Blog Three

Mar. 2nd, 2015 09:29 pm
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[personal profile] siamesa
 Part of the reason it's so important to study history is that history repeats itself.  Humans in groups tend to follow the same patterns of behavior, and the actions of our ancestors often look chillingly familiar.

Recently, I've been reading a great deal about the era known in America as the "Gilded Age," from the late 1800s up until World War One.  New technologies drove new industries, and put old ones out of business.  The gap between rich and poor was enormous, sparking class dissent and cries of "class warfare."  Immigration was hotly debated.  Politicians were corrupt.  The new threat of terrorism made even the biggest cities and most important people feel unsafe.

Of course, some things have improved since then.  Lynchings used to be public sport, with postcards sold and sent.  Now, when a young black man is murdered, people bend over backwards to find reasons race had nothing to do with it.  Sometimes justice is even served.  Women can vote now.  I am no longer in danger of being forcibly institutionalized and tortured to "cure" my mental illness.

But the politics of the era are interesting in other ways.  America then, a burgeoning economic superpower treated with some disdain by the traditional powers, and interested far more in profit than war (though not, as time would show, at all opposed to profiting from war) bears some resemblence to the role China plays on the international stage today.  And World War One- a war sparked by terrorism, a war everyone was convinced everyone else was too prudent to start- bears ominous parallels.

I'll leave with one more interesting fact.  During the period after Franz Ferdinand was assassinated, the French press paid little interest to the growing tensions across Europe.  Austro-Hungary and Serbia sold far fewer papers than the public's real interest- the trial of a notable socialite, who'd shot a newspaper editor for slandering her husband.


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