Perspectives on the Mexican Revolution

What social conditions contributed to the revolution? How did the United States seek to influence events in Mexico? Introduction The Mexican Revolution began quietly on November 20, 1910, when Francisco I. Madero issued a manifesto calling for the overthrow of the military dictator Porfirio Diaz who had ruled the country for three decades. Madero had[…]

Caste and Politics in the Struggle for Mexican Independence

To understand the struggle for Mexican independence, it’s necessary to explore both the wider, international context and the internal, social conditions of New Spain. Introduction Scholars writing the history of Mexican independence might begin with two straightforward dates: On September 16, 1810, peasants across the countryside responded to Father Miguel Hidalgo’s call to rebellion and[…]

Creating French Culture Since the 8th Century: Treasures from the Bibliothèque nationale de France

The relationship between power—or politics—and culture in French history is an ambivalent one, defined as much by conflict and censorship as by cooperation and patronage. Introduction Throughout French history the powerful have sought to harness culture to their own ends. They understood that the representation of power—what today we call “image”—is a form of power[…]

Olaudah Equiano and the Eighteenth-Century Debate over Africa and the Slave Trade

Arguments made by eighteenth-century writers about the slave trade and contributions to those debates by freed slave Olaudah Equiano. Introduction Olaudah Equiano was a British citizen and former slave who, in the 1780s, became a leader of the movement to abolish the slave trade. His autobiography, The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano, or[…]

Aphra Behn’s “Oroonoko”: Slavery and Race in the Atlantic World

Exploring how novel Oroonoko compares to other representations of race, slavery, and colonialism in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Introduction Aphra Behn published Oroonoko in 1688, a time when the Atlantic slave trade and African slavery in the Americas were becoming consolidated as a transnational, economic system. The novel draws on popular forms of literature such as[…]

Good Public Relations: What Ancient Persian Propaganda Tells Us about the ‘Nehemiah Memoir’

Inscriptions ranging from the first Persian king, Cyrus, through Artaxerxes reveal elements in common in both Babylonian and Egyptian texts. Stretching from Egypt to the Indus River, the Persian Empire was the largest empire yet seen in the ancient Near East. Typically, the Hebrew Bible depicts ancient Near Eastern empires as divine instruments of punishment.[…]

The King’s Feast: Power and Propaganda at the Neo-Assyrian Royal Table

The Assyrian king was the main promoter of big feasts and special events, during which he played the role of leader and benefactor of his country. Banqueting is a powerful means of communication. Throughout human history, men and women have always done their best to enjoy food as much as possible in social settings in[…]