Articles on History

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French essayist Michel de Montaigne once described a ceremony between two male lovers at Saint John at the Latin Gate in Rome. Gary Ferguson

A same-sex marriage ceremony in… Renaissance Rome?

Same-sex marriage is not a 20th-century phenomenon; couples have long claimed the right to marry.
In 1945, U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt met with King Abdul Aziz Ibn Saud, part of a behind-the-scenes policy to ensure access to oil for the U.S. and its allies. National Archives and Records Administration

Exxon’s Rex Tillerson and the rise of Big Oil in American politics

Big Oil has historically played a behind-the-scenes role on American policy and politics. No longer.
'Shredded papers' via www.shutterstock.com

Does nonpartisan journalism have a future?

In a complex media environment, it's become incredibly difficult for the neutral press to point out Donald Trump's lies without having that information discounted as partisan bias.
Demonstrators march on international migrant day 2016. EPA

Was 2016 just 1938 all over again?

Diaries from 1938 show the depth of concern about the direction the world was taking. Are we facing similar dark prospects?
J. Robert Oppenheimer, often called the ‘father of the atomic bomb’ who chaired the ancestor of today’s Department of Energy, had his security clearance revoked during the ‘Red Scare’ of the 1950s. AP Photo

Trump questionnaire recalls dark history of ideology-driven science

A historian of science and technology says Trump team's request for names of Department of Energy employees working on climate change recalls worst excesses of ideology-driven science in government.
Why do we celebrate the birth of Jesus on 25 December? Adoration of the shepherds (1622) by Gerard van Honthorst/WIkimedia Commons

How did we come to celebrate Christmas?

Before Christmas became child-centred, Father Christmas was the personification of a mid-winter feast of merrymaking for adults – and he brought no presents.
Are contemporary insults as witty as the scorn of the past? Ollyy/www.shutterstock.com

Review: the fine art of scorn from Twain to Trump

Scorn has a long and humorous history. But a new book on the subject, featuring quotes from Kanye West, Christopher Hitchens and of course, Donald Trump, rather lacks contemporary wit.
Even without iPhones, people in the 19th century liked to see how long they could strike a pose and stay frozen. Wikimedia Commons

The Victorian origins of the Mannequin Challenge

Long before smartphones filmed the stiffened appendages of people seeking internet fame, striking a pose was a popular form of entertainment in Victorian England.

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