Questions tagged [social-history]

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 people who left behind few written records.

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What was the ratio of people who were atheist prior to the French revolution or who adopted atheism as a result of the Cult of Reason?

I'm interested in the way the French people reacted to the religious policies during the French revolution, i. e. dechristianization and establishment of the Cult of Reason. Are there any estimates ...
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What source explains the norms, rules, and conventions of conservative society? [closed]

I am looking for literature in Social Science that discuss or explains why various norms, rules, convention of society are/were created, i.e. explain the reason of various norms, rules, convention in ...
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What was the importance of the patrician class in the Roman Empire?

This is a question that has puzzled me in my research of the history of the Roman Empire. During the Roman Republic the Patrician class was obviously of paramount importance, & history of the ...
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What happens to the women left behind by polyandry? [closed]

I'm asking specifically about the practice of polyandry in Himalayan civilisations, such as Bhutan. But I'd welcome insights from other polyandrous societies too. It's often been said that, however ...
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Did Northern troops attempt to re-enslave African Americans in Southern plantations during the Civil War?

In Black Reconstruction in America, W.E.B. Du Bois argues that during the war, Northern troops - in this case under the command of Nathaniel P. Banks - sometimes tried to get enslaved people back to ...
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What was the fate of the planters and their plantations following the American Civil War?

I had a question about the fate of the Southern planter class following the American civil war. The question was sparked by W.E.B. Du Bois's Black Reconstruction in America. Du Bois argues that they ...
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How was agricultural labour organised in Victorian England?

I'm asking, more specifically, three things: What might the leadership of a typical farm look like in terms of job titles and responsibilities? Within a given farm, how were workers divided into ...
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What does a wife call her husband when addressing him in their household in 1600s England if he is a member of the peerage? [closed]

I am writing a novel that takes place in 1600s England during the time of the English Civil War, and the main characters are aristocracy with fairly vast land holdings in York. If the husband and ...
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Perception of the state by an average person in pre-modern times [closed]

I would like to better understand the experience of being governed and interaction with the centralized state (or lack thereof) in pre-modern times. A cursory search did not return anything ...
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135 views

What did typical mid-18th century housing look like in English villages?

There seems to be a plethora of resources available that describe what mid-18th / early 19th century housing looked like in major English cities, particularly London. But, I cannot find much ...
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What were the most popular destinations for British and American tourists on the Continent in the period 1880-1900?

How common was English and American travel to the Continent of Europe between 1880-1900? By businessmen, families, debutantes, honeymooners, politicians etc.
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What sort of temples existed in small Greek villages?

Context: I am going to be starting a D&D campaign in a world based on ancient Greece, rather than your classic western european medieval fantasy land. This will probably not be the only question ...
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1answer
141 views

Did the ancient Greeks have “taverns”? [closed]

Context: I am going to be starting a D&D campaign in a world based on ancient Greece, rather than your classic western european medieval fantasy land. This will probably not be the only question ...
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Who are some people (or well-known fictional characters) that drew a lot of media attention in 18th/19th century Europe/US?

Suppose someone is suddenly exposed to a barrage of media attention today, they might say something like "I feel like a Kardashian". What if I have a character (in Europe) experiencing something ...
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How did Adam Worth make sure his crooks didn't keep what they stole?

I'm currently reading through the The Life and Times of Adam Worth and as much as I'm fascinated by Adam Worth and his mastermind for 19th century crime, there is one thing that the book fails to ...
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What would an ancient Greek village (small settlement) have looked like?

Context: I am preparing a D&D campaign, and because I find "medieval western europe fantasy land" to be a bit over-used, I'd like to make my setting more of an ancient greek setting. However, ...
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Were medieval and renaissance era jesters commonly disabled?

In Hilary Mantel's famous historical fiction Wolf Hall, she implies more than once that the court fools of figures in the era of Henry VIII often had some form of learning difficulty. Indeed in one ...
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Were surname upgrades a well known practice in the Spanish Empire?

People everywhere have names, and some seek to change their name. Spanish speaking people in particular generally have two surnames, paternal and maternal, in that order. Whether the maternal one ...
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Who was the Scottish philosopher that came up with the idea of a Scottish militia?

I read a book on the Scottish Enlightenment a couple of weeks ago and am trying to remember the name of the Scottish Philosopher that feared the ideas of a polite society would weaken the British ...
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Historically, what has happened to emergency services (other than the police) in corrupt/authoritarian states? [closed]

Everyone knows what happens to the police and the military in corrupt states: these are the kind of places where you carry extra cash for bribes. Everyone knows what happens to the police and the ...
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3answers
373 views

Why did Native Americans never unify into a single country? [closed]

At a time when Europe and Asia had already united into several powerful military nations, the American Indian still lived in a tribal society which numbered over 2000 tribes. Why, in over 10,000 years ...
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146 views

Is there a meaning in a name marked on the rear of a headstone rather than the front?

I have found a family headstone with the names of the deceased on the front (with many details), and a military cross (for their son) in front of the stone. On the rear of the stone is a name and age,...
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1answer
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Has anyone written Australian history from the perspective of the original inhabitants - the aborigines?

I once read that an aboriginal man from Australia in an ironic gesture planted a flag on English soul and proclaimed it now was a part of the aboriginal empire. I’m curious as to whether there have ...
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Was touching your nose a greeting in second millenium Mesopotamia?

I ran across a curious sentence today, in a Mesopotamian prayer to a personal god (the grammar looked better in verse format): "Daily worship your god with offerings, prayers and appropriate ...
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1answer
277 views

Did 9/11 change people's behavior during the playing of the national anthem?

The Star-Spangled Banner was adopted as the official national anthem of the United States in 1931. Up until June 1942 there were no guidelines given as to how people were to behave during the playing ...
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How old is the practice of a woman accompanying another woman to the ladies restroom? [closed]

I am curious to know how old is the practice of a woman accompanying another woman to the ladies restroom. I assume that this practice began in America and Europe when indoor plumbing and indoor ...
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A question about the definition of heresy (13th. C)

I write considering a definition of heresy, given by Grosseteste, Bishop of Lincoln (fl. 1235), who's words are widely cited in regards to the history of the inquisition: An opinion created by human ...
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140 views

History of monogamy [closed]

Is monogamy a feature of advanced cultures that emphasize a person’s individuality? I mean cultures that treat someone as person and not as an anonymous part of something else, e.g. nature or a tribe.
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Did men and women feast together in the early medieval East Francia?

I am interested in important feasts of the upper classes (nobility), e.g., Easter or the baptism of important heirs, in the Eastern Frankish kingdom around 900 AD, specifically the Duchy of Saxony. ...
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What were the most common reactions to Rosa Parks and the Montgomery Bus Boycott?

I'm curious about the general reactions to historical events in civil rights by people wanting to keep the status quo. However, this information is hard to find. News clippings I can find are ...
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Is the scarlet letter 'A' a real historical thing?

I've heard someone say something like: It's not a scarlet letter, it's not a mark on your forehead you keep for life. Obviously this was said in terms of permanency of a badge of shame, or ...
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What is the social history of British popular opposition to Thatcher over the miner’s strike?

I tend to watch a lot of UK panel shows and while most of the comedians are Labour/liberal I'm still surprised at just how much they seem to hate Margaret Thatcher. Particularly this seems to be about ...
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Christmas trees - real or fake? When did the U.S. Christmas tree consumer begin preferring artificial trees to real trees?

Source: National Christmas Tree Association via Statista. Background Our family was watching (again) A Christmas Story last night, and during the scene where the Old Man is bargaining to purchase a ...
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When (and where) did public polling start taking place on topics other than elections?

Image Source: The Roper Center on Cornell.edu Question When did public opinion polling on topics other than elections begin? Are there examples prior to the 1930's when Gallup and Roper began ...
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1answer
251 views

Who Is to Be Served First, Duchess or Son?

Suppose this is England in the Victorian Era and there are two individuals, a duchess and her son, dining together. The son, roughly thirty or so years of age, is seated across the table from his ...
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What does MLK mean by “lonely island” and “vast ocean”?

In the speech, "I have a dream", M.L. King says the following: One hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. What ...
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What social relationships existed between the popular mobility and the political elites in the revolutionary American colonies?

What social relationships existed between the popular mobility and the political elites in the revolutionary and potentially revolutionary British American colonies? For those unfamiliar with 18th ...
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2answers
237 views

Why, and how, was the Catholic Church in Spain reactionary in the early 20th century? [closed]

Right now I'm trying to learn about Spain's transition to democracy in the 20th century. To start, I'm looking at the civil war that took place in the '30s. And the question I'm trying to answer is: ...
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How can we be certain of customs in the primitive age?

I am currently reading Our Oriental Heritage by William Durant. In Chapter IV. The Family, Durant writes of woman: In the hunting stage she did almost all the work except the actual capture of the ...
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1answer
356 views

Why conceal the innocence of Alfred Dreyfus?

If Alfred Dreyfus was innocent and the people in the general staff knew it, why did they try to cover it up and protect the guilty man? Weren't they concerned that there was still a mole present?
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How were interracial relationships between African-Americans and Latinos treated in Southern states before the Loving decision?

There are two states in the American south that historically had large numbers of both African-Americans and Latinos, as well as laws banning marriage between black people and white people: Texas and ...
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415 views

Is there a historic reason for why the Balkans are so fragmented? [closed]

Is there a historic reason for why the Balkans are so fragmented? Because while I can't name any of the top of my head, I'm sure there are regions that are just as ethnically diverse, but with less ...
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1answer
290 views

In Edwardian England, did poor families arrange to have their children buried in the graves of unrelated adults?

In Max Arthur’s Lost Voices of the Edwardians, a "compilation of memories from the turn of the century" (1901 - 1910), one Florence Hannah Warn relates how her brother Gilbert was buried: When a ...
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1answer
695 views

Historical accuracy of gulag archipelago [closed]

How empirically and historically accurate is The Gulag Archipelago, by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn?
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425 views

Were Arctic communities aware how different daylight cycles were elsewhere?

At extreme latitudes, what we would think of as the typical day/night cycle becomes very different. The sun remains continuously visible for one day during the summer solstice at the polar circle, ...
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7answers
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Was race really unimportant in the 1660's?

There's this quote by Lerone Bennett Jr. where he said: Back there [in the 1660s], before Jim Crow, before the invention of the Negro or the white man or the words and concepts to describe them, ...
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1answer
628 views

In a challenge to duel, what happened if a thrown gauntlet (and later, glove) was refused?

What would become of a gauntlet or glove after a denied duel? I'm not finding any hints on Google. Would the challenger abandon it after throwing it to their challengee's feet, as a matter of honor? ...
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What was the perception of the average British person of the Boston Tea Party?

Do we have any record of the reaction of the average British person to the Boston Tea Party? Would the proverbial man on the street have been aware of the event? If so, what was their perception of it ...
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671 views

In segregated South, would Asian-Americans be treated as “colored” or as whites?

During racial segregation in USA many businesses had signs that either restricted service to a particular race or that directed different races through different entrances. Some examples of this ...
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Historic leisure activities (especially the elderly) [closed]

I am curious to know how people, especially elderly people, used to spend their time in the past. Did they work until their death? It would also be interesting how these were different concerning ...

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