142 votes

Is there a historical precedent to the vaccine scare?

My personal favorite is the early history of the lighting rod. Lightning likes to try to ground itself via the tallest, pointiest thing around. This means that because of their architecture, ...
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  • 110k
132 votes
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Has a sovereign Communist government ever run, and conceded loss, on a fair election?

Moldova The Party of Communists of the Republic of Moldova came to power in the 2001 Moldovan parliamentary election but went into opposition after the July 2009 Moldovan parliamentary election ...
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103 votes
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Were there women who were against giving women the right to vote?

Strange at it may seem, there was a movement called "anti-suffragism" in the U.S. and U.K. composed mainly of women. Their numbers were small, since this posture would have been "counterintuitive." ...
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99 votes

Were there women who were against giving women the right to vote?

Yes, there were. And at the beginning of the women's suffrage movement, suffragettes were viewed by most women as oddities rather than heroic liberators. Basically, centuries ago, due to the ...
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  • 4,680
82 votes

Why did Chamberlain remain Prime Minister of Britain until 10 May, 1940?

Didn't the British people recognize how ill-suited Chamberlain would be because of his former appeasement? No, because it's not true at all. Chamberlain may certainly be an inadequate war leader, but ...
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  • 95.9k
78 votes

Why did some Enlightenment thinkers despise democracy?

One must be careful in reading the word "democracy" as it has multiple meanings - and many writers will deliberately conflate and inter-change the meanings with intent to deceive. One sense ...
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77 votes

Has a sovereign Communist government ever run, and conceded loss, on a fair election?

I believe the Velvet revolution in Czechoslovakia matches your criteria. It started with popular protests in November 1989. During December, the (Communist) president nominated a new government where ...
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64 votes

Has a sovereign Communist government ever run, and conceded loss, on a fair election?

If you consider it sovereign, East Germany did that. Well, they had already lost almost all control anyways, but after the wall fell they simply ran for the first election with other parties, and - ...
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60 votes
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When did the Romans finally acknowledge that they were living in an empire?

I take your question as meaning: when did Romans realize that they were living in a monarchy ? (As opposed to the aristocratic regime previously known as "republic".) We must first realize that there ...
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60 votes
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When did countries begin making up a pretext before starting a war?

I think it has always been done, e.g., 3,000 years ago Greeks justified a war by a kidnapping allegation. Justification of war is important for one's own troop and population morale, so the ...
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54 votes
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Are there precedents of 'I am not a racist' from US Presidents?

Yes, Ronald Reagan frequently denied being racist. In 1983, Reagan wrote a letter to Benjamin Hooks, then head of the NAACP, stating (in response to accusations that he wanted to rollback civil ...
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52 votes
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When did FDR announce he was running a 3rd time, and was there any outrage?

SHORT ANSWER TO THE MAIN QUESTIONS We can't be sure when FDR decided to stand for a third term but the evidence suggests it was not long before the Democratic National Convention (15th to 18th July ...
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51 votes
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Why could China keep most of the lands it conquered after 17th century but European powers could not?

The Chinese situation was fundamentally different from the Western European colonial empires. In fact it's rather more like Russia, who also managed to keep her Eurasian empire, or the United States, ...
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44 votes
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Why was Harry Truman chosen to be Vice President in 1944?

There is an extensive Wikipedia article on the details of the selection process. Truman had become a national figure through his chairmanship of the Senate Special Committee to Investigate the ...
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44 votes
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Did any British working class men have the vote before 1918?

The film said this un-extraordinary working man had the vote, my calculations show it was possible he had the vote. But the 1918 act gave "working men the vote". So one of these 2 statements must be ...
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  • 95.9k
42 votes

When has a sovereign state last given territory to another as a gift?

The UK transferred full sovereignty of its colony of Hong Kong to the People's Republic of China on July 1, 1997. While the UK was already obligated by treaty to turn over the areas of the territory ...
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42 votes
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Why did Robert F. Kennedy loathe Lyndon B. Johnson?

Short Answer Robert Kennedy's dislike of LBJ dates back to before they even met (in 1953), and probably started with the latter's humiliating (for the Kennedy family) re-telling of the removal (in ...
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40 votes

Was there a constitutional mechanism to overturn the election of Adolf Hitler?

There was a mechanism called voting against Hitler. Unfortunately, Hitler's opponents failed to set aside their differences and unite against him. It is important to realise that Hitler did not gain ...
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40 votes
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Why was Kaliningrad placed under the Russian SFSR rather than the Lithuanian SSR?

Lithuania fell under Soviet occupation in 1940, but the Soviets were promptly evicted by Operation Barbarossa. So in practice, the Lithuanian SSR was established only in late 1944, after the Baltic ...
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39 votes

When has a sovereign state last given territory to another as a gift?

The Tiran and Sanafir islands, are being given by Egypt to Saudi Arabia. Since this is ongoing, it is certainly the most recent such transfer. As of this writing, all the interested sovereign states (...
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39 votes
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Did Lord Acton ever say "freedom faces four major challenges"?

That appears to be adapted from a passage in "The History of Freedom in Antiquity", which was both an essay and a lecture Lord Acton once gave. Liberty, next to religion, has been the ...
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  • 95.9k
38 votes

Why are the USA and Canada's states border so straight?

States Borders First off, most Canadian or American states' borders are not particularly straight. Even when they are supposed to be straight, there are often nooks and crannies. But indeed there's ...
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  • 95.9k
38 votes

Were there women who were against giving women the right to vote?

Not only were there women who opposed suffrage, there still are. For instance, here's Central Missisippi Tea Party President Janis Lane in 2012: I'm really going to set you back here. Probably the ...
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38 votes

Has a sovereign Communist government ever run, and conceded loss, on a fair election?

In the Republic of San Marino, an elected Communist-Socialist coalition government ruled from 1983 to 1988. They lost their majority when the Socialists scored badly in the 1988 elections, and the ...
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36 votes
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Is there a historical precedent to the vaccine scare?

Actually, the exact same thing happened in Brazil, but with a real uprising: Vaccine Revolt (Wikipedia). This is a matter of great discussion in Brazilian history, with most historians arguing that ...
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36 votes
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When did Warren Harding say "I am not fit to be president." Why?

The comment was made in a private meeting with the historian Nicholas Murray Butler. Butler recounted the anecdote, and the context in which it was made in his book Across the busy years: ...
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34 votes

Were there women who were against giving women the right to vote?

A Spanish example: Victoria Kent. Quote from the link: Kent was against giving women the right to vote immediately, arguing that, as Spanish women lacked at that moment social and political education ...
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33 votes

Were secret treaties ratified? How did they become official while remaining secret?

There are some misconceptions about what ratification means. Though it is now common for treaties to be ratified by a legislature, that has never been essential to the ratification process. In ...
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33 votes

What is the context for Napoleon's quote "[the Austrians] did not know the value of five minutes"?

In his book Pushing to the Front (1894), Orison Swett Marden wrote: Napoleon laid great stress upon that ‘supreme moment,’ that ‘nick of time’ which occurs in every battle, to take advantage of ...
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33 votes

Who had the shortest time in going from imprisonment to head of state within democratic processes?

Olusegun Obasanjo, President of Nigeria from 1999 to 2007 is a possible candidate. He was imprisoned in June 1995 on charges of being involved in plotting a coup and was released in June 1998. ...
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