Some Things Never Change....

While recuperating from my cold, I had the opportunity to begin reading Twentieth-Century America: Politics and Power in the United States 1900-2000 by M. J. Heale.  When I bought the book, I noticed that the author is a British historian, so I was hoping that his views on American history might differ from those posited by most U.S. historians.  I haven't read enough of the book to be able to answer that query.  What really interested me, at least early in my reading, was this passage from page 10 of the book.
It seemed to many that the tensions that threatened the peace of American society stemmed in no small degree from the malfunctioning of the political system.  Government no longer reflected the will of the whole community; special interests...had insinuated themselves at strategic junctures...generally warping public policies.  Party political machines too had intruded between the citizenry and the government, illicitly perpetuating their own power and promoting the interests of their particular clients...The idea of purifying politics by restoring power to 'the people'...
If one did not know which era the passage referred to, he or she might think Heale was discussing key problems confronting today's society instead of the sociopolitical environment in the the U.S. circa 1900-1917.  Eerily, other issues, including the power of the courts, unlimited corporate donations to politicians, and voter apathy also figure prominently in this period.  Granted, many of the specific problems facing the U.S. in that period, such as bossism, differ from the conundrums current Americans have to deal with.  However, it appears that the meta-concerns are synonymous.  The same thing probably holds true in other countries as well.

My takeaway from my reading is simple.  Many of the underlying issues that divide Americans are not new.  Rather, they go back decades if not centuries.  However, many of us, including myself, tend to forget this fact due to our short lives and even shorter memories.  With this in mind, it might behoove us to peruse through a history book before we try to devise solutions to our problems or to craft compromises on divisive issues.  Perhaps, via our reading, we will be able to identify some approaches that did work or alternatively some schemes that failed (and will fail again if applied to today's situation).

My review of the book brought home for me the meaning of an old cliche, "The past often repeats itself."

Photo courtesy of Barnes & Noble website:  http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/twentieth-century-america-m-j-heale/1006245698?ean=9780340614075


  1. The past always repeats itself if you don't learn from it. Unless you believe in fate and there being so avoiding what will be.

    Hope you had a lovely VDay.

  2. I think that some of those failed plans may have been 'before their time', and now we're ready for such measures.

  3. Obrigado pelo comentário,
    Bom dia lindo.

  4. Good to know you're healing from your cold! True, most problems are not new and maybe that's why they're so hard to tackle- they're rooted in history.

  5. Hello! I do not know these problems very well! Thank You very much for sharing!

  6. That does sound like something someone would point out about current events; and it would be nice if new solutions were proposed that worked to solve the underlying problems. I suppose one can always hope.


  7. La Vida es espectacular y hay que aprovechar a disfrutarla en todas sus vertientes, incluido el carnaval que mañana es su día grande y algunos de los más jóvenes lo pasaran en grande devolviéndoles la alegría a los no ya tan jóvenes...

    Te deseo un fin de semana lleno de todo aquello que tu alma necesite por abrigo...

    Un beso
    un abrazo
    y mi aprecio
    para siempre

    María del Carmen

  8. @ Jax: Thanks :-)
    @ Shockgrubz: That is certainly possible; the success or failure of a measure depends a lot on its timing.
    @ Andy Santana: Você está muito bem-vinda .. obrigado por parar, deixando tais observações agradável :-)
    @Sujana: Thanks :-). I will see what I can do to respond to your tag :-)
    @ Maria (La Gata Coqueta): Graças Maria ... eu concordo com você plenamente. :-)