Systems at Work: A History of the Post Office in Pictures since 1808

In 1800, postal officials began using selected post offices as distribution centers. 1808 Overview When we reflect that the objects effected by the transportation of the mail are among the choicest comforts and enjoyments of social life, it is pleasing to observe that the dissemination of them to every corner of our country has outstripped[…]

The History of the United States Post Office since 1792

The Postal Service Act, signed by President George Washington on February 20, 1792, established the Post Office Department. Introduction The United States Post Office Department (USPOD; also known as the Post Office or U.S. Mail) was the predecessor of the United States Postal Service, in the form of a Cabinet department, officially from 1872 to[…]

Lincoln’s Profound and Benign Americanism, or Nationalism Without Malice

Lincoln was that rare bird, a man who dealt in moral ideas without falling into moralism and superior self-righteousness. Abraham Lincoln is the greatest of all interpreters of America’s moral meaning. He surpasses even Thomas Jefferson, though Lincoln himself might take exception to my claim. [1] Lincoln certainly gave Jefferson high praise, and he made[…]

‘Old-Fashioned’ Nationalism: Lincoln, Jefferson, and the Classical Tradition

Seeing Lincoln’s nationalism from an unlikely, and fresh, perspective: its connection, via the Enlightenment, to classical antiquity. In 1870 the former vice-president of the Confederacy, Alexander H. Stephens, offered what has surely become the best-known characterization of Abraham Lincoln’s nationalism. In Lincoln, Stephens suggested, the sentiment of Union “rose to the sublimity of a religious[…]

A History of Tumultuous Transitions in the American Presidency

America has certainly had a lot of experience in difficulties in the change of governments in the last two centuries. Three months from now America will once again experience the tumult and stress of presidential transitions, if one believes the polls that show former Vice President Joe Biden thwarting President Trump’s attempt to win a[…]

Elections in 1864 during the Civil War

Lincoln was presiding over a bloody civil war with waning popularity. But he steadfastly rejected pleas to postpone the election. Introduction The outlook was not promising in 1864 for President Abraham Lincoln’s reelection. Hundreds of thousands of Americans had been killed, wounded or displaced in a civil war with no end in sight. Lincoln was[…]

The Decline of Feudalism in the Medieval World

Exploring the key events that contributed to the decline of feudalism in Europe from the 12th through the 15th centuries. Introduction In England, several political changes in the 12th and 13th centuries helped to weaken feudalism. A famous document known as Magna Carta, or Great Charter, dates from this time. Magna Carta was a written[…]

The Development of Feudalism in Medieval Western Europe

Exploring the political and economic system that developed in Western Europe during the Middle Ages. Introduction Historians divide the Middle Ages into three periods. The Early Middle Ages lasted from about 476 to 1000 C.E. The High Middle Ages lasted from about 1000 to 1300. The Late Middle Ages lasted from about 1300 to 1450.[…]

The Gentleman’s Agreement That Ended the Civil War

An unusually civil armistice in the most punishing conflict ever fought on American soil. One hundred and fifty years ago, on April 9, 1865, a lone Confederate horseman violently waving a white towel as a flag of truce galloped up to the men of the 118th Pennsylvania Infantry near Appomattox Court House and asked for[…]

The Civil War Overwhelmed the Senses Like No Other

The loudest booms people had ever heard and the powerful stench of death on a staggering scale. In rhetoric and substance, wars are generally fought for ideals that are noble, dignified, and lofty. Leaders justify waging war—and endeavor to inspire those who fight them—by appealing to powerful abstractions: liberty, self-determination, and national identity. In turn,[…]

Gun Control at the Beginning of the American Republic

The contemporary Second Amendment debate is founded on serious misunderstandings. Introduction The Second Amendment is one of the most frequently cited provisions in the American Constitution, but also one of the most poorly understood. The 27 words that constitute the Second Amendment seem to baffle modern Americans on both the left and right. Ironically, those[…]

Santiago Ramón y Cajal, Father of Modern Neuroscience

Although he became one of the founders of neuroscience, as a young man Ramón y Cajal wanted to be an artist. Introduction Santiago Ramón y Cajal (May 1, 1852 – October 17, 1934) was a Spanish histologist (study of tissues) and physician who (along with Camillo Golgi) won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine[…]

Paul Broca: 19th-Century French Physician, Anatomist, and Medical Pioneer

Paul Broca’s early scientific works dealt with the histology of cartilage and bone, but he also studied the pathology of cancer. Introduction Paul Pierre Broca (June 28, 1824 – July 9, 1880) was a French physician, anatomist, and anthropologist. He is famous for his work on brain lateralization, and the discovery of the center for[…]

The Historiography of Aztec Painted Language

The Aztec painted language operated at two levels – identifying glyphs and strategic placement and presentation. Writing with Images Imagine writing a history. More than likely, you would begin by brainstorming the events you would want to include, the characters in your story, and when and where the events took place. Then, you would have[…]

A Natural History of the Artist’s Palette

Exploring the science and stories behind the pigments, from the red ochre of Lascaux’s prehistoric cave to Yves Klein’s blue. By Philip BallFreelance Science Writer This article, Primary Sources: A Natural History of the Artist’s Palette, was originally published in The Public Domain Review under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0. If you wish to reuse it please[…]

The Early Modern Bavarian Illuminati: What’s Real, and What Isn’t?

The society’s goals were to oppose superstition, obscurantism, religious influence over public life, and abuses of state power. Introduction The Illuminati[1] is a name given to several groups, both real and fictitious. Historically, the name usually refers to the Bavarian Illuminati, an Enlightenment-era secret society founded on 1 May 1776 in Bavaria, today part of[…]

Augustin Barruel: Father of the Illuminati Conspiracy Theories

Barruel wrote that the French Revolution was planned and executed by the secret societies. Introduction Augustin Barruel (October 2, 1741 – October 5, 1820) was a French publicist and Jesuit priest. He is now mostly known for setting forth the conspiracy theory involving the Bavarian Illuminati and the Jacobins in his book Memoirs Illustrating the[…]

The Beginning of the Reformation in the 16th Century

This movement led to the start of many new Christian churches that broke away from the Catholic Church. Introduction The Reformation began in the early 1500s and lasted into the 1600s. Until then, all Christians in western Europe were Catholics. But even before the Reformation, the Church’s religious and moral authority was starting to weaken.[…]

Events and Impacts of the Medieval Crusades

Christians mounted violent campaigns against Jews and heretics in addition to the wars in Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East. Introduction The Crusades were launched by European Christians to reclaim Jerusalem and other holy sites in the Middle East from Muslims. Christians mounted these religious wars between 1096 and 1291. A major purpose was[…]

Religion in Medieval England

The Church had a close relationship with the English state throughout the Middle Ages. Introduction Medieval Religion Unlike religion in the modern world, medieval religion had deep significance and central importance in the lives of most individuals and nations. There was hardly any concept of a secular nation where religion did not play any role[…]

A History of ‘Manifest Destiny’ in the United States

This was a widely held imperialist belief in the 19th-century that American settlers were destined to expand across North America. The Oregon Country The spirit of “Manifest Destiny” pervaded the United States during the Age of Reform—the decades prior to the Civil War. John L. O’Sullivan, editor of the influential United States Magazine and Democratic[…]

Andrew Jackson and the Indian Removal Act of 1830

Jackson’s goals put the government in conflict with the more than 125,000 Native Americans who still lived east of the Mississippi. Native Americans and the New Republic From the time the first colonies were settled in America, relations between the Native American Indians and white settlers ranged from respected friends to hated enemies. Into the[…]

The Political Development of Ancient and Medieval Imperial China

Exploring imperial China during the period from about 221 BCE to about 1644 CE. Introduction The word imperial means “ruled by an emperor. ” During this time, China was under the control of a series of dynasties, or ruling families. China is located on the continent of Asia—the largest continent on Earth. China has three[…]

Discoveries and Inventions in Ancient and Medieval China

Exploring discoveries and inventions made by the Chinese between about 200 and 1400 C.E. Introduction Over the centuries, Chinese scholars and scientists studied engineering, mathematics, science, and medicine, among other subjects. Their studies led to scientific and technological progress that was often far ahead of advances in the rest of the world. To understand the[…]

Hindu Architecture at Rajarajesvara Temple in Tanjavur, India

The Rajarajesvara temple was built by one of the most successful rulers of the medieval period, Rajaraja Chola I. By Dr. Arathi MenonHistorian of Art and Architecture Introduction To see the Hindu god Shiva in the Rajarajesvara temple complex in Tanjavur, we must enter two impressive gateways, walk into a cloistered courtyard, past an enormous[…]

Analyzing an Ancient Indus Seal from Mohenjo-daro

Seals numbering in the thousands have been discovered in excavations of Indus cities as well as in sites in the Persian Gulf in southwest Asia. By Dr. Arathi MenonArt Historian Introduction Incised on this small stone (less than two inches across), we see a large figure seated on a dais surrounded by a horned buffalo,[…]

Cannabidiol: CBD Oil For Anxiety Demystified

There have been talk of the beneficial properties of CBD oil for depression and neurosis for years. This popular cannabidiol is used in the treatment of inflammation, nervousness, has antidepressant, and even anti-cancer and anxiolytic properties. It is worth convincing yourself to him. CBD oil – a handful of basic facts Cannabidiol CBD is one[…]

American Politicos and the Weaponization of Conspiracy Theories in the 19th Century

Rumors of secret alliances, bank deals, and double-crossings were rampant in early American elections. From claims that NASA faked the moon landing to suspicions about the U.S. government’s complicity in the assassination of John F. Kennedy, Americans love conspiracy theories. Conspiratorial rhetoric in presidential campaigns and its distracting impact on the body politic have been[…]