Saturday, October 16, 2004

Teaching about Federalism in the United States

Teaching about Federalism in the United States. This is an essay which gives educators ideas for teaching about the historical roots of American Federalism. This is another excellent resource from the ERIC system.

From the site:

The principle of American federalism, created in the eighteenth century, was bold and has greatly affected U.S. history. Its influence continues today. During the late 1780s the debates over ratification of the Constitution by Federalists and Anti-Federalists shaped controversies concerning the rights and powers of states in relation to the federal government.

The ideas stated in the "Federalist" papers are at the core of civic culture in the United States and serve as a reference for citizens in other democratic nations of the world. The 15th through the 22nd "Federalist" papers, for example, discuss the defects of the Articles of Confederation, the federal system that preceded ratification of the U.S. Constitution. The 39th "Federalist" paper shows that federalism provided by the U.S. Constitution is a compound system that conjoins national and state powers. Other papers in the "Federalist" that are especially helpful in explaining federalism in the United States include the 10th, 14th, 45th, and 51st.

The balance of power between national and state governments and consequent changes in federalism have evolved in U.S. history. National government power generally has expanded over state power through Supreme Court decisions, constitutional amendments, executive orders, and federal statutes. Nineteenth century states' rights proponents exemplify reactions to a stronger national government. Twentieth century influences concerning the growth of national government power within the federal system were initiated by events associated with two World Wars, the Great Depression, the Cold War, and civil rights movements. From the Nixon to the Reagan-Bush administrations, however, "New Federalism" sought to return power to the states.

Friday, October 15, 2004

History of Bangladesh

History of Bangladesh. This essay presents the history of Bangladesh in a short and readable format.

From the site:

Bengal was absorbed into the Mughul Empire in the 16th century, and Dhaka, the seat of a nawab (the representative of the emperor), gained some importance as a provincial center. But it remained remote and thus a difficult to govern region--especially the section east of the Brahmaputra River--outside the mainstream of Mughul politics. Portuguese traders and missionaries were the first Europeans to reach Bengal in the latter part of the 15th century. They were followed by representatives of the Dutch, the French, and the British East India Companies. By the end of the 17th century, the British presence on the Indian subcontinent was centered in Calcutta. During the 18th and 19th centuries, the British gradually extended their commercial contacts and administrative control beyond Calcutta to Bengal. In 1859, the British Crown replaced the East India Company, extending British dominion from Bengal, which became a region of India, in the east to the Indus River in the west.

The rise of nationalism throughout British-controlled India in the late 19th century resulted in mounting animosity between the Hindu and Muslim communities. In 1885, the All-India National Congress was founded with Indian and British membership. Muslims seeking an organization of their own founded the All-India Muslim League in 1906. Although both the League and the Congress supported the goal of Indian self-government within the British Empire, the two parties were unable to agree on a way to ensure the protection of Muslim political, social, and economic rights. The subsequent history of the nationalist movement was characterized by periods of Hindu-Muslim cooperation, as well as by communal antagonism. The idea of a separate Muslim state gained increasing popularity among Indian Muslims after 1936, when the Muslim League suffered a decisive defeat in the first elections under India's 1935 constitution. In 1940, the Muslim League called for an independent state in regions where Muslims were in the majority. Campaigning on that platform in provincial elections in 1946, the League won the majority of the Muslim seats contested in Bengal. Widespread communal violence followed, especially in Calcutta.

Thursday, October 14, 2004

Hannibal Barca and the Punic Wars

Hannibal Barca and the Punic Wars - An extensive collection of articles, images, and link on Hannibal Barca and the conflict between Carthage and Rome. Includes artwork; profiles of people, places, and battles; and overviews of the competing civilizations' culture, geography, and history.

From the site:

This site is about Hannibal Barca, the famous General of Carthage who crossed the Alps with his elephants to fight the Romans. This happened around 2,200 years ago.

Carthage - with its capital near Tunis in modern-day Tunisia, North Africa - was a trading empire that had co-existed with Rome for many centuries. Eventually the two empires clashed in the series of three wars called the Punic Wars. Rome defeated Carthage three times, finally destroying the city and the empire.

Hannibal's war was the Second Punic War - he started it by attacking Saguntum in Spain and then invading Italy. He rampaged through Italy for 16 years, inflicting horrific defeats on the Roman forces. He was never defeated in a major engagement by the Romans in Italy but was gradually bottled up in the south of the country. Finally Rome invaded his north African homeland and he was recalled to defend it. There he suffered his first major defeat, which ended the Second Punic War.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Millard Fillmore

Millard Fillmore. Is Millard Fillmore America's most obscure President? Read the article and decide for yourself.

From the site:

Millard Fillmore ( January 7 , 1800 - March 8 , 1874 ) was the the thirteenth ( 1850 - 1853 ) President of the United States being the second President to succeed to the office from the Vice Presidency on the death of the predecessor. He succeeded Zachary Taylor , who died of acute indigestion.

Born in extreme poverty, he worked his way up through the Whig party, eventually being selected as Zachary Taylor 's running mate. It was thought that the obscure, self-made candidate from New York would complement Taylor, a slave-holding military man from the south. Nevertheless, the two men came to a head on the slavery issue in the new western territories taken from Mexico in the Mexican-American War . Taylor wanted the new states to be free states, while Fillmore supported slavery in those states in order to appease the South. In his own words: "God knows that I detest slavery, but it is an existing evil ... and we must endure it and give it such protection as is guaranteed by the Constitution."

Fillmore presided over the Senate during the months of nerve-wracking debates over the Compromise of 1850. He made no public comment on the merits of the compromise proposals, but a few days before President Taylor's death, he intimated to him that if there should be a tie vote on Henry Clay's bill, he would vote in favor of it.

Thus the sudden accession of Fillmore to the Presidency in July 1850 brought an abrupt political shift in the administration. Taylor's Cabinet resigned and President Fillmore at once appointed Daniel Webster to be Secretary of State, thus proclaiming his alliance with the moderate Whigs who favored the Compromise.

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Wikinfo - Battle of Hastings

Wikinfo - Battle of Hastings. This is an encylopedia article about one of the most important battles in world history.

From the site:

The Battle of Hastings was the first major Norman victory in the Norman conquest of England in 1066 A.D.

On September 28, 1066, William of Normandy, bent on asserting by arms his right to the English crown, landed unopposed at Pevensey. King Harold, who had just destroyed the invaders of northern England at the Battle of Stamford Bridge in Yorkshire, on hearing the news hurried southward, gathering what forces he could on the way. He took up his position, athwart the road from Hastings to London, on Senlac Hill some six miles inland from Hastings, with his back to the great forest of Anderida (the Weald) and in front of him a long glacis-like slope, at the bottom of which began the opposing slope of Telham Hill.

The town called Battle in the modern county of East Sussex was named to commemorate this event.

The English army was composed almost entirely of infantry, and had just been through two forced marches and a battle. The shire levies, for the most part destitute of body armour and with miscellaneous and even improvised weapons, were arranged on either flank of Harold's guards (huscarles), picked men armed principally with the Danish axe and shield.

Before this position Duke William appeared on the morning of October 14. His host, composed not only of his Norman vassals but of barons, knights and adventurers from all quarters, was arranged in a centre and two wings, each corps having its archers and arbiasters in the front line, the rest of the infantry in the second and the heavy armoured cavalry in the third. Neither the arrows nor the charge of the second line of footmen, who, unlike the English, wore defensive mail, made any impression on the English standing in a serried mass behind their interlocked shields.

Monday, October 11, 2004

History of Burkina Faso

History of Burkina Faso. Offers an interesting but still short essay on the history of the African nation of Burkina Faso.

From the site:

Until the end of the 19th century, the history of Burkina Faso was dominated by the empire-building Mossi. The French arrived and claimed the area in 1896, but Mossi resistance ended only with the capture of their capital Ouagadougou in 1901. The colony of Upper Volta was established in 1919, but it was dismembered and reconstituted several times until the present borders were recognized in 1947.

The French administered the area indirectly through Mossi authorities until independence was achieved on August 5, 1960. The first President, Maurice Yameogo, amended the constitution soon after taking office to ban opposition political parties. His government lasted until 1966, when the first of several military coups placed Lt. Col. Sangoule Lamizana at the head of a government of senior army officers. Lamizana remained in power throughout the 1970s, as President of military and then elected governments.

With the support of unions and civil groups, Col. Saye Zerbo overthrew President Lamizana in 1980. Colonel Zerbo also encountered resistance from trade unions and was overthrown 2 years later by Maj. Dr. Jean-Baptiste Ouedraogo and the Council of Popular Salvation (CSP). Factional infighting developed between moderates in the CSP and radicals led by Capt. Thomas Sankara, who was appointed Prime Minister in January 1983, but was subsequently arrested. Efforts to bring about his release, directed by Capt. Blaise Compaore, resulted in yet another military coup d'etat, led by Sankara and Compaore on August 4, 1983.

Sunday, October 10, 2004

Reflections on Prehistory

Reflections on Prehistory - Offers an overview of prehistory ranging from topics on early hominids to regional discussions of prehistory in the Near East and the American Southwest.

From the site:

Humans evolved in the context of a world system. Human societies remain a part of an ever-changing world system. Cosmological and terrestrial forces shaped our environment, climate and evolutionary path. Temporal variants are the grist of our evolutionary mill, producing changes and modification. Beneficial characteristics are survival selected and have produced evolutionary change.

Four million years ago Australopithecus ramidus walked upright. So did A. afarensis three million years ago in a forested environment. The first hominid artifacts, stone tools, are known from 2.5 million years ago, along with stone tool cut marks on bone of prey species. The Great Ice Age, or Pleistocene era, begins at this point in time, probably altering human diet and adaptations. Homo erectus evolved from Homo habilis 1.5 million years ago and eventually migrated to Europe and Asia.

Research by the Leakeys suggests that food sharing behavior was existent l.5 million years ago. Around this time 1000 cc. brains evolved and some stone tool advances occur, in particular, the stone ax is known. These artifacts and their attributes evidence the level of intelligence and the cognitive capabilities of our early ancestors. Stone transport to use sites indicates foresight and planning. During the lower Paleolithic H. erectus began to control fire and construct shelter. Geographic range and population expanded.