Category Archives: Historical

Xenophobia — We’ve Been There Before

With the current concern about the security risks of immigrants and refugees, this is a good time to remind everyone that episodes of xenophobia (fear of foreigners) have happened periodically throughout our history. One example — when I was visiting Boston in April, I learned about NINA.  It’s an acronym that means “No Irish Need

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Happy Birthday Dorothea Lange

May 26th, 1895 was the birthday of documentary photographer Dorothea Lange.   She was born Dorothea Nutzhorn in Hoboken, New Jersey, in 1895, and is best known for her Depression-era work for the Farm Security Administration.  Her most famous photo was “Migrant Mother” (left) in 1936, but took many more that were just as hauntingly beautiful. 

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Pardoning Jefferson Davis

Civil wars a horrible, brutal ordeals that can scar for decades, if not centuries.   The Spanish Civil War was especially traumatic, and I’m beginning to doubt that Syria will ever be a viable political entity again. Which is another example of how unique our nation is.  We endured our own civil war, and yes, it

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Happy Birthday, William Shakespeare!

Actually, no one is quite sure when Shakespeare’s birthday was.  His life is largely undocumented; he left no personal papers.  But we do know he was baptized on April 26, 1564, so his birthday is traditionally celebrated on April 23rd. No one single person has had a greater impact on the English language, so much

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Real Fake News

With all the talk recently about which news is fake and which is real, I’ve found a real example of how fake news was used to win World War II.  Call it “real fake news.” If you were a German citizen during the period 1941 to 1943, you might have heard some very realistic-sounding shortwave

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Presidents Who Change Their Minds

I am a history nerd, and politics is a fascinating subject, so an article entitled “The Presidents Who Changed Course in Office” really piqued my curiosity. Certainly a lot can happen over the course of four to eight years — nationally, internationally, and in a president’s personal life.  As the article’s author Sean Braswell states,

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Who Was The Richest Man of All Time?

We are obsessed with wealth.  Virtually everyone in this country is familiar with the likes of Bill Gates and Warren Buffett.   Forbes magazine always garners attention with its list of the richest people in the world (https://www.forbes.com/sites/kerenblankfeld/2016/03/01/forbes-billionaires-full-list-of-the-500-richest-people-in-the-world-2016/#3de9d98d1897).  But who has been the wealthiest of all time? As you might imagine, compiling such a list

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How to Rate Our Presidents?

I just ran across an article published earlier in February that ranks the U.S. presidents according to a survey of 91 presidential historians as reported by C-SPAN.  This updates the last C-SPAN survey compiled in 2009. The best and the worst haven’t changed since that previous survey.  These historians consider the top presidents to be

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