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141

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, Christian churches have always been particular favorites of lightning. This is obviously awkward theologically, so the theology that developed was that lightning was ...


124

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 despite being by far the largest single party. Although the Soviet-era Communist Party of Moldova was banned in 1991, the Party of Communists of the Republic of ...


93

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." The Americans were composed mainly of "conservative" women who liked the division of duties and society between "domestic" (for women), and "outside," for men. ...


83

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 technological and economical environment, the family as a unit was much more important than how many people view it today. It was close to impossible to survive (and ...


81

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 Appeasement is no evidence for it. If you are suggesting that people might think his earlier Appeasement meant Chamberlain wouldn't fight Germany, there's ...


75

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 the Communist party held 10 out of 21 seats. Then in June 1990, free elections were held and the Communist party was voted out of power, no longer being part of ...


61

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 - obviously - lost. So you could say that they were knowingly giving up all their power in the form of an election, but it was an election nonetheless.


58

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 cannot be a single point in time, because the Roman people did not operate under a uniform and shared mind. Throughout the whole antiquity, three quarters of ...


58

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 theoretical framework has been around for millennia. Paraphrasing @SPavel, "your people are unlikely to risk their lives just because you are bored, or greedy, or horny"...


55

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 rights) that: Ben, if only it were possible to look into each other's hearts and minds, you would find no trace of prejudice or bigotry in mine. Skinner, ...


48

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, who acquire vast territories West of the Mississippi. In the case of China, those lands you refer to are mostly Sinkiang and Tibet. Most notably there is the ...


47

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 1940). Concerning breaking tradition by running for a 3rd term, reaction from his opponents was vociferous but from the country at large it was mostly fairly ...


46

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 National Defense Program which had saved $10-15 billion of the cost of WWII, by preventing inefficiency, waste and profiteering, at a cost of $360,000. It was clear ...


44

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 wrong, why didn't working men already have the vote in 1918? These statements are not as contradictory as you seem to think. The key here is that "working men" ...


40

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 dictatorial powers solely by virtue of winning a democratic election (though the Nazi electoral performance helped immensely). In fact, in the last generally ...


40

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 that was covered by the 99-year lease (the "New Territories"), it decided to return the island of Hong Kong itself as well as Kowloon, which was voluntary at ...


39

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 Offensive. It would have been stranger for Moscow to entrust East Prussia to this fledgling government, who would've had their hands full setting up shop in ...


38

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 government was peacefully replaced by an improbable alliance including communists and christians-democrats. After 1992's elections, communists left the ...


36

Robert A. Caro's The Passage of Power goes into some detail on this, dating RFK's antipathy towards LBJ to before they had met for the first time. Leaving aside the political aspects (especially disagreements over Vietnam) which are mentioned in the Wikipedia page on Robert F. Kennedy, Caro relates the first meeting between the two in January 1953 in the ...


34

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 (Egypt, Israel and Saudi Arabia) have consented to the transfer, but it may be held up in Egyptian courts and parliamentary debates. The actual ownership of ...


33

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 ...


33

It looks fairly likely this story was invented around the turn of the 21'st Century. The hits against it are: No reference to it has ever been found any older than 1998 (reportedly from a American neo-gnostic publication). Lord Macauly is known to have been in the middle of a stint in India (halfway around the world) in 1835 when this was supposedly ...


33

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 actuality, the reason for treaty ratification is that the negotiator doesn't always have the authority to bind the nation to a treaty. In most countries, historically,...


32

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 a tendency to use simple straight borders when creating a territorial entity from scratch, especially on the basis of longitude and latitudes. We see this in ...


32

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 it was not an anti-vax revolt, but a revolt about the first mandatory thing government imposed during unstable political times.


32

The Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) won elections in 2008, and subsequently lost power to the Nepali Congress in the 2013 elections. The Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist-Leninist) has led four governments in Nepal, the last one losing power to the Nepali Congress in 2016. The two communist parties merged in 2018, forming the Nepal ...


32

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 which means victory, and to lose in hesitation means disaster. He said that he beat the Austrians because they did not know the value of five minutes; and it has ...


31

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 ...


31

My proposal has to be considered with a grain of salt, and is earlier than TheHonRose's answer. That said, given the consequences it has had lately, I am a little surprised that nobody has written about transfer of Crimea from the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic to the Ukranian Soviet Socialist Republic, in 1954. Yes, the Ukranian SSR was ...


31

Some context to support Semaphore's answer... drawing (partially) from John Terraine's "Right of the Line". The policy of appeasement is sometimes used to portray Chamberlain as a pacifist under whom Britain was hopelessly unprepared for war. Yet when he was Chancellor of the Exchequer (in charge of finances) in 1935, he rejected an expansion plan prepared ...


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