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If we discount early attempts to gain recognition such as the suffragette movement, the real revolution began with the pill


Let's start with this: few intelligent persons ever doubted that women were capable of achieving the goals that men achieved. Human history is full of such characters as Jean of Arc, Elisabeth II or Marie Curie to prove it.

The "suffrage" movement gave womenfolk the opportunity to vote. World War Two gave them ample chance to work, as they replaced factory labourers sent to the front line.
But the radical change and wealth of opportunities came when, in the early '60s, women were freed from the unwanted (and sometimes forced) motherhood that had tied their gender to the crib, the hearth and the oven for millenaries.

Birth control brought radical changes not so much to the way women were considered by fellow men (there still is a long way ahead), but to the manner women viewed themselves. Suddenly they became aware of the fact that they were no longer doomed to "home making" and perpetually brought back to their forbidding maternal tasks and responsibilities. They were not anymore dependent on a man to earn a living for their children while they set the table and cleaned the nest. They could fend now for themselves in the outside world with the assurance that they would take a break from their professional life only if and when they had decided to.

They quickly proved their worth in the medical profession (still tending and caring); then they climbed the ladder of schools and academia (yet children and youths). But these were only the stepping stones of the ‘70s and the ‘80s. By the ‘90s they were in politics, in the industry, in the judiciary… by the new millenary they were piloting fighter jet planes.

Yet, if there is no field of activity today precluded to women, their number within the work force and their salaries are not as they should be. Parity is far from being the norm and pay cheques are (at least in Europe) 20 to 30% lesser for young women entering the professional world than for an equally educated young man. And, worse of all, in many countries of the world women still have to gain public acknowledgement for their irreplaceble function in our societies: maternity. With the inherent community obligation to their maternity leaves.

This is the obstacle that women now have to overcome : change the views of the few unswerving legislations. Having been granted the opportunity of NOT being mothers unless they want to, they now have to win the right to be assisted in their motherhood when they choose to exercise their option.


A combination of mostly the homeless, the unemployed or marginally employed, sometimes people with mental health problems who can't find other shelter. Occasionally activists trying to get noticed.


The reasons why people find themselves on the street are numerous. North America, along with much of the world has a problem housing marginalized people. Between the 1840s and the 1950s there were shanty towns on the edges of many cities in North America. From the 1950s to the 1970s there was less of this as America prospered in the post World War 2 boom. Beginning in the 1980s as public funding for social programs began to be cut more people found themselves without a home.

Police at various times have been used to remove such camps and individuals away or to more appropriate areas. The large amount of people in US prison system are often part of the homeless when they are out. Police have learn that it is pointless to arrest people for being homeless.

Homeless people can often not access services as they have no permanent address and an uncertain daily routine so medical personnel and social services cannot keep in contact with them.

Homelessness since the 1990s has become an increasingly difficult problem and there have been various efforts to solve it.

Institutionalization is not a popular option as it is expensive and does not provide opportunities to the people who are the object of the exercise. It is too easy to warehouse people and forget them.

A "housing first" alternative has been popular lately as it puts people in a community and gives them a place to stay where other services can contact them. It has been found to be cheaper than prison or other institution. Solutions vary a great deal from jurisdiction to jurisdiction.

The "Occupy" demonstrators have been of recent times are a broad grass roots group protesting wealth inequality who have used a tent city approach to raise awareness.


British Columbia


Chinese people, mostly men, were brought in from various places in China and as early as the 1780s. Many came from Guangdong province. The mid 1800s was a time of great unrest and civil war in China. Mostly they were brought in as laborers although many came on their own from California during several Gold rushes during the mid 1800s.

The Railway contracted many Chinese from California. Many more Chinese were brought from China in the build the Canadian Pacific Railway. Restrictive anti Chinese legislation was struck down by the Canadian Federal Government until 1885 after the Railway was completed.

The Chinese worked cheaply and were co-operative and sober at work. There was increasing anti Chinese sentiment in the late 1800s.

Sun Yat-sen visited British Columbia to get support to change the government in China.



Cardinal Richelieu's bad rap comes primarily from Alexander Dumas' book The Three Musketeers. He was a controversial figure who consolidated power within the Crown and strengthened France.


Armand Jean du Plessis, Cardinal-Duke of Richelieu and of Fronsac, and commonly called Cardinal Richelieu (and also The Red Eminence) (1585-1642) has frequently been painted in literature as an evil trickster who causes the people of France to suffer. This version of the Cardinal comes primarily from Alexander Dumas' novel The Three Musketeers which was written in 1844.

So was Cardinal Richelieu the evil trickster he's been made out to be?

As is usually the case with questions like this, the answer is far more complicated than a simple yes/no can allow for.

That he was clever, a politician, a negotiator, and an orator there is no question. By the time he was made a Cardinal on King Louis XIII's recommendation to the Pope, Richelieu had risen to power through the King's mother, Marie de Medicis (who at the time was the de facto leader - the King being little more than a figurehead), fallen from power when Marie was overthrown, and rose to be the King's trusted advisor by brokering peace between himself and his mother. The Cardinal even survived an attempt by Marie to have the King dismiss him. Shortly after, Cardinal Richelieu managed to get the Chief Minister, the Duke of Vieuville, arrested on corruption charges and then replaced him.

As Chief Minister, Cardinal Richelieu focused his attention on two issues:

  • the consolidation of Royal power, and
  • the opposition to the Hapsburg Dynasty

and neither goal made the Cardinal any friends.

Consolidating Royal Power

Before Cardinal Richelieu, political power in France was wielded by those who could take it. And in that, the noble houses of France could wield a lot of power - not only did they have the ability to raise armies, but they had castles that could survive sieges. And so if a noble family did something that was against the interests of France, they could gather their army, sit in their well-defended castle, and fight back.

The Cardinal didn't like that state of affairs - he wanted to be able to walk into someone's castle and deal with the traitor. And so he ordered the razing of all fortified castles and all important defences that a noble could use against the King (those that could be used against invading armies were allowed to stand).

And so the nobles hated Cardinal Richelieu.

He also systematically neutered the Huguenots (a Protestant sect). At the start of the Cardinal's tenure, the Huguenots were a large political and religious force... and were in rebellion. The Cardinal personally supervised the siege of their stronghold, La Rochelle. After the city finally capitulated, the Huguenots were allowed to peacefully worship as they chose but were stripped of all political rights.

The Opposition to the Hapsburg Dynasty

When the Cardinal came to power, the 30 Years War was raging (which was a war with the Hapsburgs on one side - who ruled Spain and the Holy Roman Empire - against most of the rest of Europe. France wasn't actively at war, but because they were almost completely surrounded by the Hapsburgs, they secretly aided allies by sending monies and troops. Look at the purple of "Kingdom of France" and then look at all the red - those are areas controlled by Spain, and the pink, which is the Holy Roman Empire.


They sent a lot of money to different kingdoms and countries, trying to stop the Hapsburgs. So much so that it nearly bankrupted the Kingdom of France. To reverse that state of affairs, Cardinal Richelieu raised the salt and land taxes. Nobles and clergy were either exempted or could easily avoid the taxes, and so they fell mainly on the peasants. In order to better collect the taxes and avoid corruption, the Cardinal replaces local officials with ones that answered directly to the Crown.

As a result, the peasants weren't happy. There was a lot of unrest and a few uprisings - which the Cardinal crushed violently and without mercy.

And so the peasants hated him.

Even the King hated him! But the King also knew he needed someone like the Cardinal to help keep France safe and strong.

So what else did Cardinal Richelieu do?

  • He actively encouraged the colonization of New France (located in what is now Canada) through investment. He also encouraged the growth of the colony through peaceful coexistence with the local natives, thinking that intermarriage was a way to grow the colony and remain on peaceful terms.
  • He was a huge patron to the arts. He oversaw the construction of his personal palace in Paris, the renovation of the Sorbonne, and other chapels and buildings, filling them with great works of art and tremendous wealth.
  • To maintain power, he censored the press, developed and maintained a huge network of spies, forbade discussion of political matters in public places, and had those who were suspected of conspiring against him executed.
  • He also eschewed alliances for religious reasons and focused on ones for political power. For instance, he would align with Protestant forces against rival Catholic nations. It did not amuse the Pope.

In the end, was Cardinal Richelieu an evil trickster?

Certainly he was a man with huge ambitions both personal and national. His reforms of the power structure within France paved the way for French power to reach its zenith but his methods alienated him from all of French society. He was a hero to France but to none of its parts.





I tried to consider the main weapons:


First there are the two main weapons: the heavy field gun and the the heavy machinegun.
The first was used to try to pulverize the enemy formations and trenches before an attack (an offensive weapon); the second was used to create a wall of murderous lead to stop this attack (a defensive weapon). Both weapons were terrible because they produced a huge number of casualties among the soldiers that didn't have any mean of protection (kevlar flakjackets, reinforced concrete bunkers, tanks, etc.).

We may also consider poisonous gasses and the tank (the aircraft had a small killing effect compared to the others):
the poisonous gas and the tank were two weapons developed to try to eliminate the impasse introduced by trench warfare. These weapons were supposed to allow the attacker to smash through the enemy trenches and conduct a war of movement. In reality even if they had a terrible psychological effect their casualty rate was again comparatively small (although it is difficult to believe, gasses killed far less soldiers than the other weapons and most of the time they were more dangerous for the user because of the changing wind and its persistence on the battlefiels). The tank, after the first spectacular success, was basically limited as it was its mechanical reliability!

The submarine was, instead, a formidable weapon! It could operate free of detection (no Sonar at that time) and at low cost (a single torpedo could sink a powerful battleship or cargo). The idea behind the submarine was, I think, to suffocate the enemy's economy and will of fighting by eliminating his merchant fleet and to starve him into submission.

As an afterthought you can say that, at the end of the day, all of them were used to simply.....kill people!


The Meiji emperor introduced a constitution that established an elected parliament, a national education system, and the (on-paper) abolition of the feudal class system, among other reforms.


Starting with his restoration to the imperial throne, the Meiji emperor worked with political supporters and counsellors to make Japan a more modern and powerful country.

The feudal lords and samurai lost their lands and class privileges, and with the destruction of the strict feudal class system, individuals were free to enter into professions that had been denied to them in the past. This helped create a boom in industry, which gave Japan a new financial security.

Additionally, the Meiji emperor and his advisors created a constitution as a "gift" to the people, establishing an elective parliament called the Diet. The government also established a national education system. Both of these moves proved popular both with Japanese citizens and with Western powers, to whom Japan wanted to appear modern to in order to encourage international cooperation and trade.

The emperor also created a national military, staffed by a conscription system. Japan would go on to win two large international conflicts (the Sino-Japanese War in 1894-1895, and the Russo-Japanese War in 1904-1905). While these sudden military successes worried some of the world's great powers, they also established Japan on the world stage as a modern and successful country.

The Meiji emperor's contributions to Japan's modernization are often looked upon favorably, as they brought a formerly feudal country right up to the cutting edge of contemporary politics, industry, and social reforms at the time.

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