Archive for the ‘History’ Category

Source: A Brief History of Writing Instuments – Ink and Letters


The Prints and Photographs Online Catalog (PPOC) contains catalog records and digital images representing a rich cross-section of still pictures held by the Prints & Photographs Division and, in some cases, other units of the Library of Congress. The Library of Congress offers broad public access to these materials as a contribution to education and scholarship.

Source: Search Results: “” – Prints & Photographs Online Catalog (Library of Congress)

excerpt: “Who has predominant power in the United States? The short answer, from 1776 to the present, is: Those who have the money — or more specifically, who own income-producing land and businesses — have the power. George Washington was one of the biggest landowners of his day; presidents in the late 19th century were close to the railroad interests; for the Bush family, it was oil and other natural resources, agribusiness, and finance. In this day and age, this means that banks, corporations, agribusinesses, and big real estate developers, working separately on most policy issues, but in combination on important general issues — such as taxes, opposition to labor unions, and trade agreements with other countries — set the rules within which policy battles are waged.

While this conclusion may at first seem too simple or direct, leaving little room for elected officials or voters, the reasons behind it are complex. They involve an understanding of social classes, the role of experts, the two-party system, and the history of the country, especially Southern slavery. In terms of the big world-historical picture, and the Four Networks theory of power advocated on this site, large economic interests rule in America because there are no rival networks that grew up over a long and complex history:

  • There is no one big church, as in many countries in Europe
  • No big government, as it took to survive as a nation-state in Europe
  • No big military until after 1940 (which is not very long ago) to threaten to take over the government”

Who Rules America: The Class-Domination Theory of Power.

” it is absurd to boil our national well being down to a single metric, especially one conceived of in the 1930’s for a much different economy.  As I’ve pointed out before, numbers can lie.  While there is support building for alternatives to GDP, such as happiness indices, we are still largely confusing metrics for meaning.  We can do better.


“And in the past, we have.  Eisenhower’s vision created the Interstate Highway System, Kennedy inspired us to go to the moon, Johnson’s Great Society programs pulled millions out of desperate poverty.  More recently, we decoded the human genome and are now embarked on a similar quest to replicate the human brain, but nothing on a truly national scale.” (excerpt)

via The Clothesline Paradox | Digital Tonto.

“Although informal discrimination and segregation had existed in the United States, the specific practice called “redlining” began with the National Housing Act of 1934, which established the Federal Housing Administration (FHA).[10] Racial segregation and discrimination against minorities and minority communities pre-existed this policy. The decay of minority inner city neighborhoods from withheld mortgage capital and difficulty for neighborhoods to attract and retain families able to purchase homes was aggravated by the implementation of this federal policy.[11] In 1935, the Federal Home Loan Bank Board (FHLBB) asked Home Owners’ Loan Corporation (HOLC) to look at 239 cities and create “residential security maps” to indicate the level of security for real-estate investments in each surveyed city. Such maps defined many minority neighborhoods in cities as ineligible to receive financing. The maps were based on assumptions about the community, not accurate assessments[citation needed] of an individual’s or household’s ability to satisfy standard lending criteria. Since African Americans were unwelcome in white neighborhoods,[citation needed] which frequently instituted racial restrictive covenants to keep them out, the policy effectively meant that blacks could not secure mortgage loans at all. At various times the practice also affected other ethnic groups, including Jews, Latinos, and Asians.” (excerpt)

via Redlining – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Bill Dedman received the Pulitzer Prize in investigative reporting in 1989 for researching and writing these articles.

The first series, published May 1-4, 1988, disclosed that Atlanta’s banks and savings and loan institutions, although they had made loans for years in even the poorest white neighborhoods of Atlanta, did not lend in middle-class or more affluent black neighborhoods. The focus moved to lenders across the nation with the January 1989 article, “Blacks turned down for home loans from S&Ls twice as often as whites.”

As a result of the stories, the federal Home Mortgage Disclosure Act was expanded to provide more information to the public on the pattern of activity by all mortgage lenders.

via The Color of Money.

City Talk | Lapham’s Quarterly.

Traditions still stand:

“The current and 34th Queen’s Champion and 33rd Lord of the manor of Scrivelsby, Thornton and Dalderby and patron of the living of Scrivelsby-cum-Dalderby is Lieutenant-Colonel John Lindley Marmion Dymoke, MBE DL Royal Lincolnshire Regiment. He acted as Standard-Bearer of the Union Flag at the coronation service of Her Majesty The Queen in 1953.”

via Queen’s Champion – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Like many early American customs, dueling was imported. Starting in the Middle Ages, European nobles had defended their honor in man-to-man battles. An early version of dueling was known as “judicial combat,” so called because God allegedly judged the man in the right and let him win. In an era known for its bloody encounters, judicial combats probably prevented men from killing in the heat of passion. Still, numerous authorities, including heads of state and the Catholic Church, banned dueling — with little effect.

via The American Experience | The Duel | Dueling, American Style.

The 10 greatest changes of the past 1,000 years | Books | The Guardian.


In Europe, the last millennium has been shaped by successive waves of change, but which shifts, in which centuries, have really shaped the modern world? Historian Ian Mortimer identifies the 10 leading drivers of change