison. An uprising against the revolution in the Vendee region cost the lives of tens of thousands.

Last queen of France before the fall of the monarchy, Marie Antoinette (1755-1793) was executed by guillotine, some nine months after her husband met the same fate

The execution of King Louis XVI, January 21, 1793

While Robespierre, a leader of the Jacobin Party, led the Committee, most of the people that were publicly executed had their heads chopped off by the guillotine. A popular phrase at the time was “don’t get shaved by the national razor.” Surrounding nations massed on the borders of France, intent on stopping the slaughter. The levee en masse was instituted, placing virtually every male citizen in the army to defeat the coalitions of their enemies.

Pressure was put on Robespierre by the sans-culottes, the “urban workers” to punish anyone who opposed the interests of the poor, as defined by the poor (sans-culottes means “without pants,” i.e. the common people who couldn’t afford fashionable clothes). The Reign of Terror extended to the Roman Catholic Church, the largest land-owner in France and financed by the tithe; priests, monks and bishops were forced to join the revolution or be executed. Notre Dame Cathedral became “The Temple of Reason,” presided over by a “goddess” taken from the street. The new government renamed the months of the year to show their break with the past and to mark the beginning of a new humanist state, guided by reason and extended by war and terror.

Depiction of a typical “Sans-Culotte,” a term derived from the inability of the lower classes to afford culottes — the fashionable silk knee-breeches of the 18th-century nobility

The French Revolution became the template for future revolutions in the following centuries and, like them, “the revolution consumes its own children.” The Committee of safety was brought to its ignominious end by both those who did not think Robespierre was radical enough and moderates who decried the violence in the first place. In the end, he went to the guillotine also, after being shot through the jaw the day before in a failed suicide attempt.

The Fall of Robespierre in the Convention on 27 July 1794 depicts a wounded Robespierre falling to the convention floor

The French Revolution elevated man’s reason as ultimate, and attempted to discard the past with its hierarchies, hereditary kings, extravagances, and laws. The battle cry of the French Revolution was Liberté Égalité Fraternité. History has proven that liberty is the enemy of egalitarianism and collectivism. The end result is a powerful dictator, in this case, Napoleon Bonaparte. The war continues, as does the resistance.

Napoleon Bonaparte leads his troops across the bridge at the Battle of Arcole, November 15-17, 1796

The execution of Maximilien Robespierre, July 28, 1794

Edmund Burke, the great conservative parliamentarian of England wrote of the French Revolution:

“I should therefore suspend my congratulations on the new liberty of France, until I was informed how it had been combined with government; with public force; with the discipline and obedience of armies; with the collection of an effective and well-distributed revenue; with morality and religion; with the solidity of property; with peace and order; with civil and social manners. All these (in their way) are good things too; and, without them, liberty is not a benefit whilst it lasts, and is not likely to continue long.”

1. Robespierre: The Voice of Virtue, by Otto Scott
2. Citizens: A Chronicle of the French Revolution, by Simon Schaama
3. Fire in the Minds of Men: Origins of the Revolutionary Faith, by James Billington

Nero’s Persecutions Begin, A.D. 64

2019-07-23T13:05:48+00:00July 22, 2019|HH 2019|

“If the world hates you, you know that it has hated Me before it hated you.” —John 15:18

Nero’s Persecutions Begin, July 24, A.D. 64 (or 67)

The apostles had been forewarned by Jesus that persecution and martyrdom would be in their future. For thirty-one years the persecutions had been haphazard and typically—but not exclusively—inspired by Jewish leaders in different areas of the Roman Empire. In A.D. 64, the first systematic slaughter of Christians began, sponsored by the Roman emperor Nero Claudius Caesar Augustus Germanicus, the seventh Caesar, inaugurating what would become state-sponsored terrorism against Christians, periodically, through the ages.

Roman Emperor Nero Claudius Caesar Augustus Germanicus (A.D. 37-68)

The lives of Nero’s parents and grandparents were filled with scandals, immorality, and plots. His grandfather was, according to the Roman historian Seutonius, “a man in all the parts of his life ungracious and detestable,” a murderer, defrauder, an adulterer, a cheat, incestuous and treasonous. Nero’s predecessor Claudius was likely poisoned, and Claudius’s predecessor, Caligula, was stabbed to death by his Praetorian guard. Nero became Caesar at age sixteen, and would rule over the Roman Empire from 54-68 A.D. He was tutored and advised by the great Stoic philosopher Seneca. His beginnings were auspicious and did not publicly exhibit the savagery and excesses that would characterize most of his future rule. He bestowed favors and prizes to many, and provided cultural entertainments for the people of Rome. He fancied himself a musician and patron of the arts. Beneath the benevolent exterior, however, lay a perverted killer of ferocious potential.

Lucius Annaeus Seneca (c. 4 B.C. – A.D. 65) also known simply as Seneca, tutor and advisor to Nero

Nero ordering the murder of his mother, Agrippina

Nero’s mother Agrippina, daughter of a great general and sister, wife, and mother of emperors, became the real power behind the throne. She tried to control Nero’s life, and pursued sordid relationships with individuals close to him. She had the disconcerting habit of eliminating her enemies by poison. Five years after becoming emperor, Nero had his mother murdered. According to Tacitus, he also had his wife Octavia executed. Church historian Phillip Schaff wrote that Nero “heaped crime upon crime until he became a proverbial monster of iniquity.” The outrages he committed are beyond imagination. Some biblical historians believed Nero was the first anti-Christ of which Scripture speaks in the New Testament.

In mid-July of A.D. 64, a great fire swept through Rome, beginning among the retail stores around the circus maximus, destroying homes and temples; for almost a week it consumed many old structures of the city. The consensus of Roman historians claim that Nero was responsible for the setting of the fire in order to use the cleared areas to build his own “Golden House” and other new and better buildings—a sort of urban renewal by fire. No direct evidence links him to the event, but he used it for his own purposes (as modern politician Rahm Emmanuel said, “Never let a crisis go to waste”). Nero rushed to the area himself and gave money to victims from his own treasury and opened his house to the newly homeless. Besides a new palace, he built in the now burned-over district, a statue to himself, “the Colossus of Nero.” The cost of rebuilding Rome proved enormous, along with the taxes he levied to make it happen.

Roman coin (c. A.D. 64-66) showing Nero distributing charity to a citizen

According to Roman historian Suetonius (c. A.D. 69-122), many Romans believed that the Great Fire of Rome (July A.D. 64) was instigated by Nero to clear the way for his planned palatial complex, the Domus Aurea

Nero’s attempts to explain the disaster and deflect criticism of himself all failed until he declared that the fire had been started by the small Christian community in Rome. He initiated the first systematic state-sponsored persecution of Christians on July 24. Arrested, thrown to wild beasts, and crucified, the Christians were rounded up and sacrificed. While the persecution began in Rome, it spread to other provinces of the Empire. Already suspect for their sacramental rites and accused by the Jews of all sorts of evil practices, the Christians’ refusal to worship Caesar as a god brought charges of treason. Although the number of believers killed is unknown, it likely included the Apostles Paul and Peter.

The Christian Martyrs’ Last Prayer, by Jean-Léon Gérôme
depicts a generalized view of Christian martyrdom in ancient Rome

While Nero pursued artistic expression in various ways, his violent excesses, massacre of senators, and neglect of Rome in his later years brought about the withdrawal of Praetorian protection. He tried to commit suicide, but was likely murdered by one of his companions. The Senate declared him an enemy of the state. Most sources for the life and times of Nero are from the next generation of recorders, and all of them are in agreement about his depraved and bloody history. Persecution of Christians would continue among future Caesars from time to time, but the Church grew steadily and in all places of the Empire.