Wednesday, March 13, 2019

The Hartford Convention

1814: Anti-war Federalists hold convention proposed amendments to the US Constitution but squelched move to secede from the United States. When Convention’s committee met with President Madison, the peace treaty had arrived.

Pictured is the State House in Hartford, Conn. where Convention was held.

The series on the Hartford Convention ended yesterday.

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

My Class Session on 1826-1835

Cold weather cancelled today’s class. One of my topics would have been the world’s creators (visual arts, performing arts, and literature) that were active during this decade. I have my idea of noteworthy writers and artists to include but since I have a “free day”, I wonder who the community thinks ought to be included. Who do you think are noteworthy people working during this period?

Monday, January 28, 2019

Career of Mary, Queen of Scots

1561-1587: Queen of France by marriage, then Queen of Scotland in her own right. She next married a lordling; then his murderer. She escaped to England and eventually beheaded by Elizabeth I.

From the series: “One single slip she made in the whole course of her defense, but none could have been more unluckily characteristic and significant.”

Series on Career of Mary, Queen of Scots ended yesterday.

Sunday, January 27, 2019

Japan Reopens Relations With Outside World

1854: Commodore Peary’s Successful Diplomatic Mission. This is the dramatic story how centuries long isolation ended. This began the process of a new global power emerging. At the time, the decision balanced on the edge of the knife. example,

"The proposition to have consular agents residing in Japan evidently gave great anxiety to the commissioners."

From Japan Reopens Relations With Outside World.

Thursday, January 24, 2019

USS Kearsarge Defeats CSS Alabama

1864: The US Navy had hunted the notorious Confederate raider the CSS Alabama for months. Finally, of the coast of Normandy the USS Kearsarge caught up to it. The destruction of the Alabama became one of the most memorable naval battles of the Civil War.

“On Sunday, in the morning, being June 19th, the Alabama steamed out of Cherbourg harbor and steered straight to meet the Kearsarge.” - From The Destruction of the Alabama.

Thursday, January 10, 2019

China's Awakening

1905: Print industry and education revolutionized Chinese society. Series told from the Chinese point of view by contemporary Chinese authors. Series ended yesterday.

Sun Yat-sen Pictured. More Oriental History

Sunday, December 30, 2018

The Discovery of Gravity

1666: Legend is that Isaac Newton was inspired to study falling objects by an apple falling from a tree and hitting him. The significance was an overall theory of gravity and the relationship of mass and force. His big book was the Principia Mathematics.

Pictured is a tree from seed that descended from the legendary tree of the dropped apple.

Series on Discovery of Gravity ended a couple of days ago.
More Science History.

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Merry Christmas, 2018

Washington Irving first published this essay on “old time Christmas” in England. Then he collected it in his famous Sketchbook.

"There is nothing in England that exercises a more delightful spell over my imagination than the lingerings of the holiday customs and rural games of former times. [Snip] The traditionary customs of golden-hearted antiquity, its feudal hospitalities, and lordly wassailings, have passed away with the baronial castles and stately manor-houses in which they were celebrated. They comported with the shadowy hall, the great oaken gallery, and the tapestried parlor, but are unfitted to the light showy saloons and gay drawing-rooms of the modern villa."

Monday, December 24, 2018

First Transcontinental Railroad Completed

1869: ’69 has been a great year for technology. In 1869, the first railroad across the North American continent (north of Mexico) was completed. So was the Suez Canal. In 1969 the first manned spacecraft landed on the Moon.

As for the railroad story, writers and public speakers of every class have well-nigh exhausted their resources of expression in detailing the attributes of the project, its promotion, accomplishment, and effects.

From the series at History Moments

More Economic History

Saturday, December 22, 2018

Bismarck Consolidates German Empire

Berlin in 1890
1881-1890: On the map Germany was unified after centuries division but under the surface divisions of the people remained. How to unify the German people in their hearts and minds? Military/police methods would not solve the problem alone.

This series tells the story of how Otto von Bismarck addressed the problem.  It ended just a couple days ago.

More German History at

Thursday, December 20, 2018

Britain Tightens Control of Egypt

1885: In this time two of the most ancient and glorious civilizations had come under the control of Great Britain: India and Egypt. Like those ancient natives of those storied lands, expansion beckoned. This is the story not only of British Empire but how Egypt led to expansion up the Nile.

Nominally, the government was stilled headed by legitimate monarchs. The British exercised control through them.

Read more:

More Mideast History at

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Canadian Front in the War of 1812

1812: The USA began the war chiefly to conquer Canada.  The US army performed below the bar set by the Revolution while the British/Canadians performed better. Even though the victories of the last year of the war, the US did not have the strength to offset the reverses of the first year. Moreover, by 1814, the British navy had blockaded the US coastlines. When the peace treaty was received in Washington, President Madison was relieved that the USA did not need to make territorial concessions.

From Canada Versus USA series at History Moments
More Canadian History at the Canadian History website

Monday, December 17, 2018

Japan Repels Mongols Podcast

1281: After conquering most of Asia, the Middle East, and China, the Mongols, under their greatest leader, Kublai Khan, turned east to the island nation of Japan. This podcast says how the Horde faced the seas and islands beyond.

Listen to the Podcast:

Sunday, December 16, 2018

Major Wars of My 7 Decades Course

1806-1875: What major wars occurred during these years? January begins my class. Among topics will be military history.

Napoleonic Wars, War of 1812, Greek Independence, Latin-American Independence Wars, Texas Independence, Mexican-American War, Chinese Opium Wars, Crimean War, Indian Sepoy Mutiny, American Civil War, Franco-Prussian War, American Indian Wars. Anything I left out?

More Military History at

Saturday, December 15, 2018

Dante Composes The Divine Comedy

1300-1318: The reason his tour of Hell, Purgatory, and Heaven is so interesting to read, even now, is that Dante himself led such an interesting life. He was immersed in the life of his Italy and he used that in his poems.

I wonder what a contemporary American would write in his version of the divine afterlife. Where would you place today's celebrities? --Donald Trump? Meghan Marckle? or …?

Series on Dante Composes The Divine Comedy ended this week.

The Cultural History website here.