This case study simulates the process of the extraordinarily quick (and often peaceful) overthrow of various communist regimes is Eastern Europe in 1989. The simulation provides a powerful experiential study of how dissent can quickly cascade through a group, leading to fast, dramatic change.
This activity includes guidance for simulating the Velvet Revolution, including discussion... Read More »
In late spring 1792, a group of militant journalists and section leaders began planning an uprising that they hoped would lead to the summoning of a new assembly for the specific purpose of rewriting the constitution to create a genuine republic—thereby eliminating the King altogether. They hoped to enlist activists from the Parisian sections and armed volunteer units from the provinces who... Read More »
George Orwell once wrote, "Every joke is a tiny revolution." In state-socialist societies that had (or have) totalitarian characteristics, individuals found clever ways to carve out areas of freedom for themselves. These may have been areas of social freedom (with family and close friends), physical freedom (at one's small garden cottage), or mental freedom (through humor). There were risks... Read More »
Poster criticizing the Stasi - the GDR secret police - prior to March 18, 1990 East German election in which voters overwhelmingly backed unification with West Germany. The red letters in the poster "GEGEN STARRSINN UND KORRUPTION" - "AGAINST PID-HEADEDNESS AND CORRUPTION" - spell out the name of the hated secret agency, and the number "18" alludes to the upcoming balloting.
[... Read More »
This graph shows us the average year of menarche, a female's first menstrual cycle (often considered the beginning of puberty), from 1860 to 1980 reported by adult female patients at maternity clinics in Norway. It also includes data from Oslo school girls that follow the same trend downward in age. The downward curve flattens around 1960 between the ages of 13 and 14. A graph like this helps... Read More »
Not uncommonly, revolutionary prints invoked excretory humor directed toward those priests who would not swear allegiance to the Revolution. Revolutionaries eliminated on their enemies; the latter might also receive enemas. Of course, in a world of chamber pots everyone got the message loudly and clearly.
Alexander Hamilton (1755–1804) represented the Federalist Party perspective on events in France. He, and they, supported the moderate phase of the Revolution, which they understood to be about U.S.–style liberty, but detested the attacks on security and property that took place during the Terror. In particular, Hamilton distrusted the popular masses. However, even he concedes how important the... Read More »
Autobiographical writing as a rich source for the exploration of European childhood and youth is self evident; in many cases, it is one of the most nuanced ways to understand historical actors' earliest experiences. Such is the case in Russia, where there emerged a new genre of writing on childhood and youth in the middle of the 19th century. Russian authors tended to paint bucolic portraits... Read More »
The nobleman Alexis de Tocqueville (1805–59) was a historian, social critic, and politician who wrote a vastly influential work entitled The Old Régime and the French Revolution (1856). Tocqueville worried that although the revolutionary legacy was still alive and well, liberty was no longer its primary objective. He believed, indeed, that it had been a casualty of how the French... Read More »