By the eighteenth century the English recognized that a unique constitution had evolved from the period of their Civil War. Basically unwritten, rooted in the common law, this constitution would contribute to a remarkable period of political stability. In 1765 an English jurist, William Blackstone (1723-1780), would prepare a lengthy set of commentaries on the laws of England in which the process dramatically accelerated by the English Revolution was described:
Taking its cue from psychology, the twentieth century has put its emphasis on the role of the unconscious in human thought and action, on the non-rationality of much human behavior. Foremost among the thinkers responsible for this emphasis was Sigmund Freud (1856-1939), a physician trained in Vienna in the rationalist medical tradition of the late nineteenth century.
Philip’s son, Alexander III (the Great), belongs to legend as much as to history. Only twenty when he came to the throne, he loved war, politics, athletics, alcohol, poetry, medicine, and science. Within a dozen years he led his armies on a series of triumphant marches that won for Macedon the largest empire yet created in the ancient world. He began by crushing a Greek revolt led by Thebes, whose entire population he sold into slavery. Next he crossed into Asia Minor. He defeated the Persians at the river Granicus in 334 B.C. and took over the coastal cities of Ionia.
In the last two years of the war the Axis powers were on the defensive. Both in Europe and in Asia the Allies attacked with land forces along definite lines of march campaigns of the traditional kind.
But the way for these armies was made easier by two new factors in warfare: air power and modern propaganda, or psychological warfare. Air bombardment, at least until the atom bomb at Hiroshima, was never the perfect weapon that the prophets of air power had predicted.
At the height of the movement to gain the vote for women in the United States, Alice Duer Miller (1874-1942), an author and a feminist, compiled a list of all the reasons that were being given in newspaper editorials, by politicians, and in public debate, against allowing women to vote.
Noting that the arguments were directly contradictory, she wrote the following set of paired statements to show how the contending arguments canceled each other out.
Our Own Twelve Anti-Suffragist Reasons
1. Because no woman will leave her domestic duties to vote.
Spain was the only other state in western Europe with a claim to great power status. Sweden and the Dutch republic could no longer sustain the major international roles they had undertaken during the seventeenth century.
The Great Northern War had withered Sweden’s Baltic empire. The Dutch, exhausted by their wars against Louis XIV, could not afford a large navy or an energetic foreign policy. Still, Dutch seaborne trade remained substantial, and the republic settled down to a life of relative prosperity and decreased international significance.
Once more, however, as in the time of Dreyfus, the republican forces rallied to meet the threat, and once more, after the crisis had been surmounted, France moved to the left.
A difference in the wording of the liturgy, it is sometimes argued, caused the schism, or split between the Eastern and Western churches in 1054. The Greek creed states that the Holy Ghost “proceeds” from the Father; the Latin adds the word filoque, meaning “and from the son.” But this and other differences might never have led to a schism had it not been for increasing divergences between the two civilizations.
It is all very well to speak of relative anarchy before and after Charlemagne, but what was anarchy like and how were human relations governed? Did everyone just slaughter everyone else indiscriminately? What were the rules that enabled life to go on, however harshly?
Roman architecture used the Greek column, usually Corinthian, and the round arch, originated by the Etruscans; from this developed the barrel vault, a continuous series of arches like the top of the tunnel that could be used to roof large areas. The Romans introduced the dome, and a splendid one surmounts the Pantheon at Rome. Roman structures emphasized bigness: the Colosseum seated forty-five thousand spectators; the Baths of the emperor Caracalla accommodated thousands of bathers.