Today, most people live in societies where the power of the state is omnipresent, and the rule of law is taken for granted. From time to time throughout history, however, that power has slipped, and violent unrest, rioting, or outright rebellion came to rule the day. Sometimes the unrest is caused by serious unaddressed grievances and injustices. Other times, it is the result of silly frivolity. Following are thirty things about some of history’s more fascinating bouts of violent unrest.
30. Today, Britain is America’s Closest Ally, But it Was Not Always So
Today, Canada might be the United States’ closest partner, but for more than a century, Britain has been America’s greatest ally. Whether taking on the Kaiser in World War I, Hitler and Tojo in World War II, or Saddam Hussein and the Taliban more recently, British and American troops have fought side by side around the globe. The result has been powerful and enduring geopolitical links that well deserve the designation of a “special relationship” between the two countries. It was not always so.
In the nineteenth century, things were often heated. A track record that included the Revolutionary War, the War of 1812 when Redcoats torched the White House, and the Civil War, when Britain got too friendly with the Rebels, left a sour taste in American mouths. One of the odder manifestations of popular anti-British sentiment occurred in 1849, when New York City was swept by deadly unrest and rioting over – of all things – the question of whether the best Shakespearean actor was American or British.