Friday, October 06, 2006

Proceedings of the Old Bailey

Proceedings of the Old Bailey. This site has large body of texts containing accounts of over 100,000 criminal trials held at London's central criminal court from 1674 to 1834. Or, as the top of the index page notes, "A fully searchable online edition of the largest body of texts detailing the lives of non-elite people ever published, containing accounts of over 100,000 criminal trials held at London's central criminal court."

In addition to having a fully searchable interface for the proceedings, there is also additional information dealing with the proceedings and articles which provide a historical context for the legal cases. Cases can be searched by punishment as well including death:burned at the stake, death: drawn and quartered, and death: hanging in chains.

A nice feature is a case of the day. When I visited, a 1773 was highlighted, "Richard Ryder was allegedly cheated of ?10 by John O'Connor and John Alsibrook in a rigged game of cribbage." A link to the proceedings for this case is of course included. This is an excellent primary resource and I hope it gets a lot of visitors.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

History at the Academic Blog Portal

There is a new wiki project called the Academic Blog Portal. The FAQ at the site notes, "This is a portal that is intended to provide resources for (a) academic bloggers, and (b) people who want to read academic blogs. It is a first step towards Scott McLemee's suggestion of an aggregating site to provide the academic blogosphere with a greater degree of coherence. The main organizing principle of the site is a list of academic blogs, organized by discipline."

There is already a substantial amount of content on the History page. I guess this page may rival Cliopatria's History Blogroll at some point. In addition, it appears that the site is encouraging blog authors to write short articles about their blogs and themselves. This could be a nice feature giving this site extra value. The key will be in how good the community is in keeping non-academic blogs (primarily splogs) from getting listed and using the site to help in spamming efforts.

Also, do not try to unmask anonymous bloggers' identities here! The FAQ also notes, "Any attempt to reveal the identity of a blogger who prefers to remain anonymous will result in immediate and permanent banning with extreme prejudice."

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Charles Carl Roberts IV and Duane Morrison: A Connection?

I usually do not comment much on current events at this blog. I realize most such commentary is suspect and often spins the commentary of the writer into a political commentary reflecting modern politics which often leads to compromised history.

However, I am making an exception today.

Duane Morrison broke into a school in Colorado and killed a girl. He targeted female students. Wikipedia notes, "On September 27, 2006, 11:40 AM MDT, Morrison entered the school carrying a backpack, in which he had stated there were explosives. A police report was filed later saying that he fired his handgun when the teacher did not do what he asked. He appeared to have no apparent motive in the classroom, but told the male students to exit the classroom, leaving him with six female students hostage. It has been reported that he sexually assaulted the hostages while in the classroom."

Carl Roberts IVdid something similar after the Colorado attack. FoxNews.com reported, "Before he started shooting, Roberts released about 15 boys, a pregnant woman and three women with infants, barred the doors with desks, a fooseball table and wood and secured them with nails, bolts and flexible plastic ties. He then made the girls line up along a blackboard and tied their feet together."

How likely is it that two such horrific crimes which targeted female students happened so closely together? Probability theory indicates this would happen by chance occasionally but I suspect the Morrison Colorado killing influenced the Roberts Amish slayings.

I am not alone in suspecting this. An article from Newsday.com notes, "Levin suspects last week's shootings -- a 53-year-old gunman in Colorado fatally shot a female high school student and then himself, and another in Wisconsin where a teen shot and killed his school principal -- may have helped determine the timing and the form of Roberts' actions.

I hope no other misogynist are inspired by these two attacks. This is history which I hope is never repeated. Unfortunately, the killing of school children is not limited to America. This terrorism on children has recently happened in Iraq and Russia. Jihadists in these countries have killed hundreds of school children. Over 350 died in a single school attack in Russia alone in 2004.

History shows that children are often attacked. This is not a new 21st century occurrence. But I hope this is the last century it happens.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

The Road to a New Era of American Indian Autonomy

The Road to a New Era of American Indian Autonomy. This article is by Ned Blackhawk. It is at History Now, a newer history site I recently discovered. The article looks at federal government-Indian relations in the United States. There is also a companion page titled Suggested American West Sources with a bibliography and a list of annotated related websites.

From the site:

Sovereignty and nationhood are not terms generally applied to American minorities. Yet, unlike any other American ethnic group, American Indians maintain unique political relationships with the federal government. Tribal enrollments, courts, police forces, constitutional governments, departments of natural resources, and school systems are but a few of the federally and tribally enacted institutions within reservations. Thus understanding the relationship between the federal government and reservation communities helps explain recent Indian history. That relationship is defined by ambivalence and violence, yet it is also shaped by the ability of Indians, like other dispossessed and disenfranchised groups in America, to use the legal system for redress of grievances. Much like the African American civil rights movement, the modern American Indian sovereignty movement is grounded in constitutional law. The same legal currents that have made it illegal to deny political rights on the basis of race, gender, or creed have also maintained that America’s indigenous populations have a unique relationship with the national, or federal government.

The relationship grew slowly but steadily in the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. The sectional and constitutional crises of the early Republic and the first half of the nineteenth century have often overshadowed the place of Native Americans within the nation’s past. Yet policies enacted to deal with eastern Indians during this period help explain the context in which modern Indians operate- and add to our understanding of the larger history of these eras. For example, scholars have recently explored the curious place of Indians in the pageantry and rhetoric of the Revolutionary era generation. They have found that, both during and after the imperial struggle, revolutionary leaders and followers showed ambivalence toward Indian culture, adopting various forms of Indian masquerade and affinities yet exhibiting deep anxieties regarding the Indian presence. And, throughout backcountry settlements, fears of Indian attack helped unite varying European ethnic groups as “Indian haters.” The colonial threat operated in the same fashion to unite disparate Indian communities.

Monday, October 02, 2006

History Carnival XL

History Carnival XL is now up at Old is the New New. My thanks to Robert MacDougall for the nice collection of annotated links.

A few highlights:

APB also provides evidence that Barbara Bush was once a hottie.

The Axis of Evel Knievel marked the 68th birthday of “the worst historical analogy ever” and the start of last century’s longest conventional war.

Ali Eteraz asks if the prophet Muhammad was funny, but concludes he was more “lighthearted” and “corny” than ha ha funny.

Jonathan Dresner learned from the Guardian’s News Blog that the British chocolate industry was founded by Quakers.