History of Erasing Unpopular Leaders: Damnatio Memoriae

HeadlessNero

HISTORY OF ERASING UNPOPULAR LEADERS: DAMNATIO MEMORIAE During the early Roman Empire two millennia ago, an emperor might be deified after he died if he was popular and good. (Think: the Divine Augustus.) Alternatively, if he was unpopular and wicked, he was “erased” from society’s memory. The Latin term Damnatio Memoriae means the condemnation of…

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History of the Fourth Estate: The Press

Fourth Estate

HISTORY OF THE FOURTH ESTATE: THE PRESS When you hear about The Fourth Estate, it usually means The Press. Where did the term Fourth Estate come from? What do we mean by The Press, and how has it changed in modern times? I conclude with a cautionary tale from early U.S. history.   Origin of…

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History of Presidential Inaugurations: Why on January 20?

Presidential Inaugurations

HISTORY OF PRESIDENTIAL INAUGURATIONS: WHY ON JANUARY 20? In 1933 it seemed that a four-month transition between an outgoing “lame-duck” president who was voted out in November and a new administration starting in March was too long. Indeed, during the winter of 1932-1933, there was a horrific battle between the incumbent Herbert Hoover and president-elect…

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History of Presidential Transitions: Has It Always Been Like Now?

Presidential Transitions

HISTORY OF PRESIDENTIAL TRANSITIONS: WAS IT ALWAYS LIKE NOW? We think that our most current change in Presidential administration is contentious. But our national history has seen worse. And it goes back over 200 years to the third Presidential election, and several since then. Presidential Transition: from John Adams to Thomas Jefferson Perhaps the most…

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History of the Midnight Justices: Who Appoints the Supreme Court?

Midnight Justices

HISTORY OF THE MIDNIGHT JUSTICES: WHO APPOINTS THE SUPREME COURT In the news recently, you’ve seen the topic of “court-packing” as it relates to the US Supreme Court. Is this a new thing, and what does it mean? Court packing involves one branch of the government proposing to change the courts’ structure by either expanding…

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