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History

The Self-Destructive Revolution and Saving the Future of the West

in History/US and Canada/World by

Reform has always been the death of revolution. Reform is what governments and leaders do to keep their heads attached to their shoulders. The principle behind this is obvious – if you give the people what they want, they won’t have to take what they want by force. Reform is a counter to change; gradual (sometimes so gradual as to be insignificant) change as opposed to any real alterations. For the most part, reform is good. Revolution can be sloppy, and if poorly executed, disastrous for people, nations and sometimes the world. There are countless situations (most recently the 2011 Arab Spring), where some degree of reform on the part of governments would have prevented copious loss of life. But sometimes revolution is necessary, to…

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Austria needs to stop trying to erase parts of its dark history

in Europe/History by

When I went to Auschwitz this summer I wanted to write a piece on the experience but just couldn’t think of anything to say, until I read that Hitler’s birthplace (an Austrian city called Braunau) is to be demolished by Austrian authorities in an attempt to prevent the site from acting as a focal point for Neo-Nazi ‘pilgrimages’ worldwide. This is a completely ridiculous solution, a futile attempt at addressing the symptoms of a decaying society. It’s almost as if the Austrian interior minister doesn’t realise that other much more important sites pertaining to Hitler exist. Should we knock those down to for the sake of crossing off one more stop on the neo-Nazis road trip? There is more than mere historical value in this…

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On Historical Facts and Why We Should Believe Them

in History by

The beautiful, humbling, and unlikely discoveries of past worlds and the people that created them are being bludgeoned by heavy-handed accusations. The latest trend in our obsessively empirical world is to resurrect the empty complaints of the post-modernists in order to eschew history as not a factual practice, diminishing it to the level of glorified literature and trivializing all that it has given to our culture and progress since its conception in fifth century B.C. Greece by Herodotus. Historians rarely address the philosophical grounds upon which they write and educate, but the more they are challenged the more they must begin to. We are obliged to stop ignoring the difficult questions that face our academic riches because it is these that make us doubt that…

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Western Elitism in History: Thinly Veiled Lying

in History/World by

In sixteenth century Korea, a naval genius called Admiral Yi changed the course of history almost single-handedly. The Japanese military leader Hideyoshi had made the decision to invade China to bring down the Ming dynasty and all that stood in his way was the militarily weak state of Korea. Having rejected the introduction of guns into their army years before, the Korean aristocrats that fought still used archers as their main form of attack. Their cannons were around one metre at largest and they had never updated their defensive walls to allow for the firing of these cannons at advancing troops from the ground. Their weakness showed when they were faced with noise and dust billowing around them as gunfire erupted and Japanese Samurai charged.…

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Life Without an MP: The Failure of UK Democracy

in History/UK by

In this article I will allude to the posts of Speaker of the House of Commons, but also those of the three Deputy Speakers who are subject to the same constraints. Unless stated otherwise, any argument made in this article for the Speaker also applies to the Deputy Speakers. Also note that ‘they’ can be a gender-neutral singular pronoun. The problem One of the current absurdities of the unwritten, ‘uncodified’ UK constitution is that the Speaker, who is strictly nonpartisan and presides over debates in the House of Commons, is an ordinary MP. The Speaker, currently John Bercow, is not allowed to participate or vote in debates and thus represent their constituents in Parliament. The Speaker is allowed to cast a vote in order to…

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The Nice Attacks: A Disproof of J.S Mill’s “On Liberty”?

in Europe/History by

Two days ago, a man in Nice drove a truck through a crowd killing 84 victims and injuring countless more. His actions have had wider repercussions than the ending these innocent lives, they have bought immeasurable pain to families and friends and hit of the French public with another collective loss. He has catalysed the unraveling of French liberality. Already there have been calls for all people under suspicion, but yet to commit acts that warrant arrest to be tracked more closely, even to be taken into custody. Muslims as a whole have been blamed, by some, for having a religion that perpetuates unhealthy radicalism, or that is not compatible with the West at all. Litigation and the government are the only elements that the…

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How History Won the Referendum for Brexit

in EU Referendum/History by

After only a few centuries of getting it wrong, we’d reached a position in Europe where we’d stopped fighting wars and started fighting over bendy bananas. Although the latter may sound pretty threatening, I can assure you that being unable to sell a banana of the incorrect curve gradient is far more enjoyable for all than medieval slaughter. But this week, Britain decided to give it all up for a floppy-haired ex-Mayor of London and his over-excited, purple-flag-waving colleague. So why was it that the 65+ generation were so keen to leave, when the downsides of a discordant Europe are most fresh in their memories.   To answer this question we must first look at the campaigns that were run. The Remain Campaign presented Gordon…

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The Case for Narrative History

in History by

It is easy to assume, in the modern world of the Internet and the instant transfer of information that narrative history is losing its relevance, as this technology: ‘Allows historians to reduce the narrative of their work and let the facts and arguments speak for themselves under the harsh scrutiny of the world academic stage’, but such an approach would be unfounded. History may have become more scientific than ever before, but this does not necessitate a departure from the time-tested narrative style. Narrative history is often dismissed as simple ‘stories’ – romanticized tales of the past designed to glorify national heroes or support the beliefs of a particular ideology. The alternative –the analytical style- may seem to be a modern, empirical and scientific approach…

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How Has Globalisation Affected Modern Historiography?

in History by

Each era faces its own unique challenges of historical objectivity, and the academic history from each period becomes very much a product of the political and social climate from which it emerges. One of the significant features of the modern world is globalization, defined by Steger as a set of social processes by which local issues become more heavily influenced by global actions as people become increasingly aware of the interconnections between the local and the distant. It is my opinion that our brand of modern history is laced with traces of globalization, just as Roman historiography was clouded by the story-telling rhetoric of Livy, Sallust and Tacitus or as Christian historiography was rich with moral lessons and godly interventions.   Globalization, and the technology…

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Parallels Between Roman and Modern Politics

in Europe/History by

Politics has always been an integral part of human society and no less so than in Roman government. In fact, ancient societies, such as Rome and Athens have been greatly influential in the structure of our politics today. For example, the Romans gave us the word ‘republic’, one of the main forms of governance in our modern world, coming from the Latin words res publica, literally meaning ‘public matters’. Athens gave us the great ideal of democracy, literally the ‘rule of the people’, which is the foundation of our modern government system. In fact, clear parallels can be made between ancient politics, particularly Roman politics that I will be looking at in further detail, and our modern politics. Firstly, there are some obvious parallels between…

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