The economic tumult of the 1930s wrought considerable havoc in governments around the world, and the United States was no exception. Huey Long, a left-wing populist governor and Senator in Louisiana, is the most well-known emblem of authoritarian American politicians during this era. The comparatively ineffectual William Langer is much less studied. Langer was elected North Dakota governor in 1932 as a member of the … Continue reading William Langer, the (short-lived) dictator of North Dakota
Witchcraft trials tend to conjure images of Salem or medieval Europe. This connotation implies that witchcraft convictions are a convention long abandoned by the vast majority of the world, a mere relic of ancient superstition. In fact, Great Britain persisted with witchcraft convictions well into the twentieth century. Helen Duncan is known as the last British person to be imprisoned for witchcraft under the country’s … Continue reading Britain’s last witchcraft imprisonment was during World War II
To most people, the idea that the Amish would ever comprise the majority of the American population probably sounds ludicrous. If, however, the U.S. Amish population continues to grow at its current rate for the next two centuries, this Anabaptist sect, currently numbering roughly 350,000, will surpass 300 million individuals. Even if the total United States population grows to 600 million during the same time … Continue reading Will the majority of America’s population be Amish in 200 years? Quite possibly
Poyais would have sounded dreamlike to those on the foggy shores of Scotland in the early nineteenth century. Prospective investors and settlers were told of a new South American country filled with fertile soil, verdant scenery, a temperate climate, and considerable amenities, including a majestic port. Gregor MacGregor, a native of Scotland who had long since moved to South America and served as a military … Continue reading A nineteenth century swindler invented his own country
Long before the actions of Jeffrey Epstein became public knowledge, Belgians were aware of a different pedophile with ties to the wealthy and powerful. Marc Dutroux, born on November 6, 1956, is the most prominent serial killer to hail from Belgium. Dutroux began his criminal career as an auto thief and pimp, but gradually turned to rape and murder. In conjunction with his accomplices, he … Continue reading Marc Dutroux: The serial killer who shook Belgium
Mao Zedong was one of history’s most devastating dictators. His leadership is often ignominiously credited with leading to more non-combatant deaths than any other in history. While estimates vary, between thirty and eighty million deaths are attributed to Mao’s whims. The sheer scale of Chairman Mao’s outright barbarity is poorly understood by many even today. An example of his bloodlust can be seen in the … Continue reading Chairman Mao: The twentieth century’s deadliest dictator
Australia, as with many countries, has had a rocky political history. Its now-famous war against emus in the early 1930s has become the subject of countless memes and YouTube videos. The country faced a historic constitutional crisis in 1975, when Queen Elizabeth II’s Governor General removed the Prime Minister and imposed his preferred government, in what some have labeled a soft coup d’état. Perhaps the … Continue reading One of Australia’s Prime Ministers disappeared without a trace in 1967
Mickey Mouse is arguably the most famous cartoon character on earth. One survey even showed the iconic personality to edge out Santa Claus in recognition among children. In political and animation circles, it is often remarked that Mickey Mouse will fall into the public domain in 2024 if copyright term lengths are not extended before then. If Mickey’s copyright expires, this would allow the public … Continue reading Is Mickey Mouse in the public domain?
The Book of Luke relates one of the most famous parables of Jesus, the story of the good Samaritan. In this tale, a man is beaten and left alongside a road, only to be ignored by a Levite and Jewish priest, both prestigious members of contemporary Jewish society. Only a Samaritan, an ethnoreligious minority frowned upon by most Jews at the time, was willing to … Continue reading Remember the Samaritans from Sunday School? They’re still around
When the Continental Congress assembled the Committee of Five to draft the Declaration of Independence, Benjamin Franklin was a perfect candidate to draft the historic document. Franklin was likely the most famous American in 1776. His aptitude across a range of varied pursuits — scientific, literary, and otherwise — granted him a caliber of respect unmatched by his colonial contemporaries. The Franklin stove, bifocals, lightning … Continue reading Why didn’t Benjamin Franklin write the Declaration of Independence?