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the work of history

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    November 7, 1916: Jeannette Rankin becomes the first female member of Congress.

    Four years before the ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment, Jeannette Rankin, a Republican, pacifist, and suffragist from Montana, was elected to the House of Representatives. Prior to her election, she worked for the women’s suffrage movement, and, thanks in part to Rankin’s efforts, her home state gave women the right to vote in 1914. 

    Rankin was reviled for most of her two terms, but not for incompetence. In 1918, she was one of the few in the House who voted against the United States’ entrance into World War I. Of her vote, she said “I felt the first time the first woman had a chance to say no to war she should say it”, but other suffragists (like Carrie Chapman Catt) criticized her vote as a discredit to the movement and to her own authority. In 1941, when she was elected to Congress for the second time, Rankin was the sole voice of opposition in both the House and Senate against America’s entry into World War II. 


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    Led Zeppelin IV | November 8, 1971


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    November 9, 1934: Carl Sagan is born.

    In the last few millennia we have made the most astonishing and unexpected discoveries about the Cosmos and our place within it, explorations that are exhilarating to consider. They remind us that humans have evolved to wonder, that understanding is a joy, that knowledge is prerequisite to survival. I believe our future depends powerfully on how well we understand this Cosmos in which we float like a mote of dust in the morning sky.

    Exploration is in our nature. We began as wanderers, and we are wanderers still. We have lingered long enough on the shores of the cosmic ocean. We are ready at last to set sail for the stars.

    Some part of our being knows this is where we came from. We long to return. And we can. Because the cosmos is also within us. We’re made of star-stuff. We are a way for the cosmos to know itself.


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    Kristallnacht came…and everything was changed.

    November 9, 1938: Kristallnacht (the Night of Broken Glass) takes place.

    The event that set off this violent series of pogroms, which flared up across Germany and Austria through November 9 and 10, was the assassination of German diplomat Ernst vom Rath by a young Jewish refugee. When the news of vom Rath’s death reached Nazi higher-ups, Joseph Goebbels made a speech in which he stated that “the Führer has decided that… demonstrations should not be prepared or organized by the party, but insofar as they erupt spontaneously, they are not to be hampered.” In effect, the government declared that it would not officially organize any “demonstrations”, but it would do nothing to prevent them, either; to many, Goebbels’ message was a clear call to Gauleitersacross the country to organize pogroms. To what extent this was Goebbels’ own plot or a joint and widely-agreed upon plan by Nazi officials is unclear, since some prominent officials disagreed with or at least criticized Goebbels’ actions. 

    Nevertheless, the attacks that would be collectively be known as Kristallnacht (Crystal Night) and the Night of Broken Glass began during the late hours of November 9. Orders from Reinhard Heydrich explicitly stated that German life and property were not to be harmed, but with no direct statement condoning or encouraging violence against Jews and Jewish property, they were more or less fair game. The attacks gained their name from the over 7,000 Jewish businesses that were destroyed, the glass windows of their storefronts shattered. Also given special attention were synagogues, which Goebbels referred to as “Jewish fortresses”; in all, over 200 were damaged or destroyed, and, in general, little effort was made by local fire departments to stop their destruction. Jewish civilians were attacked by mobs of civilians and SA men. In all, over 90 people were killed (hundreds more were injured), and some 30,000 were arrested and sent to concentration camps. 

    The Nazi regime’s apparent encouragement for the violent actions that took place strained the country’s relations with much of the Western world, including the United States. It was, in that way, a sort of turning point, but it also marked a turning point within Germany with regards to the treatment of German Jews. While anti-semitism had certainly been endorsed by the government through boycotting measures and miscegenation laws, persecution now took a definite and irreversible turn toward violence and physical destruction. Because of this, Kristallnacht is sometimes used to mark the beginning of the Holocaust. 


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    Favorite Artists - Vasily Vereshchagin (October 26, 1842 – April 13, 1904)


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    Haha, it’s not that big a deal. I’m pretty sure I saved it as a draft, though….. c’mon, tumblr. 


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    November 11, 1918: The Allies sign an armistice with the German Empire near Compiègne.

    After over four years of brutal trench warfare and nearly ten million dead, the Great War came to an unofficial end when German delegates met with Allied representatives and signed an armistice that would go into effect at 11 AM (of the eleventh day of the eleventh month). Just two days earlier, a German Republic had been declared (a product of the ongoing German Revolution); on the same day, Wilhelm II and his newly-appointed chancellor Prince Max von Baden abdicated their respective positions. 

    Negotiations took place deep in the Forest of Compiègne as to avoid the presence of prying journalists. The delegations met in Ferdinand Foch’s own private railway carriage. In 1940, Adolf Hitler chose this site (and this carriage) as the negotiations site for the Second Armistice of Compiègne, a symbolic choice that sought to replicate and repay the French the embarrassment Germany had suffered under the harsh terms of the original armistice and under the Treaty of Versailles. The carriage itself was taken as a conqueror’s trophy back to Germany and put on display in Berlin.

    The terms of the armistice were accepted without much quarrel by the German delegation and, in fact, there was not an overwhelming amount of negotiation in these negotiations at all. German delegates were not invited to the official peace negotiations of 1919, which eventually produced the Treaty of Versailles. A holiday - Armistice Day - was subsequently proclaimed in many Allied nations on November 11 to commemorate the cessation of hostilities on the Western Front. In the United States, this holiday was eventually expanded to commemorate all veterans.


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    I’m not sure what tumblr etiquette says about how often you should thank your followers, but I caught the flat 30,000, so I’m saying thank you!!


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    November 12, 1969: An American journalist breaks the story of the My Lai Massacre.

    When it took place in March of 1968, the My Lai massacre, which resulted in the death of at least 400 civilians, went unnoticed by the American public. On March 16, American soldiers entered the village of Son My (which contained the My Lai and My Khe hamlets) expecting to engage Viet Cong fighters directly there; in fact, the company’s commanding officer was quoted as telling his men: “They’re all V.C., now go and get them”. The inexperienced soldiers found no evidence of any enemy fighters in the village. Instead of moving on, they began rounding up (unarmed) civilians and shooting them, indiscriminately, brutally - quickly. By the end of the day, the soldiers had finished off (and in some cases tortured or raped) between 347 and 504 civilians. Only one American was injured. 

    The Americans who attempted to stop the atrocities - Hugh Thompson, Jr. and his helicopter crew - were denounced by some government officials as traitors; when the My Lai Massacre was revealed to the public, the three men received hate mail and death threats, although all three later received the Soldier’s Medal for their actions, which included saving several villagers. 

    Conversely, the conviction and sentence of 2nd Lt. William Calley, who reportedly personally took it upon himself to mow down civilians with a machine gun, was received with anger by the American public. Flags across the country were flown at half-mast in his honor, and more than one state legislature requested clemency on his behalf. Still, when Seymour Hersh broke the story of the massacre on November 12, 1968 in a report for which he received a Pulitzer Prize, American anti-war sentiment reached new heights, and outrage over the massacre and subsequent cover-up was not only domestic but international as well. In 1970, the United States Army charged over a dozen officers in connection with the massacre, but in the end, only William Calley was convicted - even Calley’s sentence was reduced from life in prison to three years under house arrest. Senior army officials reasoned that Calley had believed that he had simply been “following orders”…

    Most photographs of the event were taken by Ronald Haeberle; some of them can be viewed here.


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    sistersleep:

    unhistorical:

    November 12, 1969: An American journalist breaks the story of the My Lai Massacre.

    When it took place in March of 1968, the My Lai massacre, which resulted in the death of at least 400 civilians, went unnoticed by the American public. On March 16, American soldiers entered the village of Son My (which contained the My Lai and My Khe hamlets) expecting to engage Viet Cong fighters directly there; in fact, the company’s commanding officer was quoted as telling his men: “They’re all V.C., now go and get them”. The inexperienced soldiers found no evidence of any enemy fighters in the village. Instead of moving on, they began rounding up (unarmed) civilians and shooting them, indiscriminately, brutally - quickly. By the end of the day, the soldiers had finished off (and in some cases tortured or raped) between 347 and 504 civilians. Only one American was injured. 

    The Americans who attempted to stop the atrocities - Hugh Thompson, Jr. and his helicopter crew - were denounced by some government officials as traitors; when the My Lai Massacre was revealed to the public, the three men received hate mail and death threats, although all three later received the Soldier’s Medal for their actions, which included saving several villagers. 

    Conversely, the conviction and sentence of 2nd Lt. William Calley, who reportedly personally took it upon himself to mow down civilians with a machine gun, was received with anger by the American public. Flags across the country were flown at half-mast in his honor, and more than one state legislature requested clemency. Still, when Seymour Hersh broke the story of the massacre on November 12, 1968 in a report for which he received a Pulitzer Prize, American anti-war sentiment reached new heights, and outrage over the massacre and subsequent cover-up was not only domestic but international as well. In 1970, the United States Army charged over a dozen officers in connection with the massacre, but in the end, only William Calley was convicted - even Calley’s sentence was reduced from life in prison to three years under house arrest. Senior army officials reasoned that Calley had believed that he had simply been “following orders”…

    Most photographs of the event were taken by Ronald Haeberle; some of them can be viewed here.

    why is the text so fucking small i can’t read anything fuck you

    CTRL +


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    November 14, 1889: Nellie Bly sets sail on what will become a record-breaking circumnavigation of the globe.

    American journalist Elizabeth Jane Cochrane, who worked as a journalist under the pen name “Nellie Bly”, first made a name for herself when she feigned insanity and went undercover in an asylum, where she experienced the appalling conditions of the institution firsthand. After leaving the asylum, she reported on her experiences in an exposé that resulted in a grand jury investigation of the facilities. At age 21, she travelled to Mexico as a foreign correspondent.  

    In 1888, the intrepid reporter decided that she would emulate the protagonist of Jules Verne’s novel, Around the World in Eighty Days and circumnavigate the globe in eighty days or less. The newspaper that sent her on the trip, the New York World, had been reluctant to send her at first, mostly on the basis of her gender; however, the World soon proclaimed her to be “a female Phileas Fogg” and launched a dramatic publicity stunt to chronicle her journey around the world. On November 14, she set sail on a steamboat, beginning a journey that would cover nearly 25,000 miles. Carrying only minimal baggage, she travelled across continents, stopping in Amiens to meet the inspiration of her trip in France, Jules Verne. Bly travelled by railroad, steamship, rickshaw, and whatever other means of transport she could, unchaperoned for most of the trip, and arrived in New York after seventy-two days of travel, a world record.

    Unbeknownst to her (until halfway through the trip), Bly had been competing with another woman - Elizabeth Bisland - to break the record. Although she arrived after Bly, Bisland also circumnavigated the globe in under eighty days. 


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    Favorite Artists - Jacek Malczewski (15 July 1854 – 8 October 1929)


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    Hi guys!! So I was wondering… has anyone taken the SAT II for European history/World history? I’m thinking of signing up for one or the other, but I have < 2 weeks to study for it, and I’ve never taken a world/Euro class. I got an 800 on the USH one; is it comparable?

    (Also, I have to sign up before November 19.)


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    November 16, 1938: LSD is synthesized for the first time.

    LSD was first synthesized by Albert Hofmann, a Swiss chemist who had been conducting research on ergot, a potentially poisonous fungus, in order to produce a respiratory and circulatory stimulant from lysergic acid. The result was lysergic acid diethylamide - LSD-25. It did not suit his intended purpose, so Hofmann set the new drug aside for several years. Five years later, on April 16, 1943, Hofmann began work with LSD again and exposed himself to it; he described the ensuing sensation in his autobiography:

    I was forced to interrupt my work in the laboratory in the middle of the afternoon and proceed home, being affected by a remarkable restlessness, combined with a slight dizziness. At home I lay down and sank into a not unpleasant intoxicated-like condition, characterized by an extremely stimulated imagination. In a dreamlike state, with eyes closed (I found the daylight to be unpleasantly glaring), I perceived an uninterrupted stream of fantastic pictures, extraordinary shapes with intense, kaleidoscopic play of colors…

    On April 19, a day known as “Bicycle Day”, Hofmann ingested the drug intentionally and became the first person to experience the psychedelic properties of LSD. He described the “kaleidoscopic, fantastic images surged in on me, alternating, variegated, opening and then closing themselves in circles and spirals, exploding in colored fountains, rearranging and hybridizing themselves in constant flux …” Although Hofmann criticized the public’s eventual rejection of a drug he believed was not yet fully understood, he also rejected many of the casual users who “hijacked” the drug in the 1960s as amateurs whose understanding of the drug was as scant as that of many of its opponents. 

    Although its use was supported by many prominent figures, Aldous Huxley and particularly Timothy Leary among them, public backlash against the drug and its effects led to its illegalization in California in 1966. By 1968, possession of the drug was illegal in the United States, but medical research continues. 


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    Favorite Artists - Gustave Doré (January 6, 1832 – January 23, 1883)


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    November 17, 1989: The Velvet Revolution begins.

    In reaction to the stagnant political and social landscape of the country, discontent simmered in Czechoslovakia and finally erupted on November 17, 1989, when riot police put down an anti-Communist student rebellion in Prague. What resulted over the next few days was an outbreak of strikes, demonstrations, and public discussions across the country. This kind of civil resistance was common to the upheaval that occurred in various other Eastern Bloc states during 1989 (first Poland, then Hungary and East Germany, and then Czechoslovakia). 

    In late November, some 750,000 people gathered for protest in Prague. On November 27, a general strike supported by an estimated three-quarters of the population was successfully carried out; on the same day, the censorship of anti-Communist material ended. The Civic Forum, led by Václav Havel, met with Czechoslovakian Prime Minister Adamec, and it was decided that three articles from the country’s constitution would be removed entirely. 

    By December of 1989, Alexander Dubček, who had been ousted during the 1968 Prague Spring after attempting to implement reforms, was elected Chairman of the Federal Assembly/Parliament. Havel was also elected to office - he became President of Czechoslovakia by the Federal Assembly’s vote. On December 31, 1992, the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia was officially dissolved. 


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    Die with a degree of dignity. Lay down your life with dignity; don’t lay down with tears and agony.

    November 18, 1978: 909 Peoples Temple members die at Jonestown.

    Jim Jones’s notorious religious organization was founded in 1955 and, at its peak, had a purported membership of around 20,000 people. Jones was a fervent supporter of racial integration; in fact, one the Peoples Temple’s early objectives was the formation of a safe, interracial religious congregation. In 1961, Jones claimed to have had a vision of a coming nuclear holocaust, which would destroy Indianapolis and destroy capitalism (“the Antichrist system”), leaving only a “socialist Eden” behind. As the Peoples Temple worked to pursue Jones’ “apostolic Socialism”, it subjected its members to a kind of mind control and psychological manipulation that taught members to shun those Jones deemed “enemies” and “traitors”. At the same time, the charismatic Jones made himself out to be a figure to be worshipped; he attacked mainstream religion, which he referred to as an “opiate” (and the Bible as a “paper idol”).

    In the mid-1970s, Jonestown (officially called the “Peoples Temple Agricultural Project”) was established in Guyana as a communist utopia for Jones’ most fervent followers. Jones addressed his congregation through radio broadcasts in which he praised Joseph Stalin and Robert Mugabe while attacking the United States’ imperialist policy. Discontent still stirred among Temple members, however. When California Congressman Leo Ryan flew out to Guyana to visit Jonestown on November 17, 1978, several members requested the congressman’s aid returning to the United States. When Ryan and the defectors reached the airstrip to depart, one of the accompanying Temple members drew a gun and killed a cameraman, photographer, NBC reporter, and Congressman Ryan, who had planned to describe the community “in basically good terms” in the report he planned to issue once returning to the United States. 

    Shortly after, Jones delivered to his hundreds of remaining Temple members an address in which he encouraged them to commit “revolutionary suicide”, while his aides prepared a metal vat full of Flavor Aid (a drink similar to Kool-Aid) laced with various drugs, along with cyanide. Many drank the concoction; others were pressured to do so, while children under a certain age were injected with the poison by their parents. Nearly three hundred children died at Jonestown; thirty-three members survived. Jim Jones himself was found dead by a gunshot wound to the head, most likely self-inflicted. During the suicides, Jones had reportedly encouraged his followers with these words:

     I don’t care how many screams you hear, I don’t care how many anguished cries…death is a million times preferable to ten more days of this life. If you knew what was ahead of you – if you knew what was ahead of you, you’d be glad to be stepping over tonight.


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    November 19, 1863: Abraham Lincoln delivers the Gettysburg Address.

    At Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, where the bloodiest battle of the Civil War was fought in July of 1863, Abraham Lincoln delivered a speech regarded as not only one of his greatest speeches, but also one of the most famous speeches in American history. It was five months after the battle and ten months after the issuance of the Emancipation Proclamation.

    Lincoln’s speech, though the most memorable, was not the main event at Gettysburg that day; the featured orator was Edward Everett, who spoke for over two hours at the dedication of the Gettysburg Soldiers’ National Cemetery. Lincoln, who was diagnosed with a mild case of smallpox following the dedication, delivered a short speech (less than 300 words long) in under three minutes as almost an afterthought. Everett later wrote Lincoln praising the speech, commenting that he would have been glad to have been able to do in two hours what Lincoln did “in two minutes”.  Others were not so effusive in their praise. A Democratic-leaning newspaper called it “silly, flat and dishwatery”.

    Full text of the speech:

    Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

    Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation, so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

    But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate, we can not consecrate, we can not hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

    Only one confirmed photograph of Lincoln at Gettysburg exists. 


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    unhistorical:

    November 19, 1863: Abraham Lincoln delivers the Gettysburg Address.

    At Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, where the bloodiest battle of the Civil War was fought in July of 1863, Abraham Lincoln delivered a speech regarded as not only one of his greatest speeches, but also one of the most famous speeches in American history. It was five months after the battle and ten months after the issuance of the Emancipation Proclamation.

    Lincoln’s speech, though the most memorable, was not the main event at Gettysburg that day; the featured orator was Edward Everett, who spoke for over two hours at the dedication of the Gettysburg Soldiers’ National Cemetery. Lincoln, who was diagnosed with a mild case of smallpox following the dedication, delivered a short speech (less than 300 words long) in under three minutes as almost an afterthought. Everett later wrote Lincoln praising the speech, commenting that he would have been glad to have been able to do in two hours what Lincoln did “in two minutes”.  Others were not so effusive in their praise. A Democratic-leaning newspaper called it “silly, flat and dishwatery”.

    Full text of the speech:

    Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

    Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation, so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

    But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate, we can not consecrate, we can not hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

    Only one confirmed photograph of Lincoln at Gettysburg exists. 


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    November 20, 1969: The Occupation of Alcatraz begins.

    On this day in 1969, seventy-nine Native Americans, mostly student protesters, set out in a boat to occupy the San Francisco Bay’s famous island prison at Alcatraz (“the Rock”). In this highly-publicized event, occupiers protested the American government’s policy in dealing with Native Americans, particularly its numerous broken treaties with Native American tribes and its Indian termination policy. The protest was fairly effective in achieving recognition for the latter issue; in 1970, President Nixon delivered to Congress a message in which he criticized termination and instead recommended self-determination, and throughout the 70s, the federal government passed legislation that promoted the sovereignty of Native American tribes. During this period, President Nixon also more than doubled the budget of the Bureau of Indian Affairs. 

    The principal organizer of the occupation was Adam Fortunate Eagle, a half-Chippewa activist; the spokesperson for the Indians of All Tribes organization was part-Sioux, part-Mexican activist John Trudell; another leader was Richard Oakes, a Mohawk Indian who lived with his family on Alcatraz until 1970 and sent this message to the San Francisco Department of the Interior:

    We invite the United States to acknowledge the justice of our claim. The choice now lies with the leaders of the American government - to use violence upon us as before to remove us from our Great Spirit’s land, or to institute a real change in its dealing with the American Indian…

    We and all other oppressed peoples would welcome spectacle of proof before the world of your title by genocide. Nevertheless, we seek peace.

    When the Ohlone and other indigenous peoples inhabited the San Francisco Bay Area, Alcatraz was regarded with suspicion, and it was even used as a place of exile and ostracism. It was abandoned as a federal penitentiary in 1963, and it was subsequently claimed by the 1969 protesters by “right of discovery”, the doctrine used to justify the acquisition of native-held lands by colonial powers (especially in the 19th century). The occupation lasted until 1971, and, for nineteen months, students, married couples, and even children lived on the island, garnering support from even celebrities like Jane Fonda and Marlon Brando. The last protesters left in June of 1971, after electrical power and telephone lines were cut off by the government. The occupation’s stated goal of creating a spiritual and cultural center on the island was never fulfilled, and most of the activists’ demands were never met, but it was influential overall, especially given its direct effect on federal policy toward Native Americans. 

    photograph collection


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