Breaking the Silence: The Historiography of the Haitian Revolution

“Why am I just now learning about the Haitian Revolution, especially in a modern European history course? Is it really that significant?” She was a young student. Although I cannot fully remember, I think she was a freshman. I stared back at her desperately trying to pretend that I was not frantically searching my brain for a clear answer. The problem was not a lack of answers; on the contrary, the problem was an overflow of ideas. It was my first semester working as a teaching assistant for a course on the history of modern Europe. At this stage, I still thought that as the instructor, I was supposed to know everything and anything at any given moment. In these early days, my discussion sections felt like twice-weekly pop quizzes.

Returning to the young student, I cleared my throat, broke my silence, and insecurely delivered what I prayed was a satisfactory answer. Gazing at her inquisitive eyes and feeling the other student’s predatory stares, I explained how the Haitian Revolution is significant to our understanding of the French Revolution.[1] I continued: “The Haitian Revolution reveals the inconsistencies within the French Revolution.” Gaining a little bit more confidence, I turned the question back to my class exclaiming, “The Haitian Revolution makes us ask, ‘was the French Revolution about liberty and equality, or was it about private property?” I finished: “It makes us question the nature of revolutionary movements.”

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High Crimes and Misdemeanors: Watergate, Impeachment, and Trump

In May 1972, several people broke into the Democratic National Committee’s (DNC) headquarters in Washington DC. The DNC housed its head office in the now infamous Watergate complex. During the break-in, the prowlers planted “bugs” and photographed documents. But, the wiretaps proved faulty. So, a month later, the burglars broke into the complex a second time. And, this time a security guard caught them in the act. The guard called the police and the burglars were arrested. Initially, the entire event seemed strange. Why, on earth, were these seemingly random burglars trying to monitor the DNC’s headquarters?[1]

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Pieces to the Puzzle: Releasing the JFK Files

My husband was away for an intense two-week business trip, so I was left to care for our two wonderful, but utterly demanding toddlers on my own. Needless to say, life has been hectic. In the midst of the craziness, I have been intending to write a piece on the Watergate Scandal and its implications for the Russia investigation that is entangling our current president. Yet, something tremendous has happened over the past week and its historical importance demands our attention. (I know, I know; I keep promising a Watergate post. I will get to it, I promise!) But, first, let’s discuss the 2017 release of the JFK records.

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An Island in History

This past August my family and I traveled to Hilton Head Island, South Carolina (HHI). It was an over ten-hour drive from where we live in Maryland. I will just add that such a long car ride with two toddlers is a form of hell that I hope most people will never, ever have to experience. Not to mention that my daughter came down with a horrible ear infection and a MRSA infection in her foot that then spread to my husband’s leg.

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The American Suffrage Movement: The Good, The Bad, and the Lessons that can be Learned Part II:

Over the course of the nineteenth century, the suffrage movement grew from a small, fractious campaign into a powerful, unified movement. As my last post discusses, the suffrage movement flourished partly because suffragists increasingly appealed to traditional images of womanliness as well as the racial prejudices of the white middle class. By the early twentieth century, the movement had further expanded to become not only an influential part in women’s organized activities, but also a prominent force in the spectrum of American politics. As a result, the passage of a federal amendment that affirmed women’s right to vote seemed increasingly possible.[1] There are three main reasons for why suffrage-ism became such an overwhelming force: the rise of the progressive movement; the evolution of suffragists’ tactics; and the decline of the masculine political culture of the nineteenth century.

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