the Albigensian crusadeNot many people have heard of the Albigensian Crusade, but if you have, you know that this event was much like a real-life episode of Game of Thrones. Here are 10 things you didn’t know about the Albigensian Crusade.

    1. The crusade began in 1209
      The Albigensian Crusade was a 20-year-long endeavor, lasting from 1209 until 1229.
    2. Pope Innocent III started the crusade against the Cathars
      The Cathars were a religious group that rejected the traditional Roman Catholic Church. They committed themselves to the Cathari religious movement, which dominated southern France in the 1200s. The Cathars believed in a dualistic cosmology that partially adapted Catholic thought into a religion of their own and was thus considered heretical.
    3. The Albigensian Crusade took place in southern France
      The geographical scope of the crusade stretched across southern France: Avignon, Castelsarrasin, Termes and Toulouse.
    4. Catharism was virtually eliminated
      The crusade eventually eradicated Catharism by the end of the 13th century.
    5. Crusaders were instructed to have no mercy and no discretion
      During the capture of Béziers, a key Cathar territory in southern France, the papal legate was asked how to distinguish between Cathars and Christians, and allegedly responded “Kill them all. God will know his own.” Everyone in the south of France was at risk of being considered a heretic simply because of where they lived.
    6. Crusaders believed in “crusade indulgence”
      It was believed that “crusade indulgence” officially absolved sins and ensured that no punishment would be issued in the afterlife. The Albigensian Crusade was very popular among soldiers because they believed their sins would be forgiven for taking part in the crusade.
    7. The crusades morphed into a holy war
      By the 12th century, crusading was dedicated to removing religious diversity. The Roman Catholic Church considered the practice of other religions a threat to human salvation. Crusades branched out from those against Muslims and pagans in the Baltic region to the perceived threat of the Cathars.
    8. Pope Innocent III started the crusade but didn’t finish it
      After spearheading the crusade, Pope Innocent III was murdered while trying to recruit an ally. It is generally believed that the count of Toulouse, Raymond VI, murdered the pope after he tried to recruit the count to join the war effort.
    9. Royal intervention ended the crusade in 1229
      Despite papal inception, King Louis VIII brought the Albigensian Crusade to an end in 1229 after officially restoring control over the region.
    10. There were over one million deaths
      It is estimated that at least one million innocent lives were lost throughout the course of the 20-year crusade. Some Cathars were even burned at the stake.

Even though the Albigensian Crusade came to an end in 1229, it led to further persecution of heretics in the following century, including the infamous Spanish Inquisition and various other crusades. Though they occurred many centuries ago, these persecutions and deaths are part of the numerous human rights violations that have taken place throughout history.

Sloan Bousselaire

Photo: Google

History of RefugeesWhile it is apparent there has been an increase in refugee traffic over the last few decades, the history of refugees extends much farther back in time. There are some important messages contained within these mass movements that can help explain why refugees are displaced to begin with, what human rights refugees have, why it has been challenging to integrate refugees into society once displaced and the major social advantages in doing so. Furthermore, the history of refugee movements is not localized to any single region, but rather it is a global crisis that involves every member of the planet.

A common question is whether an individual is a migrant or a refugee, and the difference is force versus choice. Being a refugee means having been forcibly pushed out of a community or home, usually by violent means. On the other hand, a migrant makes the conscious decision to leave one’s home and seek a better life. However, these words have recently been used more interchangeably, which has led to failures in international treaties, in the view of government intervention and in the role of the public at large in amending refugee crises.

Upon investigating the definitions of refugee and migrant, there are several examples of forced movements of groups of people throughout history. The post-war movement following WWII has been one of the largest in history, coming second to present-day examples in the Middle East. The WWII refugee movement spawned several ideas surrounding the human rights of refugees, most importantly, the Common Asylum System out of the Geneva Convention. This grants international protection to anyone that meets the criteria of a refugee. However, current political structures and views of refugee-receiving nations have been less than ideal despite treaties that grant asylum, which has perpetuated poverty crises and large death tolls.

It is important to learn from the history of refugees the facts and lessons surrounding current and future refugee movements. The major factors leading to these movements are poverty and political corruption, whether from the government or from radical groups. However, the most important takeaway is of human rights for the innocent, usually dynamic members of society who are willing to integrate into safer living situations and have proved to be productive and non-violent in their new homes.

Casey Hess

Photo: Flickr

History of Foreign Aid
The evolution of modern foreign aid efforts and expectations was not an overnight process. After centuries of progress, the concept of foreign aid transformed the from a military strategy to a humanitarian mindset. Below is a timeline of the history of foreign aid.


History of Foreign Aid


18th Century: Beginning as a means to hold leverage and ensure loyalty, Frederick the Great of Prussia began providing assistance to less affluent countries. Consequently, this allowed his own people to feel confident that they had the military backing of these allies.


19th and Early 20th Centuries: The European superpowers gave large amounts of money in aid to their colonies as a strategy to improve infrastructure and increase economic efficiency.


1947: The first major act of foreign aid arrives with the Marshall Plan. Following World War II, the U.S. funded over $13 billion to assist in the reconstruction of Europe. This plan also led to the development of the World Bank, IMF (International Monetary Fund) and the United Nations.


1956: The amount of United States foreign aid continued to increase after the success of the Marshall Plan. In addition, the Cold War caused the Soviet Union to use foreign aid as a tactic to gain support at home.


1960s: Japan produced an extensive foreign aid program. Additionally, Robert McNamara became the head of the World Bank in 1968 and began promoting the idea of providing aid to developing countries in the forms of health, education and sanitation. People began discussing foreign aid as an issue of morality.


The 1980s: Due to the economic setbacks following the recession in the 1970s, foreign aid slowed down during this time period. Economies needed to be restructured and that left less money for social improvement.


The 1990s: The Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, and this reestablished democratic values in many countries. Philanthropists such as Bill Gates and George Soros initiated developmental projects, drawing attention to the global need.


The Present: Since then, the World Bank has established two sets of millennium goals to end poverty, with the most recent deadline in 2030. The resources given and countries involved are the greatest in the history of foreign aid.


Although foreign aid has grown exponentially over the last century, there is still massive need that overpowers much of the world. However, organizations are working to increase the budget for foreign assistance and put an end to poverty once and for all.

Emily Trosclair

Photo: Flickr

Civil wars are scattered throughout world history as power struggles that have torn governments apart. From the U.S. in the 19th century, to Spain, Korea and Vietnam in the 20th century, the division of power in a country is nothing new. Usually, that division is split between two sides, north and south. Going back almost two thousand years, the Three Kingdoms’ War was unique for featuring a three-way tie for power. Here are 10 facts about the Three Kingdoms’ War:

    1. The Three Kingdoms’ War took place in China, ultimately driving the country into three warring regions as they engaged in a makeshift civil war.
    2. The Three Kingdom’s War took place between the Han Dynasty and the Jin Dynasty, starting in the year 220 AD and lasting until 280 AD.
    3. Although the Three Kingdom’s War lasted for a period of 60 years, the origins of the conflicts go back further than 220 AD, to 189 AD. At that time, the Han emperor died and a young emperor was placed on the throne.
    4. Many generals were unhappy with the new emperor and were dismayed at the influence that eunuchs had in the role of government. The young emperor was eventually ousted and replaced, but the fighting and political tension continued to grow. Civil wars broke out and divided the country into three kingdoms.
    5. The Three Kingdoms were the Wei Kingdom, the Shu Kingdom and the Wu Kingdom. The Wei Kingdom was led by Cao Pi, who controlled the northern part of China; the Shu Kingdom was led by Liu Bein, who controlled the southwestern part of China; and the Wu Kingdom was led by Sun Quan, who controlled the southeastern part of China.
    6. Of the Three Kingdoms, the Wei Kingdom had the strongest military. Located north of the Yangtze (Yellow) River, the Wei Kingdom was unable to conquer the other two kingdoms. The two kingdoms in the south, the Shu and Wu, formed an alliance out of military strategy to keep the Wei contained to the north.
    7. The Wei Kingdom was overthrown as the Jin Dynasty emerged in 265 AD. After conquering the north, they turned their sights south and gradually took over the Shu and Wu kingdoms, declaring victory in 280 AD. The Jin dynasty lasted until 420 AD.
    8. This period of fighting was responsible for one of the deadliest periods in China’s history. During the Han Empire, China boasted a population of 54 million, but during the Jin Empire, their population fell to 16 million. This population loss was a result of ongoing fighting and internal displacement brought on by war.
    9. Despite the fighting and death tolls, innovation thrived. This period is credited with the invention of gunpowder for weaponry. Additionally, irrigation systems were updated while shipbuilding increased to meet the demands of the trade from the growing Silk Route.
    10. The history of the war was immortalized in the book The Romance of the Three Kingdoms. This popular historical fiction was written by Luo Guan Zhong. The exact publication year is unknown but is speculated to have been written between 1279 and 1644.

Jeffery Silvey

Photo: Flickr

War is often not discreet, pretty or humane. War tends to ravage countries, level cities and devastate families. War is abusive, destructive, and aggressive; but war looks for solutions. War is the last means to an end, the final attempt to solve a problem that no other solution has been able to solve. That being said, war involves everyone, from soldiers and sailors to mothers and children. The death toll can be high. Here is a list of the 10 largest wars fought on Earth based on the number of people who gave their lives fighting.

  1. The American Civil War from 1861 to 1865. This war was fought between the North (Union) and the South (Confederacy) based on issues surrounding slavery and extending the U.S. westward. According to a recent study by the Civil War Trust approximately 850,000 soldiers died due to “combat, accident, starvation, and disease during the Civil War.”
  2. The Soviet War in Afghanistan from 1979 to 1989. The Soviet Union occupied Afghanistan and attempted to support a pro-Soviet regime in Kabul. By means of taking over cities and highways, the Soviets quickly took control but the rebellion was immediate and widespread. During the course of the nine-year occupation an estimated total of nearly 1,125,000 Afghani civilians and troops, Mujahideen fighters and Soviet soldiers were killed.
  3. The Vietnam War from 1955 to 1975. The Vietnam War began as a result of the U.S.’s strategy to contain the spread of communism throughout the world during the Cold War. It is estimated that between the U.S. and its allies 64,000 lives were lost, between North Vietnam and its Communist allies 1.1 million lives were lost. As for civilian casualties, the official estimate is 2 million people. Totaling the death tally at just fewer than 3.2 million lives.
  4. The Napoleonic Wars from 1803 to 1815. Fought during Napoleon Bonaparte’s imperial rule over France as a means to extend his empire, this war resulted in over 6.5 million people dead.
  5. The Thirty Year’s War from 1618 to 1648. Based off of its name, this war raged on uninterrupted for thirty years, making it the longest continuous war in modern history. In total, including civilians, the death toll was 8 million.
  6. Taiping Rebellion from 1850-1864. The Taiping Rebellion was a “radical political and religious upheaval that was…the most important event in Chino in the 19th century.” And according to Britannica, it claimed at least 20 million lives.
  7. The Second Sino-Japanese War from 1937 to 1945. This war fought between China and Japan before and during World War II resulted in nearly 23 million lives.
  8. World War I from 1914 to 1918. After the assassination of Franz Ferdinand set off a chain of events that lead to the “Great War,” the end result in lives lost on both Allied and Central Powers sides was 37 million.
  9. The Mongol Conquests from 1206 to 1368. This war resulted in not only the significant expansion of the Mongol Empire but also the loss of 60 million lives.
  10. World War II from 1938 to 1945. WWII touched every corner of the Earth. That is why it is highest on this list of 10 largest wars. Every continent and ocean were involved in some way or another resulting in the staggering death total of 72,468,900 lives lost.

War can positively bolster the economy and national pride. Larger empires can exploit their gains to solve political issues. However, the notion of war is a dark one and this list of the 10 largest wars demonstrates that even if there is light at its end, the devastation and loss of life are unfortunate consequences to achieve peace.

Karyn Adams

Photo: Flickr

Worst Wars in History
War is a terrible phenomenon and one can uncover multiple layers of evil when evaluating just how bad a war is. One way to compare wars in history is to look at the loss of life during each war. Using that calculation, the worst wars in history become horrifically obvious.

Seven of the Worst Wars in History:

1. The Napoleonic Wars (1803-1815) – Between 3.5 and 6 million people were killed in the wars Napoleon Bonaparte waged in the early 19th century. The Napoleonic Wars were some of the worst wars in history partly because of the widespread use of mass conscription, which was applied at an unprecedented scale during this war.

2. The Russian Civil War (1917-1922) – Some five to nine million people died in the Russian Civil War, which took place in the years that followed the collapse of the Russian Empire and the death of the last Russian Czar.

3. World War I (1914-1918) – An estimated 20 million people were killed in the first World War, then also known as the Great War. Erupting in Europe after the death of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, World War I is one of the worst wars in history partially because it was among the first wars to have been fought using modern warfare tactics. Up until then, no one had ever seen a war of such scale, and the resulting trauma rippled through several generations.

4. An Lushan Rebellion (755-763 AD) – The An Lushan Rebellion happened in the Chinese Tang Dynasty when a Tang general established a rival dynasty in the North. Despite some disagreements about the reliability of the census system during the time, experts estimate between 13 and 36 million casualties.

5. Qing Dynasty Conquest of the Ming (1618-1683) – The Qing Dynasty is known for being the last of the old Chinese dynasties before the beginning of the Republic, but an estimated 25 million people died in the Conquest of the Ming before the Qing Dynasty began.

6. Taiping Rebellion (1850) – During the Taiping Rebellion, a convert to Christianity named Hong Xiquan led a rebellion against the Manchu Qing Dynasty, during which anywhere between 20 to 100 million people (mostly civilians) were killed.

7. World War II (1938-1945) – With a death toll between 40 and 85 million, the Second World War was the deadliest and worst war in history. Experts estimate with such a high death toll, about three percent of the world’s population in 1940 died.

While the wars listed above are some of the worst wars in history, one must be careful not to forget that deadly wars are being fought today all around the globe as well. These may be the worst wars in history, but who’s to say that the worst war of all isn’t one being fought right now?

Mary Grace Costa

Photo: Flickr

10 Deadly Wars
There is sufficient evidence to suggest that war causes and exacerbates poverty. It results in damage to infrastructure, breaks up communities and leads to the injury and death of countless people. Here is a list of 10 deadly wars that did just that:

  1. Second Congo War — 5.4 million deaths. It began in 1998, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), and it lasted until 2003. Eight other African nations were drawn into the fight, and the cause included local disputes over land and resources. It also claimed the life of DRC President Laurent-Desire Kabila in 2001.
  2. Iran-Iraq War — 1.5 million deaths. In September 1980, Iraq invaded Khuzestan and Iran under Saddam Hussein’s dictatorship. This deadly war lasted nearly eight years. It ended in July 1988, after U.N. Resolution 598 was accepted. However, this resolution was not reached before many casualties and billions of dollars in damages.
  3. Vietnam War — 3 million + deaths. This war began in 1954 but did not end until 1975. It involved North Vietnam and its southern allies, the Viet Cong, fighting against South Vietnam and the United States. North Vietnam wanted to unite the whole country under a communist regime, and in 1976 they succeeded when the country was officially united as the Socialist Republic of Vietnam.
  4. World War II — 56.4 million deaths. Known as the deadliest war in history, World War II began in 1939 with Germany’s invasion of Poland, under the leadership of Adolf Hitler. It was a conflict that involved nearly every part of the world, until its end six deadly years later in September 1945.
  5. Second Sino-Japanese War — nearly 22 million deaths. The largest Asian war in the twentieth century was fought between the Republic of China and the Empire of Japan. It began in 1937, and ended in 1945 when Japan surrendered, shortly after an atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima by the United States.
  6. Chinese Civil War — 6 million deaths. This war started in 1927 when the Shanghai Massacre occurred, along with the collapse of the First United Front. In reality, the war ended in 1949 when the Chinese Communist Party was victorious in gaining control. However, because there was never a peace treaty signed, this war technically still continues today.
  7. Russian Civil War — 9.5 million deaths. A war that began in 1917 and ended in 1920, it consisted of the Red Army, fighting for the Bolsheviks, against the White Army, who were Anti-Bolshevik. The Bolsheviks was a communist political party, led by Vladimir Lenin.
  8. World War I — 35 million + deaths. A war centered in Europe, beginning in 1914 and ending in 1918. It was essentially Germany, Austria-Hungary and the Ottoman Empire (the Central Powers), against Great Britain, France, Russia, Italy and Japan (the Allied Powers). The United States joined the Allied Powers after 1917. At the time, it was thought to be the war to end all wars.
  9. Dungan Revolt — 8 to 10 million deaths. This religious war, which began in 1862 and lasted until 1877, took place in China. It was between the Hui people, who were primarily Muslim, and the Han people, an ethnic group native to East Asia. Actions from the generals of the Qing Dynasty brought the war to an end, without any real resolution to the conflict that started it.
  10. Taiping Rebellion — 20 million deaths. The Taiping Rebellion was started in 1850 by Hong Xiuquan, a man claiming to be the younger brother of Jesus Christ who said he had been sent to reform China. The rebellion ended in 1864, when the central government in China finally defeated Hong Xiuquan and his followers.

According to the World Development Report 2011: Conflict, Security and Development, “interstate and civil wars have declined since peaking in the early 1990s.” However, one in four people in this world still, “live in fragile and conflict-affected states or in countries with very high levels of criminal violence.” The 10 deadly wars listed here are an important part of history, but modern violence does not always come in the form of a typical war. Its consequences, though, are very much the same. It is essential for world leaders to recognize this change so they may effectively deal with the problem.

Kristin Westad

Photo: Flickr

what causes global poverty
As governments, aid workers and activists search for solutions to the urgent problem of widespread poverty and seek to combat its many negative effects, there is a need to identify the causes of poverty in order to create sustainable change. Understanding what causes global poverty is a crucial part of the process of devising and implementing effective solutions.

Most analysts would agree that there is no single root cause of all poverty everywhere throughout human history. However, even taking into account the individual histories and circumstances of particular countries and regions, there are significant trends in the causes of poverty.


Top 5 Causes of Poverty


  1. History
    Many of the poorest nations in the world were former colonies from which slaves and resources had been systematically extracted for the benefit of colonizing countries. Although there are notable exceptions (Australia, Canada and the U.S. being perhaps the most prominent), for most of these former colonies, colonialism and its legacies have helped create the conditions that prevent many people from accessing land, capital, education and other resources that allow people to support themselves adequately. In these nations, poverty is one legacy of a troubled history involving conquest.
  2. War & political instability
    Whatever the causes of war and political upheaval, it is clear that safety, stability and security are essential for subsistence and, beyond that, economic prosperity and growth. Without these basics, natural resources cannot be harnessed individually or collectively, and no amount of education, talent or technological know-how will allow people to work and reap the benefits of their labor. Laws are needed to protect rights, property and investments, and without legal protections, farmers, would-be entrepreneurs and business owners cannot safely invest in a country’s economy. It is a telling sign that the poorest countries in the world have all experienced civil war and serious political upheaval at some point in the 20th century, and many of them have weak governments that cannot or do not protect people against violence.
  3. National Debt
    Many poor countries carry significant debt due to loans from wealthier nations and international financial institutions. Poorer nations owe an average of $2.30 in debt for every $1 received in grant aid. In addition, structural adjustment policies by organizations like the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund often require poorer nations to open their markets to outside business and investors, thereby increasing competition with local businesses and, many argue, undermining the potential development of local economies. In recent years, calls for debt reduction and forgiveness have been increasing, as activists see this as a key means of reducing poverty. The United Nations has also made it a priority to examine how economic structural adjustment policies can be designed to place less pressure on vulnerable populations.
  4. Discrimination and social inequality
    Poverty and inequality are two different things, but inequality can feed widespread poverty by barring groups with lower social status from accessing the tools and resources to support themselves. According to the United Nations Social Policy and Development Division, “inequalities in income distribution and access to productive resources, basic social services, opportunities, markets, and information have been on the rise worldwide, often causing and exacerbating poverty.” The U.N. and many aid groups also point out that gender discrimination has been a significant factor in holding many women and children around the world in poverty.
  5. Vulnerability to natural disasters
    In regions of the world that are already less wealthy, recurrent or occasional catastrophic natural disasters can pose a significant obstacle to eradicating poverty. The effects of flooding in Bangladesh, drought in the Horn of Africa and the 2005 earthquake in Haiti are examples of the ways in which vulnerability to natural disasters can be devastating to affected countries. In each of these cases, already impoverished people became refugees within their own countries, losing whatever little they had, being forced out of their living spaces and becoming almost completely dependent on others for survival. According to the World Bank, two years after Cyclone Nargis hit Myanmar in 2008, the debt burden of local fishermen had doubled. The Solomon Islands experienced an earthquake and tsunami in 2007 and the losses from that disaster equaled 95 percent of the national budget. Without foreign aid, governments in these countries would have been unable to meet the needs of their people.

These are only five causes of poverty. They are both external and internal causes; both man-made and natural. Just as there is no single cause of poverty, there is no single solution. Nevertheless, understanding the ways in which complex forces like these interact to create and sustain the conditions of widespread global poverty is a vital step toward combating poverty around the world.

– Délice Williams

Source: Global Issues, USCCB, World Bank



U.S. Foreign AidU.S. foreign aid has had a variety of strategic and humanitarian purposes throughout the 20th century. Although initiatives have changed across the decades to address the global “hot topics” of the day, the focus has always been on using aid to address crises, create security and spark development.

U.S. distribution of foreign aid began at the onset of World War I, when in 1914, President Hoover created the Commission for the Relief of Belgium (CRB) to combat a severe food shortage in German-occupied Belgium and Northern France.

In 1917, the U.S. Food Administration provided food for the United States Army and to the millions of people affected by World War I.

International development as a tool for foreign policy began following World War II. The Marshall Plan, diverting $13 billion in aid, allowed Europe to rebuild its infrastructure and strengthen its economy.

In 1949, President Harry S. Truman proposed an international development assistance program. This Cold War initiative sought to reduce poverty, increase production in developing countries and combat communism by helping countries thrive under capitalism.

In 1961, President Kennedy signed the Foreign Assistance Act, which created USAID. The president also introduced the Peace Corps the same year, which was intended to spread America’s goodwill and positive image across the globe.

In the 1970s, the Foreign Assistance Act underwent substantial changes that gave food, nutrition and healthcare aid priority when assisting a foreign nation.

In the 1980s, we saw the introduction of a new method of aid giving: using celebrities to gain support for a cause. In 1985, the Live Aid concert, featuring stars like Led Zepplin, Queen, Tina Turner and Madonna, raised $140 million toward fighting poverty and hunger in Africa. This was at a particularly urgent time due to a major drought in Ethiopia that caused widespread famine.

In the 1990s, with the end of the Cold War, USAID’s top priority of U.S. foreign aid became sustainable development, focusing on aid that would help nations become self-sufficient.

One of the major U.S. foreign missions was in Somalia in 1992. Famine and ongoing civil war in Somalia led to a humanitarian relief effort by sending troops and delivering basic supplies. Although the military intervention was largely unsuccessful, it served as a learning point for how both U.S. and U.N. interventions should be conducted.

The 2000s created an extra urgency around foreign aid as a means of creating stability. Development is included as one of three pillars of U.S. national security.

The President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief was created in 2003 and President George W. Bush created the Millennium Challenge Corporation in 2004.

Some politicians argue that the U.S. should solve its own humanitarian issues before getting involved in other countries. However, America’s role as a world power makes it impossible for the country to turn a blind eye to the plights of other nations.

History has shown that U.S. foreign aid, if monitored and updated correctly, can do great things to fight poverty and ensure security.

Taylor Resteghini

Sources: Oxfam America, PBS, USAID
Photo: Flickr

History of Advocacy
John Wilkes, a man from England born in the 18th century, is credited as the forefather of modern advocacy. Wilkes was critical of the Treaty of Paris that ended the Seven Years War and was imprisoned for libel shortly thereafter, although he was later acquitted. After Wilkes’ act of defiance, a pro-abolition movement arose in England, effectively ending slavery in England.

The beginning of the 19th century was relatively quiet, but in the middle of the century, a philosopher coined the term social movement. The term was only used to describe relatively smaller events at the time.

Around the turn of the century, advocacy began to make progress. The socialist movement and the labor movement were the most popular, and were soon to be the model of contemporary advocacy. Out of these movements, the communist and democratic parties were born.

Following World War I, there was a renewed push for activism. This period led to a new classification of groups—the new social movements. The post-industrial economy gave way to a large number of groups, including women’s rights, gay rights, civil rights, the peace movement and the environmentalist movement. These movements stayed fairly static in terms of organization. More groups, such as the anti-nuclear movement, joined toward the middle of the century.

With the advent of the television, advocacy began to see incredible progression, which only foreshadowed the contemporary movement. The 1960s, in particular, were heavily influential, as civil rights took center stage.

The next step occurred around the 1990s. This period marked the era of global social activism, spurred on by the rise of the Internet. E-mail replaced postal mail and e-bulletin boards replaced traditional ones. The transition from analog to digital communication proved to be more effective in gathering support and more effective in increasing awareness. Groups that once couldn’t afford traditional publishing began to use the web as a platform for their activism.

Beyond Internet activism is the rise of social media and the role it plays in the history of advocacy. Popular social networks like Facebook and Twitter have begun to be utilized as platforms for advocacy. Sites like these allow people to connect and interact in ways that were previously impossible.

– Andrew Rywak

Sources: University of Michigan, Mashable,, The Borgen Project
Photo: GuardianLV