Students in most history classes expect to see images in their textbooks, at least as illustrations to liven up pages of text. They do not always look at those images, much less analyze them, historically. Our students think of themselves as visual experts because of the many film, television, and digital images they see each day. In my classroom, I use images to build bridges between their... Read More »
The tensions that evolve between traditional ideas and values and newly emerging ones are key to understanding a number of issues in world history, and never more so than when examining responses of Eastern states like Russia, Japan, and China to Western industrialization and incursions. Each of these societies faced serious dilemmas provoked by encounters with the West, and each structured... Read More »
Village priests served as community leaders in a variety of respects, including keeping a register of births, marriages, and deaths. One such curate, the abbé Lefeuvre, also included in his register impressions of life during the severe winter of 1709, which give a sense of the difficult and fragile lives of the poor in rural towns in the eighteenth century.
By 1915, Americans began debating the need for military and economic preparations for war. Strong opposition to "preparedness" came from isolationists, socialists, pacifists, many Protestant ministers, German Americans, and Irish Americans (who were hostile to Britain). One of the hit songs of 1915, "I Didn't Raise My Boy to Be a Soldier," by lyricist Alfred Bryan and composer Al Piantadosi,... Read More »
In 1789, with the collapse of old regime censorship as well as a sense of liberation from traditional moral constraints, printed libels against the Queen became both more common and more intense. An example of this greater intensity is this light opera, with raunchy lyrics set to popular tunes. Not intended to be performed, the pamphlet spoofs the Queen’s great interest in opera and her... Read More »
Few people remember Günter Schabowski. Schabowski, the spokesman for the East German Communist Party Politburo, played a vital role in the toppling of the East German Communist government in the fall of 1989. During a press conference on November 9, 1989, a reporter asked him about new travel regulations issued by the government that seemed to indicate the possibility of easier travel into... Read More »
Bread was the basic staple of most people’s diets, and variations in the price of bread were keenly felt by the poor, especially by women who most frequently bought bread in the marketplace. Women would sometimes protest against what they thought to be unjust price increases for bread in what were known as "bread riots." As this excerpt shows, these were not usually violent, nor did they... Read More »
This cartoon by the popular British caricaturist James Gillray depicts the British politician Charles James Fox as a sans–culotte. Wearing a cockade in his wig and a bandage on his forehead, the unshaven Fox raises his bloody left hand as he lifts his left leg to break wind. Notice his torn shirt, the bloody dagger in his belt, and the fact that he wears no pants. He sings the popular... Read More »
In this excerpt, Rainsford describes the divisive effects of the Declaration of Rights of the Blacks among the various racial/social groupings.