Michael Joseph Jackson was born on August 29, 1958 in Gary, Indiana, and entertained audiences nearly his entire life. His father, Joe Jackson (no relation to Joe Jackson, also a musician), had been a guitarist, but was forced to give up his musical ambitions following his marriage to Michael’s mother Katherine Jackson (née Katherine Esther Scruse). Together, they prodded their growing family’s musical interests at home. By the early 1960s, the older boys Jackie, Tito and Jermaine had begun performing around the city; by 1964, Michael and Marlon had joined in.
A musical prodigy, Michael’s singing and dancing talents were amazingly mature, and he soon became the dominant voice and focus of the Jackson 5. An opening act for such soul groups as the O-Jays and James Brown, it was Gladys Knight (not Diana Ross) who officially brought the group to Berry Gordy‘s attention, and by 1969, the boys were producing back-to-back chart-busting hits as Motown artists (“I Want You Back,” “ABC,” “Never Can Say Goodbye,” “Got to Be There,” etc.). As a product of the 1970s, the boys emerged as one of the most accomplished black pop / soul vocal groups in music history, successfully evolving from a group like The Temptations to a disco phenomenon.
Solo success for Michael was inevitable, and by the 1980s, he had become infinitely more popular than his brotherly group. Record sales consistently orbited, culminating in the biggest-selling album of all time, “Thriller” in 1982. A TV natural, he ventured rather uneasily into films, such as playing the Scarecrow in The Wiz (1978), but had much better luck with elaborate music videos.
In the 1990s, the downside as an 1980s pop phenomenon began to rear itself. Michael grew terribly child-like and introverted by his peerless celebrity. A rather timorous, androgynous figure to begin with, his physical appearance began to change drastically, and his behavior grew alarmingly bizarre, making him a consistent target for scandal-making, despite his numerous charitable acts. Two brief marriages — one to Elvis Presley‘s daughter Lisa Marie Presley — were forged and two children produced by his second wife during that time, but the purposes behind them appeared image-oriented.
Michael Jackson died on June 25, 2009 in Los Angeles, California. His passion and artistry as a singer, dancer, writer and businessman were unparalleled, and it is these prodigious talents that will ultimately prevail over the extremely negative aspects of his troubled adult life.
Nun and missionary Mother Teresa, known in the Catholic church as Saint Teresa of Calcutta, devoted her life to caring for the sick and poor. Born in Macedonia to parents of Albanian-descent and having taught in India for 17 years, Mother Teresa experienced her “call within a call” in 1946. Her order established a hospice; centers for the blind, aged and disabled; and a leper colony.
In 1979, Mother Teresa received the Nobel Peace Prize for her humanitarian work. She died in September 1997 and was beatified in October 2003. In December 2015, Pope Francis recognized a second miracle attributed to Mother Teresa, clearing the way for her to be canonized on September 4, 2016.
Mother Teresa’s Family and Young Life
Mother Teresa was born on August 26, 1910, in Skopje, the current capital of the Republic of Macedonia. The following day, she was baptized as Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu.
Mother Teresa’s parents, Nikola and Dranafile Bojaxhiu, were of Albanian descent; her father was an entrepreneur who worked as a construction contractor and a trader of medicines and other goods. The Bojaxhius were a devoutly Catholic family, and Nikola was deeply involved in the local church as well as in city politics as a vocal proponent of Albanian independence.
In 1919, when Mother Teresa — then Agnes — was only eight years old, her father suddenly fell ill and died. While the cause of his death remains unknown, many have speculated that political enemies poisoned him.
In the aftermath of her father’s death, Agnes became extraordinarily close to her mother, a pious and compassionate woman who instilled in her daughter a deep commitment to charity. Although by no means wealthy, Drana Bojaxhiu extended an open invitation to the city’s destitute to dine with her family. “My child, never eat a single mouthful unless you are sharing it with others,” she counseled her daughter. When Agnes asked who the people eating with them were, her mother uniformly responded, “Some of them are our relations, but all of them are our people.”
Education and Nunhood
Agnes attended a convent-run primary school and then a state-run secondary school. As a girl, she sang in the local Sacred Heart choir and was often asked to sing solos. The congregation made an annual pilgrimage to the Church of the Black Madonna in Letnice, and it was on one such trip at the age of 12 that she first felt a calling to religious life. Six years later, in 1928, an 18-year-old Agnes Bojaxhiu decided to become a nun and set off for Ireland to join the Sisters of Loreto in Dublin. It was there that she took the name Sister Mary Teresa after Saint Thérèse of Lisieux.
A year later, Sister Mary Teresa traveled on to Darjeeling, India, for the novitiate period; in May 1931, she made her First Profession of Vows. Afterward, she was sent to Calcutta, where she was assigned to teach at Saint Mary’s High School for Girls, a school run by the Loreto Sisters and dedicated to teaching girls from the city’s poorest Bengali families. Sister Teresa learned to speak both Bengali and Hindi fluently as she taught geography and history and dedicated herself to alleviating the girls’ poverty through education.
On May 24, 1937, she took her Final Profession of Vows to a life of poverty, chastity and obedience. As was the custom for Loreto nuns, she took on the title of “Mother” upon making her final vows and thus became known as Mother Teresa. Mother Teresa continued to teach at Saint Mary’s, and in 1944 she became the school’s principal. Through her kindness, generosity and unfailing commitment to her students’ education, she sought to lead them to a life of devotion to Christ. “Give me the strength to be ever the light of their lives, so that I may lead them at last to you,” she wrote in prayer.
‘Call Within a Call’
On September 10, 1946, Mother Teresa experienced a second calling, the “call within a call” that would forever transform her life. She was riding in a train from Calcutta to the Himalayan foothills for a retreat when she said Christ spoke to her and told her to abandon teaching to work in the slums of Calcutta aiding the city’s poorest and sickest people.
Since Mother Teresa had taken a vow of obedience, she could not leave her convent without official permission. After nearly a year and a half of lobbying, in January 1948 she finally received approval to pursue this new calling. That August, donning the blue-and-white sari that she would wear in public for the rest of her life, she left the Loreto convent and wandered out into the city. After six months of basic medical training, she voyaged for the first time into Calcutta’s slums with no more specific a goal than to aid “the unwanted, the unloved, the uncared for.”
Missionaries of Charity
Mother Teresa quickly translated her calling into concrete actions to help the city’s poor. She began an open-air school and established a home for the dying destitute in a dilapidated building she convinced the city government to donate to her cause. In October 1950, she won canonical recognition for a new congregation, the Missionaries of Charity, which she founded with only a handful of members—most of them former teachers or pupils from St. Mary’s School.
As the ranks of her congregation swelled and donations poured in from around India and across the globe, the scope of Mother Teresa’s charitable activities expanded exponentially. Over the course of the 1950s and 1960s, she established a leper colony, an orphanage, a nursing home, a family clinic and a string of mobile health clinics.
In 1971, Mother Teresa traveled to New York City to open her first American-based house of charity, and in the summer of 1982, she secretly went to Beirut, Lebanon, where she crossed between Christian East Beirut and Muslim West Beirut to aid children of both faiths. In 1985, Mother Teresa returned to New York and spoke at the 40th anniversary of the United Nations General Assembly. While there, she also opened Gift of Love, a home to care for those infected with HIV/AIDS.
Mother Teresa’s Awards and Recognition
In February 1965, Pope Paul VI bestowed the Decree of Praise upon the Missionaries of Charity, which prompted Mother Teresa to begin expanding internationally. By the time of her death in 1997, the Missionaries of Charity numbered more than 4,000 — in addition to thousands more lay volunteers — with 610 foundations in 123 countries around the world.
The Decree of Praise was just the beginning, as Mother Teresa received various honors for her tireless and effective charity. She was awarded the Jewel of India, the highest honor bestowed on Indian civilians, as well as the now-defunct Soviet Union’s Gold Medal of the Soviet Peace Committee. In 1979, Mother Teresa was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in recognition of her work “in bringing help to suffering humanity.”
Criticism of Mother Teresa
Despite this widespread praise, Mother Teresa’s life and work have not gone without its controversies. In particular, she has drawn criticism for her vocal endorsement of some of the Catholic Church’s more controversial doctrines, such as opposition to contraception and abortion. “I feel the greatest destroyer of peace today is abortion,” Mother Teresa said in her 1979 Nobel lecture.
In 1995, she publicly advocated a “no” vote in the Irish referendum to end the country’s constitutional ban on divorce and remarriage. The most scathing criticism of Mother Teresa can be found in Christopher Hitchens’ book The Missionary Position: Mother Teresa in Theory and Practice, in which Hitchens argued that Mother Teresa glorified poverty for her own ends and provided a justification for the preservation of institutions and beliefs that sustained widespread poverty.
After several years of deteriorating health, including heart, lung and kidney problems, Mother Teresa died on September 5, 1997, at the age of 87.
Mother Teresa’s Letters
In 2003, the publication of Mother Teresa’s private correspondence caused a wholesale re-evaluation of her life by revealing the crisis of faith she suffered for most of the last 50 years of her life.
In one despairing letter to a confidant, she wrote, “Where is my Faith—even deep down right in there is nothing, but emptiness & darkness—My God—how painful is this unknown pain—I have no Faith—I dare not utter the words & thoughts that crowd in my heart—& make me suffer untold agony.” While such revelations are shocking considering her public image, they have also made Mother Teresa a more relatable and human figure to all those who experience doubt in their beliefs.
Mother Teresa’s Miracles and Canonization
In 2002, the Vatican recognized a miracle involving an Indian woman named Monica Besra, who said she was cured of an abdominal tumor through Mother Teresa’s intercession on the one-year anniversary of her death in 1998. She was beatified (declared in heaven) as “Blessed Teresa of Calcutta” on October 19, 2003, by Pope John Paul II.
On December 17, 2015, Pope Francis issued a decree that recognized a second miracle attributed to Mother Teresa, clearing the way for her to be canonized as a saint of the Roman Catholic Church. The second miracle involved the healing of Marcilio Andrino, a Brazilian man who was diagnosed with a viral brain infection and lapsed into a coma. His wife, family and friends prayed to Mother Teresa, and when the man was brought to the operating room for emergency surgery, he woke up without pain and was cured of his symptoms, according to a statement from the Missionaries of Charity Father.
Mother Teresa was canonized as a saint on September 4, 2016, a day before the 19th anniversary of her death. Pope Francis led the canonization mass, which was held in St. Peter’s Square in Vatican City. Tens of thousands of Catholics and pilgrims from around the world attended the canonization to celebrate the woman who had been called “the saint of the gutters” during her lifetime because of her charitable work with the poor.
“After due deliberation and frequent prayer for divine assistance, and having sought the counsel of many of our brother bishops, we declare and define Blessed Teresa of Calcutta to be a saint, and we enroll her among the saints, decreeing that she is to be venerated as such by the whole church,” Pope Francis said in Latin.
The Pope spoke about Mother Teresa’s life of service in the homily. ”Mother Teresa, in all aspects of her life, was a generous dispenser of divine mercy, making herself available for everyone through her welcome and defense of human life, those unborn and those abandoned and discarded,” he said. “She bowed down before those who were spent, left to die on the side of the road, seeing in them their God-given dignity. She made her voice heard before the powers of this world, so that they might recognize their guilt for the crime of poverty they created.”
He also told the faithful to follow her example and practice compassion. “Mercy was the salt which gave flavor to her work, it was the light which shone in the darkness of the many who no longer had tears to shed for their poverty and suffering,” he said, adding. “May she be your model of holiness.”
Since her death, Mother Teresa has remained in the public spotlight. For her unwavering commitment to aiding those most in need, Mother Teresa stands out as one of the greatest humanitarians of the 20th century. She combined profound empathy and a fervent commitment to her cause with incredible organizational and managerial skills that allowed her to develop a vast and effective international organization of missionaries to help impoverished citizens all across the globe.
Despite the enormous scale of her charitable activities and the millions of lives she touched, to her dying day, she held only the most humble conception of her own achievements. Summing up her life in characteristically self-effacing fashion, Mother Teresa said, “By blood, I am Albanian. By citizenship, an Indian. By faith, I am a Catholic nun. As to my calling, I belong to the world. As to my heart, I belong entirely to the Heart of Jesus.”
Born: May 29, 1917 Brookline, Massachusetts Died: November 22, 1963 Dallas, Texas American president
John F. Kennedy was the thirty-fifth president of the United States. He was the first president to reach for the moon, through the nation’s space programs. He also was the first president since Theodore Roosevelt (1858–1919) with whom youth could identify. He made the nation see itself with new eyes. His assassination shocked the world.
Early life and family
John Fitzgerald Kennedy was born in Brookline, Massachusetts, on May 29, 1917. He was the second son of nine children born to the multimillionaire business executive and financier Joseph P. Kennedy (1888–1969) and his wife, Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy (1890–1995). Joseph’s father had served in the Massachusetts Legislature and in elective offices in Boston, Massachusetts. Rose’s father, John Francis Fitzgerald (1863–1950), had been a state legislator, the mayor of Boston, and a U.S. congressman. Joseph himself had served as chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, chairman of the U.S. Maritime Commission, and ambassador to Great Britain (1937–40). Thus, the Kennedys were a wealthy family with a history of political and public service.
Education and the military
Kennedy attended the Canterbury parochial school (1930–31) and the Choate School (1931–35). One of his teachers later said that people in school liked him more for his personality than for his accomplishments. He was often ill during his childhood and spent much of this time reading. Kennedy enrolled at Princeton University in 1935 but illness soon forced him to withdraw. Upon recovery he went to Harvard University, where he majored in government and international relations. During his junior year at Harvard, he traveled in Europe and observed the events that were leading to World War II (1939–45; a war in which the Allies—France, Great Britain, the Soviet Union, China, and from 1941 the United States—fought against the Axis powers—Germany, Italy, and Japan). He used his observations for his senior paper, which later became the bestselling book Why England Slept (1940).
After graduating from Harvard with honors in 1940, Kennedy went to Stanford University for graduate studies. In April 1941 he tried to enlist in the U.S. Army but was rejected for physical reasons (a back injury received while playing football). Months later, after his back strengthened through a regimen of exercises, the U.S. Navy accepted him. He then became an intelligence officer in Washington, D.C. After the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, a U.S. Navy base in Hawaii, on December 7, 1941, the United States entered World War II. Kennedy requested active duty at sea and was given this assignment in late 1942.
Following Kennedy’s training with the Motor Torpedo Boat Squadron, he was shipped to the South Pacific to fight in the war against Japan. In March 1943 he was given command of a patrol torpedo (PT) boat, a small, fast boat armed with weapons, including torpedoes. In August his boat was sliced in two by a Japanese destroyer and two of his crew were killed. Kennedy and four others clung to the half of the PT boat that remained afloat. Six other men survived in the nearby water, two wounded. In a three-hour struggle Kennedy got the wounded crewmen to the floating wreck. When it capsized, he ordered his men to swim to a small island about three miles away. He towed one man to shore in a heroic five-hour struggle. Several days later, having displayed great courage, leadership, and endurance, Kennedy succeeded in having his men rescued.
House of Representatives
Returning to civilian life, Kennedy did newspaper work for several months, covering a United Nations conference, the Potsdam Conference, and the British elections of 1945. However, coming from a family devoted to
John F. Kennedy. Courtesy of theLibrary of Congress.public service, Kennedy desired a career in politics. In 1946 he became a candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives from the Massachusetts eleventh congressional district. Kennedy built a large personal organization for his campaign. On whirlwind tours he met as many voters as possible. He talked to the people in a direct, informal style about the topics that they were concerned with. In this campaign and in all the others, his brothers, sisters, and mother supported him. His brothers, Robert (1925–1968) and Edward (also called Ted; 1932–), acted as his managers, while his sisters and mother held social events to raise money for his campaigns.
Kennedy won the primary, the fall election, and reelection to the House in 1948 and again in 1950. He worked for better social welfare programs, particularly in the area of low-cost public housing (or affordable places for people to live). In 1949 he became a member of the Joint Committee on Labor-Management Relations. In this capacity, Kennedy was a strong supporter of labor, working for higher wages and better working conditions.
Kennedy supported the domestic programs of President Harry Truman (1884–1972), including social welfare programs, progressive taxation, and regulation of business. However, he did not follow Truman’s policies in foreign relations. For example, he was against the fighting in Korea “or any other place in Asia where [the United States] cannot hold our defenses.”
In April 1952 Kennedy ran for a seat in the U.S. Senate against Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr. (1902–1985), a Republican liberal. Kennedy won by over seventy thousand votes. Lodge reeled under the impact. He had not run against a man, but a whole family. The Kennedy women alone had acted as hostesses to at least seventy thousand Massachusetts housewives. In 1958 Kennedy was reelected to the Senate.
Kennedy’s political success was soon followed by high points in his personal life. On September 12, 1953, Kennedy married Jacqueline Lee Bouvier (1929–1994), daughter of a New York City financier, at Newport, Rhode Island. Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr. (1917–) noted that “under a veil of lovely inconsequence” Mrs. Kennedy possessed “an all-seeing eye and ruthless judgement.” John and Jacqueline Kennedy had three children: Caroline Bouvier (1957–), John Fitzgerald (1960–1999), Patrick Bouvier (who lived only a few days after his birth in 1963); another child was stillborn in 1956.
Taking his Senate seat in January 1953, Kennedy continued to support key labor, economic, and foreign relations issues. He served on the Labor and Public Welfare Committee, the Government Operations Committee, the Select Committee on Labor-Management Relations, the Foreign Relations Committee, and the Joint Economic Committee. He also worked to pass several bills to aid the Massachusetts fishing and textile industries and to improve New England’s economy.
A recurrence of his old back injuries forced Kennedy to use crutches during 1954. An operation in October 1954 was followed by another in February 1955. He spent his months of illness and recovery writing biographies of Americans who had shown moral courage at difficult points in their lives. These biographies became the best-selling book Profiles in Courage (1956), which won the Pulitzer Prize for biography in 1957.
Kennedy’s back operations were not completely successful, and he was never again entirely free from pain. After recovering from his operations, he returned to his Senate seat in May 1955. He became a strong supporter of civil rights and social welfare legislation. The Kennedy-Douglas-Ives Bill (1957) required an accounting of all employee pension and welfare funds. Kennedy also sponsored bills for providing federal financial aid to education and for relaxing U.S. immigration laws.
Kennedy becomes president
Kennedy’s record in elected office and the books and articles that he had written attracted national attention. After he lost the vice presidential nomination at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago in 1956, he decided to run for president. Formally announcing his candidacy in January 1960, Kennedy made whirlwind tours and won the Democratic primaries in New Hampshire, Wisconsin, Indiana, Ohio, Oregon, Maryland, Nebraska, and West Virginia. On July 13, 1960, Kennedy was nominated for president, with Lyndon B. Johnson (1908–1973) as his running mate.
“Jack in Walk” shouted the Boston Globe after Kennedy’s nomination. But it would be no easy walk to win the White House against the Republican candidate, Vice President Richard Nixon (1913–1994). At that time, Kennedy was a controversial candidate because he was a Roman Catholic. Religious prejudice, or dislike of a person based solely upon his or her religion, probably cost him over a million votes in Illinois alone. Kennedy responded to the issue of religion in his “Houston speech” on September 11, 1960. He believed in the absolute separation of church and state (the belief that one body—church or government—would have no influence over the other). To him, this meant that no priest could tell a president what to do and no Protestant clergyman could tell his parishioners how to vote. In other words, Kennedy’s religion would not affect the decisions he made as president.
A series of televised debates with Nixon was crucial to Kennedy’s campaign. Many viewers believed Kennedy defeated Nixon with his style. Kennedy showed the American people that he had a sense of humor, a love of language, and a sense of the past. On November 9, 1960, John F. Kennedy became the youngest man and the first Roman Catholic in American history to win the presidency. The 1960 presidential election was one of the closest in the nation’s history. Kennedy won the popular vote by only 119,450 votes. On December 19, 1960, the electoral college cast 303 votes for Kennedy and 219 for Nixon.
At the inauguration on January 20, 1960, the first U.S. president born in the twentieth century was sworn into office. Kennedy’s inaugural address included the challenge: “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.”
Bay of Pigs
In his short time in office, Kennedy faced many crises. The first of which involved Cuba, a country about ninety miles south of Florida. On April 17, 1961, fourteen hundred Cuban exiles, supported by the United States, invaded Cuba at the Bay of Pigs. On April 18 the Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev (1894–1971) sent a note to Kennedy stating that his government would help the Cuban government resist an attack. By April 20 the invasion had failed. Although the plan for training Cuban exiles had actually begun during the presidency of Dwight D. Eisenhower (1890–1969), Kennedy took responsibility for it. He had first supported the plan but later refused to commit the necessary American troops. He was aware that if the Cuban people did not rise up and back the invaders, the United States could not force them to accept a new system of government. Although the Bay of Pigs invasion was a failure, it did prove Kennedy’s ability to face a disaster.
Protecting civil rights
Kennedy continued to show skill and passion for issues at home, particularly civil rights. In 1961 the Congress of Racial Equality, a civil rights group, organized people to protest segregation, or the practice of separating people based solely on their race, on buses and trains. When the showdown came, “the Kennedys,” as the president and his brother Robert, the attorney general, were known, sent six hundred Federal marshals to Alabama to protect these “Freedom Riders.” In 1962 they sent hundreds of Federal marshals to protect the rights of the first African American student to attend the University of Mississippi.
Cuban missile crisis
On October 22, 1962, Kennedy announced to the nation that the Soviet Union had sent nuclear missiles to Cuba. In response the United States had blocked all shipments of military equipment into Cuba. The United States would not allow Cuba to become a Soviet missile base, and it would regard any missile launched from Cuba “as an attack by the Soviet Union on the United States, requiring a full [military] response.”
For a week the details of the situation had been “the best kept secret in government history.” Throughout the seven days, the Kennedy administration had maintained an outward appearance of normal social and political activity. Meanwhile, American military units throughout the world were alerted.
Messages were sent back and forth between Kennedy, Khrushchev, and Pope John XXIII (1881–1963), who was volunteering as a peacemaker. During this time Soviet ships were moving toward the area of the blockade in the Atlantic Ocean. They slowed, then stopped. On October 28, 1962, the Soviet Union said it would remove its missiles from Cuba.
One result of the crisis was the nuclear test ban treaty with the Soviet Union, which Kennedy called “the first step down the path of peace.” The treaty was signed on July 25, 1963. A “hot line” for emergency messages was also set up between Washington, D.C., and Moscow, the capital of the Soviet Union.
Vietnam, a country in Southeast Asia, took up more of Kennedy’s time than any other problem. The Vietnam War (1955–1975) was a civil war in which anti-Communist forces in South Vietnam, supported by the United States, were fighting against a takeover by Communist forces in North Vietnam. In 1954 President Eisenhower had offered military aid to South Vietnam and funding, and advisors were sent to the country throughout the 1950s. Although Kennedy believed that a “full-scale war in Vietnam … was unthinkable,” he tripled American forces in the country. Senator William Fulbright (1905–1995) suggested that Kennedy put troops in Vietnam to prove to Khrushchev that “he couldn’t be intimidated.”
The President’s last day
Kennedy was well aware of the dangers of the presidency. “Who can tell who will be president a year from now?” he would ask. On the day of his arrival in Dallas, Texas, he said that if anyone wanted to kill a president he needed only a high building and a rifle with a telescopic lens.
That day—November 22, 1963—the president was assassinated. It is generally believed that Lee Harvey Oswald (1939–1963), using a rifle equipped with a telescopic lens, was the person who fired on the president’s car. Others, however, believe more than one person was responsible. All of the United States—indeed, the world—was in mourning. In Indonesia, flags were lowered to half-mast. In New Delhi, India, crowds wept in the streets.
Kennedy once summed up his time as “very dangerous, untidy.” He lived through two world wars, the Great Depression (a period from 1929 to 1939 during which nearly half the industrial workers in the country lost their jobs), and the nuclear age. “Life is unfair,” he remarked. And so it was to Kennedy, heaping him with both glory and tragedy. Yet, he never lost his grace, his sense of balance, or his optimism.
What Kennedy accomplished was not as important as what he stood for. As the African magazine Transition expressed it, “murdered with Kennedy was the first real chance for an intelligent and new leadership in the world. His death [left] us unprepared and in darkness.”
Queen Victoria was born 24 May 1819. Aged 18 she became Queen of Great Britain and she went on to rule for 63 years – at the time – she was the longest-serving Monarch in Europe. She ruled through a period of British imperialism with the British Empire expanding and she became Empress of India. She came to epitomise an era of social conservatism and economic expansion.
She was the granddaughter of George III, and her father, Edward was fourth in line to the throne. However, her father’s three brothers all died without leaving any living relatives. She was crowned Queen on 20 June 1837 and ruled until her death 63 years later in 1901.
Her early life until the age of 18 was closeted and carefully controlled by her mother and her assistant John Conroy. Her mother, Princess Victoria of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld kept Victoria very close and allowed her little real-life experience. She was brought up with a strict set of rules and regulations known as the ‘Kensington System’. Victoria described her childhood as “rather melancholy.” In 1830 her grandfather George III died. He was succeeded by King William IV, but in 1837, he also passed away, meaning the crown passed onto Victoria who was aged only 18, and somewhat unprepared for the role.
One of her first decisions was to cut free from her mother and gain more independence from the controlling atmosphere she had been brought up in. She also took her new duties very seriously. On her ascendency to the throne, she said:
“Since it has pleased Providence to place me in this station, I shall do my utmost to fulfil my duty towards my country; I am very young and perhaps in many, though not in all things, inexperienced, but I am sure that very few have more real good will and more real desire to do what is fit and right than I have.”
Queen Victoria, Extract from the Queen’s Journal, Tuesday, 20th June 1837.
After her coronation, Queen Victoria met many potential suitors from Royal houses across Europe. She fell in love with Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha in Germany. There were married in 1840. Victoria and Prince Albert had a very close, intimate relationship and she described the intensity of feelings towards her beloved husband. She wrote in her diary shortly after their marriage.
“MY DEAREST DEAREST DEAR Albert … his excessive love & affection gave me feelings of heavenly love & happiness I never could have hoped to have felt before!”
– Queen Victoria.
In the same year as her marriage, Queen Victoria gave birth to her first child – a daughter named Victoria. They had nine children in total. She found pregnancy and childbirth difficult and once exclaimed. “An ugly baby is a very nasty object – and the prettiest is frightful.”
Queen Victoria and Nineteenth-Century Britain
The 19th Century was a time of unprecedented expansion for Britain in term of both industry and Empire. Although her popularity ebbed and flowed during her reign, towards the end of her crown, she had become a symbol of British imperialism and pride.
The Victorian period also witnessed great advances in science and technology. It became known as the steam age, enabling people to easily travel throughout the UK and the World.
Queen Victoria was emblematic of this period. She was an enthusiastic supporter of the British Empire. She celebrated at Lord Kitchener’s victory in the Sudan; she supported British involvement in the Boer War. She was also happy to preside over the expansion of the British Empire, which was to stretch across the globe. In 1877 Queen Victoria was made Empress of India, in a move instigated by the imperialist Disraeli. Famously, at the end of the Victorian period, people could say ‘the sun never set on the British Empire.’
Queen Victoria was conservative in her politics and social views. She opposed women’s rights and was socially conservative. This led to an unfortunate episode. When she saw a servant who appeared to be pregnant, Victoria claimed she was having an affair. The Queen actually made her take a test to prove she was a virgin. The test was positive and the growth in her stomach was actually a form of cancer; a few months later the servant died, and Queen Victoria suffered a decline in her popularity as a result of this episode.
In the early part of her reign, she became a close friend and confidant of the Prime Minister, Lord Melbourne. She spent many hours talking to him and relied on his political advice. Lord Melbourne was a Whig, with conservative attitudes. He tried to shield Queen Victoria from the extreme poverty that was endemic in parts of the UK.
Queen Victoria was also highly devoted to her husband, Prince Albert; together they had nine children. When Prince Albert died in 1861, at the age of 41, Queen Victoria went into deep mourning and struggled to overcome this loss. She became reclusive and was reluctant to appear in public. Parliament and Benjamin Disraeli had to use all their persuasive power to get her to open parliament in 1866 and 1867. Her hiding from the public led to a decline in popularity. However, by the end of her reign, her popularity was restored. This was partly due to the rise of Great Britain as the leading superpower of the era.
For various reasons, several attempts were made on the life of Queen Victoria. These were mostly between 1840 and 1882. She was always unharmed, but her courageous attitude helped to endear her to the public.
Personality of Queen Victoria
Queen Victoria was successful in portraying a public image of an aloof Queen who embodied the virtues of the British Empire. In person, away from the public glare, she was known to be a combination of honesty, plain-speaking but also prone to emotional outbursts and quite obstinate.
“Great events make me quiet and calm; it is only trifles that irritate my nerves.”
– Queen Victoria
Despite her social conservativism, she was passionate about her husband and greatly enjoyed spending time in close proximity. However, even their relationship could be punctuated with loud, emotional arguments. Despite perceptions of her being dry and serious, members of the household stated she could have a great sense of humour and laugh uproariously.
The death of her husband in 1861 was a huge blow and she was deeply affected with grief. She wore black and mourned for several years. Her grief was so intense, it affected the nation. She struggled to overcome the grief and Albert’s early death led to a further worsening of relationships with her first son Edward VII – whom Victoria blamed for his playboy lifestyle causing stress for his father Albert.
Mother Teresa (1910–1997) was a Roman Catholic nun who devoted her life to serving the poor and destitute around the world. She spent many years in Calcutta, India where she founded the Missionaries of Charity, a religious congregation devoted to helping those in great need. In 1979, Mother Teresa was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize and became a symbol of charitable, selfless work. In 2016, Mother Teresa was canonised by the Roman Catholic Church as Saint Teresa.
“It is not how much we do, but how much love we put in the doing. It is not how much we give, but how much love we put in the giving.”
Short Biography of Mother Teresa
Mother Teresa was born in 1910 in Skopje, the capital of the Republic of Macedonia. Little is known about her early life, but at a young age, she felt a calling to be a nun and serve through helping the poor. At the age of 18, she was given permission to join a group of nuns in Ireland. After a few months of training, with the Sisters of Loreto, she was then given permission to travel to India. She took her formal religious vows in 1931 and chose to be named after St Therese of Lisieux – the patron saint of missionaries.
On her arrival in India, she began by working as a teacher; however, the widespread poverty of Calcutta made a deep impression on her, and this led to her starting a new order called “The Missionaries of Charity”. The primary objective of this mission was to look after people, who nobody else was prepared to look after. Mother Teresa felt that serving others was a fundamental principle of the teachings of Jesus Christ. She often mentioned the saying of Jesus,
“Whatever you do to the least of my brethren, you do it to me.”
As Mother Teresa said herself:
“Love cannot remain by itself – it has no meaning. Love has to be put into action, and that action is service .” – Mother Teresa
She experienced two particularly traumatic periods in Calcutta. The first was the Bengal famine of 1943 and the second was the Hindu/Muslim violence in 1946, before the partition of India. In 1948, she left the convent to live full-time among the poorest of Calcutta. She chose to wear a white Indian sari, with a blue border, out of respect for the traditional Indian dress. For many years, Mother Teresa and a small band of fellow nuns survived on minimal income and food, often having to beg for funds. But, slowly her efforts with the poorest were noted and appreciated by the local community and Indian politicians.
In 1952, she opened her first home for the dying, which allowed people to die with dignity. Mother Teresa often spent time with those who were dying. Some have criticised the lack of proper medical attention, and their refusal to give painkillers. Others say that it afforded many neglected people the opportunity to die knowing that someone cared.
Her work spread around the world. By 2013, there were 700 missions operating in over 130 countries. The scope of their work also expanded to include orphanages and hospices for those with terminal illnesses.
“Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.”
- Mother Teresa
Mother Teresa never sought to convert those of another faith. Those in her hospices were given the religious rites appropriate to their faith. However, she had a very firm Catholic faith and took a strict line on abortion, the death penalty and divorce – even if her position was unpopular. Her whole life was influenced by her faith and religion, even though at times she confessed she didn’t feel the presence of God.
The Missionaries of Charity now has branches throughout the world including branches in the developed world where they work with the homeless and people affected by AIDS. In 1965, the organisation became an International Religious Family by a decree of Pope Paul VI.
In the 1960s, the life of Mother Teresa was brought to a wider public attention by Malcolm Muggeridge who wrote a book and produced a documentary called “Something Beautiful for God”.
In 1979, she was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize “for work undertaken in the struggle to overcome poverty and distress, which also constitutes a threat to peace.” She didn’t attend the ceremonial banquet but asked that the $192,000 fund be given to the poor.
In later years, she was more active in western developed countries. She commented that though the West was materially prosperous, there was often a spiritual poverty.
“The hunger for love is much more difficult to remove than the hunger for bread.”
- Mother Teresa
When she was asked how to promote world peace, she replied,”Go home and love your family”.
Over the last two decades of her life, Mother Teresa suffered various health problems, but nothing could dissuade her from fulfilling her mission of serving the poor and needy. Until her very last illness she was active in travelling around the world to the different branches of The Missionaries of Charity. During her last few years, she met Princess Diana in the Bronx, New York. The two died within a week of each other.
Following Mother Teresa’s death, the Vatican began the process of beatification, which is the second step on the way to canonization and sainthood. Mother Teresa was formally beatified in October 2003 by Pope John Paul II. In September 2015, Pope Francis declared:“Mother Teresa, in all aspects of her life, was a generous dispenser of divine mercy, making herself available for everyone through her welcome and defense of human life, those unborn and those abandoned and discarded,”“She bowed down before those who were spent, left to die on the side of the road, seeing in them their God-given dignity. She made her voice heard before the powers of this world, so that they might recognize their guilt for the crime of poverty they created.”
Mother Teresa was a living saint who offered a great example and inspiration to the world.
Awards given to Mother Teresa
The first Pope John XXIII Peace Prize. (1971)
Kennedy Prize (1971)
The Nehru Prize –“for the promotion of international peace and understanding”(1972)
Albert Schweitzer International Prize (1975),
The Nobel Peace Prize (1979)
States Presidential Medal of Freedom (1985)
Congressional Gold Medal (1994)
U Thant Peace Award 1994
Honorary citizenship of the United States (November 16, 1996),
The charismatic leader of a spiritual movement. He founded an ashram in India before leaving to the US. In the US he attracted many followers and amassed a large fortune with a fleet of Rolls Royces.
Early Life – Osho
Osho or Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh was born in 1931 in Central India. He was a charismatic and gifted speaker who became the leader of a worldwide new spiritual movement. It is claimed that at the age of 21 he attained enlightenment or Samadhi. At the time, he was studying philosophy at the University of Saugar. On receiving a masters degree, he taught philosophy at the University of Jabalpur for nine years.
As well as teaching philosophy he also began to attract disciples to follow his own eclectic mix of philosophy and religion. In 1966 he decided to leave his teaching post and give full attention to his role as spiritual Master. In 1974 he moved with his disciples to Pune, India. Here he established a new ashram in a comfortable setting of six acres. In 1980 he was attacked by a Hindu fundamentalist who disagreed with Osho’s unconventional stance on religion and spirituality. It is said that due to police incompetence the assailant was never convicted.
Due to failing health Osho decided to leave India for America where he would be able to receive better medical treatment. His disciples bought a large plot of land near Antelope, Oregon. Here they wished to build a large ashram and other buildings. There was often friction between the local townspeople and the ashramites. There was a clash of cultures, and the local townspeople felt threatened by the influx of devotees. Because of this many building permits were denied. This led to ashramites trying to get elected directly to the town council. There were also allegations made that followers of Osho were involved in illegal activities such as spreading salmonella in a local restaurant. More seriously there were allegations of murder made against some followers of Osho. Two were eventually convicted of the murder of Charles Turner who had tried to close the ranch.
In 1987 Osho became fearful of an investigation by the authorities, so he decided to leave the compound in Oregon and went to South Carolina. Here he fell foul of US immigration law. He had arranged false marriages and other violations of immigration laws. He was given a suspended sentence on the condition that he leave the country. Therefore he reluctantly decided to leave for Puna in India. It was at this time that he decided to change his name from Rajneesh to Osho. This is said to be a Japanese word for “Master”, although others say Osho comes from the term “oceanic experience” Osho died in 1990, his death certificate gave a reason of heart failure. Although some followers alleged poisoning by the CBI, although these allegations had little evidence to support them.
Philosophy and Beliefs of Osho
Osho was born into a Jain family. He though never believed in any one religion but combined elements of many religions such as Buddhism, Hinduism and Christianity. However, he also added new types of meditation practice. His philosophy was a type of Monism that God was in everything. All human beings were in essence divine; it was just that there were different manifestations of that divinity. He introduced a new type of meditation that involved letting go of all attachments to the past and future and ego.
If a seeker could attain a consciousness where there was “no past, no future, no attachment, no mind, no ego, no self.” Then he would attain enlightenment. One different practice he advocated was to practise physical exercise just before meditation. Unlike many Indian gurus, Osho taught that sex was not an obstacle to spiritual progress. Although many of his disciples led fairly simple and frugal lifestyles, Osho was well known for his love of cars. It is said he amassed over 20 Rolls Royces.
It is estimated over 50,000 Westerners spent time seeking enlightenment with the Guru. At its peak, there were over 200,000 members worldwide, although this dropped off after the scandals of the late 1980s. Osho never wished to appoint a successor, but he did appoint 21 followers to administer the Osho foundation which continues to provide an outlet for the dissemination of his teaching.
Adam Smith was an economist and philosopher who wrote what is considered the “bible of capitalism,” The Wealth of Nations, in which he details the first system of political economy.
While his exact date of birth isn’t known, Adam Smith’s baptism was recorded on June 5, 1723, in Kirkcaldy, Scotland. He attended the Burgh School, where he studied Latin, mathematics, history and writing. Smith entered the University of Glasgow when he was 14 and in 1740 went to Oxford.
Adam Smith & Economics
‘Wealth of Nations’
After toiling for nine years, in 1776, Smith published An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations (usually shortened to The Wealth of Nations), which is thought of as the first work dedicated to the study of political economy. Economics of the time were dominated by the idea that a country’s wealth was best measured by its store of gold and silver. Smith proposed that a nation’s wealth should be judged not by this metric but by the total of its production and commerce—today known as the gross domestic product (GDP). He also explored theories of the division of labor, an idea dating back to Plato, through which specialization would lead to a qualitative increase in productivity.
Main Beliefs and “Invisible Hand”
Smith’s ideas are a reflection on economics in light of the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, and he states that free-market economies (i.e., capitalist ones) are the most productive and beneficial to their societies. He goes on to argue for an economic system based on individual self-interest led by an “invisible hand,” which would achieve the greatest good for all.
In time, The Wealth of Nations won Smith a far-reaching reputation, and the work, considered a foundational work of classical economics, is one of the most influential books ever written.
In 1748, Smith began giving a series of public lectures at the University of Edinburgh. Through these lectures, in 1750 he met and became lifelong friends with Scottish philosopher and economist David Hume. This relationship led to Smith’s appointment to the Glasgow University faculty in 1751.
More Books by Adam Smith
In 1759, Smith published The Theory of Moral Sentiments, a book whose main contention is that human morality depends on sympathy between the individual and other members of society. On the heels of the book, he became the tutor of the future Duke of Buccleuch (1763–1766) and traveled with him to France, where Smith met with other eminent thinkers of his day, such as Benjamin Franklin and French economist Turgot.
Smith’s other writings include Lectures on Justice, Police, Revenue, and Arms (1763), which was first published in 1896, and Essays on Philosophical Subjects (1795). Both works were published posthumously.
In 1787, Smith was named rector of the University of Glasgow, and he died just three years later, at the age of 67.