Commit to lifelong learning of history and culture with these big picture retrospectives, answering what if and comparative questions that focus in turning points of change. These posts are an antidote to the "tyranny of now" -- a cultural obsession with learning the latest news, much of it trivial, while many of us are completely … Continue reading Online Courses 1-16 Weeks in Slender Threads, Alternate History and Cultures
America's promise to nearly four million African American former slaves -- "Forty acres and a mule" in the famous words of Gen. William T. Sherman's Special Field Order No. 15, in early 1865, approved by President Abraham Lincoln -- was broken. The order designated 400,000 acres of land — "a strip of coastline stretching from Charleston, South … Continue reading What If Promise of Reparations for Slavery — ’40 Acres and a Mule’ — Was Kept?
The Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union was a central organizing principle for both countries from the mid-1940s (after the end of WWII) until the USSR collapsed in 1990. It was a bipolar world, full of proxy wars, a competition or race to introduce new weapons technology, to conquer space, over … Continue reading 1945 to Present. Cold Wars, Old and New: Turning Points. What Should Be Done?
After visiting ancient ruins and monuments, feeling that I time-traveled back thousands of years, I have often imagined what it would be like to time travel 2000 or 4000 years from now visiting ruins of the modern era. Instead of remnants of the Greco-Roman Empire, future students of history will be visiting relics from the … Continue reading 2500 BC to Today: Comparing, Contrasting Ancient and Modern Empires
There has always been a feeling of kinship between the United States and South Africa. “I came here because of my deep interest and affection for a land settled by the Dutch in the mid-seventeenth century, then taken over by the British, and at last independent; a land in which the native inhabitants were at … Continue reading 1700-2010 Comparing, Contrasting South African and US History
Journalists like to declare "revolutions" which turn out in the long run, with the perspective of history, not to be revolutions but at best evolutions or just small changes. The Reagan "Revolution" was supposed to dismantle Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal safety net. It didn't. Historians like to declare "turning points" in history: Abraham Lincoln's "Emancipation … Continue reading Turning Points in World History: Perspective Is Key
Russia was more advanced than America in the 1860s. It freed its serfs without civil war. Czar Alexander II was a wise reformer who believed in individual rights and was frequently compared to Abraham Lincoln. Tragically, he was assassinated, Russian government fee bureacratic, lost touch with the people, until the country boiled over into revolution … Continue reading 1860 to Present: Comparing Russian and American History
The decades 1900 to 1940 were filled with a large number of slender threads, regrets or "what if's" on the international stage that can overwhelm the student of history. The US domestic scene's slender threads mainly involve the biographies of the nation's domineering presidents during the period, Teddy Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, and Franklin Roosevelt. The … Continue reading 1900-1940 American What Ifs, Not Including World Wars Or International Events