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CONSTITUTION OF THE YEAR III (1795)

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By mid–1795, dissatisfaction with the current state of affairs, particularly the extra–constitutional nature of the government, had become widespread. The Left demanded "bread and the Constitution of 1793" while those who had suffered under the Terror sought to "end the Revolution" by finishing off popular political activity in the sections that had led to continual uprisings, civil unrest in... Read More »

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Convention on the Rights of the Child

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Official interest in the rights of children has grown over the course of the 20th century. Urbanization and industrialization led reformers at the turn of the century to focus on child welfare and on children's rights as separate from those of adults. The American Congress responded by creating the U.S. Children's Bureau, the first federal agency in the world mandated to focus solely on the... Read More »

Conversations between the Catholic Church and the Polish Government

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Poland was unique among Warsaw Pact countries in the degree of influence retained by the Catholic Church. But the church was also viewed as a powerful competitor to the state, and its leaders were among the first to be monitored and harassed during periods of social unrest. It is for this reason that the meeting transcribed in this document is so remarkable: Church officials proposed church... Read More »

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Creeping Baby Doll Patent

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Strongly influencing the invention of Robert J. Clay's mechanized "Creeping Baby Doll" in 1871, were changing notions of childhood that fostered children's development.

Allowing babies to crawl on all fours as did Clay's doll reflected recent changes in childrearing practices. In Early Modern Europe and in early America, the association between crawling babies and the insane and animals... Read More »

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Cultural Contact in Southern Africa: Law, Alcohol Sale

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The following law suggests that slaves and Khoikhoi were considered particularly prone to alcohol addiction. There is some anecdotal evidence that this was a common stereotype held by Europeans at the Cape. Some scholars argue that alcoholism may indeed have been more prevalent among the Khoikhoi and African slaves because indigenous fermented drinks were not as strong as those brewed by... Read More »

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Cultural Contact in Southern Africa: Law, Slave Women and Children

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Although marriage was not forbidden between Europeans and slaves or other non-Europeans, it was quite rare and entailed a drop in social status for the European. Nevertheless, sexual relationships occurred—sometimes coerced, sometimes by mutual agreement. The children born to slave women by these relationships were seldom openly acknowledged by their fathers, and thus usually followed the fate... Read More »

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CULTURE: WEIGHTS AND MEASURES

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Among its many lasting contributions to French and western history, the French Revolution initiated the metric system as a more rational and universally applicable way of conveying weights and measures than the various systems in place across France prior to 1789. For the Directory, which opposed broader political participation and increased social benefits as goals, such cultural changes as... Read More »

Czecholslovak Description of "Vltava-89" Exercise

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Czechoslovak Defense Minister Milan Vaclavik wrote this report on the "Vltava-89" military training exercise conducted by Warsaw Pact forces in May 1989. The Warsaw Pact was the Eastern Bloc regional security organization founded in 1955 as a challenger to the US-led North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). The NATO-Warsaw Pact rivalry symbolized the heights of aggression between the United... Read More »

Czechoslovak Anti-Charter 1977

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In 1976, the government of Czechoslovakia arrested the Czech psychedelic rock band, the Plastic People of the Universe, for disturbing the peace. In the subsequent trials, the band members were convicted and sentenced to 8 to 18 months in prison. In response to the arrest of the band, a group of Czech artists, writers, and musicians, including Vaclav Havel, circulated a petition for their... Read More »

Czechoslovak Ministry of Interior Memorandum, "Information Regarding the Development of the Security Situation During the Period of the 17 November Anniversary"

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Despite the growing pressure for change in the autumn of 1989, Czechoslovak officials did not automatically view the November 17 commemoration as a major security risk. Unlike the other politically-charged anniversaries that had increasingly become beacons for protest, this date did not ideologically threaten communism. In fact, it had been officially recognized since World War II and in 1989... Read More »

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