The Civil Rights Era was a time of turbulence. Throughout the turmoil and conflict this time presented to the American public, four organizations formed and kept the new hope of the Civil Rights Movement alive. Playing a key role in the activities of the movement, these organizations—the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP)—helped run the various boycotts, protests, sit-ins, and demonstrations that history records during this vital era. Continue reading
I finished my master’s thesis on the diary of Almanzo Litchard. He guarded Washington, D. C. during the first year of the Civil War. During this time, he visited the Smithsonian, the White House, and Mount Vernon, met President Lincoln, and listened to Congressional debates. My research adds historical significance to his diary entries as well as telling his life story.
My book can be purchased here.
– Hannah S. Bowers
In 1906 Upton Sinclair shook the late-Victorian social culture with his muckraking novel, The Jungle. The conflict of his story revolves around the fortunes of Jurgis Rudkus, a young Lithuanian immigrant who comes to America with his fiancée and family in search of a better life. Rudkus soon finds himself working in the Chicago stockyards, and he is caught up in a ruthless political system which ultimately degraded and impoverished him. Sinclair’s descriptions of the meat-packing industry’s filthy killing-beds and fertilization process prompted a change to food hygiene laws in the United States. However, beneath the surface of the family’s story lies Sinclair’s attacks on the early twentieth century view about capitalism and corporate America. Sinclair seeks to change America through the symbolism, motifs, and themes of The Jungle.
Symbolism appears with the use of the stockyards, rotten meat, and the jungle image. The most important symbol is the animal pens and slaughterhouses of Packingtown which represent the plight of the working class. Just as animals are forced into pens and then killed, so too are immigrant workers forced into capitalism only to be slowly beaten down and destroyed. Rudkus knows that other immigrants have failed to get the demanding stockyard jobs, but he depends on his strength and health, a strategy that works until the long, hard years take their toll (23). Generations of immigrants were ruined by slaughterhouse work only to be replaced by newer, fresher immigrants. Continue reading
Absolutism–the idea that a king has absolute power given to him by God–appealed to many of the Reformation era monarchs. Many nations attempted absolutism to varying degrees. True absolutism succeeded in France but failed miserably in England.
French absolutism began with Henri IV who merely sought stability for his people after the horrible religious wars which had left France in a sad, depressed state. Cardinal Richelieu, however, used the relatively weak Louis XIII to develop his own absolutist power. Richelieu dabbled in the Thirty Years’ War, and through his political prowess France emerged as the greatest power in Europe for the seventeenth century. Richelieu’s cunning set the perfect stage for Louis XIV. Louis XIV, the so-called “Sun King,” claimed that he was the state. With the help of Mazarin, Louis XIV created a monarchy for himself that was rivaled by no other for absolute power. There was no questioning the king’s authority during Louis’ reign. France set the precedent which other European nations tried to follow. Absolutism succeeded in France because the monarch was extremely powerful and had the support of the Catholic Church. Continue reading
Niccolo Machiavelli, the great Renaissance philosopher of Florence, penned a persuasive treatise on how a ruler should govern his city-state. His book The Prince has become a foundational stone for political philosophy. It has been studied by philosophers, historians, professors, and students since its completion. The Prince’s political ethics, however, contradict several key Christian ethics on church-state relations, the duties of a ruler, and the duties of the people.
The Bible and The Prince differ regarding church-state relations. God’s original plan for government consisted of a theocracy with God as the ruling head and a prophet or a divinely-appointed leader as His spokesmen to the people. Moses, Joshua, and the judges of Israel are perfect examples of a theocracy. However, due to the sins of the people and their unwillingness to follow, God gave the nation of Israel a king to rule them and a high priest to meet their spiritual needs. Church and state were closely tied in the Old Testament. In the New Testament era, church and state were separate because the Romans had conquered Israel and put in place a pagan ruler. During the Middle Ages, the Catholic Church increased the ties of the church to the state through papal influence over kings. The Biblical mandate for church-state relations is a divinely-appointed ruler who leads the people, makes judgments based on the Bible, and prays ceaselessly for God’s help and wisdom. The heart of the king should be close to the heart of God who is the final judge of all the nations.
Eire – the enchanted land known for shamrocks, Gaelick lyrics, stone fences, and mischievious leprechauns who hide pots of gold at the end of rainbows – claims millions of people nationally who are spread throughout the world. Celtic music pervades modern society while phrases such as “Kiss me, I’m Irish” dominate t-shirts and baseball caps. In reality this island country, known as Ireland, plays a subtle, yet key, role in foreign affairs today.
The three most important cases of the 20th century are Engel v. Vitale, Brown v. Board of Education, and Roe v. Wade. First, as mentioned above, Engel v. Vitale took prayer out of thepublic school on the issue of the separation of church and state. Subsequent rulings such as Wallace v. Jaffree, Lee v. Weisman, and Santa Fe ISD v. Doe have followed the Engel precedentby limiting prayers not only by clergy but also by students as well. By eliminating prayers fromour public schools, America is withdrawing herself from the beliefs of the founding fathers. Ournation is rejecting God more and more each day. Engel v. Vitale was the crucial first steptowards such a downward spiral.
During the Civil War, executive power changed under Lincoln’s hand. A question that arose during this time was whether the constitution was adequate during war time. Lincoln believed it was and used his war powers. Some of the powers he used were calling for an army, calling for a blockade of the southern states, and additions to the army and navy. It is interesting to note that Lincoln never did declare war because he refuses to identify the South as a separate nation. Congress eventually approved of the president’s actions. One key issue that arose during the Civil War was how far government could infringe upon personal liberties. There was no real precedent for military control. Confiscation acts were passed by Congress which took away slaves and land through court proceedings. Lincoln suspended habeas corpus, extended the federal judiciary, and offered military courts for civilian trials.
Bonjour, soyez bienvenus à la France — le terrain de la Tour Eiffel et de la belle ville de Paris. Hello, welcome to France — the land of the Eiffel Tower and the beautiful city of Paris. Known best for its fine wines and fresh-baked baguettes, France has so much more to offer the everyday tourist. Thousands of tourists flock to the country year after year to see the famous palace of Versailles and the beautiful Cathedral of Notre Dame. The land of Joan of Arc captures the hearts of many people through its rich history dating back to the time of the Roman Empire. Here in this land of harmonious language and rolling farmlands there is something to be found for everyone — all wrapped in up in the country called France.
France, the largest country in Western Europe, is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean, the Mediterranean Sea, Belgium, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, Monaco, Spain, and Switzerland. The country with its 210,668 sq. mi. has beautiful sloping hills and flat plains with a few mountain regions such as the Pyrenees and the Alps. These high mountain ranges usher in cooler temperatures by trapping the clouds and bringing rain. The climate in France is a humid temperate climate with mild winters and warm summers with the exception of the Mediterranean coastline where the weather is much hotter (Central Intelligence Agency). The temperatures range from an average of 61oF in July to 45oF in January with an average rainfall of 32 inches; near the Mediterranean the temperatures range from 45oF to 73oF with an average rainfall of 23 inches (Noin).
The Magna Carta is toasted as one of the great initial documents which have led many societies, especially America, toward a democratic state. The story behind the Magna Carta is rarely told but is necessary for the understanding of why John signed this revolutionary document. In reality, political problems led to the signing of the Magna Carta.
First of all, John of England had been fighting Philip II of France. John was guilty of an indiscretion and refused to be accountable to Philip. John’s wars in France cost him all of his French holdings and many of his nobles had to choose their French holdings over their English lands.