Social history is a methodological approach to history that focuses on examining what the 'ordinary' people in a given time and place were doing. It is strongly influenced by the mindset and techniques of sociology and often makes heavy use of quantitative methods to make statements about groups of ...

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Why don't people without access to clean water drink beer anymore?

In the medieval ages, peasants used to drink beer instead of water because the plain water wasn't safe to drink. Why do people in countries where the water sources are polluted not do this today? Why ...
20
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2answers
487 views

When was the term “Nationality” first came into use? How did ancient civilizations refer to themselves? By ethnicity?

When was the term "Nationality" first came into use? How did ancient civilizations refer to themselves? When we refer to Ancient Civilizations, did they consider themselves a nation in the modern ...
14
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2answers
320 views

Is the “youth bulge” hypothesis an evident explanation for imperialistic/rebellious historic movements and genocides?

The "youth bulge" hypothesis says that whenever the proportion of young men in the population was very high, their unhappiness with their future prospects - i.e., their inability to get jobs and ...
13
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2answers
1k views

Why did some people need to pay a bond in the 1700s in order to get married?

This is more a genealogy question than a historical event but I couldnt think of anywhere else to ask it. (I hope it not off topic) In 1787 my Great (x6) Grandfather paid a bond of £200 the ...
12
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1answer
255 views

When did nose-picking became socially condemned?

Nose-picking is a common and well known socially condemmed habit. However, this condemnation seems to be a purely social behavior with very little grounds on medical risks; it is even done by other ...
12
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1answer
399 views

Medieval Scottish clan society and legal structure

What was the basic structure of a Scottish clan in the medieval times? What was the role of the clan chief? What was the role of the elders? Were there any other prominent roles in the society such ...
11
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5answers
444 views

Have any armies equipped/fed their officers and enlisted men equally?

In the Soviet army during WW2 the officers had bigger food rations. They also had better boots (kirza vs. leather). The air force pilots were fed even better (but that is not very relevant). What ...
10
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3answers
1k views

Why did Soviet soldiers who plundered occupied territories during WW2 prefer watches to other valuables?

EDIT: text in bold was added later to not suggest that this practice was common. I'd known from stories told by my Grandmother and other people of Her age, that after entering pre-war Polish ...
10
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2answers
429 views

Were any drugs (except alcohol) forbidden during medieval or ancient times?

I assume that some drugs where known to humanity in some way or other for a long time, but I think actually prohibiting certain drugs would require a state that (for reasons of morals, public health, ...
9
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3answers
2k views

During the U.S. Prohibition, how did they get away with drinking alcohol?

I have heard about countless stories talking about people drinking during the Prohibition. How was this possible? How did they get away with drinking alcohol without getting caught?
9
votes
1answer
685 views

How educated were the clergy during the Medieval period?

I understand that Latin was common language of clergy in Medieval times. I presume that bishops could read and write. There were also some monks responsible of copying books. What about "normal" ...
9
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1answer
206 views

What historical situation is comparable to what Europe is currently facing?

I know that this question might get closed, but I will try it, nevertheless. The reason why I am so interested in broad comparisons of historical situations with current ones, is because I believe ...
8
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2answers
265 views

What are the historical reasons for religious and political negative attitudes towards homosexuality?

First of all, let me say that I know this is a very delicate issue. In no way should my question be seen as an attempt to endorse negative attitudes towards the LGTB community. I am seeking objective, ...
8
votes
1answer
451 views

Conscientious objectors in Germany during WWI

Was there a special treatment for conscientious objectors in Germany during WWI? I know that Britain had a process of exemptions, which was however rather harshly and sparingly administered (see ...
8
votes
2answers
117 views

What is the meaning of “£10 per cent” in the early 19th century in relation to a wage (30/- fortnight)

Reading Hammond and Hammond (1919) The Skilled labourer I came across the expression of £10% in the quoted primary sources, ie, at 34: The Duke of Northumberland wrote to the H.O. on May 26 that work ...
8
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1answer
189 views

When did dueling with weapons become socially unacceptable in the western world?

Now in the modern days, the phrase "lets settle this like men" would imply a fist fight. Yet as little as 200 years ago, "settling it like men" would either involve swords or pistols; the fist was the ...
8
votes
1answer
265 views

How did the French take the Republican Calendar?

I've been wondering what the reactions were in France to the new Republican Calendar. When I learned about it in school, it seemed ridiculously overzealous to me, and this notion hasn't left me since. ...
7
votes
2answers
567 views

Organized crime as a historical phenomenon

Is there any scholarly consensus about the origins of organized crime historically? Do movements such as the Ndrangheta have analogues in the pre-Christian or Medieval world? Or is it a relatively ...
7
votes
1answer
453 views

How did ancient Nomadic communities conduct trade? [closed]

Given that nomads are always on the move, how would you conduct trade with one another? Or maybe a better question did they even conduct trade with one another? Were there always cities/villages ...
7
votes
1answer
86 views

What was the role of a 'Tidy Man' and what might their duties have been?

In Hawthorne's 'Main Street' I came across the following passage: there goes the tithingman, lugging in a couple ot small boys, whom he has caught at play beneath God's blessed sunshine, in a back ...
6
votes
4answers
286 views

When were soldiers compensated with land grants?

In what times and places was it common to give land to soldiers, as a form of payment for their army service? I have learned in school that this was common in Rome. However, in the wikipedia article ...
6
votes
2answers
455 views

Historical and biblical names for bottles of wine

According to sources like the linked sizes list at Wikipedia entry about bottles of champagne and other kinds of wine, various sizes of bottles took their names after ancient Jewish kings and other ...
6
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1answer
230 views

Was it widespread practice to grant freedom to slaves in early Roman Empire?

If a citizen owned a slave, he or she could free him / her. The Wikipedia article gives some reasons for doing this: Slaves were freed for a variety of reasons; for a particularly good deed toward ...
6
votes
2answers
112 views

Did the fairy craze overlap the UFO one?

One theory goes that cultural interest in technologic UFOs* derived from the same paranormal sensibilities as fairies and elves of previous centuries; and as such when one waxed in interest ...
6
votes
1answer
205 views

What makes a distinct civilization?

Inspired by this question, I have a more general one: What is, historically speaking, a civilization? We can identify broad traits that make a society a civilization- agriculture, city building, ...
6
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2answers
149 views

Were Uncles referred to by surname in Victorian England?

Merry Christmas, everybody! And speaking of Christmas ... In Charles Dickens' novelette, A Christmas Carol, the main character Ebeneezer Scrooge is referred to several times by others as "Uncle ...
5
votes
2answers
95 views

Did civilian cold war bunkers plan for inclusion of family pets?

At the height of the Cold War, total extermination was considered a possibility. In which case any beloved domestic pets like dogs and cats would presumably die unless included in the civilian bunker ...
5
votes
1answer
181 views

Is there evidence that scrubbing floors on one's hands and knees was a commonplace drudgery for women in the past?

Scrubbing floors on one's hands and knees is a common image used to highlight the drudgery and poor social status of women in the past. Was cleaning floors in this way actually common in the past ...
5
votes
3answers
208 views

Les Misérables historical setting

What is the period in French history portrayed in Les Misérables in the early 1800s? Also, who was the French King at that time - the restored King? I thought the French Revolution was in the late ...
5
votes
2answers
255 views

Was there anything like African American architecture style or symbolic in the beginning of 20th century?

At the beginning of 20th century, large masses of black people were migrating to North or between districts of the same towns (like in New York from Tenderloin or San Juan Hill to Harlem, previously ...
5
votes
1answer
114 views

What was the typical range of travel of a Pennsylvanian resident for everyday life in the late 18th early 19th Century Pennsylvania?

How much traveling did a typical Pennsylvanian resident do for everyday life in the late 18th early 19th Century (1775-1825) Pennsylvania and what was the 'typical' range (in miles) from their home ...
5
votes
1answer
145 views

What was the age of majority in 1900 United States?

What was the age of majority in 1900, in the United States? For women and for men? I am not asking about the age of consent. The age of majority is the chronological moment when minors cease to ...
5
votes
1answer
58 views

Why did meat and dairy drop out of the working people in Britain's diet during the industrial enclosures period?

During the industrial enclosures period (1750-1832) meats and dairy dropped out of the diet of working people in Britain. This change was regional (oatmeal regions maintained milk consumption, bread ...
5
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0answers
58 views

What property relations existed between peasants and those who took from peasants in early Ottoman rule in Anatolia?

What property relations existed between peasants and those who took from peasants in early Ottoman rule (1300-1450) in Anatolia? How was social surplus extracted from peasants, by who, with what ...
4
votes
2answers
213 views

When did people start caring for the handicapped? [closed]

Did people in the past concern themselves with the welfare of the handicapped, such as the blind and the deaf, or did they neglect them? Was e.g. the "Amnericans with Disabilities Act" a new ...
4
votes
3answers
294 views

Did the roman conquerors have directives/guidelines to either integrate or assimilate foreign tribes/folks?

It is likely that Romans made no distinction between today's terms integration and assimilation. They did everything that was necessary for the expansion of the Roman empire and worked from ...
4
votes
2answers
462 views

Spanish-American war from Spain's perspective?

What did the Spanish-American war look like from Spain's perspective? Did the general population support the war? What were the reasons why Spain lost, was the general public aware of these reasons ...
4
votes
4answers
259 views

What precipitated the rise of social safety nets in the United States?

In the United States we received changes in the social safety net over the past century with the big changes coming in the form of social security and medicaid/medicate as well as other programs. The ...
4
votes
2answers
91 views

Were new forms of communication and media usually condemned similar to how television/video games are now?

Im sure anyone who is reading this has read atleast an article, blog, books condemning the use of Television and Video games as harmful to children, the behavior of teenagers, intelligence of adults, ...
3
votes
1answer
144 views

When did waving become a part of human interaction?

When did waving to others to say hello or goodbye first enter the historical record as part of a culturally accepted form of human interaction?
3
votes
1answer
99 views

Microsocial behaviour 500 years ago in western societies

Not sure how to formulate what I want to ask, so please advice if I should change the question: looking at microsocial behaviour today, we follow a lot of informal rules, practices and typical ...
2
votes
2answers
68 views

What are some early examples of local businesses advertising?

Today we see advertisements at sporting events, roadsides, menus, and pretty much everywhere else. What are some early (you define early, but I was specifically thinking of the hey-day of the ...
2
votes
1answer
353 views

In U.S. military forces, did black soldiers suffer a heavy racial segregation during World War II?

Source: BBC In his book, Mr Hitchcock raises another issue that rarely features in euphoric folk-memories of liberation: Allied looting, and worse. "The theft and looting of Normandy ...
2
votes
1answer
125 views

How strong is the current theory of the beginnings of Chinese writing?

I've heard the claim that the current Chinese calendar was introduced some times around 2637 BCE by Emperor Huang Di. Apparently, written records date back to about 4,000 years ago and before that the ...
2
votes
2answers
224 views

Did indebted families commonly sell daughters into prostitution in Japan?

I'm writing a Graphic novel with a segment in 1930's and 40's japan. I've looked around on the web but have been unable to find specific answers. I've heard girls were often sold to brothels by their ...
2
votes
0answers
185 views

When and how did English become the Lingua Franca? [closed]

Specifically, how did it supplant French as the international language? Even in the height of Pax Britannica, many English upperclassmen still saw French as the more romantic language. How was this ...
2
votes
1answer
169 views

What role did the United States government and major corporations have in controlling dissent and protest starting in the late 1940s? [closed]

After the Second World War, numerous movements of dissent and protest amongst workers or soldiers which had been kept in check by the profits of war developed into significant movements, such as the ...
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5answers
136 views

Was literacy ever used as a tool to oppress the population by higher social classes? [closed]

In this question, one of the answers stated that Actually, states can interact well enough with their subjects in the villages without widespread literacy. It helps to have someone literate who ...
1
vote
2answers
190 views

What was the social and cultural role of a “country squire” in Victorian/Edwardian England?

In Agatha Christie's "The Murder of Roger Ackroyd", the following passage appears: Ackroyd has always interested me by being a man more impossibly like a country squire than any country squire ...
1
vote
1answer
502 views

What is the evidence James Laine has to show Dadoji Konddev was the father of Shivaji Bhosale [duplicate]

In the book Shivaji: Hindu King in Islamic India by James Laine, has the author provided any evidence for the assertion that Dadoji Kondadev was father of Shiavaji. I heard somewhere that some record ...