Although this site has been created primarily for my students, everyone is welcome. In these pages you'll find many sources of information.
The Online Resources section below has numerous links that are of current interest. For more links to material on just about any topic you're looking for, use the E-Links button above. Linked off of that page are pages containing hundreds of links to sites covering a number of topics.
Visit often ... I update frequently! Hope you enjoy the site!
Quotes of the Month
If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.
In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.
~Martin Luther King Jr
News of the Month
The protests happening in cities across America are not completely unfamiliar, harkening back to the civil rights movement of the mid-20th century, but they are also reflective of today’s very different age and some unique factors in play. From the around-the-clock broadcasting of marches and demonstrations on social media, to President Donald Trump’s provocative response to the unrest, it’s difficult to find an exact comparison in the country’s past to what’s occurring now. At the same time, the current protests continue a long tradition for African-Americans of galvanizing the nation and those outside their communities into action against racial injustice. This modern movement is part of a trajectory that goes back decades.
What’s unprecedented is the context. First, is the pandemic that has left people scared, pent-up and unemployed, and the way it has disproportionately affected people of color. Second, is the current administration, which is the most openly hostile since the Civil War. No other president in modern history has used quite the same anti-protest rhetoric employed by Trump, who has threatened military action against rioters and looters in recent days. In the civil rights era, in comparison, American leaders were worried about the country’s image abroad – there was a push to try to support some civil rights reform, to show that the US was welcoming of people of different backgrounds.
The current protests are reminiscent of the demonstrations that occurred in the US following the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. in 1968. President Lyndon Johnson called out the National Guard to quell the unrest, but he also oversaw the passage of the Fair Housing Act within just seven days of King’s assassination. In the current political climate, it is hard to imagine Congress and the White House coordinating any sort of reform legislation.
Another analogue to the current situation was the Los Angeles riots in 1992, which also stemmed from the widely broadcast footage of police brutalizing a black man, in that case Rodney King. Compared to three decades ago, American media today is much more saturated with such imagery, thanks to the ubiquity of cell phone cameras and social media. The evolution of technology likely also helped the rapid mobilization of the protests. Every state now has had protests rejecting police brutality and reaffirming the value of black lives.
The mostly leaderless movement of today is also in contrast to the civil rights era, where black voices like King and Malcolm X could command attention from millions. The virtue of that is you can’t kill the movement by stopping a leader. But the decentralized nature of the protests today also may be making it harder for protesters to coordinate and specify their goals. While demonstrators have opposed police brutality, racism and the systemic oppression of black Americans, there’s been no clear list of demands representing the entire movement. Protesters today face the same challenge that protesters of the 1960s faced: how to sustain dynamic grassroots organizing while also allowing for the emergence of new spokespersons who can clarify the broader movement.
But there are also no signs yet that the current protests are subsiding. The uprisings that took place in Watts, Newark, Detroit and DC in the 1960s, in comparison, ended after four or five days, as did the LA riots of the 90s. Unless national leaders take concrete steps to encourage dialogue and conciliation, the upheaval we’re witnessing will likely ebb and flow at least through the November election.
Also noteworthy about the current protests is that they are attracting supporters who normally might be on the sidelines, a larger and more diverse cross-section of society than ever before. Historically, when people who are non-activists get involved in racial justice causes, it has led to mass movements. It’s difficult to apply any historical outcomes to the current situation, however, given the unique conditions of 2020. This year seems to be full of unprecedented circumstances.
Then and Now
07/01/1862 - The first federal polygamy legislation was enacted.
07/01/1863 - The Civil War battle of Gettysburg began.
07/01/1898 - During the Spanish-American War, Theodore Roosevelt and his Rough Riders waged a victorious assault on San Juan Hill in Cuba.
07/01/1943 - 'Pay-as-you-go' income tax withholding began.
07/01/1944 - Delegates from 44 countries began meeting at Bretton Woods, NH, where they agreed to establish the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.
07/01/1946 - The US exploded a 20-kiloton atomic bomb near Bikini Atoll in the Pacific.
07/01/1963 - The US Post Office first began using Zip Codes.
07/01/1968 - The US, Britain, the Soviet Union and 58 other countries signed the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.
07/01/1991 - President GHW Bush nominated Clarence Thomas to the Supreme Court ... and the battle began!
07/01/1997 - Hong Kong reverted to Chinese rule after 156 years as a British colony.
07/02/1776 - The Continental Congress passed a resolution saying that these United Colonies are, and of right, out to be, Free and Independent States.
07/02/1926 - The US Army Air Corps began.
07/02/1962 - Ernest Hemingway, the winner of the 1954 Nobel Prize in literature, died at 62 of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
07/02/1964 - President Lyndon Johnson signed a sweeping civil rights bill.
07/02/1976 - The Supreme Court ruled the death penalty was not inherently cruel or unusual.
07/02/2020 - World UFO Day
07/03/1608 - Samuel de Champlain founded the city of Quebec.
07/03/1775 - General George Washington took command of the Continental Army at Cambridge MA.
07/03/1930 - Congress created the US Veterans Administration.
07/03/1962 - Algeria became independent after 132 years of French rule.
07/03/1971 - Jim Morrison died in Paris. The official cause of death was a heart attack.
07/03/2020 - Festival of Cerridwen – Wicca, Celtic
07/03/2020 - St Thomas Day – Christian
07/04/1776 - The Continental Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence.
07/04/1802 - The US Military Academy officially opened at West Point NY.
07/04/1831 - Dr. Samuel Francis Smith, a Baptist minister in Boston wrote America. He scribbled his original words to a melody he found in a German songbook not realizing the tune was that of the British national anthem. Hours later, the congregation of Boston's Park Street Church sang it for the first time.
07/04/1826 - Thomas Jefferson, author of the Declaration of Independence, died at Monticello VA.
07/04/1826 - John Adams died in Quincy MA.
07/04/1884 - France presented the Statue of Liberty to the US as a gift.
07/04/2020 - Happy Independence Day!
07/04/2020 - Asalha Puja (Dharma Day) – Buddhist
07/05/1811 - Venezuela became the first South American country to declare its independence from Spain.
07/05/1865 - William Booth founded the Salvation Army in London.
07/05/1946 - The bikini made its debut during an outdoor fashion show at the Molitor Pool in Paris.
07/05/1975 - Arthur Ashe became the first black man to win a Wimbledon singles title as he defeated Jimmy Connors.
07/05/1984 - The Supreme Court weakened the 70-year-old "exclusionary rule," deciding that evidence seized with defective court warrants could be used against defendants in criminal trials.
07/05/2020 - Guru Purnima or Vyasa Purnima – Hindu
07/06/1854 - The first official meeting of the Republican Party took place in Jackson MI.
07/06/1923 - The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics formed.
07/06/1933 - The first All-Star baseball game took place at Chicago's Comiskey Park. The American League defeated the National League 4 to 2.
07/06/1945 - President Truman signed an executive order establishing the Medal of Freedom.
07/06/1967 - The Biafran War erupted. The war lasted over two years and claimed over 600,000 lives.
07/06/2020 - International Kissing Day
07/06/2020 - Birth of the Dalai Lama – Buddhist
07/07/1865 - Officials hanged four people in Washington for conspiring with John Wilkes Booth to assassinate President Lincoln.
07/07/1898 - The US annexed Hawaii.
07/07/1958 - President Eisenhower signed the Alaska statehood bill.
07/07/1981 - President Reagan announced he was nominating Arizona judge Sandra Day O'Connor to become the first female justice on the US Supreme Court.
07/07/2020 - World Chocolate Day
07/08/1663 - King Charles II of England granted a charter to Rhode Island.
07/08/1856 - Charles Barnes of Lowell, Massachusetts patented the first machine gun.
07/08/1889 - The Wall Street Journal was first published.
07/08/1947 - The US Army swore in its first women recruits.
07/08/1950 - General Douglas MacArthur became commander-in-chief of UN forces in Korea.
07/09/1872 - John Blondell of Thomaston MN patented the doughnut cutter.
07/09/1893 - Doctors performed the first successful open-heart surgery.
07/09/1896 - William Jennings Bryan delivered his famous Cross of Gold speech at the Democratic national convention in Chicago.
07/09/2020 - Martyrdom of the Bab – Baha’i
07/10/1850 - Vice President Millard Fillmore assumed the presidency following the death of President Taylor.
07/10/1919 - President Wilson personally delivered the Treaty of Versailles to the Senate and urged its ratification.
07/10/1991 - Boris Yeltsin took the oath of office as the first elected president of the Russian Republic.
07/10/1992 - A federal judge in Miami sentenced former Panamanian leader Manuel Noriega, convicted of drug and racketeering charges, to 40 years in prison. The sentence was later cut to 10 years.
07/11/1533 - Pope Clement VII excommunicated England's King Henry XIII.
07/11/1798 - A congressional act formally reestablished the Marine Corps and created the Marine Band.
07/11/1864 - Confederate forces led by General Jubal Early began an abortive invasion of Washington DC, turning back the next day.
07/11/1977 - The Medal of Freedom was awarded posthumously to the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr.
07/11/2020 - World Population Day
07/12/100BCE - Roman Dictator Julius Caesar was born.
07/12/1817 - Naturalist-author Henry David Thoreau was born in Concord MA.
07/12/1862 - Congress authorized the Medal of Honor.
07/12/1881 - William H. Bonney Jr., aka Billy the Kid, was shot and killed by Sheriff Pat Garrett in Fort Sumner NM.
07/13/1960 - John Kennedy won the Democratic presidential nomination at his party's convention in Los Angeles.
07/13/1977 - A blackout lasting 25 hours hit the New York area. (There were a lot of kids born 9 months later!)
07/14/1798 - Congress passed the Sedition Act making it a federal crime to publish false, scandalous or malicious writing about the US government.
07/14/1933 - The German government outlawed all political parties except the Nazi Party.
07/14/1958 - The army of Iraq overthrew the monarchy.
07/15/1606 - Dutch painter Rembrandt was born.
07/15/1870 - Georgia became the last Confederate state readmitted to the Union.
07/15/1964 - Senator Barry Goldwater won the nomination for president at the Republican national convention in San Francisco.
07/15/1998 - The Congressional Budget Office estimated federal surpluses of $1.55 trillion over the next decade. (My, how times have changed!)
07/16/1790 - The District of Columbia became the seat of the US government.
07/16/1918 - The Bolsheviks executed Russian Czar Nicholas II and his family.
07/16/1945 - The US exploded its first experimental atomic bomb in the desert near Alamogordo NM.
07/16/1951 - JD Salinger's Catcher in the Rye was first published.
07/16/1964 - In accepting the Republican presidential nomination in San Francisco, Barry Goldwater said "extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice." Does anyone still believe that?
07/16/1979 - Saddam Hussein became president of Iraq.
07/17/1821 - Spain ceded Florida to the US.
07/17/1945 - President Truman, Soviet leader Josef Stalin and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill began meeting at Potsdam in the final Allied summit of WWII.
07/17/2020 - World Emoji Day
07/18/64CE - The Great Fire of Rome began.
07/18/1947 - President Truman signed the Presidential Succession Act, which placed the speaker of the House and the Senate president pro tempore next in the line of succession after the vice president.
07/18/1969 - Ted Kennedy drove off the Dike Bridge killing Mary Jo Kopechne. He received a two-month suspended sentence for leaving the scene of the accident.
07/19/1848 - A pioneer women's rights convention opened in Seneca Falls, NY.
07/19/1941 - British Prime Minister Winston Churchill launched his "V for Victory" campaign in Europe.
07/19/1969 - Apollo 11 and its astronauts, Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins, went into orbit around the moon.
07/19/1979 - The Nicaraguan capital of Managua fell to Sandinista guerrillas two days after President Anastasio Somoza had fled the country.
07/19/1993 - President Clinton announced a compromise allowing homosexuals to serve in the military if they refrained from all homosexual activity ... the "don't ask, don't tell" policy. It probably should have been called "don't ask, don't act."
07/19/2020 - National Ice Cream Day
07/20/1861 - The Congress of the Confederate States began holding sessions in Richmond VA.
07/20/1881 - Sioux Indian leader Sitting Bull, a fugitive since the Battle of the Little Big Horn, surrendered to federal troops.
07/20/1942 - The first detachment of the Women's Army Auxiliary Corps, later known as WACs, began basic training at Fort Des Moines IA.
07/20/1944 - An attempt by a group of German officials to assassinate Adolf Hitler with a bomb failed.
07/20/1969 - Apollo 11 astronauts Neil Armstrong and Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin became the first men to walk on the moon.
07/21/1861 - The South won the first Battle of Bull Run at Manassas VA.
07/21/1925 - The Monkey Trial ended in Dayton, TN with John Scopes convicted of violating state law for teaching Darwin's Theory of Evolution. The conviction was later overturned.
07/21/1949 - The US Senate ratified the North Atlantic Treaty ... which created NATO.
07/21/1954 - France surrendered North Vietnam to the Communists.
07/21/1980 - Draft registration began in the US for 19- and 20-year-old men.
07/22/1934 - Federal agents shot John Dillinger to death in Chicago.
07/22/1937 - The Senate rejected President Roosevelt's proposal to add more justices to the Supreme Court.
07/22/1975 - The House joined the Senate in voting to restore the American citizenship of Confederate General Robert E. Lee.
07/22/2020 - National Hot Dog Day
07/23/1846 - Protesting slavery and the US involvement in the Mexican War, Henry David Thoreau refused to pay his $1 poll tax and the Concord MA constable jailed him. This experience moved him to write Civil Disobedience.
07/23/1904 - Charles Menches invented the ice cream cone during the Louisiana Purchase Exposition in St. Louis.
07/23/1914 - Austria-Hungary issued an ultimatum to Serbia following the killing of Archduke Francis Ferdinand by a Serb assassin. The dispute led to WWI.
07/23/1979 - Ayatollah Khomeini banned Rock and Roll music in Iran.
07/23/2020 - Birthday of Haile Selassie I – Rastafarian
07/24/1929 - President Hoover proclaimed the Kellogg-Briand Pact, which renounced war as an instrument of foreign policy.
07/24/1946 - The US detonated an atomic bomb at Bikini Atoll in the Pacific in the first underwater test of the device.
07/24/1974 - The Supreme Court unanimously ruled that President Nixon had to turn over subpoenaed White House tape recordings to the Watergate special prosecutor.
07/24/2020 - Pioneer Day – LDS
07/24/2020 - Chokhor Duchen – Buddhist
07/25/1593 - France's King Henry IV converted from Protestantism to Roman Catholicism.
07/25/1952 - Puerto Rica became a self-governing commonwealth of the US.
07/25/2020 - Papa Ogou (St Jacques le Majeur) – Voudon
07/26/1775 - Benjamin Franklin became Postmaster-General.
07/26/1947 - President Truman signed the National Security Act, creating the Department of Defense, the National Security Council, the Central Intelligence Agency and the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
07/26/1953 - Fidel Castro began his revolt against Fulgencio Batista with an unsuccessful attack on an army barracks in eastern Cuba. Castro ousted Batista in 1959.
07/26/1990 - President GHW Bush signed into law the Americans with Disabilities Act.
07/26/2020 - Parents’ Day
07/26/2020 - Gran'Dlai et Gran'Aloumandia (Sainte Anne) – Voudon
07/27/1794 - French revolutionary leader Maximilien Robespierre was overthrown and placed under arrest. He was executed the following day.
07/27/1953 - The Korean War armistice was signed at Panmunjom, ending three years of fighting.
07/27/1974 - The House Judiciary Committee voted to recommend President Nixon's impeachment on a charge that he had personally engaged in a course of conduct designed to obstruct justice in the Watergate case.
07/27/2020 - Korean War Veterans Armistice Day
07/28/1868 - The 14th Amendment to the Constitution, guaranteeing due process of law, took effect.
07/28/1945 - A US Army bomber crashed into the 79th floor of New York's Empire State Building, killing 14 people.
07/28/2020 - The Hajj begins at sunset (through 08/02) – Muslim
07/29/1030 - The patron saint of Norway, King Olaf II, died in battle.
07/29/1890 - Artist Vincent van Gogh died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound in France.
07/29/1958 - President Eisenhower signed the National Aeronautics and Space Act, which created NASA.
07/29/2020 - Maitresse Silverine – Voudon
07/29/2020 - Waqf al Arafa begins at sunset – Muslim
07/29/2020 - Tisha B'av begins at sunset – Judaism
07/30/1729 - The city of Baltimore was founded.
07/30/1885 - Jean Francois Gravelet stepped out over Niagara Falls for the first tightrope walk over the famous waterfall. She did it on a 3" rope stretched 1,166 feet.
07/30/1942 - President Roosevelt signed a bill creating a women's auxiliary agency in the Navy known as the WAVES (Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service).
07/30/1965 - President Johnson signed into law the Medicare bill ... which went into effect the following year.
07/30/2020 - Eid al-Adha, Feast of the Sacrifice, begins at sunset – Muslim
07/31/1777 - The Marquis de Lafayette, a 19-year-old French nobleman, became a major-general in the American Continental Army.
07/31/1919 - Germany adopted its Weimar Constitution.
07/31/1991 - President GHW Bush and Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev signed the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty in Moscow.
Online Resource Links
What ISIS Really Wants: The Islamic State is no mere collection of psychopaths. It is a religious group with carefully considered beliefs, among them that it is a key agent of the coming apocalypse. Here’s what that means for its strategy and for how to stop it | ISIS Claims Responsibility, Calling Paris Attacks First of the Storm | Syria Iraq: The Islamic State Militant Group | Isis: The Inside Story | Frontline: The Rise of ISIS | Council on Foreign Relations: A Primer on ISIS | Cracks in ISIS Are Becoming More Clear | How ISIS’ Attacks Harm the Middle East | Timeline: the Rise, Spread and Fall of the Islamic State
Check out Today's Front Pages. Each day, you can see the front pages of more than 800 newspapers from around the world in their original, unedited form.
Whether or not you noticed, the earth's population passed 7 billion a while back. You might enjoy NPR's wonderful video, Visualizing How a Population Grows to 7 Billion.
Check out the St. Louis Fed's presentation The Financial Crisis: What Happened?. The original video is no longer available but you can view the power point presentation.
Want to take a survey but not sure how many responses to collect? This Survey Calculator gives you the number for any given population size and desired confidence level. A reverse calculator lets you enter characteristics of an existing survey and gives the confidence interval (±X%) to apply to the results. The Survey System site, sponsored by a survey software company, also gives clear explanations of statistical significance, survey design and related concepts. Also check out 20 Questions a Journalist (and You, too!) Should Ask About Poll Results.
PBS's 30 Second Candidate allows you to view more political ads than you ever knew existed. Choose the Historical Timeline link to see how political ads have changed over the years. Start with the infamous Daisy Ad that Lyndon Johnson used against Barry Goldwater. Click on Watch Johnson ads. Then click on either the QuickTime link or the Real Video link next to Daisy.
Check out Political Compass. The site does a good job of explaining political ideologies (although with definitions different from those I use) and gives you a chance to discover your own political philosophy.
Law Library of Congress: North Korea: Collection of links to websites on North Korean government, politics and law. Includes legal guides, country studies and links to constitutions and branches of government (where available). Council on Foreign Relations: North Korea: Background, articles and opinion pieces about North Korea government and politics. Many of the articles focus on North Korea's nuclear program. From the Council on Foreign Relations, "an independent membership organization and a nonpartisan think tank and publisher."
State of the Union (SOTU): The site uses an interactive timeline to provide a visual representation of prominent words in presidential State of the Union addresses by displaying significant words as "determined by comparing how frequently the word occurs in the document to how frequently it appears throughout the entire body of SOTU addresses." The Appendices section describes the statistical methods used. Also includes the full text of addresses.
Small Town Papers: This site provides access to scanned images of recent issues of dozens of small town newspapers from throughout the United States. Newspapers are updated periodically, 2-3 weeks after publication. The site also includes a searchable archive (of articles, photos and advertisements), which covers different periods for each paper, some as far back as the 1890s. Access to the archives requires free registration.
This website serves as a centralized location to learn about the Congressional Research Service and search for CRS reports that have been released to the public by members of Congress. (CRS Reports do not become public until a member of Congress releases the report.) Features a searchable database with more than 8,000 reports, a list of recently released reports, other collections of CRS reports and a FAQ about CRS.
Instances of the Use of United States Armed Forces Abroad, 1798 - 2020: This report lists hundreds of instances in which the United States has used its armed forces abroad in situations of military conflict or potential conflict or for other than normal peacetime purposes. It was compiled in part from various older lists and is intended primarily to provide a rough survey of past US military ventures abroad, without reference to the magnitude of the given instance noted.
Keeping the Shi'ites Straight Based on the opinion that no story has been more confusing for the Western news media to cover in postwar Iraq than the politics of the country's Shi'ite majority, this article provides a basic outline of Shi'ite religious history. Discusses the Sadr family (Muhammad Baqir as-Sadr, Ayatollah Muhammad Sadiq al-Sadr, and Muqtada as-Sadr), Muhammad Baqir al-Hakim and other figures.
This commercial site presents brief information about dozens of Black Inventors from the United States. Some entries include portraits and images. Also includes a searchable timeline covering 1721-1988. Does not include bibliographic information.
Annenberg Political Fact Check: This site describes itself as a nonpartisan, nonprofit, consumer advocate for voters that aims to reduce the level of deception and confusion in US politics. The site provides original articles, with summaries and sources, analyzing factual accuracy in TV ads, debates, speeches, interviews and news releases. Searchable. From the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania.
White House Tapes: The President Calling: Three of America's most compelling presidents -- Kennedy, Johnson and Nixon -- bugged their White House offices and tapped their telephones. In this documentary project, American Radio Works eavesdrops on presidential telephone calls to hear how each man used one-on-one politics to shape history. Includes audio, a transcript of the documentary and background information on each president and the tapes.
The State of State and Local Finances: New studies afford a state-by-state or city-by-city analysis of fiscal well being. The Year of Living Dangerously: While leaders in a growing number of states appear to believe they're serving the public good by squeezing government dry, there's little question that minimizing management carries a host of dangers that directly affect the lives of citizens.
Government Debt by Country Map: Shows countries' general government gross debt as a percentage of GDP in 2012.
First Amendment Library: Provides info on Supreme Court First Amendment jurisprudence, including rulings, arguments, briefs, historical material, commentary and press coverage.
If you need a presentation or workshop for your group,
or the link at the top of the page.