politics

Quo usque tandem, Catilina – Cicero and the Catilinarian Conspiracy

Quo usque tandem, Catilina – Cicero and the Catilinarian Conspiracy

On October 21, 63 BC, Roman philosopher, politician, and orator Marcus Tullius Cicero presented evidence to the members of the Roman senate as proof that Lucius Sergius Catilina was preparing a conspiracy to overthrow the Roman Republic, and in particular the power of the aristocratic Senate. Actually, the Catilinarian Conspiracy is one of the best-documented episodes of ancient history. It was the attempted seizure of power at Rome by the disaffected aristocrat Catiline. Marcus…
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The Congress of Vienna in 1814 – Redrawing the Map of Europe

The Congress of Vienna in 1814 – Redrawing the Map of Europe

On September 18, 1814, the Congress of Vienna began with ambassadors of many European states chaired by Austrian statesman Klemens Wenzel von Metternich with the objective to settle the many issues arising from the French Revolutionary Wars, the Napoleonic Wars, and the dissolution of the Holy Roman Empire. Its result was a redrawing of Europe’s political map and its effects still last until today. The End of the War After the fall of…
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The Affair of the Diamond Necklace – Harbinger of the French Revolution

The Affair of the Diamond Necklace – Harbinger of the French Revolution

On August 15, 1785, the Cardinal de Rohan was arrested and the ‘Affair of the Diamond Necklace‘, an extraordinary expensive piece of jewelry intended for Madame du Barry,[5] the maitresse of King Louis XV of France, became a public scandal that led to the French populace’s disillusionment with the monarchy, which, among other causes, eventually culminated in the French Revolution. Actually, the reputation of the Queen, which was already tarnished by gossip,…
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Alexis de Tocqueville and the Democracy in America

Alexis de Tocqueville and the Democracy in America

On July 29, 1805, French political thinker and historian Alexis de Tocqueville was born. He is best known for his Democracy in America, where he analyzed the rising living standards and social conditions of individuals and their relationship to the market and state in Western societies. Today, it is considered an early work of sociology and political science. “The best laws cannot make a constitution work in spite of morals; morals can…
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Frida Kahlo’s struggling Life and Extraordinary Art

Frida Kahlo’s struggling Life and Extraordinary Art

On July 6, 1907, Mexican painter Magdalena Carmen Frida Kahlo y Calderón was born. She is probably best known for her impressive self-portrait and is still admired as a feminist icon. “A little while ago, not much more than a few days ago, I was a child who went about in a world of colors, of hard and tangible forms. Everything was mysterious and something was hidden, guessing what it was was a…
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Claude Joseph Rouget de Lisle and the Marseillaise

Claude Joseph Rouget de Lisle and the Marseillaise

On April 25, 1792, French army officier Claude Joseph Rouget de Lisle during the French Revolution composes the ‘Chant de guerre pour l’armée du Rhin‘ for the declaration of war against Austria. Under the name ‘La Marseillaise‘ his song later becomes the national anthem of France. Everybody knows the French National Anthem I’m pretty sure that almost everybody knows the French national anthem, the so-called Marseillaise, simply because of its numerous references throughout music…
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Encore un Moment – The Life of Madame Du Barry

Encore un Moment – The Life of Madame Du Barry

On April 22, 1769, Jeanne Bécu, comtesse du Barry, better known as Madame du Barry, was introduced at the French court. Originally being only a seamstress, Madame du Barry should become Maîtresse-en-titre of Louis XV of France and the most powerful woman in France. From Street Seller to Courtesan Madame du Barry was born in Lorraine, France and had to support herself financially at the age of 15 or 16. It is…
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Catherine de Medici and St. Bartholomew’s Day

Catherine de Medici and St. Bartholomew’s Day

On April 13, 1519, Italian noblewoman and Queen of France Catherine de’ Medici was born. Catherine played a key role in the reign of her sons, and is blamed for the excessive persecutions of the Hugenots in particular for the St. Bartholomew’s Day massacre of 1572, in which thousands of Huguenots were killed in Paris and throughout France. Catherine de Medici and Henry, Duke of Orleans Catherine de’ Medici was born into a…
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Sophie Scholl and the White Rose

Sophie Scholl and the White Rose

On February 18, 1943, Sophie Scholl and her brother Hans brought a suitcase full of leaflets to the University of Munich, calling for passive resistance against the Nazis, and were arrested. Four days later, Sophie Scholl, her brother Hans and their friend Christoph Probst were found guilty of treason and condemned to death. “Somebody, after all, had to make a start. What we wrote and said is also believed by many others. They…
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Man is Man’s Wolf – Thomas Hobbes and his Leviathan

Man is Man’s Wolf – Thomas Hobbes and his Leviathan

On December 4, 1679, Thomas Hobbes passed away. The philosopher of the Age of Enlightenment and the political theorist of the Absolutism is probably best known for his 1651 book Leviathan that established the foundation for most of Western political philosophy from the perspective of social contract theory. “I know not how the world will receive it, nor how it may reflect on those that shall seem to favor it. For in a way…
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