Category Archives: April
Named after the Revolutionary hero, Washington Irving was born and raised in New York City, where he embraced city culture and the spirit of a new nation. He gained fame with his Salamagundi papers and A History of New York, both humorous works. After traveling to England, he published The Sketchbook, a collection of short stories that included his best-known works, “Rip Van Winkle” and “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.” In 1822, Irving began traveling the Continent as a diplomat, and gained a wealth of inspiration for the histories and biographies he would write later in life, including that of Christopher Columbus. He spent most of his time at his estate, Sunnyside, in Tarrytown, New York, where he churned out a five-volume work on his namesake George Washington. Irving is also credited as the first American man of letters, and greatly advocated writing as a professional career. He also lobbied for stronger copyright laws protecting writers’ intellectual property. He died at Sunnyside in 1859.
What does it mean to call writing a “legitimate career?” Why do authors need protective copyright laws?
Following World War II, the Soviet Union began to pose a threat to the U.S. and Western European powers. Rapidly expanding, it supported communists that strived to overthrow new, democratically elected governments, and it blockaded West Berlin in an effort to hoard control of the German capital. In response, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) was established among the U.S. and 11 other European powers in 1949. With a strong North American presence in Europe, NATO aimed to support the new democracies in Europe, repel any sort of national militaristic revivals, and prevent Soviet expansionism. In 1955, the Soviets and other Eastern European powers signed the Warsaw Pact as a counterpart to NATO. But it dissolved with the Soviet Union in 1991, and three of its members (Poland, Hungary, and the Czech Republic) joined NATO. Its first military engagement came three years later, when NATO forces intervened in the Bosnian War. Today, NATO consists of 28 member nations. It is a political alliance that promotes democratic ideals and peaceful resolutions, but retains its military arsenal and power.
What is the value of an alliance? How can it help different nations?