Tag Archives: Politics

Interactive Infographic: Public Trust in Government

Screen shot of infographic (to see the interactive version click on the link). Copyright PEW

Screen shot of infographic (to see the interactive version click on the link). Copyright PEW

The PEW Research Center has published an interactive infographic exploring the rise and fall of American Citizens’ trust in government. Explore the rise and fall of trust and distrust in the American Government since the 1960’s related to topics such as party affiliation, satisfaction, state, unemployment, and more. This is a great tool for exploring public opinion over the last five decades.

You can explore the infographic here.

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Free Online Course: The Kennedy Half Century

The University of Virginia is offering a free online course via iTunes U on the Kennedy Half Century. Larry Sabato, Director of UVA’s Center for Politics, will be exploring the impact of Kennedy Politics on America. The class discussion will be hosted on twitter @JFKClass. The book for the course can be purchased on the iBooks store. The course description is as follows:

Screen Shot 2013-10-21 at 8.36.15 AMWhen John F. Kennedy entered the presidential limousine at Love Field in Dallas, Texas on November 22, 1963, he began his ride into history. That journey continues even today and we call it the Kennedy legacy. In the weeks leading up to the 50th anniversary of the assassination, this course will explore the Presidency, assassination, and lasting legacy of President John F. Kennedy. Students will learn how JFK’s life, administration, and tragic death have influenced the general public, the media, and each of the nine U.S. presidents who followed.

Identifying John F. Kennedy’s legacy and influence helps understand many of the vexing problems that developed over the last half century as well as many of the challenges that confront us even today. November 22, 1963 was so powerful a moment that in the fifty years since the assassination, every U.S. President that followed JFK has used Kennedy’s words and actions in an effort to craft their own political image. Why does Kennedy’s influence persist, and will it continue? What are the effects? We’ll address these questions and more as we explore The Kennedy Half Century.

Follow @LarrySabato on Twitter.  He frequently tweets about JFK and other political subjects.

Participate in the Class Discussion Board on Twitter @JFKclass

Take the free course, participate in class discussions, and learn something new!

Ancient Pompeii’s Social Media

Pompeii shadowed by Mt. Vesuvius courtesy of Wikimedia

Pompeii shadowed by Mt. Vesuvius courtesy of Wikimedia

The Roman city of Pompeii was destroyed and buried by the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in 79 CE. The preserved city allows archaeologists, historians, and Classicists to examine materials far better preserved than a ‘traditional’ archaeological ruin.

The graffiti on the walls of Pompeii are famous for the content and vulgarity. However, scholars now believe they served another purpose: communication. Perhaps working as an early, non-tech, “social media.” Property owners may have had control over the political messages written on their walls.

“The current view is that any candidate could have chosen any location and have their ad painted on the wall. After looking at the contexts, this would not seem very likely. The facades of the private houses and even the streetwalks in front of them were controlled and maintained by the owner of the house, and in that respect, the idea that the wall space could be appropriated by anyone who wanted to do it seems unlikely.” – Eeva-Maria Viitanen

To learn more about the political ads and their role at the city of Pompeii, see the article posted at Scientific American.

A Don’s Life: A closer look at the Tyrant Slayers

This month, Mary Beard focused her blog (A Don’s Life) on the Tyrant slayers, Harmodius and Aristogeiton. The two Tyrannicides (τυραννοκτόνοι) gained popularity and fame in Ancient Athens for slaying the Peisistratan Tyrant Hipparchus. His brother Hippias would flee to Persia, attempting to drum up support to return to rule from the Achaemenid rulers of the Persian Dynasty. This event was the first in a series that would lead to the Persian invasion of Greece.

Mary Beard’s article investigates not only the ill-fated history of the two brothers (who would ultimately end up dead after their incomplete attempt to overthrown the standing regime) as well as the interesting, art-historical timeline of how the men are displayed. They have long been heralded (with much fancy and historical reinvention) as political heroes – democratic leaders, martyrs, and idealistic political savants. Their physical image has been manipulated over the centuries as much as their historical one. To read more about this tale, see the article by Mary Bard: “A Don’s Life: A closer look at the tyrant slayers“).

Macedonia Continues Plans to Erect Alexander Statue In Spite of Protests from Greece

The Republic of Macedonia is continuing with its plans to erect a large statue of Alexander the Great, ignoring protests by Greece and modern scholars. Alexander the Great, the famous conquerer of the 4th century BCE, was born in the Kingdom of Macedonia, a region now located in the Northern regions of Modern Greece.

The Kingdom of Macedonia ca 4th c. BCE

The Modern Republic of Macedonia is the result of the break up of Yugoslavia in the 1990s. The Republic declared its independence in 1991, forming their own, independent state. The new Republic’s naming was in and of itself controversial, as it is located outside of historic Macedonia and seemingly misleading. For many Greeks, the connection to Alexander the Great is a source of national pride. The relationship has been so caustic that Greece has successfully blocked the young country’s admission to NATO and the UN.

Map of the Modern Republic of Macedonia

Most alarmingly Macedonia has sought to perpetuate the notion that their country is connected (geographically and culturally) to Alexander the Great, most recently with the construction of a monument and statue to his honor. The situation has become so alarming that a coalition of prominent international scholars sent a letter to President Obama in 2009 and continue to protest the Republic of Macedonia’s usurpation of history. You can read about this initiative here. The Republic is moving forward with its plan to erect a statue of the famous conquerer in spite of recent protests. Read more about this recent development in this new BBC article.

If History is stripped of her truth what is left is only an idle tale

Polybius, Histories 1.14.6