Topic: United States/U.S. history

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Strauss–Howe Generational Theory

United States History Philosophy Philosophy/Social and political philosophy British Empire Sociology United States History United States/U.S. history

The Strauss–Howe generational theory, also known as the Fourth Turning theory or simply the Fourth Turning, which was created by authors William Strauss and Neil Howe, describes a theorized recurring generation cycle in American history. According to the theory, historical events are associated with recurring generational personas (archetypes). Each generational persona unleashes a new era (called a turning) lasting around 20–22 years, in which a new social, political, and economic climate exists. They are part of a larger cyclical "saeculum" (a long human life, which usually spans between 80 and 90 years, although some saecula have lasted longer). The theory states that after every saeculum, a crisis recurs in American history, which is followed by a recovery (high). During this recovery, institutions and communitarian values are strong. Ultimately, succeeding generational archetypes attack and weaken institutions in the name of autonomy and individualism, which ultimately creates a tumultuous political environment that ripens conditions for another crisis.

Strauss and Howe laid the groundwork for their theory in their 1991 book Generations, which discusses the history of the United States as a series of generational biographies going back to 1584. In their 1997 book The Fourth Turning, the authors expanded the theory to focus on a fourfold cycle of generational types and recurring mood eras to describe the history of the United States, including the Thirteen Colonies and their British antecedents. However, the authors have also examined generational trends elsewhere in the world and described similar cycles in several developed countries.

Academic response to the theory has been mixed—some applauding Strauss and Howe for their "bold and imaginative thesis" and others criticizing the theory as being overly-deterministic, non-falsifiable, and unsupported by rigorous evidence, "about as scientific as astrology or a Nostradamus text." Strauss–Howe generational theory has also been described by some historians and journalists as a "pseudoscience" "kooky", and "an elaborate historical horoscope that will never withstand scholarly scrutiny."

Academic criticism has focused on the lack of rigorous empirical evidence for their claims, and the authors' view that generational groupings are far more powerful than other social groupings such as economic class, race, sex, religion and political parties.

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Gödel's Loophole

United States/U.S. Government United States Biography Philosophy Philosophy/Logic Biography/science and academia Philosophy/Contemporary philosophy Philosophy/Philosophers United States/U.S. history

Gödel's Loophole is a "inner contradiction" in the Constitution of the United States which Austrian-German-American logician, mathematician, and analytic philosopher Kurt Gödel claimed to have discovered in 1947. The flaw would have allowed the American democracy to be legally turned into a dictatorship. Gödel told his friend Oskar Morgenstern about the existence of the flaw and Morgenstern told Albert Einstein about it at the time, but Morgenstern, in his recollection of the incident in 1971, never mentioned the exact problem as Gödel saw it. This has led to speculation about the precise nature of what has come to be called "Gödel's Loophole". It has been called "one of the great unsolved problems of constitutional law."

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United States involvement in regime change

United States International relations Espionage History Military history Military history/North American military history Military history/United States military history Politics Politics/American politics United States/U.S. history

United States involvement in regime change describes United States government participation or interference, both overt and covert, in the replacement of foreign governments. In the latter half of the 19th century, the U.S. government initiated actions for regime change mainly in Latin America and the southwest Pacific, including the Spanish–American and Philippine–American wars. At the onset of the 20th century, the United States shaped or installed governments in many countries around the world, including neighbors Panama, Honduras, Nicaragua, Mexico, Haiti, and the Dominican Republic.

During World War II, the United States helped overthrow many Nazi Germany or imperial Japanese puppet regimes. Examples include regimes in the Philippines, Korea, the Eastern portion of China, and much of Europe. United States forces were also instrumental in ending the rule of Adolf Hitler over Germany and of Benito Mussolini over Italy. After World War II, the United States in 1945 ratified the UN Charter, the preeminent international law document, which legally bound the U.S. government to the Charter's provisions, including Article 2(4), which prohibits the threat or use of force in international relations, except in very limited circumstances. Therefore, any legal claim advanced to justify regime change by a foreign power carries a particularly heavy burden.

In the aftermath of World War II, the U.S. government struggled with the Soviet Union for global leadership, influence and security within the context of the Cold War. Under the Eisenhower administration, the U.S. government feared that national security would be compromised by governments propped by the Soviet Union's own involvement in regime change and promoted the domino theory, with later presidents following Eisenhower's precedent. Subsequently, the United States expanded the geographic scope of its actions beyond traditional area of operations, Central America and the Caribbean. Significant operations included the United States and United Kingdom-orchestrated 1953 Iranian coup d'état, the 1961 Bay of Pigs Invasion targeting Cuba, and support for the overthrow of Sukarno by General Suharto in Indonesia. In addition, the U.S. has interfered in the national elections of countries, including the Philippines in 1953, and Japan in the 1950s and 1960s as well as Lebanon in 1957. According to one study, the U.S. performed at least 81 overt and covert known interventions in foreign elections during the period 1946–2000. Another study found that the U.S. engaged in 64 covert and six overt attempts at regime change during the Cold War.

Following the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the United States has led or supported wars to determine the governance of a number of countries. Stated U.S. aims in these conflicts have included fighting the War on Terror, as in the ongoing Afghan war, or removing dictatorial and hostile regimes, as in the Iraq War.

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