Tag Archives: historical terms

Historical Term: Activists

activists Members of a political group prepared to take action as opposed to those whose membership is passive, involving only, for example, payment of membership fees. In the 1960s and early 1970s the term was applied widely to those members of left-wing and youth ‘movements’ who attended demonstrations and rallies, usually against US involvement in Vietnam, or more generally against various aspects of Western capitalism.

In the 1980s, the term has been used in the UK mainly to describe members of constituency Labour parties who have sought to reform the party’s procedures and inject a more socialist element into its policies.”

Excerpted from: Cook, Chris. Dictionary of Historical Terms. New York: Gramercy, 1998.

Historical Term: Bicameral

“Bicameral Parliament with two chambers or houses, such as the US Congress with its Senate and House of Representatives, and the British Parliament with its house of commons and House of Lords.”

Excerpted from: Cook, Chris. Dictionary of Historical Terms. New York: Gramercy, 1998.

Historical Term: Blockade

blockade: Action to prevent supplies reaching an enemy, either by placing ships outside its ports, troops outside a city or cutting off traffic across a country’s borders. Under international law a neutral merchant vessel attempting to breach a blockade may be confiscated by the blockading country. The tactic was first attempted in the Napoleonic wars when Britain’s navy blockaded France, Portugal, and Spain. A recent naval blockade was imposed on 12 April 1982 by Britain on the Falkland Islands to cut off supplies to Argentine troops occupying them; it was lifted following the retaking of the islands by British forces in May and June 1982.”

Excerpted from: Cook, Chris. Dictionary of Historical Terms. New York: Gramercy, 1998.

Historical Term: Autarky

“Autarky (deriv. Gk autarkeia, self sufficient). In economic terms, a policy aimed at total home-production to the exclusion of imported goods. Pre-World War II Germany’s search for a blockade-proof economy provides a good example of economic autarky.”

Excerpted from: Cook, Chris. Dictionary of Historical Terms. New York: Gramercy, 1998.

Historical Term: Black Consciousness

Black Consciousness: Movement in South Africa formed to reestablish black people’s confidence and pride. It was banned by the South African apartheid regime and its leader Steve Biko died under suspicious circumstances while in police detention on 12 September 1977 at the age of 30.”

Excerpted from: Cook, Chris. Dictionary of Historical Terms. New York: Gramercy, 1998.

Historical Term: Recall

recall: Political process similar to reselection, except that the local party can demand a representative to appear before it and explain its actions whenever it chooses, that is, during the lifetime of a parliament and not only at the end of his term of office.”

Excerpted from: Cook, Chris. Dictionary of Historical Terms. New York: Gramercy, 1998.

Historical Term: Rastafarianism

Rastafarianism: Movement originating in the West Indies which takes its name from Ras (a term of respect in Africa) Tafari Makonnen (1892-1975) crowned Emperor of Ethiopia with the title Haile Selassie in 1930. Haile Selassie has a mystical role in the cult as has Ethiopia itself: as the one part of African that was never colonized, it is seen as the spiritual home of the black man. Life in the West Indies or in Britain is seen as time in Babylon by analogy with the sufferings of the Israelites as slaves in exile.”

Excerpted from: Cook, Chris. Dictionary of Historical Terms. New York: Gramercy, 1998.