Treaty on European Union

The Maastricht Treaty, also known as the Treaty on European Union, was signed on February 7, 1992. It became active on November 1, 1993, during the Delors Commission. It established the European Union and led to the creation of the Euro. It was amended by the treaties of Lisbon, Nice, and Amsterdam.

Upon creation, the European Union was comprised of three pillars: the European Communities, which dealt with economic, social, and environmental policies, the Common Foreign and Security Policy, which handled foreign policy and military matters, and the Police and Judicial Co-Operation in Criminal Matters, which focussed on law enforcement and fighting crime.… Read the rest here

National Organization for Women Statement of Purpose

The Statement of Purpose, written by the National Organization of Women, was an attempt to bolster failing anti-discrimination laws in the 1960s. It discussed ending the discrimination of women in the work force, and changing cultural norms regarding gender roles and stereotypes. The document argued for gender equality, and gave evidence to discredit masculine supremacy. For example, the document explained that technology had “virtually eliminated the quality of muscular strength as a criterion for filling most jobs” and that “women can and must participate in old and new fields of society in full equality-or become permanent outsiders.”

The purpose of the document was to inspire women to stand up for the rights, and to convince men to treat women as equals.… Read the rest here

Nazi-Soviet Pact, Stalin’s Speech

The Nazi-Soviet pact was a non-aggression pact signed in Moscow on August 23, 1939. It stated that neither country would attack the other, and that neither would ally with an enemy country of the other. In addition it divided Poland, Romania, Lithuania, Estonia, and Finland into Soviet and German “spheres of influence” through a secret protocol.

The pact gave the Soviet Union safety from the Nazis, which was important because the Soviets were neither militarily nor economically prepared for war.… Read the rest here

Hitler and the 25 Points

The 25 Points Manifesto was written in 1920 when the NSDAP was founded. Its purpose was to clearly outline the guiding principles of the party. Adolf Hitler and Anton Drexler wrote the Manifesto to attract popular support for the NSDAP. The 25 points targeted the working class, and were written in an easily understood language.

The Manifesto had socialist values. For example, it called for every citizen to have a job that benefitted the state, for the state to control large corporations, health standards, education, and communication, and for the people to put the interest of the sate before the interest of the individual.… Read the rest here

Lenin, What is to be Done

Lenin asserted five points regarding what a successful revolution needs. Firstly, he stated that no movement could succeed without “a stable organization of leaders to maintain continuity.” Secondly, that revolutionary organization becomes more important “as the masses are spontaneously drawn into the struggle,” which basically means that the larger the movement is, the more cohesive it must be. Thirdly, that the revolutionary organization must “consist chiefly of persons engaged in revolutionary activities as a profession.” Fourthly, that in countries with autocratic governments, the revolutionary organization would be harder to catch if it restricted people “who have been professionally trained in the art of combating the political police.” Fifthly, that if the revolutionaries “professionally trained in the art of combating the political police” were restricted, a larger amount and a wider variety of people would support the revolution.… Read the rest here

Pankhurst and Women’s Suffrage

In the 19th and early 20th centuries, the socially “ideal” woman was reserved, obedient, and dependent on her husband. Her roles were to manage the household and engage in charitable work. It was frowned upon for her to speak for herself, disagree with her spouse, and have a career.

Emmeline Pankhurst, a British political activist, challenged these social values in 1913. She targeted middle class men with the document “Militant Suffrage”, in which she explained why they should treat women differently.… Read the rest here

Marx’s Manifesto

Author: Karl Marx was a German socialist whose theories about society laid the foundation for Communism. Marx believed that countries progress from a class divided society into a communist one through revolutions.

Context: Marx wrote the Communist Manifesto in 1848, at which point the Industrial Revolution had exploded. Great Britain’s economy was booming, and other countries were starting to see similar advancements. However, the time period was mired by poor working conditions, and a lack of humanitarian care.… Read the rest here

Smith’s Wealth of Nations and Malthus’ Essay on Population

The Wealth of Nations, 1776

Author: Adam Smith was a Scottish moral philosopher, and is known as “the father of modern economics.” He enjoyed a thorough education at the University of Glasgow, and after graduating traveled around Europe as a tutor.

Context: Smith wrote The Wealth of Nations during the Industrial Revolution. It was published shortly after Thomas Paine’s Common Sense. At the time, Great Britain’s economy was booming, and it’s imperialist influence was spreading through Africa, the Americas, and Asia.… Read the rest here

Cult of the Supreme Being

Robespierre’s Cult of the Supreme Being was a form of Deism intended to replace Christianity as the national religion of France. It emphasized the existence of a single god, the immortality of the human soul, and placed considerable weight on natural observation and reason. Though somewhat consistent with Christian principles, these beliefs were aimed to promote public well being, rather than the well being of the church.

The Cult of the Supreme Being was designed to adapt the belief in god to the Enlightenment.… Read the rest here