" Music...takes us out of the actual and whispers to us dim secrets that startle our wonder as to who we are, and for what, whence, and whereto. "
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Back in the day


The Monroe Doctrine

In his 1823 address to Congress, US President James Monroe laid out the terms of the American foreign policy that would become known as the Monroe Doctrine, effectively declaring the Western Hemisphere off-limits to European colonization. Concerned that European powers would attempt to restore Spain's former colonies, he declared that any attempt by a European power to control any nation in the Western Hemisphere would be viewed as a hostile act. How was the doctrine applied during the Cold War?



Magdalene Asylums

Named after Mary Magdalene, who, according to Christian tradition, repented her sins and became one of Jesus' closest followers, Magdalene asylums were institutions largely run by various orders of the Catholic Church to rehabilitate so-called fallen women—prostitutes, unwed mothers, even girls considered too promiscuous or flirtatious—through hard labor and penance. Many were admitted against their will, and some allege that they were subject to abuse. When was the last of these asylums closed?

Born on a day like today


Georges-Pierre Seurat

Seurat was the French neoimpressionist painter who devised pointillism, the technique of juxtaposing tiny brushstrokes of contrasting colors. He used this method to create huge compositions, including his masterpiece, Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte. One of the most intellectual artists of his time, Seurat influenced a return to deliberate design in painting at a time when sketching from nature had become the mode. How long did it take him to complete his masterpiece?

Last updated on Thursday, 2nd December 2010

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