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Quote of the Month
We would worry less if we praised more. Thanksgiving is the enemy of discontent and dissatisfaction.
News of the Month
The Pilgrims long ago etched their place in the nation’s history as plucky survivors who persevered despite difficult conditions. Remembered and retold as an allegory for perseverance and cooperation, the story of the first Thanksgiving has become an important part of how Americans think about the founding of their country. But what happened four months later, starting in March 1622 about 600 miles south of Plymouth, is far more reflective of the country’s origins - a story not of peaceful coexistence but of distrust, displacement and repression.
Let’s start with the now-traditional story. In September 1620, a small ship called the Mayflower left Plymouth England carrying 102 passengers - an assortment of religious separatists seeking a new home where they could freely practice their faith and other individuals lured by the promise of prosperity and land ownership in the New World. Throughout that first brutal winter, most of the colonists remained on board the ship, where they suffered from exposure, scurvy and outbreaks of contagious disease. Ill-prepared for the New England winter of 1620-1621, they benefited from a terrible epidemic, which had raged among the Indigenous peoples of the region from 1616 to 1619 and which reduced competition for resources. By 1620, the indigenous Wampanoag were in a difficult spot shaped by years of volatile contact with Europeans, slavery, regional threats to their power and the devastating epidemic.
Having endured a winter in which perhaps one-half of the colonists died, the survivors, weakened by malnutrition and illness, welcomed the fall harvest of 1621. They survived because the Wampanoags had taught them how to grow corn (the most important crop in much of eastern North America), extract sap from maple trees, catch fish in the rivers and avoid poisonous plants. The two groups forged an alliance that tragically remains one of the few examples of harmony between European colonists and Indigenous peoples. The decision to help the colonists, whose kind had already been raiding native villages and enslaving their people for nearly a century, came after they stole native food and seed stores and dug up native graves, pocketing funerary offerings, as described by Pilgrim leader Edward Winslow in Mourt’s Relation: A Journal of the Pilgrims at Plymouth.
In November 1621, after the colonists’ first corn harvest proved successful, Governor William Bradford organized a celebratory feast, which was attended by an uninvited group of the fledgling colony’s indigenous allies. Now remembered as American’s first Thanksgiving - although the Pilgrims themselves may not have used the term at the time - the festival lasted for three days. While no record exists of the historic banquet’s exact menu, the Pilgrim chronicler Edward Winslow wrote in his journal that Governor Bradford sent four men on a “fowling” mission in preparation for the event and that guests arrived bearing five deer. Historians have suggested that many of the dishes were likely prepared using traditional indigenous spices and cooking methods. Because the Pilgrims had no oven and the Mayflower’s sugar supply had dwindled by the fall of 1621, the meal did not feature pies, cakes or other desserts, which have become a hallmark of contemporary celebrations. Lobster, seal and swans were on the Pilgrims' menu but turkey may or may not have been. This was the event that now marks the first American day of Thanksgiving, even though many Indigenous peoples had long had rituals that included giving thanks and other European settlers had previously declared similar days of thanks - including one in 1541 in Palo Duro Canyon (the Texas panhandle) by Spanish in search of gold, one in St Augustine Florida in 1565, a 1598 Spanish feast with the Pueblo Indians near the Rio Grande (TX) and another along the Maine coast in 1607. Days of fasting and thanksgiving on an annual or occasional basis became common practice in other New England settlements as well. For more than two centuries, days of thanksgiving were celebrated by individual colonies and states.
In 1623, Pilgrims in Plymouth held their second Thanksgiving celebration to mark the end of a long drought that had threatened the year’s harvest and prompted Governor Bradford to call for a religious fast and declare a day to thank God for bringing rain. They likely celebrated it in late July. In 1777, in the midst of the Revolutionary War, the Continental Congress declared a day of Thanksgiving on December 18. The Pilgrims didn’t even get a mention. In the 19th century, however, annual Thanksgiving holidays became linked to New England, largely as a result of campaigns to make the Plymouth experience one of the nation’s origin stories. Promoters of this narrative identified the Mayflower Compact as the starting point for representative government and praised the religious freedom they saw in New England - at least for Americans of European ancestry. As Americans looked for an origin story that wasn’t soaked in the blood of Indigenous peoples or built on the backs of slavery, the humble and bloodless story of the 102 Pilgrims forging a path in the New World in search of religious freedom was just what they needed. Regardless of whether it was rooted in historical fact, it became accepted as such.
The first appearance of the word thanksgiving in The New York Times digital archives - which go back to 1851 - did not refer to the holiday. It instead was a reference on October 4, 1851, to “an appropriate prayer and thanksgiving” from a reverend at the opening of the Queens County’s annual agricultural exhibition. The first mention of the holiday occurred less than a week later, in a brief news item reporting that the governor of Massachusetts had declared Thursday, November 27, 1851, as “a day of public thanksgiving and praise.” There was no national Thanksgiving holiday at the time.
The origin of the national holiday dates to Abraham Lincoln. On October 3, 1863, he called for the country, “in the midst of a civil war of unequaled magnitude and severity,” to set aside the last Thursday in November as “a day of Thanksgiving.” The Times published his Thanksgiving proclamation on the front page, and several times subsequently. While reciting the country’s many blessings - a productive and growing economy, and bountiful harvests - Lincoln also recommended that Americans give thanks “with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience.” Lincoln’s proclamation was in part a response to Sarah Josepha Hale, an editor who had spent decades campaigning for a national day of gratitude. The idea of the American Thanksgiving feast is a fairly recent fiction. The idyllic partnership of 17th century European Pilgrims and New England Natives sharing a celebratory meal appears to be less than 130 years-old. And it was only after the First World War that a version of such a Puritan-Indian partnership took hold in elementary schools across the American landscape. We can thank the invention of textbooks and their mass purchase by public schools for embedding this Thanksgiving image in our modern minds.
Thanksgiving in 1918 occurred in the midst of a global pandemic. But the atmosphere was surprisingly joyous. World War I had ended on November 11, and the country was celebrating, despite a horrific number of influenza deaths in October. “Thanksgiving Day this year will evoke a gratitude deeper, a spirit of reverence more devout, than America has felt for many years,” a Times editorial on November 19 said. One factor may have been that the pandemic briefly receded that November, before surging again at the end of the year. By 1930, the Depression had begun and the country’s mood was much darker. A front-page headline on Thanksgiving Day that year reported: “450 Tons of Food Given to Needy, But Supply Fails.” The police turned away elderly men and women to reserve the food for families with young children. In 1939, President Franklin D Roosevelt tried to spark the economy by moving Thanksgiving one week earlier, to create a longer Christmas shopping season. Critics mocked the policy as “Franksgiving,” and it failed. Roosevelt announced in 1941 that he was abandoning the experiment for the next year. Roosevelt ultimately settled on the fourth Thursday of the month - a middle ground that made sure the holiday would not occur later than November 28 and that Christmas shopping could always begin in November.
Thanksgiving in 1963 came only six days after the assassination of John F Kennedy, and most public celebrations were canceled. The Macy’s parade was an exception because the organizers felt its cancellation would be a disappointment to millions of children. The Covid-19 pandemic arguably caused a bigger break in Thanksgiving traditions than anything that came before. Beginning with Lincoln’s 1863 proclamation - even during war, depression and tragedy - most Americans found ways to gather with family and friends for a holiday meal. But the threat from the recent pandemic - better understood in 2020 than it had been in 1918 - caused many people to stay home. For most of the 20th century, US Presidents mentioned the Pilgrims in their annual proclamation, helping to solidify the link between the holiday and the colonists. But the origin story of Thanksgiving that’s often told in school - of a friendly meal between colonists and Indigenous peoples - is inaccurate.
The events in Plymouth in 1621 that came to be enshrined in the national narrative were not typical. A more revealing incident took place in Virginia in 1622. Beginning in 1607, English migrants had maintained a small community in Jamestown Virginia, where colonists struggled to survive. Unable to figure out how to find fresh water, they drank from the James River, even during the summer months when the water level dropped and turned the river into a swamp. The bacteria they consumed from doing so caused typhoid fever and dysentery. Despite a death rate that reached 50% in some years, the English decided to stay. Their investment paid off in the mid-1610s when an enterprising colonist named John Rolfe planted West Indian tobacco seeds in the region’s fertile soil. The industry soon boomed.
But economic success did not mean the colony would thrive. Initial English survival in Virginia depended on the good graces of the local Indigenous population. By 1607, Wahunsonacock, the leader of an alliance of Natives called Tsenacomoco, had spent a generation forming a confederation of roughly 30 distinct communities along tributaries of Chesapeake Bay. The English called him Powhatan and labeled his followers the Powhatans. The Powhatans controlled most of the resources in the region and Wahunsonacock could have likely prevented the English from establishing their community at Jamestown. But in 1608, when the newcomers were near starvation, the Powhatans provided them with food. Wahunsonacock also spared Captain John Smith’s life after his people captured the Englishman.
Wahunsonacock’s actions revealed his strategic thinking. Rather than see the newcomers as all-powerful, he likely believed the English would become a subordinate community under his control. After a war from 1609 to 1614 between the English and Powhatans, Wahunsonacock and his allies agreed to peace and coexistence. Wahunsonacock died in 1618 and soon after his passing, Opechancanough, likely one of Wahunsonacock’s brothers, emerged as leader of the Powhatans. Unlike his predecessor, Opechancanough viewed the English with suspicion, especially when they pushed onto Powhatan lands to expand their tobacco fields. By spring 1622, Opechancanough had had enough. On March 22, he and his allies launched a surprise attack. By day’s end, they had killed 347 of the English. They might have killed more except that one Powhatan who had converted to Christianity warned some of the English, giving them the time to escape. Within months, news of the violence spread in England. Edward Waterhouse, the colony’s secretary, detailed the “barbarous Massacre” in a short pamphlet. A few years later, an engraver in Frankfurt captured Europeans’ fears of Indigenous peoples in a haunting illustration for a translation of Waterhouse’s book. Waterhouse wrote of those who died “under the bloudy and barbarous hands of that perfidious and inhumane people.” He reported that the victors had desecrated English corpses. He called them “savages,” resorting to common European descriptions of “wyld Naked Natives” and vowed revenge. Over the next decade, English soldiers launched a brutal war against the Powhatans, repeatedly burning their fields at harvest time in an effort to starve and drive them out.
The Powhatans’ orchestrated attack anticipated other Indigenous rebellions against aggressive European colonizers in 17th-century North America. The English response, too, fit a pattern. Any sign of resistance by “pagans,” as Waterhouse labeled the Powhatans, needed to be suppressed to advance Europeans’ desire to convert Indigenous peoples to Christianity, claim Indigenous lands and satisfy European customers clamoring for goods produced in America. It was this dynamic - not the one of fellowship found in Plymouth in 1621 - that would go on to define the relationship between Indigenous peoples and European settlers for over two centuries. Before the end of the century, violence erupted in New England too, erasing the positive legacy of the feast of 1621. By 1675, simmering tensions exploded in a war that stretched across the region. On a per capita basis, it was among the deadliest conflicts in American history. In 1970, an Aquinnah Wampanoag elder named Wamsutta, on the occasion of the 350th anniversary of the arrival of the Mayflower, pointed to generations of violence against native communities and dispossession. Ever since that day, many Indigenous Americans have observed a National Day of Mourning instead of Thanksgiving. In 1974, The Times ran an article describing the holiday as a “national day of mourning” for many Indigenous peoples. Today’s Thanksgiving - with school kids’ construction paper turkeys and narratives of camaraderie and cooperation between the colonists and Indigenous peoples - obscures the more tragic legacy of the early 17th century.
There is no question that the history between European colonists and Indigenous peoples has not been one of peaceful coexistence. There is no question that much of the “first Thanksgiving” story is based on myth. But all accounts do seem to agree that it included giving thanks for surviving a harrowing situation and sharing a meal with others that are different from us. And at least during that brief time, there was peace and tranquility. Perhaps, in this moment, we should give thanks and take stock of what we are thankful for, including thanking the Indigenous peoples of the Americas and their descendants. It is time to move forward, to be more thankful and thoughtful and less divisive for future generations. Today will be different. Mixed feelings are also part of the Thanksgiving tradition, all the way the back to Lincoln’s proclamation.
Then and Now
11/01/1512 - Michelangelo's paintings on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel were exhibited to the public for the first time.
11/01/1952 - The US exploded the first hydrogen bomb at Eniwetok in the Marshall Islands.
11/01/2023 - National Authors Day
11/01/2023 - All Saints’ Day
11/02/1783 - George Washington issued his Farewell Address to the Army near Princeton NJ.
11/02/1917 - British Foreign Secretary Arthur Balfour expressed support for a "national Home" for the Jews of Palestine in the Balfour Declaration.
11/02/1930 - Haile Selassie was crowned emperor of Ethiopia.
11/02/1948 - President Truman surprised the experts by being re-elected in a narrow upset over Republican challenger Thomas Dewey.
11/02/1963 - South Vietnamese President Ngo Dihn Diem was assassinated in a military coup.
11/02/1976 - Jimmy Carter became the first candidate from the Deep South since the Civil War to become president.
11/02/2023 - Anniversary of the Crowning of Haile Selassie – Rastafarian
11/02/2023 - Día de los Muertos
11/02/2023 - All Souls' Day
11/03/1903 - Panama declared its independence from Colombia.
11/03/1957 - The Soviets launched Sputnik II, the second manmade satellite, into orbit carrying a dog named Laika who died in the experiment.
11/03/1969 - President Richard Nixon’s Silent Majority speech
11/03/1970 - Salvador Allende became president of Chile.
11/03/1991 - Israeli and Palestinian representatives held their first ever face-to-face talks in Madrid, Spain.
11/03/2023 - National Sandwich Day
11/04/1922 - The entrance to King Tutankhamen's tomb was discovered in Egypt.
11/04/1979 - The Iranian hostage crisis began as militants stormed the US Embassy in Tehran. For some of the hostages it was the start of 444 days of captivity.
11/04/1995 - Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin was assassinated by a right-wing Israeli minutes after attending a peace rally.
11/04/2008 - The US elected Barak Obama, its first Black president.
11/04/2023 - Lhabab Duchen – Buddhist
11/05/1940 - FDR won an unprecedented third term in office.
11/05/1946 - Republicans captured control of both the Senate and the House in midterm elections.
11/05/2023 - Daylight Saving Time ends. Clocks fall back from 1:59 am to 1:00 am.
11/06/1860 - Former Illinois congressman Abraham Lincoln defeated three other candidates for the presidency.
11/06/1861 - The Confederacy elected Jefferson Davis to a six-year term as president.
11/06/1986 - President Ronald Reagan signed the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986. This law, sometimes referred to as IRCA or the Simpson-Mazzoli Act, made it illegal to knowingly employ undocumented immigrants and created penalties for businesses that did so. This law also provided amnesty for undocumented immigrants arriving prior to 1982.
11/07/1811 - Battle of Tippecanoe
11/07/1916 - Republican Jeannette Rankin of Montana became the first woman elected to Congress.
11/07/1917 - Russia's Bolshevik Revolution took place as forces led by Vladimir Ilyich Lenin overthrew the provisional government of Alexander Kerensky.
11/07/1944 - FDR won an unprecedented fourth term in office.
11/07/1973 - Congress overrode President Nixon's veto of the War Powers Act, which limits a chief executive's power to wage war without congressional approval.
11/07/1989 - L. Douglas Wilder won the governor's race in Virginia, becoming the first elected black governor in US history.
11/07/2023 - US Election Day
11/08/1933 - President Franklin Roosevelt created the Civil Works Administration, designed to create jobs for more than 4 million unemployed.
11/08/1994 - Midterm elections resulted in Republicans winning control of the House for the first time in forty years.
11/08/2002 - The UN Security Council unanimously approved a resolution giving UN weapons inspectors the muscle they needed to hunt for illicit weapons in Iraq. President Bush said the new resolution presented the Iraqi regime "with a final test."
11/09/1938 - Nazis looted and burned synagogues as well as Jewish-owned stores and houses in Germany and Austria in what became known as Kristallnacht.
11/09/1989 - Communist East Germany threw open its borders allowing citizens to travel freely to the West. Joyous Germans danced on top of the Berlin Wall.
11/10/1775 - The US Marines were organized under authority of the Continental Congress.
11/10/1871 - Journalist-explorer Henry Stanley found missing Scottish missionary David Livingstone in central Africa.
11/10/1928 - Emperor Hirohito was enthroned in Japan.
11/10/1954 - The Iwo Jima Memorial was dedicated in Arlington VA.
11/10/1982 - The Vietnam Veterans Memorial welcomed its first visitors in Washington DC.
11/10/2023 - The US Marine Corps Birthday
11/11/1620 - Forty-one Pilgrims aboard the Mayflower, anchored off Massachusetts, signed a compact calling for a "body politick."
11/11/1831 - Former slave Nat Turner, who had led a violent insurrection, was executed in Jerusalem VA.
11/11/1921 - President Harding dedicated the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Cemetery.
11/11/1926 - US Route 66 was established.
11/11/2023 - Veterans Day
11/11/2023 - Martinmas – Christian
11/12/1942 - The WWII naval Battle of Guadalcanal began. The Americans won a major victory over the Japanese.
11/12/2023 - Diwali begins – Hindu
11/13/1789 - Benjamin Franklin wrote in a letter to a fried, "In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes."
11/13/1927 - The Holland Tunnel opened to the public, providing access between New York City and New Jersey beneath the Hudson River.
11/13/1940 - The Walt Disney animated movie Fantasia had its world premiere in New York.
11/13/1942 - The minimum draft age was lowered from 21 to 18.
11/13/1956 - The Supreme Court struck down laws calling for racial segregation on public buses.
11/13/1982 - The Vietnam Veterans Memorial was dedicated in Washington DC.
11/14/1851 - Herman Melville's Moby Dick was first published.
11/14/1922 - The BBC began its domestic radio service.
11/15/1777 - The Continental Congress approved the Articles of Confederation.
11/15/1889 - Brazil's monarchy was overthrown.
11/15/1926 - NBC debuted with a radio network of 24 stations.
11/15/1998 - Civil Rights activist Kwame Tume (Stokely Carmichael) died in Guinea at the age of 57.
11/15/2022 - World population reached 8 billion.
11/15/2023 - Shichi - Go - San (Seven - Five - Three) – Shinto
11/16/1849 - A Russian court sentenced novelist Fyodor Dostoevsky to death for his alleged anti-government activities. At the last minute, his execution was stayed.
11/16/1864 - Killer and arsonist William T. Sherman and his troops began their March to the Sea.
11/17/1800 - Congress held its first session in Washington in the partially completed Capitol building.
11/17/1868 - The Suez Canal opened in Egypt.
11/17/1969 - Strategic Arms Limitation Talks (SALT) between the US and the Soviet Union began.
11/18/1820 - Navy Captain Nathaniel Palmer discovered the frozen continent of Antarctica.
11/18/1883 - The US and Canada adopted a system of Standard Time zones.
11/18/1928 - The first successful sound-synchronized animated cartoon, Walt Disney's Steamboat Willie, premiered in New York.
11/18/1966 - US Roman Catholic bishops did away with the rule against eating meat on Fridays.
11/18/1987 - The congressional Iran-Contra committees issued their final report saying President Reagan bore "ultimate responsibility" for wrong-doing by his aides.
11/18/1999 - Twelve people died when a bonfire under construction at Texas A&M University collapsed.
11/18/2023 - Mickey Mouse’s Birthday
11/19/1863 - President Lincoln delivered the Gettysburg Address.
11/19/1919 - The US Senate rejected the Treaty of Versailles.
11/19/1977 - Egyptian President Anwar Sadat became the first Arab leader to visit Israel.
11/20/1789 - New Jersey became the first state to ratify the Bill of Rights.
11/20/1945 - The Nuremberg Trials began as Nazi leaders went on trial before an international war crimes tribunal.
11/20/1967 - The US Census Clock ticked past 200 million.
11/21/1877 - Thomas Edison announced he had invented the phonograph.
11/21/1922 - Rebecca Felton (GA) became the first woman to serve in the US Senate, filling the vacancy caused by the death of the state's senator and served one day.
11/21/1963 - President John Kennedy and his wife, Jacqueline, began a two-day tour of Texas.
11/21/1969 - The Senate voted down the Supreme Court nomination of Clement F. Haynsworth, the first such rejection since 1930.
11/22/1718 - English pirate Edward Teach, better known as Blackbeard, died during a battle off the Virginia coast.
11/22/1906 - The International Radio Telegraphic Convention in Berlin adopted the SOS distress signal.
11/22/1928 - Maurice Ravel's Bolero made its debut in Paris.
11/22/1963 - President John Kennedy was shot to death while riding in a motorcade in Dallas.
11/22/1975 - Juan Carlos became King of Spain.
11/23/1889 - The first jukebox debuted in San Francisco's Palais Royale Saloon.
11/23/1936 - Life magazine was first published.
11/23/1971 - The People's Republic of China became a member of the UN Security Council.
11/23/2023 - Thanksgiving Day
11/24/1859 - Charles Darwin published On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or The Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life. It immediately sold out.
11/24/1871 - The National Rifle Association was incorporated.
11/24/1963 - Jack Ruby shot and mortally wounded Lee Harvey Oswald.
11/24/2023 - Black Friday
11/24/2023 - Martyrdom of Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji – Sikh
11/25/1783 - The British evacuated NY, their last military position in the US during the Revolutionary War.
11/25/1986 - The Iran-Contra affair erupted as President Reagan and Attorney General Edwin Meese revealed that profits from secret arms sales to Iran had been diverted to Nicaraguan rebels.
11/25/2002 - President George W. Bush signed legislation creating the Department of Homeland Security.
11/25/2023 - Mangé Yam (fête de la moisson) – Vodún
11/26/1942 - Casablanca had its world premiere in NY.
11/26/1950 - China entered the Korean conflict by launching a counteroffensive against soldiers from the UN, the US and South Korea.
11/26/1997 - Iraqi President Saddam Hussein said he would allow visits to presidential palaces where UN weapons experts suspected he had hidden chemical and biological weapons.
11/26/2023 - Day of the Covenant – Baha’i
11/26/2023 - Christ the King Sunday – Christian
11/27/1901 - The US Army War College opened in Washington DC.
11/27/1973 - The Senate voted 92-3 to confirm Gerald Ford as vice president, succeeding Spiro Agnew.
11/27/2023 - Cyber Monday
11/28/1520 - Portuguese navigator Ferdinand Magellan reached the Pacific Ocean after passing through the South American strait that now bears his name.
11/28/1925 - The Grand Ole Opry made its radio debut on station WSM.
11/28/1975 - President Ford nominated federal Judge John Paul Stevens to the US Supreme Court.
11/28/2023 - #Giving Tuesday … a global generosity movement unleashing the power of people and organizations to transform their communities and the world. There's something everyone can do to help. If you have time, consider volunteering in your community. If you don't have time, you can donate to a good cause, or simply just be kind to everyone you see.
11/28/2023 - Ascension of Abdul-Baha – Baha’i
11/29/1864 - The Colorado militia killed at least 150 peaceful Cheyenne Indians in the Sand Creek Massacre.
11/29/1947 - The UN passed a resolution calling for the partitioning of Palestine between Arabs and Jews.
11/29/1963 - President Johnson named a commission headed by Earl Warren to investigate the assassination of President Kennedy.
11/30/1782 - The US and Britain signed preliminary peace articles in Paris, which ended the Revolutionary War.
11/30/1966 - The former British colony of Barbados became independent.
11/30/1981 - The US and the Soviet Union opened negotiations in Geneva aimed at reducing nuclear weapons in Europe.
11/30/2023 - St. Andrew's Day – Christian
Online Resource Links
How Wobbly Is Our Democracy? | The American Abyss | US is polarizing faster than other democracies. | The Ballad of Downward Mobility | A Crisis Coming … The Twin Threats To American Democracy: (1) A Growing Movement to Refuse to Accept Defeat in an Election and (2) Policy and Election Results that Are Increasingly Less Connected to What the Public Wants | America’s Surprising Partisan Divide on Life Expectancy | ‘Freedom’ Means Something Different to Liberals and Conservatives. Here’s How the Definition Split - and Why That Still Matters.| Politics is personal. | For elites, politics is driven by ideology. For voters, it’s not. | Trust and Distrust in America | One America is thriving; the other is stagnating. How long can this go on? | America Is Growing Apart, Possibly for Good - The great “convergence” of the mid-20th century may have been an anomaly. | Are we really facing a second Civil War? | How ‘Stop the Steal’ Captured the American Right | Conspiracy theorists want to run America’s elections. These are the candidates standing in their way. | Two Americas Index: Democracy deniers | Where will this political violence lead? Look to the 1850s. | American Democracy Was Never Designed to Be Democratic
Visualizing the State of Global Debt, by Country: The debt-to-GDP ratio is a simple metric that compares a country’s public debt to its economic output. By comparing how much a country owes and how much it produces in a year, economists can measure a country’s theoretical ability to pay off its debt. The World Bank published a study showing that countries that maintained a debt-to-GDP ratio of over 77% for prolonged periods of time experienced economic slowdowns.
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
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.
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.
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 the 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.
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.
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.
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.