History Podcasts

Power over the centuries: spiritual vs. political vs. economic

Power over the centuries: spiritual vs. political vs. economic

I recently attended a presentation on the shift in power over the centuries. The speaker argued that…

  • the power in the middle ages was in the churches, i.e., the priests and, thus, in the spiritual centers
  • in contrast, in the 17th century there was a shift towards the political centers, i.e., the palaces and the kings and princes, alter also a shift towards democratic institutions
  • nowadays, he argued, the power lies in the economical forces, i.e. the businesses and their CEOs

I suppose that this theory was taken from somewhere, but even with extensive research I could not find any sources for it.

Have you ever heard of a similar theory?


I am considering this a reference request for seminal works on "power" in historiography.

The most well known recent theorist of "power" as a historical determinant is Foucault. In Foucault's work power seems to be organised by a historical context of possibilities of knowledge, an "episteme," that orders how people perceive and enact power. I do not believe that Foucault's conclusions about the organisation of past societies matches your speaker's: Foucault's concept of power is much more developed. Additionally, many historians blanch at the lack of traditional historiography backing Foucault's conclusions.


Political history

During the first half of the 20th century most historians would have agreed with the maxim attributed to Sir John Seeley that: 'History is past politics and politics present history'. While he was a keen partisan of late Victorian British imperialism, Seeley's assertion echoed a view, then common among many continental European intellectuals, which emphasised the supreme importance of the nation-state, with which 'politics' was exclusively identified. As the influential German philosopher Georg Hegel argued earlier in the 19th century, the state constituted a moral and spiritual force existing beyond the material interests of its subjects and was consequently the principal agent of historical change. This meant that political history was, to all intents and purposes, history.

Seeley was, moreover, not alone in believing that the study of history in British universities was a vital means through which future governors of the empire &ndash like those mostly male, upper-class Cambridge students who attended his lectures &ndash could learn valuable lessons. The ultimate purpose of history was, as a result, conceived as the development of the elite's ability to rule over Queen Victoria's subjects, be they East End dockers or Indian peasants, and to defend the empire's integrity from external threats. Consequently, political history was kept within narrow, institutional terms, comprising the history of the state, of relations between states, and of great statesmen. Political history was, in effect, the history of the state.

Most of these Victorian assumptions unravelled during the latter half of the 20th century. Even so, when many today speak of 'political history' they appear to imagine that it still just comprises the study of Westminster and Whitehall and of those men &ndash and occasionally women &ndash who have steered the ship of state. This 'high' or elite or some may even say 'traditional' political history continues to be written. It has, however, been complemented by other ways of thinking about the subject. This 'new' political history reflects changes within the discipline of history resulting from the transformed context in which it is now studied and echoes the very different ways in which the state and politics are perceived at the start of the 21st century.

The most important challenge to 'traditional' political history came with the 'democratisation' of society, that is, the extension of the franchise to all adults and the creation of the welfare state. This promoted the belief that government should reflect the interests of the people, rather than those of the ruling elite or the state itself. The expansion of higher education also saw previously dispossessed groups enter universities as students and teachers who then criticised established views of the state. Socialists and feminists, enjoying a uniquely loud voice during the 1960s and 1970s, outlined alternative ways of practising politics, hoping to develop more popular forms of participation in decision-making.

This radical wave had largely dissipated by the 1980s, but it left an imprint on academic conceptions of the purpose of 'politics'. The succeeding neo-liberalism of Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan also advanced criticisms of the state and curtailed much of its influence in the name of 'freedom'. Thus, by the end of the 20th century, there was much talk of the decline of the nation-state: the institutions that had once defined politics appeared to have been bypassed and undermined by 'globalisation' on the one hand and consumerist, empowered individuals on the other.

As a result, political history suffered a significant decline in status within the wider discipline. It was pushed from the centre of most narratives thanks to the proliferation of newer areas of interest, most notably social history and its offshoots, which stressed the importance of popular experience and highlighted oppressed groups' struggles against the ruling elite. If Seeley had assumed agency resided only in the state, others now believed in the potential of the 'people' to be active in the making of their own histories.

Consequently, since the 1970s historians have increasingly eschewed subjects associated with representative politics in favour of culture, consumption, gender, race and sexuality. This shift, from concerns with the body politic to an interest in the politics of the body, from the public to the private, highlights once neglected issues of importance. It nonetheless threatens to distort a complete understanding of the dynamics of historical change by exaggerating the importance of popular potential and diminishing the significance of the state and other institutions of representative politics, most obviously political parties

What is referred to as the 'new' political history is an attempt to engage with some of these developments without losing sight of the power of politics to shape society. This has, in fact, been a matter of abiding interest to a minority of historians long unhappy with the established forms of political history. Thus, when in 1944 G. M. Trevelyan defined social history as 'the history of a people with the politics left out', this was not because he endorsed such a negative classification. In fact Trevelyan thought it was a necessary expedient to compensate for political histories which, he claimed, had been 'written without reference to their social environment'(1)

Few political historians consciously rejected the importance of this 'social environment'. Even Geoffrey Elton, that doyen of 'traditional' political history, declared in 1970: 'All the forms of history that have existed belong to the world which the political historian inhabits all things are relevant to politics'.(2) They were nonetheless unwilling to invest much thought into the nature of the relationship between their conception of politics and wider society and culture. During the interwar period, some innovative historians of Parliament did nonetheless look beyond Westminster and tried to account for the 'social foundations' of politics, most notably Lewis Namier.(3)

Matters changed in the post-war period. Even before 1939, diplomatic and international history had annexed much of political history's former territory, meaning that it was conceived increasingly in domestic and especially electoral terms. For the extension of the franchise had turned political parties into highly significant subjects. Moreover, given that the parties were the point at which society and formal politics came into collision, some kind of systematic thinking about the relationship between the two now became necessary.

The 'Nuffield School' of contemporary political sociology influenced many of those interested in the history of electoral politics in the 1960s and 1970s. This advanced the view that social and economic forces beyond politicians' control had established the terms of party competition. Leaders might exploit electoral opportunities presented by these deeper influences but were incapable of doing more than associate their parties with &ndash usually class &ndash identities or interests with which voters already adhered. Thus, for example, the rise of the Labour party and fall of the Liberals could be seen as the by-product of the expansion of the manual working class. The role of representative politics was merely to manage such phenomena.

Not all political historians embraced this fatalistic view. Most notably Maurice Cowling in a series of remarkable monographs (4) published in the late 1960s and early 1970s took on labour and social historians who were starting to emphasise the role of the working class in Westminster politics. In particular he debated the causes of the 1867 Reform Act, rebutting the proposition that it was the product of working-class pressure, arguing instead that Disraeli extended the franchise to skilled male workers because it suited his Parliamentary purposes.

Cowling did not claim that Disraeli operated in a social vacuum but argued that political decisions could only be advanced through the political structure, that is 'through existing concentrations of power', during which process they would inevitably be 'transformed in order to be made tolerable to ruling opinion'. Elsewhere he maintained that it was the 'language they used, the images they formed, the myths they left', which allowed political leaders to shape what others thought. Politicians, even with the arrival of a fully democratic franchise, tried 'not merely to say what electors wanted to hear but to make electors want them to say what they wanted to say in the first place' &ndash and they usually succeeded.(5)

Cowling was mistrusted by 'traditional' political historians for his methods and disliked by social and labour historians for his conclusions. As a result, the implications of his work have taken some time to be properly appreciated, in particular his gesturing to the need to integrate the relative autonomy of politics to shape popular thinking with the need to take account of the means by which the social and cultural position of politics structured its possibilities. It was only during the 1990s that (consciously or not) political historians from many differing perspectives &ndash but all of them unhappy with the deterministic social approach and critical of the narrowness of traditional political history &ndash began to emphasise the constructive role of politics within a nuanced understanding of its cultural context.

If some believed in the political potential of the 'people' they also played due regard to the means by which politics &ndash in the shape of the state or parties &ndash could manipulate or even create identities in a way amenable to their purposes. Much recent work on modern British political history now operates within this new paradigm, emphasising the significance of the press, posters, public meetings, printed propaganda and even popular fictions, thereby focussing on the interactive relationship between politics and the people. Some have even taken the hallmark topics of traditional political history &ndash such as leadership &ndash and breathed into them new life, most notably Philip Williamson's study of Stanley Baldwin which focuses on the constructed nature of Baldwin's public personality, and the resonances it generated within popular culture which he was then able to exploit.(6)

Political history may now be but one of a number of ways of understanding the past but it is a more diverse and dynamic subject than ever it was. It more accurately reflects the true nature of politics which, as the future Prime Minister Harold Macmillan noted of one 1950s Cabinet, could embrace topics 'ranging from Homosexuality to the price of milk'.(7)

  1. G. M. Trevelyan, English Social History (London, 1944).
  2. G. R. Elton, Political History: Principles and Practice (London, 1970), pp. 160&ndash 1.
  3. Lewis Namier, England in the Age of the American Revolution (London, 1930).
  4. M. J. Cowling, 1867: Disraeli, Gladstone and Revolution. The Passing of the Second Reform Bill (Cambridge, 1967) M. J. Cowling, The Impact of Labour, 1920 &ndash 1924: the Beginning of Modern British Politics (1971) M. J. Cowling, The Impact of Hitler: British Politics and British Policy, 1933 &ndash 40 (Cambridge, 1975).
  5. Cowling, 1867, p. 3 and Impact of Labour, pp. 4&ndash5.
  6. P. Williamson, Stanley Baldwin: Conservative Leadership and National Values (Cambridge, 1999).
  7. P. Catterall (ed), The MacMillan Diaries. The Cabinet Years, 1950&ndash1957 (London, 2003), p. 300.

Steven Fielding is a Reader and the Director of the Centre for British Politics in the School of Politics and International Relations at the University of Nottingham. He has been co-editor of Parliamentary Affairs since 2006 and his most recently published monograph is The Labour Governments, 1964&ndash70, 1: Labour and Cultural Change (2003).


The Geography of Colombia

The geography of Colombia if not unique is quite unusual. The eastern 60% of the country is lowlands that are part of the Amazon Basin. This territory is undeveloped and largely unpopulated. Only 2 percent of the population of Colombia live in this eastern portion. The western 40% is divided north to south by three major mountain chains (cordilleras) and one minor one (serrania).

The three cordilleras constitute the Anden Highlands region and contains almost eighty percent (78%) of the population. The ridge lines of these three cordilleras are depicted in the above map as white lines. White is appropriate because some of the peaks a permanently covered with snow. Between the cordilleras flow two major rivers: the Cauca and the Magdalena. On west of Cordillera Occidental there flow another river, the Atrato.

Besides the Andean Highlands in the wester 40% of the country there are two other regions: the Caribbean Lowlands and the Pacific Lowlands. The Caribbean Lowlands is where the conjoined Cauca and Magdalena Rivers empties into the Caribbean. The Caribbean Lowlands contain about 17 percent of Colombia's population. The Pacific Lowlands, which are not entirely on the Pacific Coast, contain only 3 percent of the population.

The terrain of Colombia make it relatively costly for the separate regions to communicate, interact and trade.


2. Toleration and Accommodation of Religious Belief and Practice

As European and American societies faced the growing plurality of religious beliefs, communities, and institutions in the early modern era, one of the paramount social problems was determining whether and to what extent they should be tolerated. One of the hallmark treatises on this topic remains John Locke’s A Letter Concerning Toleration. A political exile himself at the time of its composition, Locke argues (a) that it is futile to attempt to coerce belief because it does not fall to the will to accept or reject propositions, (b) that it is wrong to restrict religious practice so long as it does not interfere with the rights of others, and (c) that allowing a wide range of religious groups will likely prevent any one of them from becoming so powerful as to threaten the peace. Central to his arguments is a Protestant view of a religious body as a voluntary society composed only of those people who choose to join it, a view that is in sharp contrast to the earlier medieval view of the church as having authority over all people within a particular geographic domain. It is perhaps unsurprising, then, that the limits of Locke’s toleration are coextensive with Protestantism atheists and Catholics cannot be trusted to take part in society peacefully because the former do not see themselves as bound by divine law and the latter are beholden to a foreign sovereign (the Pope). Still, Locke’s Letter makes an important step forward toward a more tolerant and pluralistic world. In contrast to Locke, Thomas Hobbes sees religion and its divisiveness as a source of political instability, and so he argues that the sovereign has the right to determine which opinions may be publicly espoused and disseminated, a power necessary for maintaining civil peace (see Leviathan xviii, 9).

Like the issue of establishment, the general issue of whether people should be allowed to decide for themselves which religion to believe in has not received much attention in recent times, again because of the wide consensus on the right of all people to liberty of conscience. However, despite this agreement on liberty of belief, modern states nevertheless face challenging questions of toleration and accommodation pertaining to religious practice, and these questions are made more difficult by the fact that they often involve multiple ideals which pull in different directions. Some of these questions concern actions which are inspired by religion and are either obviously or typically unjust. For example, violent fundamentalists feel justified in killing and persecuting infidels—how should society respond to them? While no one seriously defends the right to repress other people, it is less clear to what extent, say, religious speech that calls for such actions should be tolerated in the name of a right to free speech. A similar challenge concerns religious objections to certain medical procedures that are necessary to save a life. For example, Jehovah’s Witnesses believe that their religion precludes their accepting blood transfusions, even to save their lives. While it seems clearly wrong to force someone to undergo even lifesaving treatment if she objects to it (at least with sufficient rationality, which of course is a difficult topic in itself), and it seems equally wrong to deny lifesaving treatment to someone who needs it and is not refusing it, the issue becomes less clear when parents have religious objections to lifesaving treatment for their children. In such a case, there are at least three values that ordinarily demand great respect and latitude: (a) the right to follow one’s own religion, not simply in affirming its tenets but in living the lifestyle it prescribes (b) the state’s legitimate interest in protecting its citizens (especially vulnerable ones like children) from being harmed and (c) the right of parents to raise their children as they see fit and in a way that expresses their values.

A second kind of challenge for a society that generally values toleration and accommodation of difference pertains to a religious minority’s actions and commitments which are not themselves unjust, and yet are threatened by the pursuit of other goals on the part of the larger society, or are directly forbidden by law. For example, Quakers and other religious groups are committed to pacifism, and yet many of them live in societies that expect all male citizens to serve in the military or register for the draft. Other groups perform religious rituals that involve the use of illegal substances, such as peyote. Does the right to practice one’s faith exempt one from the requirement to serve in the military or obey one’s country’s drug policies? Is it fair to exempt such people from the burdens other citizens must bear?

Many examples of this second kind of challenge are addressed in the literature on education and schooling. In developed societies (and developing ones, for that matter), a substantial education is necessary for citizens to be able to achieve a decent life for themselves. In addition, many states see education as a process by which children can learn values that the state deems important for active citizenship and/or for social life. However, the pursuit of this latter goal raises certain issues for religious parents. In the famous case of Mozert v. Hawkins, some parents objected for religious reasons to their children being taught from a reading curriculum that presented alternative beliefs and ways of life in a favorable way, and consequently the parents asked that their children be excused from class when that curriculum was being taught. Against the wishes of these parents, some liberals believe that the importance of teaching children to respect the value of gender equality overrides the merit of such objections, even if they appeal directly to the parents’ religious rights (Macedo, 2000).

Similarly, many proposals for educational curricula are aimed at developing a measure of autonomy in children, which often involves having them achieve a certain critical distance from their family background, with its traditions, beliefs, and ways of life (Callan, 1997 Brighouse, 2000). The idea is that only then can children autonomously choose a way of life for themselves, free of undue influence of upbringing and custom. A related argument holds that this critical distance will allow children to develop a sufficient sense of respect for different social groups, a respect that is necessary for the practice of democratic citizenship. However, this critical distance is antithetical to authentic religious commitment, at least on some accounts (see the following section). Also, religious parents typically wish to pass on their faith to their children, and doing so involves cultivating religious devotion through practices and rituals, rather than presenting their faith as just one among many equally good (or true) ones. For such parents, passing on their religious faith is central to good parenting, and in this respect it does not differ from passing on good moral values, for instance. Thus, politically mandated education that is aimed at developing autonomy runs up against the right of some parents to practice their religion and the right to raise their children as they choose. Many, though not all, liberals argue that autonomy is such an important good that its promotion justifies using techniques that make it harder for such parents to pass on their faith—such a result is an unfortunate side-effect of a desirable or necessary policy.

Yet a different source of political conflict for religious students in recent years concerns the teaching of evolution in science classes. Some religious parents of children in public schools see the teaching of evolution as a direct threat to their faith, insofar as it implies the falsity of their biblical-literalist understanding of the origins of life. They argue that it is unfair to expect them to expose their children to teaching that directly challenges their religion (and to fund it with their taxes). Among these parents, some want schools to include discussions of intelligent design and creationism (some who write on this issue see intelligent design and creationism as conceptually distinct positions others see no significant difference between them), while others would be content if schools skirted the issue altogether, refusing to teach anything at all about the origin of life or the evolution of species. Their opponents see the former proposal as an attempt to introduce an explicitly religious worldview into the classroom, hence one that runs afoul of the separation of church and state. Nor would they be satisfied with ignoring the issue altogether, for evolution is an integral part of the framework of modern biology and a well-established scientific theory.

Conflicts concerning religion and politics arise outside of curricular contexts, as well. For example, in France, a law was recently passed that made it illegal for students to wear clothing and adornments that are explicitly associated with a religion. This law was especially opposed by students whose religion explicitly requires them to wear particular clothing, such as a hijab or a turban. The justification given by the French government was that such a measure was necessary to honor the separation of church and state, and useful for ensuring that the French citizenry is united into a whole, rather than divided by religion. However, it is also possible to see this law as an unwarranted interference of the state in religious practice. If liberty of conscience includes not simply a right to believe what one chooses, but also to give public expression to that belief, then it seems that people should be free to wear clothing consistent with their religious beliefs.

Crucial to this discussion of the effect of public policy on religious groups is an important distinction regarding neutrality. The liberal state is supposed to remain neutral with regard to religion (as well as race, sexual orientation, physical status, age, etc.). However, as Charles Larmore points out in Patterns of Moral Complexity (1987: 42ff), there are different senses of neutrality, and some policies may fare well with respect to one sense and poorly with respect to another. In one sense, neutrality can be understood in terms of a procedure that is justified without appeal to any conception of the human good. In this sense, it is wrong for the state to intend to disadvantage one group of citizens, at least for its own sake and with respect to practices that are not otherwise unjust or politically undesirable. Thus it would be a violation of neutrality in this sense (and therefore wrong) for the state simply to outlaw the worship of Allah. Alternatively, neutrality can be understood in terms of effect. The state abides by this sense of neutrality by not taking actions whose consequences are such that some individuals or groups in society are disadvantaged in their pursuit of the good. For a state committed to neutrality thus understood, even if it were not explicitly intending to disadvantage a particular group, any such disadvantage that may result is a prima facie reason to revoke the policy that causes it. Thus, if the government requires school attendance on a religious group’s holy days, for example, and doing so makes it harder for them to practice their faith, such a requirement counts as a failure of neutrality. The attendance requirement may nevertheless be unavoidable, but as it stands, it is less than optimal. Obviously, this is a more demanding standard, for it requires the state to consider possible consequences—both short term and long term—on a wide range of social groups and then choose from those policies that do not have bad consequences (or the one that has the fewest and least bad). For most, and arguably all, societies, it is a standard that cannot feasibly be met. Consequently, most liberals argue that the state should be neutral in the first sense, but it need not be neutral in the second sense. Thus, if the institutions and practices of a basically just society make it more challenging for some religious people to preserve their ways of life, it is perhaps regrettable, but not unjust, so long as these institutions and practices are justified impartially.


Moscow vs. Kiev

Ukrainian Orthodoxy was under the jurisdiction of the Russian church for over 300 years, until 2019.

The reasons for this were pragmatic.

Ukraine’s position as a borderland between Western and Eastern Christianity placed Ukrainian Christians between the authority of Moscow, Rome, and Constantinople.

After Kiev’s fall to the Mongols in the 13th century, Ukraine was caught between two powerful neighbors with opposing religious identities: to the East, Orthodox Russia, and to the West, Catholic Poland-Lithuania.

In the 1600s, Ukraine found itself under pressure from Catholic neighbors intent on converting Orthodox Ukrainians to Catholicism. For Constantinople, this made the value of protection from a powerful Orthodox neighbor apparent, and it turned to Moscow for help. In 1686, Constantinople placed Ukrainian Orthodoxy under Moscow’s authority.


The Influence of Social, Political, and Economic Factors on the Development and Form of Zulu Religious Activity in the 19th and 20th Centuries

This proverb sadly encapsulates the reality of existence for the Zulu people in the last two centuries. Ripped from their positions of power and tossed into the pits of despair, life as they once knew it changed drastically. Nelson Mandela once said that &lsquosocial transformation cannot be separated from spiritual transformation&rsquo (Heuser 2005:363). Religion does not develop in a vacuum, it responds and transforms in step with social, political and economic factors.

No religious world can remain the same forever and in response to this traditions undergo transformation processes, answering to the needs of the community. New places, roles and powers gain recognition whilst old places, roles and powers gain new meanings (Lawson 1984:9). This essay examines how Zulu religious activity changed in response to the events of the 19th and 20th century by showing how new religious forms emerged and how old religious systems transformed.

A Zulu sangoma (traditional healer) in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. Photo © Dustin Turin.

First of all one must acknowledge that the story of any community needs to be understood within its own unique political and cultural context (Prozesky 1995:3). So what is the &lsquoZulu context&rsquo? What political and social situations did the community face? It helps to go back to the earliest known history of the Zulu people or rather, their ancestors. Around 2000 years ago a new group of people began to arrive in South Africa. Unlike the native San and Khoikhoi, these new people had considerable metal-working and farm skills and spoke a new set of languages of the bantu family.

Eventually these bantu-speaking people would come to populate and dominate practically all the arable land in South Africa (Prozesky 1995:5). As ancestors of the Zulu, this migration is significant. Already from their earliest forbearers the Zulu had inherited a history of domination and power. This dominative power reached its peak in the 19th century with the creation of the Zulu Kingdom, a powerful centralised territory of warriors and kings. In the process of creating this state the Zulu had usurped smaller tribes and conquered their lands leading to a social crisis known as the mfecane (Janzen 1992:35-36).

At this time the Zulu had never been mightier. Their majestic domain covered mountains, rivers and coastlines (Laband 1997:3). This was truly the golden age of the Zulu. Yet a change of fortunes awaited the Zulu people, a fate which years before was almost inconceivable. After all every peak is followed by a fall and the higher the peak, the greater the fall.

From 1652 Europeans had begun to trickle into South Africa, followed by substantial waves in 1795 and 1806 (Prozesky 1995:5). It was not long before the Voortrekkers of the mid 1800s began to make inroads into what is now known as the Orange Free State and the Transvaal, engaging and humiliatingly defeating the Zulu (Janzen 1992:35-36). In the late 1800s another devastating defeat was on the horizon, the Anglo-Zulu war of 1897. Indeed the defeat was truly calamitous as it heralded an end to everything that the Zulu had prided themselves on independence, self-government and power (Knight 2003:8).

In 1885 Zulu life was further disrupted by the discovery of gold near Johannesburg and the resulting numbers of young men who were recruited to go in to work in the mines (Lawson 1984:44). The need for miners also led to an emergence of a &lsquomajor labour migration pattern&rsquo whereupon many foreigners entered South Africa for employment (Janzen 1992:35-36). Sundkler (1976:311) terms the resulting social situation as an &lsquoalienation crises&rsquo.

The mighty Zulu kingdom was in disrepute. Their warriors defeated and belittled and their land snatched from them. Where they had once reigned supreme, they were now debased to being servants on their own lands (Janzen 1992:35-36). To add insult to injury Europeans had appropriated their mineral wealth and had imposed controls to hinder Africans benefiting from the burgeoning urban industrial economy on their own volition (Kiernan 1995:116-117). Instead legislation such as the native lands act of 1913 pushed them into townships and bolstered by the urban areas act of 1923- completely segregated them (Sundkler 1961:34).

Thus one can understand the context of the Zulu at this period as being a society in disarray, a tale of broken homes, labour camps, mines and townships (Janzen 1992:35-36). A story of subjugation and oppression so keenly experienced by those who had been pushed into the status of second class citizens in their own lands (Prozesky 1995:1). Yet Through all this hardship the Zulu religious system evinced its ability to transform and to respond to the challenges posed by the 19th and 20th century.

Now that the social and political context has been established one must examine how religious activity responded to this. One general way that religion responds to external factors is by developing new beliefs and adopting new forms. The oppression suffered by the Zulu was fertile ground for emergence of new movements, namely independent churches (Lawson 1984:47). When missionaries first made contact with the Zulu, during the aforementioned peak of the Zulu kingdom, they had limited success in conversion.

Kiernan (1995:75) notes that there is little good reason why anyone would convert to another religion when their own religion is &lsquoanchored in a stable and satisfying way of life&rsquo. To put it in other words, there was nothing for the Zulu to gain from conversion at this time.

However as time passed the Zulu began to exploit missionary activity for the education it offered but conversion was still seen as almost treason like (Kiernan 1995:76). As previously mentioned by the turn of the 20th century Zulu society was experiencing a great crisis. There was now some kind of a benefit associated with conversion, as the current religious system was tied to a social system which was in ataxia (Kiernan 1995:75).

Nevertheless the Zulu would not be adhering en-masse to the Christianity that white missionaries gave them on the contrary they would be following uniquely African Christian movements. The Independent churches are expressions of African Christianity but they also provided alternative messages that showed a way out of the crisis that the Zulu were experiencing (Lawson 1984:46).

The most popular and influential of these new movements were generally Zionist churches although one church in particular, the Nazareth Baptist church, was especially significant. The Zionist churches known in Zulu as ama-ziyon, have their origin in Zion city, Illinois (Sundkler 1961:55). The Nazareth Baptist Church is also known as the Shembe church after its charismatic founder Zulu Prophet Isaiah Shembe (Lawson 1984:45).

The original reason why the independent churches began to secede from the Mission Churches, was the latter&rsquos generally reluctance to ordain Africans and the frustration this caused (1995:117). It was a further reminder to the Zulu people of their constrained autonomy. The chance to break away and form new movements presented an opportunity for the Zulu people to assert their right to self-government, if only on a religious basis. As Black trade unions were outlawed (Sundkler 1961:34) and no positions of civic or political leadership were allowed, religion presented the opportunity of self-leadership in some form (Sundkler 1961:100).

In the case of the Zionist Churches this can be taken a step further, they allowed for the imitation of the strong leadership once exhibited by Zulu Kings. The bishops and presidents of the churches modelled themselves on Zulu Kingship patterns (Sundkler 1961:58). Additionally the relationships between the church and its followers echoed the relationship between king and nation (Sundkler 1961:102). The Zionist churches also allowed Zulu chiefs to &lsquocraft new narratives of political legitimacy&rsquo in an age where they had little practical ruling power (Cabrita 2010:21).

The izibongo chiefly praises of the past seemed wildly distant in the face of defeat instead, Zulu Pride was kept alive through hymns (Cabrita 2010:24). Although the Zulu Kingdom had fallen, patriotism could still be kept alive through a binding religion (Cabrita 2010:21).

Thus, the Zionist Churches were a retreat and a reminder of a noble history (Sundkler 1961:102). The independent Churches also tended to have a revolutionary element (Lawson 1984:47). New religious movements have served as vessels for political intentions such as the demand for independence, equality, freedom and nationhood (Lawson 1984:7). One can also note the significance of religion in the history of the &lsquostruggle or liberation&rsquo (heuser 2005:363). Cabrita (2010:22) indicates that Isaiah Shembe had nationalist aspirations for the Church, which is clearly exhibited in Church literature such as hymn 17 which poignantly urges political action &lsquothey wanted to take away, the kingship of ancient times, wake up wake up, you Africans&rsquo (Gunner 2002:30).

As a result, many including the apartheid government who set out to clamp down on independent movements, saw the church as little more than a &lsquopolitical movement in religious garb&rsquo (Lawson 1984:7). Although this is an over-simplistic view of the independent Churches, one cannot ignore the political effects of the movements. The Zionist churches provided Zulu society with a new means to economic advancement through the taboos it preached. Sundkler (1976:43) quotes Mrs La Roux, the wife of P.L. Le Roux, who travelled with her missionary husband as part of the &lsquoapostolic faith mission&rsquo.

She writes in her journal &ldquotheir masters opposed us more because the native was paid with tobacco, now he would not accept it. He had to have money or clothes. Used to be slaves of drink and tobacco. Glory to God&rdquo. Instead of receiving items that were damaging such as tobacco, they now received things that could improve their lifestyle and possibly give them greater leverage. One can observe this a kind of &lsquowaking up&rsquo for the Zulu people, as described in the aforementioned hymn. They were &lsquowaking up&rsquo to their role in a capitalist economy. In this way Zionism was a bold challenge to the social, economic system and political that had been imposed on them (Sundkler 1976:43).

One central feature of Zionist dogma is the focus on the apocalypse that is the imminent return of Jesus, who will right all wrongs and bring justice and salvation. Such apocalyptic visions were rife after the Boer War (Sundkler 1976:43-44). This is significant as the Zulu had found themselves lacking any earthly hope (Sundkler 1976:311).This is illustrated in hymn 21 of the Shembe Church &lsquothe cry of desolation&rsquo which is to be understood in the context isizwe esimnyama- the despair of the black nation trapped in oppression. &lsquoOur land is broken into pieces, not a soul lives in our homesteads, we are widows and orphans, oh Lord of the Sabbath, why have you deserted us?&rsquo (Gunner 2002:30).

It makes sense then that the Zulu began to look beyond this earthly plain and seek an explanation for their hardship. A Lord, who appears to have deserted them yet was posed to return and restore them to glory, not only provided such an explanation but also gave them hope of a justice beyond oppression. One can understand the popularity of the independent churches as playing a key role in the search for cultural authenticity and identity (Kirby 1994:57) The rise in the number of independent churches directly correlates with the harsh effects of the land legislation and it is notable that Witwatersrand, where the restrictions were strongest, became an epicentre of independent churches (Sundkler 1961:33-34). Continued on Next Page »


The Economic History of Haiti

Compared to the political history, the economic history of Haiti is relatively simple. The original economic basis for the Spanish colonies on Hispaniola was sugar plantations. The French continued the sugar economy and introduced coffee. There were other plantation crops grown such as cotton and cacao for chocolate but it was sugar and coffee that were the most important. Under the French plantation system, based upon slave labor, Haiti was an enormously profitable operation. The Haitian sugar economy was in competition with the northeast region of Brazil, which previously had been the major source of sugar for Europe. The French sugar and coffee operations in Haiti were so productive that its exports to Europe were comparable and perhaps exceeded the total exports of the British North American colonies.

After the battles associated with independence there was some attempts to retain the large scale plantation agriculture of the colonial period but that effort was doomed. Land was distributed into small scale farms but these units devoted only a fraction of their resources to growing export crops like sugar and coffee. Often the output is consumed domestically and there are no exports of sugar or coffee.

In the latter part of the 20th century tourism became an important element of the economic base of Haiti. But the political instability and the public's association of Haiti with AIDS severely crippled the Haitian tourism industry.

In recent decades the low wage rates of Haiti have attracted manufacturing assembly operations. Haiti is one of the few countries that has pay scales low enough to compete with China.

The development of manufacturing assembly operations in Haiti was helped greatly by changes in the tariff rules that allowed Haitian operations to function much like the maquilidoras of the U.S.-Mexican border areas where the products assembled from material from U.S. sources could re-enter the U.S. without duties being charged.


We live in an increasingly volatile world, where change is the only constant.

Businesses, too, face rapidly changing environments and associated risks that they need to adapt to—or risk falling behind. These can range from supply chain issues due to shipping blockages, to disruptions from natural catastrophes.

As countries and companies continue to grapple with the effects of the pandemic, nearly 3,000 risk management experts were surveyed for the Allianz Risk Barometer, uncovering the top 10 business risks that leaders must watch out for in 2021.


The 1900s Government, Politics, and Law: Overview

American society was rapidly transforming at the dawn of the new century. The country as a whole was moving away from a rural agriculture-based lifestyle to an urban industrial economy. During the years 1900 to 1909, over eight million immigrants poured into the United States in search of jobs and opportunity. Less than fifty years before the turn of the century, five out of six Americans lived on a farm. By 1910, almost 50 percent of Americans resided in cities. These great cultural shifts provided the nation with many economic and political challenges throughout the 1900s.

As the nation became increasingly industrialized, the economy came under greater control of large corporations, which were overseen by a relatively few powerful executives. For example, by 1906 seven men controlled 85 percent of America's railroads. The federal government of this era favored a "laissez-faire" ("hands-off") economic policy that stated business should not be overly regulated by the state. Beginning in the late nineteenth century, corporations started to organize "trusts," or holding companies. Trusts were formed by businesses joining together to acquire stock and ultimately control their entire sector of the economy. Among the period's strongest trusts were those in the oil, gas, railroad, and meat-packing industries. Since they were largely free of government interference, trusts often treated their workers poorly, demanding that they labor for long hours at meager wages.

The push for reforming both the economic and political spheres grew during the 1900s, as citizens from all walks of life—farmers, factory workers, businessmen, settlement house workers, populists, socialists, and anarchists—began to demand changes in the manner in which the nation was operated. There were many calls to end government corruption at the local, state, and federal levels. Major American corporations were also targets for the reformers, who publicly complained about poor working conditions and child labor. More than five hundred thousand Americans were injured on the job each year and thirty thousand died in unsafe factories and mines. The workers' dissatisfaction was spread throughout the nation by "muckraking" journalists (reporters who wrote colorful stories about problems in the world of business), who saw it as their duty to expose the harsh treatment of American labor at the hands of corporate leaders. The government responded to these investigations by enacting numerous laws guaranteeing better treatment of employees and increasing product safety to protect the public. It was not only journalists who exposed the plight of industrial laborers, but also unions such as the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), which organized to demand better treatment from their employers. Strikes became more common, and violence often erupted as business leaders and government officials sent in troops to forcefully end work stoppages. The clashes between labor and management were fierce, as labor grew more radical due to the influences of socialist members who saw the capitalist system as corrupt. (Socialists believed that workers should control all elements of the workplace and that every worker should benefit equally.)

The Supreme Court was slow to interfere in labor disputes at first. Gradually, however, the Court began to exert its power by reexamining the idea of interstate commerce. Throughout the decade the Court struggled with how to resolve the demands of business, which wanted to remain free of regulation to ensure economic progress, and labor, which sought to relieve the exploitation of the working class.

In many ways, America was a divided nation during the 1900s. Workers felt used and unappreciated by corporate executives. Immigrants often did not find the United States to be welcoming of their traditional customs, and they were told they must conform to the "American Way." The races were segregated in almost all respects. Blacks and whites did not attend the same schools or churches, and they rarely had any meaningful contact with one another. Many concerned citizens were aware of America's problems and were determined to reform much of the society. They worked to improve the nation's economic, political, and social ills.

The most significant political force of the century's first decade was President Theodore Roosevelt, who entered the White House in 1901 following the assassination of President William McKinley. During the late nineteenth century, the American presidency was a relatively weak office occupied by a number of bland politicians. Roosevelt was a dynamic figure who captured the nation's imagination with his vigorous physical presence and reforming spirit. He thrust himself into national and international issues and expanded American influence around the world. One of Roosevelt's most important policies was advocacy of environmental issues. As industry exploited America's land for its coal, iron ore, timber, and other raw materials, Roosevelt and fellow conservationists recognized that the environment was not abundantly plentiful and that the nation must protect its natural resources.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.


The Changing Face of Christian Politics

Looking back, 2013 is likely to be remembered as the final collapse of the old, confrontational Religious Right in favor of a less partisan, more pragmatic approach.

In the closing days of 2013, Representative Steve King summed up the year in religion and politics well. After a year in which Christian leaders and organizations mobilized to pressure Congress on immigration reform, King was ready to take off his gloves: "We might lose [the immigration] debate in this country because of the sympathy factor, and it's also added to by a lot of Christian groups who misread the scripture, and I'm happy to take on that debate with any one of those folks."

As a frequent speaker at "values voter" conferences, King must have felt odd positioning himself in direct opposition to Christians. Then again, 2013 was a year defined by Christian leaders seeking to realign themselves politically to meet the challenges of a new century and changing culture.

Christian political engagement is changing in this country as believers seek to untangle their faith from the worldliness of partisan politics and ideology. The melding of Christianity and partisan politics has been 40 years in the making, but the costs of that entanglement have only become clear to Christians over the last decade.

In response to changing cultural mores in the 1960s and '70s, religious leaders like the Reverend Jerry Falwell—who had previously spurned partisan political engagement—called Christians to "stand for what is right" through the acquisition of political power. "In a nation of primarily Christians," they reasoned, "why are we struggling to influence our nation's policy decisions?" Soon, Christians became aligned in practice and perception with the Republican Party, pursuing almost exclusively a one-party strategy for political victory.

In the 1980s and '90s, the power of the religious right was a defining feature of American politics. Ronald Reagan, a Republican, famously told a group of conservative Christians that "you can't endorse me, but I endorse you," the type of flattery that nearly gave his audience the vapors. Bill Clinton, a Democrat, ran for president making rhetorical concessions on the issue of abortion (it should be "safe, legal, and rare"), and while in office he signed the Defense of Marriage Act and made school uniforms a cause célèbre. But although Pat Buchanan and Pat Robertson influenced Republican presidential primaries as favorite candidates of the religious right, it was George W. Bush who finally cracked the glass ceiling and was elected as the first president leaders of the Religious Right could claim as "one of us."

But conservative Christians learned that the political power to elect a candidate is different than the political power to govern. Sure, the White House hosted James Dobson each year for what amounted to a "kissing of the ring" session to mark the National Day of Prayer that Dobson's wife Shirley established a non-profit to support. Bush called for a "culture of life" at major public forums, and made a push for a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage during his second term. Yet the substantive, lasting policy victories conservative Christians hoped for were not achieved: Abortion remained legal, no federal amendment to ban gay marriage passed, and school-sanctioned prayer time remained unconstitutional. Moreover, as the original leaders of the religious right moved out of leadership, the next generation of pro-GOP voices for conservative morality were not religious leaders, but political advocates: Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Ralph Reed, Tony Perkins (a former Louisiana state senator).

As George W. Bush's approval ratings plummeted during his second term, many Christians who had been invested in the Religious Right movement began to reconsider their partisan posture in politics. In my conversations with Christian leaders and voters, I've found that there are two common motivating factors for this change. First, the political issues that draw Christian concern go beyond what the political system has suggested. Christian organizations have supported issues like prisoner rehabilitation, international development, immigrant services, and healthcare for literally centuries in this country. The legacy of Christian political activism in America spans not just the culture wars, but America's founding, the abolition of slavery, and the advancement of civil rights. To Christian leaders, and many Christians themselves, it was incomprehensible that they came to occupy such a small space of our political discourse. How could it be that they could elect a nation's president, but lose its politics?

But Christians also faced a similar and still more pressing question: How could it be that they could elect a nation's president, but lose its people?

Two books in the late 2000s helped answer that question. In 2007, Unchristian, a book written by Gabe Lyons and David Kinnaman based on original research, sent shockwaves through the church that continue to resonate. They found that young non-Christians have profoundly negative views of Christians. For instance, among 16- to 29-year-old non-Christians, Christians were viewed as "anti-gay" (91 percent), judgmental (87 percent), hypocritical (85 percent), sheltered (78 percent) and—surprise—"too political" (75 percent). In 2010, respected academics David Campbell and Robert Putnam's landmark book, American Grace, concluded that partisan politics was directly to blame for the rise of religiously unaffiliated Americans. "The growth of the nones," Campbell argued, "is a direct reaction to the intermingling of religion and politics in the United States." Jonathan Merritt was more blunt in his assessment of the impact of a partisan faith: "As American Evangelicals have become more partisan, American Christianity has suffered as more shy away from the faith."

For Christians, this research confirmed what they were experiencing in their own lives: an open antagonism in the culture toward Christian ideas and doctrine a sudden change in conversations when they mentioned their faith the assumption of their politics that came with a knowledge of their faith the sudden need to make clear that they were "not that kind of Christian." Pastors increasingly found that a partisan politics was pushing people away from faith and causing tension among those in their churches. Things had to change.

The posture of Christians in politics that has begun to emerge in the wake of this realization is, well, otherworldly. These Christian leaders tend to be younger—Millennials and Gen-Xers—but you can find baby boomers in their midst. Most of these leaders are new to the scene, but their role models are older leaders who have been able to recalibrate and adjust their approach as the times have changed. They are pastors in America's cities and suburbs where they serve at the bleeding edge of our society's most pressing challenges, but they are also entrepreneurs, artists and politicians. They seek influence, but their ultimate commitment is faithfulness. They have their political preferences, but they're willing to work with anyone. And they're willing to disagree with anyone.

I worked with this type of Christian leader when I worked in the White House faith-based initiative during President Obama's first term. Regardless of the party that received their vote on Election Day, Christian leaders took fire from their traditional partisan allies to work with the Obama Administration on issues like protecting the social safety net, supporting fatherhood, strengthening adoption, and combating human trafficking. Congress's bipartisan passage of the Fair Sentencing Act of 2011 would not have been possible without religious support, and any congressional act on voting rights in the wake of the Supreme Court's decision is unlikely without the support of these Christians. And Christian leaders have been among the most outspoken advocates for immigration reform as well, as I wrote last summer, and as Steve King learned for himself.

This model is exemplified by the evangelicals who worked with Sam Adams--the first openly gay mayor of Portland, Oregon—to create the Summer of Service, which Adams has called the most successful endeavor of his time in office. As Kevin Palau, one of the leaders of the Portland partnership, told The New York Times: "Young evangelicals absolutely want their faith to be relevant .… The world they grew up in and got tired of was the media portrait of evangelicals are against you, or evangelicals even hate you. Young evangelicals are saying, 'Surely we want to be known by what we're for.'"

This idea that Christians should be known what they are for is now a common one. You'll hear it in conferences and church sermons, not just from intellectual leaders, but from pastors at the grassroots. It is a rallying cry especially for younger Christians—their corrective response to the more strident, oppositional faith of the previous generation.

It is also at the heart of Christians' love affair with Pope Francis: This pope is known by what he is for. Just about everyone loves Pope Francis so far. He's polling at 88 percent among all Americans. He was named Person of the Year not only by Time but also by quoted Francis as part of his case against income inequality, and Obama's former chief speechwriter, Jon Favreau, recently wrote a glowing column praising the pope as "the most hopeful development for world affairs in 2014."

But for Christians, particularly those who feel religion's influence in this country is slipping—as a vast majority of both believers and non-believers do—Pope Francis offers something of a test case: Can Christians still thrive in the American public square while continuing to hold to the basic tenets of their faith?

Yes, Francis is the pope who washes the feet of Muslim girls who expresses humility first when presented with the opportunity of judging a person, gay or straight who sneaks out at night to serve the poor—but he is also consistent with traditional Catholic doctrine on homosexuality, women in Church leadership, reproductive issues, and other topics that have brought the Church under criticism in recent years. As Nancy Gibbs suggested in Time, the pope "has not changed the words, but he's changed the music."

However, changing the music may not be enough: attempts to box Pope Francis in have already begun. A close ally of the pope recently spoke out against "manipulation" by the media of statements the pope has made to suggest a break from Catholic doctrine. In The Washington Post, Max Fisher suggested the pope has "preferred symbolic gestures" over "productive diplomacy." A Salon columnist faulted his encyclical on economic justice for not including support for gay marriage and an endorsement of accepting women in the priesthood. As Francis's honeymoon potentially comes to a close, what happens if the pope's policies do not conform to expectations?

These questions aside, it is the case that in 2013, for the first time in decades, the loudest Christian voices were the peacemakers. The hopeful. The grace-givers. Sure, the same-old people who profit from conflict still have their megaphones, but they are starting to be drowned out by those who prefer partnership to opposition and conversation to screeds. And though important internal debates are happening among Christian leaders and in small groups across the country, it is important to note that many of the voices taking this new posture (like Francis) still believe the same fundamental things about Christian doctrine.

So what does this new Christian political posture mean for the culture wars? The last big dust-up of 2013 offers a glimpse. When Duck Dynasty's Phil Robertson made his incendiary remarks in an interview with GQ, one would have to be forgiven for expecting that we were about to have another "Christians vs. gays" battle in the culture wars. And, certainly, there was some of that. But the aftermath also showed the beginnings of a third way, a 21st-century common ground. Some of the most representative Christian articles and blogs on the subject were encouraging introspection on the part of Christians, such as Jen Hatmaker's call for Christians to be "peacemakers" (not habitual culture warriors), and Rebekah Lyons' post on the importance of the words we use, and Christians' need to be "messengers of peace." Wesley Hill's post for First Things, a staple conservative publication, was probably the most surprising and incisive, as he wrote: "… just because someone quotes 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 and is opposed to same-sex marriage doesn't mean that they're speaking up for a theologically informed, humane, pastorally sensitive view of what it means to be gay."

There were also surprising voices questioning A&E's decision to suspend Robertson. LGBT writer Brandon Ambrosino wrote for Time on the bigotry of the reaction to Phil's remarks. "Why," he asked, "is our go-to political strategy for beating our opponents to silence them? Why do we dismiss, rather than engage them?" CNN's Don Lemon—who is gay and has spoken out passionately on air against homophobia and discrimination in the past—also said on air that he opposed firing Robertson. More than the headlines would suggest, many people with different views on LGBT rights came to agree that ending a conversation is vastly different from winning an argument.

During the string of retrospectives that greeted the new year, many named 2013 the year of a progressive renaissance. From the continued rise of the religiously unaffiliated, to the progress of marriage equality as a political and cultural force, and the election of Bill de Blasio, many observers have suggested we're entering a new and more liberal era: The old ideas have been tried, found wanting, and Americans are now ready to discard them, we've been told.

Even for those who would welcome a new, enduring progressive era, declaring one does not make it so. I believe the story of 2013 was different. Rather than discarding old ideas, Christians returned to the basics, shedding some of the political baggage and layers of allegiances gained in the previous century to return to their most fundamental allegiance: to Jesus and to people. They are reaching for a new equilibrium between the prophetic and the pastoral, between mercy and justice, the aspiration of holiness and the free gift of grace.

A clear example of this new kind of public posture is the Imago Dei Campaign launched last month by evangelical organizations like Focus on the Family, the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, Liberty University's Mat Staver, and Roma Downey and Mark Burnett, producers of the History Channel's The Bible, among others. The Imago Dei (latin for "image of God") website declares, "For the image of God exists in all human beings: black and white rich and poor straight and gay conservative and liberal victim and perpetrator citizen and undocumented believer and unbeliever."

As Elizabeth Dias reported in Time, the campaign is an effort to "erode the culture war battle lines that have helped define evangelical discourse for the better part of half a century." It amounts to an admission of sorts on behalf of evangelicals. That they feel they have to launch a campaign to reaffirm a doctrine as old as the book of Genesis, suggests evangelicals have allowed this fundamental principle to become obscured. Like Pope Francis's statements, Imago Dei does not accede on issues like gay marriage—it even reaffirms the view that abortion is immoral—but it does express a new humility, a new acceptance, that would have never occurred under the old partisan paradigm. It offers a pathway for dialogue and persuasion: If gay people are to be afforded dignity as those made in the image of God, what does this require of our rhetoric? What does it require of our laws?

The question for 2014 is whether political and cultural forces will support or undermine this new equilibrium. Will Christian humility on controversial issues be welcomed, or will a full renouncement of their beliefs be demanded? Can our politics build upon the unlikely alliances of the immigration-reform movement to continue relationships on areas of common ground, or will we force groups into boxes using ideological litmus tests? Can we insist on a truly inclusive America, or will parochial interests and short-term political battles distract us?

I think we will look back at 2013 as a turning point in the Christian project to live out and project a holistic, positive, and hopeful faith. It was a year of establishing new norms, in religious life and in the life of our nation. 2014 will be about how we negotiate living with this new normal. A Christianity that seeks to unilaterally impose itself on the nation is unlikely be fruitful, but it is similarly unrealistic and unproductive to force a secular morality on believers.

What will be required of our political and religious leadership in this year is not diversity alone, but an understanding of diverse groups of people, with the knowledge that neither women nor men, gay people or straight, black, white, Latino, native, nor any other ethnicity or race, religious nor atheist—none of these various segments of the American population are going away. We need leaders, and people to support them, who recognize that the question for this century is not "how do I win?" but "how can we live together?" For Christians and for all Americans, answering this question should be the central political project for 2014 and beyond.


Watch the video: Γιώργος Καραμπελιάς: Η συμμαχία Ελλάδας - Γαλλίας είναι καταλύτης μεγάλων αλλαγών στη Δύση (January 2022).