Monday, September 11, 2017

Neptune Discovered

In the history of science, this discovery is important because the knowledge of a new planet preceded its actual sighting.  From the series which tells how this happened.

The explanation by Newton of the observed facts of the motion of the moon, the way he accounted for precession and nutation and for the tides; the way in which Laplace explained every detail of the planetary motions — these achievements may seem to the professional astronomer equally, if not more, striking and wonderful; but of the facts to be explained in these cases the general public is necessarily more or less ignorant, and so no beauty or thoroughness of treatment appeals to it or excites its imagination. But to predict in the solitude of the study, with no weapons other than pen, ink, and paper, an unknown and enormously distant world, to calculate its orbit when as yet it had never been seen, and to be able to say to a practical astronomer, “Point your telescope in such a direction at such a time, and you will see a new planet hitherto unknown to man” — this must always appeal to the imagination with dramatic intensity, and must awaken some interest in the dullest.

Read more:

Friday, September 8, 2017

Civil Forfeiture Came from a Strange Place

This article from Bloomberg View gives the history of the practice of Civil Asset Forfeiture.  This issue was recently in the news when the Attorney General rolled back Obama restrictions on the practice. 

This practice goes way back in history – even to the Middle Ages.  Read it here.

Note that there is a distinction between civil forfeiture and criminal forfeiture.  Also, civil forfeiture cuts out the owner of the asset (usually money) and makes the property itself guilty.  Property, unlike individuals, have no rights, so the government gets around all of that Bill of Rights stuff.

I give my own opinions of this issue in my history website.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Napoleon Crowned Emperor of France

French Revolution ends Kingdom; creates Empire.  In between there’s democracy, reign of terror, and dictatorship.  Pope presides at coronation ceremony. 

A smaller crown was immediately put upon the head of the Empress, who, being surrounded by her ladies, everything was done so quickly that nobody was aware of the substitution that had taken place. 

Read more:

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Gunpowder Plotters Executed

Yesterday ended our series on the Gunpowder Plot.  Had they succeeded the entire British establishment would have been blown up, including the King and his family, the Parliament, and the Lords. 

Read more:

Thursday, August 17, 2017

American History Landing Page

This has highlights of the history of the United States of America. Passages from the works of some of the greatest historians about the most important events are presented.

Some of the writers selected are Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, are Theodore Roosevelt.

Some of the events selected are Pilgrims Settle Plymouth, Declaration of Independence Signed, and Early Days of Baseball.

Find it here:

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Right-Wing Versus Left-Wing History Problems

Its that during different periods in the past the two sides have had different positions on the issues.  For example, in 1960 left wing politicians such as Rockefeller (R) and JFK (D) favored greater defense spending while more right-wing pols such as Nixon (R) did not.  One can cite many more examples.

Here’s the core of the problem.

As American civilization has grown, American government has not grown at the same pace.  The gaps between the size of government and the need for government has caused the problem.  During the 19th. Century government was smaller than was needed while in recent decades the government has been larger than needed. 

When did the government tax too much, regulate too much, and spend too much?  - And when did it do those things too little?  Different times, different answers.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Intellectual Origins of the Republican Party

The Republican Party was never a minor (third) party. In 1854 it simply replaced the Whig Party as the major party opposing the Democrats. The immediate cause of this was the Democrats’ Kansas-Nebraska Bill of that year which largely negated the Compromise of 1850. But this event alone could not have explained a sudden transformation of American politics of this magnitude.

So, what did cause all of this? The best contemporary explanation can be found in Abraham Lincoln’s first speech in his famous debate with the Kansas-Nebraska Acts chief author, Stephen Douglas.

“Under the Dred Scott decision “squatter sovereignty” squatted out of existence, tumbled down like temporary scaffolding.

Read more:

Sunday, August 13, 2017

The Gunpowder Plot

In 1605 Guy Fawkes and his co-conspirators planned the greatest act of terrorism of all time.  They waited months until England’s Parliament met.  When the King, the Lords, the Cabinet, the High Clergy, and well, everybody else was in one place, they planned to set the fuse. They placed enough barrels of explosives under Parliament to blow the whole shebang sky high.  Fortunately, one of the plotters sent a letter to a friend warning him to stay away.  That friend turned the letter in and that’s how the authorities discovered the plot.

Imagine the scene when the government officials first discovered the barrels of gunpowder and Guy Fawkes guarding them.  Talk about being caught red-handed!

Today History Moments begins a series on this:

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Historians Need to Produce More History

And less politics.  It seems that all of the history sites are talking about Trump instead of historical topics.  Take History News Network produced by George Washington University, for example.

Its mission is to cover the history field but hit the link above to see what it has become.  Virtually every article is about him.  Him.  That guy.

Authors are supposed to submit resumes together with their articles to ensure that they are authorities on the topics they submit.  What does that matter anymore when all of the articles resemble a newspaper op-ed?

Yes, I know that not all of the history sites are doing this.  And I admit that I produce political content from time to time, though pieces such as that Nancy Pelsosi Fact File is for education purposes only.  My Fact File pieces only list biographical information that is essential.  These and all current history posts by myself constitute only a tiny part of History Moments output.

My complaint isn’t that history sites produce some politics; my complaint is when the politics crowd the history content right out.

Nancy Pelosi Fact-File

Essential biographical information on the House Minority Leader. Fact-Files is a series in History Moments that gives historical information on people in the news. Non-partisan, non-sectarian, just the facts.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

I Will Teach Big History Class

From the Big Bang to the Final Blackout.  Looking forward to prehistory topics like dinosaurs.  Then early civilizations, Europe’s outsized influence on world civilization, and the Industrial Revolution.  People good and bad like Caesar, Napoleon, and Trump.

Then today’s major powers face the future.  Last future history – a contradiction in words?

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Comenius Modernizes Education

John Amos Comenius (1592-1671) is now generally recognized as the founder of modern education.

The chief work of Comenius, the Didactica Magna, was probably      finished about 1638, and was shown in manuscript to many persons at that time. Its ideas as to education were widely accepted, and its influence and that of its author spread rapidly over much of Europe.

It is in the department of method, however, that we recognize the chief contribution of Comenius to education. The mere attempt to systematize was a great advance. In seeking, however, for foundations on which to erect a coherent system, he had had to content himself with first principles which were vague and unscientific.

Read more:

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

My Favorite Social Media History

These are my go-to places.  What are yours?

Google Communities – History
Google Collections – History Moments *
Linked In Groups – History Enthusiasts and Practical History
Facebook Groups – History Group * and  World History
Pininterest Boards - History
Tumblr Blogs – Ancient History Encyclopedia
Twitter - @jacklemoine *

* I moderate this.

Monday, August 7, 2017

British History Landing Page

This has highlights of the history of Great Britain and the British Empire.  Passages from the works of some of the greatest historians about the most important events are presented. 

Some of the writers selected are Edward Creasy, Sir Walter Scott, are Kate Norgate.

Some of the events selected are Joan of Arc’s Trial and Execution, How the House of Commons Began, and The Boer War.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

First Battles of the Hundred Years War

Sluys in 1340 was the first major victory of the English Navy.  Then came the spectacular Battle of Crecy in 1346 which established the dominance of the English longbowman over the French knight.  Later in the war the French would employ combined arms tactics to neutralize the longbow.  History Moment’s series is from Froissart’s Chronicles.