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Hammurabi's Code

An extremely useful source for discussions of Mesopotamian government and society is the Babylonian document Hammurabi’s Code (circa 1780 BCE). One of the most influential codifications of law in ancient history, the text provides students with a concrete example of the expanding influence of centralized government on the personal and professional lives of the general population.

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Women's Travel Writing

Women’s travel writing, long considered the genre of novelists-manqués and second-rate writers, is a rich source for teaching world history.

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Dispatch from Angus Hamilton, London Times correspondent in Mafeking

I teach a course called Media and Empire that looks at how empire influenced the development of the British media (newspapers, radio, cinema, television). It also examines images of empire projected by the British media. An essential component of the course is a focus on the analysis of primary sources.

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Maasai Murran as Rebellious Youth (20th c)

A number of societies in Eastern Africa, including the Maasai, divide the male life-cycle into distinct stages: childhood; murranhood (or "warrior"); and elderhood. Age-set societies like the Maasai are perhaps unusually explicit in the way that they divide up the life cycle whereas other societies find different ways of socialising the young and managing generational tension.

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Festival of National Unity, 14 July 1939

Legacies of the Revolution

The powerful influence of the French Revolution can be traced in the reactions of those who witnessed the event firsthand and in the strong emotions it has aroused ever since. For some, the French Revolution was a beacon of light that gave a world dominated by aristocratic privilege and monarchical tyranny a hope of freedom.

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Progression of Napoleon’s Life

The Napoleonic Experience

The bare facts of the life of Napoleon Bonaparte stagger the imagination and rival the plots of the most fantastic novels. Born in 1769 in Ajaccio, Corsica, just as that island was passing from the hands of the Republic of Genoa to those of France, Bonaparte attended a French military school for impoverished sons of the nobility.

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Haiti During the Revolution

Slavery and the Haitian Revolution

Since the revolutionaries explicitly proclaimed liberty as their highest ideal, slavery was bound to come into question during the French Revolution. Even before 1789 critics had attacked the slave trade and slavery in the colonies. France had several colonies in the Caribbean in which slavery supported a plantation economy that produced sugar, coffee, and cotton.

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Map of Europe in 1789

War, Terror, and Resistance to the Revolution

One fault line that has divided inquiries into the Terror has been its connections to the democracy introduced in 1789. For some, the Terror had to occur, either to sweep away the remnants of the Old Regime or, from a more critical perspective, because the revolutionaries had inadvertently introduced authoritarianism with their seeming democratic principles.

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Map of Europe in 1789

Monarchy Falls

Although the monarchy had always struggled against elites over the definition of royal power, virtually no one could imagine France being governed without a king. At the outset of the Revolution, only a handful of citizens had even contemplated a republic.

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Women and the Revolution

Women participated in virtually every aspect of the French Revolution, but their participation almost always proved controversial. Women's status in the family, society, and politics had long been a subject of polemics.

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