The United States Civil War and Reconstruction, 1861-1877 | The Modernization of Nations

The greatest test of the Federal Union was the war that broke out in 1861 after long years of sectional strife within the union between North and South. The Civil War was really an abortive nationalist revolution, the attempt of the Confederate (Southern) states to set up a separate sovereignty, as the southern Democrats lost political control at the national level.

The November Revolution | The Russian Revolution of 1917

The provisional government faced a crisis. Kerensky, now war minister, emerged as the dominant leader. He failed to realize that it was no longer possible to restore the morale of the armies. A new offensive ordered on July 1 collapsed as soldiers refused to obey orders, deserted their units, and hurried home to their villages, eager to seize the land. The soviets became gradually more and more Bolshevik in their views. Although the June congress of soviets in Petrograd was less than 10 percent Bolshevik, the Bolshevik slogans of peace, bread, and freedom won overwhelming support.

The Greeks Before the Persian Wars | The Greeks

Modern students have often derived their picture of Greek politics in general from the superb speech that Pericles, the most celebrated of the leaders of Athens, made in 431 B.C. over the Athenian soldiers killed in the first year of a great war against Sparta-as reported in the history of the war by the historian Thucydides.

Praising Athenian democracy. Pericles said that in Athens the law guaranteed equal justice to all, that talent and not wealth was the Athenian qualification for public service, that Athenians expected everyone to participate in public affairs.

Women of the Gentle Class

Robert of Blois, a thirteenth-century poet, wrote of the correct behavior for women “of the gentle class”.

En route to church or elsewhere, a lady must walk straight and not trot or run, or idle either. She must salute even the poor.

She must let no one touch her on the breast except her husband. For that reason, she must not let anyone put a pin or a brooch on her bosom.

No one should kiss her on the mouth except her husband. If she disobeys this injunction, neither loyalty, faith nor noble birth will avert the consequences.

The Second World War and Its Aftermath

World War II was, in many ways, a result of the flawed peace settlement at Versailles, though other causes, such as the Great Depression, also played a role.

The cold war following World War II was in some ways a continuation in another form of the war of 1939-1945, though it was also in part a reversion to the Western fear of Bolshevism so prevalent in the 1920s.

So troubled were international relations for the twenty years after 1919, and so closely in time did the second world war follow on the first, that the interval between the two is sometimes called the “twenty years’ truce.”

The Estates General, 1789 | The French Revolution

In summoning the Estates General Louis XVI revived a half-forgotten institution that he thought was unlikely to initiate drastic social and economic reforms. The three estates, despite their immense variation in size, had customarily received equal representation and equal voting power, so that the two privileged orders could be expected to outvote the commoners.

The Postwar Settlement | The Second World War

The devastation wrought by the war, including the war in the Pacific, greatly exceeded that in World War I: at least 50 million dead, more than half of them civilians, and more than $2,000 billion in damage.

Despite a sharply rising birth rate and vast programs of economic reconstruction, such losses could never be fully repaired. Moreover, new and terrifying problems faced the world. Atomic weapons, hydrogen bombs, and guided missiles made real the fear that a new general war might exterminate all life on this planet.

The Persistence of Revolution, 1820-1823 | Romanticism, Reaction, and Revolution

The revolutionary leaders of the post-Napoleonic generation remained firm for liberty, equality, and fraternity. The first two words of the great revolutionary motto continued to signify the abolition of noble and clerical privileges in society and, with few exceptions, laissez-faire economics. They also involved broadening civil rights, instituting representative assemblies, and granting constitutions, which would bring limited monarchy or possibly even a republic.

Comte and Positivism | The Industrial Society

It was Auguste Comte (1798-1857) who coined the term positivism. His recommendations for bettering the human conditions retained some of the utopian and messianic qualities of Saint-Simonian teachings.

Comte applied the term positivist to the third stage of humanity’s attitude toward the world. First, in the infant period of history, humanity was in the theological age, standing in awe and fear of nature and seeking to placate the gods that controlled it.