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26

There was a separation between the noble french and the vulgar Old English. Or as I wrote in my comment: Who cares about the language of peasants I found a nice source for this assumption Middle English (1100-circa 1500 AD): After William the Conqueror, the Duke of Normandy, invaded and conquered England in 1066 AD with his armies and became king, he ...


19

I'll answer just the part about the Roman Republic, if that's alight for now. The Roman Republic is probably best described as a pseudo-democracy of sorts. Its creation and initial set-up actually pre-dated Athenian democracy by a single year, though even until its dying days it was more of a "democracy for the privileged" than anything. Hence, ...


16

Washington DC was basically "made" the capital after Philadelphia after an insurrection by Revolutionary War soldiers called the Pennsylvania Mutiny of 1783. The mutiny showed that state governments could not protect federal institutions so there began a search to move the capital where it could be defended by the Federal government. There was a power ...


12

There is an effort underway now called the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact. These reform efforts wax and wane as demographics meet the various political parties interests. Right now, "progressives" are really excited about the popular vote, because they can successfully get key voting blocks to vote their way with mass media. In earlier times, ...


12

The most important thing for an outsider to understand is that Syria, while ethnically nearly 90% Arab, is made up of a rather large amount of religous minorities. Like most middle-east states, its borders were set up by Europeans during the colonial era, and really paid no heed to any actual cultural boundries. Only about half the population is Suni ...


12

The reasons are so numerous and overlapping. There would have been very little to gain from establishing dominance of French culture. People did not form sympathies or loyalties based on language or culture – that development had to wait for another 700 years or so. It would have been completely impossible to enforce such a ban. There were no such ...


11

It actually happens fairly often. The last was in 2004, where a Minnesota elector (who would not own up to it) voted for Edwards (the VP candidate) instead of John Kerry. The assumption has been that this was done out of incompetence rather than malice. The cycle before that, the DC elector refused to vote, in protest to DC having no congressional ...


10

Apparently, Arthur Schlesinger wrote a memo against the "upcoming" Bay of Pigs idea. But he didn't push it very hard. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arthur_M._Schlesinger,_Jr.


10

During Persia's invasion of Greece under Xerxes, Ephialtes betrayed the bunch of Greeks at the very strong defensive position at Thermopylae by showing the Persians an alternate path around the pass. This led to the complete defeat of the Greek army and the death of the Spartan king Leonidas, and opening the way to the sacking of Boeotia and Athens. While I ...


9

My answer is confined to the current structure of the United Kingdom. I recommend you watch this short five minute explanation of all the countries/territories that are governed by the United Kingdom, and the Crown. Since you are referring to "British" politics I am assuming that you are talking about the United Kingdom which comprises four separate yet ...


8

"The world must be made safe for democracy." - Woodrow Wilson The irony of Wilson's quote is that WWI did not directly make the world safe for democracy. In fact WWI directly led to the rise of state socialism in the former Russian Empire with its evolution into the USSR, and the rise of fascism in Italy and Germany. From a European standpoint WWI ...


8

If we are only counting modern history - rather than ancient Greece or the like - the Netherlands was the first country to recognize same-sex marriage in 2001, and their head of state is (and was) Queen Beatrix.


8

Depending on exactly what you mean by a "serious effort" the answer would seem to be no. I am assuming that you would consider a proposed constitutional amendment that got to the states and did not receive enough votes in the states as serious. There have however been numerous efforts to reform or abolish the electoral college. According to archives.gov ...


7

Iceland prime minister Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir had joined in a civil union with Jónína Leósdóttir in 2002, and had converted the union to the marriage in 2010 as soon as that became legal in Iceland. It is logical to suppose she supported gay marriage at least since 2002 though of course she wasn't the prime minister then. Spain's Zapatero declared he ...


7

Some people believe that the Great Mughal ruler Akbar tried creating a new religion called Dīn-i Ilāhī, even though it has been refuted by many others. His idea was to instill in people of all religions a tolerance for each other, but it was not successful and had less of a following, even though it had the doctrines of all the religions. Some say that ...


7

As I have read many times, the founders of USA were conducting treason. Given that they declared independence, I guess that view can be upheld. They definitely switched sides (to their own, of course). They betrayed an Empire to do so, so I think all three conditions are met.


6

British rule over the indian subcontinent started with a treason. Mir Jafar betrayed the local Nawab and went over to the Brits, paving way for the British Raj.


6

Inherent in your question it seems to me is the thesis that all Empires fall for pretty much the same reasons. I don't think that's right at all. Empires by their very nature are exceptional things, and thus inherently unstable in the long run. I think the Anna Karenina principle applies to societies as well as families: Successful societies are all alike; ...


6

Democracies were not necessarily more stable than other forms of government. Polybius describes a cycle of three forms of government - monarchy, then aristocracy, then democracy, then back to monarchy again (of course, this was not always the case in practice). The important point to note is that each first degenerates into an inferior form (tyranny, ...


6

While other posters have addressed the issue in regards to the wider region, none have addressed the issue in regards to the Syrian citizens. They have mentioned the different Syrian religions so I won't go back over that. The current Syrian ruling family (I am referring to the Assads, not the Baath) is known to be a brutal torturer. Early in the uprising ...


6

Anyone can declare that he or she is running for president of the United States. That is essentially unrelated, however, to whether he or she will be placed on the ballot, much less have a chance of winning. To become president, one must win a majority in the Electoral College, and barring an extraordinary bout of collegiate faithlessness, that means you ...


6

@MichaelF's answer is a very solid explanation of the origin of DC, and references a historical event that I think deserves more attention. His answer is also far better researched and referenced than I will be able to provide. Having said that, I think the answer to the OP's question ought to include a discussion of the changing role of the national ...


6

You are referring to the 1999 Seattle WTO Ministerial Conference Protests. It is historically notable for breaking ground in two respects: 1) The way it was organized by the Direct Action Network (pdf) - their organization techniques allowed very different political allies to effectively communicate and collaborate with each other. This was more in-person ...


6

It really depends on what you mean by "supposed to be practically in charge". Supposed by whom ? If the war rages on and the leader does not even know, then one can confidently say that the leader does not hold the actual power, which is instead in the hands of people who perfectly know that the leader is not actually leading. One situation which is similar ...


5

John Harington Epigrams, book iv, Epistle 5: Treason doth never prosper: what's the reason? Why, if it prosper, none dare call it treason.


5

You are confusing money supply with inflation. Increasing the money supply can sometimes (but not always) increase prices right along with it - this is called inflation. Inflation devalues the currency, and if it devalues too much, smaller denominations, like the penny in the US, becomes an impractical medium of exchange. Increasing the money supply is a ...


5

The Westminster system does not compel, either by law or by convention, a member to resign from his/her electorate and force a by-election upon resignation or loss of confidence as head of government. The decision is left up to the member, who may choose to do so after a satisfyingly long career or in an attempt to allow the party to present a fresh face ...


5

Most states choose Presidential electors based on the candidate who got the most votes in the November election, but not all do. In particular, Nebraska (which has 3 congressional districts and therefore 5 electoral votes) allocates 2 electors to the state-wide winner, and each of the other 3 to the winner in each congressional district. In the 2008 ...


5

Yes In 158 instances, electors have cast their votes for President or Vice President in a manner different from that prescribed by the legislature of the state they represented. faithless elector Hat tip to @Keith Thompson, but I wanted to provide a more specific answer.


4

Note that in the USA, the people responsible for the President's security are The Secret Service. They are not military. They can be viewed as a kind of Federal-level police. They used to be under the Treasury Department (with the IRS and the folks who make our money), rather than the FBI or Justice Department. In 2003 they got moved into the new ...



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