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Amulet containing passages from the Qur’an, worn by Muslim slaves who rioted in Bahia, Brazil  

João José Reis

Although slavery was not abolished in Brazil until 1888, slave revolts were frequent and remarkable for their ambitions, success, and diversity of participating elements. Two urban revolts ... More

“Dedication to tallyrand,” Vindication of the Rights of Women  

Mary Wollstonecraft

The British activist Mary Wollstonecraft (1759–1797), mother of author Mary Shelley and the bearer of a tainted reputation, wrote a letter called “Vindication of the Rights of Man” (1790) ... More

Imperial Edict of the Rose Garden  

Ottoman government

With a change of Ottoman sultans in 1839, the government issued the Rose Garden Edict, the first of three reform edicts which are collectively known as the Tanzimat (reorganizations). With ... More

The Life of the Sudanese Mahdi  

Ismail ibn ‘Abd al-Qadir

The religiously inspired uprising against the British in Sudan during the 1880s is associated with the figure of the self-styled “Mahdi.” However, the primary motivation of Muhammad Ahmad ... More

“Memorandum to the Bakufu”  

Tokugawa Nariaki

Tokugawa Nariaki (1800–1860) was one of the leading Japanese political and military leaders of the nineteenth century. As possessor of the Mito territories, he was one of the most powerful ... More


Ernst Renan

Ernst Renan (1823–1892) was one of the leaders of the “Higher Criticism” school of religious scholarship, and his Life of Jesus (1863) is one of the best-known works of that school. This ... More

“Moral and Legal Rules,” Judaism and Islam  

Abraham Geiger

A German scholar and reforming rabbi, Abraham Geiger (1810–1874) examined the fundamental effects of Judaism on Christianity and Islam—even writing an award-winning essay entitled “What Has ... More

“On A Definition of Culture,” Culture and Anarchy  

Matthew Arnold

Matthew Arnold (1822–1888), the son of a famous English headmaster, grew up with a reforming mindset. He wove his Victorian concern for proper regulation and stability into poems and essays ... More

“On Sociability,” The Descent of Man, and Selection in Relation to Sex, 1871  

Charles Darwin

Charles Darwin (1809–1882), a British naturalist, propounded the theory of evolution in his famous work On the Origin of Species (1859). With this theory, Darwin launched a massive debate ... More

On the Spiritual Element in Art  

Wassily Kandinsky

Wassily Kandinsky is often credited with producing the first wholly abstract works of painting. He was born in Moscow, and after attending university in Odessa, he spent most of his adult ... More

The Origin of Species  

Charles Darwin

The name of Charles Darwin (1809–1882) is inextricably linked to the earth-shattering and (even today) controversial theory he proposed in 1859. However, it is also important to remember ... More

Our Country  

Josiah Strong

Josiah Strong (1847–1916) was an eminent Congregationalist minister, head of the influential American Evangelical Alliance, and a leading spokesman of a movement for social activism among ... More

Proclamation of the Boxers United in Righteousness  

Boxers United in Righteousness

The nineteenth century saw an accumulation of disasters for China. In two Opium Wars in the 1840s and 1850s, British invasion forced the trade concessions demanded earlier. These conflicts ... More

Travels in the United States in 1847  

Domingo Faustino Sarmiento

The journalist and eventual Argentine president Domingo Faustino Sarmiento (1811–1888) is most famous today for his novel Facundo: Civilization and Barbarism (1845), a sharp and daring ... More

“Wage Labour and Capital”  

Karl Marx

Karl Marx (1818–1883) and Friedrich Engels (1820–1895) are best known for their collaborative work The Communist Manifesto (1848). However, the two had been observing the real consequences ... More

What Is to Be Done?  

Nikolai Chernyshevsky

The novelist Nikolai Chernyshevsky (1828–1889) believed that even the emancipation of serfs was insufficient to reform Russian society, since its authoritarian and patriarchal institutions ... More

Writings of Bahá’u’lláh  


In 1844 a young merchant from Shiraz in Persia began to teach a new faith, and he was given the title of the Báb (“the Gate”). Preaching against the hypocrisy of Muslim religious leaders, ... More