Maastricht Treaty

The Maastricht Treaty was ratified by 12 democratic countries part of the European Union in 1992.  The document clearly states from the start that this treaty is a cooperation between each country on the principles of economics and foreign policy.  This treaty did not try to change the internal politics of each nation, but rather respected the national identities of its member states.  The timing of the ratification of the document is interesting in that it is shortly after the fall of communism in Eastern Europe.  … Read the rest here

Commonalities vs. Sameness

In Three New Deals, author Wolfganf Schivelbusch  argues how three powerful states were all led by common ideals leading up to WWII.  This is not to confuse with ‘same’ ideals in any sense.  While these terms may seem alike, Schivelbusch clearly states there is a difference.  He argues that while the United States, Germany, and Italy had common features the three cannot be considered identical in any way.  It is difficult to place the United States, a democratic society, in the same category as two authoritative countries, but Schivelbusch continues to explain how they represent one another while being different at the same time.… Read the rest here

Antiquated Modernity

Hoffman defines the traditional sense of modernity as liberal democracy and industrial capitalism. This idea or narrow concept of modernity, in my mind, proceeds from our desire to clearly identify the others: to separate the proverbial tares from the wheat. However, in our insatiable egotism and self justification we construct rigid lines of demarcation by which to separate ourselves from the others. Hoffman deconstructs this archaic version of modernity to define the more fundamental, rational sense of true modernity.… Read the rest here

Truman’s Ulterior Motives

3 Observations

1. In his address to Congress to request aid for the reconstruction of Greece and Turkey due to the damages done during the Second World War, President Truman justified his request by saying that if the United States didn’t provide assistance to these countries, another power could potentially impose upon their respective sovereignty. He omitted what seemed to be his true intention: the inhibition of communist ideas. He seemed to believe that if the United States did not act promptly, the Soviet Union would instead try to impose communism upon these nations, even though he did not once mention the Soviet Union by name.… Read the rest here

Critical Summary of Dark Continent (Ch. 1-4) (Revision)

The opening four chapters of Mark Mazower’s Dark Continent provide a thoroughly informative analysis of early twentieth-century European governments that manages to be both balanced and provocative.  By recounting the social, political, and economic climates of the continent’s constituent nations leading up to, during, and between the two world wars, Mazower examines the conditions that led to the establishment of Europe’s dominant governmental systems.  The underlying thesis of these chapters is that democracy was not, as many historiographers have claimed, a foregone conclusion for Europe. Read the rest here

Critical Summary of Mark Mazower’s Dark Continent

Dark Continent by Mark Mazower is a historical text which covers the interwar period of Europe in a unique way. The first four chapters each focus on a different aspect of interwar Europe: the decline of democracy, nationalism and the effects it has on minority groups, health and social welfare as a means of control over populations, and the economies of nations. Mazower’s geopolitical coverage of Europe is large; he touches upon other countries in Europe that are usually neglected.… Read the rest here

Mazower Critical Summary

In Mark Mazower’s Dark Continent, Chapters one to four serve as a strong introduction to the cultural, political and economic problems that plagued inter-war Europe. Mazower argues that the growth of fascism, nationalism, bureaucracy, and new economic systems came as a counter-reaction to the failures of democracy and capitalism in post-World War I Europe. Arguing that because of the slow-pace of democracy and the economic failures that the Treaty of Versailles brought, revolutionaries mobilized the population and seized control of the governments, instituting radical reforms and changes in all aspects of life-social, political and economic which guided Europe to recover and another world war.… Read the rest here

Critical Summary of Mazower’s “Dark Continent” (Chapters 1-4)

The opening four chapters of Mark Mazower’s Dark Continent provide a thoroughly informative analysis of early twentieth-century European governments that manages to be both balanced and provocative.  By recounting the social, political, and economic climates of the continent’s constituent nations leading up to, during, and between the two world wars, Mazower examines the conditions that led to the establishment of Europe’s dominant governmental systems.  The underlying thesis of these chapters is that democracy was not, as many historiographers have claimed, a foregone conclusion for Europe. Read the rest here

Plato and More: A Discussion on Democracy

(Plato appears in Sir Thomas More’s chamber in Henry VIII’s castle)

More: So we meet again, Plato.

Plato: Greetings, Sir More.

M: So what shall the topic be for today’s cross-time continuum conversation?

P: I was thinking about discussing the topic of democracy today.

M: Why not. I’ll let you begin.

P: Let us first define the term democracy. Democracy is a state where freedom reigns supreme as the defining characteristic; the people may live life as they please, may take up any profession they please, and may speak without fear of unlawful censorship or persecution.… Read the rest here

Discussion on Democracy

The Pessimist and the Optimist

(Plato has invited Sir Thomas More in his abode for an intellectual discussion)

Plato(P)
Sir Thomas More(T)

T: Hello, and thank you for having me this evening.

P: Greetings to you too. The pleasure is all mine as I do enjoy having these discussions that contribute to our understanding of the world.

T: Even so, I mean, a person of your stature couldn’t possibly have the leisure to entertain a fellow like me.… Read the rest here