We get lots of requests to write articles on the site as well as requests for writing tips from would-be writers and students. So, following yesterday’s piece on biographical essays, today we’re sharing an article on history essays… What does it take to compose a great essay in History? Today we’ll look into three key prerequisites of a paper worth the top grade.

Writing in History... A Lady Writing by Johannes Vermeer, 1660s.

Writing in History... A Lady Writing by Johannes Vermeer, 1660s.

How to Prepare a Stellar History Essay – 3 Key Steps

Have you ever been in a courtroom, or seen on television, a situation where a witness pledges an oath to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth? The same rule works in the case of History essays. When writing about the question or topic of your paper, seek to operate with relevant evidence, proven facts and solid data. Do this and the foundation of a great essay will be in place.

What is more, there are 3 key elements to a strong historical essay on top of doing this research and using it well.


Number 1 - Plan your essay through first

Many students and essay writers make one and the same mistake – they rush into drafting content right after background data has been read. But what a smart student does is prepare an outline for their ‘manuscript’ that seeks to closely answer the topic or question of the essay.

·       “Explain Why” – Having to dwell upon a certain historical event, you’ll have to organize data in a way to explain why this or that happened. Analytical skill is important with this type of essay

·       “Discuss a Quote” – Giving a student a quote by a renowned historical figure and asking them to elaborate on its meaning and content is a quite common History assignment. What’s key here is keeping your answer focused and supporting it with as many meaningful arguments and sources as word limits allow you to

·       “Access and Evaluate” – This is perhaps the most difficult type of History essay. It asks you to carry out a deep analysis of a certain event or a historical figure’s activity. Giving your personal evaluation might sound easy, but that’s only when your judgment is based on thorough study of the historical period/person and is backed up by strong sources

·       “Compare and Contrast” – For most students, comparing and contrasting two historical figures or two historical events sounds interesting and even entertaining, but often you will need to research both people/events thoroughly (which can lead to double the research!) and think even more carefully about how you will plan your essay


Number 2 - Mind your judgment

Logic and analysis are key to making your essay a success. Logical and analytical skills are important to History writing, which makes it quite a challenge for some students who are aiming for a really high grade. Indeed, History is a subject that often requires a higher than average ability to analyze complex information and establish cause-and-effect relationships.

So, what’s the problem here? Many people make haphazard conclusions based on their analysis. If you have written your essay in a hurry, or, for example, do not properly understand the events in question and what led to them, you may not be able to join all of the information together leading to errors in your analysis.

In a History essay, it is imperative to think through the subject and not write down the first conclusion that comes to your mind. Some people recommend that you ‘sleep on it’ - meaning let your mind process the sources you have read and allow yourself enough time to form judgments.

But when deadlines are pressing, some students seek History essay help, because they can’t quiet see how a topic links together and answer the essay question well enough. But if you are aiming for a high grade, causes and effects of historical events must be understood and studied thoroughly.


Number 3 - Be critical towards yourself

A truly excellent History essay usually has engaging content, is well-thought through, and easy to read, with credible information that is well sourced. So, what else can you do to produce such an essay? Proofreading is the answer. Many students prepare the first draft, read it a couple of times and then hand it in. Such an approach might work for an average essay, but for somebody who wants to make a real impact with their essay, such an approach is flawed.

You should expect to heavily revise and edit your first and (depending on the context) second draft. Except if you are an amazing talent, there is likely to be significant room for improvement after the first draft, but after a number of revisions, and ideally review from others, the final draft will be worthy of being shown to your professor or evaluator. Don’t worry about to criticizing and fundamentally changing your early drafts as they are there to be improved.

On a final note, don’t be offended when somebody who reviews your essay or your professor provides feedback and points out weak spots in your text, suggesting where the essay could be improved. Consider it another opportunity to improve and turn in an even better paper, rather than their attempt to annoy you. Don’t take someone else’s criticism personally; turn it into an opportunity to improve.


This article was produced in conjunction with Do My Essays.


Now, tell us below: What have your history essay writing experiences been like?

AuthorGeorge Levrier-Jones
CategoriesBlog Post

We get lots of requests to write articles on the site as well as requests for writing tips from would-be writers and students. So over the next few days we’ll be sharing two articles on history writing. First up, it’s how to write a biographical essay… As surprising as may be, many people, especially students, struggle with writing a biographical essay. This guide shares insights on how to write a great biographical essay.

Writing in History... Man Writing a Letter by Gabriel Metsu, 1660s.

Writing in History... Man Writing a Letter by Gabriel Metsu, 1660s.

Biographical Essay Writing Masterclass: Make Sure Your Narrative is Top Class

Biography is like History – a chronological list of events (but in somebody’s life). With there being 4 essential types of essays (persuasive, descriptive, expository and narrative), students often find writing narratives the most difficult. And since a biographical essay is often narrative writing in nature, we’d like to share best practices that show you how to write a great essay or ace an assignment fast. Indeed, if you’re a student taking History classes, you’ll find these tips most useful.


Groundwork goes first

Writing a biography essay is a wonderful opportunity to delve into someone’s life. A renowned actor, politician, writer, inventor, sports star – depending on the topic, you can pick one of a great many figures, with a peculiar, captivating life history and career achievements. 

Your key goal is to trace the roots of who a person was, how they became the person we know them to be, what challenges they had to go through, and what their contributions were to the world. Taken together, thinking about these questions will allow you to pick your subject.

Decided who you’ll write an essay about? Great, time to do your research. As a rule, prominent figures already have tomes of biographies written about them, so your goal may be to fit lots of available information into the framework of a 2000-word essay. In addition, reading interviews and including interesting extracts from them will serve you well.

Just as you finish gathering background data and peculiar pieces of information, don’t rush ahead writing your introduction yet. One of the essentials of delivering a quality essay is drawing up an outline. Think though the structure of your paper and outline the sections and subsections, possibly down to each 150-200 words. Make sure you have a good writing plan at hand to keep all the ideas and draft components in check.  


Introduction, main body, conclusion

In terms of overall structure, a biographical essay is no different to any other type of essay. A standard 7-to-10-paragraph essay with an introduction, main body and conclusion is what we’re looking for.

Introduction: The main goal of the introduction is to grab the reader’s attention and give a smooth transition to the main body of your text. Here are 3 effective methods to “hook” a reader right from the start:

·       Cite a captivating quote or saying by the figure you’re writing about to show how outstanding and notable the persona is/was

·       Offer a short, preferably comic or entertaining short story about the person to set the right mood for the essay to develop further

·       Give an example of an iconic achievement the person attained to firmly grab the reader’s attention


Main body: You have 5-to-8 paragraphs to highlight the milestones in a person’s life and present your essay in an interesting way. For example, if you’re discussing a writer, you might choose to describe one of their most prominent books of the author as well as time periods that preceded and followed the publishing.

If you are writing about a sports star, you might want to select three of the person’s most famous games and some interesting events that took place behind the scenes as you tell their story. Or, if it’s an actor, you can discuss the history of how the person harnessed their talent and became somebody through key events in their life.

Conclusion: It is normally a good idea to discuss the contribution the protagonist of your essay made in their field of expertise, modern culture, history, etc. Has a person left any legacy? Are there any biographical blind spots that require more detailed studying? What were they most remembered for when they died or what are they most well known for today?


Finally… 5 tips for writing a biography essay which always pay off

·       Deliver a consistent story – Narrative essay writing is all about making your story both informative and entertaining. Include proven facts, people, places and events that are relevant to the biography of the person you’re writing about

·       Know your purpose – There will be a reason why you’ve chosen this particular figure. Why are you, for example, writing an essay about a 1950s film star and why should the reader be interested? These questions must be obvious from the essay

·       You need a great introduction – Write a clear and interesting introduction and support it with facts, original sources, and quotes throughout the essay

·       Stick to the chronological order – History is usually a set of events depicted in a chronological order. While it is possible to jump back and forth with your essay, for most people, especially students, writing in a chronological order usually works best

·       Check your background data – Make sure all the dates, names, places, events and figures are correct, and keep Wikipedia information/references to a minimum, as such references can sometimes be less than accurate. All told, rely on proven data and checked facts, supplemented by an interesting writing style


This article was produced in conjunction with UK Essay Now. If you’re looking for more advanced tips on how to write a biographical essay, visit professional academia resources and expert writing-focused blogs, which share in-depth writing tips suitable for students who’d like to improve their History and biographical writing still further.


Now, let us know your writing experiences below!

AuthorGeorge Levrier-Jones
CategoriesBlog Post

The city of Manchester, England has countless statues that many people walk past, completely oblivious of the rich history behind them. From Richard Cobden to Abraham Lincoln, this article will tell the brief history of a selection of statues and why Manchester has decided to honor them by placing their statues in the center of the city. Su-Sam Tham explains.


John Bright (1811 – 1889)

John Bright statue in Manchester, England.

John Bright statue in Manchester, England.

John Bright was a British Radical and Liberal statesman. He was born in Rochdale, England to a highly successful cotton manufacturer and was educated at Quaker schools in Lancashire and Yorkshire, where his interest in politics grew and he became committed to political and religious equality and human rights. Bright was a remarkable orator and was also seen as one of the most influential politicians of his time, serving as an MP for Manchester, Birmingham and Durham. He is best known for founding the Anti-Corn Law League with Richard Cobden, which aimed to abolish the Corn Laws. These laws imposed tariffs on imported grain to protect English farmers from cheap foreign imports and were successfully repealed in 1846. He was also a keen supporter of Abraham Lincoln and the Union during the American Civil War, though many in Britain showed considerable sympathy for the Confederacy. He supported the boycott of southern cotton despite his own family’s mills relying on it, as he believed slavery was morally wrong and instead advocated for cotton cultivation by free labor in countries such as India.

To acknowledge his successful campaigning for the abolition of the Corn Laws, which had adversely affected Lancashire’s cotton trade as they relied on raw imports and exports for finished goods, Manchester commissioned two public statues in his honor; one inside Manchester town hall and the other in Albert Square facing the town hall, sculpted by Albert Bruce-Joy.

Interesting Fact: Bright is credited for coining the phrases ‘to flog a dead horse’ and ‘mother of parliaments’.


Richard Cobden (1804 – 1865)

Richard Cobden statue in Manchester, England.

Richard Cobden statue in Manchester, England.

Like Bright, Richard Cobden was a Radical and Liberal statesman, born in Sussex and raised in Yorkshire, where he received little formal schooling and became a cloth clerk at 15. He then started his own business selling calico prints and subsequently moved to Manchester, where his political career flourished as he was elected as the MP for Stockport. During this time, he campaigned against the Opium Wars and Crimean War, preferring to advocate for peace, resulting in him and Bright, the MP for Manchester, losing their seats in the 1857 election. However, the public forgave both for their anti-war stance as Cobden was later elected as the Rochdale MP and Bright as the Birmingham MP. As well as forming the Anti-Corn Law League, he was also known for the Cobden-Chevalier Treaty, which reduced or removed most tariff between Britain and France and was thus seen as a key stepping stone to free trade, a policy that Cobden advocated throughout his life.    

Cobden’s role in the abolition of the Corn Laws and association with other free trade campaigns led to Manchester erecting public monuments in his honor. His statue was created by sculptor Marshall Wood in 1865 and stands in St Ann’s Square.

Interesting Fact: Cobden was extremely well travelled having visited France, Italy, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland, Egypt, Greece and Russia. An impressive feat considering he primarily travelled by coach and horse. 


William Gladstone (1809 – 1898)

William Gladstone statue in Manchester, England.

William Gladstone statue in Manchester, England.

William Gladstone was born in Liverpool to Sir John Gladstone, a merchant and MP. He was educated at Eton and Oxford before being elected to parliament in 1832 as the Tory MP for Newark and he held several posts in Sir Robert Peel’s cabinet, such as Chancellor of the Exchequer. In 1867, he became the Liberal Party leader and the 3rd Liberal Prime Minister in 1868, a position he held on four separate occasions. During his 12 years in office, his government set up a national elementary education program, extended the vote to a greater number of men and introduced secret ballots at elections. His reputation as a wise and respected leader, who championed social, economic and political reform, has seen him frequently ranked as one of Britain’s greatest Prime Ministers, recently coming third in the Daily Telegraph’s 2016 ranking of the top 10 greatest Prime Ministers.

The statue was erected in Albert Square in 1901 at the Mancunian architect William Roberts’ request. Roberts admired Gladstone and in his legacy, left £4,500 to build a statue of him for Manchester where Gladstone had visited and gave speeches on several occasions and he had even unsuccessfully run for Manchester MP as a Conservative candidate. Sculpted by Mario Raggi, the statue depicts Gladstone speaking in the House of Commons during the 1893 debate on the Irish Home Rule.

Interesting Fact: Gladstone was Britain’s oldest serving Prime Minister, winning his fourth election at age 82 and resigning at age 84.


Abraham Lincoln (1809 – 1865) 

Abraham Lincoln statue in Manchester, England.

Abraham Lincoln statue in Manchester, England.

Abraham Lincoln is one of the most well-known and highly regarded Presidents of the USA, celebrated for preserving the Union during the American Civil War and for abolishing slavery in the USA. Born in a log cabin in 1809, Lincoln initially trained as a lawyer before entering the political arena by serving several terms in the Illinois state legislature and one in the House of Representative. In 1860, Lincoln won the Presidential election, becoming the 16th US President and 1st Republican President, inadvertently sparking a secession crisis in the South and ultimately the Civil War. During the war, Lincoln blockaded southern ports and some saw this as the cause of the Lancashire Cotton Famine, though the blockades were not entirely successful. Despite this, Manchester and Lancashire, areas heavily affected by the Cotton Famine, decided to support Lincoln and the Union by boycotting raw cotton picked by slaves. This meant many workers in the cotton industry lost their job, but their sacrifice was not unnoticed by Lincoln, who wrote a letter to the ‘working-men of Manchester’ to show his gratitude.       

The bronze statue of Lincoln, sculpted by George Grey Barnard, was commissioned by Charles Phelps Taft, the mayor of Cincinnati, Ohio and son of the former US President, William Taft. Originally meant to stand outside the Houses of Parliament in London, the statue was deemed unworthy for parliament as Lincoln was depicted wearing ‘normal’ clothes, rather than presidential attire and with his hand on his stomach, thus becoming known as the ‘stomach ache statue’. Instead, London received a different more statesmanlike statue and their loss became Manchester’s gain in 1919. The statue currently stands in Lincoln Square and the pedestal is inscribed with extracts of Lincoln’s letter to ‘the working-men of Manchester’, though ‘men’ has been changed to ‘people’ as Lincoln’s gendered address was seen as too sexist by Manchester council.

Interesting Fact: Lincoln obtained a patent in 1849 for a device designed to lift riverboats over sandbars or obstructions in the river and is therefore the only US President to hold a patent.


Queen Victoria (1819 – 1901)

Queen Victoria statue in Manchester, England.

Queen Victoria statue in Manchester, England.

In 1817, the death of Princess Charlotte, the daughter of the future King George IV and only legitimate grandchild of the reigning King George III, caused a succession crisis in Britain. This made George III’s sons realize that it was essential for one of them to provide an heir, so the following year, Prince Edward, Duke of Kent married Princess Victoria of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld and had their only child Alexandrina Victoria. From the beginning, Victoria was raised to be Queen and thus had a difficult upbringing. Her father had died before she was a year old, so she was raised by her mother under the ‘Kensington System’ resulting in a somewhat solitary childhood as her education and company were strictly regulated by her mother who isolated her from the rest of her family. Even King William IV, Victoria’s uncle, was denied access to her causing him to vow that he would survive until her 18th birthday to prevent her mother from becoming reagent. William was successful, as he died just 26 days after she turned 18 and so Victoria ascended to the throne as the sole ruler of Great Britain. Queen Victoria’s 63 year and 216 day reign had many significant successes as the first Wimbledon Championship was held in 1877, the first practical telephone was invented by Alexander Graham Bell, the British Empire reached its peak, and she was even crowned Empress of India.   

The sculptor Edward Onslow Ford was commissioned to create the statue of Victoria for Manchester, which she agreed to sit for, in commemoration of her diamond jubilee. Unfortunately, the statue was only completed and placed in Piccadilly Gardens in 1901 after her death. It was also originally intended for the tribute to be a marble statue, but this later changed to bronze after the Queen expressed concern about marble weathering poorly in Manchester’s smoky atmosphere. The statue is particularly significant because out of the 17 statues in Manchester city center, it is the only one to depict a woman and monarch.

Interesting Fact: Queen Victoria survived 8 assassination attempts with 2 attempts made by John Francis.


James Watt (1736 – 1819)

James Watt statue in Manchester, England.

James Watt statue in Manchester, England.

James Watt was a Scottish mechanical engineer and inventor born in Greenock. He was home-schooled by his mother, before attending the local grammar school where he excelled in engineering and mathematics. After leaving school, he moved to London and trained as an instrument maker, quickly surpassing the other apprentices as he completed his training in just a year, despite training normally taking up to 7 years. This allowed Watt to return to Glasgow and start a small shop making and repairing scientific instruments and it was while working there that the Newcomen engine was brought to his attention. He was given a model of the engine to repair and found it to be inefficient, so he began experimenting with steam to try and improve the engine, which he managed to do by designing a separate condensing chamber for the engine. Further improvements resulted in Watt’s engine being up to 5 times more powerful and over 50% more efficient than the original Newcomen engine. Watt’s engine gave way to highly efficient factories, mills and mines that produced 3 times more mechanical work for every ton of coal brought, meaning the owners earned more money and thus the prosperous economy of the Industrial Revolution was driven by Watt’s developments. His achievements were recognized in many ways - most significantly, the watt was named in his honor.

Manchester owes its titles as the world’s first manufacturing city and ‘Cottonopolis’ to Watt, so it is no surprise that the city commissioned William Theed to produce a bronze copy of Chantrey’s marble statue of Watt, that stood in Westminster Abbey, for Manchester. The statue was erected in 1857 and now sits in Piccadilly Gardens.

Interesting Fact: To explain how powerful his steam engines were in a relatively easy and relatable way, Watt decided to compare them to the power of horses, which were at the time the dominating mode of transportation and thus horsepower, a unit of power, was invented.


I hope that after reading this article you will be inspired to visit Manchester to see the statues for yourself and in the future, you will take time to explore the history of other fascinating statues that you may never have truly noticed.


Let us know what you think of the article below…


All pictures are taken by and provided with the permission of Su-Sam Tham. They may only be reproduced wit Su-Sam’s permission.

The British miners’ strike of 1984/5 is generally considered a heavy defeat for the miners, their communities, and the trade union movement as a whole. To a certain extent, that assumption has merit. But one outcome that is less well known is the role the strike played in contributing to bettering the lives of homosexuals in Britain. In a decade when vast homophobia was expected and accepted, Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners (LGSM) drove a couple of minibuses and a camper van from London to Dulais, a small mining town in South Wales, to present their donations in an attempt to aid the miners’ efforts. The events that followed provide us with an important lesson about the importance of empathy, tolerance, and togetherness in facing common enemies.

Here, Jon Hill tells us a story about solidarity.

A miners' strike rally in London, UK in 1984. Source: Miners' strike really, 1984 via Nick from Bristol, UK. Available here.

A miners' strike rally in London, UK in 1984. Source: Miners' strike really, 1984 via Nick from Bristol, UK. Available here.

Roots of Oppression

Firstly, it is perhaps important to refer to the ways in which miners and homosexuals were oppressed in Britain at the time. The strike began in March 1984, in response to Ian Macgregor’s plans to close twenty pits, leading to a projected loss of 20,000 jobs. Margaret Thatcher had previously claimed, ‘the industry cost the taxpayer thirteen billion pounds’ and called for the worst economically performing pits to close. The areas targeted were considered overly reliant on mining. The mining community in South Wales had not been the worst hit, but employment in the coalfields had nevertheless fallen from 108,000 in 1948 to 20,347 in 1984.

Mistreatment by the police was a shared experience between gay people and miners. Amongst other places, picketing miners were subjected to police brutality at Easington in August 1984. Thatcher claimed that the police were ‘upholding the law’ and stated; ‘I find it totally and utterly false to cast a slur on the police for the superb way they have handled this dispute.’ An LGSM member described how ‘a lot of mining communities have found out what police harassment is for the first time, which gay people have known about for years’. Such views were also reciprocated by members of the mining community. Sian James described feeling that ‘we were next in line after lesbians and gays…you cannot sympathise with an oppressed group until you’ve actually been a member of one’.


An Unlikely Union

In the face of such adversity, coordinator Mark Ashton encapsulated the aim of LGSM; ‘It is illogical to say: ‘I’m gay and I’m into defending the gay community but I don’t care about anything else.’

Donovan travelled to Paddington on September 6, 1984 to collect a cheque of 500 pounds from LGSM, mostly collected from poorly paid young people who hankered for a different Britain. Donovan subsequently invited members to Dulais. Tensions were high when the mining community received news of the impending arrival, yet the experiences were generally positive for both sides.

London magazine City Limits described how LGSM members visiting Dulais were welcomed into the miners’ homes for the weekend; whole families discussed gay rights and sexuality ‘over the tea-table’. Prior to the arrival of LGSM, one member of the Dulais group admitted that they were ‘expecting a bunch of weirdos’. Another woman commented that ‘It’s had to take the strike for us to get friendlier with lesbian and gay men’. Such apprehension was mutual; a correspondent of Capital Gay claimed that the mining communities ‘encapsulate all the sexist, patriarchal and anti-gay views which threaten us’. However, experiences reported by LGSM visitors challenged such views. Ashton recalled being overwhelmed with the open-mindedness of the miners; ‘I had this semi-antagonistic attitude towards the organised labour movement, trade unions, macho bully boys, and it just opens your eyes to the attitudes that they had, and the strike up to that stage had kindled in people.’

Members of LGSM returned to Dulais on February 15, 1985 and held sponsored bike rides from London to Dulais during Easter 1985. These continuing visits maintained feelings of solidarity and laid the ground work for the appearance of Blaenant Lodge, a group of approximately 80 miners and sympathisers from South Wales who marched with LGSM at Gay Pride in London in July 1985. Writing to Blaenant Lodge following the march, Jackson enthused; ‘Your presence on Saturday stood out like granite pillars of our mutual trust, solidarity, and hope for the future.’ The words of the NUM’s note, sent to the fringe meeting of gays and lesbians at the 1984 Labour Conference, sum up the sentiments from the other side: ‘Support civil liberties...Our struggle is yours.’

The presentation of a resolution to the British Labour Party Annual Conference that year which committed the Labour Party to gay rights was made. The passing of gay rights resolutions showed that there was a place in the Labour movement for homosexuals. The growing acceptance of gay issues in the Labour movement would play a role in the passing of progressive legislation by following Labour governments on the age of consent, civil partnerships, and the repeal of Section 28 in November 2003.

By the time that the group was wound up in July 1986, LGSM had gathered approximately 22,000 pounds for the mining community at Dulais, collected through street collections, jumble sales and events such as the ‘Pits and Perverts’ gig, named after a derogatory slogan used by The Sun newspaper.


The Importance of Solidarity

Notions of community over class were reinforced by an opinion piece written by LGSM for City Limits. They claimed that; ‘Our support for the strike arises not purely from the fact that we are gay, but because we are members of the same class’. Ashton made a similar point in a separate interview where he argued for the need to ‘organise with my own kind of people. That’s not necessarily lesbians and gay men – that’s working class people’.

The Gay Liberation Foundation marched with the Trade Union Council against Edward Heath in 1971. This kind of cross over support was continued by organisations like LGSM in the 1980s. This idea is summarised by Lucy Robinson, who argues that examples set by LGSM ‘meant that gender and sexuality had fed into a cross-class comradery even if the strike had failed.’


A Brighter Future

In a recent correspondence of mine with LGSM member Jonathan Blake, Blake emphasised the importance of changing attitudes that have occurred since minority movements such as LGSM were formed. Besides referring to the NUM’s contribution to Labour’s inclusion of gay rights in their manifesto in 1985, Blake noted the significance of the movement, and specifically the film Pride, ‘in inspiring youth folk’. This feeling seemed to take effect in South Wales as early as the summer of 1985, when students from University College Cardiff held the city’s first Gay Pride march. The march provided visible evidence of a change in Welsh attitudes towards sexual minorities. The South Wales Echo declared the Welsh capital ‘a place where you can be glad to be gay.’

From the outset of the campaign, Ashton and Jackson emphasised the need for minorities to refrain from hiding, and encouraged gay people and miners to embrace their label. During the meeting with Donovan in October 1984, Jackson said ‘We call ourselves LGSM to emphasise our label - I hope this can encourage people in places like Dulais to say ‘I’m gay and I’m proud’. This self-awareness partly reflected a belief in the importance of the organisation concerning sexual history, but also fitted into wider processes of the 1980s. There was an increasing appreciation arising of migrant histories, signalled by the first Black History Month in 1987. Whilst it cannot be suggested that this was a consequence of the movement, it can be interpreted that minority movements like LGSM contributed to maintaining alternative histories.


Reason for Celebration

Whilst LGSM and the miners ultimately failed in their immediate aims to prevent collieries closing and overthrow the Thatcher government, the legacy that remains is worth salvaging. Whilst gay activists had worn badges for other campaigns, like the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, Troops Out and Rock Against Racism, this time the gesture was reciprocated. A pamphlet published by the Labour Campaign for homosexual rights in 2006 noted support for the miners ‘including hundreds of lesbians and gay men working through support groups’ and added; ‘the already deepening union backing for lesbian and gay equality has been reinforced by the experience of the miners’ strike.’ Ideas of solidarity were emphasised by Mary Joannou, who suggested that ‘it strongly conveys what solidarity can feel like to those who have been taught, by the legacy of Thatcherism, that all that matters is the individual.’ Mark Steel summed up the legacy well; ‘Defeat did not mean that we’d be better off if it never happened. Apart from anything else, it did so much to bring together disparate groups in British society, justified when a miners’ brass band was chosen to lead a Gay Pride march.’ Steel was right; with courage, dedication, and solidarity, LGSM serve as a reminder that a minority can inspire a majority.


What do you think of the arguments in this article? Let us know below…


Audio recording of meeting between some members of LGSM and Dulais miners (16/9/84).

‘All Out! Dancing in Dulais’, dir. by Jeff Cole (1986).

Daryl Leeworthy, ‘For our common cause: Sexuality and left politics in South Wales, 1967-85’, Contemporary British History, (2015), 260-280).

Diarmaid Kelliher; ‘Solidarity and Sexuality: Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners, 1984-85’, History Workshop, (2014), 240-262.

Edward Townsend, ‘Thatcher ‘no surrender’ message on miners.’ Times (London), 18 October 1984: 1.

Julian Haviland, Anthony Bevins, and Richard Evans. ‘Thatcher endorses police conduct in miners' dispute.’ Times (London), 10 Apr. 1984: 1.

Mary Joannou, ‘The Miners’ Strike and Me: A Very Personal Response to Pride’, Contemporary British History, (2016), 107-113.

Personal correspondence with Jonathan Blake (10/03/2017).

Todd, Selina, The People: The Rise and Fall of the Working Class (London: John Murray Publishers, 2014). 

The Holocaust has left its mark as one of the darkest moments in history. However, even during the darkest of times, there was still love. Here, Casey Titus tells us about a love story between a Nazi concentration camp prisoner and an SS Guard at Auschwitz.

Helena Citronova (left) and Franz Wunsch (right) fell in love at Auschwitz.

Helena Citronova (left) and Franz Wunsch (right) fell in love at Auschwitz.

In September 1935, the Reichstag (the parliament during the Third Reich) voted unanimously to for the passing of the Law for the Protection of German Blood and German Honor, otherwise known as the Nuremberg Laws that not only excluded German Jews from Reich citizenship but from marrying or having sexual relations with people of “German or related blood.”

Persons accused of having sexual relations with non-Aryans faced public humiliation and those convicted were “typically sentenced to prison terms, and (subsequent to 8 March 1938) upon completing their sentences were re-arrested by the Gestapo and sent to Nazi concentration camps.”

Even with the punishments for forbidden affection severe, especially for Nazi soldiers, that was not enough to stop Auschwitz SS officer Franz Wunsch from falling in love with a Jewish Slovakian prisoner named Helena Citronova. Across the world, Auschwitz concentration camp has become a symbol of genocide, terror, war, and the Holocaust.

However, after 70 years, PBS in America as well as an Israeli television brought to life the forbidden romance story between an SS guard and a Jewish prisoner at Auschwitz that highlighted the complexity of human relationships in the most horrifying of world events.

In 1942, Franz Wunsch was serving as a 20-year old SS guard in charge of the gas chambers of Auschwitz. On his birthday, March 21, his Nazi comrades brought in a Jewish girl, Helena Citronova, to sing him birthday songs. Helena was imprisoned at Auschwitz from Slovakia and was forced to sort all of the incoming prisoners’ belongings before they were shipped to Berlin to fuel the Nazi war efforts.

Helena and her sister Rozinka had both been sentenced to die in the gas chambers earlier that very day so Helena attempted to sing the very best she could, melting the heart of the SS guard. When Wunsch realized she wouldn’t be alive the next day, he hurried and managed to postpone the execution of both sisters.

Helena would say years later in Israel, “When he came into the barracks where I was working, he threw me that note. I destroyed it right there and then, but I did see the word "love" — "I fell in love with you". I thought I'd rather be dead than be involved with an SS man. For a long time afterwards there was just hatred. I couldn't even look at him.”

Over time, though unclear of exactly when, Helena succumbed to her feelings for Franz, especially after her SS devotee rushed to prevent her sister and her sister’s children from being sent to the gas chambers.

“'So he said to me, "Tell me quickly what your sister's name is before I'm too late." So I said, "You won't be able to. She came with two little children." Helena later recalled.

'He replied, "Children, that's different. Children can't live here." So he ran to the crematorium and found my sister.'

Helena admitted she had slept with her rescuer and at times had even forgotten who he was and came to terms with the romance. Wunsch would provide Helena with food, clothing, and protection. Though their relationship would not develop any further, Helena would repay him years later for risking his life to protect a Jewish prisoner on the pain of death.

When the war ended, the SS guards fled the Allied advance, even destroying parts of the concentration camps to cover their war crimes. Helena and her sister Rozinka attempted to return home with other displaced people through an Eastern Europe that contained violent and raping Soviet soldiers. Both sisters avoided being raped when Rozinka claimed to be Helena’s mother and defended her. Following the founding of Israel in 1948, Helena moved there while Franz returned to Austria.

Thirty years following Nazi Germany’s defeat and the end of World War II, in 1972, Wunsch was put on trial in Vienna, accused of being cruel towards prisoners by beating men and women alike and operated at the gas chambers to insert the lethal gas. Testimonies include camp survivors describing Wunsch as a “natural Jew hater” and sometimes participated in the selection of inmates all over occupied Europe to live or die. With more than enough evidence for the guilty verdict, life imprisonment and death most likely would have awaited him.

In a twist of events, Helena and her sister defended Wunsch at his trial. Even with ‘an overwhelming evidence of guilt’ as the judge commented in Wunsch’s participation in the Nazi’s largest concentration camp’s mass murder, Wunsch was acquitted of all charges due to the statute of limitations over war crimes in Austria.

“Desire changed my brutal behavior,” Wunsch said. “I fell in love with Helena Citronova and that changed me. I changed into another person because of her influence.”


Citronova died in 2005. Wunsch died in 2009.


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AuthorGeorge Levrier-Jones

Ivar the Boneless, youngest son of Ragnar Lothbrok and Princess Aslaug, was a powerful Viking leader.  He was considered to be the wisest, strongest and most skillful of warriors; in fact, despite an inability to walk, he led raiding conquests across Northern Europe… The mind of Ivar was considered a much stronger weapon than those swords and shields carried by other Vikings. Bakhtawar Jamil explains.

A 12th-century illustration depicting Danes invading England.

A 12th-century illustration depicting Danes invading England.

The saga behind his name

The origin of the nickname ‘boneless’ is uncertain and historians have long been arguing over what it actually means. The Danish historian Knud Seedorf enlivened this debate with the convincing theory that the signs and symptoms of Ivar’s condition, as described in the Scandinavian sagas, are consistent with ‘brittle bone disease’. The disease is a dominant congenital disorder that causes the bones to become extremely fragile and is most frequently caused by a defect in the gene that produces collagen, an important building block of bone. Knud Seedorf wrote of his theory:

Of historical personages the author knows of only one of whom we have a vague suspicion that he (Ivar) suffered from osteogenesis imperfecta. He is reported to have had legs as soft as cartilage (lacking bones), so that he was unable to walk and had to be carried about on a shield. There are less extreme forms of this disease where the person affected can lack use of their legs, but be otherwise normal, as was probably the case for Ivar the Boneless. (1)


Another theory by Celtic lecturer Clare Downham from the University of Liverpool explains when translated from Latin, Ivar’s sobriquet could have been described as ‘despicable’ and not ‘boneless’ as the two Latin words are very similar. But, another theory suggests that the epithet is interpreted as ‘the hated’, which when translated into Latin would mean ‘exosus’. When this word is further simplified syllable by syllable it is deciphered as ‘ex’ meaning without and ‘os’ meaning bone, thus ‘without bones’.

However, more prosaic explanations that account for Ivar's nickname can be found in Nordic legends and traditions. To further emphasize, some traditions narrate that the Vikings were well-known in giving ironic names to their warriors. In much the same way as we may, cynically, would call a short man ‘gigantic’ or a tall man ‘tiny’, a larger than average person - say seven-feet with a huge bone structure - might be called ‘boneless’. (2)

A mid-twelfth-century poem called Hattalykill explains he was actually without bones and it also narrates that Ivar was a skilled warrior with a physical form as flexible as a snake. (3) Keeping these two interpretations of Hattalykill in mind, one can say Ivar gave the impression that he lacked bones. Yet according to sources Ivar died childless, so perhaps he was impotent — that is, unable to have an erection — therefore, ‘boneless.’ According to a different legend, it was believed that Ivar’s epithet was the result of a curse foreseen by his mother who had the power of foresight. It is written that Aslaug warned Ragnar to wait three days before consummating their marriage, disclosing that the gods would be displeased and their child born would be cursed: 

Three nights together, but yet apart,

Shall we bide, nor worship the gods as yet

From my son this would save a lasting harm,

For boneless is he thou wouldst now beget (4)


Ragnar refused to believe in the curse and immediately made love to his new wife; hence, Ivar was born bearing legs without a bone structure. Ivar grew up unable to walk and had to be carried everywhere on poles or on the back of a shield. Consequently, during his childhood he was often ridiculed by his own brothers for his disability. His siblings were Bjorn, Halfdan, Ubba, Hvitserk and Siggurd. Aslaug was known to be over protective of him while Ragnar always saw the true warrior that Ivar was. Ragnar favored him just as he did his other sons, and he always believed that Ivar’s greatest weakness could be turned into his greatest strength. The lore narrates his crippled condition, but in battle Ivar was cunning and strategic – in a way unlike any other Viking of his era.

A berserker among Vikings

Berserkers were Viking warriors who went into a state of fury when they fought and Ivar was known for transforming into such a state. One could argue that his rage originated from his childhood when people mocked him for his crippled body, and he would respond with sheer anger and violence.
Norse sources mention Ivar being carried on a shield by his army, leading to speculation that he was lame. This however is unlikely considering Ivar was a renowned warrior; other sources from the period mention chieftains being ceremonially borne on the shields of enemies following victory. (5)

In 865 AD the mighty Viking army appeared out of the mists of the North Sea from Scandinavia and landed on the East Anglian coast in England. Their aim was nothing less than the total conquest of Anglo-Saxon England and the British Isles. Numbering some 10,000 to 15,000 men the Great Heathen Army was the largest invasion force since Roman Legions had landed on the shores of Britannia back in 43 AD. During a fourteen year reign of terror they left a brutal trail of destruction in their wake. At its head the army was led by the vengeful sons of Viking adventurer, Ragnar Lothbrok. The mastermind behind the invasion became one of the most feared and cruel generals of the Viking age - none other than Ivar. His stature was such that he dwarfed all his contemporaries and in battle he was always in the vanguard. So strong were his arms that the bow and arrows he used in battle had to be made heavier and more durable than those of his companions. His shadow cast a dark cloud over the British Isles that ultimately led to the unification and creation of the state of England. The Norsemen were well aware of the civil war that had weakened the great northern kingdom in England and as warriors they were extremely opportunistic.

While the East Anglians made peace with the invaders and provided them with horses, the Norse consolidated their forces as they came in and wintered in East Anglia. To protect their realm and as an opportunity to see their rivals in Northumbria attacked, East Anglia made a peace agreement with the Norse army. They allowed the Norsemen to use their land to prepare their army and provided them with horses. The Norsemen, then, used it as a staging point for their invasion into Northumbria. (6)

The legend in the sagas of Ragnar claims the attention towards England by Ivar was because of the death of his father, who was killed by King Aelle of Northumbria. During a raid Ragnar was taken prisoner and thrown into a snake pit and in his dying breath, the Viking declared ‘the little pigs would grunt now if they knew how it fares with the old boar’. (7) His words prophesied the violent revenge that would be exacted by his children. Bloody retribution was, indeed, forthcoming.

On March 21, 867 the Vikings stormed the city walls of York and gained entry to the city. They then slaughtered those in the city and routed those who were outside. Upon capture, King Aelle was subjected to the agonizing death of the Blood Eagle, a gruesome Viking method of torture; mentioned in the Nordic sagas. (8) It was performed by breaking his ribs, so they resembled blood-stained wings and pulled the lungs out through his back. Salt was sprinkled in the wounds and in the end the Northumbrian king suffered till his dying breath. What was left of the Northumbrian court fled north, and Ivar installed Egbert as the puppet king.


Marching forward

The Great Heathen Army progressed into Mercia fixing their winter-quarters at Nottingham. Burgred, the King of Mercia, sought aid from Ethelred the King ofWessex and his brother Alfred, who had led an army into Mercia and besieged Nottingham. However the Vikings, who were heavily outnumbered, refused to fight. Henry of Huntingdon, wrote almost 250 years later regarding the situation at Nottingham:

Ivar then, seeing that the whole force of England was gathered, and that his host was the weaker, and was there shut in, betook himself to smooth words — cunning fox that he was — and won peace and troth from the English. Then he went back to York and abode there one year with all cruelty. (9)

The Mercians settled on paying the Vikings off, who agreed to leave and returned to Northumbria in the autumn of 868. They spent the winter in York and then returned to East Anglia. When King Edmund of East Anglia led resistance against the Norse he was captured and brutally executed in the village of Hoxne. Viking religious beliefs encouraged cruelty towards the followers of the 'White Christ' who they saw as cowards. King Edmund bravely refused to become the vassal of pagans or renounce his religion, declaring that his religion was dearer to him than his life. He was beaten with clubs as he called upon the name of Jesus, and then tied to a tree where the Vikings shot arrows into him until he died. It is narrated in the 10th-century Passio Sancti Eadmundi that Edmund’s body was thoroughly scourged and then used for target practice by Danish archers ‘until he was all covered with their missiles as with bristles of a hedgehog’. (10)

The warriors left Edmund's corpse unburied and his head was thrown into deep brambles. Monasteries were razed to the ground, monks slaughtered and plundering took place on a massive scale. 


Fury from within

One of the reasons for Ivar’s infamous status is the brutal way in which he led his attacks. He is described by many as a merciless, cruel and unconquerable leader with his army using brutality to force their victims into submission. The religion of the Anglo-Saxons was a complete culture clash with that of the Vikings too. The belief in ideas such as ‘help for one’s neighbor’ contrasted with the worship of a war god. For the Vikings, the sacrificing of prisoners was needed to please their god. This can be seen when looking at Ivar’s revenge on King Aelle. However, it is not just the barbarity for which Ivar is known. Many of his battles used innovative strategies that did not rely on sheer force. In many instances, Ivar is said to have employed concepts such as using half of his armed forces in upfront battle. To the competitors, this would make the army seem small - an easy defeat. But, little did they know that the other half of the soldiery would sneak up and attack them from behind. (11) Historians have contrasting views about whether Ivar’s tactics should be seen as a good reason for him becoming a commander of the Viking army because many believed his disability rendered him unable to do so. What can be concluded, however, is that Ivar the Boneless was indeed one of the greatest Viking warriors to have ever lived and whose tales are told to this day…


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1.     Knud Seedorf , Osteogenesis Imperfecta: A study of clinical features and heredity based on 55 Danish families.

2.     http://www.timelessmyths.com/norse/sagas.html

3.     http://shootingparrots.co.uk/2013/03/13/i-is-for-ivar-the-boneless

4.     https://www.timelessmyths.com/norse/volsunga.html

5.     Benjamin James Baillie,The Great Heathen Army: Ivar the Boneless and the Viking Invasion of Britain.

6.     Jan Kallberg , Leadership Principles of the Vikings

7.     Schlauch, The Saga of the Volsungs: The Saga of Ragnar Lodbrok together with the Lay of Kraka, 1978

8.     http://www.orkneyjar.com/history/saga.htm

9.     Huntingdon, The Chronicle of Henry of Huntingdon

10.  Hervey,  Corolla Sancti Eadmundi ‘The Garland of Saint Edmund, King and Martyr’, 1907

11.  Ferguson, The Hammer and the Cross: A New History of the Vikings. London, 2009

12.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ivar_the_Boneless

The death of the last “Old Bolshevik” General Secretary of the Soviet Union, Konstantin Chernenko, in March of 1985 gave way to the rise of the young, liberal, and ultimately final General Secretary of the USSR, Mikhail Gorbachev. But just over one year after Gorbachev became General Secretary the Chernobyl nuclear explosion took place. Here, Brenden Woldman argues that it was this explosion that was the most important element that led to the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.

Chernobyl. Last Day of Pripyat by Alexey Akindinov. Source: Alex Akindinov, available here.

Chernobyl. Last Day of Pripyat by Alexey Akindinov. Source: Alex Akindinov, available here.

Mikhail Gorbachev, newly crowned leader of the USSR in 1985, was a product of the communist system and a firm believer in Soviet ideology. Nevertheless, Gorbachev understood that the USSR was at a crossroads and liberal reforms were necessary for the survival of the Soviet empire.

Gorbachev thought that the enactment of glasnost (openness and a new era of honesty between the government and the people) and perestroika (restructuring of the Soviet economic and political system) would spark a golden age of Soviet ingenuity and would reignite the USSR as a super power. However, the USSR was not ripe for the backlash that would come with glasnost’s emphasis on openness. The reason for Gorbachev to double-down on glasnost was the failed cover-up that came from the Chernobyl disaster. Within a year of Gorbachev’s ascension to power, one of the greatest man-made environmental disasters the world had ever seen placed the Soviet Union in the global spotlight and showed the hypocrisy of the Soviet Union’s new “reformer”.


 The Blast

All was quiet on the morning of April 28, 1986 when Swedish monitoring stations showed an unnaturally sparked heightening of radioactive activity near northern Kiev at the Chernobyl nuclear electricity-generating plant.[1] The Soviet Union did little to confirm reports of the accident or the danger of it. Pravda, the official newspaper of the CPSU, did not report the accident until two weeks after it had occurred and Gorbachev himself did not publically acknowledge the disaster until May 14, nearly three weeks after the initial incident.[2] The reason for this silence was the attempted cover-up of the Chernobyl disaster by Gorbachev and the CPSU, even though the radioactive cloud released was ten times more hazardous than that of the radiation discharged by the nuclear bomb at Hiroshima.[3] However, those two weeks in which the Soviet Union tried to cover-up the severity of the accident showed the fragility and unwillingness of the USSR to implement the so-called media “openness” that was to come with Gorbachev’s glasnost.

The problems with the Chernobyl nuclear power plant were well documented before the accident. Government reports dating back to the initial building of the power plant in 1979 showed the brittleness of the structure with a KGB memorandum stating that the Chernobyl plant, “could lead to mishaps and accidents”.[4] The poor quality of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant was not shocking to those who had inspected the quality of the structures around the USSR. An accident involving one of the power plants was not a surprising revelation due to their poor quality. Nevertheless, in the early morning of April 26 the Chernobyl nuclear power plant erupted, causing the CPSU to begin plans for a cover-up.


The Failed Cover-Up

After the extinguishing of the fires and the securing of the scene, in depth urgent reports about the nature of the incident were sent to the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union.[5] When questioning began on the severity of Chernobyl from Europe and the west, the CPSU began to intensify their cover-up plan by sending statements to ambassadors of the Soviet Union throughout the globe. These statements explain that a minor accident had occurred at Chernobyl and that the level of contamination may have exceeded norms, but “not to such a degree that it requires special measures to protect the population” and that the USSR did not need foreign aid as “no foreign nationals in the Soviet Union (particularly specialists or tourists) have made application to relevant Soviet organizations in connection with the Chernobyl nuclear power plant accident”.[6]

However, readings from radioactive stations across Western Europe showed that the Chernobyl accident was far more severe than initially expected, as journalists, foreign and domestic, reported on the severity of the calamity after the USSR allowed press to come to the scene. As one Pravda journalist reported, the low quality standards, lack of safety equipment, lack of evacuation of public citizens, and the overall “silence of the leaders of the republic” proved the unwillingness of the CPSU to report on the severity of the Chernobyl calamity.[7] It became clear that Gorbachev and the CPSU attempted to downplay the disaster which occurred at Chernobyl. The result was not only an environmental disaster but a political one as well, as the Soviet citizenry doubted the claim that Gorbachev was to be a new and honest General Secretary.

For Gorbachev, the calamity at Chernobyl came from two fronts. The first was the physical, environmental destruction that had occurred and the cleanup that was going to take years and require a lot of money. Yet the second hurt Gorbachev the most, as the attempted cover-up hurt Gorbachev’s reputation as a reformer and the legitimacy of glasnost. It also did not help that this reinforced the view among some of the Soviet citizenry of the poor infrastructure within the USSR in comparison to the west, which sparked the fall of the “Soviet façade”.[8] The embarrassment that came from Chernobyl left Gorbachev more decisive in implementing glasnost rhetoric, but it was too late for many as Soviet citizens began questioning the validity of glasnost.[9]


Life After Chernobyl

Chernobyl was the perfect storm of all the problems that were to come with Gorbachev’s reforms. However, the Chernobyl accident occurred in 1986, five years before the Soviet collapse. In short, there were more trickle down effects to come from glasnost and perestroika. However, the Soviet government was uneasy about granting complete open expression for the first time in the USSR’s history. Yet the embarrassment that followed the Chernobyl accident led Gorbachev to become more decisive and hardheaded with his implementation of glasnost and perestroika.[10]

Open expression became a staple of glasnost. Individuals connected to media began showing the gritty, more realistic portrayal of Soviet life instead of the utopian society depicted in propaganda. Crime, child abuse, suicide, prostitution, homelessness, declining health standards, poverty, and corruption were detailed extensively.[11] TV exposé’s like the news program Fifth Wheel filmed and broadcast the luxurious homes of the party elite in comparison to the impoverished living conditions of the working-class.[12] Soviet history was rewritten to show for the first time that Stalin was a mass murderer who killed millions of innocents and former General Secretary Leonid Brezhnev lived an extravagant, corrupt, and materialistic life. Glasnost opened up a variety of new problems that angered and humiliated many of the Soviet citizenry. The dissolving of the “Soviet façade” intensified.

Soviet essayist Alexander Tsipko summed up the feelings that many citizens felt during the era. True, glasnost created more opportunities for freedom of speech and of the press, but the revelations that came with glasnost on Soviet history completely demoralized the Soviet populace. Tsipko wrote the following to define the shocking feeling that many Soviet citizens had from glasnost’s “therapy by truth”:

No people in the history of mankind was ever enslaved by myths as our people was in the 20th century… We thought that building communism in the USSR was the greatest deed of our people, but we were purposefully engaging in self-destruction…We thought that our national industry, organized like one big factory…was the ultimate achievement of human wisdom, but it all turned out to be an economic absurdity which enslaved the economic and spiritual energies of…Russia.[13]


This powerful sentiment mirrored the feelings to the majority of Soviet citizenry. The heartbreak felt by Tsipko echoed throughout the Soviet Union, as it seemed that everything that Soviet citizens had learned and believed in were all lies fabricated by the CPSU. The feeling of confusion and loss of the Soviet ideology was quickly replaced by open protest and rage against the system that many Soviets had spent their entire lives trusting. Consequently, glasnost allowed open expression of anti-communist and anti-Soviet views that ultimately gained momentum as organized social movements led to public protest against the CPSU.[14] Between the Chernobyl meltdown and the collapse of the USSR was five years of brutal honesty that destroyed many Soviet citizens’ belief in the Soviet system. What sparked this doubt toward the system and the intensification of glasnost was Chernobyl.  


Gorbachev in Retrospect

In a 2006 interview Gorbachev saw Chernobyl as the real reason the Soviet Union collapsed. Chernobyl showed the hypocrisy of glasnost, the CPSU’s unwillingness to be honest with the Soviet people, the economic and environmental devastation on the USSR, and the embarrassment of admitting a cover-up. Combined, they proved to the Soviet people that Gorbachev was not the reformer he claimed to be. Gorbachev states, “The nuclear meltdown at Chernobyl 20 years ago this month, even more than my launch of perestroika, was perhaps the real cause of the collapse of the Soviet Union five years later”.[15] Chernobyl was a moment that represented all the problems and hypocrisies that were to come with Gorbachev’s reforms. Yet this loosening of media relations led to more complications than the Soviet Union could swallow, as the policy of glasnost became more of a problem than a solution. Without the intensification of glasnost the Soviet Union could have survived longer than its collapse in 1991. However, if it was not for the Chernobyl meltdown and its failed cover-up, Gorbachev would not have felt obligated to intensify his policy of glasnost.


Why do you think the Soviet Union collapsed? Let us know below…



[1] Diane Koenker and Ronald D. Bachman, Revelations from the Russian Archives: Documents in English Translation, 499.

[2] Ibid. 499.

[3] Ibid. 499.

[4] Yuri Andropov. “KGB memorandum from Andropov to the Central Committee, February 21, 1979, on construction flaws at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant”, in Revelations from the Russian Archives: Documents in English Translation, 501.

[5] The Communist Party of the Soviet Union, “Urgent report on the Chernobyl accident from the first deputy minister of energy and electrification, April 26, 1986” in Revelations from the Russian Archives: Documents in English Translation, 501.

[6] The Communist Party of the Soviet Union, “Resolution of the Central Committee, April 29, 1986, on additional measures to be taken concerning the damage caused by the Chernobyl accident” & “Central Committee resolution of April 30, 1986, concerning progress in repairing damage caused by the Chernobyl accident” in Revelations from the Russian Archives: Documents in English Translation, 505-508.

[7] Vladimir Gubarev. “Report by Pravda journalist Gubarev on his observations at the site, May 22, 1986” in Revelations from the Russian Archives: Documents in English Translation, 509-511.

[8] Malia, The Soviet Tragedy: A History of Socialism in Russia, 1917-1991, 421.

[9] Strayer, Why Did the Soviet Union Collapse?: Understanding Historical Change, 99.

[10] Ibid. 99.

[11] Ibid. 100.

[12] Ibid. 100.

[13] Alexander Tsipko. “Novy Mir 4”, in Why Did the Soviet Union Collapse?: Understanding Historical Change, 105.

[14] Ibid 105.

[15] Green Road Journal Writing Staff, "Gorbachev; Chernobyl Nuclear Accident Was Real Cause Of The Collapse of Soviet Union, But It Took 20 Years For The Truth To Come Out, Just Like TMI And Fukushima, Denial Plus Cover Up Is The Norm," A Green Road Journal, April 15, 2016, , accessed October 24, 2016, http://www.agreenroadjournal.com/2012/12/gorbachev-chernobyl-nuclear-accident.html.

The American Revolutionary War saw thirteen mere colonies declare themselves independent from one of world history’s most powerful empires, the British Empire. Even more revolutionary were the remarkable men that fostered the Revolutionary War - from aristocratic men and lawyers to silversmiths such as Paul Revere and self-made statesmen like Benjamin Franklin and Alexander Hamilton. Yet, even these exceptional men could not have officially declared the colonies “free and independent states” without the rally of ordinary men, women, and yes, children. Casey Titus explains.

A statue of Sybil Ludington in Carmel, New York.

A statue of Sybil Ludington in Carmel, New York.

Nicknamed the “Female Paul Revere,” Sybil Ludington was only sixteen years of age when she embarked on horse through the night in order to warn Patriot militia of the approaching British Army. Sybil was born in 1761 in Fredericksburg, (now called Ludingtonville) New York. She was the eldest of twelve children and the daughter of Colonel Henry Ludington who had fought in the French and Indian War. Loyal to the British crown until 1773, Colonel Ludington volunteered to lead their local militia in Duchess County, New York, during the Revolutionary War. His area of command was along a vulnerable route between Connecticut and the coast of Long Island Sound that British troops could easily take.

On the night of April 26, 1777, two years after the famous Midnight Ride, barely 16-year old Sybil Ludington was putting her younger siblings to bed when a horseman reached the Ludington residence with news that a nearby town, Danbury, Connecticut, was attacked by British forces. Danbury at the time contained a supply depot for the Continental Army. Colonel Ludington’s regiment was disbanded and returned to their homes, the horseman was exhausted, and there was no neighbor to contact. Sybil then volunteered to ride through the countryside and alert the disbanded militia.


Night Ride

Her night-long ride began at 9 PM. Sybil rode through the stormy night on roads roamed by outlaws, British soldiers, and loyalists. She rode through the towns of Kent, Mahopac, and Stormville bringing her through both Putnam and Dutchess Counties in New York, her only defense being her horse Star and a stick she carried throughout her ride. Some historians believe that along Ludington’s ride, a man offered to travel with her but instead, she turned him away to warn a town called Brewster of the impending British forces. One account retells that Ludington defended herself against an outlaw that attempted to accost her. Sybil Ludington rode a total of 40 miles (twenty miles more than Paul Revere’s ride) and warned the approximately 400 militiamen who gathered at the Ludington residence to fight the British under her father’s command. Her exact words were, “The British are burning Danbury. Muster at Ludington’s at daybreak!”

Meanwhile, the militia captain of the British forces that attacked Danbury, William Tryon, decided to burn Danbury, capture its supplies, and withdraw towards Long Island Sound. Although the militia arrived too late to defend Danbury, they were able to force the British to retreat in what became known as the Battle of Ridgefield, making them pay dearly for their destruction of Danbury. Sybil returned to her home at dawn the next day, soaked with rain and exhausted.

For her heroic acts, Sybil received personal thanks from General George Washington of the Continental Army and General Rochambeau, the French commander fighting alongside the patriots. Future Secretary of the Treasury, Alexander Hamilton, wrote to Colonel Ludington: “I congratulate you on the Danbury expedition. The stores destroyed have been purchased at a pretty high price to the enemy.” Her father, Colonel Ludington’s memoir claims:

One who even now rides from Carmel to Cold Spring will find rugged and dangerous roads, with lonely stretches. Imagination only can picture what it was a century and a quarter ago, on a dark night, with reckless bands of “Cowboys” and “Skinners” abroad in the land. But the child performed her task, clinging to a man’s saddle, and guiding her steed with only a hempen halter, as she rode through the night, bearing the news of the sack of Danbury. There is no extravagance in comparing her ride to that of Paul Revere and its midnight message. Nor was her errand less efficient than his. By daybreak, thanks to her daring, nearly the whole regiment was mustered before her father’s house at Fredericksburg.


Following the end of the Revolutionary War, Sybil Ludington married a farmer and innkeeper, Edmond Ogden at the age of the twenty-three and had one son named Henry, presumably after her father. She died on February 26, 1839 in Catskill, New York. She was buried near her father in the Patterson Presbyterian Cemetery in Patterson, New York.

Following her death and the revelation of her little known heroic ride in 1907, several commemorations were made in her honor. In 1912, a poem by Fred C. Warner, On an April Night 1777, narrated her journey using the form and style of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s famous Midnight Ride of Paul Revere (1863). In the 1930s the New York State Education Department posted historical-marker signs along her probable route and her home site. In 1940, a statue of her and her horse, Star, was erected by Anna Hyatt Huntington and placed on Gleneida Avenue in Carmel, New York. In 1975, Ludington became the thirty-fifth woman to be honored on a United States postal stamp.

A plaque underneath her statue in New York reads:

Sybil Ludington – Revolutionary War Heroine, April 26, 1777. Called out the volunteer militia by riding through the night, alone, on horseback, at the age of 16, alerting the countryside to the burning of Danbury, Conn, by the British.


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Disastrous warfare, lethal weaponry, brave soldiers, French beaches; these are perhaps just a handful of things that come to mind when one thinks about the Second World War - and rightly so. Since the Armistice of the War on August 14, 1945, we have repeatedly paid homage to a generation of predominantly young male soldiers that rescued Europe from Hitler’s fascist clutches. The following article will attempt to uncover the tragically short but eventful life of an altogether different war-hero (but a hero nonetheless), the man that Marvin Minsky called ‘the key-figure of our century’; Alan Mathison Turing. Analysis of Turing has tended to focus on his scientific advances and the role of the code-breakers at Bletchley Park in hastening the end of the war. Yet Bletchley stands as an archetype for a more undervalued aspect of British life: eccentricity. Jon Hill explains.

Alan Turing.

Alan Turing.

Early Life

Born in London on June 23, 1912, Turing spent much of his childhood under the care of an old army couple whilst his parents spent most of their time in India due to his father’s work with the civil service. At school, he was never one to follow strict principles, spending much of his time in advanced mathematics to the neglect of his work. Turing’s school head teacher ironically claimed ‘if he is to stay here he must aim at becoming educated’. According to Turing’s biographer Andrew Hodges, his academic life changed when he met Christopher Morecambe, a future love interest who helped him become more communicative with his peers and more focused on his studies. Following Morecambe’s early death, Hodges suggests that Turing became even more determined to focus his analysis into his notorious machines. Before he left school, he had rather unintentionally won the respect of his peers for his own peculiar methods.

In 1931, he entered Kings College, Cambridge, as a mathematical scholar, where he enjoyed a more welcoming atmosphere, and was awarded a fellowship at 22.


Making of the Digital Computer

Turing made his most significant contribution to the age of computers in 1935, when he began his investigation into mathematical logic that would lead to the creation of the ‘Turing Machine’. His paper ‘An Application to the Entscheidungsproblem (decision problem)’ spawned the idea that a machine could be used to compute anything that a human mind could. In effect, Turing had created the first modern day computer, revolutionizing human activity in the process; every keyboard stroke you make owes something to Turing’s work.

The ‘Turing Machine’ was subsequently used by engineers at the University of Manchester to build the world’s first working digital computer in June 1948. For his work in Computer Science, the ‘Turing Award’ was established in 1966 - the highest accolade in the computing industry.


Wartime Work

In 1939, Turing was headhunted by the government to head the Bletchley Park cipher-breaking mission to crack Nazi encryption. Then, working day and night, Turing and his team oversaw the creation of the ‘bombes’ – the machine built to crack the ‘Enigma code’ in order to enable the government to read German naval signals. Every German U-boat carried an Enigma machine to receive operational orders. To stop them, Enigma had to be broken. This quiet mathematician’s code-breaking endeavors were quite literally a matter of life or death for millions. By 1941 the code had been cracked, thanks, in large part, to this quiet, unassuming, gay man, who wore a gas mask for his allergies, and chained his teacup to a radiator to ensure its safe-keeping.

For his wartime services he was awarded an O.B.E by King George VI in 1946. According to Churchill, Turing made ‘the single greatest contribution to the Allied forces victory in the Second World War.’

It is hard to imagine that such a peculiar group would be amassed by the British government today. Yet the undeniable eccentricity at Bletchley was key to its success. The mission brought together a distinctive cocktail of mathematicians, linguists, cryptanalysts, crossword geeks and other boffins, but left alone in a space to flourish, they experimented their way to greatness.


Betrayal and Death

Although Turing enjoyed popularity in his private life and at Walton Athletics Club (where he was very successful and almost qualified for the 1948 Olympics), the eccentric genius which made him a wartime hero was not as appreciated in peacetime. In 1952, when reporting a burglary to the police, he naively admitted to a relationship with a man. He was subsequently arrested for ‘gross indecency with males’, one of 1,600 men who had been convicted in 1952 alone. Instead of a prison sentence, Turing was ordered to undergo psychoanalysis and a year’s treatment of estrogen injections.

Turing’s homosexuality was not completely secret. Many of his friends and peers at Bletchley and Cambridge endeavored to keep his relations covert, which, according to I.J Good, was just as important to the war effort as the code-cracking mission itself; ‘if the security people had known he may well have been fired and we would have lost the war.’

On June 7, 1954, Turing was found dead at his home, with a cyanide poisoned apple confirmed to be the cause of death. The investigation stated it to be a suicide, although many Turing experts have ruled it to be an accident. With no suicide notes, no prior symptoms of depression, his regular trips abroad, and his knowledge of British intelligence, some have even suggested that he was deemed too much of a national security risk and was subsequently murdered with the knowledge of the government.



It seems to me that Turing’s life (and death) is a reminder of much that was terrible about the twentieth century. His genius was suppressed by an embarrassing education system; he was used by the government to make one of the largest contributions to human survival in recent history, before being swiftly sidelined while lesser scientists took his work onto ‘the next level’; he was not only persecuted but tortured for his homosexuality and was allegedly condemned as a ‘risk’.

Bletchley Park now stands as not only a code-breaking museum, but also for the triumph of the outsider. Turing’s posthumous pardon in 2013 stands as a beacon of hope for a suppressed generation of gay people, made to suffer for the prejudices of others.

In his 1937 paper on computer machines, Turing stated ‘the human memory is necessarily limited.’ Turing’s legacy stands as a reminder that one should not allow their memory to become limited. The age of tolerance should remember Turing as a necessary sacrifice made by a man far ahead of his time. And for that, he deserves to be considered as one of the greatest men in human history.  


Do you agree with the author that Alan Turing was one of the greatest men in human history? Let us know below…


Ben Macintyre, ‘Bletchley Park: a fitting memorial to our enigmatic nature.’ Times (London, England), 22 August 2008.

Ben Macintyre, ‘The genius Britain betrayed.’ Times (London, England), 14 July 2006.

‘Codebreaker’, directed by Clare Beavan and Nic Stacey (2011).

M.H.A. Newman, ‘Alan Mathison Turing, 1912-1954.’ Royal Society, vol 1 (1955), pp. 253-263.

Richard Morrison, ‘The war’s forgotten hero.’ Times (London, England), 22 August 2008. 

There were incidents all over the divided United States in the years before the American Civil War. And a violent incident even took place in the US Congress as the battle lines between north and south, and those who opposed slavery and those who supported it were drawn…

On May 22, 1856, Republican Senator Charles Sumner from Massachusetts exited the Senate Chamber covered in his own blood. Unconscious and with his skull exposed, Sumner was carried away from the chamber. Standing in the middle of the chamber was the calm and collected Preston Brooks, a Democratic Representative from South Carolina. In his hand Brooks held a gutta-percha cane with a gold head and coated with the blood of Senator Sumner. Brenden Woldman explains.

A lithograph cartoon depicting the incident.

A lithograph cartoon depicting the incident.

An 1873 portrait of Charles Sumner.

An 1873 portrait of Charles Sumner.

Preston Brooks, circa 1857.

Preston Brooks, circa 1857.

The event[1],  which became known as “The Caning of Charles Sumner”, did not just represent the personal vendettas between two men who had contrasting political views. The assault became a symbol of the ever growing divide between the anti-slave North and the pro-slave South. Knowing this, the greatest representation of this pre-Civil War strain came from Preston Brooks’ actions on Charles Sumner.


A Personal and Political Vendetta

Senator Charles Sumner was elected to the Senate in 1851 and devoted his time in office as an anti-slave advocate and a fighter against “Slave Power”.[2] For Sumner, the idea of slave power was nothing more than a form of “tyranny” that had no place within the United States.[3] His anti-slave rhetoric did not wane throughout his years in office. The culmination of Sumner’s ideals came when he addressed the Senate on May 19-20, 1856.

In his speech entitled “The Crime Against Kansas”, Sumner criticized the Kansas-Nebraska Act (which allowed slavery to advance westward through popular vote) and argued for the immediate admission of Kansas as a free state. His reasoning was that the admittance of Kansas as a slave state was nothing more than, “the rape of a virgin Territory, compelling it to the hateful embrace of slavery”.[4] The anti-slave ideals that came from Sumner’s speech did not shock or surprise any of the senators within the chamber that day. However, what did cause the controversy that ultimately led to Representative Brooks’ fury were the personal attacks against two of his fellow Democrats.

Sumner blamed the Kansas-Nebraska Act and the subsequent violence to occur during “Bleeding Kansas” on two Democrats. The first to feel Sumner’s verbal wrath was Illinois Senator Stephen Douglas, the architect of the Kansas-Nebraska Act. In private, Sumner said Douglas was a “brutal, vulgar man without delicacy or scholarship [who] looks as if he needs clean linen and should be put under a shower bath”.[5] In public and on the chamber floor, Sumner looked directly into the eye of Senator Douglas and described him as a “noise-some, squat, and nameless animal… not a proper model for an American senator”.[6]

Sumner then turned his attention to South Carolinian Senator Andrew Butler. Ironically, Butler was one of the few senators who was not present on the day of Sumner’s speech.[7] Sumner assaulted Butler’s claim that he was a southern gentlemen and a “chivalrous knight”, as the belief that Butler was chivalrous was hypocritical in the eyes of Sumner because an honorable man would not support the institution of slavery.[8] Sumner charged Butler of choosing “a mistress… who, though ugly to others, is always lovely to him; though polluted in the sight of the world, is chaste in his sight—I mean the harlot, slavery”.[9] Sumner continued his accusations against the Senator from South Carolina as being one who supported “tyrannical sectionalism” and was “one of the maddest zealots”.[10] Furthermore, Sumner insulted Butler’s intelligence by stating, “[Butler] shows an incapacity of accuracy, whether in stating the Constitution or in stating the law, whether in the details of statistics or the diversions of scholarship. He cannot open his mouth, but out there flies a blunder”.[11] Sumner’s berating of both Douglas and Butler did not go unnoticed. For Preston Brooks, the actions of Charles Sumner crossed the gentlemanly lines on both a political and personal level.

Preston Brooks was elected to the House of Representatives in 1853 from South Carolina’s 4th District. Much like his fellow South Carolinians, Brooks was a Democrat who was also a passionate supporter of slavery and believed that any restriction on the expansion of slavery was an attack on southern society. Due to these beliefs, it would come to no surprise that Brooks was infuriated when he heard of Sumner’s “Crime Against Kansas” speech. For Brooks, Sumner had insulted both South Carolina, southern society, and the institution of slavery. On a personal level, however, Brooks had to defend Senator Butler, as they were both South Carolinians and second cousins.[12] By cause of his southern, political, and family pride, Preston Brooks demanded vengeance on Charles Sumner.


Slaughter in the Senate Hall

Brooks’ initial response was to challenge Sumner to a duel, the traditional form of combat between two gentlemen who had a disagreement. However, Sumner was no gentleman according to Brooks, as dueling was reserved for honorable gentlemen who held an equal social standing.[13] Due to Sumner’s foul and crude language, Brooks and fellow South Carolina Representative Laurence Keitt decided to treat the Senator from Massachusetts not as a gentlemen but instead like an animal. According to Brooks and Keitt, it was far more appropriate to publically humiliate Sumner by beating him with Brooks’ gold headed gutta-percha cane and treating him not as a man, but as a disobedient dog. [14]  

On May 22, 1856, three days after the “Crime Against Kansas” speech, Representative Preston Brooks awaited outside the Senate Chamber doors for Senator Charles Sumner. Shortly after the Senate had adjourned for the day, Brooks entered the chamber, where he approached Senator Sumner, who at that moment was attaching his postal markings to copies of his now famous speech.[15] Brooks calmly spoke to Senator Sumner and said, “Mr. Sumner, I have read your speech twice over carefully. It is a libel on South Carolina, and Mr. Butler, who is a relative of mine”.[16] As Sumner began to rise from his chair but before he could get a word out, Representative Preston Brooks from the 4th District of South Carolina took his gold-headed cane and struck Charles Sumner as hard as he could on the top of the Senator’s head.

The first strike left Sumner pinned to his senatorial desk and was beaten viciously until he was able to briefly break free and stumble up the aisle of the chamber floor.[17] Sumner recalled the force of that first blow years later, stating, “I no longer saw my assailant, nor any other person or object in the room… What I did afterwards was done almost unconsciously, acting under the instincts of self-defense”.[18] As he staggered his way toward the exit, Sumner, who was blinded by and choking on his own blood, collapsed due to his injuries only a few yards away from his desk.[19] It was there that Preston Brooks stood over Charles Sumner and repeatedly struck the Massachusetts Senator until his cane cracked in pieces and was covered in Sumner’s blood. Those who tried to defend Sumner were met by Representative Keitt, who held the crowd back at gunpoint and threatened to shoot anyone who tried to intervene.[20] Keitt was heard yelling, “Let them alone! Goddamn, let them alone”.[21] All in all, the “Caning of Charles Sumner” lasted only one minute, and by the recollection of Preston Brooks he struck Senator Sumner with, “about 30 first-rate stripes”.[22] However, the lasting legacy of the ordeal lived on in the American mindset.

 Covered in blood, Senator Sumner was carried away in an unconscious and unrecognizable state. Representative Brooks on the other hand coolly walked out of the chamber, his knuckles covered with Sumner’s blood and his face slightly cut due to the backlash caused by his cane. Due to the witnesses being stunned by the whole ordeal, Brooks calmly left the Senate chamber without being detained or charged with any crime. As Brooks saw it, he left the Senate chamber not as a criminal but as a defender of the southern way of life. On the other hand was the Senator from Massachusetts, who may have left the Senate chamber a bloodied, unconscious mess, but also left as a hero of the north and the anti-slave movement.


A Southern Defender and A Northern Martyr     

After the assault, Brooks did not walk away from it without being punished. Brooks was given a fine by the Baltimore district court and Senators demanded an investigation of the incident whilst members from the House demanded the removal of both Brooks and Keitt.[23] To avoid further prosecution, Preston Brooks resigned from his seat within the House. Fatefully, due to his soaring popularity within South Carolina and the South as a whole, Brooks was reelected to Congress during the special election that was supposed to replace his vacant seat.[24] After his first full term finished, Brooks was reelected in November of 1856, but suddenly died two months later on January 27, 1857, due to a respiratory infection.  

Sumner left the chamber on the brink of death but was proclaimed in the north as a martyr of the abolitionist cause. The serious nature of his injuries, which included head trauma and post-traumatic stress disorder, caused Sumner to take leave from his Senate duties for three years.[25] His slow recovery led to a triumphant return to the Senate in 1859, where he continued to be a leading voice in the Republican Party and the abolitionist movement. Sumner remained in the Senate until his death on March 11, 1874.


A Country’s Point of No Return

There are moments in history that are so dramatic they seem as if they were written by a Hollywood screenwriter. In this instance, two relatively unknown members of the House and Senate became legendary figures due to a personal dispute. However, interpreting the “Caning of Charles Sumner” as simply an interesting and gruesome moment between two men is unfair to the historical significance of the event. One must not forget that this whole dispute was sparked due to “Bleeding Kansas” and the debate about slavery within the United States. Brooks’ assault on Sumner was more than the defense of “southern and personal honor”. It became a defining moment of a nation reaching its breaking point. This breakdown in reason within what was considered the “world’s greatest deliberative body” became known as a symbolized moment of discontent between the north and the south. It should come as no surprise that only five years after Brooks’ attack on Charles Sumner that the Confederate States of America attacked Fort Sumter, sparking the Civil War.


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[1] Manisha Sinha, "The Caning of Charles Sumner: Slavery, Race, and Ideology in the Age of the Civil War," University of Pennsylvania Press 23, no. 2 (Summer 2003): 233, doi: Journal of the Early Republic.

[2] Anne-Marie Taylor, Young Charles Sumner: and the Legacy of the American Enlightenment, 1811-1851 (Amherst, MA: University of Massachusetts Press, 2001), 266.

[3] Ibid., 266.

[4] Charles Sumner, "The Crime Against Kansas. Speech of Hon. Charles Sumner, of Massachusetts. In the Senate of the United States, May 19, 1856," Archive.org, 2, accessed July 2017, https://archive.org/stream/crimeagainstkans00sumn#page/2/mode/2up/search/.

[5] ""The Crime Against Kansas"," U.S. Senate: "The Crime Against Kansas", April 17, 2017, 1, https://www.senate.gov/artandhistory/history/minute/The_Crime_Against_Kansas.htm.

[6] Ibid., 1

[7] Ibid., 1

[8] Sumner, “The Crime Against Kansas” 3.

[9] Ibid., 3

[10] Ibid., 4.

[11] Ibid., 29.

[12] Stephen Puleo, "The US Senate’s Darkest Moment," BostonGlobe.com, March 29, 2015, 1, https://www.bostonglobe.com/magazine/2015/03/28/the-senate-darkest-moment/sqXdd3HYKkMFEmGA4d24rM/story.html.

[13] Michael Daigh, John Brown in Memory and Myth (Jefferson City, NC: McFarland, 2015), 113.

[14] "The Caning of Senator Charles Sumner," U.S. Senate: The Caning of Senator Charles Sumner, April 17, 2017, 1, https://www.senate.gov/artandhistory/history/minute/The_Caning_of_Senator_Charles_Sumner.htm.

[15] Ibid., 113.

[16] Michael Daigh, John Brown in Memory and Myth, 113.

[17] Ibid., 113.

[18] Puleo, “The US Senate’s Darkest Moment”, 1.

[19] Michael Daigh, John Brown in Memory and Myth, 113.

[20] Ibid., 113.

[21] Puleo, “The US Senate’s Darkest Moment”, 1.

[22] Ibid., 1.

[23] "South Carolina Representative Preston Brooks's Attack on Senator Charles Sumner of Massachusetts," US House of Representatives: History, Art & Archives, 1, http://history.house.gov/HistoricalHighlight/Detail/35817.

[24] Ibid., 1.

[25] Ibid., 1.