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Why did the Italian Renaissance End?

The Italian Renaissance was one of the most exciting periods in human civilisation. It witnessed a great flourishing of the arts, literature, philosophy, architecture and politics. Many of the greatest figures in World Civilisation appeared during the Renaissance in Italy, including Michelangelo, Leonardo Da Vinci, Machiavelli and Raphael. Read more...

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American Surveillance: Interview with Anthony Gregory

The United States has been conducting surveillance of its citizens since it was created, but the ability of any government to spy on its citizens has dramatically improved in the digital age. How should United States balance national security and personal privacy? Does the Constitution provide adequate protection against unrestricted government surveillance? What can advocates do to strengthen personal privacy rights? These concerns will only intensify in the years to come. Read more...

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How did the marathon emerge?

The marathon is seen today as grueling long-distance, usually over 26 mile race. The battle of Marathon, fought between the Greek and Persian armies, and the resulting run by a Greek warrior to tell the victory is usually cited as the origin of this sport. While there is truth in this story, the history of the marathon is complex and its presence in many major world cities shows it still stands as one of the great events that tests human will and skill. Read more...

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Civil War Battles Top Ten Booklist

A DailyHistory.org top ten booklist focusing on best book on the battles of the American Civil War. The books on this list explore the battles of Antietam, Gettysburg, Chancellorsville, and many others. The list includes the works of several of the most prominent historians on this topic including James McPherson, Gordon Rhea, Stephen Sears and Craig Symonds. Take a look at our list.Read more...

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What were the Root Causes of the Spanish Civil War?

Spain was a very divided, unstable and weak country in the 19th century. Once a great power, Spain lost almost the last of its colonies after it defeat in the Spanish-American war.[1] It was technically a monarchy, but power had frequently been in the hands of military dictators. The country was bitterly divided. The acute poverty of the Spanish people meant that many were drawn to Communism, Anarchism and Socialism. Read more...

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Privateering during the War of 1812: Interview with Faye M. Kert

During the War 1812, US and Canadian privateers fought most of the naval battles between the United States and Great Britain. These privateers were comprised of captains who were motivated by the promise of profit to fight for their countries. There was a strong legal framework in both the United States and Great Britain that normalized piracy. Canadian and American ship owners and investors took advantage of it and funded privateering outfits during the war. Needless to say, privateers were incredibly risky investments.Read more...

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Nature's Path: Interview with Susan E. Cayleff

At the very end of the 19th Century, a new system called naturopathy was created by Benedict and Louisa Stroebel Lust. Unlike many of the 19th Century medical systems created, naturopathy has persevered to this day. Naturopathic healing was founded and based on number of influences including botanics, hydrotherapy, eclecticism, temperance and vegetarianism. Read more...

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Why did the Congress of Vienna fail to stop future European wars?

The Congress of Vienna was a gathering of representatives of European kingdoms that was presided over by the Austrian Chancellor Klemens Von Metternich. The Congress was held in Vienna from 1814 to 1815. The goals of the Congress were to secure peace and stability in Europe and to ensure that revolutions did not destabilize the Continent. Read more...

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How did Edwin Drake create the World's first oil well?

Even though there was no one "first discover" of oil. Oil was known in antiquity when it was used to heal wounds. But by the middle of the 19th century methods for collecting oil from the ground had not changed for thousands of years. Edwin Drake's oil fundamentally changed this process and dramatically increased oil production around the world. Read more...

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Fate of the Revolution: Interview with Lorri Glover

Starting in 1787, states began to ratify the newly drafted federal Constitution which would determine the fate of the new American Republic. In order for the Constitution to go in effect, nine of the states needed to agree to the document. While five states quickly ratified the Constitution between December 1787 and January 1788, the country's eyes stayed on Virginia. Virginia was the most populated and largest state and it was critical for the state to ratify the Constitution to legitimize the process. Read more...

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Why was Epicurus and his philosophy so important?

Epicurus is often associated as one of the Greek philosophers more interested in pleasure or its pursuit than other ideals. While at times this led to a negative view of his philosophy, the reality is his thinking was very advanced and developed, leading to his ideas becoming highly influential in modern thought in many regions of the world today. He was one of the first Greek philosophers to develop a strong tradition that avoid superstition as a core ideal.Read more...

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American Revolution Top Ten Booklist

On July 4, 1776, the Declaration of Independence was signed by the Continental Congress. This act was only the first step towards the creation of the United States. The United States then fought a seven year war to cement its independence from England. The successful fight for independence has had a remarkable impact on world history over the past 200 years. The United States gradually transformed itself from a former colony into a superpower. The impact of this revolution cannot be ignored. Read more...

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What was Plato's academy and why did it influence Western thought?

The Academy, founded by the philosopher Plato in the early 4th century BCE, was perhaps one of the earliest institutions of higher learning. While it was not like a university where people would enroll and obtain advanced degrees, it functioned as one of the first places for dedicated research into scientific and philosophical questions, at least in Europe, took place by gathered scholars. Its main function was to teach Plato's philosophical understanding, but it also challenged its scholars to develop a new understanding of our universe. Read more...

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The Alien and Sedition Acts of 1798: Interview with Terri Halperin

The Alien and Sedition Acts of 1798 were four laws that were passed by the predominantly Federalist Congress and signed by John Adams to strengthen the national security of the United States. These acts not only restricted the ability of an immigrant to become a citizen, but made it easier to deport non-citizens who were either deemed dangerous or were citizens of hostile countries. Read more...

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How did the Bubonic Plague make the Italian Renaissance possible?

The Black Death (1347-1350) was a pandemic that devastated the populations of Europe and Asia. The plague was an unprecedented human tragedy in Italy. It not only shook Italian society, but transformed it. The Black Death marked an end of an era in Italy, its impact was profound and it resulted in wide-ranging social, economic, cultural and religious changes.Read more...

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Why did Germany lose the Battle of Stalingrad?

Hitler saw the war in terms of his personal rivalry with Stalin and he decided to attack the city, because of its symbolic value. However, the original aim of the offensive in Southern Russian was to secure the oil fields in the Caucasus. The oil was essential for the German war machine. Hitler knew this – instead of opting for concentrating all his forces on the conquest of the oil fields, he made perhaps a fateful mistake.Read more...

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What was the dominant medical sect in the United States during the 19th Century?

Nineteenth-century medicine was characterized by constant competition among three major medical sects: Regulars, Eclectics, and Homeopaths.[1] Each of these medical sects not only meaningfully disagreed on how to treat illnesses and diseases, but sought to portray their type of practice as the most effective and scientific.Read more...

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Thomas Jefferson, the Founding Fathers and Christianity: Interview with Sam Haselby

Recently on Twitter, a debate broke out between Annette Gordon-Reed, Sam Haselby, and John Fea on the nature of Thomas Jefferson's religious beliefs. Instead of recreating the debate, it made more sense to contact one of the participants, Sam Haselby, whose recent book The Origins of American Religious Nationalism (published by Oxford University Press) examines how a conflict with Protestantism, in the decades following US independence transformed American national identity.Read more...

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Engineering Victory during the Civil War: Interview with Thomas F. Army, Jr.

Logistics win wars. Logistics is the coordination of complex operations such as moving, housing and supplying troops and their equipment. War is the ultimate test of any logistician. Thomas F. Army, Jr. argues in his new book Engineering Victory: How Technology Won the Civil War published by Johns Hopkins University Press that the Union's engineering prowess during Civil War gave it an distinct advantage over the Confederacy.Read more...

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Shantytown, USA: Interview with Lisa Goff

The Harvard University Press recently published Lisa Goff's new book Shantytown, USA: Forgotten Landscapes of the Working Poor. There's a chance that one of your American ancestors lived in an American shantytown. While we may not realize it now, shantytowns were a common feature of 19th century America. Goff's book explores not only how shantytowns became a prominent feature of America's towns and cities, but why middle class Americans eventually turned on them and their residents. Read more...

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The Mysterious Illness of Jim Bowie: How Did He Contribute to His Own Decline?

Directly or indirectly, Jim Bowie’s enigmatic illness resulted from his own actions. A hearty man of six feet in height, Bowie was a walking contradiction; a slave trader who fought for freedom, a generous and congenial man who called out his thunderous temper on a whim, and a commanding leader who was prone to binges of sloppy drunkenness. Read more...

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Origins of the French Revolution - Top Ten Booklist

The French Revolution has been seen as a world-altering event. The revolution demolished a long standing monarchy and showed that it was a natural form of government. The Revolution also showed that it was possible to change society, using reason, for the better and worse. The French Revolution inspired many to agitate for democracy and equality around the world. Read more...

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How Did the Battle of South Mountain Alter the Course of the American Civil War?

When Lee ordered his men out of Virginia, he had a massive force. The Confederate Army left Centreville, Virginia with 45,700 men. Additionally, Lee called up three divisions from Richmond that totaled another 20,600 troops in addition to J.E.B. Stuart’s cavalry of 5,500 riders. In total, 71,800 Confederate soldiers departed Virginia with orders to proceed to Maryland. Read more...

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Was the Destruction Perpetrated by Lincoln, Grant, and Sherman Necessary to End the Civil War?

January 1, 1863 marked a pivotal moment in the American Civil War. On this date the Emancipation Proclamation, the preliminary of which was issued by President Lincoln on September 22, 1862, took full and permanent effect, thus changing the Union’s ultimate war goal. The harsh and unpopular actions that were necessary to prevent the prolonged bloody carnage of continual war were tasked to three men: Abraham Lincoln, Ulysses S. Grant, and William T. Sherman. Read more...

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What was George Washington's military experience before the American Revolution?

The Second Continental Congress voted unanimously to put George Washington in charge of the Continental Army in 1775. Washington was only 43 years old at the time, a gentleman planter and local Virginian politician. He had not served in the military for over 20 years and his military service records was not particularly distinguished. What qualified Washington for the supreme confidence the young American rebels placed in him? Read more...

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How did Monotheism Develop?

While monotheism is seen as something that has derived from Judaism, the history of how monotheism became pervasive is complex. Integrating both historical and archaeological data, we find that the rise of monotheism has been influenced by key political events. These political events help transform not just these early monotheistic faiths but also by extension many parts of the world today.Read more...

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Gilded Age/Progressive Era History Top Ten Booklist

Creating a Top Ten List for the Gilded Age/Progressive Era is challenging. There are an extraordinary number of outstanding books on this period. These books are a selection of our favorites. Most of these books are focused on trying to define this era as whole, instead of focusing on a single issue. In other words, several of these books are seeking to create a grand narrative of the era to help their readers understand it. Read more...

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The Best Historians and Books According to James McPherson

In 2014, the New York Times published a brief interview with noted Civil War historian James McPherson, The George Henry Davis 1886 Professor of American History at Princeton University. McPherson is considered to be the dean of Civil War historians. He is best known for his Pulitzer Prize winning book Battle Cry of Freedom which is the best overview of the Civil War. Read more...

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