History

Emperor

Geoffrey Parker— The future Charles V first made his presence felt from the womb. In September 1499, Philip summoned ‘a midwife from the city of Lille’ to ‘see and visit’ Joanna; and four months later he sent a courier ‘at the utmost speed, day and night, without sparing men or

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The Last Shah

Ray Takeyh— Why did Iran have a revolution in 1979? The immediate causes can be easily summarized: The economic recession of the mid-1970s had halted the shah’s development projects and created expectations that the state could not meet. Pervasive repression was making peaceful protest impossible. The decayed Pahlavi state lacked

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Delia’s Tears

Molly Rogers— When in 1976 fifteen daguerreotypes of black men and women were discovered in the attic of the Peabody Museum, the question of their meaning and purpose was immediately raised. The images were clearly unusual in that they were not like most daguerreotypes made in America: they did not

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The Year of Peril

Tracy Campbell— As 1943 dawned, the relentless fear that had gripped the nation since Pearl Harbor had somewhat lessened, and although most understood that the most difficult days of the war still lay ahead, many worst-case scenarios had been avoided. There were no additional Pearl Harbors, economic chaos was averted,

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Founding God’s Nation

Leon R. Kass— Exodus, the second of the Five Books of Moses (The Torah), contains some of the most famous stories in Western literature: the enslavement of the Children of Israel by Pharaoh in Egypt, the rescue of baby Moses from the Nile by Pharaoh’s daughter, God’s call to Moses

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From Dante to Disney

José María Pérez Fernández and Edward Wilson-Lee— A few days ago, a subsecretary in the newly-installed Italian government led by Mario Draghi tweeted out to followers an inspiring message which showed the continuing relevance of the great poet Dante to our present day: “Chi si ferma è perduto, mille anni

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How the Russian State Sustained an “Empire of Difference”

Janet M. Hartley— In the late thirteenth century, Muscovy was a small, landlocked principality and a vassal state of the Mongol Empire. By the late the sixteenth century, however, it had experienced an extraordinary expansion of territory under the control of Ivan IV, who styled himself no longer grand prince

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Police Before “The Police”

Sal Nicolazzo— In his Lectures on Justice, Police, Revenue, and Arms—the precursor to The Wealth of Nations—Adam Smith defines “the objects of police” as “the cheapness of commodities, public security and cleanliness.” This broad mandate for “police”—most of which has little or nothing to do with crime prevention—may sound idiosyncratic to

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Brexit as a British State of Mind

Vernon Bogdanor— Is Britain part of Europe? Of course, geographically we certainly are part of Europe. But politically? The answer is by no means clear. Britain has long had an ambivalent relationship with the Continent. It is apparent even in the way that we speak. We speak of entering Europe

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The Zionist Revolution

Micah Goodman— Modernity burst onto the stage of history some three hundred years ago, when free thinkers of all stripes—philosophers, revolutionaries, political leaders—struck blow after blow at the traditions of the past. They strove for a future in which humanity would slough off the heavy burdens of history, including the

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