Archive for the ‘History’ Category

US History teachers at the secondary school level, as well as Global Studies and Participation in Government teachers, should explore this site and try to answer the big questions posed in this site.

Although this site focuses on religious diversity in the United States, it is also about answering the bigger questions about citizenship. It asks who Americans are when they say, “One nation under God”? So often, people make comments in social networks and in face to face conversations about the endangering of Christian beliefs and make claims that the USA is a Christian nation. They dismiss or forget the USA’s exceptionalism is linked to its pluralism. For the country to be “great”,  it must uphold and appreciate this history of inclusion, but must also include the ability to dialogue–not just talk for or talk at others–but to actually dialogue. Diana Eck explains: “Dialogue means both speaking and listening, and that process reveals both common understandings and real differences. Dialogue does not mean everyone at the “table” will agree with one another. Pluralism involves the commitment to being at the table — with one’s commitments.”

I have learned about this site from a Great Courses audiobook by Prof. Charles Kimball As I listen to the first few discs, it occurs to me that Marshall McLuhan’s descriptions of violence and tribalism are manifesting. We have to educate more people with messages from the Pluralism Project to drive back the tide of fear and intolerance.

Source: History of the Pluralism Project | The Pluralism Project

Having launched and led the battle against offshore tax evasion, America is now part of the problem

Partly because of state rights, the US can appear to have multiple personalities:

“Business lobbyists and states with lots of registered firms, led by Delaware, have long stymied proposed federal legislation that would require more openness in corporate ownership. (Incorporation is a state matter, not a federal one.) America will often investigate a shell company if asked to by a foreign government that suspects wrongdoing. But incorporation agents do not have to collect ownership information. This is in contrast to Britain, which will soon have a public register of companies’ beneficial owners.”

Source: The biggest loophole of all | The Economist

“The festival of the son

“It was in the fourth century that the Church adopted the winter solstice as a Christian celebration, turning the ‘festival of the sun’ into the ‘festival of the son’. Traditional pagan practices were either phased out by the Church or turned into Christian traditions. For example, Pope Julius I chose 25 December as the date for Christmas in an attempt to ‘Christianise’ the pagan celebrations that were already held at this time of year.”

Is lethal injection the most humane method of execution? Is there another way?  Should we eliminate the death penalty altogether? Here’s some of the best reporting on the practice.

“Winning at Olympia”Ancient Olympics Guide”
April 6, 2004by Donald G. Kyle

You say, “I want to win at Olympia.” …If you do, you will have to obey instructions, eat according to regulations, keep away from desserts, exercise on a fixed schedule at definite hours, in both heat and cold; you must not drink cold water nor can you have a drink of wine whenever you want. You must hand yourself over to your coach exactly as you would to a doctor. Then in the contest itself you must gouge and be gouged, there will be times when you will sprain a wrist, turn your ankle, swallow mouthfuls of sand, and be flogged. And after all that there are times when you lose.”

Epictetus, Discourses 15.2-5, trans. W.E. Sweet

Smithsonian Magazine, History of Phrenology, Deinspire, Quack Watch, SJU, Psych Central, Psychometric,

Source: The Many Ways Science Has (Wrongly) Assessed Your Personality

“An examination of the usage of writing implements in the late eighteenth- and early nineteenth-centuries offers insight into the changing contemporary class and gender constructs and reveals the cultural significance of pens. “

Source: Early American Writing Implements: Their History and Cultural Significance