Remarks on East-West Relations at the Brandenburg Gate in West Berlin

Substantive Points

  1. United States President Ronald Reagan gave this speech on June 12, 1987 in West Berlin. The speech was televised globally (including East Berlin) with the Brandenburg Gate and the Berlin wall as a key backdrop. President Reagan announced to the German people that he joined them as their fellow countrymen and firmly believed that there is only one Berlin. He stated, “as long as this gate is closed, as long as this scare of a wall is permitted to stand, it is not the German question alone that remains open, but the question of freedom for all mankind.” The President saw the Berlin wall essential to the future of not only Berlin, but also Europe as a whole.
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National Organization for Women

Statement of Purpose (1966)

  1. NOW’s mission was to rally support of all American citizens and to take action in bringing women into full participation of American Society. By exercising all the privileges and responsibilities stated in the US constitution, women must be in a truly equal partnership with men.
  2. NOW rejected all previous assumptions that a man is in charge of supporting himself, his wife, and family, and that a woman’s role is to support her husband from the home.
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Survival in Auschwitz

  1. Primo Levi was an Italian Jew born in Turin, Italy, in 1919. At age twenty-four, he was part of a political resistance group that was caught by the fascist militia. When interrogated, he disclosed that he was a Jewish Italian citizen rather than explaining his political affiliation because he feared torture and certain death. He was sent to a vast detention camp in Fossoli, near Modena.
  2. After SS troops inspected the detention camp, they announced the deportation of all Jews.
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25 Points

Substantive Points:

The 25 Points demanded a widespread unification of all German citizens into one greater German race, of only German blood. It commanded its citizens to behave on the basis of self-determination by repudiating the treaties of Versailles and St. Germain as a stipulation for equality in Europe.

Every German citizen was bound by equal rights and obligations to work both spiritually and physically. This meant physical work was intended for the benefit of the whole state in light of the crippled economy.… Read the rest here

The First Provisional Government

Author: The Temporary Committee of the members of the State Duma established the First Provisional Government of Russia. It was first led by Prince Georgy Lvov and later led by Alexander Kerensky.

Context: Formed in Petrograd in March 1917. This was after Nicholas II’s abdication of the throne to his brother, Grand Duke Michael, who deferred the power to what became the First Provisional Government of Russia.

Language: The language is straightforward and clear-cut. The document itself is logically organized and easy to read.… Read the rest here

Concerning the Spiritual in Art

Author: Born in Moscow in 1866, Kandinsky was fascinated with colors and color symbolism throughout his youth. Kandinsky studied law and economics at the University of Moscow and was later offered a teaching position at Derpt University in Tartu. Being more interested in art, Kandinsky decided to move to Munich to study and perfect his painting skills. Kandinsky went on to become a famous painter and art theorist. During the years of WWI and WWII, he moved between Germany, Russia, and France.… Read the rest here

French Colonial Expansion

Jules Ferry – On French Colonial Expansion

Author: Jules Ferry was born April 5, 1832, in Saint-Dié, France.  He was educated as a lawyer. Before serving two terms as prime minister of France (1880-1881, 1883-1885), Ferry was an active politician. He served as the republican deputy for Paris in 1869 and protested the declaration of war against Germany. The government of national defense appointed Ferry as the prefect of the Seine. As prime minister, he passed laws that secularized the French educational system.… Read the rest here

Vicarious Consumption

Author: Thorstein Veblen was born in Cato, Wisconsin on July 30, 1857. He spent the majority of his childhood working on his family farm as part of a Norwegian immigrant farming community.  His parents stressed hard work and education, an emphasis that would factor into his disgust for conspicuous consumption. Veblen studied and worked at several universities including Johns Hopkins, Yale, and Cornell.  Veblen wrote The theory of the Leisure Class when he was in his early forties.… Read the rest here

Indefinite Perfection

Condorcet, in his Sketch for a Historical Picture of the Progress of the Human Mind, argued that mankind progressed at a continuous rate toward perfection. His philosophy for perfection was guided by his own reason and science. Condorcet was adverse toward religion and believed that reason was the sole basis for man’s ability to progress, become virtuous, and better society. He saw man’s ability to be limitless and unconstrained by nature, and concluded, “that this perfectibility of man is truly indefinite.” He observed that society had gone through many stages and periods of error and false theories regarding the rights of man.… Read the rest here

Competitive Industry

In Comte de Saint-Simon’s The Incoherence and Disorder of Industry, Saint-Simon disapproves and criticizes laissez-faire capitalism for its brutal competitive nature. He views industrialists as self-centered and vain. He claims, “the industrialist is very little concerned about society’s interests.” Saint-Simon has a Hobbesian view on the Industrial Revolution. He suggests that when two men pursue the same career, they inevitably become enemies; their lives become nasty, short, and brutish as they seek glory over each other’s career.… Read the rest here