politics

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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Otto the Great – Founder of the Holy Roman Empire

Otto the Great – Founder of the Holy Roman Empire

On November 23, 912 AD, Otto I, also referred to as Otto the Great, emperor of the Holy Roman Empire and founder of the Ottonian dynasty of German emperors, was born as the oldest son of the Duke of Saxony Henry the Fowler (“Heinrich, der Vogler” referring to a German poem „Herr Heinrich sitzt am Vogelherd…“ by Johann Nepomuk Vogl, 1835 [1]) and his second wife Matilda of Ringelheim. By the time of…
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Emmeline Pankhurst and the Suffragette Movement

Emmeline Pankhurst and the Suffragette Movement

On July 14, 1858, British political activist and leader of the British suffragette movement Emmeline Pankhurst was born, who helped women win the right to vote. Emmeline Pankhurst was named one of the 100 Most Important People of the 20th Century by the Time magazine. What a pity she wasn’t born a lad Born in Manchester as first of nine children, Emmeline Pankhurst was the daughter of Robert Goulden, who came from…
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Karl Marx and Das Kapital

Karl Marx and Das Kapital

On May 5, 1818, German philosopher and revolutionary socialist Karl Marx was born in Trier, Germany. He is best known for his publications ‘The Communist Manifesto‘ and ‘Das Kapital‘, as well as his ideas have played a significant role in the establishment of the social sciences and the development of the socialist movement. “Every beginning is difficult, holds in all sciences.” Karl Marx, The Capital, Author’s prefaces to the First Edition. A Doctorate…
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Reckless Power Play Politics – Niccolò Machiavelli

Reckless Power Play Politics – Niccolò Machiavelli

On May 3, 1469, Florentine civil servant, diplomat, historian, philosopher and author Niccolò Machiavelli was born. Besides his seminal work ‘Il Principe‘ (The Prince) he is also known for writing comedies, carnival songs, and even poetry. “One who deceives will always find those who allow themselves to be deceived.” – Niccoló Machiavelli, Il Principe Born in a Tumultous Area Machiavelli was born in a tumultuous era in which popes waged acquisitive wars…
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Henry IV and his Walk to Canossa

Henry IV and his Walk to Canossa

On January 25, 1077, Holy Roman Emperor Henry IV arrived at the gates of the fortress at Canossa in Emilia Romagna beyond the Alpes to declare atonement and to pledge for forgiveness from Pope Gregory VII, who had excommunicated Henry earlier from church. Henry’s act of penance became known as the “Walk to Canossa”. It took wisdom, patience, and self-restraint. It was also a brilliant strategy because he basically forced the Pope to forgive…
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George Orwell’s Opposition to Totalitarism

George Orwell’s Opposition to Totalitarism

On January 21, 1950, British novelist and journalist Eric Arthur Blair, better known under his pen name George Orwell, passed away. The author of the famous dystopian novel Nineteen Eighty-Four and his works are well known for the awareness of social injustice, opposition to totalitarianism, and belief in democratic socialism. “We are in a strange period of history in which a revolutionary has to be a patriot and a patriot has to be…
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Montesquieu and the Separation of Powers

Montesquieu and the Separation of Powers

On January 18, 1698, French philosopher and political thinker Charles-Louis de Secondat, baron de La Brède et de Montesquieu, generally only referred to as Montesquieu, was baptized. He is best known for his articulation of the theory of separation of powers, which is taken for granted in modern discussions of government and implemented in many constitutions throughout the world. “If I knew of something that could serve my nation but would ruin…
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J’Accuse – Émile Zola and the Dreyfus Affaire

J’Accuse – Émile Zola and the Dreyfus Affaire

Title page with Émile Zola’s famous public letter ‘J’accuse…!’ On January 13, 1898, French novellist Émile Zola published an open letter in the newspaper L’Aurore entitled “J’accuse” (“I accuse”, or, in context, “I accuse you”). In the letter, Zola addressed the President of France Félix Faure, and accused the government of anti-Semitism and the unlawful jailing of Alfred Dreyfus, a French Army General Staff officer sentenced to penal servitude for life for espionage. The Suspicious Bordereau…
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How the Trabant 601 became a German National Icon

How the Trabant 601 became a German National Icon

On November 7, 1957, the first Trabant left the factory of the former East German car manufacturer VEB Sachsenring Automobilwerke Zwickau. Although it is often seen as symbolic of the defunct East Germany and the collapse of the Eastern Bloc in general, it was a sought-after car in East Germany before the fall of the Berlin Wall. During the early 1950s, vehicle construction in the German Democratic Republic (GDR) was slow and…
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