On the Trail of the Presidents

George H. W. Bush statue, College Station, TX.

Richard Toye and Mark Wickham-Jones

One of the distinctive features of American politics in comparison to the UK is the establishment of Presidential Libraries and Museums. Franklin D. Roosevelt started the trend with the creation of a library at his home at Hyde Park, New York in the early 1940s. Since then, every president has had such an institution, administered by the National Archives and Records Administration, and one was created retrospectively for Herbert Hoover. Texas is particularly well-served, because it has three presidential libraries: those of Lyndon B. Johnson, George H.W. Bush, and George W. Bush.  

This April we explored Texas’s presidential libraries and museums, looking at available archival material (relating especially to Anglo-American relations, and Space policy) and assessing the interpretation that each offers of the record of the president concerned. We started at Dallas, with George Bush Junior’s library, located at Southern Methodist University, then moved on to LBJ at the University of Austin, Texas, and are currently writing this blog in College Station, home to the library of Bush Senior. Continue reading “On the Trail of the Presidents”

This Week’s Top Picks in Imperial & Global History

Marc-William Palen
History Department, University of Exeter
Follow on Twitter @MWPalen

From the “global order” myth to how a glowing sea creature helped spark the Vietnam War, here are this week’s top picks in imperial and global history. Continue reading “This Week’s Top Picks in Imperial & Global History”

This Week’s Top Picks in Imperial & Global History

Marc-William Palen
History Department, University of Exeter
Follow on Twitter @MWPalen

From the rise and fall of globalization to digitizing the French Revolution, here are this week’s top picks in imperial and global history. Continue reading “This Week’s Top Picks in Imperial & Global History”

1917: The Year of the Century

A painting of Lenin addressing the crowd upon his return to Russia during the Russian Revolution. Museum of Political History.

Jeremy Black
University of Exeter

Cross-posted from American Review of Books, Blogs, and Bull

1917 was a key year in a crucial decade. This was a decade of change, or, rather, transformation; of the destruction of what became old orders; and of the replacement of existing currents and practices.

From the perspective of 2017, possibly the most important changes of the decade came in 1910-11: alongside revolutionary crises in Mexico, Cuba, and Haiti was the crisis and overthrow of the Manchu dynasty in China. There had been a series of such crises in China before, of course notably with the Ming in the 1640s, and the Mongols in the 1360s. What made the crisis of the 1910s different, however, was the replacement of a dynasty by a republic and the difficulty, for the new system, of establishing its legitimacy. Indeed, China atomised, so that, by 1925, it was divided between a large number of independent polities, most of which were under the thumb of warlords and expressions of their power. China’s fragmentation made it vulnerable to Japanese invasion and, ultimately, to a destructive civil war and communist revolution in 1949. Continue reading “1917: The Year of the Century”

This Week’s Top Picks in Imperial & Global History

Members of the Republican militia in Grañén (Huesca province), September 12, 1936. THE ESTATE OF ALEXANDER WHEELER WAINMAN, JOHN ALEXANDER WAINMAN

Marc-William Palen
History Department, University of Exeter
Follow on Twitter @MWPalen

From the Englishman who captured the smiles of the Spanish Civil War to how Paul Robeson found his political voice in Wales, here are this week’s top picks in imperial and global history. Continue reading “This Week’s Top Picks in Imperial & Global History”

Third Global Humanitarianism Research Academy (GHRA) Starts Next Week

Cross-posted from GHRA-IEG

Beginning July 10, the third Global Humanitarianism Research Academy (GHRA) will meet for one week of academic training at the Leibniz Institute of European History (IEG) before continuing with archival research at the ICRC Archives in Geneva. The Research Academy addresses early career researchers who are working in the related fields of humanitarianism, international humanitarian law, peace and conflict studies as well as human rights covering the period from the 18th to the 20th century. It supports scholarship on the ideas and practices of humanitarianism in the context of international, imperial and global history thus advancing our understanding of global governance in humanitarian crises of the present.

The GHRA received a huge amount of applications from an extremely talented group of scholars from more than nineteen different countries around the world. The selection committee considered each proposal carefully and has selected these participants for the GHRA 2017: Continue reading “Third Global Humanitarianism Research Academy (GHRA) Starts Next Week”

Protectionism 100 years ago helped ignite a world war. Could it happen again?

A pro-Republican cartoon from 1900 depicting “the white light of protection” shining down upon America’s newly acquired empire at the dawn of the 20th century. American Economist, 28 Dec. 1900.

Marc-William Palen
History Department, University of Exeter
Follow on Twitter @MWPalen

[Editor’s note: Below is from my editorial just published in the Washington Post‘s series “Made by History,” a remarkable new initiative for historians to engage with current affairs, co-edited by Nicole Hemmer (@pastpunditry) and Brian Rosenwald (@brianros1).]

The liberal economic order that defined the post-1945 era is disintegrating.

Globalization’s foremost champions have become the first to signal the retreat in the wake of the Great Recession. Economic nationalism, historically popular in times of economic crisis, is once again on the rise in Britain, France and the United States. We are witnessing a return to the antagonistic protectionist politics that defined a bygone era that ended with World War I — suggesting that today’s protectionist revival threatens not just the global economy, but world stability and peace. Continue reading “Protectionism 100 years ago helped ignite a world war. Could it happen again?”