Monday, February 3, 2014

Sobel Wiki: In the shadow of the giants

This week's featured article at the Sobel Wiki is on the Years of the Pygmies.

Historians of the United States of America have often given nicknames to various periods of American history: the Federalist Era, the Era of Good Feeling, the Gilded Age, the New Deal. This is also true of the history of the Confederation of North America, where various periods have nicknames such as the Crisis Years, the Era of Faceless Men, the Diffusion Era, and the New Day. Oddly, the history of the United States of Mexico does not seem to have such nicknames, or if they do, Sobel doesn't often use them. The exceptions are the nicknames that both countries share: the Rocky Mountain War, the War Without War, and the Years of the Pygmies.

The Years of the Pygmies refers to the period after the resignation of Governor-General Ezra Gallivan and the ouster of Chief of State/Emperor Benito HermiĆ³n in 1901, when both the C.N.A. and the U.S.M. went through a period of political calm presided over by colorless, risk-averse politicians. In the U.S.M., this was Anthony Flores, the first popularly elected President since 1875. In the C.N.A., it was the triumvirate of Clifton Burgen, Christopher Hemingway, and Albert Merriman, the former a caretaker figure who served out the remainder of Gallivan's third term, the latter two described by Sobel as "having no desire to innovate and a great love of crowds and travel." Sobel goes on to say, "All seemed cut from the same cloth. Each in his own way was a moderate, an isolationist, and a person unwilling to innovate or take risks."

If the two nations were quiet politically, the same was not true economically or socially. The Years of the Pygmies saw rapid economic growth in both countries, and the appearance of new transportation technologies and media of communication: locomobiles, airmobiles, radio, and motion pictures, all of which served to increase both social mobility and physical mobility in both countries. In the C.N.A., this gave rise to the Diffusion Era in the 1920s, while in the U.S.M. the Mexicano majority fully entered the political and economic life of the country.

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