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"The Feminine Mystique" by Betty Friedan is published

November 5, 2019 in History

By History.com Editors

Though perhaps not the typical housewife—she had been involved in radical politics from a young age and had a degree in psychology from Smith College—Betty Friedan is often credited as the first to give voice to the suffering of millions of seemingly-content American women. Her book, The Feminine Mystique, published on February 19, 1963, shook the ground beneath an American society rooted in a myth of pleasant domesticity and supported by the physical and emotional labor of women.

The book examines the many ways in which women were still oppressed by American society. In addition to scholarly research, Friedan drew on first-hand accounts from housewives to explain how women were taught that homemaking and raising children was their sole purpose in life, how the education system and field of psychology made women who sought fulfillment elsewhere seem “neurotic” and the myriad ways that women’s magazines, advertisers and other elements of society reinforced women’s secondary status.

Even before it was published, The Feminine Mystique was called “overstated” and “too obvious and feminine” by people within the company that published it. After its release, much of the criticism essentially labeled Friedan a hysteric, while many women took offense at her suggestion that they were not fulfilled by their family and domestic duties. Other critics pointed out that Friedan focused almost exclusively on straight, married, white, middle-class women, or charged that she was complicit in the demonization of stay-at-home mothers.

Some of these criticisms have persisted, but only because The Feminine Mystique has remained relevant from the moment of its publication through the present. One the first signs of the emerging Second Wave Feminism, Friedan’s work was crucial in giving language to the frustrations women felt in the ’50s and ’60s. The book is credited with mobilizing a generation of feminists who would tackle a number of issues left unresolved by First Wave Feminism. Friedan influenced the push for the 1963 Equal Pay Act, the budding pro-choice movement, and other activists, both through her writing and through her co-founding of the National Organization for Women, whose charter she drafted in language similar to that of her book. On the 50th anniversary of its publication, The New York Times wrote that “it remains enduring shorthand for the suffocating vision of domestic goddess-hood Friedan is credited with helping demolish.”

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Source: HISTORY

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Secretary of State Colin Powell speaks at UN, justifies U.S. invasion of Iraq

November 5, 2019 in History

By History.com Editors

U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell gives a speech to the United Nations that is both highly consequential and full of fabrications on February 5, 2003. Using talking points that many within his own government had told him were either misleading or outright lies, Powell outlined the United States’ case that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction, making the argument for the invasion that would happen the following month. Powell has called it a “blot” on his record.

President George W. Bush‘s administration contained several prominent officials, such as Vice President Dick Cheney and Secretary of State Donald Rumsfeld, who had advocated for the First Gulf War and were known proponents of a second invasion of Iraq. Soon after a group of mostly-Saudi terrorists attacked the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on September 11, 2001, a movement began within the Bush administration to remove Iraq’s leader, the dictator Saddam Hussein, from power, on the grounds that he was connected to the attacks. Powell was not among this clique—according to him, he warned Bush in August of 2002 that removing Hussein might be easy but turning Iraq into a stable, friendly democracy would not be. At Powell’s urging, Bush took his case to the United Nations, leading to the decision to send inspectors into the country to search for “weapons of mass destruction.” The inspectors found no proof of such weapons, but Congress nonetheless authorized Bush to use military force against Iraq in October of 2002. According to Powell, Bush had already decided to do so before sending Powell to the UN.

Powell claimed he was delivering “facts and conclusions based on solid intelligence” as he told the UN that Iraq possessed biological weapons. He knew this to be a lie. He had reportedly received the text of the speech four days before it was to be given, during which time the State Department’s intelligence bureau had raised a host of red flags. Powell’s employees had identified many key claims as “weak,” “not credible,” or “highly questionable.” Among these questionable assertions were the claims that Iraqi officials had ordered biological weapons removed ahead of UN searches, that Iraq’s conventional missiles appeared fit to carry chemical weapons, and that Hussein possessed mobile labs capable of producing anthrax and other toxins. The speech cherry-picked testimony from various Iraqi sources, omitting that Hussein’s son-in-law, who had been …read more

Source: HISTORY

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Punic Wars, between Rome and Carthage, come to an end

November 5, 2019 in History

By History.com Editors

On this date in 146 BCE, the Roman Republic finally triumphed over its nemesis, Carthage, after over a century of fighting. The victory and subsequent destruction of the city of Carthage marked the end of the Punic Wars and represented Rome’s replacement of Carthage as the dominant power of the Western Mediterranean, a position it would hold for the next several centuries.

The Punic Wars began as Rome expanded West toward what is now Spain, East into Greece and South to Sicily, which brought it into conflict with Carthage. Though Rome won both the First and Second Punic Wars, Carthage at times came close to victory. During the Second Punic War, the Carthaginian general Hannibal famously led his army, including three dozen elephants, across the Alps and into the Italian peninsula, terrorizing the countryside and coming close to sacking Rome. By 149 BCE, however, Rome had in many ways subjugated Carthage. Victory in the Second War had allowed Rome to impose a costly indemnity on its rival, and Carthage had to seek the Roman senate’s permission to wage war. Even after the indemnity was paid, Rome was wary of Carthage’s continued existence. One senator, Cato the Elder, reportedly ended all of his speeches for several years, regardless of topic, with “Also, I believe that Carthage must be destroyed.”

Whereas the previous wars had spanned decades and multiple theaters, the Third Punic War was a relatively straightforward invasion of North Africa by Roman forces. Carthage acceded to a number of Roman demands in an effort to stave off destruction, but refused when the consuls ordered that the Carthaginians move their entire city further inland. Though Rome suffered several defeats before finally besieging Carthage, it quickly blockaded and overtook the port, leading to starvation and panic in the city. When the city finally fell, its population of 50,000— already a shadow of what it had been thanks to the siege—was sold into slavery, a practice that was both barbaric and standard for the era. Historians have found no evidence that Rome “salted the earth” so that no crops could grow around Carthage; in fact, the lands were given to the local farmers and new Roman settlers after the city’s destruction.

Combined with the simultaneous victories and Greece and pacification of Hispania, the end of the Third Punic War left Rome the dominant military, naval, economic and political power of the …read more

Source: HISTORY

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First 9-1-1 call is placed in the United States

November 5, 2019 in History

By History.com Editors

February 16, 1968 sees the first official “911″ call placed in the United States. Now taken for granted as first course of action in the event of emergency by nearly all of the nation’s 327 million people, 911 is a relatively recent invention and was still not standard across the United States for many years after its adoption by Congress.

As telephones became common in U.S. households, fire departments around the country recommended establishing a single, simple number to be dialed in the event of a fire or other emergency. A similar system had been implemented in the United Kingdom decades earlier, in 1936, when the code 999 was chosen for emergency telegraph and phone communications. The Federal Communications Commission decided to act in 1967, but the number itself came not from the government but from AT&T, the corporation that controlled nearly all phone lines in the U.S. via its long-distance service and ownership of local Bell Telephone subsidiaries. At the time, AT&T was considered a “natural monopoly,” a monopoly allowed to exist because high infrastructure costs and barriers to entry prevented challengers from emerging. AT&T suggested the number 911 because it was easy to remember and, crucially, had not yet been designated as an area code or other code, which would make the transition easier.

The first 911 call was placed by Rep. Rankin Fite, the Speaker of the Alabama House of Representatives, in the town of Haleyville, AL on February 16th of the following year. Nome, Alaska adopted the system a week later. Still, it would years before the system was widespread and decades before it was uniform. It was only in 1973 that the White House issued an official statement in favor of 911, and even that a suggestion rather than a law or executive order. By 1987, 50 percent of the nation was using the system. Canada chose to adopt the same number for its emergency calls, and 98% of the US and Canada can now contact emergency services by dialing 911. 999 is in use in a number of former British colonies, and the number 112 is used in Russia, Brazil, and other nations, even sometimes routing to the same services as 911 in the U.S.

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Source: HISTORY

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The Ruthless 16th-Century Spy Network That Kept Queen Elizabeth I Safe

November 5, 2019 in History

By Andrew Knighton

A fledgling spy network in Tudor England used kidnappings, codes and moles to ensure the Protestant Queen’s longevity.

In late 16th-century England, Queen Elizabeth was a Protestant royal who faced perpetual threats to her life and reign. Real enemies and exaggerated fears led to paranoia—and the royal court responded with a secret war.

In what would become England’s first great brush with espionage, spies and even kidnappers were deployed to keep the queen safe.

Threats From Spain and Mary Queen of Scots

The threats facing late Tudor England came from both home and abroad. Decades of hostility between Spain and England were exacerbated by England’s provocative policy of letting privateers raid Spanish treasure fleets. As the Spanish King Philip II lost patience with his piratical neighbors, the English rightly feared invasion. In 1588, Spain dispatched a 130-ship naval fleet as part of a planned invasion of England. The Spanish Armada ultimately failed, but it fueled paranoia about Spanish intrusions.

Within England, meanwhile, Mary Queen of Scots, a rival for Elizabeth’s throne, was living under house arrest. Some Catholics hoped to overthrow Elizabeth and replace her with Mary. Catholic priests such as Edmund Campion were smuggled into England, where they preached to secret congregations. To some, they were upholders of true faith. To Elizabeth, they were secret agents stirring up treason.

Fear and anxiety riddled the English court. “It’s the same sort of thing that the U.S. went through with communism in the 1950s,” says Patrick Martin, historian and author of Elizabethan Espionage.

Elizabethan Spies in Action

William Cecil, 1st Baron Burghley and chief advisor to Queen Elizabeth I.

The first significant covert operation was the kidnapping of John Story in 1570. An English Catholic, Story had fled to the Low Countries, where he plotted against Elizabeth while working for the Spanish. Sir William Cecil, one of Elizabeth’s chief advisors, ordered agents to kidnap Story and bring him home for questioning. Cecil’s agents tricked Story into searching their boat, trapped him onboard, and whisked him away.

Another of Elizabeth’s advisors, Sir Francis Walsingham, built up an ongoing spy network. A man of incredible intelligence and cunning, Walsingham used merchants to gather intelligence from across Europe.

“Merchants were very useful in moving secret information about,” says Stephen Alford, professor of early modern British history at the University of Leeds. “Merchants and their factors and agents are used to moving around Europe relatively easily.”

Walsingham’s men …read more

Source: HISTORY

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The Berlin Wall: Its Rise, Fall, and Legacy

November 5, 2019 in Economics

By Doug Bandow

Doug Bandow

Democratic Party candidates for president advocate socialism. Young adults view collectivism as a serious alternative to capitalism. Most anyone under 40 has little memory of the Berlin Wall, probably the most dramatic symbol of the most murderous human tyranny to afflict the world. After decades of oppression, hundreds of millions of people were finally free, which today we take for granted.

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The Soviet Communist or Bolshevik Revolution was an accident of sorts, a tragic consequence of economic and social collapse resulting from World War I. Absent that conflict, Vladimir Ilyich Lenin probably would have lived out his life in Swiss exile spouting radical doctrines and playing chess. His later colleagues would have suffered obscurity in imperial prisons or exile. Russia’s Czar Nicholas would have lived out his reign as his country prospered economically and reformed politically. Wilhelmine Germany, with a franchise broader than that of Great Britain, also would have seen a gradual shift in power toward liberal constitutional rule as Junker conservatism lost influence.

Alas, Europeans collectively jumped into the abyss of cataclysmic conflict, leading to a continent dominated by fascism, Nazism, and communism. The USSR concentrated its brutality on its own people until Adolf Hitler took control of Germany. The Fuhrer triggered the convulsion known as World War II, a conflict Hitler began but could not finish. In 1945, he committed suicide in the bunker of the ruined Reich chancellery. And the Soviet Union, led by Joseph Stalin, occupied Berlin.

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A Divided Germany

Germany was divided among the US, Great Britain, France, and USSR. The first three combined their zones into what became the Federal Republic of Germany in 1949. The Soviet zone became what was unofficially known in the West as the “sogenannt,” or the so-called German Democratic Republic (GDR). The four victorious powers occupied Germany’s capital, as well, which left West Berlin as an oasis of freedom in the middle of East Germany. In 1948, Moscow blocked land routes …read more

Source: OP-EDS