Slavery and the Origins of the Lost Cause Myth

States’ rights and slavery, while theoretically distinct, were in praxis intertwined. Here’s what a Jeffersonian analysis of Jubal Early’s lost-cause apologia can teach us. The two most significant issues that led to war between the North and South were, most scholars acknowledge, slavery and states’ rights. Northern states had fully abolished slavery by 1804, when[…]

Slavery, Civil War, and the “New Birth of Freedom”

To twenty-first-century Americans, the case against slavery may appear self-evident. However, nineteenth-century opponents of slavery faced a quite different social consensus on the issue. Introduction To twenty-first-century Americans, the case against slavery may appear self-evident. Most of us have no doubt about the profound injustice of a system in which some people are the property[…]

Charles Babbage and the Difference Engine

Many machinists even created their own variations of the difference engine after Babbage’s death. Introduction The 2008 film Babbage features a dinner-party between many of the important figures in the life of the inventor Charles Babbage: his collaborator Ada Lovelace, his father Benjamin, his mother Betsy, his friend John Herschel, and his wife Georgiana. Babbage’s designs for[…]

Disaster Ahead: How Danube Floods Created Telegraph Networks

Telecommunication would prove to be a powerful agent of change. Rivers flood, some more regularly than others. The more infrastructure humans construct in floodplains, the more vulnerable to extreme hydrological events they become. Thus, when Danube floods hit Vienna, a Habsburg residence and the most important city of the monarchy, its waters regularly swept over[…]

Museo del Jade y de la Cultura Precolombina: Costa Rica’s Jade Museum

An interview with Curator Virginia Novoa Espinoza about the museum’s magnificent collection and the artistry of Costa Rica’s pre-Columbian peoples. The Jade Museum (Spanish: Museo del Jade y de la Cultura Precolombina) in San José, Costa Rica houses the world’s largest collection of ancient jade from the Americas. With nearly 7,000 pieces in its collection, the[…]